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Old 11-26-2012, 11:36 PM   #1
Chiquita Banana
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Question about unpublishing on Smashwords

Yes, I know you can't "unpublish" something, but that's the term they use, so I'm going with it. I have been trying to get them to send my revised description to retailers for over a month and a half now - it really, really needs this revised description - but the customer service situation has just been ridiculous. I'm getting conflicting information, they're taking forever to return emails, not reading my questions properly.

Anyway, the latest message I got today is that I have to resubmit my MS in order for the new descriptions to go out to retailers. I am ready to just give up and pull the story - it is my weakest link as far as ratings go.

If you unpublish something from Smashwords, does it disappear from sites like Barnes & Noble or does the page remain, just say it's not available at this time? Same with Goodreads - will that book remain even though it's not available?

I'd rather just erase the whole thing from existence. It got some really awful reviews. A lot of people didn't get what I was going for - they expected a short story romance, and what I gave them was a cute meet and all the anticipation and excitement that happens before the romance. In the new descriptions I try to explain this (although it's a bit difficult to decipher in the short version because of the limited characters) but seeing as it's been six weeks now and I have nine million other things I'm trying to do right now, I'm ready to just kill the story. IF it's gone from B&N, Goodreads, etc. If that's not an option, I guess I'll keep trying to deal with Smashwords. Hoping the clear description will help with future ratings - if people know what they'll be getting ahead of time, I suspect they won't hate it so much. Or they'll hate it less. I don't know.

Sorry to sound all frantic. Am a bit stressed! Any information would be helpful, thanks.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:25 AM   #2
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I believe it will eventually disappear, but it'll take time. The updates are awfully slow and it may take months for all of the copies to be pulled off the websites.

It will *not* go away from Goodreads. Once it's been accepted there it's there forever - the librarians won't take any books off, even if they're OOP or unavailable.

Last edited by Sheryl Nantus; 11-27-2012 at 12:27 AM. Reason: added GR info
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for getting back to me, Sheryl. Sorry about the long, long delay in replying. Hm. I don't know whether to pull it or not since it'll always be attached to my author name on Goodreads with quite a few bad ratings. Hm. I'll have to ponder. Thanks again!!
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:47 AM   #4
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Maybe you could unwrite it.

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Old 11-27-2012, 10:12 AM   #5
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I've heard BN is a pain. I emailed them about my account several times. Hear the crickets? I do.

Are you happy with the story? Nevermind the reviews. Are you happy? You can tweak the blurb millions of times and never get it right. I have a review on smashwords that the reader thought my demon/hell romance was like Twilight. Really? People are dumb lol. Maybe post the blurb here or in QLH? That's if you decide to keep it up.

Wish you luck!
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by elindsen View Post
I've heard BN is a pain. I emailed them about my account several times. Hear the crickets? I do.

Are you happy with the story? Nevermind the reviews. Are you happy? You can tweak the blurb millions of times and never get it right. I have a review on smashwords that the reader thought my demon/hell romance was like Twilight. Really? People are dumb lol. Maybe post the blurb here or in QLH? That's if you decide to keep it up.

Wish you luck!
Aw, thanks for this. People are dumb indeed. Quite a few of my bad reviews for this simply say "too short". It's a short story!

No, the problem is that people are expecting it to be a romance and it's actually the lead-up to the romance. It's all about the cute meet (flirting, wondering, anticipation.) It ends when they decide to go on their date. And so a lot of the reviewers are like, "WTF?" I felt like I needed to explain in my description that it's not a fully developed love story - it's an elaborate cute meet that may or may not lead to something big. It's about "the magic of beginnings" or some such.

Am I happy with it? Sure. I think it's unique and well written (if I do say so myself) but I worry that by having it out there I'm giving off the impression that I don't know how to structure a story or something. And if it keeps getting bad ratings, it might deter people from checking out my novels. The whole point of throwing this free short story out there was to entice people into buying my novel. Soon to be "novels." To be fair, I have more good reviews/ratings than bad. On B&N I've got 9 5-stars, 7 4-stars, 3 3-stars, 3 2-stars and 2 1-stars. But still. That's 4 people who gave it a 1 or a 2, and that seems pretty bad.

It's really good to know that it takes time for these sites to get rid of the books. Maybe I should just forget about it for now. Got my first self-pubbed novel coming out on Dec. 15 and I was thinking I might kill my short story and start with a clean slate, but there's probably no point if it'll take months to disappear from the e-bookstores and will linger on Goodreads forever.

Anyway, thanks all for listening, advising, helping me process. And thanks for the luck, Elindsen!
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Hm. I was beginning to wonder if I had made a good choice to upload to Amazon, Kobo, B&N on my own and not go through the distribution channels.

Looks like it may have been a good choice.

I am curious because I am not sure I understand. Your short story, is it a short that you wrote in the same universe/with same characters as the novel you have coming out? Sort of meant to be a teaser for the upcoming novel itself?
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:35 AM   #8
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Hm. I was beginning to wonder if I had made a good choice to upload to Amazon, Kobo, B&N on my own and not go through the distribution channels.

Looks like it may have been a good choice.

I am curious because I am not sure I understand. Your short story, is it a short that you wrote in the same universe/with same characters as the novel you have coming out? Sort of meant to be a teaser for the upcoming novel itself?
I think that was a wise choice.

Nope, my short story has nothing to do with the novel I released at the same time or the upcoming one. I just thought it'd be a fun idea to write about the very early stages. Some people like it. But a lot of folks really don't get it. Hopefully the new description that explains what it is will help....
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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I haven't been on AW in a while, but I wanted to chime in here.

Libby, don't worry about it. It sounds like you have good ratings. I have a novella that people don't get half the time too and ratings are pretty even all down the scale for it, so that it averages just under 3 stars, by far my lowest rated ebook. I must admit that this story is free at most retailers and that tends to attract anyone, even those who don't normally read that kind of story so that it brings in low reviews because of that. The important thing is that it doesn't affect my other sales. It's not worth sweating over. Just get the changes uploaded. If you feel that it's bad for your reputation, you can always use a different pen name on future books, but I think you're worrying far more than necessary.

The truth is that not every writer is going to have a hit every time. Write what you love, what inspires you. Once you start letting outside opinions dictate how you feel about your stories, the love of creating fades. It's a b*tch to gain it back. Don't worry about this one story. You can't please all the people all the time. Please yourself first, so that you continue to love writing. Low ratings hurt, no matter how long you've been writing, but after awhile, you learn to focus on the fans who stick by you and not worry about anyone who doesn't like or get the purpose of your stories.

/pep talk

As far as your original issue with smashwords is concerned, if you unpublish, your stories will be removed from sale, but it will remain in the smashwords archive. Anyone who has purchased it from smashwords will still be able to download it, but no one else will be able to view or purchase it. Getting changes filtered out to the retailers takes time and Kobo really bites for having issues, unless you use their Writing Life dashboard to publish. Apple and Sony are pretty quick to update but BN is super slow, which is why I use PubIt unless I want to make something free.

I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years and have seen smashwords make improvements, but they can't control the speed of the retailers to make the changes effective.

HTH! Cheer up and keep writing
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melanie Nilles View Post
I haven't been on AW in a while, but I wanted to chime in here.

Libby, don't worry about it. It sounds like you have good ratings. I have a novella that people don't get half the time too and ratings are pretty even all down the scale for it, so that it averages just under 3 stars, by far my lowest rated ebook. I must admit that this story is free at most retailers and that tends to attract anyone, even those who don't normally read that kind of story so that it brings in low reviews because of that. The important thing is that it doesn't affect my other sales. It's not worth sweating over. Just get the changes uploaded. If you feel that it's bad for your reputation, you can always use a different pen name on future books, but I think you're worrying far more than necessary.

The truth is that not every writer is going to have a hit every time. Write what you love, what inspires you. Once you start letting outside opinions dictate how you feel about your stories, the love of creating fades. It's a b*tch to gain it back. Don't worry about this one story. You can't please all the people all the time. Please yourself first, so that you continue to love writing. Low ratings hurt, no matter how long you've been writing, but after awhile, you learn to focus on the fans who stick by you and not worry about anyone who doesn't like or get the purpose of your stories.

/pep talk

As far as your original issue with smashwords is concerned, if you unpublish, your stories will be removed from sale, but it will remain in the smashwords archive. Anyone who has purchased it from smashwords will still be able to download it, but no one else will be able to view or purchase it. Getting changes filtered out to the retailers takes time and Kobo really bites for having issues, unless you use their Writing Life dashboard to publish. Apple and Sony are pretty quick to update but BN is super slow, which is why I use PubIt unless I want to make something free.

I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years and have seen smashwords make improvements, but they can't control the speed of the retailers to make the changes effective.

HTH! Cheer up and keep writing
Aw, thanks Melanie! What a lovely post. I know I shouldn't be stressing so much about this. It's just annoying. And I now officially hate Smashwords. I just checked to see if the new descriptions were on any of the sites and it is on Kobo, but not B&N and a couple of others I checked. And now Smashwords is saying I have to modify the story again because apparently I have "trailing paragraph spaces". No idea what these are. I swear! Very irritating.

Anyway, thanks so much for the pep talk and the excellent reality check too.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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You're welcome

Trailing paragraph spaces are spaces left after the last punctuation of a paragraph. You can see these in Word if you click the little paragraph symbol so you can see all the hidden characters, like indents, hard returns, spaces, and tabs. The hidden spaces can cause extra lines between paragraphs in the e-reader formatting. If I see my cursor a space behind the punctuation, I backspace to get rid of extra spaces, always.

Smashwords can be a pain to deal with, but once you get the formatting down, it's easy.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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You're welcome

Trailing paragraph spaces are spaces left after the last punctuation of a paragraph. You can see these in Word if you click the little paragraph symbol so you can see all the hidden characters, like indents, hard returns, spaces, and tabs. The hidden spaces can cause extra lines between paragraphs in the e-reader formatting. If I see my cursor a space behind the punctuation, I backspace to get rid of extra spaces, always.

Smashwords can be a pain to deal with, but once you get the formatting down, it's easy.

Ah, thanks for that. I don't know what I'm going to do about Smashwords right now. Things are insane (self publishing debut novel releases in less than 2 weeks now, am immersed in a massive blog hop I set up AND I'm having major dental issues - root canal scheduled for tomorrow.) I may just try not to think about the Smashwords book until next month. Thanks so much for all the help. Much appreciated.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #13
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You're welcome.

I hope the root canal wasn't too uncomfortable. I've had a few and they don't scare me anymore after realizing there are far more painful things I could suffer. Novacaine is a Godsend, imho.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:39 PM   #14
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I accidentally clicked on unpublish on one of my books yesterday, my hand slipped on the mouse! It didn't even have a pop-up to say "are you sure"? I published it again straightaway, so don't know if it will stay with the distribution, I had to submit it again to the premium catalogue.

As for people reading a short story and saying it's too short, yep, I've had that too. You can't please all of the people all of the time so in the end the only person you can really write for is yourself.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:16 AM   #15
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Melanie: the root canal was not fun, but I am SO glad I had it done. Much better now.

Eriador117: that's terrible! They definitely should have an "are you sure" thing for cases like yours. I hope it doesn't mess everything up for you.

People saying short stories are too short. Sigh. I'd like to see them write their own.
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