Me on Indie Publishing

Barnes and Noble Fail and #ROW80 Check-in

Ok first, I’ll do my #ROW80 check-in. My goal is to write 750 words a day (average).  Sunday I wrote 955 words, Monday 864, Tuesday 51.  Um, yeah.  Tuesday I got back in my hero’s head and he’s still being difficult.  Dude it is HARD to write teenage boys!  So I’ve got some making up to do.  Still, I’m moving right along, with a total word count of 11480 on Red.  Hopefully, eventually Sawyer’s head will be easier to slip into.

And now for the Barnes and Noble fail.

I was one of the early adopters of Pubit.  As soon as I got the invitation, I uploaded Forsaken By Shadow.  Others of my compatriots did the same and they TOOK OFF, absolutely flying off the shelves.  I…didn’t.  Now I wasn’t expecting to rocket up to number 1, but I was expecting comparable sales to Amazon and that simply hasn’t been the case.  I’ve had modestly descent sales, but nothing outstanding.  And none of the methods that seemed to help drive me up the charts on Amazon worked at all for Barnes and Noble.

So one of the things I did was change my keywords. And I kept checking, and checking, and checking to see if the system ever updated.  It didn’t and I eventually stopped checking because I actually had a life and didn’t have the time.

So then in December I launched Devil’s Eye.  I really expected having a second title, one that had, admittedly, been written with keywords in mind, to help bolster my overall sales.

Wrong.

I don’t know what prompted me to go back and look yesterday.  I started trying to find both my books under every single keyword I had listed.  And guess what?  Except for the very first keyword on Devil’s Eye (wolf shifter), my books do not come up on searches for ANY KEYWORD AT ALL.

Whaaaa?

Which means that all the sales I’ve had are because people are specifically looking for me. In which case, I should be more suitably impressed that that many people are seeking me out on purpose. Thank you fans.

Of course I immediately posted on the Pubit Help Boards about the issue, asking if anyone else had had the same problem, and I emailed the only support email address I have for Barnes and Noble, explaining the issue and asking what can be done to rectify this situation. Of course, at this point, I’ve heard nothing at all back from Barnes and Noble themselves, and the lone response I received on the Help Boards basically said “Yeah I had this trouble too…try searching for the release date or price.  I was told that they have so many books up, that the system doesn’t always bring every book up under key words…it is more of a random thing…sometimes mine show up and sometimes they don’t…”

WTF?  I am not the one having trouble finding my books.  That’s what bookmarks are for.  No one randomly browses for books based on release date or price without having a genre or keyword in mind. I’m having a hissy fit because this is LUDICROUS.  Why ask us to provide keywords if your system is not capable of using them?  This means that those random, special books that actually show up in keyword searches have an unfair advantage over the rest of us, and that’s hurting our sales.

I am so TEED OFF about this.  Every single book in their system should show up based on whatever keywords are entered in the listing.  If that’s 7,000 books or 20,000 books, I don’t care.  It should show them all.

If Barnes and Noble wants to be a true competitor, they need to overhaul their entire system, upgrade their servers, and get an effing clue. They do nothing to link books to other books; their keyword searches are crap; they do not display list rankings on the sales page (instead you have to go LOOK for the lists, and who has time for that?); and their support for any of these issues is questionable at best.  I get that this is a new system and that there will be kinks to work out, like the weird crap with the sales reporting.  But having some books show up under keyword searches and not others is patently unreasonable, unfair, and wholly unacceptable.

Now, I wasn’t there for the infancy of Amazon’s DTP system, but I haven’t heard of any of these kinds of problems. Amazon has the fabulous tag system where READERS can drive things up in visibility through tags, which are used as keyword searches.  Amazon has the great “People who bought this also bought…” recommendation, that allows so much more pollination between books.  And also the “After viewing this item, people ultimately bought…”  Amazon is doing it right.  Barnes and Noble needs to go take some notes.

16 thoughts on “Barnes and Noble Fail and #ROW80 Check-in

  1. Yay for the wordcounts – one off day doesn’t hurt. Boo for B&N – they are failing at just about everything Amazon is good for. They haven’t invested enough time and money into rolling this out properly and it shows.

  2. Congrats on the word counts. You’re doing great!

    As far B & N…there’s that thing about no sales showing up, too. Bleh.

    My ranking on B & N is much better than Amazon. Partly, this is because there is less competition. I think I know the biggest reason that my latest book is so searchable, and I did this on purpose. I actually have the word “vampire” in the title. Apparently, the keys words just aren’t working correctly, like you said. B & N has a lot of work to do because, you know, authors would like to 1) HAVE sales, and 2) actually know what those sales are. Massive fail.

  3. Yes, B&N really needs to get a handle on things. When I was just a reader, I was incredibly frustrated that they took sooooo long to upload an Android version of their Ereader. Especially since their Nook is android based. It shouldn’t have taken them that long at all. And then they came out with the iPad version when it was first released, and before the Android version was out. Who knows what their priorities are over there.

    Another complaint I have is that they do have the “other readers who purchased this also bought this” feature (it is not as extensive as the Amazon one), but they only offer that feature on Trad published books. Pubit books do not have that feature. If the site has it at all, it should not be so difficult to add for Pubit books.

    1. I guess this shows how often I’m looking at trad pubbed books over there! Ha! I didn’t even know that feature existed on their site. Somehow that makes it worse that they’re excluding the Pubit books from that feature. Like they’re offering the service but treating us as second class citizens. Just hopping over there to look at the top 100 (overall, not category) Nookbooks, they’re all traditionally pubbed books. Looking at the top 100 Kindle books in Fiction, 10 of them are self-pubbed (just doing a casual survey). It seems that the real difference is that Barnes and Noble is still catering wholly to the traditionally pubbed whereas Amazon has realized that self-pub is a huge moneymaker for them and they’ve done everything possible to streamline and enhance the process so that those books are found and sold, which is a win for them and for the authors.

  4. As a recent owner of the Color Nook, I can confirm their product searches are pretty crappy. I am sure (read as I sure hope) it will get better, but even now searches for specific authors can yield results that are not prioritized correctly (in my opinion) Often tossing close matches in the middle of exact matches, etc.

    Still enjoying the Color Nook right now enough to overlook this sort of thing. But from an author perspective it has to be maddening.

    1. Someone was telling me earlier that she was pretty sure that Amazon patented their particular search technology like a decade ago. If that’s the case, BN would do well to just freaking hire Google. It has to be better than what they’ve got.

  5. I got Forsaken by Shadow from Amazon. Frankly B&N is not a pleasant place to shop it is too difficult to get to what you are looking for. Please do not forsake Amazon, I will be looking for more of your great books.

    1. Oh I have no intention of leaving Amazon. That would just be foolish, since they make up 90% of my sales! I’m just trying to get Barnes and Noble to fix their stuff.

  6. First off-great job on getting your word count in. It seems yesterday was a hard one for both of us. 🙂

    Now, let me add to the BN rant-Glimpse has the “People who bought this also bought…” feature on its page. However, it’s not linked with Glimmer, and the paperback is nowhere to be seen-although the paperback for Glimmer is on there. What Glimmer doesn’t have is a synopsis. No matter how many times I upload it, it doesn’t show up. So, people buy Glimpse and then have no idea there is a second book and if they SOMEHOW find the second book, they don’t know what it is about. Awesome. And, oh yeah, all my sales reporting is screwed too.

    1. EVERYBODY’s sales reporting is screwed. Nobody’s special there. Have you tried emailing that address Susan found? corrections@bn.com ? She was able to get her stuff fixed fairly quickly that way.

      Now it’s weird that you’ve got the Customers who bought also bought thing. I wonder if that’s because you’ve also got the paperback copy on there through Create Space? Because Susan seems to have that on her listing of Hush Money as well.

      It seems to be JUST Pubit, ebook only crowd that is being excluded.

      1. I checked again this morning and you were right. The “customers who bought this also…” is on there because they’re paperback versions. Although, I did notice both paperbacks are showing up now. Still no description on the e-book of Glimmer. My conclusion: BN hates e-books. 🙂

        1. I see you still have the Smashwords version there, too. I can’t get them to remove the Smashwords version from mine. That messes up the rankings.

          Also, at first, the short Smashwords decription was on my PubIt version at first, even though I wrote a description for PubIt. They told me they couldn’t change that until the Smashwords version is down, but they finally did.

          The reason your reviews from one version isn’t coming to the other version, I think, is because one version says (Zellie Wells Book Two) after Glimmer, but the other one doesn’t. So it looks like two different titles. I don’t know if that’s what’s messing with the description or not. Probably not, but that’s still one more problem. B & N just doesn’t have it together yet.

  7. I think you covered just about everything that is wrong with the B&N system so I can only second your complaints.

    They added on a number of sales for December on Jan 2 of this year for me that was somehow left out of the total. I guess that’s nice that they added them. But they haven’t added any sales since then and I have 11 books on B&N so I know something is wrong.

    I haven’t reached the boiling point as you have yet but it is frustrating.

  8. How annoying! I get mad at Amazon for various other stupid choices they’ve made, but at least it sounds like they’re doing one thing right.

  9. I am having the same problem and glad to know it’s not that I did something wrong–well, I kinda wish it were so I could fix it. B&N needs to wake up because with the Kindle Select, they could be out of business soon.

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