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There are no shipping charges for delivery of ebooks :-)
First, let me say that I am not shilling for my publisher. As I'm sure many know, I'm as outspoken and obnoxious as anyone here. I'm not about to make excuses, gloss over issues, or sugar coat anything to protect the staff.
It's just not who I am.
And Camp 417 (my brother and I's book) was published nearly a year before it was picked up by WEbook, by us, ebook only. It's episodic and it worked well as an ebook original, and we put it out exclusively on the Kindle.
And we didn't sell any - that's not true, we sold - I don't know - maybe fifty this year...? Haven't done my taxes so not a hundred percent sure. But it doesn't really matter if/when the books were originally published. Or if they were first available through WEbook. Or if they fix whatever glitch as quickly as we want them to.
Look: To me, it's a simple question: do you want a website that's perfect or a publishing company that works? I'll take (obviously, as one of it's first line of authors) the latter. And I don't see WEbook as being all that riddled with glitches. FAQ's? I don't know that I have ever read them. Terms and Conditions? I actually have a submission in P2F making fun of T&C's in general. The Privacy settings, frankly, are some of the best online. And the iffy copyright stuff in the T&C's? That wasn't written by this group, it was written by the previous owners, the horrible cocksuckers (pardon my french) that they were.
Could they update it (not that it matters because they are extremely author friendly)? Yes.
Could they pour resources into addressing every little fucking issue we feel is integral at any moment? Probably.
Would it ever make us all happy? Nope.
And how would any of us like to get six thousand messages a day from people who each have their own complaint, their own way to improve, their own issue that they then have to respond to, and attempt to fix, let alone sell a goddamned book that day? I'd pull my fucking hair out! And I wouldn't have a second extra to fix any glitches.
Purplebug - I know you care deeply about this site. You've worked hard on your manual for it, and you've been commended and promoted for it. That's how you find a following: by working at it. I bitch a lot - trust me - but sometimes putting in a bit of extra work is rewarded (hell, all work is rewarded - if enough people check out your project, you'll get published, and then you get to bitch about a whole slew of new headaches). But there will always be head aches, and there will always be stress and there will always be things that you can't control.
Roll with it.
There have been so many promising developments. The store is very well designed, allowing the buyer to purchase a book from anywhere in the world with the click of a button (and without going to a different website like Amazon makes you do depending on nationality) and it is, foremost, a fulfillment of a promise. You feel lied to about adding genres to the fiction and poetry sections? Of the projects? Where you have a one in sixty-six thousand chance of getting noticed?
And for that you claim that a website that is really only eight months old is "broken" and that no one will purchase books from it because of that? Books whose covers are designed by the industry's foremost talents (they might not have advertised that) and interiors laid out by people with decades in the industry? I spoke to my ebook designer today - who took (literally) two weeks meticulously laying out my ebook (if that sounds silly or lazy - you ain't seen my ebook) and no one will give a shit because P2F has a fucking glitch?!
Where the fuck was everyone when we were being spammed daily? When you could put a post in the debug forum and wait - fucking literally - two years without a response?!
Come on, guys.
When it comes to this type of website, there's two choices (to me): a bunch of silicone valley hippy fucks sitting on beach balls and riding unicycles to work who know jack shit about selling books, trying to build a writer's site and sell it off - and they'll probably be real quick on the technical stuff - or people who know how to edit, print and publish and then sell the shit out of books - and they might be slow on the IT side.
We spent five years dealing with the malfeasance of the former, I'm willing to give the latter a chance...
You're concerned about marketing, and so am I, but the best marketing is word of mouth and reviews. If you see something you like, buy it, tell others about it, and write a review. The more reviews there are, the more other people want to read it.
Also, now that I'm looking at it, is shipping included in the price? Where do you give them the information to ship it to you? When you hit proceed to payment it just links you to paypal, which most websites do... after you give them all of your shipping information... unless I'm totally forgetting how paypal works from websites other than Amazon. And then you're only paying the price of the book...
Under the "delivery" tab it links to Royalmail whatever that is... Okay, wait, wait just a minute. I'm sort of looking through things as I'm writing this and I'm just realizing that this is a mailing service based in England. Why? Didn't they just make a big deal on the blog (which I can't access right now for some reason, I've been having loads of trouble with the website tonight) about one of the author's being British on a primarily American website?
Here's a link to what the new WeBook has published: http://shop.webook.com
I think the problem stems from something I read in the blog:
"We're a group of authors, editors and publishers who've got together to get WEbook back on line." But you're not technologists, and it shows. I don't think there has been real progress because this isn't the solution. You may be authors and publishers, but that doesn't mean you have the original intent of the site in mind. I was looking for a site that helps people get published, and this isn't doing that at all. Webook isn't even marketing itself. Why isn't it integrated with Amazon's program, or B&N's? Why aren't there workshops on showing people how to market themselves. Why isn't there a Reddit AMA with the current owners, or with mainstream authors that you could get with all the funding you say you have? That's what would take this site to the next level, IMO.
I think it's time for some competition.
On June 14th it was asked when we were going to get a mobile version of the site. A response was posted that same day “Soon! We ran a competition to redesign the site recently and the winning entry was chosen and is now being coded over the next few weeks.” Yeah, that was a long time ago. On September 11th I let you know that the FAQ needed to be updated. On the 13th I received a response “We are updating the whole FAQ at the moment and will publish it soon.”
On October 7th I raised concerns, again about fixing the FAQ and formatting errors. On the 8th I received a response that “The FAQ is almost ready to go, we hope to have this all updated within a week or two.” This was also a long time ago. I also feel like this would be a priority. This site isn’t exactly easy to navigate. It has a lot of pieces.
On September 9th I brought up some problems with formatting in PageToFame. I received a response on the 11th “Thanks for bringing this to our attention, we will try to make sure the formatting of this is fixed asap, as it is pretty confusing, you're right. As you probably know, we are going to launch a new PageToFame soon, so many of the formatting issues you see here, plus the previous charge for submitting, won't replicate themselves when we launch it.” It would be nice to know when this is going to get fixed because it’s one of the places where the formatting is particularly bad.
On September 9th it was suggested that you add more genre sections to the poetry and fiction categories of the normal site and PageToFame. A response was sent on the 11th “I'll add a few more genres into the fiction and poetry sections today.” This did not happen and I feel lied to.
The store is great and all but you aren’t going to get people to buy books from it if the website is all broken. It just doesn’t look trustworthy. Know what else doesn’t look trustworthy the fact that the “Terms and Conditions page” only has the text “Terms content.”
So are we actually going to get any of these things or are they just empty promises? I really think this website can work but I'm having a hard time being optimistic at the moment.