Launching the Octopus

Now there’s a vision. 3 – 2 – 1 – Launch the Octopus! Fwoosh! Slooo-ooop, plop!
I can’t imagine they’d be the most aerodynamic of beasts. Still, with this vision in mind, the day is almost here where Tedrick rides the waves once more.

Launch day used to be a nerve busting time, a time where I’d be chewing my nails down to their stumps, where I’d be dreaming about spell checking issues and front cover problems and waking up in the middle of the night because I used the passive tense. No jokes. This business really gets inside your head.

Now I’m a little more relaxed with the whole affair, and that’s mostly because I’ve gotten some of the processes in place to ease things through. Setting time aside for drafts for example, means the book isn’t rushed. Starting the front cover design early on means I can iterate through a few sketches first, try out a couple and decide. Then there’s the uploading to the various distributors with their different formats and requirements.

It’s all very taxing, but at least there’s a way to ease through it all.

Lastly, the concept of the ‘pre-order’ has been a boon. The actual intent of the pre-order is to give time and a platform to shout out the book, build some interest, get some search-engine stuff going – that’s great, and I’m working to be better at that, but what I really love about it is that it gives me a deadline. Not a soft ‘yeah, I’ll have this by next month’ deadline but a real ‘you’d better get the damn thing right by August 13th’ deadline.

And that keeps the focus.

Shucks, thanks Amazon

Well shucks, thanks for that, Amazon. I finished making hard copies of Tedrick and putting together a compendium of Adaptation and felt pretty chuffed. Rather than going through Lulu, I decided to use KDP instead.

It’s a different experience, better in some ways, worse in others, but altogether things were looking up. Then I clicked on the option of ‘order proofs’ because, hey, I want to make sure the books print properly. It’s something that Lulu insists upon so that you, the creator, are satisfied with how your books come out in the physical world and I totally agree with it.

So I press the button and it tells me I’ve got 24 hours to check out my cart. Fine, but first let me add a couple of other proofs. Aside from a couple of weird issues, all good.
Then I go to check out. Houston, we have a problem. There’s a big, fat splash of red writing across the page (that’s never good) telling me that what I want isn’t possible. Why not?

What’s the issue?

It turns out that Amazon.com ain’t delivering to Australia no more. That’s right. I can’t purchase my own book. I mean… really?
Looking this up online answers my question: Really.
It seems that because Australia has the GST (A 10% tax on sales), purchases from overseas websites need to attract that tax. I’m not sure of all the politics behind it, but it seems to be something like a dummy-spit by Amazon.

“We don’t want to apply your taxes, so we’re not going sell anything to you unless you purchase from the Australian website.”
Great, but that doesn’t help me because the KDP proof doesn’t allow an Australian marketplace shipment, so I’m forced to use the American one. And around we go. So the tokens expired, I ordered it all again and this time sent it through a freight forwarding company, MyUS.com. The idea is that Amazon ships to them in Florida, then they ship it to me in Melbourne.

It looks legit. Only thing is that now delivery will necessarily take longer and cost more because there are now two shipments involved. Ah, well. So long as I can get the rotten things, I’ll be fine.

Still, I think the whole thing is a bit stupid from a buyer’s perspective – I am willing to pay money for available goods, but because of a spat between a corporation and a government, I have to go the hard way around, pay more and wait longer. What’s more, with Lulu, who also sell through Amazon, they seem to outsource the printing locally anyway, meaning I don’t have the book being sent from half way around the world.

Strange thing is that I just tested purchasing a gas tank from Amazon, and that seemed to be shippable from the US. So A petrol tank can be shipped, but books can’t? I don’t get it.

Even stranger, when looking at the page for Adaptation, it says it can be shipped to Australia, whereas Tedrick Gritswell cannot. Now I’m really confused.

If anyone has any insight, I’d be glad to hear it.