Saturday, June 27, 2015

Uploading/Publishing to Google Play

I dropped this post in on a Saturday instead of waiting until Monday. And yes, I changed the title, and background in the header. I just can't stand not being on the water. More to come at a later date.


Yes, I finally figured out how to upload to Google Play. And let me tell you right now, if you're thinking about it, don't bother.

1. The dashboard/interface is an absolute NIGHTMARE. It is NOT user friendly at all.

2. You have to change the titles of all your files, but you can't do that until they give you the GG Key. Stupid. (I should say, that if you want to upload your series they give you a template, which then you can use the GGkey for. However, the template didn't work and I got confused as to what I was uploading, so I had to scrap that idea -- and then had to upload each title individually, which I didn't use the GG key for. It was such a pain in the ass, I only uploaded 3 books.)

3. I can't even tell you how hard it was to set up the banking account page. And then to actually have each book correspond to my bank. And then, to set up the book so that all the different countries' money will flow into that account. (Which, incidentally, you need to "refresh" otherwise you may get paid a lower denomination. Money fluctuates in the world as we all know, but YOU need to manually "refresh" your account instead of Google automatically doing it for you.)

4. I cannot seem to get their excel spreadsheet to work on ANY of my computers. I even have a Google Chromebook.

5. Your epub has to be PERFECT, which, on every other platform mine are. Except for this one. It kept telling me it was in error. I sent mine to a friend who checked it out for me. He said it was perfect, shouldn't have a problem. It still did. Finally, after repeated emails to Google, they said it was because my ORIGINAL WORD document was written on Word 2003, it wouldn't format correctly. What? Yeah. (I have no problem uploading original Word docs to Amazon or Smashwords.)

6. And the kicker to all of this -- My books are priced at $3.99 across all platforms. Google decided to discount the price to $3.03. And of course when the Amazon bots found out, they lowered their price. (So I'm earning less on Amazon.) And Google only pays 58% in royalties.(Which is only 2% less than what B&N pays @ 60%, but somehow just seeing that 58% makes me FEEL like it's so much less.)

So, there you have it. I've been published there for 5 months now and have still not sold a single copy even though I have embedded metadata in my files for the Search Engine Optimization that everyone talks about.

I've heard that Draft2Digital and Smashwords, and one other aggregate are trying to get Google Play into their fold, but I haven't seen anything in stone yet. And, from what I read a few weeks ago, Google Play stopped allowing new authors to upload. I can't remember why. (Probably because no one could figure out how to do it and crashed their stupid system. No, that's not the reason.)

The talk for the last year or so has been getting into foreign markets. Three quarters of the world speaks English, and we need to be seen. So far, the only major player is Google. Amazon has a few countries, but have problems in one form or another. However, Google is Android, and it seems the people who look at this stuff seem to think that these billions of English speaking people read books on their phones. Well, obviously no one wants to read mine. And yes, I do realize that I write Regency romance, and it's a niche market, but if I can sell books in Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and India through various other aggregates, then why can't I sell books on Google Play? They must have found my books by searching for it. What is the largest search engine in the world? Uh, that would be Google. So why haven't I sold any books through them? (And no, this isn't sour grapes, it's just utter, blinding confusion.)

The whole Google Play experience was a nightmare, and the frustration wasn't worth it to get into English speaking foreign markets. Perhaps if I had sold a couple of books, but so far the till is empty. And with Amazon cutting my price because of them, I'm  not really sure if it's worth it to stay.

My advice to you -- wait until one of the other aggregates gets them in their corral and upload through them. In my opinion, Google Play isn't worth all the hype.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Ha. Their license enough was enough to run me away. Sorry to hear your frustration. I think Google hires the worst SW people in the world. Pretty much everything of theirs I touch ticks me off.

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm done. Monday morning, I'm pulling the plug. I'll keep trying to grow my market here. The aggravation isn't worth it.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I heard too many horror stories about Google and their discounts, so I didn't even bother to self-pub there. Kensington has my other books there, though, so I'm sure to miss a few sales, but it's not like I'm burning up the charts. Yet. Haha! :)

J.L. Campbell said...

I'll take your advice and not even attempt this nightmare.