Sunday, March 31, 2013

A New Release and a Freebie!

So it's new book release day!  "Catering to the CEO" was released today on Kindle and I am very excited about it.  This is a full-length novel (my last two were novellas) and is $2.99 right now on Amazon for the Kindle version.

And as a gift to you to celebrate CEO's release, "Ever After" is FREE today!  So happy reading everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Indie Romance Convention Nominees Announced

I'm not going to lie to you, friends, I did a bit of campaigning on this one and it looks as if my efforts have paid off.  At 8:00 p.m. this evening, I received official word that my book, "The Christmas Cottage", is nominated for Best Indie Romance Novella!!


I did a little dance, I jumped around a bit, then texted a whole bunch and then celebrated with a Milky Way ice cream bar.  Don't be jealous.  

So what does this mean??  I think it's a pretty cool thing to get nominated.  The Indie Romance Convention is a fairly new thing but that just makes it all the more fun to be a part of.  I can say that I was there from the beginning!

Voting will start April 1st and I cannot be any more excited!!!  Being an Indie Author can be so much fun!!!

Have you read "The Christmas Cottage"?  It's not just for Christmas!  Actually, Christmas is only a secondary theme so really, it's good to read any time!  You can get it on Amazon for only .99 cents for the eBook or $6.99 for the paperback.  It's still available on Barnes and Noble in both formats, too.

I honestly have to thank NaNoWriMo for this; if I hadn't made myself sit down to write for the competition, I don't know when this story would have been written and it certainly wouldn't have gone out with such amazing timing as it did nor would it have received such recognition.  I LOVE BEING A WRITER!!! 

Click HERE and order yours today and then come back on April 1st to vote for me so that I can go and walk the red carpet in October!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What makes a best seller on Amazon?

This whole indie publishing thing is a daily learning process.  Just when you think you've got it worked out, your formula doesn't work.  When I wrote "The Christmas Cottage", I did not set out to write a best seller.  It just happened.  Only I didn't realize that until about two months after its release.  

What does that mean?  Well, here I was thinking that I was doing something phenomenal with my cheap and free marketing.  The truth was that I released a romantic holiday novella at Christmas time and people enjoy a holiday themed book.  It was priced at .99 cents as an ebook and so basically, the planets lined up on that one and I had a best seller.  

When I wrote the follow-up, "Ever After", there was no hook; there was no holiday that it was tied into and so I was just hoping to ride the coattails of the success of "The Christmas Cottage".  I marketed the same way; utilized a lot of the same websites that offered free or low cost promotions.  And I got two VERY different results.  "The Christmas Cottage" went into the top 100 Best Seller List in the Kindle Store in eight days.  "Ever After"?  It has never gotten that high on the list.

Well, that's not totally true; let me clarify.  The Kindle Store is the listing of ALL Kindle books.  Then it gets broken down into genres.  So while "Ever After" has (just recently) been on the best seller list, it was in sub-sub-SUB genre categories.

I did the free promo option on "Ever After" and STILL didn't break the top 100 in the Kindle Store.  And I did not get the bounce-back sales that I've heard people talk about, either, after their free days.  

I have blogged, tweeted, Tumblr'd, Facebooked...everything I could to spread the word about BOTH books and lightning did NOT strike twice.  I've come to learn through multiple indie authors that what happened with "The Christmas Cottage" sales-wise, was not the norm.  What I am experiencing with "Ever After" is.  A month after it's release, some random romance web-site promoted it on their bargain e-book day and I sold almost 800 books on that day alone!  That was more than I had sold in the month!  That was pure luck.

I'm learning to not obsess about the numbers and to not rely on this income.  I thought that I was going to be a bit more on easy-street when I was seeing the sales from "The Christmas Cottage" but have quickly learned that that was a seemingly one-time deal and I was lucky to experience it.  

So what makes a best seller on Amazon?  There seemingly is no direct answer.  They took away the like button so there goes that.  You need to get reviews.  THAT is a biggie.  The more reviews the better (and even more so when they are GOOD reviews).  But I've seen well-known authors having to essentially beg for reviews so imagine how hard it is for little ol' unknown me to get them!  

I'm going to keep writing.  I'm going to keep marketing the way that I do and maybe someday I'll luck out and get noticed by a big review site or by someone who just likes my work and I'll be able to get on and stay on the best seller list again.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why I Write What I Write

Being an author is a funny thing.  When people hear that you're an author their first question is always "What do you write?"  Depending on who is asking the question normally alters my answer.

I live in a Southern Baptist town.  Seriously, the Baptist Seminary is less than a half a mile from my house.  There are churches on every corner.  Now, I am a Christian; have been for almost 20 years.  And yes, I read and write romances.  Saying that in certain circles, will have people praying over me or throwing me out of church groups.  I've learned to lean more toward saying that I write women's fiction.  It's clearly a more acceptable response.

What kills me?  Is that most of the bible thumping people who gasp and look at me with disdain, are the same people who stand in judgement on those around them (though the Bible tells them not to), will gossip amongst one another about who is acceptable and not acceptable (though the Bible tells them not to) and are the ones secretly ready 50 Shades of Gray.

Which I have not read.  I have it; ordered it from Paperback Swap, but haven't brought myself to read it.

And you know who you are.  I've seen them in the aisles of Barnes and Noble looking at it and have heard of multiple book clubs in the area that many belong to promoting it.  Honesty should be what you're all about, not judgment.

But judgmental people aside, I enjoy reading romances.  Not erotica; romances.  I love the development of a relationship; I love the building of attraction.  I enjoy reading it and I enjoy writing it.  Relationships fascinate me and I don't think I'm too hideous at writing about them.  I'm not the best at it but I am certainly not the worst.  

What I have learned recently is that you have to write what is in your head and in your heart; not what other people tell you to write.  Case in point?  "Ever After".  I had no intention of writing that story when I did.  I wrote "The Christmas Cottage" and then was working on other stories but people wanted to know what happened next.  What was Ava's story.  So I went with it.  It's not a hit.  People don't like her very much and to be honest, she's not a favorite of mine either.  But I created a character who was flawed and had to stay true to that end.  

Do I regret writing it?  No.  Do I regret writing it too soon?  Yes.  Maybe in time, without the pressure to get that particular story out, I could have made her a little more likable.  Now I'm stuck with it and can only move forward.  

So the next book that I am releasing is called "Catering to the CEO".  I have to admit, I had written this one specifically for one of Harlequin's lines.  I never submitted it to them but I think that I met all of the criteria for it.  I probably could submit it, but I'm just not ready for more rejection right now.  I'd rather self-publish and deal with that.

Here's the new cover and here's the blurb:  Jaded CEO Adam Lawrence knew exactly how to get what he wanted in business and in the bedroom. When independent, sexy and impossible to ignore Cassie Jacobs dares to best him on a business deal, Adam vows revenge. But how far can he go when the two find out they about to become family?

Actually, my agent asked for another book and I have several in various stages of progress so I am having to go through them and see which of them I want to use for the next submission.  In the meantime, I'm having fun with the self publishing thing.  It gives me something to look forward to and to work toward.

So the quest to become an established author continues...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life or Launch?

Okay, so I've been M.I.A. again and for that I apologize.  But seriously, it's with good reason.


I took my week off from work and yes, it was quite refreshing.  We did the Great Wolf Lodge, we went and visited Nick at school, I had breakfast with friends and read two FABULOUS books (thank you, Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis!) and did very little writing.

Bad author!

While we were visiting Nick at school, something very traumatic happened.  We went out to dinner Saturday night and while waiting for our table, I pulled Nick aside to talk to him.  I've been a little concerned about Michael and he won't talk to me or Frank but I thought he might actually talk to his brother.  So I had a very adult conversation with my elder child and asked him if he could maybe talk to his younger brother and just sort of see what was going on with him.  I had overheard a conversation Michael had with a friend while playing Xbox where he admitted that he'd asked a girl out and she said no.  I wanted to make sure he was okay.

Never send a snarky 21 year old to do ANYTHING.

Basically, rather than just talking TO Michael, Nick decided it would be better to talk AT Michael and dump on him everything that he doesn't like about it.  By Sunday afternoon, Michael had essentially been told that everything about him is...wrong.

Thank you, Nick.  Don't go in to motivational speaking.

We arrived at Nick's place to take him to lunch before we headed back home and he convinced Michael to basically shave his head.

Moms, are you as outraged as I am???

Did I mention that Michael has BEAUTIFUL curly hair???

Did I also mention that Nick essentially had some dull utility scissors and a fairly useless electric razor to take on this task???

I asked Michael if he was okay with it and he said that he was but I sort of feel like he was trying to save face here.  Then Nick and his fiance took him into the bathroom to get him ready.  When the razor turned on, I had to step in.  I told them they were NOT allowed to shave his head.  No buzz cut; I did NOT want to see scalp.  So they cut it really, really, REALLY short.  I don't recognize my child.  There was about three pounds of hair on the floor and the look on Michael's face broke my heart.

They aren't allowed near him any time soon.

I cried that night for HOURS.

I know, I know, it's just hair but to me, those curls were Michael.  That was my boy's signature thing and a part of his childhood is now gone thanks to the dull-scissor-happy-duo.  Wait until they have children and I do something like this - take their first born for the first hair cut or get her ears pierced without their permission.  Ah...revenge.

Then there's our car situation.  We've known that we need another car and that we need to get rid of Frank's van.  We were kind of hoping to do it this summer when my car was paid off.

Best laid plans and all that...

The van died the other day.  Frank call's me from the damn interstate and is like, "The van died".  Well, okay.  We have AAA, call them.  No, no, no, it's just overheated and he needs water.  It's 5:00, I'm getting ready to leave work, okay, I can do it.  Where is he?  He's not sure.  He wasn't paying attention.  So I now have to head west while he was driving east and hope that I can see him on the opposite side of the side of the road!  

Wanted to KILL him.

Got there, we got the van home and essentially as we turned into the driveway it died.  Thank God we made it home.  But now there is no money from the sale of the car to help with a down payment on another one.  There goes my new computer that I desperately need and that my royalty check was going to get for me.

And speaking of royalty checks, there's me, the indie author.  Harlequin and Random House turned me down on the book my agent submitted.  I wasn't upset about Harlequin but I was pretty bummed about Random House.  It's still in with one other publishing house but they don't thrill me.  

I'm releasing another book on my own on April 2nd.  This one is called "Catering to the CEO" and it was originally written to Harlequin guidelines but I never submitted because basically it's been in the press a lot lately about how poorly Harlequin treats and pays its authors.  Thanks, I'll pass.  So I got my cover designed by the wonderful Gilded Heart Designs, I created my video trailer with Animoto and I will be releasing it with Amazon.  All in all, I'm not overly psyched like I was with "Ever After" which has been a bit of a disappointment.  I think I hyped it too much in my own mind and there was no way it was ever going to live up to those expectations.  

I should be doing some major pre-launch work right now but I just don't have it in me.  I've got work, a car to try and finance, Easter is right around the corner and just everyday wife and mother stuff to deal with.  

Are you as exhausted as I am?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge

Let me start by saying that I am not usually a fan of the water.  I don't swim a whole lot, we don't have a pool and really, when we go to Disney I don't do the water parks.  But something about the Great Wolf Lodge appealed to me.  So with my vacation time and Michael being out of school I decided to give it a shot.

It's a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Lodge and it was completely doable for me.  So I booked a package on-line (a little expensive but I figured, why not?) that included one night in a family suite, unlimited access to the water park and dinner.  

For four people.

Now at the point that I booked it, it was only going to be me and Michael so we extended the invitation to some friends and so we had our foursome.  Yeah!  

I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.  We arrived a little after noon and our room was ready.  Our friends arrived about 30 minutes after we did and so we settled in to our room and went for lunch in the full service restaurant in the Lodge.  The food was excellent and the prices were more than fair.  We then hit the water park.  


If you've never been to a Great Wolf Lodge, I highly recommend it.  There is something for everyone and let me tell you, by the time we left, I had come to enjoy ALL of the slides.  There are three pools (kiddie, wave and activity) and then there are four slides - each offers some serious fun and thrills.  

My main gripe with the whole thing?  The stairs.  My legs are KILLING me right now because today alone I must have climbed over 1,000 steps!  OUCH!  To get up to the two biggest slides took 100-110 steps (It's like four stories +).  Do that a couple of times and you are feeling the burn!  The whole thing is great but it's not very handicap friendly or friendly for the elderly.  I saw many older people there with the grandkids who were excited to do the slides but the stairs were a deal breaker.

The temp in the park is kept at 82 degrees and the water temp is at 84.  PERFECT for the whole experience.  

After three hours of water fun we went back up to the room and changed and got ready for dinner - which was included in our package.  It was an all-you-can-eat buffet at the restaurant on site and what a selection!  There was everything from chicken and waffles (which I still don't understand) to salmon and risotta.  Huge selection, something for everyone and your beverages were included as was dessert.  

The park closes early (8:00 pm) and so the boys hit the arcade and really, by 10 we were all asleep!  All that water fun is exhausting!  We were up and out of our room by 9:30 a.m., put most of our luggage in the cars and were back waiting for the park doors to open at 10 a.m.  We played until 1:30, hit the locker rooms to shower and change and we were on the road by 2:30.  

Oh, one more gripe:  No hair dryers in the locker room?  Really?

So here I sit at 8:30 at night and I am beat.  My legs are killing me and I feel like I could sleep for a week.  It was all so much fun and other than being a little pricier than I had hoped, it was still well worth it and we will definitely be going again!

On a side note, I was secretly hoping to run into some other moms who were hanging out and just watching the kids play while reading a book so that I could strike up a conversation about MY books, but that never happened.  I was a little bummed.  So my quest to find ways to market and promote my books continue!  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quantity vs. Quality in Book Publishing

Interesting observation:  My first book came out in 2011 and then I didn't do anything until a year later.  Once that book came out, suddenly my first book (which had sold next to nothing up to that point) was showing some movement on the sales charts.  This is a good thing, right?

Well, now enter the third book.  With that release my other two books were getting a little more movement and when I did the free weekend on Amazon, my second book was back up on the best seller list!  It was crazy!  

So here's my question:  Do authors who put out MORE books do better just because they have more books out there?  Are people reading their books because they are all good or are they buying them because they enjoyed one and are hoping that lighting strikes twice?

I became friends with an indie author whose work I enjoy.  She puts new books out VERY frequently and her books are all over the best seller lists.  I'll be honest, I LOVED the first three that I read and have been increasingly frustrated with her work ever since.  It's not that she's a bad writer; her work is good, but just not all of it.  I feel like some of it is  Two of them were just painful to read because the story just dragged on and on and on and really, each book could have been about 100 pages less.  Plus, the quality of her work wasn't quite up to what it was in those first three books.  I didn't feel so attached to the characters and some of it felt very...amateurish. 

And yet she's on the best seller list.

When I was working with Susan Mallery, she was putting her books out in three's - a trilogy.  One book a month approximately for three months.  They were great, they were popular and they were all over the best seller lists but then, she didn't release anything again for at least six months.  It was brilliant.  

I want to get to the point of brilliance.  I want to get to the point where I can get people to volunteer to help me out with marketing just because they love my work.  But I guess I have to build up my library of work before I can make that happen.  So for now I am going to go with the quantity factor and see how that works for me.  

I still hope that my work come off as quality but we're going to see how flooding the market approach works. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Will Somebody Please Tell The Voice in My Head to Be Quiet!!

I'm told that it's completely normal and that it's nothing to be concerned about.  But the truth is, it's damn noisy in here.  Where?  My head.  You see, there are a LOT of voices in there right now and they all are wanting their story to be told.

A girl can only type so fast.

It's been this way for years, really.  I can't remember a time when I didn't have a story idea going on in my head but for a long time it was sort of like reading with my eyes closed; I enjoyed it most when I was going to sleep and would slowly drift off to an on-going storyline.  But now that I've actively started writing?  Well, everyone wants their story on a page.

It's exhausting.  

In a perfect world I would be able to do it but the reality is that there just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all.  My priority is to my family and really, they don't ask much of me - just food, clean clothes, love and a little bit of my time.  I love them for that.

I went out today and bought a new desk chair so that I can be more comfortable while sitting at the computer - the desktop.  It is slowly dying so next week we will go and get a new computer for me to sit comfortably at and actually be able to use without such a colorful vocabulary.  Right now my new chair looks quite lonely as I sit on the bed using the laptop.

I've got a book ready for release next month and the month after that.  I have multiple works in progress ready for the months after that and today?  Some new voices popped up and have a great story to tell.  

All in good time, my pretties...all in good time.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

How a Writer Plans a Vacation

For the first time in...well, ever, I have been at a job that offers paid vacation time.  This is a brand new concept for me.  I have worked at many jobs but was never in a position where I was eligible for a paid vacation.

Well look at me now!

Seriously, my full-time, real job is great.  I work with some awesome people and other than the usual office/workplace nonsense, I really enjoy my job.  But as of five o'clock today?  I AM ON VACATION!!  WOO-HOO!!

I planned to have off this coming week because Michael is tracked out and it's Nick's Spring break.  I had BIG plans...we were going to go on a vacation.  A real vacation and Frank was going to have a paid vacation too and it was going to be great.  We were going to go to Myrtle Beach and I was going to sit and watch the surf and be inspired and write while Frank and the boys explored all of the area attraction.  Seriously, it was going to be awesome.

Then it wasn't.

Turns out Frank wasn't eligible for the paid time off.

Turns out Nick didn't want to go to the beach.

Turns out that the great deal I found expired and now all of the rooms were twice as much.


Okay, new plan!  Now we are taking a couple of day-trips.  Great Wolf Lodge, museums, planetariums, lunch with friends and a trip to visit the college boy at...well, college.  And somewhere in between, I have to find the time to get inspired and get some writing done.  Right now, it's difficult to keep my eyes open because I am so burned out and exhausted so I'm hoping that a couple of days of rest will clear my brain a bit and get me back on track.

I'm waiting on two cover designs and getting ready to release another book for early April and then another one for early May.  I'm getting ready to release "Ever After" as a paperback.  I wasn't going to do it this time but there are a few dear friends and family members that were adamant about getting the "real" book.  Okay, fine, that's another project for the vacation.

Now if I were to have MY dream writer's vacation where I did NOT have to take anyone else into consideration and could do as I pleased with no budget to stick to (realistically) I would rent a house on the beach somewhere (preferably south of here) and just sleep and write at will.  Ah...that would be totally sweet.  At this point in time, I'm not looking for thrills and all kinds of tourist attractions (I even turned down Disney!), I just want to have some peace and quiet to clear my head and just let the creativity flow.

Do you have an ideal "resting" vacation?  Something that would give you a time of renewal?  Where would you go?  What would you bring to do?  What books would you bring with you to read?

I've got a couple of recommendations...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Return of the Bad Review

Wow, we are one mean spirited group of people.  I am telling you, I don't think I'll ever get used to getting a bad review but hopefully I'll get to a point where I'll stop READING the bad reviews.  Sheesh!

If I don't like a book, I'm annoyed, sure; but I don't go on to the book's Amazon page and trash the crap out of it.  I would seriously like to tell some people to get a life because they must have way too much time on their hands.  And what adds insult to injury?  These are the same people that got the damn book FOR FREE!!  I mean, come on!  I download plenty of free books that, quite frankly, SUCK.  Bad writing, bad story, unlikable characters, you name it but I don't go on there and kick a gift horse in the mouth.  I didn't invest anything and if I didn't enjoy it, I don't finish it!

Although this time around, the complaints are with the heroine of "Ever After" NOT my poor editing so maybe that's something.  LOL!   I'll be honest, "Ever After" was not a planned book.  The main character, Ava, was a bit over the top in "The Christmas Cottage" but people wanted to know her story.  I couldn't suddenly make her NOT over the top when the book was focused on her.  I had to stay true to the character so if you don't like it, too bad.  

I just don't know why we feel the need to unload so much negative stuff.  Does it make you feel better, reviewer?  Did ripping apart something that someone else worked hard at make your day any better?  Did you walk away feeling uplifted?  

As I said the last time this topic came up, I take comfort in the fact that all of the really BIG NAME authors get bad reviews too so who am I to think that I'm above it?  But criticism is criticism nonetheless and there's no getting away from feeling just a little bit crushed.

Not a good feeling.

To make myself feel a little better I actually went to some of my favorite author's books and read their reviews.  Even their bad reviews (one and two star ones) still had the decency to just disagree with the storyline or a character and NOT the author.  

I can only hope to get to that point some day - critique the work not the writer.  

So have a little pity and go and write me a nice review, will you please?  It would totally make my day!  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Marketing, Mayhem and Madness...

Today was one of those days when it probably would have been best for me to just stay home and stay in bed and not communicate with the outside world at all.  I felt like crap, I'm pretty sure I looked like crap and basically everyone around me annoyed the crap out of me.

Should have stayed home.

But something weird happened today.  There is movement on the Amazon charts.  Yes, yes, it's true.  All weekend I offered "Ever After" as a FREE promo and I ended up essentially giving away over 13,000 (yes, thirteen THOUSAND) copies away.  It hurt, I'm not going to lie to you.  The promo ended last night and when I got up this morning and checked the stats, the book was back at $1.99 and had no ranking whatsoever.

I almost threw up.

I understand that at that point, they had no sales to go by because it had been free.  It had made it all the way to #3 in women's fiction in the FREE best selling (?) category.  So now it was time to start tracking again.  

I came in at 138,971.

And almost threw up again.

I mean, before the free promo I was at LEAST in the twenty thousand range.  I was panicking; I was frantic.  I was at work and couldn't do a damn thing.  As the day went on, something amazing  happened.  It started to climb the charts.  By 3:00 I was in the 6,500 range and now I am at 5,175!  I so don't understand how it all works but I am excited.  
What a difference a week makes!

So while all this great stuff is happening and "Ever After" is climbing the charts, I happened to go over and check out how "The Christmas Cottage" was doing.  It's back on TWO best seller lists!  I kid you NOT!  Last week it was in the 8,000 range and tonight it is at #727 in the Kindle Store (out of like a million books) and it is #74 in best selling women's fiction and #83 in best selling contemporary womens fiction.  Go figure.

So THEN...that had me going over to my first (and almost long-since forgotten) book, "Jordan's Return".  That one never made it ANYWHERE on a best seller list and pretty much never made it below 18,000 on the Kindle store list.  It's #24,804 in the Kindle Store and it's been out for well over a year!  It's madness I tell you!

I've done little to no marketing in the last two to three days, I had to let my assistant go last week because the book wasn't making any money and my son who is supposed to be helping me with some of this is knee-deep in mid-terms so he's not helping so that only leads to one thing...


I wish I had confetti right now to throw.  If the damn LIKE button on Amazon would work, things would be perfect but it's not.  After all of their promises, people still can't find the like button on their Amazon page.  I am beyond frustrated.  Next up is getting people to post reviews on Amazon; you can do that without a like button!  LOL!

I may have to wreak a little havoc with Amazon tonight.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Support a...

The other day I was cruising around Facebook and came across this picture:
I thought it was very cool and very appropriate and it amazed me how many people (good friends, family, etc) will NOT show you any support.  I mean, what does it take to offer a word of encouragement or to click a button?  

Tonight I had something very cool happen.  Again, I was on Facebook (maybe I should find something else to do in my spare time?) and I saw that I had a message from a friend from high school.  We haven't seen each other since graduation I'm thinking and yet she took the time to send me a note (and not for the first time!) to congratulate me on my writing and for following my dream.  I teared up.  I mean, I cannot get people who are RELATED to me to show me any kind of encouragement and here was someone who I haven't seen in 25 years writing me a note of kindness.  When was the last time you did something like that?

Being kind or supportive doesn't have to take a lot of time or energy.  So up there is how to support an Indie author but the same goes for any writer.  How about a friend?  How do you support a friend?  I am blessed with some truly exceptional friends; the kind of people who will drop you a note to make you smile, or send a text just because they're thinking of me.  People who will listen to your hopes and dreams and that I would do the same for.

How about your kids?  We may not always agree with their decisions as they get older but it's how you show that approval or disapproval that makes the most difference.  Frank and I are hotheads; we yell first, THEN listen.  We always apologize for going off the handle.  We had a situation recently where we were in MAJOR disagreement on a choice our son made.  We yelled, we screamed, we was bad.  Then, when everyone's temper cooled, we talked.  We expressed our concerns and in the end, it all comes down to the fact that we love him and we have to trust in him.  I never want our love to be in doubt.

How about your spouse?  We have had a long marriage, Frank and I.  We've been together for 23 years and while our love for one another has never been in doubt, there have been tons of struggles over the years and many, many, MANY disagreements.  At the end of the day, we each want the other to be happy and sometimes that means taking the backseat while the other branches out a little and takes their turn in the spotlight.  

Frank is a drummer in a rock n roll band.  I love that.  Is it time consuming?  Yes.  Does it cost a lot of money?  Sometimes.  Does he love it?  Absolutely.  He deserves to have something that is just HIS that he loves and that brings him joy.

I have my writing.  I can sit for front of the computer.  When I'm in book promotion mode I come home from work, make dinner and then sit in front of the computer until I am practically unconscious.  And still my husband loves me.  He doesn't berate me or make me feel bad for not paying him enough attention.  He understands my needs and my dream and he supports them.  Love that man!

You know what DOESN'T support someone?  Ignoring them; belittling their dream.  Demanding something of their success when you have done NOTHING to support them.  That one gets me the most.  People who have talked down about my writing, not shared my work and certainly not even spent a DIME to purchase my work...but they want some of the glory now that I'm starting to make a little money at it.  

That's not support, that's just greed.

If someone you know and love is pursuing a dream, encourage them.  If someone you know and love is working hard to reach a goal, let them know that you are proud of them.  If someone you know and love has even a minimal amount of success with something that makes them happy, celebrate with them.

You have no idea how far your words of encouragement go.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dear Amazon:

Dear Amazon Customer Service:

I would like to start out by saying thank you for offering so many wonderful products on your site.  You have made shopping for me so much easier on many occasions.

However, I am having some severe issues with your site as a seller.  In the past I have self-published books and offered them for sale through your site and have had success with them.  My recent release, however, has had nothing but issues due to technical difficulties and "testing" that you claim to be doing.  As a seller, it would have been nice to have been notified of this testing period so that I didn't release a product during this time.  Nor would I have offered a promotion on my book during this time.

By the removal of the "like" button, all of the people who have purchased my book or who are fans of my work, cannot be tracked on  your site.  This seems to be an internet-wide issue; some browsers can see it, some cannot.  I find if offensive that you would remove such a KEY issue to tracking success on your site but only seem to remove it from indie authors and not the big name ones.

In my book, that is discrimination.

I notice that you don't mind taking 65% of my royalties for a book that you had nothing to do with writing and nothing that you are doing to promote or market.  And in return for taking the majority of my pay, you took away one of the most important tools to help ME, the writer, have some form of success in moving up the charts on your site.

I even signed up for the Kindle Select program so that you had the exclusive digital rights to my book.  I thought that might work in my favor.  Clearly, it did not.  You wave around this "fund" that we get to be a part of but what difference does that fund make when we aren't getting any action or movement on your site because you've stifled us?

What do you have to gain from this?  Why would you take such an important tool away?  Why am I being punished for being a faithful customer and seller to your site?  I have had to jump through hoops for almost two weeks now for answers on when this issue is going to be fixed and I was told it would happen by today and you know what?  The button still isn't showing up!  How is that possible?  

I cannot even begin to describe all of the ways that your practices have hurt me as a writer, a seller and a customer.  I cannot even begin to tell you all of the ways that I will be getting the word out on how poorly you treat those that are loyal to you and your site.  I think what you've done here is despicable and that you should be ashamed of your business practices.

I believe I will be looking to do business elsewhere before I do any more business with you. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Response from Amazon

So after five days of struggling with Amazon and trying to find answers as to why there is no "like" button and why can't they seem to diagnose this problem, I received this response from them today:


I do understand your concern.

From time to time, we test both new and existing features on our website to determine which characteristics or services drive customer purchases and satisfaction. We're currently testing website.

During these test periods, certain aspects of our website will function or appear differently to randomly selected customers, or to the same customer using another computer or browser. We're continually fine-tuning our presentation to provide our customers with the greatest value, selection, and information for their online purchasing decisions.

However, if you're facing difficulty after next 2 business days, I'd suggest you contact us via chat or phone for live troubleshooting, please understand that issues like this cannot be resolved over email. I hope you'll understand our limitations in this regard. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure how much I believe it.  I mean, it would be GREAT if this was the only issue and come Sunday I could go back to sending people over to "Ever After"'s book page and ask people to click the "like" key and try to get some movement on the charts. What I don't like about this whole thing is that we, the Amazon sellers, author's, etc. whose business this "Test" period disrupted, there was no warning.  Had I known that THIS week they were going to be testing on the site, I would NOT have released a book with Amazon holding the exclusive rights to it!  I would have waited the week and released it next Monday.

I think this is just another case of the big guy doing it's best to hold the little guy down; keep him in his place.  As an Indie author with an agreement with Amazon through its Kindle Select program, and with Amazon taking the major percentage of my sales, should I not have been given the common courtesy of a heads up?

Are they telling the truth?

Will Sunday bring any big changes?

The remainder of that email gave me the phone numbers to call if there is still a problem and believe me, if all is not right by Sunday afternoon, I will have a whole team of people calling Amazon and demanding that something be done.

Only time will tell.