How Do They Do That?!

More Indie Adventuring

Amazon is the all-seeing eye! Seriously I put my housecoat on before I sat down to write this and if you’re naked you should grab a cover too, unless you’re into that sort of thing.

I know now they see everything or I see now they know everything…  Either way I am aware of their stealthy little spies and spiders, that they are constantly surveying the World Wide Web. How? I don’t know the how’s of such spyjectory but I do know that if you have a title with KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing) and you publish it elsewhere they will hunt you down and bring it to your attention. They may go so far as to kill your stuffed bobcat, lord I hope not.

In all fairness the KDP Select agreement states digital books will remain exclusive to Amazon. Well…

A few months ago I decided to combine a series into one e-book The Rage Trilogy. It just so happened one of the books in the series was still signed with Amazon’s KDP Select. I know! I thought I un-checked the box for automatic renewal but apparently I didn’t. The Rage Trilogy was never in KDP Select but it includes a title that was.

Lesson(s) learned: 1) Next time make certain! 2) OCD might come in handy. 3)  Amazon is bigger than the CIA and IRS combined. 4) Spyjectory is my favorite new word. (Call me Merriam and I’ll define it for you)

So now I’m all nervous and a bit paranoid because I received this e-mail from The Eye Amazon where they named the [one] book and included a link to the trilogy @ Barnes and Noble.

How do they do that?!

Here’s a copy of the e-mail:

We found the following book(s) you’ve published doesn’t meet the KDP Select content guidelines. Books enrolled in KDP Select must be exclusive to Amazon in digital format while enrolled in the program.
Unjustified Favor (Between the Rage and Grace) (ID: B008D94WHM) is available on:
Please copy and paste the entire URL above into your web browser to see where we found your book. You can also do an online search for your book to discover where else it may be available.
In order for your book to remain in the KDP Select program, we’ll need you to ensure that it is exclusive to Amazon within 5 days from the date of this email. If, after this 5-day period, your book is still not exclusive to Amazon, it will remain for sale in the Kindle Store, but will be removed from KDP Select. Upon its removal, it will no longer be eligible to earn a share of the KDP Select fund.
Please note that repeated violations of the program’s exclusivity requirement may result in loss of KDP Select benefits for all books you have enrolled in the program, such as participation in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) and the usage of free promotion days, as well as KDP account termination.

What the Heck? Door Number Four (IIII)

What the Heck is Door Number IIII

My proofreader asked that very question along with “where do you come up with this (umm) stuff?”

Answer: Door Number Four (IIII) was a short story concept designed for a specific market.  It was essentially a job interview with the challenge being “Give me something mysterious and unique with a defined beginning and ending tied up in a neat little package in six thousand words or less.” Well I screwed up on the word count (damn you Microsoft Word! 😉 I think it ended up around 6150. As a consolation I was offered $500 dollars for the concept and all rights to the story. That is a months’ worth of groceries but it is also exactly the sort of thing that drove me to becoming an indie using my real name, no matter how sullied that name may become. So here it is I’m sure I could have gone on to add more depth to the story but I really wanted to keep it as limited, raw and original as the first effort/presentation. Am I cutting my nose off to spite my face or am I saving face? Once again time will tell but I’m not going back. I have established the course and set my compass.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if Door Number III sold a million copies and Mr. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ said, “Congratulations you made that $500 bucks the hard way”

Hmmm. Dream on 🙂

Another leg on my journey as an indie.

Book Trailers and the 80’s

What do Book Trailers have in common with the 80’s?  Apparently not much.

Book trailers are not a new thing, they’re just fairly new to me. But then so is the world I wake up in everyday.

Faith, aka helpy-helper recently introduced me to book trailers. By introduced I mean she gave me a tongue lashing that ended in, “Good lord woman get with the program.1982 is long gone.”

You don’t have to keep reminding me of that.” I whimpered.

I am not one to pine for my prime it’s just that my mind often resides in yesterday. Okay the yesterday of three decades ago. [sigh] Anywho…

Book trailers? I totally did not understand the concept. Books made into movies, sure. I’m down with that – but book TRAILERS? Really?

I said, “Faith you must be trippin.” She assured me that was not possible as she was planted firmly in her chair. “No one really looks at those things, do they?” I asked. I honestly didn’t think they did until she directed me to a few sites all the while explaining view counts.

Well f*ck me runnin!” I giggled, then helpy-helper smacked me. She will not abide my cursing. Good for her.

After 90 minutes of browsing I admitted I liked quite a few of them, especially the talking paper-dolls. I couldn’t tell you what book was being promoted but those little paper people were sooo cute! There were several animations that were entertaining as well, you know where the drawing occurs along with the narration? What do you call that? Idk. There were a lot of really good slide shows too. I call them slide shows, someone can correct me later. I do not care much for the cinema effects except for one or two trailers. One being Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was really good. No, I do not know the creator or the author.

Did it make me want to buy the book? Heck no, it made me want him to finish telling the bloody story!

I am by no means an expert, on the contrary my knowledge of what goes into making an effective trailer can be stored in a thimble. But I do have an opinion and this is mine – which if added to a ten dollar bill will get you a bagel and small latte.

Thank you Faith.

What Faith accomplished was getting me past my prior prejudice. My assumption that audio and actors were not to be interbred with reading. That imposing visuals onto a book would hinder the imaginative experience. Yeah, I know. Faith is younger, prettier and hipper smarter than me. We have completed six slide-shows now and two of them I actually like. When I figure out how to work youtube (other than how to click on view) I plan to do a couple on my own. Maybe I’ll make my own movie.

Yes! I’ll brush the dust off of my rabbit coat (carefully so the fur doesn’t fall out in clumps), get my big hair going with maybe some hotdog bangs – no, scratch the bangs. Pump up the jam and dance, oh yes it ladies night and the feelings right, oh yes it’s ladies night oh what a night -ohh what a ni-i-ight.

I’m kidding, I lost my rabbit fur coat a long time ago. 🙂

But I am curious. What do others really think of book trailers? Do they convince you to buy the book? Do you watch them strictly for entertainment? Can anyone recommend a great one?



Burning Bridges

Staci Troilo’s recent blog It’s Up To You New York, New York got me to thinking. I know I’m not supposed to do that without the proper adult supervision but I promise not to make any decisions, only reflections.

In January of this year (2012) I decided to become an Indie aka independent author. The decision was fueled by several factors but the main one being I tend to rebel against [what I perceive as] unfairness. The thing about perceptions is if you take a few breaths and calm down they sometimes change. The trouble is I forget to breathe until I’ve already tossed the match. Yep, I have burned a few small bridges in my day. The last little causeway went up in flames when I refused to write anything that didn’t have my real name attached to it and said kiss my _ _ _ (let’s use the word grits instead.) Ahh, I can still smell the singed hair.

** Bobby Bare’s Winner and Frank Sinatra’s My Way are now overlapping in my head**

I whole heartedly expected to struggle as an independent, that’s what real artists do, right? Right! But if I am honest the struggle is a bit more than I anticipated and the road I am on is not the soft sandy path I saw in the distance. Nay! It is a deep rocky rut filled with tar pits and sharp objects that must be overcome. Here there are few if any bridges for burning.

Oh yes, I am guilty of being a pissy little pyromaniac at times. Though I sincerely try not to burn other people’s bridges it occasionally happens.

Twelve years ago we (my youngest son, daughter and I) worked on the set of a local television series. We never had more than a minor part that usually ended up on the cutting room floor but it was fun. The locations varied, the food was always good and the people were so warm and friendly that every assignment felt like a family reunion. Never mind the pay and meeting a few celebrities I would have gone for free chuck wagon.  Rib eye, meatloaf, tacos, pies and pastries…

(Oops- memory lane digression)

As I was saying the people on set were great but there was this one agent who shall remain nameless and unemployed if God answer’s vengeful prayers. In my own defense I did take a deep breath and wait for the perception to change. It didn’t happen. Greedy is as greedy does.

#1 If you agree to fifteen percent and you take twenty that is stealing.

#2 Everyone knows a speaking part pays more. Only a thief would pocket the difference and issue a separate check with a cockamamie excuse.

#3 Never mind.

It wasn’t only my money or I probably would have said “okay, no prob just point me to the catering truck.” No, it was my child’s money and it is bad business to mess with another woman’s child. Amen?  I didn’t just strike a match to that conduit I set a freaking bonfire. Score one for me. Boo-yah! Start doing the victory dance…  Um – yeah. I think my son is still mad at me for that one. You’ve heard the old adage ‘you’ll never work in this town again’? Well I am here to tell you that can absolutely be  true.

My only regret  is the series ended the following year before I could build a new bridge.

So what does this have to do with Staci’s blog other than basic inspiration and the fact that we are all trying to make it? I’ll let you read her blog and decide. I’m really okay with the fact that I will probably never make it in the New York she speaks of; I don’t have the temperament for it.  But I feel the burn, the stretching of ribs and triceps as I reach for a brass ring of my own and reflect on the burnt bridges of my past.

So You Want to Be an Author…

Well hop on in but there are a few things you should know…

The world wide web is great but it doesn’t guarantee your success

Writing is a struggle and sometimes you get stuck.

But for many if you persevere…if you try hard enough… long enough you might just break free and get noticed.

But writer beware sometimes being noticed is not a good thing.

Seriously. So you want to be published? You want your soul and imagination written down for the world to see? That is awesome!

Then surely your exterior is tougher than the grasshopper you saw squashed. That means you have developed a very thick skin. Good, you will be able to take the criticism that comes with your new endeavor.

You write poetry? Well so do a billion other people and a very [VERY] small percentage are deemed worthy by any publisher. They are in the business of selling books and “Poetry doesn’t sell books.”

You have a great story to tell? Yeah, so do the other billion that aren’t busy writing poetry. But yours is special? I believe you.

If you’re still interested here are a few suggestions other than ‘don’t quit your day job’.

  1. Join a writers group.
  2. Read, read, read oh and don’t forget to read.
  3. Look at successful writers. Note their overnight success took years to accomplish so quit looking for shortcuts. There aren’t any.

You have internet access or you wouldn’t be reading this so go in search of a group that fits your niche. Use search terms like writers group romance, writers group poetry, writers group fantasy… you get the picture.

So now you have finished your book, your editing is done and you are ready to present your heart and soul to a publisher don’t forget that the odds are against you. Do it anyway, rejection is part of the process.

If you decide to go the independent route be prepared to work harder and to pay your own expenses e.g. editing, proofreading and marketing.

And last but not least a quote from one of my favorites, A bad reputation is much harder to recover from than no reputation at all.

Caution: Janna Hill is not an adviser. She has strategically placed this post as a means to swindle readers into viewing photographs of insects.

Disclaimer: A young locust was mortally wounded in the preparation of this story.