Groucho Marx, tricky Amazon, and first lines . . .

July 14, 2013 at 6:03 am | Posted in Amazon, Writing, Reading | Leave a comment
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 Groucho “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Groucho Marx

The above quote has nothing to do with today’s post. I just liked it.

Today’s blog has to do with Amazon, its Kindle Select program, freebies and summer. Yes, in that order.

A few weeks ago, our still-wet-behind-the-ears organization noticed that one of our anthologies, Volume 1, was free on Amazon. It came as quite a surprise since we had already completed our 90 day commitment with Amazon’s Kindle Select Program and had used the five free promotional days that come with the program. So, naturally we wondered why it was listed for free. After much messaging and reading of Amazon policy, we discovered that Amazon has the right to do just about anything it wants. Its disclaimers cover almost everything from espionage to murder. In our case, it had the right to change the price of our book to zero, nada, zilch because we had it listed in another marketplace for the same zero, nada, zilch. Amazon will not be undersold nor does it feel the need to inform you of said price change. It just happens while you sleep. Literally and figuratively.

Please don’t get me wrong, Amazon has opened the gates of publishing giving opportunities to thousands; no, millions whose written word may not have seen the light of day in the traditional publishing world. It is a tip-top shrewd organization. But an ounce of awareness concerning its business policies goes a long way.

The happy ending is that we altered our pricing in the other marketplace, informed Amazon who changed the price of Volume 1 back to its whopping 99c, and hopefully we all live happily ever after.

Our ears may be wet, but we are not altogether gullible, so our price change experience made us take a closer look at our other anthologies, Volumes 2 and 3, and lo and behold wouldn’t you know that when signing up each anthology for the Kindle Select Program, we had overlooked the unchecking of the box that allows Amazon to continuously enroll any book every 90 days keeping it exclusively with Amazon. Another trick of the trade. Volume 2 had been re-enrolled giving us five more promotional free days to play around with. We will be playing around with them this week July 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18!

Volume 2 CoverVolume 2 will be FREE on Amazon for the next five days.

Get your copy for your Kindle HERE and enjoy some summer reading on us.

Here are some great first lines from several of the stories in Volume 2:

Cherise planned to become a ghost.  The Lion Within by Abby Goldsmith

Given three days of limbo between death and beyond and the chance to live them in your happiest time, what would you choose?  Frank’s Three by Amanda Yskamp

Jonathan needs to get a grip.  Zeb and the Dirtbag by Steven Mathes

In the years that followed, whenever anyone asked him about his first love, he would say, “It was the sea.”  Blue Blonde Sea by Kai Raine

Are we there yet?  Bait and Switch by William Meikle

Read all eight great tales in Suddenly Lost In Words, Volume 2 for FREE this week.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Rules, Rules, Nothing but Rules

July 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Writing, Reading | 4 Comments
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Writers have heard all the rules … don’t use clichés, don’t use adverbs, don’t write run-on sentences, don’t use fragments, don’t use very, contractions are a no-no, watch your use of dialogue, watch your grammar, your spelling, your character development, your plot, your point of view, your audience, your time, your WPM. WPM?

Never do this, always do that.

No wonder writers give up.

No wonder writers question their every move.

No wonder writers wonder.

Writers live in the land of wonder. Never knowing whether what they are writing is right and often never knowing that whatever they write is right. Writers look to the great and the wise for guidance; to see what works and for inspiration. Nothing wrong with that. But know that writing doesn’t come from only that. Most often, it comes from being yourself, and if that means breaking all, or some, of the rules, go for it.

Rules are made to be broken. (That’s the cliché rule broken, too.)  It’s no great revelation that there is no harmony if we all sing the same tune.  Some of the greatest writers were the ones who did something different; gave us a style we’d never seen before, opened up a topic never discussed before, or showed us a reality (or a fantasy) never realized before. They didn’t just step outside the proverbial box. They made a new box and painted it in colors never seen before. Many of them before boxes had been invented.

Be that writer. Take those rules and shove them. Shove them past the comfort zones. Shove them past the neatly stacked boxes. Rearrange them for yourself. Then, watch as we all shove each other out of the way to read what you’ve written.

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