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Category: Kindle

Portrait of Woman in Ink free for Kindle!

Good morning all my Kindle-loving friends! Today is your lucky day because you can get my latest novel, Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook for free in the Kindle store. Tomorrow and Thursday are your lucky days, too, because it will be free then as well (so tell your friends). This is a new edition of the book that includes a sneak preview of my work in progress novel Community Klepto.

Get it HERE and get it now!

.. and do me a solid – leave a review after you read it. The Kindle gods will shine upon you if you do.


Portrait of Woman in Ink on Kindle Unlimited

Now that Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook is in my purview, I’ve enrolled it in the Amazon KDP Select program. This probably doesn’t mean anything to you, unless you’re an Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited subscriber. If you’re an Amazon Prime-ate, you can borrow my book from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library for absolutely free. Because this is America. If you’re Kindle Unlimited folk, you can buy it for zero dollars and zero cents.

It’s a beautiful thing. So check it out.

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According to Amazon, I should dump all my friends

Something odd happened to me earlier this month. One of the developers I work with is creating a video game and wanted to know if I would be a good fit to help him with his game’s character dialogue. To assess this, I sent him a sample excerpt of my latest work in progress. He enjoyed it, and took it upon himself to buy a copy of Portrait of Woman in Ink, completely unsolicited. After finishing the book, he expressed his undying love (okay, moderate enjoyment) for it and asked me to sign on for his video game project. In return for this (apart from monetary compensation ‘n sitch) I asked if he’d be so kind as to post a review of my book that reflected his honest opinion of it.

Sometime after submitting his review, he got a form rejection email from Amazon saying that his review could not be posted. He appealed to the Amazon gods, asking why they chose to keep his review from the public, to which Amazon said, and I quote:

“We cannot post your Customer Review for “Portrait of Woman in Ink – A Tattoo Storybook” to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author.

Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers. Because our goal is to provide Customer Reviews that help customers make informed purchase decisions, any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or misleading will not be posted.”

My book has a whole seven reviews from its nearly two years in the Amazon marketplace (I know, I know, I need to market more/better), and MOST of them are from people I know. In fact, most of them are from people I know far far better than a guy I’ve worked with for the past 6 months. This rejection leads me to form the following questions:

1) How does Amazon know who I know in personal life based on Amazon account activity? I never did any business with said person over Amazon, and like I said, I’ve only exchanged reciprocal emails with this person a small handful of times.

2) Does this mean that Amazon can infer that anyone I email from my personal email account is someone whose book review cannot be trusted? I email a lot of strangers, especially in my volunteer work with Velma Magazine. If they”re not snooping on my email, does this mean that any time I gift a book blogger a copy of my book in exchange for a feature on his or her blog as a Kindle gift (which is the preferred method nowadays), Amazon is going to reject that review based on the fact that “account activity indicates that you know the author”?

3) If someone who happens to know me in real life legitimately purchases my book and reads it, what difference does it make? Whether they enjoy it or hate it, the fact that they know me should have little to no bearing on their honest review of my work.

4) Why would a review by a individual with a personal connection to me in real life automatically be branded as “advertising, promotional, or misleading”? I have a hard time believing this person’s review contained any content that could be construed as such.

5) Why you gotta spy on me, Amazon? I publish on your platform and order lots of your retail goods and not-so-goods so as to take advantage of the two-day shipping I pay you for with my Amazon Prime membership. People have badmouthed you and I have always defended your awesomeness. WTF Amazon?

So for those of you know me as a close friend, Twitter follower, or anyone I’ve emailed ever, I regret to inform you that if you want to read my next book and give an honest review of it, I will have to sever all personal ties with you and go back to communicating through a middleman like the resistance did on New Caprica, since Amazon is going all Cylon ruler on me.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this? Am I overreacting or is Amazon being all big for its britches?

P.S. The Cylon above is an image from Amazon. So take that.


The Redheaded Stepchild – Free Day 2!

Yes, I had to capture the photographic evidence…

I put The Redheaded Stepchild up for free yesterday, to celebrate the 1st birthday of Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook. It got over 125 downloads yesterday, and made it up to the #1 spot in the Top 100 free books in its category on Amazon. You haven’t missed your opportunity yet; it’s still going to be free for the rest of the week!

Go grab yourself a copy.


Go PORTRAIT, it’s your birthday!

Portrait of Woman in Ink is a year old today! Just a year ago I was feverishly promoting the initial release of my new book of short stories about women and their tattoos and trying to keep up with the buzz as my closest people supported my efforts. It’s been a good first year for Portrait of Woman in Ink, but there are many more good ones come! It’s like Christmas in July; even this guy popped by to wish Portrait a happy birthday…

To celebrate, I’m making the Kindle edition of my first book, The Redheaded Stepchild, free all damn week! Grab a copy if you don’t have one. If you have one, grab a copy anyway (um, they’re free) and gift it to someone you love or like just a little bit. When Portrait of Woman in Ink is a little older and wiser, it too can be given away for the low low price of free.

Spread the word, get my books (one a year old today and one free), and enjoy the swelter of summer! Have I told you people I love you lately? Well, I do.



The Front Matter Matters

Cue the sad Charlie Brown music…

A few months ago, I entered Portrait of Woman in Ink into a book award contest. It was the same contest that I entered The Redheaded Stepchild in a couple years before, so I had a pretty good feeling about it and didn’t flinch at all about paying the $25.00 entry fee. The Redheaded Stepchild had made it to the semi-final round of this contest, and since I felt like Portrait of Woman in Ink was a much better book overall, I thought it had a very good chance of doing just as well.

I thought this right up until I reviewed their reading criteria, which stated that books were initially judged on the content of the Kindle sample. If you’re not familiar with the Kindle sample feature, it’s essentially a try-before-you-buy function that gives you the first X% of the book for free on the Kindle, and then after you reach the end of the sample, you have the opportunity to buy the rest of the book. Why did I think this might make my book’s entry as a contestant fall short? Because I didn’t know how much of the book the publisher made available for sampling, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t enough to get to the actual meat of the book.

The book includes an amazing foreword by Dr. Marta Vicente, a women’s studies professor who is a great authority on the complicated relationship between tattoos and female identity, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, it’s not the best measuring stick against which to judge the actual body of the book, and just as I feared, the book’s entry was rejected out of hand. I worked with my publisher to figure out if there was a way to start the sample somewhere in the middle of the book, but this doesn’t appear to be a feature that Amazon makes available.

I’ve personally been burned by this feature as well. I’ve been on the fence about shelling out the money for a book, so I try the free sample, only to get 10 pages of nothing but “front matter”: cover, blank page, copyright page, dedication page, table of contents, and (if I’m lucky) the first couple pages of an introduction, preface, or prologue. I understand why they rejected the book; if I were a judge and this was my only criteria for a certain phase, I would reject it too, because I wouldn’t get a good enough idea of whether the book is something that I would enjoy.

So what will I do differently next time (besides write an even better book, which is a current work in progress)? I’ll limit the front matter, even if means moving what would otherwise be an introduction to the back matter. Why? There are already enough barriers between getting my book in the hands of a new reader, the last thing I need is to put up another one, particularly when I can avoid it. Sampling is a great feature, and until they let authors and publishers determine the exact starting and ending point to enable for this feature, I’m going to play the game, and lick my wounds from losing a contest I previously did very well in.

What do you think? Would you buy a book that offered you no “meat” in the sample? Hit me up with your now-solicited opinion.



Untitled-1The big day is finally here! It is a grand book birthday for PORTRAIT OF WOMAN IN INK, courtesy of Bird Brain Publishing. It’s launching in the Amazon Kindle store first, where you can nab it for the special introductory price of $5.99. Next will be Nook, other e-readers, and paperback.

This book comes to fruition (banana flavored) after a near 2-year labor of love. I began writing it in October 2011, sent my first query letter July 2012, and signed a book deal with Bird Brain Publishing January 2013. Today, August 5, 2013, it’s launching in all its glory!

Nab your Kindle copy now by going HERE

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Geektastic KDP Giveaway Stats

Last week, I did another one of those silly book giveaways with the KDP Select program to prepare for the impending release of Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook. In total, I gave away 1048 copies of The Redheaded Stepchild around the globe.

Because I am a word nerd who totally geeks out over statistics, here are my geektastic findings from the latest giveaway:

-As you may have drawn from the sharp line on the graph (picture me with one of those presentation wands pointing to the chart HERE), giveaways are most successful on the first day. Why? Because people don’t like spending money, so they will grab up all the free books they can get their hands on, which in the Kindle universe, changes daily.

 – In the free book rankings, The Redheaded Stepchild topped out at #14 in the Coming of Age category, and #18 in the Literary category.

– To my surprise, Friday was a good day to give away a book. Saturday was surprising, too. I figured people would be increasingly ignoring their computers the first 3 days of the giveaway (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and I would see a spike on Monday, but if you’ll refer to the chart HERE (picture me with magic wand again), my hypothesis proved to be wildly incorrect.

– I got a predictable 1-star review out of the giveaway. Am I surprised? Not really. Literary fiction’s not for everyone. The person who negatively reviewed my book would probably do the same to Jane Austen or Charles Dickens for lack of action. Not that I would dare compare myself to Austen or Dickens. I’m far younger and better looking.

Now, I just need to get ready for my next big promotional craziness – the release of PORTRAIT OF WOMAN IN INK!

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What’s in a Review?

I knew the day would come when I got my first bad review for The Redheaded Stepchild. That day happened to come today, which was also my first day back in the office after vacation, and the day that Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos. Blech!

Because I knew this day would come, I’ve done some reading up on how best to deal with negative reviews and how to cope with them. We writers are a sensitive bunch, and it’s hard to not take these kinds of things personally. Luckily for me, my bad review was pretty mild as far as bad reviews go. The guy (or girl, but I’m pretty convinced it was a dude) who wrote the review could have ripped on the writing, on me personally, or on the character’s personal lives, but he/she didn’t. Really, the book just wasn’t the person’s cup of tea.

To be honest, it was actually much less soul-sucking than the “Dear Author, After carefully reviewing your work we find it does not meet our needs at this time. Good luck.” letters I could line a litter box (if I had a cat) with several times over. I know my book’s not going to be for everybody. I’m in good company – all the top selling authors have a few God-awful reviews under their belts. So what am I going to do about it? Not a damn thing. Except listen to Radiohead, eat a whole pint of Blue Bell Orange Dream, look at some pictures of cute baby animals, and move on.

And hey, my bad review sold me two books today. Could be worse right? They say it’s even good to have a few not-so-great reviews. People like balance, and a book with all fantastic reviews is a little misleading. Makes it look like all the author’s friends ganged up and told everyone how much awesome sauce was smeared over the book, not that they’re biased or anything. So, now I can say I don’t know all my Amazon reviewers and they’re not all what you’d consider “mom reviews”. Though my mom didn’t like the book, so that doesn’t apply in my case.