Confirmed by Colbert: Amazon does rip off authors!

This blog post is an update to a story on my blog written over two years ago regarding the inaccuracy of Amazon’s reporting of sales to authors.  It seems that even authors published through traditional publishing, not just us Indie folks, have been affected.  Just ask Emmy award winning TV journalist Stephen Colbert!  Watch the video –>  Stephen Colbert Amazon vs Hachette

stephen colbert takes on Amazon

So let’s get this right, Amazon!

I have a list over over 150 authors who have contacted me regarding this subject. Story, after story, after story of Amazon and CreateSpace inaccurately reporting sales. I personally have experienced it with all three of my books loaded onto CreateSpace through our small press, AgeView. I have, as many of you do, copies of receipts from friends who have bought the books; screen shots of their verified purchases, yet the sales never showed up. And let’s not even begin to talk about Amazon’s “expanded distribution.”

What a joke!!! My award winning Flying Solo trilogy is in over twenty countries, but do you think I have ever seen a fraction of the sales through “expanded distribution” reporting? Hell no!  Don’t get me started!  Most recently, I have heard about Amazon’s fake book companies that “resell” your used book!

That is why many Indie writers, including the authors recently signed with AgeView, have decided to circumvent the dragon. We use Amazon only for what we have to. Afterall, over 50% of all book sales are through Amazon, so one really doesn’t have much choice. But any other stuff, like expanded distribution, goes through Lightning Source (which is part of Ingram) for print and BookBaby for ebooks. Forget the KDP rip off. Another Amazon scam.

So, thank you! Thank you! God bless you Stephen Colbert for posting your experiences and multiple disgruntlements with Amazon on TV to a very captive audience. Continue to shout about it from the roof tops. And when you are ready, contact us ! Our small coalition of Indie writers will band together for a class action lawsuit to take on the giant. Or at least tarnish them a little with mass media!

stephen colbert shoots Amazon the bird

Take that Amazon!  (photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

Please reblog this story everywhere. Facebook it. Google plus it!  And “link” it in! Maybe, just maybe the Associated Press or Oprah will pick up it. Add your email and comments to our list if this atrocity has happened to you. Because if you are an author, you know it has!

Advertisements

Solo Vietnam coming April 2012

Alright readers . . . you have asked for it, salivated over it. . . here is an excerpt of the upcoming release of SOLO VIETNAM, sequel to FLYING SOLO.   Coming in just days!   Release should be around the first week of April 2013.   Please enjoy!   Would love your comments, RTs, reblogs and invitations to your friends.   Already getting great advanced reviews!    Thanks so much for your readership and support.

Chapter 28

∞ Tonkin Gulf ∞

 Steve packed his B-4 bag in silence.  He expected that like the rest of the crew on board the Coral Sea, that he had only a few weeks before they set sail toward home.   He wasn’t the only A-4 pilot being reassigned to the USS Bon Homme Richard.  Because of a fire on the Bonnie Dick back in the fall, they were short of pilots. There were several others scheduled to serve in the Tonkin Gulf until October.  Once on deck to await his COD helo, Steve ran into Pete Watterman, the helo pilot he had met before.

“Lt. Commander,”  Pete saluted.

“Lt.” Steve saluted back.  “At ease.”

“Hey man, how’s it going?”  Pete asked.

“Being relo’d.   To the Bonnie Dick,” Steve replied.

“Yep, I’m taking some of the pilots over now.  COD.”

“Aren’t I included on that manifest?”

“No, man.  You’re orders must have changed again.  Sorry.”

“What?” For a moment, Steve was confused.

Before Pete turned to make his way to his helo he offered, “Hey Lt. Commander Novak.   You’re an alright guy.  Nice to have met another man from Dixie land.  Good luck out there.”

“Same to you,” Steve responded.

About three other pilots and their bags were loaded.   Pete geared up his propellers, kicking up some salty mist. About that time, Steve was approached by Commander Woolcock, the skipper from his squadron.

“Sir,” Steve saluted.

“Sorry to jerk you around, buddy.  But there’s been a change in plans.  You’re to bingo off to Chu Lai, taking one of our scooters for hand-off to VMA-311.    She’s seen her days on the decks of the Coral Sea.   Commander Nelson from Air Ops is fazing her out.”

“Gotcha,” Steve acknowledged.  Chu Lai?  How lucky could he get?

“But that’s not all.  Your recent service bought you some R and R.  After you hand off the plane,  you’ve got three days before you report to the Bon Homme.  Here’s your pay advance.”

Steve was handed an envelope containing the customary $200 given to pilots for spending money during their brief time off.   He couldn’t believe his luck.   Chu Lai, Nora and R and R.  It couldn’t possibly get better.

Often, when the navy felt an A-4 had seen its days on the carrier, they would send the plane to one of the marine VMA stations for repair and refit.   The marines would patch it up, repaint their own VMA call signs and the plane would be used for another hundred missions or so.   Second hand.

After pre-flighting the Skyhawk, Steve was given signal from the LSO to cat.  One last look at the deck of the Coral Sea.  She had been good to him.  As he gained altitude, he saw the lights on the deck become a small line of white, amidst a black sea.

He would be flying under night cover to transport the plane.   Another chance to see the war in action at night, from 10,000 feet.   By now, he knew the coast well.  He could see stars out everywhere on this clear night.

Despite flying over a war zone, it was relaxing in a way, to be flying a plane for delivery instead of a mission.  On shore, he intermittently caught site of flares being dropped.  There were white hot lights of anti-aircraft fire launched skyward.   It was a short flight from the deck of the carrier to Chu Lai, a mere ninety miles.  Before long, he saw the lights at Danang.  The moonlight was shining on the pristine, yellow-white sands of China Beach.

Soon, he visualized the river at Chu Lai.  As he descended, he saw the sampans out in the water.  No attacks for tonight.  He radioed Chu Lai ground and got clearance to land.

“Chu Lai tower, this is Blue Tail NL-317 requesting to land, over.”

“Bingo in, NL-317.  Keep your eye on the meatball.  Clear to ground.”

The runway at Chu Lai was fairly short.  He positioned the plane such that his slope would contact the arresting gear.  Lowering his speed and putting down his landing gear, with a small bump and scrape, Steve touched down at Chu Lai at 1930 hours.

There was no one to meet him on the tarmac.  For a moment, he wasn’t sure where to go.  But then, a marine flight crew approached.  Haggard and cover in dust in grease, they were a site.  One of them radioed for a jeep.   Steve took a moment to take the flight line in.  It was sure a far cry from the organized symmetry of the Coral Sea.    There were bunkers and razor-edged barbed wire everywhere.  It looked like the tarmac as well as the flight line had taken some substantial mortar attacks. Airplane parts, partially burned out made it a metallic graveyard.

A six by six jeep transport pulled up with three other pilots in it.   “Where to, Lt. Commander?” beckoned the driver.

“The USO club.  I hear they’ve got a great singer there,” Steve said.

“Yeah.  Righto.  Tonight’s a Mardi Gras party.   But you’ve only got about twenty minutes to curfew.”

“Then step on it,” Steve chided as he threw his bag in the back.

“Right on, Sir,” the jeep took off and sped toward the beach and the club.  As it neared, Steve could hear the sounds of jazz emanating from inside.  He could hardly contain himself and nearly jumped out of the jeep before it pulled adjacent to the make-shift arched bridge over a trench to the entrance.

Homesick for New Orleans, Nora arranged through her black market connections with Woody, to get the adornments for a Mardi Gras celebration.  Doubloons, beads, and plenty of seafood.   She booked a Vietnamese band that could play some jazz.  One more way to bring a little bit of the U.S. to Vietnam.

They place was packed.   Bar and restaurant were almost standing room only.   GIs were bedecked in vibrant Mardi Gras beads.  Some had on colorful masks.  The distinctive spicy smell of Zartaran’s filled the air from boiled shrimp and “bugs,” a crustacean native to the South China Sea.  Steve traced the sounds of jazz to the porch along the backside.   Sure enough, Nora was crooning out one of her favorites, Moon River.   He stood in the breezeway out of her sight.

She looked amazing, as always.   Radiant smile.  Bright pink lipstick.   Long, sensuous legs and high heels.  Her skirt had to be at least eight inches above her knees.  Damn, she was hot.

The crowd cheered as Nora wrapped up her song.  “Thank you all for coming tonight.  Les bon temp roulles.”  The GIs hooted and hollered.   As she finished replacing the mike in its stand, Steve came up from behind her.

“Say gorgeous, I’d know that voice anywhere,” he whispered in her ear.  Nora felt her knees grow weak hearing his voice.

Whipping around, she exclaimed, “What the heck?  Steve, where the devil did you come from?”

“About a hundred miles north of here.  Just to see my gal,” he couldn’t resist and in front of everyone grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her lips.   Catcalls erupted from every corner of the bar.

Nora was a mass of emotion.  Joy, tears, and pent up libido just  hearing his voice.  Taken aback at first, she quickly recovered.   “I can’t.  Not here.  Let me wrap things up and make sure everyone clears curfew.  Then,” she pulled him close and whispered in her sultry voice, “I’m all yours.”

Directing her cook, dishwasher and one of her girls running the bar, she quickly wrapped things up for the evening.  The books and tabs could wait till the morning.  She thanked everyone for the great job they did.  Within a few minutes, due to curfew, it was just Steve and herself left in the bar.

“What on earth are you doing in Chu Lai?”

“Had to deliver a Skyhawk for refurb to VMA-311.  How’s that for luck?”

“Brilliant,” she said throwing her arms around him.  “I’m just tickled pink you are here.”

“Nice place you got going,” he said referring to the club.

“The girls and I have really worked it over.  It was a dump.  But I’ve learned to make, uh, well, let’s just say connections.”

“That’s the navy way.  Way to go girl,” he could hardly keep his hands off of her.  “I’m about as randy as ever.  But where can we go?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” she had a gleam in her eye.

“Certainly not to your hooch,”

“Nope.  The girls are there and curfew’s on.  But we might be able to sneak out back under the decks.  There’s a small, unused, elevated tent.  It was the original officer’s mess, near the beach.”

“Sounds great, doll.  Let’s go,” he said taking her hand.   Nora locked the place up and they quietly snuck out down the back steps of the club.  They walked close to the jungle line of trees, so as not to be seen by the sentry guards.  Clearing through some brush, they came to a clearing with the tent.  It was dank, dark, and sandy, but they didn’t care.  They were finally alone.

The flap of the tent barely went down before he had his hands all over her.  The fact that there was dust everywhere and cob webs didn’t bother them. They finally had a secluded, stolen moment alone.  He kissed her passionately, relinquishing the pent up sexual tension between them.  She darted her tongue in around his mouth, long, slow and ardent.

Pulling her close into him, she felt his desire for her.  He was rock hard.  He stopped kissing her for a moment and looked deeply into her eyes.   Without saying a word, he unzipped the back of dress, exposing her shoulders.    He lowered his head and began kissing along her collar bone, starting on her left.

And. . . . you will have to just purchase the upcoming copy to see the rest!!!!!

Mardi Gras . . . mystery unveiled.

This post is the innaugal expose’ of a feature on this blog called What’s It Really Like?   People, places, and particular experiences will be exposed for real.  De-mystified and debugged.  Putting you there for the reality of it all.   Start a sentence with. . . have you ever wondered what it’s really like?   You get the picture.   Enjoy!

Mardi Gras

Green, purple and gold of Mardi Gras

Green, purple and gold of Mardi Gras

Most people think that Mardi Gras is about Bourbon Street and boobs.    Although in modern times plenty of bourbon and boobs can be experienced on the mad day known as Fat Tuesday, that’s not really what it’s all about.Mardi Gras’ origins can be traced back to the traditions of 17th and 18th century Roman’s in Venice with Carnivale.  Its French origins began with the French Bourbons and the “Boeuf Gras” or fatted calf.  This celebration followed the French to its new colonies.  Point du Mardi Gras was established about sixty miles south of New Orleans on March 2, 1699, when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville landed there.  It was given that name by his men who realized they had reached land on the eve of the festive holiday.

In 1704 a French settlement near there established a Masque de la Mobile, named after the two forts there Fort Mobile and Fort Louisiane.   The secret society paraded with a large bulls head mounted.  In 1710, the “Boeuf Gras Society” was formed and paraded from 1711 until 1861.   However, in 1718 Bienville established the city of New Orleans.   As was now tradition in the region,  Mardi Gras day was celebrated.

The parades that we know today began with the society balls for the occasions which were established by the govenor of Louisiana at the time to benefit various charitable organizations.   Festive street processions with masked revelers on carriages and horseback dazzled onlookers with their extravagent costumes and gaslight torches called flambeaux.  An exciting air of festive romance and mystique of who was behind the mask was created.   The first official Krewe began in 1856 by six young men from Mobile.  The Mistick Krewe of Comus rode in on dramatic tableux creating more magic and pageantry.  The Krewe still rides today.

Mardi Gras has strong regligious ties.  The season actually begins with epiphany, the church’s feast day noting the arrival of the wise men at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.   On that week, the first parties begin with the king and queen of each krewe being named.   A king’s cake of sweet brioche with yellow, green, and purple icing is served.   A small replica, traditionally in gold of baby Jesus is baked inside.   Whomeve is lucky enough to be served that piece of the cake holds the next party.   That tradition continues each week until the day of the parade for that Krewe which culminates in an elaborate ball for the king and queen.

The festivities have grown into an entire multimillion dollar industry for the region.   The day before Mardi Gras and the day itself are statewide holidays.    Millions crowd the city of New Orleans to attend its parades.    The best views of the parades are not down in crowded Bourbon St. but out in the neighborhoods where the parades begin.  Street performers, musicians, bands, and elaborate floats can be best enjoyed on St. Charles Avenue, Napoleon, and Carrollton.   Krewes such as EndymionIsis, Zulu and Bacchus maps out their own routes and celebrate their unique theme and philanthropy.  To be selected to ride on one of the floats is considered an honor.   To be selected as king or queen, sublime.   The catch phase by natives is, “Throw me somthing, throw me something Mister.”   Or “Miss” as is the case for female Krewe members.   There are all kinds of beads, but the most valued are those in yellow symbolizing gold, green for good luck and purple for royalty – especially if you are lucky enough to get a medalion of the Krewe or some of their colorful coins, called deblues.

Zulu majesty

The season culminates on Fat Tuesday, thus the name Mardi Gras.  The day before the solemnity of lent begins.  Lent is traditional period of six weeks preparation ending in Holy week which recognizes the events leading to the crucifixtion of Christ, his death and resurrection on Easter.    But the day before it all begins, Cajuns and refined Lousiannes Les bon temp roulles.   Let the good times roll.

So now, you know what it’s really like.   It’s not just about Bourbon and boobs.   To enjoy a great story themed with Mardi Gras of the 1960s check out Flying Solo.

Words to be thankful for . . . Indie publishing!

Great gift? Indie pub’d books!

What a blessing and sweet ride it has been seeing books published by previously unknown, yet strong authors.   The eletronic world of today has simply changed the world for story tellers previously unable to get their message out.    Are all Indie pub books worth supporting?   The answer is a resounding NO!!    But there are some truly great voices out there, that without Indie publishing would never have been heard.

There have been many blogs out there which have highlighted both the good and the bad about Indie publishing.   Caution is the key.  Do your homework.  Test the waters.   Take a chance when holiday shopping on some Indie pub’d books.   In many cases, you will not be disappointed.

Before listing some favorites for you, here are some facts.   Did you know:

1.  there are going to be over 3 million books published in 2012?

2. there are only really six big publishers out there . . .

3.  thousands of well known authors received countless literary rejections and dejections before being published

4.  Bowker estimates that they will issue over 15,000,000 ISBN numbers in 2012

5.  the top selling book of the year, 50 Shades of Gray was indie pub’d?

6.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times she had to initially self publish. To date: 80 million sales.

This is why, at the beginning of this holiday season, we should all be thankful for the tenacious resilience of  not only Indie pub’d authors, but those authors who are going the distance in this over abundance of printed words.   Be brave, traverse the ailes of small independent book stores,  support small local businesses.   But most important of all, give the gift of words.

Examples of great Indie pub’d books:

Flying Solo Novel

Flying Solo – a 5 star page turner from AgeView Press

The Mill River Recluse – Top Selling Ebook – and Indie Pub’d

Forgotten Soldiers
Forgotten Soldiers – War story at its best – Warren Martin

“More Self Published Authors Making Waves” will your book make it?

BABBLING ABOUT BOOKS, AND MORE!: 20 Weeks Running and More Self Published Authors Making Waves.

Yet again, Indie publsihers are making waves.    A long time book blogger named Katie Grant, who writes under KT Grant blogs about the phenomenon that is taking over the industry.   Indie publishing.    Hard to believe that he pendulum is shifting.   But one only has to look at the success that many Indie pub authors are achieving.

They are posting sales.  Generating great blogs.   Literally turning the industry on its head.

This weekend, it has been a priviledge to network with some of these powerful forces in the industry at the innaugural Lexicon Writer’s Conference in Denton, TX.   Honestly?   Wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has been a smashing success.   Over 120 writer’s, publishers, book bloggers,  screenwriters, writing coaches and agents convened for a weekend of powerful networking led by Indie author Mitch Haynes.    Just ask the successful writing team of Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer, writers of military fiction.

Mitch’s message was simple and powerful.  “Take your ego to the door.  No one wants to stand around and hear you babble about your book.”  But if you meet 10 other people and help them sell theirs while here.  Pave the way for what you can do for them, then just imagine how many more books you will sell if 1o people do that for you!”   Brilliant.   And guess what!  It works.

Black Force Eagle novel

Don't Cry daddy's Here novel

Flying Solo

More Great Indie Published Books

Just goes to show you, paying it foward pays off sweetly in the end.  Even if you have to wait to see it.   So don’t hide in the shadows of your work, get out there and make waves for your book.   Pay it foward for another author and they just might pay it foward for you!

Top five social media links you don’t want to miss!

Wagon full of social media logos facebook twitter youtube

Is your bandwagon full?

Just when you think you are hitting the wall, BAM!   A great networking site proves to be gold.   The World Literary Cafe, both their website and especially their group facebook page  are just platinum!    This site is for authors who are genuinely supporting authors.  There are plenty of sites that say they support authors, but come to find out the TLC comes with a  $$ price.    The synergistic networking that takes place immediately on signing up at World Literary Cafe just cannot be beat.

Traffic to my website AgeView Press, blog, twitter and facebook accounts increased exponetially in a week!    Thanks guys!    You really rock.   In surfing to the World Literary Cafe FB you will find discussions happening live with answers to many common issues within Indie Publishing.   There is a force moving!   The Indie world started as a ground swell, but expect it to surge to tsunami status.

Here are the Top Five Social Media links for today that you don’t want to miss!

1.   World Literary Cafe     Super discussions.  Author links.  Book reviews.   Fab networking gold!  Slogan?  #sharethelove4authors

2.  Reviewer Roundup on Facebook       Great place to find a jumping off point for your virtual book tour.

3.  Kobo     Now accepting Indie published ebooks with a 70% royalty!

4.   The Bookseller.com    This is an article published just recently.  Evidence of the movement.  AM Heath  now supporting Indie authors!!

And the top link of the day which made the day worthwhile?

5.  The Online Converter         A way to convert your books and other files to epub for FREE!  That’s right.  FREE!

Enjoy and thank you for visiting.   Please share and link this page for your fellow writers and friends.   Don’t forget to follow on Goodreads !

As an Author, are You a Peacock, a Mockingbird, or a Hawk?

showy peacock

All show and no substance?

As an author, think about this question.   Are you a peacock, a mockingbird, or a hawk?  You might be asking yourself what birds could possibly have to do with being a writer?   But let’s take a closer look at all three.  See if you can identify with some of these characteristics, because their are more similarities than you might imagine.   Bet you will be surprised.

Peacocks are pretty, to be sure.   Colorful, flamboyant, and decorative.   But even though they are showy, if you look closely at the feathers of their brilliantly, vibrant tail; there is not much substance there.    Peacocks fan out their tales to be noticed.   At first, it is impressive.  Then you realize that underneath all that show,  is nothing but air.    Is your writing all showy?   Are you writing darkness and gloom because of the popularity and success of Twilight or Amanda Hocking?   Are you running raggard to attend every literary event?  Facebooking and twittering all over social media without anything real to say?  Or are you writing what you are good at writing?  Great stories with substance.   Tales that have a beginning, middle, and end.   Characters that have depth.  Locations and plots that have been researched and carefully plotted out.    Good covers are great, but it is the quality of the pages inside that count and will make people come back for more.

Mockingbirds, on the other hand, never stop squawking.  They twitter, and tweet a variety of chirpy tunes.   Short, loud, bursts in every possible call song.  Never sticking to one, just repeating what ever else they have heard around them.   If you listen to them, it becomes apparent  they are trying to attract attention from every angle.    From anyone who will listen.  First this tune, and then that.   Frustrated and fragmented that no one is paying them heed.    So, they change tunes, mimicking some other melody.  Some new authors know they want to write, but can’t find their own voice.   They chirp from this to that, trying to find their niche.   Slow down.   Find your true voice.   Then, sing it to the rooftops joyfully as your own brand.   Your unique author platform.    And stick to it.

Hawk sizing up a mockingbird

Sizing up meaningful tweets and twitters.

Now, consider the hawk.   Eyes on the prize.    Quiet and still as he calculates just the right moment to seize and capture.    The hawk sizes up the situation, calculates the risks, and strikes to take action.    At first glance, he may appear to just blend in, but on careful inspection, you will notice this intricate, exsquisite patterns woven within his feathers.   All aligned and symmetrical in attractive patterns.   Breast full of sustance with dynamic, sharp looking wings.  Proud, confident, and sure of who he is,  no need for overt showy-ness.   The hawk takes his time, hons his skills, and strikes with near 100 percent accuracy when ready.    Isn’t this the writer we all want to be?    Savvy about the business, sharp in our craft,  eyes on the prize, confident and patient, but fearlessly ready to strike when the moment is just right.     On some days, you may feel as an author that you vasilate between all three.    But try to stay focused.   Educate and train yourself on the literary world.    When you are ready,  be a hawk!