Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon Bully?

It’s been a wild and crazy few days, err, more like a week. No one told me a puppy got sick just like kids. It’s ironic when a child is sick with the bucket handy and her dog is in the chair with her, looking just as miserable.

Meanwhile in the publishing front, the world has been a buzzing with the news Amazon is changing its policies that have been the same for as long as I’ve been in this biz going on 8 years now. I’m a “if it works don’t change it” kind of person and I really don’t see the intelligence in this decision of theirs.

It seems they are trying to get a little demanding and require any books printed by POD technology (print on demand) and sold on their site with a direct buy button, must be printed using their printer, Book Surge they purchased in 2005. Hmmm, seems a little off to me. They say this will enable them to ship books faster because they will be able to print them within a couple hours, package them with anything else the customer may have ordered and all is good.

I don’t buy it.

I have purchased things from Amazon, mostly Christmas gifts when I can’t find them anywhere else. The thing that strikes me as funny is this: I purchased a handful of things, thinking it was from Amazon because that’s where I bought it from, that’s who I paid, that’s who confirmed my order. All but two of the items were packaged and shipped from separate parts of the states with different store names on the letter inside the Amazon box. So I’m not sure I’m buying that statement in their release that if a customer buys a book and a toaster they can package them together and the customer gets exactly what they want and that is why Amazon wants to do this.

My other concern is quality. Quality is very important to me as it seems to be for Lightning Source - my current printer that also is owned by Ingram, one of the largest distributors to bookstores. The fact that BookSurge has many complaints about their lack of quality does not make me feel very confident about them keeping the standards I'm used to. And like I saw stated somewhere else, if a customer orders a title from Amazon and that title arrives to the reader with a missing page or something else wrong, it won’t be Amazon who looks bad, it will be the publisher because Amazon or BookSurge will not have their name on the product. The publisher who paid them for the service does. And this isn’t even about the double work this would cause to people who are already overworked and how about that double charge to have one book with two printers?

It doesn’t help that the very thought of being forced to have two printers if I want things to stay the same as they are with Amazon stirs my Irish blood into thinking how dare you tell me where I can or can not print my books and have them listed as they have been with Amazon since I published them (speaking of my personal titles). Oh, I know, Amazon is crying out “you don’t have to do this, you can sell as a 3rd party if I don’t print with Book Surge, and Star books will still be available on Amazon, just not with the shipping specials or any of that good stuff. Don’t get me started on that 3rd party thing. It ain’t worth it.

I’m inclined to tell them where to go, truly. Amazon has never been my most favorite place for my books, but some authors with Star Publish have had much better relations. So I suppose we’ll see how it all goes.

Myself, I’m waiting for Borders to get their new site up. I’ll jump on their bandwagon real fast.

I’m also by far not the only one a little bothered by this:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

100th Interview

Quite a surprise it was when Joyce Anthony, author of Storm, told me the interview I returned to her was her 100th and a winner. In all my office work, organizing and reorganizing everything from actual papers to computer files, I had misplaced the interview after I answered her questions. It was more luck that helped me find it than any purposful action on my part. When I sent it, I was sure she had reached her 100th interview days before. She's forever adding new interviews, each wonderful reads from today's authors. But she surprised me with the news that I was the winner a few days ago. I'm just now slowing down enough to grab the moment I need to let you all in on it here.

Joyce's blog is here: Plan to stay for a while as reading the interviews is addicting. Mine is under the March 9th.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Character Curse

I'm a writer. It is the core of who I am more than anything else. Every little thought that trickles into my head becomes something, some bigger than others, some remembered more than others. I know when I'm in trouble when a character develops from these bits and pieces so strongly they will not let me alone even to sleep.

I started a new series a few months ago set thousands of years from now using some ideas spawned from "What if" after research into ancient Sumerian beliefs and the Kings List and such. The Kings List was thought fiction because the age of some of the early kings named on it was beyond possibility. Oh really? Are we sure - what if it wasn't? And Daughter of Gods began.

In the story, a little girl became a very small secondary character. Six years old, she did little but follow others. Then I started working on the second book in the series, still untitled and just a few chapters long. Within the first chapter, this six year old pops up, only now she is 16 and a rebellious teen. I have two of those - teens that is, not so much rebellious. But I can still remember my teen years (and I'll let that be all I say). So writing this teen wasn't hard at all. Then, after the fourth chapter and she proved to be a main point of view character, she insisted on being 23 - to heck with the back story, to heck with the second book in the series. Kira wants her own, her nickname, Starlight, to be the title and she's not taking no or wait-your-turn for an answer. She's even presented herself to me in a full fledge sketch (above) that took me just hours to do but will be her book cover. And she has a character to share her story with that caught me by surprise. A child I didn't even know existed of a character from the first book. Surprise, there Dane was, all grown up and claiming the mighty Danik as his mother and out for revenge only he's not a vigilante but a scholar who's been sheltered all his life in a space station and suddenly dropped on the surface of Earth. He somehow stumbles stupidly into pulling Kira out of a mess she's gotten into and then ropes her into helping him only he has no idea who she is or how close to a dangerous mess he is.

And there the story goes, nag nag nag - no consideration for book two at all despite the fact 2 does come before 3. Characters, I have come to understand, care very little for their creator or for numbers or how things were planned.

And then there is Among the Ancients, Bryce and Kynly waiting very patiently for me to get on with polishing their story. Something tells me they will be patient for a few more years, but Kira age 23, not a chance.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Star Publish Has A New Address

New Face, New Name

March 4, 2008

Star Publish remains outside the usual in the services it offers and its dedication to its authors with T.C. McMullen at its lead, but it now has a new website and business front at

New and great things are coming to the Star website including authors’ blog listings, and a calendar of events. Visit Star and sample some of the most intriguing and fresh works available to readers today. Get to know the authors from the inside, who they are, why they wrote their books, and what those books offer to readers.

Don’t forget to check out the Star opportunities for writers as well. There is now an illustrator and artist on staff for original artwork in covers and interior images. As before, there is a full time staff including marketing director Janet Elaine Smith to help put books into public view.

For more information about all the opportunities for readers and writers, visit and bookmark it today!

Email contact:

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