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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

$2.99
Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
Bestseller ranking: 713665

Product Description
Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,  (Read 67599 times)  

Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #125 on: December 03, 2013, 01:52:18 PM »
At the risk of being banned or at the very least flamed...before I even launched my writing career.

This is exactly what I thought was happening. I believe it even more now. Is there a way to cross check email addresses between those two forums?

K.B. Nelson | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #126 on: December 03, 2013, 01:56:33 PM »
...
Then there's the whole ethical question.

You are absolutely right. As long as any of us have pride in our work and confidence in our talent, we won't do things that are obviously wrong.

I think it's the WORDING of this entity's offer that is setting off everyone's smoke detector. For example, if they had a placebo signup box where you could enter your email address and be subscribed to select emails, that would placate many of us, wouldn't it? And if they made it seem more like BookBananaChimps or whatever?

But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

Just sayin'. There is no transparency. We don't see their list or what they're doing. Not for ANY of these sites.

AND ANOTHER THING.

Amazon regularly sends me emails telling me to buy things from authors I've NEVER EVER EVER bought anything from. Authors who HAPPEN TO BE ON THEIR IMPRINT.

So, who's the real banana-flinger?  :D

(This meltdown is brought to you by 5 days without coffee.)

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #127 on: December 03, 2013, 02:03:26 PM »
But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

You can actually look at the click data for BBLM's shortened URLs and watch the clicks rise and fall through the hours. You can also see all the money they've dumped into advertising on sites like Amazon, FB, and Google. It's obvious they're reaching hard for a user base. They use MailChimp for their mailings, which is a legitimate company whose balls could be nailed to the metaphorical wall if something went wrong before it ever hit authors. Plus, they don't guarantee anything. Books can and do fail on BB all the time.

We can't speak to the initial "seed" of their mailing lists, but there's no reason to doubt their current methods.

I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?

Offline Victoria Champion

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #128 on: December 03, 2013, 02:05:54 PM »
You are absolutely right. As long as any of us have pride in our work and confidence in our talent, we won't do things that are obviously wrong.

I think it's the WORDING of this entity's offer that is setting off everyone's smoke detector. For example, if they had a placebo signup box where you could enter your email address and be subscribed to select emails, that would placate many of us, wouldn't it? And if they made it seem more like BookBananaChimps or whatever?

But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

Just sayin'. There is no transparency. We don't see their list or what they're doing. Not for ANY of these sites.

AND ANOTHER THING.

Amazon regularly sends me emails telling me to buy things from authors I've NEVER EVER EVER bought anything from. Authors who HAPPEN TO BE ON THEIR IMPRINT.

So, who's the real banana-flinger?  :D

(This meltdown is brought to you by 5 days without coffee.)

Mimi/Dalya, I think it's time for you to bring back CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY. Today is only Tuesday, but go ahead and start one up, sounds like you could use it.
    
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Offline KeithAllen

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #129 on: December 03, 2013, 02:06:17 PM »
WOW...this has been really, really interesting to read. Made my last conference call about stuff I couldn't care less about fly by. I hope I didn't have any takeaways...

I haven't done an email list promotion yet, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter much, but I am planning to do one to coordinate with my next book launch. The very first thing I did after making a long list of providers I wanted to work with was sign up for their reader lists so I could see the types of books coming through and the professionalism of the email. I'm not going to shell out cash for a crappy looking email with 600 books on it. So with that said I wouldn't use this service even with your wallet and me pushing. There isn't a proper marketer on the planet that would turn down adding subscribers to their list, yet this service is vehemently against it?  If I can't as a reader sign up for the list, then the list is fakity fake with a big pile of fake cake.

The whole "let the results speak" thing is akin to saying look at this shiny thing while I do horrible things to your sister behind this curtain. But like others have said the only real results any of us care about is real sales and for us series writers, sell through. The visibility sounds great, but morals aside, I don't see how this turns an ROI. Maybe we'll all be eating our words in a few weeks when the trial-ers come back and say holy sharks and snakes my sell through and sales are huge because of this service...but I sincerely doubt it.

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Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #130 on: December 03, 2013, 02:06:35 PM »
...
I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?

LOL! I love you, Sara! Marry me!

Mimi/Dalya, I think it's time for you to bring back CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY. Today is only Tuesday, but go ahead and start one up, sounds like you could use it.

I know. I just got an email from Amazon the other day and it sent me into an outrage. I know I shouldn't talk [crap] about them if I ever want white glove treatment and preorders and my own personal Amazon-masseur/therapist, but [crap].
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 02:08:21 PM by Mimi, aka Dalya »

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #131 on: December 03, 2013, 02:07:41 PM »
LOL! I love you, Sara! Marry me!

Meet you in Vegas?? ELVIS AWAITS

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #132 on: December 03, 2013, 02:07:52 PM »
You can actually look at the click data for BBLM's shortened URLs and watch the clicks rise and fall through the hours. You can also see all the money they've dumped into advertising on sites like Amazon, FB, and Google. It's obvious they're reaching hard for a user base. They use MailChimp for their mailings, which is a legitimate company whose balls could be nailed to the metaphorical wall if something went wrong before it ever hit authors. Plus, they don't guarantee anything. Books can and do fail on BB all the time.

We can't speak to the initial "seed" of their mailing lists, but there's no reason to doubt their current methods.

I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?

Also, the BB results vary, as you'd expect if it were legit. Not to mention that I get their emails every day and sometimes (too often) buy one of the books I see advertised.

There's also the fact that you could bot your way to 10,000 clicks, but you couldn't exactly do this with paid books. Also, trad pubs use them all the time. Etc., etc., etc. BookBub is legit.

Offline dalya

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #133 on: December 03, 2013, 02:10:03 PM »
... BookBub is legit.

I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #134 on: December 03, 2013, 02:17:49 PM »
I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.

I'm all for new, legitimate upstarts. Bookbub being the biggest dog on the porch is troublesome. But, I'd like to keep the Warrior Forum scams on Warrior Forum. I don't think they have a place here. If novelists want to risk their publishing account to try and game Amazon, let them go find those services there, not here.

The thing about this service that's dangerous, is until Amazon kills their business by throttling their fake accounts, or Amazon starts punishing unsuspecting authors for using the service and being linked to said accounts, it's going to be impossible to show any hard proof to reveal this for what it is - a bot network that games the free rankings.

If they were advertising on KBoards as "game the free rankings with 10000 fake downloads" and Kboard moderators were ok with that, then people can decide to take the risk for themselves. But since it's being advertised as a legitimate service and no one knows what the blowback will be for authors using such a service, I wonder how many kboards authors they'll fleece before the jig is up.

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #135 on: December 03, 2013, 02:18:08 PM »
I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.

This so-called Sara person is too devious for her own good. That goes for you, too. I wouldn't be surprised if the two of you had concocted this whole scheme to test the gullibility of us poor indie writers. I can only beg you to use your powers for good. And if not, at least let me be your minion. I wash dishes and change toilet paper rolls without complaint.

Online C.F.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #136 on: December 03, 2013, 02:20:25 PM »
Is anyone else concerned by the different package options? So what if I want the lowest package? Does that email only go out to some of the list (which would make no sense)? Are those people then inundated with more emails because they're getting the offers of people who bought the highest package and people who bought the lowest package? Is the ad worded badly so fewer people download :P? I mean, seriously, if it's a legitimate email list, how is the number of downloads controlled? This is why it's weird to me that "guaranteed downloads" are being sold. With Bookbub and other email advertising services they can give you a range of downloads and average from their experience, but there's no way they can control the number of downloads.

Offline OJ Connell

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #137 on: December 03, 2013, 02:21:50 PM »
Sitting at ~14,000 DLs. High point was #9 in the free store, I think. I've sold 4 copies of my other books since. Either people still aren't buying them or the sales reporting is still wonky. Time will tell on that front.

There's nothing unethical about this so long as no one is being coerced into participating. I'm sure that Freebookservice isn't forcing anyone to download anything against their will.

Moreover, even if his is an operation fueled by bots, by being so high on the lists REAL readers are actually finding my book now. Like Mimi said upthread, I'm surprised there aren't more services like this. Not accusing Freebookservice of anything, but the secrecy surrounding his methods is going to fuel all sorts of speculation from Kboard members. No way around that. I feel a little bad, seeing as how he's been very nice throughout this discussion and we've just kinda dog-piled him.

I can't necessarily recommend the service, because although my downloads are huge and I've gained some increased visibility, I'm unsure whether this boost will result in anything long-term. See Monique's post. I agree with it. That kind of secrecy just doesn't fly around these parts, and like others have said, Freebookservice stands to make a lot more money if they open up to us.

And for those spouting doom and gloom and "THIS IS THE END OF FREE E-BOOKS"? Grow up. Let's all take a deep breath. I don't doubt that Amazon might dislike services like these if they are in fact run by bots, but a lot of the stuff in this thread is hyperbolic and dumb. It would take more than an army of bots to bring the 'Zon to its knees. And I seriously doubt that they would target the authors who've tried this/stop offering free books/not invite us to their birthday party.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps I'll get shuttled off by an Amazon drone to some shadowy facility where Jeff Bezos will punch me in the face, repeatedly, for daring to try some new marketing service. But I doubt it.

Offline Mandy

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #138 on: December 03, 2013, 02:24:26 PM »
As a reader, this screams scam to me, too. I read my BookBub emails and other similar lists faithfully everyday, but this is a list I'm not allowed to know about and subscribe to? There are tens of thousands of loyal readers, yet this so-called list remains a mystery?

My gut feeling is, as others have said, the OP is using spammy/scammy ways to obtain these downloads. The question is whether you, as authors, are okay with this if it still gets you the results you want - a temporary boost in rank that will bring a temporary boost in sales.

OP would put a lot of fears at ease if he were to allow one of the mods, like Ann or Betty, to see and sign up for this mysterious list so they can report back on the validity of the list without giving away any "secrets".

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #139 on: December 03, 2013, 02:28:41 PM »
Moreover, even if his is an operation fueled by bots, by being so high on the lists REAL readers are actually finding my book now. Like Mimi said upthread, I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Because, as a 50Billion+ a year company, you can bet Amazon doesn't take kindly to people manipulating their system and will be quickly terminating offending accounts. Maybe not author accounts, but maybe so. The fact that people would even risk it, or even encourage it, for a little visibility is mind-blowing to me.

If Amazon where to suddenly and permanently terminate your publisher account for ToS violations, would you still say it's no big deal?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 02:32:27 PM by Kat Lilynette »

Offline KeithAllen

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #140 on: December 03, 2013, 02:29:21 PM »
Okay...I'm just spit balling here, but what if this whole thread, nah, this whole service has been market research and we are unsuspectingly telling these guys what they need to do to get us to buy into their tom + foolery? What if we just handed them the golden ticket to open our velcro wallets and spray them with monies? What if... hold on I just got a book idea ...okay back. What if that website shuts down in a few weeks and another starts called evil mustache books? Books guaranteed to twirl your mustache?

Keith Allen | website

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #141 on: December 03, 2013, 02:30:07 PM »
What if that website shuts down in a few weeks and another starts called evil mustache books? Books guaranteed to twirl your mustache?

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

Offline OJ Connell

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #142 on: December 03, 2013, 02:32:35 PM »
Because, as a 50Billion+ a year company, you can bet they don't take kindly to people manipulating their system and will be quickly terminating offending accounts. Maybe not author accounts, but maybe so. The fact that people would even risk it, or even encourage it, for a little visibility is mind-blowing to me.

And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.

Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #143 on: December 03, 2013, 02:34:27 PM »
Firstly, the secrecy of the list thing doesn't fly with me. If there are all these subscribers then just how exactly is it a secret? It wouldn't be. Secondly to get a list this size do you know how many books you would have to sell with the mailing list linked in the back? Millions. This whole thing is a secret because it's bots. Bots are not ethical and it's the last thing we need in the ongoing debate over the integrity of self publishing.

I understand the desire to use such a service but I think the potential backfire trumps the potential benefits. Especially when you can pay for various other services that are proven, legitimate and see a better return.

It doesn't appear that they reject anybody. Without some standards, whatever they may be, the list would bleed. And they wouldn't get replaced unless someone picked up one of those magic books.


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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #144 on: December 03, 2013, 02:36:50 PM »
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.

Forget the smacking. Don't you want to be associated only with ethical marketing practices?

Offline OJ Connell

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #145 on: December 03, 2013, 02:38:16 PM »
Forget the smacking. Don't you want to be associated only with ethical marketing practices?

Certainly. No one's looking to become the next John Locke here. But I'm not so certain that this is unethical in any way.

Offline K.B.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #146 on: December 03, 2013, 02:39:11 PM »
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.
I don't think it's baseless and I don't think it's fearmongering. To deny the possibility that these things could happen is to be looking at the situation with rose colored glasses. Will it happen? Who knows but it is important to realize that partaking in a service such as this has the potential to backlash. You may not be convinced that this is an army of robots (and you seem to think it's okay if it is) but until I see anything that says otherwise I'm sticking to my guns. I don't think it's ethical, at all, to use this service if our assumptions are correct. But those decisions are up to the individual and it's not our job to make that decision for you.

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Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #147 on: December 03, 2013, 02:39:45 PM »
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.

If your modus operandi is to game something until you get caught, then by all means. But, just as there is no proof to suggest authors won't feel any pain for using these types of services to game Amazon, there's also no proof to support the opposite either (I guess the closest thing we have is the fake reviews fiasco?). One of those unproven outcomes could cost someone their publishing account, which may not be a big deal to you, but I'm sure other people would find that pretty devastating.

I don't think bringing up legitimate concerns and possibilities for an advertised service on this forum should be dismissed as "fearmongering." Especially when that service is being portrayed as something it's not.

Offline OJ Connell

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #148 on: December 03, 2013, 02:45:32 PM »
You may not be convinced that this is an army of robots (and you seem to think it's okay if it is)

I don't think this operation is morally reprehensible if it is, in fact, an army of bots. But, as a service, if it's really just a ton of bots, then it's crap. So, no. If this turns out to be a bunch of hollow downloads meant solely to inflate ranks, then this sucks because it isn't actually leading to any meaningful connection with the thousands of readers it claims. If the first 10,000 downloads are bots and the rest are from ending high up on the charts, then that's pretty weak from a marketing perspective, IMO.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #149 on: December 03, 2013, 02:46:51 PM »
As a reader, this screams scam to me, too. I read my BookBub emails and other similar lists faithfully everyday, but this is a list I'm not allowed to know about and subscribe to? There are tens of thousands of loyal readers, yet this so-called list remains a mystery?

My gut feeling is, as others have said, the OP is using spammy/scammy ways to obtain these downloads. The question is whether you, as authors, are okay with this if it still gets you the results you want - a temporary boost in rank that will bring a temporary boost in sales.

OP would put a lot of fears at ease if he were to allow one of the mods, like Ann or Betty, to see and sign up for this mysterious list so they can report back on the validity of the list without giving away any "secrets".

But Mandy, as SMR pointed out above, if they're not on the up and up, it'd be easy to post a sign-up form and start sending out book-ad emails to real people as a cover for the bot action. Just because you're on a list doesn't mean anyone else is, after all. The only reason I know I'm not the only one on BookBub's list is that other people (like you) talk about getting the emails, too.

At this point, I don't think I can be convinced.

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