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Flight of the Tarantula Hawk
by Michael Allan Scott

$0.99
Kindle Edition published 2014-02-10
Bestseller ranking: 4698

Product Description
On the IndieReader Best Book list and featured on NBC's Daytime Show, the second book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series is part of a new breed of supernatural thrillers which can be read and enjoyed in any order. Dark, different, featuring a damaged psychic, this is one of those disturbing novels that keeps you guessing.

Download the sample or use the "Look inside" feature for a FREE E-book offer.

Supernatural Murder Mystery - Realtor Carla Simon has her first showing in nearly eighteen months. Recovering from a nervous breakdown, she arrives at the bank-owned foreclosure well ahead of her prospect. When her buyer pins her against the wall, it turns out to be the last house she'll ever show.

Looking for a new breed of supernatural thrillers? Paranormal mysteries of murder and suspense? Perhaps a psychic detective series which can be read and enjoyed in any order? Or maybe one of t...

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Messages - JalexM

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 36
1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Having More than One Series is Grand
« on: April 29, 2017, 04:38:23 PM »
I'm writing two series at the moment. I like doing it, but I hate seeing one series being more well received. I'm gearing up for the the third book for both series and delayed them both to this fall so I can build up to it.
It's a nice a palette cleanser. I'm also thinking of doing a stand alone series but it'll be a companion one to my science fiction series, so I'm hoping it drives sells to there original one. Hope it goes well for both of us.

2
I think you're missing what the compensation actually is, Jalex and it's not the book. There's an exchange taking place. Both sides exchange something. One side is offering a chance to win a book, unicorn, glow in the dark widget, or whatever, in exchange for a review. The compensation is the review and the chance. One party gives the review, and the other party then gives them a chance to win a book.

The chance is the compensation, thereby making it an illegal lottery.
A chance isn't anything tangible. You get nothing in return unless you win the contest. Which means in the literal definition it is not compensation.
But chance to some could be considered tangible. So I can see where you could argue that. I think Amazon is giving a wide berth so they can push and pull when needed.
Yes, exactly. Amazon didn't create a wholly unique definition of compensation. Amazon provides examples of compensation, which is well within the boundaries of the definition I posted.
The tos is filled with legal speak. Your act like they didn't write it that way so they couldn't bend it to their will.
Remember, I'm not arguing about Amazon's definition. If it's against their rules then fine. we're arguing about the literal definition of compensation
I'd clarify with them again before setting up a contest, just to be safe. But it's great that you are being creative with marketing your books! I think if you don't require them to buy the book or write a review, you are fine.  Asking a trivia question that can only be answered by reading the book is a safe way to do entries, I would think.  But definitely ask.

Good luck with it!
Thanks. I thought about doing it a few months ago, but now id rather not chance Amazon telling me wrong again. Instead I'm going to do something time consuming and stupid and hope it pans out. I'll post about it this coming fall.
It seems harder to get reviews now and days

3
The Wayback Machine tells us that same wording has been part of that FAQ page since at least Sept 25, 2014.
https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20140925184347/https://www.amazon.com/gp/community-help/customer-review-guidelines-faqs-from-authors

But what you're saying is that about a year ago, you reached out to KDP Support and specifically asked them about trading reviews for contest entries. Despite the clearly worded guidelines (even back then), you were told, "Thumbs up. Great idea! Go to town with it!" And you...didn't follow through? And you were never really thinking about doing it -- it was all just hypothetical?
I don't know if it was a year or two ago. Last year was a blur, it was more of a clarification. I asked it because story cartel said they offered incentive for leaving reviews using giveaways and asked Amazon about it and got the okay.
Of course, knowing Amazon, they could've miss understood what I was asking. I was going to ask again because I was thinking about running a contest when I get back from a six month writing break this Fall.
Which is why I said thread lightly.

4
Actually yes, it is. You are receiving something in exchange for your services, in this case, entry into a contest. That is the definition of compensation. And I'm arguing this point because you seem to love using semantics whenever you're proven wrong.
Once again, that's not the definition.
I'm not the one arguing semantics, you are the one who brought up the dictionary definition.

5
"something given or received as an equivalent for services"

Sounds like offering giveaways in exchange for reviews.
The possibility of compensation is not the definition of compensation in the dictionary. You can try to find one that says that, but you won't.
I don't know why you're​ arguing that point. I already said I made a mistake in Amazon's definition. Which isn't a definition but a guideline.

6
From dictionary.com:
And from Amazon's TOS:

Note in particular the bolded section, which directly contradicts what you're saying.
The definition is different from what Amazon states, so that first part wasn't needed, since I can actually admit I am wrong in Amazon's definition, but not the dictionary one.
With regard to the last point, it probably is breaking state laws unless each person can only enter once rather than being able to enter using multiple methods, each of which increases the odds of winning.

Also, I'd hate to be the defense attorney for a defendant who tried to split the compensation/possibility of compensation hair. I wouldn't make such an assessment without consulting an attorney.

In an earlier post, you mentioned treading gently, but your approach sounds riskier than that to me. It's also risky to take legal advice you get from Kboards threads as gospel. There aren't any attorneys posting--and notice that any statements by attorneys are always surrounding with "This is not legal advice" kinds of disclaimers, anyway. An author may have read the law (as I have to some extent), but that doesn't mean they or I am qualified to give legal advice. The safest course--at minimum--is to read the law for yourself. Even safer if you may be in a gray area is to consult an attorney.

As for the TOS, I believe other posters have already mentioned that it does consider entries in giveaways as compensation.
I wouldn't do it myself. Just clarifying what was legal considered based on my understanding using the info presented in the thread.
Of course, what I stated was based on what I asked Amazon about a year ago.
I still stand by that whatever anyone does, they should thread lightly since there's a lot of gray area in this subject.

7
Amazon clearly states reviewers cannot receive compensation of ANY kind. I would consider a contest entry compensation (especially if you win :) ).
I'm sure they overlook it a lot, like they do with putting affiliate links in backmatter and newsletters, but personally, I wouldn't risk my account over it!
A giveaway isn't compensation though. It's the possibility for compensation. As long as you don't require a review it's not breaking the TOS and if you include a free entry, you're not breaking any state laws.

8
How do we know that's fine with Amazon? Does it actually say that in the TOS? (Sometimes people interpret Amazon's silence on an issue as approval, but Amazon is known for suddenly deciding to enforce a provision it may previously have ignored.)

General Comment: When I was a newbie, I did quite a lot of research on giveaways, and though state laws vary, they all agree on the point that only the state can run a lottery. Lotteries have three elements: a "consideration" to enter, random selection of winners, and prizes of substantive value. It's important to note that "consideration" can be anything that takes the entrant a lot of time or that has value to the contest promoter, even if it isn't monetary value (like a review, for example).

Does having a free option get a contest promoter off the hook? Maybe, though I'd hate to go that way without consulting an attorney. However, that approach definitely won't work if there are several ways to enter and potential entrants can use them all (like in a Rafflecopter giveaway). In other words, if someone's odds of winning are improved by entering in several different ways, all the entry methods have to be free in order to avoid having the giveaway classified as a lottery.

In this kind of situation, it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.
I wish I could find the thread but someone strongly clairifed the laws and Amazon's tos. The thread was about doing a giveaway with entries being reviews.
But like you said, it's best to thread lightly.

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:33:43 AM »
Basically, it's buying your way up the Amazon ranks and into the USAT lists.   All those "sales" of the book are actually just paid purchases by the promoter, redeemed by people who have been given gift money to buy them.

If you took $10000, put your book up at $.99 and gifted 10000 copies of the book (with warnings that they must download the book by midnight), you could buy your way onto the list and you become a USA Today Bestselling author.   And your book would rank really high in the Amazon store.
The box set I was in have over 5000 sales before it went off preorder.
5000.
At the end of the first week, we had around 6500 sale in total.
For people arguing rules and TOS's, they should know that you can not gift a preorder.
So, where is this magically number of gifting 10k copies is coming from?

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:30:23 AM »
Well, seeing as the gifting part is pretty much the only way to get on the best seller list without actually, you know, having enough fans to buy your books, then you're feeling iffy about the entire thing.
You do know I was posting about paypal and not actually gifting books right?

If you read some more you learn that the money goes toward advertising on Bookbub and other venues. Any book gifting are done from the authors own pockets and isn't in the thousands.
If viewpoints on morality differ, one has to be a lower standard than the other, correct? You said you don't think something's morally wrong, and Christina said she thought it did. Two different levels of morality. One has to be lower. Are you saying your morals are higher than hers? Cause, you know, it didn't sound that way.
You're arguing levels, I'm arguing views.
Just because a viewpoint is different doesn't make the standards any different.
You're arguing for arguing sakes.
Like me, I don't believe in a God, but a lot of people do. That doesn't any person more right or wrong their views, just different.


Edited. PM me if you have any questions. --Betsy/KB Mod

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:25:35 AM »
$500 buy in X 20 writers = $10,000.
Cover - $100
Formatting - $1000
Ads for a week - $2000
Gift copies - $1000

Profit - $5900

Am I missing some expenses? I've never done one of these, but I've published one or two books and successfully marketed thim. Just a bit. I think the formatting cost may be high.
You do know that her sets are on preorder for three months, so the ad spend isn't just for one week, it's spread out.
She doesn't give a thousand dollars worth of copies.
If there are any gifts, they all come from the authors personal pockets and it's not in the thousands.
If we go by your budgeting and fit it within the real constraints, then she would be in the red.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:22:33 AM »
Fair enough. I don't send too many "gifts" so I haven't run into it much.
To be fair, I feel a little iffy about the gifting part, but she has never lead me astray before.
This is 100% untrue. You cannot dispute them via PayPal, you must go to your bank. Banks have different standards, time frames, etc., and getting money back is more difficult.
I filed and won a claim before for gifting. A google search would show others have as well.
You just don't get the typical amount of protection. You have to argue harder for your dispute.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:18:49 AM »
She's just doing all of this out of the goodness of her heart. Bless her, man, who could ever doubt that? 40,000 grand for a 20 book (sorta) box set, but hey, it all goes into marketing, every last penny. And those people who say that she told them part of it goes for a nebulous "coaching" fee are just bitter haters.
Strange, she never had a set that was worth 40000 grand that has gone out yet.
Does it feel good to just say things and not have any proof to back it up?

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:15:28 AM »
I didn't. You did.
No I didn't. I said we had different Morals on the issue. You straight up said I had lower moral standards.

I don't claim to be a Paypal expert, but doing it this way doesn't it:

1) negate the 2-3% charge that Paypal charges for money transfers
2) makes it more difficult to dispute / issue a chargeback.

From Paypal's website:

If youíre making a purchase, there are 2 payment types:

    Goods - Select this payment type when youíre paying for something that you didnít buy on eBay.
    Services - Use this payment type when your purchase is not a product but a service (for example, work performed for you by someone else)
When you make a purchase, the seller pays a small fee to receive your money.

If youíre sending a personal payment, payment types include:

    Gift - Select this payment type when youíre sending money as a gift for a birthday or other special occasion.

You can make a personal payment to anyone in the U.S. for free. There is a small charge for payments made with a debit or credit card.

Nothing about chargebacks on this page, though.

You can in fact, make a claim on gifts, it doesn't make it harder to get back either.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:12:50 AM »
Do the math, man! She makes a profit. Whether she spends it on shoes or childcare is immaterial. Saying she doesn't is like saying a calculator lies.
Do it for me. How exactly is she making a profit?
Do you have her expense report?

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:09:22 AM »
Jalex, you do realize that you just told Christina that you have lower moral standards than she does. Or did you mean that you have a more enlightened idea of what morality is? I think the former, as Christina's notion of morality seems to be more closely aligned with my own.
Who knew that you were the moral compass that all should strive for.
I don't care if you think certain things are morally wrong. But don't dare claim that you are morally superior to me.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 10:06:06 AM »
I would like to thank the mods for not shutting this post down. It is actually very informative for a lot of people, who I'm sure are not commenting simply because, like me, they have no personal experience of any of it to draw upon.

I would like to ask a question if I may and get an answer from someone actually involved in the sets, even if just briefly; perhaps JalexM would be good enough to confirm his experience on this topic too.

Is it true about people being asked to buy in using Paypal's friends and family option rather than under business services? I find that rather concerning, why is no one discussing the huge ramifications of this? I can only assume it simply can't be true?  Would really appreciate a straight answer on that.
She does do that. At least for the buy in's, I don't remember for her other services(Her book blast are awesome and drama free, ha). She has claimed that she has talked to paypal about it and they were fine with it since she doesn't get paid from the buy in. But, that's based on if you believe her or not. I do, but if you don't, then I can see that being a detractor.
Oh, you mean the post where he does not say that very thing?
Where do you think the money for buy in goes?
To new shoes?

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:58:33 AM »
You don't have time to go through the thread, and you apparently don't have time to look at all the screenshots of sketchy and downright unethical behavior on the link in the OP, either. So why are you so confident in your assertion that we should all just move along, nothing to see here?
I already looked through it and gave my answer to you. I'm not going to baby you through it.
Just because you decide to ignore it is your problem.
So you've done ONE box set with her, and that makes you both an expert and her biggest defender? Something's not right here.


What's not right exactly? Spell it out.


Three $500 box sets and a $2,000 collection in the past nine months. Plus countless giveaways, NL building services, etc. I assume that counts as direct experience.

Just to be clear, I didn't claim book for book--I said she offered to add money to the advertising budget of box sets in exchange for participants of the sets buying copies of her solo title.

The mods haven't cracked down on the posting of screen shots so I'll happily do the same, although I don't have a photo bucket account, etc., and have no idea how else to post them. It probably won't be until later in the day.

Editing to say if anyone else who does have a quick way to post screenshots is willing to do so sooner, I'll happy supply them to you.
Got it, I understand.
Personally, I don't think that's morally wrong or against the TOS. But if you do, then that's fine with me. I won't argue it.
I've read them multiple times.  I do not see anyone saying participating in a multi-author box set is immoral.  If you can't find them either, I'm going with "no one said that."


It's literally a post above you.
Apparently spending money on marketing is bad.

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:49:24 AM »
Thanks!  Do you mind quoting them?  I still can't find them.
I don't have time to go through the thread, but it starts around page 7 I believe.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:45:44 AM »
I'm posting from experience too, Jalex, and nothing I've said is baseless.
That's why I only questioned you on the book for book thing, and not the other things. You said it was recent but how recent? This year? Because in the set I was in, she did nothing of the sort.

It's almost like there's a second definition of the word "baseless" that I don't know about.
You claimed different things then her. You're allegations are still baseless.
You have a habit of reading only what you want to see.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:39:13 AM »


This is the post I'm looking for.  I haven't seen any posts where anyone says being in a multi-author box set is immoral, but it looks like some things were moderated.  This sounds crazy, but there's no point arguing it if no one really said it... can you let me know if someone actually posted that box sets are immoral because they are too easy to sell?

Thanks
There are a lot of post in the middle of this thread from Sela, Wayne and a few others claiming that they are straight up immoral. Find the second to last mod post and start going back from there.
This thread has been going from allegation from allegation at break neck speeds.

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:35:45 AM »
Yes, the answers are there. Whereas from you all I see is your continued assertion that nothing is wrong, that people who make accusations are liars, etc. Meanwhile, multiple people have pointed out their experiences, and there are screenshots of troubling behavior in the article linked to from the OP.
I call a spade a spade.
Whenever I ask for people to post proof, they never do, nor do I call out or reply to people who had a personal experience with her, like Patty and a few others. I'm posting from my experiences while you post from allegations.
What have you've one with her? What experience do you have with her?
Do you really believe every allegation that someone claims? When in fact, I am part of the group people are making baseless claims about and in my personal experience, of actually being apart of the groups those people are wrong?
I can show you every post in the set I was a part of that allegedly bought thousands of giveaways to hit the list, I can show you every one of Rebecca's post in the group where she is allegedly forcing us to buy her books for other sets.
Yet, strangely enough, there aren't any of those kind of post.
I'm telling you that every single accusation was wrong, from my own personal experience, from my very own eyes and you're going to question my claims when I say they aren't true, just because you heard someone else say something different?
Am I a [redacted] liar? Because that's what you yourself is claiming of me.
Who is in the wrong here?
The people who's actually been in her sets til the end, or the people who are just spreading what they heard?
Don't be a lemming and jump off the cliff with the leader.
There's a lot of dancing around in this thread.



edited -- profanity not necessary, thanks -- Ann

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:19:21 AM »
I went to your profile and read your posts. I see where you mention "baseless accusations" but that's all I can find that may defend or deny the screenshots posted. If that's the response you're referring to, then I have to argue the word 'baseless.'  They're not baseless if there are screenshots to validate the claims; which there are. True?  ::)

On the other hand, if the proof-of-innocence screenshots you keep alluding to in the private FB group would negate/explain the accusatory-screenshots from the Passive Voice link, why not post them like this person did? Easily clickable without having to join a group to see them?
You can join the group and then leave. It's that simple.
Do I really need to post 297 photos just for your convenience?
The answers are there for you.

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 09:05:30 AM »
A lot of these rumors are supported in the blog post that just went back up (linked from PV). Would you care to comment on those? Just trying to get a clear picture here, and no one seems to be denying nor defending those screenshots.

Inquiring minds want to know.

http://insideindie.weebly.com/case-1-the-bestseller-list-box-set-gig.html
I commented on them earlier in the thread, near the first few pages.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« on: April 29, 2017, 08:53:23 AM »
When Rebecca was launching a recent solo title, she posted in each of the box set groups (believe there were 12+ at the time) that anyone who bought at .99 would have $1 added to the advertising budget of that set. Many people posted copies of receipts from multiple retailers b/c they were getting the money back in the form of advertising. It was a back door way to buy copies of her own book.

ETA that since there is no profit involved here, it seems strictly an effort to affect rank, which as we know, is not allowed.
Strange, I was in one of those groups, yet, she never posted anything of the sort.

A lot of rumors going around.

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