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Topics - aaronpolson

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Writers' Cafe / "Reclaming" a book from a blocked account
« on: March 29, 2012, 08:09:30 AM »
Please don't throw digital stones...  ???

My account has been blocked. I feel like I'm part of some twisted twelve-step program...

Anyway, I found a publisher willing to take on my books (at least those I'm positive are in compliance with KDP's guidelines--not sure about the others), but KDP told that publisher I needed to "reclaim" my books by unpublishing them first.

Well... As my account is blocked, I can't reclaim anything. I've sent the appropriate email to KDP's "contact us" address, but they sent a robo-response saying my account was blocked back.

Does anyone have any suggestions / solutions? It feels as though my books are trapped in Kindle limbo with no way out (like where are my book "rights"?)

Thank you for not stoning me.  ;)

Writers' Cafe / My Students Have Returned... With Kindles
« on: January 03, 2012, 12:41:19 PM »
This isn't a scientific study at all... just an observation.

My students have returned from holiday break with large numbers of e-readers (seems the #1 e-gift this year), and the vast majority are Kindles.

Hear that, MG/YA writers? Kindles.


Writers' Cafe / Select Free Hasn't Been the Same as Price-Match Free
« on: December 11, 2011, 06:10:16 AM »
And I'm speaking of the after-effect here.

In the past, when a book has been price-matched, the title received a sales boost after going off free. The boost could last anywhere from one week to a month or more. It was a nice wave while it lasted.

It seems when a book was price-matched, once the price returned to list, it retained the category bestseller rankings. From my experience, KDP select isn't doing the same. 

In fact, my first free book landed at the bottom of the pile from whence it came after the free period.

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Writers' Cafe / Changing Titles and Cover Art...
« on: December 02, 2011, 07:11:44 PM »
So I'm trying the cover art/title change trick.  Two of my books have gone rather stagnant on the sales front.

Smoke: A Supernatural Thriller will now be Vengeful Spirits (w/new cover art In Review at KDP) and In the Memory House is now Echoes of the Dead (new cover is below). 

We shall see if these changes have ANY impact.

Can't hurt, right?


Five years ago, a snowstorm trapped them in a lonely farmhouse. One of them never left. Now they've returned, and Hollywood cameras will catch every moment...

Welcome to the show.  ;)

The Book Bazaar / In the Memory House, a NEW Supernatural Thriller
« on: November 15, 2011, 08:00:37 AM »
Five years ago, a snowstorm trapped them in a lonely farmhouse. One of them never left. Now they've returned, and Hollywood cameras will catch every moment...

The Cast:

Kelsey, a PhD student suffering recent tragedy...

Johnny, the war hero with scars inside and out...

Sarah, Johnny's bitter and vindictive ex-girlfriend...

Erin, the valley girl with platinum hair and psychic powers...

Daniel, who holds dark secrets behind his quiet eyes...

and Ben, the slick mastermind who has brought them together.

The house isn't just a house; it's a monster--and they're trapped inside.

Ready for a little dark sci fi?

“[Polson] provides some remarkable observations about the nature of humanity…” - K.J. Hannah Greenberg (Tangent Online)

Now available for a limited time: a collection of seven dark science fiction stories. Some are brutal, other heart-wrenching and poignant. Several stories appeared previously in venues such as Kaleidotrope, Albedo One, and M-Brane SF.

Darker Matter includes:

"One-Tenth of One Percent" – The bottom of the world faces the end of the world.

"Blue Collar Boys" – The future of medical care drives a plumbing van.

"The Quality of Free Air" – An ex-con struggles with his robot-inhabited freedom.

"To Put Away Childish Things" – The end of one life brings a chance at a new one.

"The Good Daughter" – The price of freedom is steep in an off world colony.

"Penance" – A murder is loose aboard an orbital prison ship.

"Precious Metal" – A tiny bird of cogs and steel shows its heart.

About the author: Aaron’s stories have been reprinted in The Best of Every Day Fiction 2009 and 2010, listed as a recommended read by Tangent Online, received honorable mention in the storySouth Million Writers Award and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and children. He prefers ketchup with his beans.

My collected flash fiction, Small Magic: Collected Flash Fiction, is available for the manageable price of $2.99.

Small Magic collects 71 stories, quick jabs of less than one-thousand words each which draw blood. Love, horror, fantasy, crime, magical realism, science fiction... Small Magic has a little bit of everything.

Stories in this collection have been selected for The Best of Every Day Fiction and The Best of Eclectic Flash. Several are award winners, like the haunting "Different Strings" (Whidbey Island Student Writers' Choice Award) and "The Ox-Cart Man" (Whispering Spirits Flash Fiction Contest). The author edited the acclaimed flash fiction 'zine 52 Stitches in 2009 and 2010.

Writers' Cafe / Have You Ever Read a Self-Published Book?
« on: September 29, 2011, 12:56:41 PM »
Former uber-agent Nathan Bransford asks the question today.  The comments are interesting.

My opinion?  If you are a) a self-published (or indie, whatever) author and b) sell books on Kindle than you better c) own a Kindle (or at least have used one) and d) read at least one self-pubbed book.


Writers' Cafe / A question about color images...
« on: September 15, 2011, 07:19:46 PM »
Will color images appear on iPads, etc. running the Kindle app?

I know the Kindle itself is a black and white device, but several children's books state they will appear in color on a different device. Does this require special formatting or just color images in the source file?

Writers' Cafe / Does this subtitle mislead?
« on: September 15, 2011, 04:08:15 AM »
I've revised, retitled, and recovered a book and I'm not sure about the new subtitle. While "A Ghost Story" is accurate, does it imply that the book (a short novel at 51K) is just a short story?

Suggestions? Should I alter the subtitle to "supernatural thriller" instead?

Seventeen-year-old Tucker Ellison wants a normal life, but life in Springdale is anything but normal. As if ghost trains and unsolved murders aren't enough, he is falling in love with Ellen, an art class weirdo who has her finger on the pulse of small town strangeness. Following Ellen's lead, Tucker quickly tumbles into a world he never imagined--a world which threatens the lives of those closest to him.

My new vampire novella, Spider and I, is on sale:

Jack wants nothing more than a normal life after his parents' untimely deaths. He bounces from foster home to foster home, haunted at each stop by a monster he thinks of only as "the shadow man". As Jack grows older, he learns "the shadow man" isn't the only monster in his life...

To celebrate, I'm giving away free books--details at my blog.

Writers' Cafe / And Another Books Goes Free...
« on: September 08, 2011, 06:01:32 PM »
Violent Ends, a collection of horror stories with a bit of "bite" is now Free on US Smashwords.  I'm curious to see how a collection of stories being free affects my other books...

Anyway... Free is good press. ;)

Writers' Cafe / Amazon "Bestselling" sort is now "Popularity"?
« on: September 01, 2011, 10:31:32 AM »
Does anyone know about this?  I tried to sort my books based on "bestselling" this morning, but the option was gone.

Is "popularity" the same, or is it based on some mystic algorithm?


Writers' Cafe / On Amazon--Bestselling now Popularity?
« on: September 01, 2011, 10:28:10 AM »
I just checked my books in Amazon's Kindle store, and there is no longer an option to sort by "Bestselling". It's now "Popularity".  Anyone know if there's a difference and what it might be?

Writers' Cafe / Erotica Writers - Your Help Please
« on: August 26, 2011, 04:38:16 PM »
So I dabbled with an erotic short, tried to publish under a pseudonym, and had my book promptly blocked for violating Amazon's content guidelines.

The title was in bounds, the characters of age... I'm at a loss and the communication with KDP didn't help.

Any ideas?

The twelve stories in These Darkened Streets play on the foggy boundary between horror and magical realism . You'll find shivers here, dear reader, and other, more thought-provoking flights of imagination all set in small towns with dark, quiet streets...

This collection includes:

"A Game of Lost Boys" - a childhood friend is more than he appears

"The Thing about a Haunting" - an exploration of the nature of ghosts

"When Megan Could Fly" - a high flying high school crush lands hard

"Soul Marbles" - Zane's dad said the marbles carried dead men's souls

"Billy Boy" - Billy told the best monster stories

"The Hired Man is Made of Worms" - the hired man has come home to die

"Different Strings" - two siblings explore a secret world

"The Scavengers Lying in Wait" - more than catfish sleep in Potter's Pond

"What Julie’s Dad Doesn’t Know" - the .38 isn't loaded, yet...

"The Logic of Monsters" - a walk home slips into a flight of fantasy

"Empty" - something waits in the old house down the street...

"The World in Rubber, Soft and Malleable" - the townsfolk vanish, one by one, through magic doors in their basements

These stories, all wandering through fictional small towns, are some of the author's favorites.

Tales of undead fiends, bloodthirsty monsters, and hideous nightmare-ghouls waiting to rend and tear human flesh...

A Feast of Flesh includes:

"Cargo" - in a post apocalyptic wasteland, one little girl reaches out in friendship

"Tesoro's Magic Bullet" - they shot Tesoro in Iraq, but this Marine did not die

"The Way of Things in Fly-Over Country" - in a zombie littered wasteland, the undead are not the only ones to fear

"Former Vocations" - a poem of the dead and their past lives

"The Distillery" - Tommy must get past the grey men if he wants his baby girl to live

"In the Primal Library" - little boys' imaginations give birth to hungry, lustful things

"Familiar Faces" - two survivors, one hotel room, and a host of zombies

"Sea of Green, Sea of Gold" - where even the prairie grass hungers

"Bona Fide King of His Realm" - Uncle Rego is a monster

"Down There" - in a town with rich history, the dead outnumber the living

99 cents?  Are you kidding me? Nope:

Writers' Cafe / My first one-star review made me chuckle...
« on: August 07, 2011, 03:22:31 PM »
Basically, I landed a one-star review for We are the Monsters because my characters used the F-word too much. 

Well... they are teenage boys.  Have you heard how teenage boys talk when they don't think anyone is listening?  F-this, F-that. 

Anyway, no big deal.  ;)

Let's say you find yourself in front of a group of people who know nothing about e-books or electronic publishing.  Where would you start?


Writers' Cafe / I nearly fell out of my chair (my book is free)
« on: June 18, 2011, 05:50:10 AM »
Last night, We are the Monsters had 3 sales for the month. 

This morning, I woke and found 269.  WHAT?

I checked, and We Are the Monsters is now a freebie.  Hold on; it's going to be a crazy ride.  ;)

Writers' Cafe / This is Why I Write
« on: June 08, 2011, 05:05:38 AM »
Sales have been meh this month.  Couple the sales woes with general body aches and pains from bathroom remodeling, and it's been a sour start to June.

Then I woke to this email:

"Hi Aaron,
Just wanted to thank you again for the opportunity to read your novel (We Are the Monsters). In a very non-Annie Wilkes way I am a new fan. I thought the language of the novel was amazing. I’ve posted a review on Library Thing, Goodreads, Amazon and will on B&N once the stubborn product page allows
me too. Beautiful prose, dark river water imagery (as well as giant catfish) is so in my mind now and being a small town denizen myself I thought that you got that social dynamic down pat. I am sending The House Eaters to my Kindle as I write this and I;’m so looking forward to reading it as well."

This reader also left a great 5 star review. ;)

Wow.  Does anyone need more motivation than a nice note from a reader? 

(okay, so a billion dollars would be nice, too...)

Nobody said writing fiction was going to be easy. Take chances, make the courageous, daring choice. Write hard. No one wants to read another version of what's come before. No one wants the same thing, warmed over, and served cold. This is a time to be bold and foolish with your writing; you just might like the outcome.

Write Hard represents several years of prompts, editing tips and tricks, and writing "pep talks" I've used with my students. 

...and hey--it's currently on sale for 99 cents.

Writers' Cafe / Check those character names...
« on: May 28, 2011, 07:43:14 AM »
I misspelled a character's name.  My beta readers didn't find the error.  My editor didn't find the error.  A reader did.


When reading a manuscript, it's very easy to read a character's name as a "chunk" instead of individual letters.

Pheobe (incorrect) was read just like Phoebe. 

I've fixed the problem now, and will always add the character's name to Spell Check's dictionary, but...

Just a caution.  :)

Writers' Cafe / A Shot at Indie/Self-Publishing
« on: May 24, 2011, 07:09:40 AM »
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent takes at shot at self-publishing:

My conclusion: This trend toward self-publishing serves primarily the writer.

(Not readers and not the publishing industry as a whole.)

I don't agree with her. At. All. But I thought some folks might want to take a read.

Cheers.   ;)

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