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Messages - David Brian

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Yeah, but the worst of it is, for me as a reader, the sponsored books are mostly things I'm not interested in, outside my genre, so no, I'm not going to buy anything from those suggestions. The also-boughts were (mostly) relevant; the sponsored ads aren't.

Twice today I've searched Amazon for books, and both times it directed me to sponsored ads at the top of pages. Naughty.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Seeking blurb advice & opinions.
« on: Today at 09:38:50 AM »
So this is a memoir of a man Frank, who fought the demiurge for the soul of his partner Roz during their honeymoon at Penwale House in Cornwall. Somehow George is involved and so is a marble-sized object that might be remains of an angel.
Frank is losing to alzheimer's but he finds hope in that object.

What is the object?
What is Frank's current goal in the story? What's the downside if that doesn't happen?
Is the alzheimer's in the present a framing device for the desparete fight in the past?

The object is the fragmented remains of an angel; or, rather, it is a fragment of an archon, beings mistakenly taken to be angels.
The story intersperses Frank's current plight with memories from the past, when a rift in the fabric of reality leads to his being separated from Roz. Hence, he enters what once had been the hotel Penhale House, which now serves as a grim base for the demonic servitors of the Demiurge.
George Smoke is an old man who lives in the village of Boscastle where this is occurring. The thing that neither Frank nor Roz can understand, this man looks just like their neighbor George Smoke, who lives over two-hundred miles north of this place.

Writers' Cafe / Seeking blurb advice & opinions.
« on: Today at 06:30:13 AM »
Okay, so I decided to let my muse run wild. :-X Anyhow, the result is a hybrid Dark Fantasy/Horror/Weird Fiction/Cosmic Horror/Love Story. I know, sounds like a bad business model, right?
Still, it's written now, although Christ knows how I'll market it. The story is loosely based around Gnostic teachings, wherein our world is overseen by a Demiurge. The protagonist is a man named Frank Tanner, and as he battles the onset of Altzeimer's disease, he starts to recall long buried memories. The closest thing I can compare the story with is The Scarlet Gospels, at least in tone.

Does the blurb work, is there enough in it? Help, advice, please?

Can this really be the remains of an angel? And if it is shouldn’t we all tremble in anticipation of what awaits at our end?
Frank Tanner is in a war he cannot win. Then he rediscovers the pouch, the one buried away in the back of the dresser for more than fifty years, and the memories he buried with it.
As he studies the marble sized object within the bag, it rekindles thoughts of a different time; of those early years with Roz, their honeymoon in Cornwall, and the enigmatic George Smoke. As the ties binding Frank’s memories continue to unravel, he remembers the nightmare of Penhale House, built on a nexus point to hellish domains, and the desperate fight for Roz’s soul.
In those dark days past, confronted by fallen gods and cosmic horrors; theirs had seemed a fight destined for failure. But they did survive. They survived the impossible.
Frank Tanner may be losing his mind... but he can still dare to hope.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Rank stripped for 10 downloads?
« on: Today at 05:57:49 AM »

Is this how Amazon plays it now?

My best selling book is 2 years old and this week I set it up for the first ever free promotion using my KDP free days. This morning I log on to see where it ranks so I can see how well it does over the week with free downloads, and the rank has been stripped. I've had 10 free downloads so far.... I haven't done anything shady or against the TOS and I haven't even begun promoting it yet. I just woke up!!

What's the point in using the free days if they're just going to remove us from the ranking, making my promotion useless?

When did you check your rank? If your free promo had only just kicked in it was likely showing 'zero' as it hadn't yet registered those 'free' downloads. Remember that your book is now in the 'for free' charts, as opposed to showing previous sales.

As the headline says, Nightlife is *Free* to download on Amazon Kindle. Promo applies June 6th/7th.

A break-up with his girlfriend is followed by an argument ending in violence. Now, Jason Briggs finds himself alone among the hustle and bustle of Saturday night clubbers, and his evening may be about to get a whole lot worse.

Nightlife is a 7,500 word short story, originally published in the Dark Albion collection.
Tags: horror, sci-fi, genetic engineering, conspiracy theory,

<merged with existing thread.  Please, one thread per book.  Bookmark this thread so that you can find it again, thanks! Duplicate threads may be removed without comment. --Ann>

The Book Bazaar / Re: The Strange Case at Misty Ridge
« on: June 01, 2018, 05:58:24 AM »
The Strange Case at Misty Ridge is available in paperback and also on Amazon Kindle. The novel can be read *Free* with Kindle Unlimited.

"The glow offered by the nightlight is gentle, orange-pink even through closed lids, and the distant murmurings of the downstairs television, along with the occasional sounds of laughter–my parents, talking and laughing in tones which soothe–comforts me, and gives reassurance of their close proximity.

I fidget from my side onto my back, and something tickles the top of my thigh. The lightness of the contact induces an involuntary giggle, and a second movement, lower down my leg, is greeted with the same response. Something scurries across my cheek and down my neck, and suddenly I am frightened.

There are things crawling on my legs and up my arms, and even through the cloth of the bodysuit I can feel their weight pressing on my chest. I attempt to open my eyes, but thin legs tangle with fine lashes as they rest upon my lids like coins of the dead."

Writers' Cafe / Re: Opening lines
« on: May 23, 2018, 02:15:45 PM »
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.
                                                                                   - Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do Amazon Ever Remove Reviews?
« on: May 22, 2018, 03:24:36 AM »
The only time I ever asked Amazon to remove a review it was posted on the UK site. Somebody left a one star review for Carmilla: A Dark Fugue - which is perma free - because "It's a vampire book." The book only had two reviews prior to this hit, and so the single star was quite damaging.

The person concerned had previously posted over one-hundred single word reviews, usually stating something was crap/rubbish/garbage etc. I contacted Amazon as these were in breach of their terms. The great and wise Zon then removed all of the single word reviews, but left the review for Dark Fugue posted as, 'we cannot remove this review as it is accurate with regards the product content.' Well, yeah, it is. :-X

You're talking about within the Sponsored Products carousel, most all of the books you're seeing on the first carousel pages have the just/recently released tag?

That doesn't seem to be the case within the Romance best-selling list (on the US Amazon site) that I'm browsing at the moment. Some book pages have 2-3 of the seven on the first page that are new releases, some have none.

Maybe just random, or something to do with how authors are advertising in the genre you're browsing? Or it could reflect some difference with AMS ads on the UK Amazon site, if that's what you're browsing? (Stalker alert! Lol, naw, I just saw that some of your book links on here direct me to the UK site.)

No, I was looking on Amazon US. Maybe they are still playing around with things if it's a new addition to the system. Either way, it's probably just another bump to the cost of using AMS.

There's a recent thread discussing this. It should be on the first or second page. For me, the fact that they've turned Amazon into Ad-central has pushed me away from KU.

Ok, thanks, K.B. Yeah, I was wide before and made moderate sales, but I'm feeling like maybe it's time for another go.

Is anyone else seeing this? Every page I look at I'm seeing the top spots being dominated by new releases (highlighted as Just Released or Recently Released). Is this a new feature, or am I just slow on the uptake?

AMS was already feeling like a money pit. I've halted most of my ads. The two I have left were running at 26% and 56% consistently for many months. I follow all of the top tips - except 'publish regularly' - yet the last eight weeks has seen them crash to 63% and 93%. I know they've been published a fair while but something has clicked fairly recently on Amazon, because my visibility has crashed through the floor. All of which may be nothing at all to do with this latest change, but I needed to vent. ;)

Dark Albion: Eight Twisted Tales of Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Horror (Including the Complete Selected Cuts Series): Pick up a copy on Amazon Kindle for .99c/.99p - promo price applies May 21-27.
This collection can be read for *Free* with Kindle Unlimited.
Also available in paperback.

Mary Webb is a young journalist with a highly promising career. Now though, Mary is on the verge of breaking a story that could change the world forever. She has uncovered evidence of something too crazy to be true; the conspiracy theorists are right, the human race is being ruled over by a secret cabal of reptilian shape-shifters. This inhuman elite prosper from the misery, wars and blight they propagate across planet Earth.
It seems insane. But Mary has proof the threat is real.
Should she run the story, or just bury it and get on with her career?
And can she stay alive long enough to make a decision, either way?

The feature story Dark Albion is a novelette length slice of suspense, supported in this collection by seven other tales of twisted science, government conspiracies, ghosts, and shape-shifting monsters inhabiting the shallows off the British coast. This book includes the Amazon Best-selling novella, The Boy on the Beach.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 99c Sci-Fi & Fantasy Promo (Free to Enter)
« on: May 20, 2018, 05:01:35 PM »
Is this still happening, and if it is was my book accepted? I've heard nothing, and can't seem to find much online either.

ETA: My bad. I just realized I needed to follow the SFF Book Bonanza link at the bottom of Dean's OP.

As the "local historian" on the Amazon review policy (as I have been watching it evolve since like 2004!) :o

In 2004, anyone with an email address could leave a review on Amazon. But then authors started to create a bunch of fake email accounts to leave fake reviews. So Amazon changed it's policy.

The policy changed to that you had to have at least made a purchase on Amazon before you could leave a review. So then the scammers, with their fake accounts, would use gift cards to "buy" their own book and leave reviews (also getting the benefit of the "verified purchase" badge to boot!).

Amazon caught on, so changed their policy that you had to make at least one purchase with a CREDIT CARD. So the scanners, with their fake accounts, went and got those Visa gift cards, which are treated like credit cards and would use gift cards to "buy" their own books and leave reviews.

So THEN Amazon caught on and changed their policy so that you had to use a credit card registered to your actual address and purchase at least $50 worth of stuff period. But the scammers simply would create "reviewer" accounts and consider the $50 per account "the cost of doing business (because you can still get certain Visa gift cards that trick systems into thinking they are real credit cards by registering them to any random address. There is no real verification process involved.)

So NOW the current system requires $50 in purchases PER YEAR and restricts you to I believe no more than five reviews a week for items not purchased on Amazon.

Every change over the last 14 years has been a direct response to people gaming the review system.

And you know what? This entire circle of ridiculous B.S. is entirely our own fault as a community, because it is only in the last couple of years that indies have actually started to care because NOW IT IS STARTING TO HURT THEM. But I have been saying since 2004 we needed to collectively be more vigilant about the scammers and review sellers. That we should have been taking a more active role in reporting the sellers when we came across them and discouraging other authors from resorting to such tactics. But for a decade, all I heard was "It isn't my job to police Amazon", or "What other authors do isn't my business," or "It doesn't impact me so why should I worry."

And I wasn't issuing these warnings because I am psychic. I was issuing them because the path follows the exact same trajectory as the one that plagues the hospitality industry. Fake reviews are an infection in the hospitality industry, with most of the hotel and restaurant rating sites predominately filled with fake reviews (either fake glowing reviews or negative reviews from competitors).

It IS our job to police our business partners, because whatever happens to the Amazon ecosystem impacts us directly. The current problems with the review system should prove this to everyone beyond a shadow of a doubt. As a group, we need to take a more active roll in trying to neutralize threats to OUR businesses as new scams emerge. We can't bury our heads in the virtual sand and say "Not my problem" or "there is nothing we can do" or "that's Amazon's job."

Great post, Julie!

Not to game the system, but I wonder if your ARC reviewers could post a review on the UK or Canadian sight? I don't think either of them have the visibility that the US site has, but I don't think they have any barrier to posting reviews.

I did hidden gems a few weeks ago and doubled my UK reviews... for a grand total of 4  :D

Well, here's another issue that just came to light. I'm in the UK, and whenever I read a book I like I will post reviews on the Amazon UK and USA sites, as I want to support the author and the book. As of this week, Amazon won't allow my posts on the USA site as I've never bought anything from there...obviously because I buy from the UK site. Duh!

It's just a shame the necessary 'spend' couldn't have been floated across the Amazon borders.

The Boy on the Beach - *Free* on Kindle today - May 18th.

Is it really possible to love a monster?

The child has been torn asunder, and those three who circle him, bodies stained crimson in the moonlight, they plunge head first into the breach; the girl, with a mouth wider than her face, is first to draw her prize, and as she turns to face me, a loop of something dragged between her teeth, her face is blood on snow, and her eyes black death.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Best Indie Book Award
« on: May 17, 2018, 06:33:05 PM »
LOL... $50 fee.

Edited to add:
Since you're an "admin for the BIBA," perhaps you can tell us who the judges are, and what the $50 entry fee (for each category the book is submitted to) is used for since there isn't a cash prize. Your website shows the winners from each year, but nowhere can I find a list of nominees or entrants.

Putting aside that $50 seems quite steep for the chance of gaining a gold sticker, I noticed this on the 2018 entry page:We will accept any indie book that has been published in 2012 or after. 'Nuff said!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is giving away free books still relevant?
« on: May 17, 2018, 06:17:06 PM »
There is a lot of work goes into writing a novel, so why would you want to give it away for free? Plus the fact that a majority of downloaded freebies just end up as unused clutter on someone's reading device.

A better option would be to go with a low price point (at least initially), and then stack up on cheap or free promos.
You may end up slightly out of pocket doing it this way, but at least you will get some valid also boughts displayed on your Amazon page. I say valid because ideally you want also boughts that reflect the book's genre, as this helps Amazon point the right customers toward your page. Whereas, if you make the book free from the off, your also boughts will likely end up displaying a wide variation of genres, and thus you won't gain the right kind of visibility. Also, enter the book into KU.

Just to add, I know it's tough being a new writer and trying to get visibility/sales/reviews, but you have to think of this as playing 'the long game'. Allocate a modicum of time for social media and/or advertising, but then get on and write the next one.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 99c Sci-Fi & Fantasy Promo (Free to Enter)
« on: May 14, 2018, 03:41:38 AM »
I just submitted Dark Albion. Happy to mail out on whichever day works best for you, Dean.

Thanks, Starrrnight! :D

Writers' Cafe / Re: I am having a senile moment
« on: May 11, 2018, 03:44:31 AM »
It's a really tricky one actually.

I've said this several times but it never hurts to say it again  ;)
I am British and all my YA books are written in British English, but there are a lot of reviews on them from U.S. teenagers complaining about my spelling and my incorrect word usage. (Even though I have a bolded statement at the front of every book telling them it is British English!)

I've tried to compensate by always having an American proofreader who also looks out for unfamiliar words or phrases. But the reviews still happen.

So, when I started my new pen name I switched to using American English. And surprise surprise, not a single review so far complaining about it! It's kind of sad actually...

This is something cuts both ways. Misty Ridge has reviews criticizing the fact that I am English yet choose to write using American terms and spelling. You'll never please everyone, right?  :)

Can you use the first three words of your last title again? I dunno, something like, The Truth About Prince Charming. The Truth about Mary Poppins, The Truth About The Glass Slipper. The Truth about Chocolate.

Sorry about the effort, but I don't know your story. Titles are tough!! Good Luck.

I'd echo EC Sheedy: The Truth About Broken Dreams. The Truth About Rudolph's Nose. The Truth About The Rector's Wife. The Truth About The Cardinal's Sin.

The options are endless, but difficult without knowing more about the story.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Disappearing Reviews
« on: May 09, 2018, 06:25:18 PM »
Yep! And I don't have that many to count. :-X I noticed two had vanished this week, but I'm done worrying about it as it seems to be a regular occurrence lately. You may find them turning up again within the next few weeks.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Slogan for a vampire hotel/bar
« on: May 09, 2018, 06:12:56 PM »
Hotel Antone - Welcome to our home.

Bridal casket available on request.   

Check out the range of fangtastic offers in our new Stake Bar. Every couple receive a free bottle of claret.

Saturday night disco - Get on that dance floor and get the blood pumping. Music from dusk till dawn

Sunday night - Inkubus Sukkubus dead in concert

Writers' Cafe / Re: Quick Question - To Avoid Being Banned
« on: May 05, 2018, 08:31:36 AM »
the Book Bazaar is the only place on Kboards where you can self-promote. Start a thread for your book there, and use that same thread for future announcements about the book. Also, there are rules about how often you can add to it. Once a week, I think, unless you're replying to someone who replied to the thread. The moderators will fill you in on the rules once you make your post over there.

Just to add: Make sure to bookmark the thread you start, so that you can easily find it the next time you promote the same book.

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