Saturday, March 30, 2013



The Newest Scam?


             I admit I tend to be a negative person. To use an old cliché, I always see the cup half empty and tend to read the worst interpretation into anything I perceive as a slight. When I look at my eBook sales and see returns, I immediately leap to the conclusion that people are using Amazon’s generous return policy to read my books without buying them.
I got used to seeing a few returns among the sales of my first book. It seemed to happen the most after I’d run a free KDP promo. Annoying, but understandable. People apparently thought the book was still free. I didn’t stop to think that even though they asked for and received their money back, they still had the book on their Kindle. How could they possibly return an eBook?
When my new book, which has not had a free promotion yet, began to have returns, the practice began to concern me. The book has not gotten a huge  number of sales yet, so returns are very obvious to an author who keeps an eye on daily sales. I decided to go right to the source for answers.
Here’s what I found out when I contacted KDP.
1.                    Amazon’s return policy on eBooks is seven days. If you purchase an eBook, you get your money back as long as seven days after the day you bought it.
2.                    Amazon has the ability to remove the book from your device once you’ve returned it.
3.                    After the second email, I was informed that was the last communication they would give me regarding the subject.
I understand it is important for Amazon to give the customer excellent service. But, to me, seven days is excessive. It is easy to read a book in seven days. And, Amazon gives the customer a significant amount of the book to read which should be all the reader needs to make the decision to buy.
I'd love your input on this subject!
Readers, do you feel the 7 days is necessary even thought you have the ability to read at least an entire chapter of a book? Do you believe the increase in returns are all innocent errors?
Fellow authors, are your eBooks being returned? How frequently?

Dear friends,
I had a hard time deciding whether to address this topic on my blog. Personally, I hate dwelling on things I cannot change. I respect Amazon for the many things it does for self-published authors. The 7-day eBook return policy, however, is one thing I wish they would change. I don’t think eBooks should be returnable unless a person hits a wrong button and immediately contacts Amazon. My real fear is a burgeoning practice of read-and-return.
Here’s wishing all of you a glorious Easter, and hoping to hear from you.
Thanks for joining me,


I've just been informed that there is a petition circling on trying to get AZ to change their eBook return policy. Go to You will have to sign up in order to sign a petition there, but it is a simple process. Then do a search for "Amazon eBook return policy." I was surprised to see that there are more than one in the works! Let's hope they help.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to Stay Out of Twitter Jail

There’s No Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card for Twitter Jail!

How to stay out of Twitter’s overuse jail.

          After I published my first book, She’s Not There, it wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed by how many social media sites there were and how many I was “supposed” to be active on. It quickly became frustrating trying to keep up with  with them all.
Then I found a book recommending that an author, rather than do a poor job on all of them, pick two and do them right. This spoke to my state of angst, and I quickly settled on doing the two things I actually enjoyed: Twitter and blogging.
I clipped along on Twitter for more than a year, acquired 5000+ followers and a long list of folks I regularly exchanged RTs with. It became a comfortable routine.
Imagine my distress the first time I received a Twitter message informing me I’d gone over the allowed transaction limit and wouldn’t be able to tweet or RT for an undisclosed number of hours—a dilemma quickly dubbed “Twitter Jail” by someone much more clever than myself.

 Twitter “tweet allotment” facts:
1.    Twitter allows an individual user 1,000 tweets a day. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, not really.
2.    Those thousand tweets permitted, which include RTs, are broken down into semi-hourly intervals. What does this mean to the user?
3.    You cannot use more than the amount allowed for a semi-hourly break down without risking having your tweeting ability frozen for hours. If you use automated tweets, they will not be run.
4.    Twitter doesn’t give exact details, but if you divide 1000 by 24, that means roughly 41 Twitter transactions allowed per hour.
5.    To be safe, I limit myself to 20 every half hour since Twitter’s descriptor is “semi-hourly,” which defines as twice per hour.

What this means for authors who practice a regular RT exchange with other authors and readers, is you can’t sit down at your computer in the morning, run a huge number of RTs, and consider yourself done for the day. Not if your own scheduled tweets are important to you! By scheduled tweets, I’m referring to those that you set up on sites like Hootsuite and Gremlin.
The only way to beat the system is to stagger your RTs. Don’t groan, I know it’s a lot more work. On days I’m home, sometimes I set a small timer to remind myself to do my 30-minute RT allotment! Unfortunately, the end result on busy days is I just don’t get to give back as many RTs as I would like.
Use your transactions wisely. When RTing for someone, find one that will help his or her cause. And if you want people to RT for you, make sure you have something there you’d like RT’d, other than a long list of thank-you’s.

Dear Readers,
I decided to address this topic because I’m often disappointed that I cannot always RT for everyone who does it for me. There is just not enough time in a day to do it with the new restrictions. Hope this helps you understand Twitter Jail--I've been there--the food is awful!
Have a great week,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Selling eBooks - How to get lucky


Is it all about luck?
And if so, how to get lucky!

During March, the month of four-leaf-clovers and little green leprechauns, we celebrate the luck of the Irish. We’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and we can all have that luck! The word luck, beaten and bastardized, gets tossed around like a day-old doughnut whenever we discuss our success (or lack thereof) in selling our books.
            The first time I took advantage of KDP’s Select promotion and placed my suspense eBook, She’s Not There, free on Amazon, I only had 8,202 downloads at the end of the two days, compared to a friend’s 26,000 downloads using the same promotion. She told me, for her, there had been a lot of luck involved, and it was due to the fact that a popular eBook site noticed her promotion and highlighted it for their readers. I know firsthand her success is not all due to luck. She’s a devoted marketer, and spends every available moment maintaining her book’s sales’ momentum. Me, I’m addicted to things like Spider Solitaire, playing bridge and watching The Young and the Restless; my marketing ethic is not nearly as fierce!
Luck is more likely to happen to those who go after it.
How to get lucky:
1. Expect the Best
Lucky people believe they will be successful. Research shows that if you believe you’ll succeed, your odds of hitting a lucky streak go up. There’s no magic involved—expectancy is a real driver of behavior. Expecting something as opposed to wanting or hoping for it, will affect your decision-making and you’ll put in more of an effort than you may normally have.
 Writers—find ways to stay positive and expect success—it works!
2.    Notice What Others Miss
Lucky people are more open to random opportunities. They notice chance situations and act on them. Lucky people are flexible in their thinking, and it’s that relaxed, open attitude that allows them to see what other don’t.
         Keep your eyes open for opportunities—they’re out there!
3.    Say “Yes”
 Lucky people do not remain passive. Instead, they seize opportunities as they come without endless second-guessing.
   When chance encounters occur, don’t overthink them, act on them.
4.    Switch Things Up
Lucky people increase their chances of getting opportunities by meeting new people and trying new things. Luck won’t come looking for you or knock at your door.
      The more you put yourself out there, the more likely it is you will find luck.
5.    Practice Bouncing Back
Lucky people don’t let one failure sidetrack their road to success. When you let a bad break get you down, you close the door on new situations that could lead to a lucky break. Closely linked to the first trait, expecting the best, bouncing back means you will have a greater chance of success with each failure, because you’ll be trying more often.
     Regard every bad break as an opportunity to find the right course for you!
Dear readers,
            Although I didn’t spell out detailed ways these traits apply to the self-published author, I’m sure their relevance is obvious. So many of us, myself included, wait for that magical “break,” that will mean success for our novels. You know what magical thinking does, it delays success. Practice the habits of lucky people; they work!
Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day,