Tag Archives: Amazon Kindle

An Angry Rant from a (Very) Dissatisfied Customer

14 Jan

Hey Bell Media! And The Source! And Apple! Well actually, here’s a call out to Mr. George Cope , CEO of Bell Media Canada, and Mr. Tim Cook , present CEO of Apple. (You gentlemen DO have a Google alert set up on your names and companies, right?) You look like very nice men and obviously you are both very savvy computer/tech/ business guys to have gotten where you are, so I’m hoping you will see past my “mad” in this rant, and take notice of my complaint therein. This may be of some interest to you ….

Here’s the scoop: I am a confirmed PC user who over the past 2 years has been slowly converting to Apple, via my iphone (gift from the kids), and MacPro laptop (gift from Hot Stuff Hubby). All through this past Christmas, I was receiving emails from The Source (and I’m not gonna link that, ‘cause I’m mad at The Source, too, so won’t be sending any readers to that site via ‘the Source’s’ link!). Anyhoo, the emails were advertising the Apple 16 GB ipad mini 3 (in the new color of gold, no less) for $99! My books to this point had been available exclusively on Amazon, but I was toying with the idea of also putting them in Apple’s online store, intending to write my next book directly on my ipad mini.

I tried to order one online. Nope. Stores only.

I phoned my local ‘The Source’ store (2 of them, actually) only to be told that the special was only for a handful of select stores in all of Canada (and we’re a damn big country). However, I was told that I could have my local store order one in, as long as I agreed to sign a 2 year contract with Bell for the device. Hell, yessiree, I’ll do that!

Three weeks later, (yesterday actually) I got the call from a very nice employee at ‘The Source’ store, telling me my ipad mini 3 had arrived and that I should come on down to sign up for the Bell contract. Now, apart from my job as a writer, my day job is that of a self-employed sole charge physiotherapist in a busy clinic. This means that I had to clear my schedule of patients for a one and a half hour slot (mucho lost income) to go do this. No matter. I wanted the mini. No more lugging the comparatively HEAVY Macbook Pro around on holidays with me so I could continue to write whilst away.

Well, jumping to the conclusion of this sad story, after several attempts, the nice man at The Source was unable to get me signed up. He put in a call to some kind of Help line and was told that he would be unable to sign me up for a contract with Bell because I had not had a cellular contract with Bell within the last 90 days.


Well, says I, I have NEVER had a cellular contract with Bell, let alone within the last 90 days, but hey, that’s why I’m here – I WANT to become a Bell customer and I’m fricking frothing at the mouth to sign a 2 year contract with them so I can have my wonderful, light-as-a-feather, portable-as-hell ipad mini 3.


Help line guy says, yeah you can sign her up but only for the full purchase price of the mini 3 – an outrageous sum of just pennies under $600 CAD). Not available no way, no how, for the advertised price of $99. And apparently ‘The Source’ is only allowed to sell Apple products in conjunction with Bell contracts.

Besides seeming to me, to be just short of a fraudulent marketing ploy (as there was no disclaimer or restrictions policy outlined anywhere other than to say “see local store for details”), this is an EPIC MARKETING FAILURE. Not only did Apple and The Source and Bell fail to make a sale (albeit a small one, but still…) but they now have an unhappy customer who writes. And blogs. And who has followers who will share. (You will, right?)

Now I want to compare this to Apple’s biggest competitor, AMAZON and the amazing marketing move of Jeff Bezos . Amazon has sold its tablets AT COST to customers, who then become Amazon converts and buy a bazillion dollars worth of stuff from Amazon, more than making up for the mark-up loss incurred with the sale of the tablet.


(Hey Jeff, if you’re reading this, feel free to leave a comment!)

Just thought I’d share this tip with you Bell Media, The Source, and Apple. Give it some thought.

Oh, and if any of you afore-mentioned three want to make amends and make the $99 purchase with 2 year contract happen for me, well, I’m willing to bury the hatchet. And I’d blog about that, too.

In the meantime, I’m feeling as snarly and revengeful about this whole thing as Mrs. Hanley was when she made her infamous stew, which revolted some readers (“Eeww! I can’t believe she did that!”), and enthralled others (“OMG! I just LOVE Mrs. Hanley and this story! I can’t believe she did that!”).

The stew scene is in Chapter 73 in QUINTSPINNER – A PIRATE’S QUEST.

Quintspinner - A Pirate's Quest

Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest


For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, why not buy the book? (C’mon, you KNOW the suspense and the curiosity is now gonna drive you crazy, don’cha?)

It’s $.99. On Amazon everywhere.

That’s 99 cents, not even $99 (dollars) like the mystical, non-accessable-to-me-ipad mini 3 offer. And I bet you’re gonna LOVE Mrs. Hanley’s stew scene!

There. I feel (slightly) better now. I’m going to charge up my little ASUS PC netbook (which is pretty portable and which has a wonderfully responsive keyboard) and then I’m off to compare Amazon tablets because I have a reading/writing holiday coming up …. Thanks for listening.


The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Our Finale! Guest Post by Martin Crosbie

25 Dec
The 12 Blogs of Christmas

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas to all of you and best wishes for this day, in what ever form you like to see it as. I have been privileged to be part of a two week Christmas Blog tour with the following authors: Sarah Lane, Laurie Boris, Heather Haley, Helga Zeiner, M.L. Gardner, Roberta Kagan, Wendy McClelland, Jamie Lee ScottJennifer Ellis, and RJ Crayton. Each of us has provided an article with a Christmas theme and I hope that you have enjoyed the variety so far. Today I’m posting the last one in a fine line up of topics and I could hardly wait to share it with you!

Well, here it is! The day we’ve all been waiting for. My guest blog by the amazing , best-selling Canadian author, Martin Crosbie!

web pic with christmas tree 2

(We’ve saved the best for last, haven’t we?) Here, on Christmas Day itself, Martin brings us the intriguing background information for Charles Dickens’  much-beloved “A Christmas Carol”. I KNOW you’re going to love this! And I’d love to hear from you on what what thoughts that Christmas brings to you.


The 12th Blog of Christmas is written by bestselling author, Martin Crosbie.

Martin lives on the west coast of Canada and has written five books including Amazon bestseller My Temporary Life. His popular Christmas novel Believing Again: A Tale Of Two Christmases is available in e-book format in the US and UK as a Kindle Countdown Deal from Dec. 24-27 for only 99 cents.


Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Those delicious words open the Dickens classic. Previous to the publication of A Christmas Carol, Christmas was barely recognized. Although it was a holiday it didn’t have the romantic vibe that it has today. Mr. Dickens and his novel changed all that. And, if he’d waited for his publisher to release the book it may never have happened.

Charles Dickens wrote his masterpiece in six weeks. Somehow he was able to channel the story and get the words on paper (or parchment probably) in less than two months. At that time he was suffering financially. His wife was pregnant with their fifth child and the wolves were closing in on their door. His previous novel had not sold well and when he submitted his new manuscript (after having it beta-read surely), to his publishers they were slow to warm to it. I’m not sure how rejection letters were sent out in 1853 but his publishers indicated that they were not interested in publishing the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s epiphany. Anxious to have the book released by Christmas Dickens went the print-on-demand route and self-published. He hired his own illustrator and contracted his publisher to print the books. And, he did the legwork himself. Then, in those very, pre-Konrath days he decided to lower the price to five shillings – a price that most folks would be able to afford. He wanted his book to be read and perhaps he even thought that readers might enjoy his other works if they liked his Christmas tale.


Read more …

The 12 Blogs of Christmas – Today’s Guest Heather Haley

15 Dec

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Today’s guest post is from Canadian West Coast author, Heather Haley!



Here’s Heather’s  Bio:

The Siren of Howe Sound, trailblazing poet, author, novelist, musician and media artist Heather Haley pushes boundaries by creatively integrating disciplines, genres and media. Her writing has been published in many journals and anthologies including the Antigonish Review, Geist, sub-TERRAIN, the Vancouver Review, FORCE Field: 77 Women Poets of British Columbia and The Verse Map of Vancouver. Haley was an editor and reviewer for the LA Weekly and publisher of the Edgewise Cafe, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines. She is the author of poetry collections Sideways, Three Blocks West of Wonderland, and debut novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter.






From Joy to Dread and Back Again


‘Tis the season. For melancholy. Haunted by Christmas Past, I get nostalgic for the little girl who believed in Santa. A child’s lament; “Why can’t it be Christmas every day?”, I’d wail at my mother. Because, my parents would rally, no matter how broke we’d been all year, to put up a tree, to fill the house with presents, candy, nuts and booze, to be filled with joy, or at least in a in a good mood, when they weren’t fighting or knocking over the tree.

I have an image burned into my psyche of sitting on the couch next to it, staring at my reflection in an exquisite silver bulb, in a trance of hope and excruciating happiness. That damned tree. Its heady perfume permeated the house, blasting away banality, infusing bliss. Magic. Or madness, I’ve come to realize. The Christmas tree has become for me an emblem of the innocence of childhood, innocence lost, innocence I have finally quit trying to regain.

Light-Dark. Fire-Water. Male-Female. Yin-Yang. Without dread, how can there be joy? Seeking the answer traces my evolution from doe-eyed youngster to jaded diva, but at last I am comfortable with such dualities. I’m not a Daoist but understand that life is an endless cycle, and that opposites are bound together to create a mutual whole.

“Thank God I’m an atheist.” I struggled with that when my son was little, thought that if we were going to observe-after deciding we would honour tradition, albeit our way-that Junior should know about the Christ in Christmas. He learned that Jesus of Nazareth was most likely a rabbi, his teachings were sound and the man must have been a charismatic philosopher, healer or social reformer who many saw as a prophet and the son of God. I’ve also taught my son to be discerning, to consider the source, to put things in relief. In perspective. With healthy skeptiscim comes a certain ambivalence, but he’s a good kid, smart and compassionate.

I refrain from spouting “Bah Humbug,” but don’t put up a tree anymore. Junior, now 20, no longer cares, which is rather sad, considering how much he did care, how excited he’d get, waiting for and believing in Santa. But we share fond memories; one year he, his step-father and I spent Christmas in Hawaii with his godmother and extended family. We met Don Ho, watched a lighted parade in the little town of Waiamea on Christmas Eve, and Junior even went boogie boarding, despite having been afraid of the water.

Peace and goodwill toward men. Why should it be seasonal? I do enjoy the time the holidays afford us, the opportunity to get together with loved ones. When we gather with those who are dear to us. If the fates allow. I like nothing better than to cook for my family, as I do each time I’m lucky enough to have them visit throughout the year. That is joy. Time is the most precious gift of all and peace comes from within.


Spreadin’ the Authorly Luv (A Short Cut to Book Marketing)

5 Mar

QuintspinnerAs promised, in my last post, here are the nuts and bolts of my last promotion on KDP Select. Keep in mind, that at this time of writing, Amazon has announced changes to its affiliate program – those sites sending buyers over to Amazon’s free ebooks will no longer be paid for referrals above a certain number ( I think it was 20,000) and for the uber-large, super popular sites like Pixel of Ink, and eReadernews etc, this will probably affect the way they support authors wishing to be featured on the sites’ free pages.

Anyhoo, for now, here’s what I did to bring my KDP Select numbers up from around 2000 to over 14,000 free downloads of Quintspinner – A Pirate’s Quest. (Wanna see what those 14,000+ picked up? http://amzn.to/SvbVyx ).

From an original list supplied by best selling author, Martin Crosbie (http://martincrosbie.com/), here’s my list and notes(bolded) of sites that I accessed:

EBOOK PROMO sites that I used for Quintspinner for March 1st and 2nd KDP Select days.

Thanks to the Kindle Boards, we discovered a long list of places where self-published authors can promote their eBook for free.

We’ve collected more information about the sites in a simple directory below, linking to the submission pages for these eBook sites. If you are an avid eBook reader, these sites are great for finding new books to read as well….

Free Sites for eBook Promotion

Did free May 15/12. Pd is $15 or $5.Addicted to eBooks: “This website is perfect for readers like me, who want to watch their book budget. This website also allows the author to rate some of the content of their book. I want to know before I buy if a book the level of profanity, violence or sex in a book. I’m excited that authors can now rate their books for the readers.”

No cost. Applied Feb. 15/13 AppNewser Free eBooks of the Week: Our editors pick a few free eBooks every week. To submit email your pitch to appnewser [at] mediabistro [dot] com.

Has logos for several sites. Entered separately on this list. Author Marketing Club: “No longer do you have to dig up your links to the best places to submit your books. We’ve put them all together here for you in one spot. Just click on the logos below to load each site’s form, fill in your details, and you’re done.”

Pd $5 for “free ebook” and $5 for March 8 “Bargain” listing ; Pd $5 for Pixel Scroll March 1. Bargain eBook Hunter: “If your title is currently FREE on Amazon, we want to know about it! Simply use the Contact Form to let us know about your free title and we will consider listing it on our site. There is NO COST to you if you contact us and we choose to post your free book.  We accept all genres except erotica.”

Emailed her. She featured me. Books on The Knob: “Bargain reads, free ebooks and book reviews for the Amazon Kindle, nook, Kobo, Sony and other ereaders, Kindle Fire, nookColor, Kobo Vox, and other tablets, along with some games, music, technology and computers tossed in now and then.”

For NOOK only. Didn’t use. The Cheap: “This website was created in an attempt to let other Barnes and Noble NOOK users know that there really are plenty of deal priced books for NOOK readers. Here at the Cheap we, a group of deal scouting women, inform you of free and low-cost books. These change frequently so please be sure to check in often. We do our best to share only legitimate offers.”

Applied for free listing. Requires 18+ reviews and 4.4 rating. Has top 100 Best Free Kindle Book List and requirements may arbitrarily change to 20+ reviews. Digital Book Today: Includes both free and paid options for writers looking to promote.

Applied Feb. 25. eReader News Today: Features bargain Kindle books and free Kindle books.

UK site. $4 for day 1 and $2 for each day after that. Donated $8. Had to send info via email.  Flurries of Words: “we have both FREE and PAID advertising options (apologies but we do not accept porn or erotica books). There are currently five FREE advertising options available: 1) Free Book Find (for permanently or temporarily free books) 2) 99 Cent Book (for permanently or temporarily 99 cent books) 3) Bargain Deal (for books over $0.99 but under $4.99–either permanently or temporarily) 4) Indie New Releases (for books newly released within the past 30 days) … 5) BOOK OF THE DAY”

Submitted to Free service. Also has $50 or $100 choices which I didn’t use.  FreeBooksy: If you find an ebook you think our Freebooksy readers should know about please let us know in the form below. And if you are an author and you want to tell the world about your free ebook fill out the form in the Authors section and we’ll take a look at your book.

Frugal Reader: “Please use the form below to submit your FREE books to be considered for a featured FREEBIE post. Submitting your novel does not guarantee that your book will be featured. Please allow as much lead time as possible as I know these are limited time offers. Please note that I feature most genres, and while I may feature romance titles that include sexual scenes, I don’t feature titles that strictly fall under the erotica genre.”

Goodkindles: “we are a place where you post your own article about your title and can reach the readers. We do not review your book – we give you a platform to tell everyone what do you think is most interesting about your book and what you think will interest readers so much that they will go and buy your book.”

Kindle Daily Deal: “Let’s get the word out about your wonderful books on Kindle to my 13,000+ followers. I am a fellow author and I’d love to help promote your books. I enjoy reading as much as writing, and feel it’s important to support my friends. Currently, this service is FREE to you, but in return for adding your book(s), I’m hoping you reciprocate by buying my latest book containing funny essays about relationships…”

Applied for free listing. Free Kindle Books & Tips: “If you are an author and would like to have your book promoted (for free) on our site, please fill out the form below: your book must be free in the Amazon Kindle Store and must have an average user rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars for consideration.  Please note each book submitted cannot be promoted due to space limitations on a particular day, but if your book is selected we will contact you at the email address you provide below.”

$6 for 2 days. Pd via Amazon. Free eBooks Daily: “I love to hear from authors and readers! If you have a comment, suggestion, or free ebook you would like listed or if you just want to say hello, feel free to send me an email.”

GalleyCat Facebook Page: You can post your book in our New Books section, an easy way to share your book with our readers.

Indie Books List: “If you submit an excerpt with less than 1,500 words, we will delete it. Due to the high number of submissions we receive, we may not have time to email every person who submits a shorter excerpt to ask for another one. Please – look at your word count before uploading. If you would like to be considered for both Indie Books List, and Only Romance…you must submit using each site’s submission form. There are now two separate submission forms, when there used to be just one.”

Meet Our Authors Forum: A place on Amazon where writers can talk about their work.

Applied for the free listing. Pixel of Ink: “If your book will be listed as Free ($0.00) on Amazon.com in the next 30 days, then please let us know by filling out the form below. Pixel of Ink may attempt to feature your book

Set up membership . Applied for free listing.  World Literary Cafe.(link from Author Marketing Club)

Pd $5. For March 8th week listing. IBD (link from Author Marketing Club

Pd. $10 to be featured March 1st Awesome Gang. (link from Author Marketing Club)

Free listing for “free ebooks” for March 1 and 2 The eReader Cafe (link from Author Marketing Club)

List ON THE DAY THAT THE BOOK GOES FREE. Snickslist.com (link from Author Marketing Club) (will also be listed on YourBookAuthors.com)

Pd $35 for 2 weeks on Home Page Feature and $10 for free days (March 1 and 2) Book Goodies (link from Author Marketing Club)

Didn’t use as was too expensive Kindle Daily Nation.

Sent a request. Never heard back. eReader IQ

Couldn’t find signup The Digital Inkspot

Didn’t use www.dailycheapreads.com  as it looked like they post about free ebooks on Mondays and I found their site on a Tuesday, and my promo was running Friday, and Saturday.

I bought a www.BookBub.com  ad for March 2nd. Originally I asked for a listing under Historical Fiction ($140) but they emailed me back and said their editorial staff thought it would be a better fit under Action and Adventure ($60). Went with Action and Adventure.

Got a feature on www.FreeBookDude.com . They vet who they choose to promote but promote very well.

So, there were some twitter sites as well, that were part of the above sites promo deals – I retweeted those as well.

NOTE: setting this up is, at first overwhelming, and yes, it IS TIME-CONSUMING but to be successful, you have to invest the effort. I spent 2 full evenings emailing and filling in forms to get this promotion underway. Martin had done most of the work, in amassing most of these sites in an orderly manner, and he so generously and freely shared his lists. That’s the wonderful thing about Indie authorship in this day and age. We are all in it together. Helping each other out with lists, advice, tweets, etc. I’ve been a recipient of all of that authorly love. I’m just paying it forward. Hope you find this useful. 🙂

Books vs. ebooks – the Hypocrisy of It All

4 Aug

My name is Dianne and I am a hypocrite.

That’s right. You see, I love books.

Totally addicted to them. Love the feel of one in my hands, love drooling over the covers in a bookstore (figure of speech, guys, ok? I don’t actually get the covers wet). Spend money I don’t have on more books. I have books squirreled away in every room of my house ( ’cause you never know when you will find yourself with a few minutes to read …). I love the feel of the paper, love the faint smell of books ( they do have a slight scent, you know, especially when new…), love being able to see how far I’ve read and how much I have left in the story. My WTBR pile lines one wall of my bedroom in a rather precarious design that is two books deep by 7 feet long, 2 feet high…

BUT I am also an author and believe that if you want to be successful in this new world of publishing, you MUST embrace ebooks. And so, I have a Sony ereader that Hot Stuff Hubby, who is not by nature a gift-giving sort of guy, surprised me with to celebrate the publishing of my debut novel, amzn.to/ORNZDL

An awesome cover designed by Derek Murphy at http://bookcovers.creativindie.com/

I also have the Kindle app on two laptops, one net book, AND my Samsung tablet. Yes, I confess that I am reluctantly becoming an ebook convert. Not totally, though. I’m a fence-sitter with this. (Not a comfortable position to be in, really…) but here’s the thing – there are pros and cons to both, and in my opinion, here they are:


  • Pro – As mentioned above, I like being able to visually assess my progress through a book, marked by a cute little bookmark popping out of  the pages, marking my place.
  • Pro – Back Page Cover Copy. So interesting! This is what eats up my browsing time in a book store.
  • Pr0 – easy to read in full sunshine.
  • Pro – easy to read on a sandy beach or in the bath. No worries about permanent destruction should I drop a book in either of these locations.
  • Pro – easy/fast to go back a re-read a favorite/puzzling  section again. ( I often mark book passages with color coded sticky notes, especially if a book is instructional – hey!  – whoever “gets it”  when reading a list of “how-to” for the first time?)
  • Pro – I can loan out my faves to friends for an unlimited amount of time.
  • Con – Books are heavy. They take up room in my suitcase (who doesn’t read while lounging on a sun splashed holiday??) and the weight of them alone pushes me close to the airlines’ maximum allowed luggage weight.
  • Con – Paper books are not as green (environmentally friendly) as a digital file. And I love trees. Can’t bear to cut one down and so I never dwell on the amount of them that are killed to supply our greed/need for paper products. (more hypocrisy, I know)


  • Pro – each one can hold thousands of books in a space of no more than 6″ x 9″ by 1/2 “.
  • Pro – obviously, weight of a life-time supply of ebooks is no concern at all.
  • Pro – BIG PRO, actually – enlargable font. Oh, yeah, these old eyes LOVE that!
  • Pro – kinda … – ereaders have the capability to bookmark places, too. I just don’t find this as convenient as the real  physical thing.
  • Pro – again, kinda … – lending of an ebook is possible between people who have ereaders of the same type, and you can get thousands of ebooks on loan from libraries now, too.
  • Pro – ebooks have brought authors and readers closer together in the new world of self-publishing, where readers, not multiple layers of agent, editor, publisher and associates, decide on access and availability, and yes, the success, of a story with the reading public.
  • Pro – purchase is spontaneous and instantaneous. With the click of a button.
  • Con – purchase is spontaneous and instantaneous.  With the click of a button.
  • Con – it’s so easy to ignore/forget/overlook all those WTBR ebooks that I have downloaded into my Kindle library or onto my ereader, unlike my physical WTBR pile that reminds me that it’s still there, every time I stub my toe on it, or accidentally knock it over, sending a small avalanche of books skidding across the room.
  • Con – although battery life is improving with each new generation of ereader, electricity is still needed to recharge, and for a traveler like me, not all countries/places have easily accessed or appropriate voltage to do so. I hear there are solar powered rechargers available now but I don’t have one. Maybe I should put the bug into Hot Stuff’s ear …

So how about you? Which side of the fence do you park your bum on?

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