Tag Archive for: Amazon

Kicking the Competitive Craziness

By AB Plum

If you’re a
writer, have you ever secretly—or maybe openly—dreamed of joining the ranks of
best-selling authors?

As much as
I’d like to deny ever having caught that virus—not deadly like COVID-19—I can’t
say I write without thinking about bestsellerdom.

simmers in my veins. By grade school, I burned to excel scholastically and in
sports.  To this day, I wear a pedometer
intending to walk at least five miles every day (and tack on a time limit in
which to attain the goal). I love comparing notes with my son, twenty years

Employed by
a multi-national corporation that hired 2% of applicants, I hopped on the fast
track. Aimed high. Won lots of awards. Burned out and cashed out despite offers
to remain.

On to
writing full time. Knowing in the back of my mind that getting published would
take time. Saying I understood the unlikelihood of attaining bestsellerdom.
Loving the fun of writing x-number of words daily. Or editing. Or choosing
different paths to publishing. Still … I daydreamed.

Now, I still
set 1,000 words as my daily writing goal. I get a real high from writing that
first 150 words in less than fifteen minutes. (I figured out that I can write
an email averaging 150 words in about 8.5 minutes. So, I doubled that time to
write on my WIP). Getting those first words down propels me to keep writing for
an hour). Believe me, daydreams of bestsellerdom do not distract me for the next two hours.

But when I
start laying out my launch plan(s), the idea of seeing my book on any of
Amazon’s Best Selling Lists will provide a certain je ne sais quoi (satisfaction isn’t quite right. Fulfillment comes
close. Gratification figures in, along with a sense of awe).

So, I’ve
ranked in the top 50 on several Amazon charts in the past. Last week? Here’s
the results of sales for Book 1 in the Ryn Davis Mystery Series during the
launch of Book 3, No Little Lies.

Okay, it’s a
niche category on Amazon vs the NYT.
(Niche category is definitely a positive spin, I realize). But … I’m not so
competitive that I’m going to ridicule the ranking. When I caught the notice
(by chance, since I don’t obsess over the level by checking it feverishly every
hour on the hour), I laughed out loud and did the Snoopy dance.

***   When AB Plum isn’t Snoopy dancing or
walking, she plays and writes just off the fast lane in Silicon Valley. Visit
her website for updates and special offers:  


Grab a copy of No Little Lies here

psychopath’s terrifying game of cat and mouse pits him against Ryn Davis where
she is most vulnerable—a past she has denied for years. His ties to organized
crime make him even more dangerous and places her in ever darker jeopardy .
is in control? What really happened to her mother? Why can’t Ryn

Is facing her past
the path to survival or death?

We Just Want to Celebrate!

by Sparkle Abbey

What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?

Here in the Midwest, there were small-town parades, fireworks, and cookouts. We decorated bikes, ate potato salad, and listened to Yankee Doodle Pops. Other parts of the country may celebrate in other ways. But whether you celebrate at the beach or in the backyard, poolside or at the park, it’s a chance to pause to commemorate our country’s Independence Day with family and friends. 
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of our busy lives that sometimes we forget to pause and celebrate. Holidays remind us to do that.
We’ve had a couple of months of celebrations. There have been birthdays, graduations, dance recitals and weddings. 
Milestones. It’s so important to pause and really celebrate those milestones. To take a moment and thoroughly enjoy them and tuck the memories into the corners of your heart.
Lately, we’ve also had some writing milestones. Book #9, Barking with the Stars, came out. this year and book #10, The Dogfather is slated for an August release. Wow. Book Ten. Of course, we’re crazy busy and working on more books and so we have to remind ourselves to pause and celebrate our Book #10 milestone.

What about you? What milestones big or small have you had recently? Did you take time to pause and enjoy the moment?

I’m Glad You Asked…

By Laura Spinella

My original thought was to do a post about the upcoming RWA conference
and RITA awards. I’ll be on my way to Anaheim at the end of the month for their
annual gathering of romantic-minded authors and accompanying soiree where the
RITAs are bestowed.  However, I realized that
a dress, shoes and an airline ticket do not for a blog make.
Then, yesterday, I heard from a reader. Derek first
wrote me about a year ago, and we’ve been chummy ever since. He’s a voracious
reader, who visits Goodreads more often than I frequent my liquor cabinet. In
fact, he reads so much, I worry about his vitamin D consumption and terminal
paper cuts. Derek sent me this link to an article in Publishers Weekly. For the
full effect, please give it a read.  The main gist of the article is Goodreads
dialogue, and not necessarily pleasant dialogue, between readers and authors. Whether you are an author, editor, agent or the most important component: a reader, the article is thought provoking.
Direct from Facebook, the other social media Kool-Aid, is my conversation with
Derek.  I would however, love to hear
your thoughts on the Publisher’s Weekly article. If you’re a reader/reviewer, is
it license to say whatever you want?  If
you’re an author, how do respond, if you respond? 
            Oh, BTW, about that RWA RITA thing…
If you could all keep fingers and toes crossed on the 28th, it would be very much appreciated! 
           Derek: I know we haven’t
talked in awhile but I stumbled upon this article about reviewers and authors
and backlash on Goodreads, and was wondering what your thoughts on it?

Me: Derek, it’s
always great to hear from you! And you sure picked an interesting question for
me… I feel like a Miss Universe contestant in the dreaded question round!
Interpreter, please! Well, interpreter if one is going to spend a lot of time
dissecting reviews anywhere, including Goodreads. 

Here’s my take for
whatever it is worth: I don’t read them. I don’t read reviews anywhere,
Goodreads, Amazon…  I don’t read them
if they’re glowing or a one-star kick in the teeth. I made that rule right after
BD came out. It just struck me as “awkward” to sit around reading
judgments about something that could never mean as much to someone else as it
does to me. I spent six years of my life with that book. It’s like toting your
kindergartner to school, shoving him/her in front of the student body and
saying, “OK, tell me what you think?” Reading is SO subjective, and
no two opinions are going to be the same. To say that an author reads a
negative review looking for ways to improve their writing, I wish them luck with
that. What happens when the next reviewer says the exact opposite? I don’t read
the good ones b/c there’s always a risk I might believe what they’re saying.
Seems like slippery slope to me.  

Lastly, I’d never
get into a dialogue with a reviewer. To what end? If they disliked my book (and
I’m sure some have), is a word war with me going to change their opinion? Maybe
I’m just not any good at dealing with negativity, or maybe i just think life is
too short. I do what I do. I love my book/s. Are they perfect? Heck no. But they’re
mine. Part of the job involves putting yourself out there for the masses to
comment on, like it or not. It’s a strange caveat you learn as you go. 

Well, I hope that
answers your question to some extent. Ask the next author and you’ll probably
get a completely different answer! I hope you’re having a wonderful summer!!
I’m off to CA in a couple of weeks… Again, I’d probably be happier alone in
my sunroom with my laptop. Writers are strange people (-;


Laura Spinella is the author of the RITA nominated novel BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. Visit her at lauraspinella.net

Make My Day

By Evelyn David

I talk a very good game. I’m the mother of four. I’ve given
that speech about you shouldn’t need outside validation to feel worthy more
times than Kim Kardashian goes to the tanning salon.

I know authors, actors, musicians, all insist they don’t
read reviews.  Kevin Bacon was absolutely
right when he said, ” I don’t read criticism of my stuff only because when
it’s bad, it’s rough-and when it’s good, it’s not good enough.”

And yet…

I obsessively check Amazon rankings and reader reviews. No
question that one small note of reproof is enough to put me in a depression so
deep that there isn’t enough chocolate on this earth to make me happy (and
believe me, I’ve tried). But conversely, there are times when the self-doubt as
a writer is also so strong that a complete stranger taking the time to post a
positive, yea, a glowing review, is enough to sustain me for at least 24 hours
before the doubt creeps in again.

ZONED FOR MURDER is our newest, full-length mystery and it’s
not set in any of the universes we’ve previously created. It’s a little more
serious with a higher risk quotient. It’s scary to create something different. Reader
expectations of who you are as a writer can force you into a mold that you
might be eager to break or maybe just expand. Sometimes it works. Ask Stephen
King, who can pen both Carrie and On Writing, with equal brilliance. And sometimes it doesn’t. Check with
Arthur Conan Doyle. He had to bring back to life a character he loathed because his readers demanded it and didn’t care to read anything else he wanted to write.

So the decision to try something new? Fulfilling as an
author; terrifying as a writer who needs…wait for it: outside validation that
she really is an artist, not just a pretender.

So forgive me for tooting my own horn, since I just finished
saying that I wanted someone else to blast it, but this review of ZONED FOR MURDER, from someone I
don’t know, gave me, if only briefly, the courage to write again. Because fear
can paralyze the creative juices.

“I fell in love
with the characters in this book, especially Maggie. I found this book
entertaining and spell binding.”
Then she adds, “I will recommend this books to my friends.”

Not only did she like it, but that critical word-of-mouth
campaign that marks the success or failure of most projects – this wonderful
lady was happy to participate.

Stephen King, whose books terrify me, the Northern half, but
absolutely delight the Southern half, is a wise writer. I respect him enormously. He
explained why he writes, “The answer to that is fairly simple—there was
nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write
stories. That’s why I do it. I really can’t imagine doing anything else and I
can’t imagine not doing what I do.”

Ain’t it the truth?

I don’t know if Stephen King reads reviews. I suspect not.
He also said, “If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check,
if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light
bill with the money, I consider you talented.” And perhaps for him, the
check is validation enough.

But for me, I need more. Maybe I should work on that, but in
the meantime, whether it’s to an author with a new book, or to the plumber who just
fixed your leaky toilet, taking a moment to compliment someone on a job well
done may be just the thing that makes a stranger’s day.

Marian, the Northern half


Zoned for Murder – Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle – NookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery – e-book series
Murder Off the Books Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
Murder Takes the Cake KindleNookSmashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords