Author, Photographer, Lover of Life
"Capturing moments others may never get to experience."
In recent news feeds I’ve received, there has been an influx of articles about how Amazon is handling the sale of some books. It is my understanding from these readings e-books are not being affected (yet).
But, what I have gleaned from the articles is Amazon now allows third party sellers to compete for Buy Box positions thus promoting books being sold by those who are not the Author. This change in Amazon's policy can push "the publisher button to a less favourable position" writes Dr. Judith Briles of The Book Shepherd. This is not to say the Author isn’t getting recognized, but the listing is now often NOT at the top of the seller’s list where it should be, in my opinion, when searched for.
After seeing this topic as one that has been trending over the past few weeks/months, I wondered how Amazon was treating my books. I started with From Our Home To Yours: Cookies and From Our Home to Yours: Cakes & Squares. Because they are e-books only, they appear to be safe from the debacle now surfacing about the Amazon book store. Apparently this is not true for books written with Amazon's Create Space books.
You can only imagine my surprise when I next typed into the Amazon Search box, my book title Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works and found someone actually has a hard cover copy listed for sale at $120.20 (shipping extra) - Used - Like New.
Now, I am flattered they think a Used-Like New copy of my book is worth so much; however, I get absolutely nothing from this sale other than bragging rites that my book is being offered at this price by a reseller on Amazon.
Continuing with my hunt for this book title resulted in finding several offers of soft cover books being sold at prices (way) above and beyond what they are offered for from my website, my publishers website and my Amazon location.
After finishing my ‘book selling research’ my interest was piqued and my ire was up. Reviewing my actual Moon Rising Amazon page for an in-depth look at what is going on, lo and behold we see some changes have been carried out, albeit subtly.
When the book was first published here by my publisher, there was no reference to other copies that might be available. Over the past few years, that has stayed the same, but not now!
So, what am I going to do about this? In my opinion, rather than continuing with a ‘you can’t do this to me’ attitude, there are a few ways for me to look at this, deal with this and use it to my advantage (or not).
First, and again in my opinion, Amazon is Amazon and unless you are a Best Selling Author with sales going through the roof, you are dumped into the ‘you don’t really count pile’ and are basically forced to deal with their changes or pull your book. Amazon is going to make money on mine and other book listings, regardless of how they do it.
Second, I want to inform other Authors (if they don't already know) about the changes in policies and to review their books posted on Amazon.
Third, while I don’t like the price misrepresentation of my book, I see it as an opportunity to let my followers know that, yes these other books are available, although I have no idea where they have acquired them from; and, if you want to pay the exorbitant or lessor prices that is up to you; however, you will not be supporting me as an independent author/entrepreneur and may be encouraging others to pirate my work.
Finally, purchasing direct from either MY website or from MY publisher's location, ensures you are getting MY hard and soft cover books; and yes, it also ensures I am getting the portion owed to me when a book sells. The bonus for everyone ordering from MY website is you will get an autographed copy of the book you order.
If you are and Author or know of an Author with listings on Amazon, pass this information along to them.
Today, the horses have nothing to say. It didn’t start that way, but as the day progressed their lack of eye contact while I leaned on the fence watching them, told me different. A blatant reminder my mind needed to settle.
I wander, drawn to a spot where the sound of a frog chorus penetrates through the trees. The sun on my face, the breeze ruffling my hair, all speaking to me in volumes.
Planting myself away from the voices, the grounding of my soul begins. Eyes closed, breathing softly, embracing the aroma of raw earth, the connection I need starts to ooze into my being.
By ignoring me, the horses suggested my direction; but, it is Mother Nature who gives me guidance. The singing of the frogs in the background while I watch my first butterfly of the season looking for sustenance from flowers yet to bloom. Tiny birds chirping their throaty sounds, flitting from branch to branch before taking wing to return to I know not where. Walking through the trees the pungent smell of rain dampened leaves meets my senses; laying lifeless to the eye, yet giving nourishment to the land.
I stroll back to the barn. The smells confined within the walls are comforting. A reminder of the journey I began decades ago when I knew someday, somehow, I would blaze my own trail.
The creativity will come, it always does. The process of late, has been mired by my mind whirling like a dust devil’s journey across the prairie.
The horses and the land have gifted me much on this day.
How do you reconnect with your creativity?
The very fact that you buy local means you are supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses owned and operated by those in your community.
Have you ever considered what reading local means?
In every urban and rural centre there are people who write. Did you know that more than occasionally, these writers have had their prose and poetry published? But, unless you know the them personally or see an article in the local newspaper, you most likely will never know who they are.
Usually, their work is available through social media outlets like Amazon; however, by teaming up with independent book stores and other shops in the area, unknown authors are becoming noticed.
Often as not, these same literary artisans promote their books by making sure the local library has a copy, ensuring anyone who takes a mind to, can read the books.
Topics written about may vary in interest covering a wide selection of genres. These locally written books may not be on the New York Times Best Seller List, but through continued support of these writers by the public (you) and businesses, the budding authors will continue to be introduced to the world.
Whether you call them authors, writers, or wordsmiths, they too are entrepreneurs in your community. Find out who they are, purchase their books and send them your reviews. Reading local means you are supporting local businesses.
Do you read books by local authors? Share their names and book titles with us.
A busy few weeks resulting in accomplishments, re-acquaintances, and favourite times being shelved (for a while).
Life does that to us every so often. Puts us in a state of hair straight back, get to hell out of my way, I’ve got stuff to do!
My time hasn’t been quite that radical, but it certainly has left me with a good feeling simmering deep within.
Writing the story for my novel, The Quiet Spirits, was by far the easiest part of the project. When it was done, I was sad. It was like I had to say, “See you around, old friend.” Then it struck me. This thing needs to be published. With that thought came a whole new get busy again “to do” list. Editing, beta readers, re-writes, meet with publisher, book cover, dedication, (A sequel?), and, and, and . . .
The biggest thing wasn't determining when did I want to have this book in my hot little hands, but more importantly, when would it be accessible to the public? By the looks of the progress, I can safely say, The Quiet Spirits will be available this fall; and, might I add, it will make a great Christmas gift.
So what does someone who writes do when they finish a book? I have to tell you, for me, lots!
For starters, I have been penning my next book. Yet to be named and not related to The Quiet Spirits. My thoughts on this novel, is the first draft will most likely be finished before summer ends. Maybe. When will it be published? Who knows? When it feels like the right time to do it would be a safe answer.
So you see, even when the midnight oil is being burned, the candles are lit from both ends, and the hair is straight back, there is always comfort in the things we know, and especially in the things we love to do.
Where do you find your solace when your life is in hair straight back mode?
Spring, the time of year I watch for the green shoots, listen for the sound of the Canada Geese, Robins and Kestrels. The season that lures me outdoors.
In our neck of the woods, the ground is still froze enough to stop thoughts of digging in the dirt; but, with all the activity Mother Nature offers, it is a good time to walk, observe, learn and feel what’s going on.
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year (the other being the Fall). The weather’s neither cold or hot, making it my kind of working environment; where I can sit on the deck, go for a walk, or take a drive along the back roads. Find a spot to listen to the sounds, take pictures, write, or sit and soak up the day.
I rely on the outdoors, the visions and sounds to clear my mind. The jumbled thoughts are given space to congregate in their appropriate location. Settling my focus through the nothing, yet the everything that is within my sight. Filtering the important from what can be shelved for another day or turfed all together.
These stolen times outside the walls of my office may be for a day, a few hours, or a 'holy crap' moment that has me running to the yard to watch the geese flying over. An interlude that makes me smile, grounds me to the things that have meaning to me, and inspire me to continue to forge ahead towards my goals.
Where does your stolen time come from?
The news feeds are all the same these days. Reasons why this didn’t happen last year. Reasons to make things happen this year. You can do it. Make the time and it will happen. On and on and on they go. The same things being said over and over.
Everyone seems to have the so called answers, and we tend to fall into the rut of reading them, agreeing with them, saving them and doing nothing more.
Is all of the time we spend trying to move forward and to be successful worth it? For some it’s the journey to no where. For others its something to keep the mind busy, and for most, it is merely a dream to do what you love.
So, continue to read your news feeds. Continue to squirrel away those articles that you might get to read one day. But mostly, continue to do what sparks the dream and makes you happy. Each step we take towards any goal can only be made if we put one foot in front of the other. No one else can do that for us.
Following someone else’s tracks is O.K. for a while; but, it is way more fun to make your own trail.
Do you follow your own trail?
No matter what you are doing, if all the ingredients aren’t available, the results will definately be different from what you were expecting. It doesn’t mean you'll be left with disappointment and a bad taste in your mouth. It means you have to adapt and dig into your creative cupboard to make it happen. Simply put, finding the right recipe is all that is needed.
Like baking cookies, writers use a recipe to create characters, story lines, plots and endings all in a teasing effort to have you wanting more. Sometimes changing the persona of the character, or throwing in a twist in the storyline are needed to carry the plot forward. Yes, it may change the ending; but if it’s done right, like the cookies, your reader's will want more.
Next time you have an idea for some prose, consider the following recipe.
Idea: Bake cookies
Character: The cookie
Outline: The recipe
Scene: The steps of the recipe
Plot: Bring all of the needed ingredients together
Hook: Eating the first one
Storyline: Sharing the recipe
Ending: Eating the last one and wanting more
Alternately, if you are looking to bake cookies, try one of our family favourites found in From Our Home To Yours: Cookies
Do you follow a writing recipe from start to finish?
Consider Pinterest as your very own research tribe. They are busy day in and day out collecting pictures, articles and how to’s in one place for you to pursue at your leisure. They are hard at work for you 24/7/365.
So how is this helping my writing if I am spending hours looking through Pinterest posts?
Humans are visual by nature, and Pinterest is most obliging in this area. We imagine things in our mind, but when we see it for real, right there in front of us, the details are sparked to life.
Take the visualization one step further. Planning and plotting scenes for a novel can be taxing on the thought process as well as time consuming.
You want a castle, green grass, blue sky with wispy clouds and a 1930’ish car driving up to its gates. This pretty much sums up the scene, however, you still need/want details to make the scene come alive. To make it memorable.
A click, click, click of your computer mouse takes you to the enthralling world of Pinterest where the search box is the place to start. Entering words such as castle will get you 1000’s of pins from around the world. Not necessarily a good thing if your book is set in a particular country. The need to have believable architecture described within your writing requires a more defined search. Type in the country and the word castle. Voila, pictures, articles and blog links are now there to glean all the information you may need, and probably more.
Now you’re on a roll and loving Pinterest! Using it to bring to life the imaginative thoughts you aspire to write. It is a place to find fashion styles and food from the era you are writing about. Science fiction lovers will spend hours looking at futuristic and historic topics.
The downside of researching on Pinterest is the hours turning into days as you go in search for scenes, character profiles, attire, housing and transportation.
The upside? You have visual and written research available at your fingertips in one central location. And, you can add to your information at any time, day or night.
Set up Boards within your Pinterest account (which is free) to save your finds (pins) in. If you are not ready to share your research with the world, a private (only you see the board) setting is available by a following a few steps when setting up the board.
Do you already use Pinterest for research on your projects? Tell us how.
Being known as a writer can be a hard row to hoe. Looking for inspiration to write is a journey faced every day, even when it's a passion, never mind a livelihood. There are those who take their inspiring moments from their faith. Others, from day to day experiences. Some even draw on what others write to fulfill the void.
So, where do I get my urge to write from? Let’s see, where to start? Ideally, I like to draw from my own life experiences or those from others I have known. Topics I am interested in are memories sparked by something I have read or heard said. I like to write about nature, western heritage, traditions, my take on social media and whatever the imagination at any given moment throws at me.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being in the company of some amazing women. At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on the statement, “What Am I Claiming?” I quickly made a list of eight items that came to mind. From a sentence I jotted down, “A vision to start a vision,” came a raw, creative, impulse moment . . .
Letting the mind and body connect. Visualization of what we leave behind in the quest of what is in store. Claiming a path. Selecting the moments of importance. Storing the memories, not discarding them. Let them grow dust on the shelf to make room for the unbridled passions.
You see, at that given moment, I was given inspiration to write. It was not part of the question we’d been given, it was a need to get my claim on paper. The whole point of the exercise was to name what we felt passionate about. What were we going to take with us in our journey, be it success in business, a relationship, personal growth or life in general.
If you are passionate about writing, don't be afraid to record your words, and share them, no matter where you are or what you are doing. The one liner, or pages, you pen may be the beginning of something great. Claim It!
What is the passion you strive to claim?
The fine print
Some links on our website may be affiliate links. This means if you follow the link, and take the steps to purchase or download the product, I will receive a small referral fee or commission.
I only recommend items I have tried &/or own.
Thank you for considering your purchases and downloads through my website.
Do you have something you would like included in one of our Morning Muse posts?
Contact us with your thoughts.
From Our Home To Yours Series
Keeper of the Words