Me, Myself, and Amazon

Better Keep That to Yourself  They’re those taboo topics we know well enough to keep carefully removed from conversation if we harbor any intent of keeping things polite.  You know what I’m referring to, those subjects that incite the variety of passion likely to turn explosive homicidal dare anyone light the fuse. Yep, that’s right, Religion and Politics.  And, oh yeah, now there’s Amazon.

Word on the Street  Lately it seems they are popping up like dandelions on a lush lawn; magazine articles, blog posts, FB, Twitter, tales and opinions of impending collision.  Amazon against the Publishing Universe.  Depending on the source, Amazon is either under attack, or, ON the attack?

It’s War … Really?  Regardless of where any of us might hang on the chain–writer, agent, editor, publisher– we either have strong feelings regarding all this hoopla, or are currently developing them, because it’s a pretty big pot of stew that’s simmering to a boil.  And there’s every reason to believe that at some point, we’ll need to pick up our pages and take sides.

Amazon vs Traditional Publishers  Amazon has leveled the field and it’s exciting, yet worrisome — thrilling, yet spooky.  It’s Amazon vs the Big Six, and I’m not yet clear as to whether I should be buying ringside tickets or covering my eyes to protect them from the flying shrapnel of  Brick and Mortar bookstores being blown out of the future and into the distant past.

Proceed with Caution  I readily admit to being relatively cautious paranoid when it comes to change, and the native New Yorker inherent in my psyche makes me wary of anything that looks TOO GOOD.  I have been naive a clueless sucker a few times too many, so I’ve learned to proceed with baby steps, regardless of how delightfully wonderful the package might appear. Sure it might look and smell good, but that’s no guarantee it will taste good once you finally take a bite. The point being, that for many of us, Amazon has been the oasis in an otherwise harsh publishing desert–and yet, is it really?

A Courtship of Sorts  From the perspective of the part of me that is an “I LOVE AMAZON” book buyer, I’m sort’ve interested in the drama, but not as much as I love buying books at discounts with the potential of free shipping.  Yet on the flip side, is the author me with a book listed on Amazon, all of which means that I’m hanging on the edge of my seat, watching these two massive locomotives hurtling toward … well, toward something.  And regardless what happens, I’m pretty certain that someone’s getting hurt.

People have asked my opinion, and I do have one. But it’s an opinion that continues to waver  just enough to keep me from cementing it in place.  And not because my reasoning is especially deep or thoughtful.  In fact it might be something you’d hear on any Kindergarten playground, because the truth, quite frankly, is that my loyalties currently reside with the one who’s played nicest and been fairest from the time I first showed up on the playground.  Which is to say that Amazon has been kind to me. Very kind. Far more welcoming and supportive than the Indies, bookstore chains, or Big Six publishers.  And I take that personally.  It’s impossible not to. They not only invited me to the party, they even sent a limo to pick me up.

Deep, heavy-hitting,  thought provoking assessment? Nah, not really. But I can’t help myself.  When it comes to matters of the heart, I respond to care and feeding  just like any other zoo animal. Feed me, pat me on the head, offer me a cold drink on a hot day, and it’s pretty much certain I’m not about to bite in return.

Nevertheless, My Eyes are Open, and I Have an Ear Against the Door  Being appreciative doesn’t mean I don’t keep a watchful eye, read up on the latest, and stay awake to avoid potential injury. Good today, doesn’t guarantee good tomorrow. I’m optimistic, but not necessarily foolish a flaming idiot.

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT  And for you, on the chance you missed any of these provocative posts, I pass along links, links, wonderful informative links, gathered here for your dining-on-Amazon pleasure. Read, enjoy, keep a heads up, on the chance you find yourself trapped in the crossfire.

Kristen Lamb has two recent posts well worth checking out: Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts and Bracing for Impact — The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm

Sarah Lacy: Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us”

Julie Bosman, The New York Times: Worried Publishers put Hopes on Barnes & Noble

From Joe Konrath; Amazon Will Destroy You 

And you? Are you worried? Do you care? Much ado about nothing? Or are your thoughts leaning toward “Battle Stations Ready …?”

Linky Love Friday

 

 

Links, Links, Beautiful Links …

Although I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, I haven’t really BEEN on Twitter. The attraction is definitely there, but juggling social  media is a skill I’m still dragging around on the learning curve.  And so, if like me, you’re looking to get the most mileage for all your wise and wonderful tweets, you’ve gotta love these Hashtags for Writers, from Julie Jordan’s Blog, A Place for Writers.

Did someone say Pinterest? Yeah, lots of people actually. I admit I didn’t have much of a clue about what was going on with this, and I haven’t yet gotten around to pursuing an invitation (See above, I’m still getting my head into Hashtags!).  But,  GALLEYCAT, had the best information I’ve yet come across in an excellent post Pinterest Tips for Writers

Word is that if you’re considering uploading your masterpiece as a Kindle book, the automatic Kindle formatter shouldn’t necessarily be trusted. ( Although I don’t say this from personal experience, because I haven’t done it – yet.) Not that Amazon hasn’t made it easy, but apparently it doesn’t work quite as smoothly as it should. Not to worry, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter, offered this helpful information on her blog this week, Learning More About Formatting for Kindle and New Features.

Although this isn’t a new-this-week post, it’s one of my favorites from Kristen Lamb. (Favorite, as in I read it time and again to remind  myself  what I’m doing.) So give yourself a gift and revisit this treasure of a post when you have a moment Aspiring is for pansies-Tough Love & Being a Writer

And quite possibly my favorite post of the week, is this one by author Kathrine Magendie: Monday Classroom: Strengthening our Manuscripts. Kats Picky Sh*t  .  Not only does Kat offer great editing advice for those of us in the process or remudding out words, but her presentation is just … well have a look, you’ll see what I mean.

That’s it for this week, but you know the drill, please don’t hesitate to share your own favorite links below 🙂

You Are What You Read

 

 

 

TRUE LOVE

January.

This year it’s been long cold days without snow. Christmas has come and gone, and what remains is a New Year, New Plans & Goal’s, and oh yeah, a Gorgeous, teetering pile of shiny new books.

The gift of a book is a wonderful thing. An Amazon gift-card a delight. A used bookstore around the corner, a constant temptation…And so I present my newly acquired and beautiful pile.

BRAIN FOOD, SOUL FOOD, TASTY DESSERTS

*Are You There Blog, It’s Me Writer, by Kristen Lamb

*We Are Not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, by Kristen Lamb

-As a regular reader of Kristen’s Blog, I expected her books would be the perfect companions to her online WANA course that I am currently taking (and LOVING), and I haven’t been disappointed. Kristen’s blog posts rate consistently high amongst my favorites, and her books are equally terrific. Humorous and incredibly wise. I’m nearly finished reading, Are you There Blog, and no question, I’m rating this a 5* book.

*Failing Forward, by John C. Maxwell

-This one was mentioned in Kristen’s book and easily piqued my interest. Click–into my Amazon cart it went.

*Uncertainty, Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, by Jonathan Fields

-Gushingly recommended by a writer friend.

The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Edition, Second Catholic Edition, Ingnatius.

-Although I already own several different translations of The Holy Bible, I didn’t have this one, which is used by nearly everyone in my weekly Bible study. The Cadillac of Bibles, according to friends who own it.

Mother Teresa, No Greater Love , The Most Accessible and Inspirational Collection of Her teachings Ever Published

-An incredible human being. I’ve read excerpts of Mother Teresa’s writings here and there, and have always found myself to be deeply affected.  I found this book at the used book store and nearly gave myself wrist-lash, snatching this volume off the shelf.

Pope John Paul II, An Intimate Life, The Pope I Knew So Well, by Caroline Pigozzi

-Beautiful man and his writings are some of the most gorgeous I’ve ever read. Another “grab it off the shelf ” book.

Hudson Valley Ruins, Forgotten Landmarks of An American Landscape, by Rinaldi & Yasinaac

-Urban Exploration”, one of my guilty pleasures. I adore vintage architecture and abandoned buildings, and this book features properties in and around my hometown. (The background and header of this blog are in fact images I photographed while poking about one of the places featured in this very book. (Nuff said. As further information could lead to  incarceration.)

Fear, A Ghost Hunter’s Story, by Kriss Stephens

-True ghost stories–spooky!

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

-This novel was highly recommended by a reviewer who happened to write a gorgeous 5* review of my own novel, so I figured she has very good taste 🙂

In Zanesville, by Jo Ann Beard

-I caught a mention of this novel in a blog I was reading and something about it piqued my interest enough to pop over to read an excerpt on Amazon. After which I promptly “clicked” this volume into my cart.

Scout, Atticus & Boo, A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Mary McDonagh Murphy

-This was a gift from one of my children, who grew up knowing being lectured that To Kill a Mockingbird is her mother’s all time FAVORITE book. 

 

No question, the books I consume speak volumes (pun mostly intended) about the person I am. So what about you? If I crept into your house and looked at the tome nested next to the spare roll on the toilet tank, pursued the stack piled on the floor next to your bed, or clicked on your eReader, what I learn about you?