Browsing "Updates"

Two Books at the Same Time?

Yep.  I’m currently working on 2 books at the same time.  Those would be books #13 & #14.  I’ve had numerous people ask about the 7th Tales of Lentari novel.  What I can tell you instead is that there’s a brand new Lentari series starting up.  It’s going to be a trilogy.  If you want to get technical, it could be called Tales of Lentari #7, but instead, it’ll be Pirates of Perz #1.

May the Fang Be With You (Pirates of Perz #1).  It’s the 10th novel set in Lentari.

Case of the Pilfered Pooches (Corgi Case Files #4).  For those of you who enjoy mystery novels, feel free to return to Pomme Valley for a spell!

Both books should be written by the end of the month.  I already have the cover made for Pirates of Perz #1.  I’ll contact my artist in Brazil (for the mystery novels) in a few weeks so he can get started on that cover.

It’s going to be a great month!  Stay tuned!  Oh, I’m also thinking about starting up some Goodreads Giveaways again.  Which book should I put out there?  You can vote for your favorites below.  Be sure to include which title you’re interested in AND which country you’re in so I can be sure they’re included!

J.

Jan 26, 2017 - General, Indie Authors, News, Updates    29 Comments

The Great Amazon Battle of ’17

In this corner, one of the largest companies that currently exists:  Amazon.  In the opposite corner?  Me.

For those of you who may not know, I had to do battle with Amazon since they yanked my books and cancelled my author account.  If you’re curious enough to be here ’cause you’re wondering just what the hell happened, let me sum it up, in case you don’t want to read the War & Peace novel that ensues.  Then, if you’re still interested, read on, as I go into specifics.

The summary:  Amazon sent me an email Tuesday of this week at 5pm, only it landed in my Junk mail folder.  I didn’t see it until around 10pm that night.  They (Amazon) accused me of creating bogus accounts to boost page reads of Case of the One-Eyed Tiger (CCF#1).  They say it’s against their rules.  As a result, my KDP account was officially terminated and they inform me that all my books will be removed, which they were the following day by 5pm.   Now, bear in mind that I don’t know a damn thing about any “bogus accounts”.  I’m completely in the dark.  In a panic, I start writing emails, including sending one to Amazon’s bigwigs, and essentially prove to them that I have no knowledge of any bogus accounts and certainly didn’t create any.  Today (Thursday), I get the email from Amazon stating my account is reinstated.  My books reappear by 5pm.

Ok, that’s the short version.  Here’s the long version, in the order in which it happened to me.

1/24/17.  10pm.  I’m skimming through my Junk emails and notice a message from “title-submissions@amazon.com”, specifically from a “Katy C.” and is dated from earlier in the day, from around 5pm.  The actual email is here.  They (Amazon) accused me of creating “systematic accounts” and using them to boost the page reads to manipulate the Kindle Unlimited platform.

1/24/17.  10:01pm.  Hoping this is just a phishing email, I immediately head to kdp.amazon.com to log into my account.  Unable to do so.  Have minor cardiac episode.  Am desperately hoping this is some type of sick joke.

1/25/17.  12:45am.  Thanks to this, I’m unable to sleep.  I fire off my first email to “title-submissions@amazon.com”.  I officially ask them to tell me what’s going on.  My message is as follows…

Katy C. -
 
I'm at a loss as to what you're referring to.  Are you insinuating that someone has hacked my KDP account?  I've been a self-published indie author since 2010.  I published my first novel with Amazon on that year and have since released a total of 12 novels.  I have never had a problem with anything there.  I can only assume someone is trying to hack my account.  
 
I have since called Amazon Customer Service and they walked me through changing my password.  However, I am still unable to log into my KDP account.
 
Could I get someone to call me at (***) ***-**** to discuss this?  I'm in the dark as much as you are with regards to this situation.  
 
Thank you.
 
Jeffrey M. Poole
www.AuthorJMPoole.com

 

1/25/17.  6:00am.  Still unable to log into my KDP account.  Verified books are all still on Amazon.  Again, am hoping this is some sick, twisted prank.  No response from Amazon as of yet.

1/25/17.  2:39pm.  First followup email from Amazon, specifically from “John M”.  This, unfortunately, confirms my worst fears.  This is really happening, and Amazon has officially terminated my account.  This is a shorter message and there’s no need to turn it into a PDF, either.  John M writes:

Hello,

Thank you for your email concerning the status of your account.

Systematic accounts are those that facilitate illegitimate reading or borrow activity. You're welcome to promote your book through third-party websites and other services, but you are also responsible for ensuring that no tactics used to promote your book manipulate the Kindle platform and/or Kindle programs.

In order to help us evaluate your appeal, please provide any information about promotional or marketing service you might have used.

Best Regards,

John M

 

1/25/17.  4:45pm.  I noticed that every title I had released in the Kindle store was now missing.  The only books Amazon had of mine were my paperbacks, and I wasn’t convinced they wouldn’t mess with my Createspace account, either.  My day seriously started spiraling straight back to UberPissedVille, with a layover at DepressedTowne.

1/25/17.  5:35pm.  I check for email.  I get the message from above, stating I needed to provide them info about what marketing services I’ve used.  I fired off a response to John, explaining everything I’ve done with regards to that book, which is to say, not much.  The only promotional services I’ve used is theirs (Amazon’s) and a few FB ads.  But, since the FB ads were so-so, I stopped using them around 3 months ago.

1/25/17.  8:27pm.  In a fit of desperation, I look up corporate contact numbers for Amazon.  Phone numbers, email addresses, anything!  And then I find this page, talking about how Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has gone on record, imploring people to contact him should there be a problem with anything Amazon related.  And it listed his personal e-mail addy.

1/25/17.  8:28pm.  I pen an email to Mr. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO Founder.

1/25/17.  10:05pm.  I get another response back from Amazon, only this time it is from another new person.  This time around, I get “Luca F”, and he writes:

Hello,

Thank you for your email concerning the status of your account.

Unfortunately, we need some more time to look into the matter. We are sorry for the delay and for any inconvenience it may cause you. We will be in touch within five business days.

Thank you for your patience.

Best Regards,

Luca F
Amazon.com

 

1/25/17.  10:06pm.  Now I’m freaking out.  I was starting to feel like I was royally Fubar’d.  What was I going to do?  I knew that if I could talk to a human then I could convince them that they’ve made a mistake.  However, I only had an email addy.  And the founder’s email addy.  So… why would a billionaire read/respond to my email?  I was certain Amazon just wanted to sweep me under a rug somewhere and be done with me.  5 business days for some type of resolution?  Surely someone else must have gone through this hell.  I’m now researching this situation on Google.  I couldn’t be the only person that has ever fallen on the wrong side of ye almighty Amazon.  What I find, however, isn’t promising.  Those that have had their KDP accounts terminated don’t get them back.  Or, the very select few that I found that did, have said that it takes weeks, even months, to get the account back in good standing.  Everyone says the same thing.  Lack of a customer service number is disparaging as hell.   The only communication is through email.  In the pit of my stomach, I knew Amazon wasn’t going to reinstate my account.  Not without a fight.

1/26/17.  12:40pm.  That’s when this email arrives.  I read it and let out a whoop.  My KDP account was being reinstated!  To verify, I immediately went to kdp.amazon.com to see if I could log in.  I could!  I checked the Kindle store.  Nope, the books were gone.  Still.  At least I had hope that they’d be back shortly.  So, did this mean that my midnight email to Amazon’s CEO made it to him??  This seemed waayyyyy too quick of a resolution.  Whatever.  I wasn’t complaining.

1/26/17.  2:00pm.  I checked the Kindle store.  All my titles were back!  The number of reviews were still there, but there was a casualty.  All my sales stats & rankings were gone.  The little bastards wiped all traces away, essentially demoting me to the rank of a newbie author.  **sigh**   At least my books were back and were making sales again.  I thought this story was finally done, but, believe-it-or-not, it took a turn for the good, with…

1/26/17.  2:49pm.  My cell phone rings, with a 206 area code showing on the display.  I used to live in Washington state.  I happen to know 206 is the area code for Seattle.  Home of Amazon.   This was a call I was more than willing to take.  The person on the phone – and I missed his name – was a guy who identified himself as a member of the KDP Executive Service Team.  He wanted to know if I had received the email, stating that my account had been reactivated.  I told him that I had, and that I had also noticed all my books were back.  He said that was good to hear, and then he made a discernible effort to see how I was doing.

My response?  “Not too happy with you people, pal.  I don’t like getting accused of doing something illegal when there’s no proof.”  He then launched into a spiel about how I had to be careful about the type of marketing I used, especially those companies who “guaranteed results”.  I hit back with, “the only promotional marketing I did was with YOU.”

That took him by surprise.  He then went on to say that, after reviewing my account, and all my years of history with them, that they would have reinstated my account without any problems, and there was no need… and this is my favorite part – to “have written Jeff about this“.   I told him that I wasn’t sorry, and that you have to understand my point of view.  There was no warning.  There was no… “hey, if you do this again, we’re going to terminate your account”.  I told the executive CSR that they should consider simply telling the author that they would be kicked out of KU, not terminate their account without any way of contacting this infamous “title-submissions@amazon.com” team that seems to hold the power of God at KDP.  

He understood.  He finished the call by asking me to be careful with the KU program, because there are many automated algorithms out there that are continually trying to sniff out illegitimate accounts and to keep their authors safe.  I told him that I wouldn’t ever use KU again and that I was planning on pulling CCF1 out of KU just as soon as I could, which would be in a couple of weeks.  He then volunteered to pull it out for me, which I instantly took him up on.

Just as soon as I hung up the phone, I was logging into Smashwords and submitting all my files so that I could release the title wide.  Not only did Smashwords convert the file in record time, but I also took a screencap of the conversion and posted it in FB, thanking Mark Coker.

Now, FB instantly linked the “Mark Coker” to his actual FB page, and wouldn’t you know it, Mark instantly Liked the comment.  I went back to my Smashwords account to see for myself that people were already downloading it when I noticed that it had already been approved for the Premium Catalog.  Anyone familiar with Smashwords will know that it can take a day or two.  We’re talking less than 2 minutes.  Tops.  Mark had to have a hand in that, which he admitted that he did.  Mark, if you ever read this, thanks again, buddy.

So… I get to end this day knowing that a rich billionaire founder of one of the biggest companies out there read my letter, asking for my account to be reinstated, and the founder/owner of Smashwords did me a solid favor by getting my book fast tracked for premium acceptance.  As I write this, I see that Case of the One-Eyed Tiger (Corgi Case Files #1) has already appeared for iBooks.  In an effort to kick start the series, I’ve made this book free of charge.  For the time being, anyway.

Thanks for letting me vent & ramble!  I’ll be posting more about where CCF1 is available as soon as more retailers come online.   Have a great night!  I’m pretty sure I finally will.  :)

J.

Mystery Giveaway!

Hey, everyone!  I hope everyone is enjoying the new year thus far.  Any significant plans?  As for me, I’m stepping up my schedule.  I’m going to try and  – get this – write my fantasy novels in 2 months and the mysteries in 1.  If I can keep to that schedule then that means I’ll be able to release 8 books in a single year.  Think I can do it?

The first novel of the year will be the beginning to a new trilogy, Pirates of Perz.  The main story will span 3 books and involves a band of pirates who are bent on stealing magical artifacts to further their own gains.  And yes, I’ve already started.  :)

I also have the titles of the next four Corgi Case Files.  I’ll give you a teaser.  The first mystery of the year, due to be written in March, will be entitled Case of the Pilfered Pooch.  So, to start this year off, I’m holding a giveaway for one of the mystery books.  Which one?  Well, whichever the winner would like.  Would you like to enter?  There’s only one prereq.  A review.  Comment below and leave me a link to the review you’ve written (for one of the mystery books) and you’re entered!  I’ll have Keeley pick a winner at the end of the month.  And, for the record, it doesn’t matter where you’re at.  This contest is open to everyone, regardless where they live.  And has left a review for one of the mysteries.

If there’s only one person who enters, well, then that person is going to get a signed print copy of any of the three mysteries.  Good luck to all who enter!

J.

Dec 18, 2016 - General, Indie Authors, News, Updates    No Comments

Anyone up for a Christmas mystery?

Hi, guys!

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that my latest novel, Case of the Holiday Hijinks (Corgi Case Files #3) has been finished and is in the hands of my Posse.  But wait, you say.  Didn’t you just release a new mystery?

Why yes.  Yes I did.  :)

Case of the Fleet-Footed Mummy (Corgi Case Files #2) was released less than two weeks ago.  However, I had started on my next mystery the instant I was finished with #2.  I really wanted to write a themed story and release it on the corresponding holiday.  I tried for the mummy novel and Halloween, but I didn’t make it.  This time, I vowed I’d get Holiday Hinjinks released before Christmas.

I made it.  :)  Here’s the blurb I’m going to use for it:

There’s a Grinch in Pomme Valley!  Someone is stealing presents right from under the noses of unsuspecting home owners.  How is he sneaking in?  Why is he only taking the presents and ignoring other valuables?

Corgis Sherlock & Watson are on the case!  Accompanied by their reluctant human Zack, the unlikely trio must find out who’s responsible for the thefts and stop him before anyone gets hurt.

Nervous officials, scared townspeople, and impending visits from visiting family members.  Will Zack and the dogs be able to solve this case before he has to explain to his mother why the local police department have him on speed dial?

I’ll post an announcement when it goes live.  I’m thinking by Thursday if I’m lucky, or Friday at the latest.  That’s 2 days before Christmas!  I hope all of you enjoy the story!

Stay tuned!  I’ve got one massively busy production schedule lined up for 2017!

October Releases

Hey, everyone!

As the title implies, I hope to have not one but two releases for you by the end of this month.  The next installment in the Tales of Lentari series, Close Encounters of the Magical Kind, is finished and is in the hands of my primary proofer.  As soon as she’s done then it’ll be released to the members of the Posse and they’ll go through it with a fine tooth comb.  Then it’ll be released.

The 2nd title is still being worked on but I have faith that I’ll be able to get it released by the end of the month.  Yep, I thought that a book entitled Case of the Fleet-Footed Mummy and Halloween would go hand in hand.  So right now I’m busting tail, trying to get that book done, too. 

Here’s a preview of the new mystery cover, complete with two corgis on the cover.  :)

Case of the Fleet-Footed Mummy

Case of the Fleet-Footed Mummy

I’m trying to schedule some promotions for the first mystery novel and time it with the release of the 2nd, so wish me luck!

I’m also heading off for a bit of vacation here in a few days.  Will be back by the end of next week.  My plan is to get ToL6 out to the Posse before I leave.  Fingers crossed, people!!

 

 

Summer update

Hi guys!

It’s been a busy summer for me.  I will say that’s the ultimate way to make time fly:  when you realize you don’t have enough and actually want it to slow down.

Fans of fantasy should be happy with this.  The 6th Tales of Lentari  adventure (title has been picked but is HIGHLY subject to change) is almost finished!  I’ve got one chapter left and then it’ll be off to the Posse to be picked apart.

Mystery lovers will also have something new to read here in about a month.  I’m about halfway through the 2nd novel in my new mystery series.  That one already has a title:  Case of the Fleet-Footed Mummy (Corgi Case Files #2).  The mystery novels are significantly shorter than the fantasy stories I write, so I should be done with this one in a week or two.  And then the Posse will go through that one, too.

Stay tuned!  I’ll keep everyone posted on progress!  Also will be working on two covers.  Newsletter subscribers will get first peeks at them.  I’ll be running ideas by the Posse.  In case you were wondering, the Posse are a group of friends/readers who have agreed to lend me a hand to proofread the stories, compare notes, run ideas by each other, and so on.  Interested in joining the Posse?  Read through the previous blog entry and see what’s expected.  If you’re still interested in joining then drop me a line!

Also being a movie lover, I’ve watched a number of movies that had a lot of hype to them.  I’ll do something new and give you a one line review on each.

  1. Independence Day – Resurgence:  dear God, don’t bother
  2. Secret Life of Pets:  disappointed – more sad than funny
  3. Ghostbusters (new one):  vindicated – shouldn’t have bothered
  4. Finding Dory:  hysterical – Disney scores another hit!
  5. Jason Bourne:  average – felt like a recycled plot
  6. Central Intelligence:  predictable, but still hysterical

Have you seen anything good?  Want to recommend a new movie?  Leave me a comment!

J.

Creating “The Posse”. Wanna join?

As many of you know, I’m a part of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast, streamed live every Tuesday evening.  I’ve learned quite a few things from the show and am starting to implement some changes.  One of those regards my beta readers.  And, before you ask, yes, I’m getting close.  :)

Instead of selecting a number of beta readers, like I normally do, I’m creating a private Facebook group with the sole purpose of gathering some dedicated fans together that are always interested in reading/proofing my books.  Are you interested in joining The Posse?  Would you like to read the stories long before they’re released to the outside world?  Are you willing to leave reviews and share your experience with others?  You know what?  I’ll post a list of what I’m looking for.

Prereqs:

  • Ability to spot typos, grammatical errors, continuity errors, etc.
  • Unafraid to give me critique.
  • Ability to leave reviews on major retailers.
  • Ability to read/review stories in a timely fashion

Are you interested?  Leave a comment here!  I’ll be sending out invites to The Posse as soon as its created!  Thanks for your willingness to help me out!

J.