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Monday, 26 September 2011

Contrasting views up the Amazon

I discovered something about Amazon recently. I’m not sure if it’s widely known but it definitely wasn’t known to me. Or a lot of the people I asked.

It all started when I went into my authors account and looked at the download history. At first glance it looked like I had ‘sold’ quite a few stories at 99 cents each. But the revenue columns remained suspiciously at Zero, well apart for one that said 70 cents!

Being a bit perplexed by this I took a look at what Amazon told me my stuff was selling at in both the UK and the US (Ich verkaufe aber nichts in Deutschland) but all looked normal. There it was on screen for all to see. I was selling for both stories for 99 cents. So I went back to scratch my head over that Zero balance.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The benefits and pitfalls of replying to reviews:

I was checking up on my stories in Amazon recently, and felt compelled to write a reply thanking a reader for reviewing one of my Novelettes.
I wanted to reply to this as I appreciated the work and effort they had obviously put into their review, and genuinely wanted to thank them.
It wasn’t a glowing review by any means, but it was fair and their personal likes and dislikes were reasonable. A reply from another reader, who had stopped reading because they had become confused, even said they would now finish the story based on the review.
Now, I did leave a comment and almost immediately had second thoughts. After reading my comments back it could be interpreted as a blatant plug for the other books in this series, and that really wasn’t my intention. Not that thers much unusual about an author blatantly plugging their work. After all, you haven’t much option until you can get someone who is much better at it than yourself to plug for you!

Monday, 5 September 2011

The moon was jumped over by the cow…

…or why passive voice is easy to write but not to read.

I was editing a few beginners’ short-story efforts recently, and kept coming up against the passive-voice monster. This got me wondering why people write like this, and we all did it. In fact I think most of up probably still do. We just get better at recognising and removing it.

The first thing everyone is told when learning to write is usually ether “Show, don’t tell” or “Don’t use passive voice.” Both are very good pieces of advice and both invariably leave the would-be writer reeling under the weight of these short sentences.

Subject and action, that’s how most of us think. ‘The dirty dishes were not washed by our son again’ a common enough occurrence, at least in our house.
We may think that way. But we don’t talk that way. I think that’s where the problem is. We are more likely to say “You’re son didn’t wash the dishes again.” … and yes, the answer would probably be “He’s your son too.”