How Amazon Prime is now taking book sales away from indie authors. Seriously.

I kbook iconnow we are not supposed to speak badly of those who help feed us, but I want to tell you about the newest ‘benefit’ for Amazon Prime members–all 54 million of them in the U.S. Now those members can read free books–any or all–from a Thousand Book reading list for Prime Members.

This is separate from Kindle Unlimited’s all-you-can-read program of books enrolled in KDP Select where authors are paid by the number of pages read.

These are a Thousand Books selected by Amazon for Prime members only.  A closer look at this list reveals that over 80%+ of the works of fiction are published by Amazon imprints, like Thomas and Mercer.  And most of them appear to be Book 1 of a trilogy.

Very clever marketing by Amazon.  You get Book 1 for free and buy the next two. Book promoters like Bookbub, Read Cheaply and Free Booksy have been facilitating this type of marketing for years.  But it is not so good for us indies and traditional or small publishers and those book promoters. Even Bookbub, which is arguably the most important of the discount/bargain book promoters, does not have a list of 54 million would-be book buyers.

There are also non-fiction offerings in the Thousand Books, including Lonely Planet guides to practically every country on the planet, plus a lot of books about crafts. So if you were thinking about leaving your day job to live off your earnings as a fiction writer, maybe you should wait a little bit and see how this all plays out.

As for me…I abandoned writing fiction some time ago and two of my non-fiction guides, on the right, continue to sell.  The ‘How Seniors Travel for Fun and Profit’ is, in fact, a best seller and has been for over six weeks now. But I think this turn of events will seriously impact the writing future of many indie authors.

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7 words that self-editing indie authors should search for. I did and was surprised!

I took to heart some editing advice from John Adamus, a professional book editor who wrote a post recently for that wicked(ly funny) Chuck Wendig’s blog. Among other things Adamus noted six words that should be checked as an author is editing her/his manuscript.  The word “just”, which is on his list, leaped out at me.  While I was writing my new novel, a romance/cozy mystery with a nifty rough collie character, I noticed that I was using the word “just” a lot and had decided, even before reading this post, that I would use the ‘Find’ tab in Word to review everywhere I had used it in the MS and see if “just” was appropriate or should be changed.

New Vampire Online cover

Cate the Vampire has a new website and problems keep popping up everywhere!

I had done something similar when I was editing my last vampire novel, New Vampire Online, but the words I searched for in that MS were “and then”. Authors often use “and then” to indicate that time has passed. It was embarassing how often “and then” showed up in that MS.  I changed those words and discovered that the writing was better in the new version. It was a good learning experience.

This morning, with the first draft of the new novel complete and my re-writing underway, I decided to check the MS for all six of the words/phrases that Adamus suggested, plus “and then.”  The words on his lists were: “really”, “just”, “very”, “kind of”, “a little”, and “sort of”.  They are all qualifiers that do not necessarily add much to a statement and may, in fact, weaken the power of the prose.

“Really” was the first word I checked using the Find tab.  It turned up over 80 times in the 45,000 word manuscript.  I cut out or revised more than half of them.

“Just” was the second word and it showed up fewer than 60 times. Quite often it is in the characters’ dialogue. I cut more than a third of them. Many of the remaining ones indicate time recently passed.

“Very” was the third word I checked and it appeared in the MS 118 times!  Yikes!  Well, it turned out that the Find function had also found “every”, “everything”, “everyone”, and “silvery”  I had  not used “very” all that often. Again, I checked each one and revised where needed.

The next three on Adamus’ list were phrases I rarely use.  Checking the MS I found them a few times and only five of them did I change.  I use “A little”, for example, to describe things that were small or smaller–rather than indicating something was lesser or approximate.

As for “and then”…well, I was careful about using it as I was writing. It generally appears when one character is telling another character about an event that happened previously.

NOTE:  Author Diana Urban recently wrote a post about the 43 words every writer should delete.  I do not agree with all of her suggestions and caution you not to do ‘replace all’.  You could end up with a disaster! For example, if I deleted all ‘very’ using the ‘replace all’ function my MS would have strange words like ‘Sil’ instead of silvery. It can be time consuming but go through words to delete, one by one.

I’ve decided to entitle the new novel “Finding Mr. Yes.”  I’m also thinking about putting Pretty Girl, the long-haired, rough collie on the cover.  But a romance/mystery with a collie on the cover instead of some bare-chested dude? Yeah.  I might do that.

I finally set up an Annie Carroll Author page of Facebook to let readers know more about my fiction works.  You can find this page here.


Indie Recon, the online convention for Indie authors starts Feb. 25 and it’s free!

I heard about this yesterday.  It’s an online event for indie writers and it looks good.  Better yet, registration is FREE!

Here’s the link to their site: http://www.indierecon.org/

And here are the first four of 15 reasons you should register.

1. Keynote speakers J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler are hosting a two hour chat to honestly answer any questions you have.
2. Find out how to face your fears and how to focus on your writing, being creative, and writing to your readers with Bob Mayer, Alicia Vancil, RaShelle Workman, Susan Kaye Quinn, Orna Ross, C.S. Lakin, and Rachel Aaron.
3. Find out all the nitty gritty details on self-publishing basics like pricing, distribution, and formatting from top industry professionals like Miral Sattar, Peter Bowerman, Joel Friedlander, and The Passive Guy (David Vandagriff).
4. Build your marketing skills and publicity skills with K.P. Simmons (InkSlinger PR), David Gaughran, Lori Culwell, Michael Alvear, Jim Kukral, Joanna Penn, Angela Ackerman, and Martha Carr.
new vampire online cover

Cover for the nontraditional vampire tale, New Vampire Online

I’m particularly interested in the marketing information because my newest novel, New Vampire Online, has recently been published and, of course, I want everyone to know about it and buy it. New Vampire Online is a very untraditional vampire tale of contemporary vampires dealing with today’s world.  Cate the vampire loves stilettos and has a website where she sells lipstick.  Her current boyfriend is in security and her old boyfriend is a surfer, among other things.

New Vampire Online is on Kindle
On iTunes
On Nook