Tag Archives: amazon

Sam Dastyari – one rotten apple or just the tip of the iceberg?

I’ve been having a conversation over on The Passive Voice that has disturbed me greatly. Not because it was unpleasant or rude, but because it has made me feel terribly naive at the ripe old age of 65.

To backtrack a little, the conversation began as a discussion about Amazon. We’re all pretty much Indie writers on TPV so Amazon features rather often in our conversations. Anyway, these are the relevant bits of a recent conversation between myself and Felix J Torres:

FJT: ..They [Amazon] are definitely being demonized like Microsoft ca 1995.
Hopefully, unlike MS in those days, they have more than one part time lobbyist in DC and have a few bought and paid for politicians in their pocket.

Me: ..So cynical! I most sincerely hope Bezos is smart enough not to have to do business like that.

FJT: ..If he doesn’t Amazon will get the same treatment Microsoft got for not contributing enough corporate funds to the politicians….

All that is a matter of record.

As is the fact that MS now has one of the larger contingents in DC and regularly provide PCs and free software to Congress people…

Me: ..I’m not denying it happens under the label of ‘lobbying’, but Amazon succeeded despite not doing what all the other companies were doing. If Bezos caves to the soft-corruption game of ‘gifting’ politicians, the ones to suffer long term will be /us/.
Apologies but Amazon is the /only/ large company that I admire. [I am so cringing now]

FJT: ..Well, of course consumers suffer.
The cost added by the politicians and bureaucrats gets added to the sale price….

Once one player alerts the politicians there is money to be had in a market they don’t back off. Rather they descend en masse…

Bezos would have to be an idiot to hear all the baying dogs calling for a lynching of Amazon and do nothing despite of what happened to Microsoft.

And he isn’t.
Amazon’s publicly reported lobbying has been growing steadily. Even faster than their online sales are growing…

Me: ..So there is open corruption that everybody knows about and accepts as normal?
In certain much maligned countries that might be known as ‘baksheesh’.

FJT: ..

Oh, just because it’s common knowledge doesn’t mean it’s accepted.

But every once in a while a congressman gets caught and arrested with a brown bag with $30K. (Seems to be the going rate in the House. Senators are a lot more expensive.)

Most politicians aren’t that blatant and merely call it “serving their constituents”. And many wrap themselves in principle like “protecting competition” or “looking out for the little people”.

Me: ..A member of the Labor party here in Australia – Sam Dastyari – was caught getting cosy with some Chinese business man, twice. He was finally kicked out but now I wonder whether he wasn’t just the tip of the iceberg, the one blatant idiot who got caught.
Could I get any more disillusioned?
I will never understand why so many Americans picked a certain person to be their ‘champion’ against the swamp, but I’m starting to understand why they need a champion in the first place.

I have only quoted what I thought were the relevant parts of the conversation, but if you’re interested, you can find the whole thing here:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2018/01/why-amazon-is-the-new-microsoft/#comment-408446

Just scroll down a bit.

So, is this something everyone else already knew except me?

I would like to think that Australia is less caught up in this nudge-nudge-wink-wink epidemic of greed, but I’m not a complete fool. How many more Sam Dastyari’s are there amongst our politicians? Do they all take bribes of one sort or another? Is that why, once the politics dies down, nothing is ever done to change this bloody situation?

I’ve long thought the  concept of lobbying was wrong: in a democracy, the only people influencing politicians should be the voters. And yes, I know lobbyists are voters too, as are CEO’s of huge corporations blah blah, but if this bribery is as rampant as it appears, then our democracy is just a great big off-colour joke. 😦

Not happy Jan.

Meeks


Achievements, failures and RESOLUTIONS!

In a fond farewell to 2017 I thought I’d list my achievements:

I worked out how to use CreateSpace [after years of thinking it was too hard] and created print versions of 4/5 of my sci-fi novels, including all four covers for:

  • Miira
  • The Godsend
  • Nabatea
  • The Vintage Egg

I used the CreateSpace experience to write, produce the cover and print a non-fiction book called How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace.

Then I got all ambitious and decided to do one for more complicated books. I am enormously proud to annouce that How to Print Non-Fiction with CreateSpace was uploaded to the CreateSpace website at 9:50pm December 31, 2017. Yep, I just scraped it in. The Non-Fiction book is not available yet as I want to road-test it a bit first, but at least it’s up there. 🙂

As for the failures, most were small – like trying to replace the bulb in my rangehood and failing miserably – and some were just plain enfuriating. I mean, I’m a grown woman, right? I eat well, stay fairly healthy, I even do a bit of physical exercise out in the garden…so why can’t I lose weight? I don’t want to lose a lot, just 5 or 6 kilos…grrrrr.

Anyway, let’s not talk about the past. 2017 is DONE. It is over, finished, consigned to the trash heap of history. 2018 is going to be a lot better and for me it’s already started…Ta Dah

You are looking at the ebook version of How To Print Your Novel with CreateSpace!

Remember that poll I ran a short while ago? The one where I asked you which screenshots were easier to see? Well the results were overwhelmingly in favour of the coloured screenshots, but that left me with a terrible problem as I knew the print version would be seriously expensive [around about $25 USD for the longer how-to].

And then I stumbled across a new-ish Kindle app called the Kindle Textbook Creator. Could this be the answer to my problems?

Before I continue I have to send Chris McMullin a huge thank you. Chris is a publishing guru who writes textbooks and wonderful, clear blog posts about all sorts of technical things. One of his posts became my ‘bible’ as I researched the Textbook Creator:

Optimizing Amazon’s Free Kindle Textbook Creator Publishing Tool

If any of you have thought about writing say, a cookbook, but were put off by the tech, I strongly recommend that you read Chris’ post and get to work.

Anyway, I took Chris’ advice, optimised a copy of How to Print Your Novel for the Kindle [Fire only] and went to work. I finished turning it into an e-textbook just about 2 hours ago and uploaded it straight to KDP. It was a breeze!

The Textbook Creator uses PDF files just like CreateSpace, and basically makes each PDF ‘page’ one page for the Kindle. But the thing that really makes it standout is the clean, efficient interface that makes everything intuitive and easy. Amazon definitely got it right with this one.

So there we go, two days into 2018 and I have an e-textbook to my name. 🙂

And finally to those resolutions. First up, I’m going to convert the How to Print Non-Fiction book into an e-textbook too. Then I’m going to take the Offspring’s advice and re-visit the cookbook I started a few years back. But mostly, I’m going to focus on the Vokhtah saga. Because I’m turning 65 in 10 days and I can feel my creative clock ticking. I’m a slow writer, and there are still a lot of stories I want to tell.

Oh…and that diet thing? I’m determined to win that battle too!

So, what about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you manage to keep any of them? Should I just shut up now? -giggles-

Happy 2018 my friends,

Meeks


CAPTCHA nightmare

This is an example of a captcha verification screen:

I HATE CAPTCHA!

According to the official captcha website, ‘…humans can read distorted text as the one shown [above], but current computer programs can’t.’

Well, I’ve got news for you, older humans have trouble with distorted text as well. Very few of the ones I’ve had to ‘read’ were as clean and easy to read as the example shown. I guess the bots must have become smarter.

Some of us also have trouble with verification screens that ask you to click all the pictures with cars in them, or street signs, or some other stupid thing…and then make us go through screen after screen after screen after screen….

I don’t know whether it’s just my eyesight or the fact that I take instructions too literally, or not literally enough, but I have a terrible time with captcha verification screens of all sorts. And now that Amazon has started using them as well, I’m getting seriously angry. I understand that no website wants to be invaded by bots, but do they really want to drive humans away as well?

Not happy. Not happy at all.

Meeks


The Innerscape Post Mortem

Apologies for the misleading title –  I haven’t killed off Innerscape. The post mortem is actually about the lessons I learned while publishing Innerscape last year. You thought it all went smoothly, didn’t you? -sound of maniacal laughter-

The Truth about publishing before Christmas – Guest Post by A.C. Flory


Innerscape – the last word :)

Pippi and her pillow..ahem I mean her dog

Pippi and her pillow..ahem I mean her dog

Just a quickie to say I’m going to raise the price for Innerscape, Episodes 2 – 5 this evening [Australian time].

Once the change hits – usually within 24 hours – the new pricing will be as follows:

Episode 1 – remains at 99 cents

Episode 2 – $1.99

Episode 3 – $1.99

Episode 4 – $1.99

Episode 5 – $1.99

If you started reading Innerscape but missed out on an episode or two during the Christmas madness, please nip in and grab whatever you’re missing while it’s still at 99 cents:

https://www.amazon.com/A.C.-Flory/e/B00B1M04JI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1482805543&sr=8-1

I will be compiling an Omnibus edition at some point during 2017, but I’m ready for a change so it won’t be any time soon.

Oh, and, if you were wondering about the relevance of the pic…there ain’t none; it just makes me happy. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I hope your New Year is full of joy and hope.

cheers

Meeks


‘Innerscape, Episode 5 is live’ rhymes, badly :/

Now everyone knows why I don’t do poetry. But my prose ain’t that bad, and it so happens that the very last episode of Innerscape is now available for free download from Amazon. This is where you can get it:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAINA5W/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1481705627&sr=8-6&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

And in the spirit of giving…or is it bribery?…the very last competition is now also up and running. As always, at the end of the competition, all the correct entries will have a chance to win a $20 gift voucher from Amazon.

Entering the competition is dead easy. Start by reading the ‘Look Inside’ below [just the first few pages]. There you will find the answer to the multiple choice question for this episode:

Drum roll…and the multiple choice question is:

Where is David and Jane’s wedding to take place?

  1. Innerscape?
  2. New York?
  3. Sydney?

Once you know the answer, write it [or just the number of the correct answer] in comments and that’s it. Just one entry per person though. 🙂

The free download and the competition will both end on December 18, 2016. After that, the price for Episode 5 reverts to 0.99 cents till the end of the week. And after that, every episode, except for no. 1, will rise to $1.99. Episode 1 will stay at 0.99 forever, or until I can make it permafree.

So please, take advantage of the free dowload and the competition while you can.

cheers

Meeks

 


Allelujah! Innerscape, Episode 4 is finally free…

I’d better make this quick. Episode 4 is now available for free download from December 6, 2016 to December 10, 2016. To get your free copy, please follow the link to Amazon below:

https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Episode-4-C-Flory-ebook/dp/B01N0MZ35R/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481019068&sr=1-4&keywords=kindle+innerscape

The Innerscape competition is ready to go as well. Simply read the ‘Look Inside’ below [use your browser’s back button to return to this post] and answer a simple, multiple choice question in comments, and hey presto, you’ll be in with a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher. 🙂

The question for Episode 4 is – what did Alex Tang die of?

  1. pneumonia?
  2. a heart attack?
  3. the common cold?

If you know the answer, please write it in comments [only one per person please] at the end of this post. When the competition finishes, I’ll write each correct entry onto a piece of paper which will then be folded and placed into a vessel of some kind, maybe a hat. Finally, the Offspring will come along to select the winning entry. Easy.

The winner of the competition will be announced on this blog, plus I’ll email or contact the winner directly. Then it’s just a case of deciding what to treat yourself to…erm, with.

If you haven’t entered the competition yet, please do because I get as much fun out of it as the winner does. 🙂

And now for a music track that I didn’t listen to while writing Innerscape. It’s a cinematic from Advent Children, an animation by Square Enix. This scene depicts the final fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, iconic characters from Final Fantasy 7. Even if you don’t like fighting, please watch the incredible cinematography and animation. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


And the winner of the Episode 3 #Competition is….

Cue drum roll!

episode-3-winner

Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental.com is the latest winner in the Innerscape launch competition.

Congratulations, Sherry, you have won a $20 Amazon gift voucher, and I’ll be sending it your way as soon as this post is done. Thank you for entering my little competition. It’s been fun meeting you. 🙂

And thank you to everyone else who entered the competition as well. Now that you know how easy the competition is, I hope you’ll all join in the next one.

Speaking of, there are two more Episodes to go and two more competitions, with the next one due to start [fingers crossed] on Monday, December 5, 2016. Due to timezone differences, the competition should begin at around 8:00pm for my Australian friends.

Until then, it’s goodnight from the Antipodes,

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape, Episode 3 – late but live. :)

At last! The price on Innerscape, Episode 3 has finally dropped to $0.00. It will stay free for the next 5 days [November 29, 2016 to December 3, 2016], so please grab your copy while you can. I know I shouldn’t say this but…Episode 3 will shock you. And that’s all I’m saying. 😀

You can download a free copy of Episode 3 from Amazon at the following URL:

https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Episode-3-C-Flory-ebook/dp/B01N69SI93/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1480406798&sr=8-4&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

And now for the competition.

Duration: 5 days from November 29, 2016 to December 3, 2016

The prize = a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher.

The rules = read the Look Inside below, find the answer to the multiple choice question, also below, and write the answer in comments [either as a name or the number of the option]. Only 1 entry per person.

The question = Who was Alex Tang’s husband?

  1. Mei Lin?
  2. Barry Majors?
  3. Peter Ngugen?

You will need to use the back button on your browser to come back from the Look Inside.

And now that the official business is taken care of…LOOK!

innerscape-recommended

-blush- Sorry, I have never had one of my novels in the ‘Also Viewed’ list before. You guys must be doing something right. Thank you. 😀

-hugs-

Meeks


Just for fun

Couldn’t resist showing you a screenshot of an email I received from Amazon today :

amazon-advert-1

I’m thrilled that Amazon is sending these emails out but…you’d think the algorithm would be smart enough to know I’m not likely to buy something I published myself?

One of the other recommendations was a little odd as well because it’s for a novel I’ve already bought [from Amazon] and read. Still pretty chuffed though.:)

cheers

Meeks

 


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