Category Archives: Business

These would look so cute on you…

Click Image to BUY NOW!

Click Image to BUY NOW!

It’s never too early to start picking up your holiday accessories.

Traditional red and green with silver filigree accents, these darling earrings will get you into a festive mood and have you humming carols in no time.

A portion of this items proceeds will be donated to “Donate Life.” This does not suggest any endorsement from the organization, only my desire to support the awareness of Organ Donation after receiving my heart transplant in May 2015.

All items in this shop are handmade by me and I apologize for any “quirks” as I am on numerous prescriptions that cause tremors. My only desire is to support awareness.

**To DONATE an items, please use the following coupon code at checkout. The item will NOT be shipped to you, but will be given to someone who needs the support. (Coupon Code: Donate1)

Supersize your Attitude

Execellence-is-not-a-skill-its-an-attitudeIn a society focused on the misguided principle of immediate gratification, we, as a whole, have put ourselves into a very precarious position with regard to success and ultimately, survival. Every day millions of people wake up with what they think are plans, or even strategies for how they will make it big within the next twenty-four hours. Whether by day trading in the stock market or winning the lottery, and a variety of endeavors in between, they set out to accomplish the nearly impossible. This attitude has becoming frighteningly commonplace. Where exactly did pride in our actions fall to the wayside? When did striking it rich become more important than ensuring not only the productivity, but the very survival of the human race?

There are any number of organizations, companies, etc that spend millions, if not billions of dollars studying the habits of all living things. For now, let’s focus on the humans. There are surveys and statistics analyzing everything from the sexual habits of pre-adolescents to the scent preferences of the stay-at-home mom (tell me why this one is important) with who knows what else. The bigger the survey the better. For who? It has occurred to me that the problem with our society is that everyone wants to know why we do the things we do. Is it really that important?

Studies on obesity  are an excellent example of what is lacking in our society. A Missouri news article recently reported that 32% of its students in grades 6 -8 are overweight or at risk and 27% of high school students are overweight or at risk. In a world where fast food restaurants are more frequent than churches or schools, we see the problem but do little to find a successful resolution.

When did we stop encouraging our children to exercise and eat carefully? When did it become more important to get a quick meal than a nutritionally sound one? With the rise in single parent families struggling to maintain financial security, I believe the media has played a crucial role in advocating the convenience of a “fast meal,” thereby saving one parent time and energy in preparation of a balanced meal. How does this affect our society? Unfortunately, it teaches children that convenience trumps health and well-being. It also eliminates, or at best, dramatically decreases, the time families spend together sharing and bonding. It is unfair to blame the fast food industry for the decline in healthy and well-adjusted families, but it is easy to see how convenience can sway the average person into a trap that cannot only be counterproductive to success, but also potentially and literally deadly.

The same can be said about financial success. The average person in Pennsylvania will spend $7.00 on lottery tickets 3 times per week. At $84.00 per month, this is $1008.00 per year. Statistics show that a majority of lottery players are from lower income classes who struggle with decreasing financial security. It is my personal thought that if efforts were made on the part of educators and employers to increase the benefits and opportunities for students and employees, we could actually refocus the attention of people to strive for personal success, as opposed to a quick fix. Am I saying there is anything wrong with the lottery? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the attitude of our society has dramatically digressed from personal or professional success.

happyWhat can we do to improve the overall stability and potential for success? This is literally a life or death question. Organizations and individuals can work together to shift the focus of the average person away from immediate success and strive to rebuild the confidence levels and self-esteem of each member of the human race. By focusing our attention as people on the positive aspects of life, instead of demoralizing the efforts of those who do find success, by whatever means, we can develop a productively more sound future for our race in general.

Take as many moments as you can to recognize those people who need guidance and offer them the encouragement to find pride and value in themselves. Make constant efforts to direct our children down smarter, healthier, and more positive paths. This alone can ensure the peaceful and productive success of the future.

Carefully consider each action you take in your life and determine if it is in the best interest of your life, or just the moment. Financial success is crucial to the survival of each of us, and in order to achieve this success, each person must be willing to carefully gauge the cost of their efforts and ensure that those actions are not at the expense of others.

Attitude is the key to the potential success of every individual’s efforts. Without a positive attitude, we run the risk of constant conflict and the destruction of our way of life. Attitude is the element that determines success, health, productivity, and destruction. Without positive personal nurturing the crime rates will continue to rise, the levels of intelligence will continue to decline, and the number of unnecessary deaths will remain the main topic of water cooler conversation.

Take a moment today, and every day, to nurture those around you. Don’t be afraid to help someone who truly needs it. More than anything take pride in everything you do that is in the best interest spreading a positive attitude.

Originally published 2007
© Karen L. Syed

Bad review, bad person?

There is a discussion going on in one of the groups I belong to and my opinion on the subject seems quite different than that of many others participating. I have responded there several times, but I felt that it would be best if I moved my opinion off the group, so I wouldn’t just be keeping the argument going. The topic of discussion is whether or not 1 or 2 star reviews should be posted publicly, especially by other authors.

3-Star review

Many say no, because it is mean and humiliating. Okay, but my question is, if an author doesn’t want people to review their books honestly, should we really be worried about their feelings getting hurt? Of course we should, but there is the whole point that when you put yourself and your work out in the public and ask people what they think, you had better have thick enough skin to accept all the answers. It is unrealistic to think everyone will like your book.

I have been criticized repeatedly over the years for a 1-star review I posted of THE LOVELY BONES. Okay, I posted the review publicly so everyone has a right to point out their agreement or disagreement. So be it. Does it make me a bad person because I did not like this book and said so publicly? I didn’t rag on the author, I was not malicious or hurtful. I was honest in my opinion.

My review of The Lovely Bones

I have to admit to reading this book because of all the fuss. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was and so beautifully written, etc. I was very disappointed.

I found the voice of the main character to be contrived and out of character. I hated hearing the story being told by a child in an adult voice. It took away a lot of the emotional impact for me.

I think this could have been much better.

I think it is quite to the point and professional. No one has to like it, it is my opinion.

2-Star Review

Why would you bother to post a review of a book you read and then not be honest? The point of reviews is to help other readers have a better knowledge of what that book is about and what other readers think of it. What happens to the industry if everyone who reads a book either posts a positive review or no review at all, even if they did not like the book and had solid reasons for the dislike? The industry would become a shallow popularity contest…oh wait, it already has. I am furious when I buy a book that has gotten 25 5-star reviews claiming it to be the best book ever and then when I read it I discover that it is poorly edited, poorly constructed, dipping with multitudes of plotholes, and just plain bad. I feel cheated and mislead by each and every person who failed to point out even one of the problems. Now, I am the first to agree that even a poorly written book can be exciting and engaging, I have read many.  I simply tell fellow readers how much I loved the story, but to be prepared for lots of editorial issues. Honest, not cruel. But I certainly would not give it a 5-star review, even if I knew the author.

Bottom line is, a review is intended to serve a specific purpose, if the reviewers cannot be honest, then why bother, it just makes things icky for the rest of us.

One last note. This is for all you authors out there. If you are not willing to give an honest review and STAND BEHIND IT (this means posting it, whether good or bad) then do us all a favor and don’t review books by friends and other authors you know. This is just my personal request/opinion.

I would love to know what you all think of this, whether you agree with me or not. Please don’t hesitate to share your comments, this is a no judgment zone.

Open Letter to

Re: Amazon Reviews

Dear Mr. Bezos, et al,

I would like to take this opportunity to implore you to reconsider your decision to remove a number of reviews from your web site. I fully acknowledge that you, as the business, have a right to do as you see fit with your company. I would however, like to point out a few things to you regarding this new enforcement of a policy we were unaware existed.

By disallowing authors from posting reviews for books written by other authors, you are eliminating a huge venue for the promotion of the books you sell. As I am sure you are aware, for decades, publishing houses have relied on the “blurbs” of other authors to promote their books. This is common practice and should not play a role in the financial considerations of the “blurbing” author.

I hope you will reconsider your stance that authors are in competition with one another. This goes without saying, but with a few exceptions, authors have learned to co-exist peacefully without raking each other over the coals and trying to ruin one another.

Your determination that an author stands to gain financially in some manner when offering a review of another author’s book is simply befuddling. It’s a big industry and we deserve more credit than to be lumped in with the corporate moguls who are only in it for the money, no matter the cost to those they tromp on. I gain nothing by reviewing a book by Nora Roberts, except perhaps the knowledge that if I loved her latest book and say so, someone else will see my review on your site and buy that book to read.

I would also like to point out that there are by far more effective ways to handle some of the problems you have surely run up against in your review process. Instead of alienating us, why not incorporate some new aspects into the submission process. I would think that by allowing the reviewer to clearly state their relationship to the book (for example, a series of choices with radio buttons indicating this information):

  • Reader
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Editor
  • Bookseller
  • Librarian

Other readers and potential consumers can decide on their own whether a certain review merits their consideration. I feel compelled to tell you that so many authors feel abused by with this enforcement of the “no competition review” rule. As it stands now, you are not only alienating publishers, editors, and authors, but also booksellers, as they are the ones who truly stand to gain financially by posting favorable or over-exaggerated reviews. How will you weed out their reviews?

On behalf of multi-purpose readers worldwide, please reconsider your actions and give some thought to simply allowing people to say how they feel, no matter who they are.

With respect,
Karen Syed
Multi-purpose reader

I Just Wanna Write

Okay, I am having one of those weeks. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of and overachiever. Have been my whole life. I tend to take on way more than I can handle and then stress out about not getting it done when it needs to be done. I know this, I admit this, and I apologize for this.

I am currently working on several projects that need to be done last week. I am editing three books, four short stories, and an anthology. Am I complaining? No, no, no. I love what I do and can only imagine doing one other thing.

I miss writing horribly. My husband says I need to spend half of my day working for others and half of the day writing and promoting my own books. I simply can’t do this. I have responsibilities and my personal pleasure cannot go before them.

Click Cover to Buy at Kindle!

I was recently accused of focusing too much on my personal writing career and not enough on my authors. Really? REALLY??? A couple Facebook posts a day is too much? Seriously! I woke up this morning with an idea swimming around in my head that is begging to be written, but I plunked myself down in my chair and began working on edits for a client. I have added the idea to my idea file, though that file now takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive…sigh

Not sure why I needed to put this out here. I guess I just needed the people I am working for to know that I am working for them and once I am done with their projects, I might take some time to write. After all, I do think I am pretty good at it. 🙂




Dear Lendink


I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton.


Karen L. Syed





The Freedom to Type

Warning: This is a Rant.

So, I belong to numerous Yahoo groups that focus on various things. Some of them are just for fun, others I rely on for networking, industry news, and learning. Recently I have discovered that on a couple of them that claim to be for industry professionals, those professionals don’t seem to be able to stay on topic, focus, or acknowledge that someone other than them could know something. There are four in specific that I will not name.

So the first one is a genre group for readers. However, if you are an author and a reader you are not allowed to mention your books or the books of anyone you know personally as it is considered promoting and that is against the rules on the group. Um…WTF? When you go into a readers group and you talk about the books you are reading, you are pretty much promoting that book…just make sure it isn’t anyone you know or you are gonna get yelled at…every time!

The next one is a group for authors to learn about industry news and writing opportunities. However, if you are a publisher, you are not allowed to mention or promote your own company because it is considered biased and is not productive for the other members.

The third group is supposed to be an industry discussion group on a certain aspect of the industry. However, most of the people on this group lurk, another big portion use the group as a place to market their own work, and another large portion only post when they have something to argue about, which seems to be frequently. Now, this is the group I wanted to be most active on because the topic is very important to me. Problem is, my notes only seem to get through every so often. I recently posted something that could have been very helpful to almost everyone in the group at some point, and it managed to incorporate the actual topic that is supposed to be the focus of the group. Why was I censored? I have no idea.

The fourth group, my personal favorite, is a group that focuses on a specific item. However, you can only discuss that item if you don’t mention your direct connection to that item, the connection of anyone you know to that  item, or your actual opinions on that item. This is NOT a moderated group so all the notes go up, but there are people who are moderators who go through and if they think you have stepped over a line they delete the text of your post. I recently had every single thing I posted censored. When I asked why, I was told that it’s because I was blatantly promoting myself. When I explained that I had not written any of the books I had mentioned, I was told that they knew I had published 3 of the 10 books I posted about. Okay…still not my books. I was then told that I had a personal stake in those three books and I was not allowed to post about anything I had a stake in. Huh?

So my question is, why the hell do people start groups where you aren’t allowed to talk about anything that is of any value or relevance to the topic of the group?

That said, I have opened a new forum for authors, publishers, publicists. It is meant to be a place where authors gan go to brainstorm marketing, network, and give and get ideas and help wit marketing books. It is not a readers group, it is not a device group, it is not a genre group. The only rules are that there is no discussion of religion or politics (not the place and it always ends badly) and no flaming of fellow forum members. Simple enough.

If you fit into one of the three categories, feel free to join us. I would love to actually talk about marketing in an open forum. Marketing Masters: