Tag Archives: kindle

Saving Annabelle

Saving_AnnabelleThere is a new story available at Kindle just in time to fill the virtual stocking on your young reader’s Kindle device. Don’t have young readers? This story makes a wonderful gift to yourself for an extraordinary holiday read. Don’t miss out on Mary Cunningham’s newest Max and Maddie (Christmas) Adventure. Saving Annabelle is a delight to read.

Saving Annabelle

“Nothing says Christmas like uncovering your tree and dragging it up the basement stairs.”

Thoughts like this leave Maddie shaking her head about her family’s pre-decorated, artificial monstrosity.

When an invitation from another friend leads Maddie, and her best friend, Max, on a trip to an abandoned farm, to find a real tree, they end up back in time, smack-dab in the middle of the Civil War. When they discover a lost girl named Annabelle, Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.


A Thrilling Addition to your Holiday Reads!

And the Winner is…

Family Matters by Jacqueline Vick

Buy Now at Kindle!

Well, it is just past noon on Christmas Day and I’d like to say my Begging for Reviews contest was a 100% success, however… I will have to settle for saying it was a huge success.

Last week I offered to give away a Kindle Touch to one lucky winner if reviewers (of any level) posted 50 reviews onto the original Blog post. Here is what happened.

Free Book Sent – 55

Reviews Posted – 25

It’s not bad overall, I hoped for more, but this makes me very happy. On behalf of all the author reviewed, we sincerely thank you for your time and willingness to jump at my request. Your reviews have already began earning us sales and for that we will remain sincerely appreciate.

Now, about the Kindle Touch. I had kept in my mind that if at least 40 reviews were posted, I would go ahead and give away the Kindle. Unfortunately that did not happen. So in the spirit of Christmas, I have decided that I would go ahead and give away a $25.00 gift card to Amazon.com instead.

The winner was chosen by my husband who had no idea what the heck I was doing. He picked a number and that was that.

Congratulations to Jackie Vick.  I will be sending her the gift certificate.

I hope in the future all of you will consider reviewing books (not just ours) on a regular basis. I can also tell you that I hope you will continue to read my Blog and Echelon books. You never know when I might have another contest, or what I might want to give away!!

May this day be filled with nothing but joy to all of you and those you love. Thank you again!!

eBooks Know No Age

Just a few minutes ago I received an e-mail from one of my authors. She expressed her concern at the closing of her local Borders. Unless you live under a rock, you already know about Borders financial woes.

This author’s concern was for the seniors living in her area who will no longer have a place to gather for their book club. Money doesn’t seem to be the issue in this particular community as she mentions they have a bit of disposable income. They have been meeting at the Borders, talking books, and sipping warm beverages. Now there is concern as to where they can go. Does their book club have to end?

No, I say! This is the time to learn and educate more readers about eBooks. Kindles and Nooks are very senior friendly.


  • Font sizing options. This makes it easier for readers to decide what size letters they are reading.
  • Prices are coming down on devices and eBooks. Some of the devices are still over $200, but there are much more reasonable options in most models. In fact I saw the new Kobo Wireless eReader at Wal-mart for $99.00.
  • Devices are lightweight and easy to hold and manage.
  • Many of the same books are in eBook allowing them to continue to buy them, they will just have to find some special little. You can find eBooks at so many places it is nearly impossible to list them all.
  • Freedom from clutter. Many seniors living in assisted living or who have downsized have limited storage space. eBooks allow them to still purchase books from their favorite authors without stuffing one more paperback under the dining room table.
  • Flexibility. There are all manner of stories out there to read in various lengths. You can find everything from short stories to epic sagas. eBooks put them at your fingertips, literally, within minutes.

I could go on about the value of eBooks, but I hope that if you have already discovered the joys and wonders of eBooks, you will go out and tell your friends, your family, and your neighbors, no matter their age. Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to experience eBooks?

Smart Marketing to Eliminate Missed Sales

Click Cover to Buy eBook!

Okay, so I go to the grocery store today and I am in the checkout lane. Impulse buy Hell, you’ve all been there. So, I’m looking at magazines and something catches my eye, hmm, Ronald Reagan at 100. Hey wait one damn minute! Ronald Reagan isn’t 100, he’s DEAD!!!!! Okay, so you must be thinking, oh that pesky National Enquirer, no my friend, this is LIFE magazine. They have done an entire special edition on a man who has been dead for…well, a long time!!

LIFE, really??? You can’t find anything else to put on the newsstand than an entire magazine devoted to a dead man? This really pissed me off. In fact, so much so that two hours later, I am sitting at my desk still seething and blogging about it. What the heck does it matter to me? It really doesn’t, not like you would think. It did, however, get me to thinking about how authors and publishers market books.

As a publisher, I try to be careful in my keywords and search options when marketing our books. I want people to be able to find them when they are looking for them. For example. We just released OUTWITTED, book two in the Sadie Witt Mystery series, by Beth Solheim. So how do you think we should make this book searchable? It’s about a senior citizen, female, who can see and talk to the dead. So I use keywords like seniors, afterlife, senior citizens, female sleuths, women slueths. It is set at a resort in Minnesota that is owned by two sisters who have a dog (Belly Lugosi) that plays pretty prominently into the stories. So I also use words like Minnesota, MN, dogs, dog lovers, mystery, mysteries, sisters, family business. All of these words would (or should) increase the chance of readers finding this book if they are searching any of these terms. This can only increase our chance of being discovered.

What is happening thought is that authors and publishers seem to want to get the most exposure they can, so they put in these random words that have nothing to do with the book because those words might lead to very active searches. I went into Kindle when I got home to see what mysteries with women sleuths were out there. I found some. But I also found J.A. Konrath? Women sleuth? Really? How about hard-boiled thriller. In my opinion Jack Daniels is a detective/cop, not a sleuth. I also found several Harlen Coben (Myron Bolitar, not a woman sleuth), Stuart Woods (Stone Barrington, so not a woman sleuth), James Patterson (Alex Cross, not a woman sleuth), J.R. Rain (Jim Knighthorse, not a woman sleuth), and numerous others who are not even close to being books about women sleuths. The ONLY thing I can figure these books have in common with that phrase is that the books actually have women in them. Many of them are dead, but they are women nonetheless.

Why does this matter? Well, to me, as a reader, it matters because it wastes my time when I go searcing for something specific and I have to wade through a bunch of crap (not that these books are crap, some of them are quite good, but that is beside the point right now) that is irrelevant to my search. It pisses me off in a big way that of the top 100 selling books at Amazon.com in the women sleuth category, over half of them are incorrectly catagorized. Where the hell are the actual books featuring women sleuths? It really irritates me that Beth Solheim’s book about a frisky 60+ woman who talks to the dead is not in that list because it has been bumped down by thrillers, police procedurals, horror, and all manner of other genre books that do not feature women sleuths, or in many case living women.

Authors and publishers note: If you want people to find your books when they are looking for a specific genre, you might actually want to mention those genres and keywords in your search functions. What happens if you don’t? You run the risk of pissing off the readers who are looking for something else and then I promise you, we will remember your names and in my case and that of many of my friends who I have whined to about this, we will not buy your books or suggest them to others just because you wasted our time and pissed us off.

Use your power for good when setting up the parameters for how readers find your book. You also should consider that if readers are looking for something tame and easy to read without having nightmares for months after reading, by misleading them into assuming that you told the truth when you classified your book as a woman sleuth book, you will lose that reader the first time your serial killer cuts out someone’s tongue and hangs in on a chain around his neck. I’m just saying.

As for you, LIFE magazine. What the hell are you thinking? Probably most of the info you killed however many trees to publish in this special edition about Ronald Regan at 100 can be found on the Internet or already in the library where more trees did NOT need to die. Come on!!!

Amazon Bashing. Why people?

Okay, I have been seeing the link for the article “Books After Amazon” by Onnesha Roychoudhuri on the Boston Review site. It took me a couple of days to build up the curiosity to read yet another negative article about Amazon and Kindle. I was not disappointed.

As has become the norm, the articles goes on to quote numerous unhappy publishers, offer support for failing independent bookstores, and a wee bit of bashing on chain stores. Anyone who has read any of my previous posts on Amazon knows that I support them wholeheartedly. They also know why, which leads us to Indy bookstores. I love Indy bookstores, I used to own one (I know the battles they fight), but these small stores are not enough to keep a small publisher in business, nor do most of them even care enough about us to be respectful when we approach them. I have also been pretty clear in my opinion that chain stores are most inadequate in their customer service (as is the case with many Indy bookstores.)  What does that leave us? Amazon.com

After reading the article at the Boston Review, I tried to post my comments. I thought it odd that there were no previous comments, but I had no problem being the first. But  my question was soon answered. The text box welcomed you to offer your comments, but the faulty Submit button robbed you of however many minutes in your life it took you to write your thoughts. So below, I have posted what I wanted to say at the Boston Review site.

It always amazes me to read these articles quoting publishers. How are those publishers chosen? Why don’t these articles ever talk to publishers who are happy with their relationships with Amazon. Amazon has saved my business. When Indy stores refused to carry our books or treat our authors with any respect, Amazon was there for us. We don’t complain about the discounts. We don’t participate in their co-op things, and yet we have never been harassed or threatened. Just what does a publisher have to do to be noticed. 10 years in this business and not one single organization has ever asked our opinion on anything. Funny…only the unhappy ones get the press.

Karen Syed
Echelon Press

I would like to offer you a challenge. I have a book in print and in eBook format. I challenge you to go to your local bookstore and buy a copy. DARK SHINES MY L OVE by Alexis Hart. If you are able to find it on the shelf and purchase it at that time (meaning it was on a shelf in any store), I will send you ANY eBook in our (Echelon Press) catalog FREE once you prove to me you made the purchase. For those of you unable to find it on any shelf in America and would still like to read this remarkable book (okay, subtly isn’t my strong suit) you CAN purchase it IMMEDIATELY at Amazon.com.

Decatur Book Festival Rocks

Well, it’s been a while I since I actually wrote a Blog post, so I thought this would be a good time to catch up. I won’t go into a lot of past stuff. Instead, I will start with this past weekend.

I drove down to Georgia for the Decatur Book Festival. For the fourth year I was fortunate enough to stay at Mary Cunningham’s house. Mary is the author of the acclaimed Cynthia’s Attic middle grade fantasy series. Staying at Mary’s house is like staying at one of the greatest B&B’s in the world. The house is lovely, the amenities are to die for, Mary makes the most awesome pasta salad, and her husband grills the most fabulous and awesome steaks ever anywhere in the world.

On Thursday Mary took me to her local writers’ group for an author event. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation from M.L. Malcolm, author of HEART OF LIES at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center (a LOVELY facility!) It was a really neat experience. Later that evening, the group went to dinner together at this lovely little restaurant called Little Hawaiian in downtown Carrollton. This was one of the BEST restaurants I have been to in a really long time. Tempura Shrimp with the own sauce and I had to stop myself from licking the little cup. For my main course I had the Hawaiian Noodle Bowl and I just cannot find words to describe it. WOW!!! Did I mention the bread and dipping sauce…sigh!

So brand new debut author Gale Borger from Wisconsin flew in for the festival and stayed at Mary’s house as well. We had such a great time. Gale’s first book, a humorous mystery called TOTALLY BUZZED is just great. She did such an awesome job selling to the adoring potential fans who visited our booth. I actually think she might be a natural.

Saturday at the festival Nick Valentino joined us. He was actually in town for DragonCon in Atlanta, but couldn’t resist seeing me. LOL I really was quite exhausted from having to sell Nick’s book (THOMAS RILEY). It almost got monotonous (just kidding—Nick is a sales dynamo and he has become somewhat of a rock star.) So, we are all standing around with almost nothing to do when romance author Betty Hudson comes flitting (she is just too darn cute) into our booth with a copy of her latest romance SLEEPING BOOTY in her hand. She was tickled to bits as she explains that after meeting Nick at the South Carolina Book Festival she was so taken that she simply HAD to write Nick and his book into her contemporary pirate novel. It was such a cool thing to watch as Nick reacted t her news.

And as if that wasn’t enough to keep Nick’s feet five feet off the ground, another gal strolls into the booth and asks Nick to sign her Kindle…right beneath her autograph from Charlaine Harris. You can actually find the video on Nick’s Blog.

So with all of the great things happening, you have to figure that there would be some not so good. The incidents were few, but pretty major for me.

First, let me thank the young teen boy who caught me and prevented me from cracking my head open as I fell down three marble steps when some old guy’s dog ran under my foot as I was stepping up. Here’s a hand gesture for the old guy who then turned around and snapped, “Ex-scuse me!” and stomped off like I had done something to him. JERK!

So then on Sunday I am walking back to the booth after visiting the local bookstores, The Little Shop of Stories, and I pass by this pub with tables outside. There are five guys (four White and one Mexican-I find this relevant) sitting there and one of the White guys says, and I quote, “Maybe if we could get all the niggers and Muslims together in that mosque at ground zero we could just blow it up and get rid of them all at once.”

To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. I just stopped, turned to them and said, “REALLY? Welcome to fucking American, you moron!” Come on people, do you really need to talk like that in public? If you want to be stupid, do it in your own space and don’t infect the rest of us your stupidity!!

So, as Sunday came close to an end, I was sitting in the booth ringing up a credit card sale and Sam Morton (author of the YA novel BETRAYED) walks up, stops, and with a serious look on his face he says, “You know, when you get in the bathroom and have to go really bad is NOT the time to discover you have your underwear on backwards.” I laughed so hard I snorted, like four or five times. I honestly didn’t think I could stop laughing. And bless his heart, his day didn’t get any better. He texted me later to tell me he had made it 50 miles out of Decatur , headed home, and he had a blow out and had been waiting for the repair truck for over an hour, and guess what…he had to pee. But he was confident that as soon as he dug his thingy out of his backward drawers the truck would arrive with spotlight glaring and lights flashing.

I think, though, that I can say that the very best part of the entire trip was watching my authors sell several hundred books to eager readers, readers of all ages. I have the most super duper authors in the world.

I want to thank the authors who attended for all their support and hard work.

Diana Black (WOOF: Women Only Over 50)

Gale Borger (Totally Buzzed)

Mary Cunningham (The Missing Locket, The Magic Medallion, Curse of the Bayou, The Magician’s Castle and WOOF: Women Only Over 50)

Sam Morton (DisaVowed, Betrayed)

Nick Valentino (Thomas Riley)