Amazon Steps Up Its Antifraud Efforts

Nicholas Rossis has been busy and informs us about Amazon stepping up its antifraud efforts. Thank you very much Nicholas. This is quite interesting!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Fake review - Pinnochio | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: frostmediasolutions.com

Since 2015, Amazon has been actively trying to stomp out scammers exploiting authors. As I first reported in 2015, foremost among these were fake reviews, but a couple of months ago it upped the ante by filing arbitration complaints against five individuals who it says offered services to KDP author and publishers aimed at helping them manipulate the reading platform for financial gain. Amazon is demanding a combination of injunctive relief, account termination and, in some cases, triple damages.

As Publishers Weekly reports, Amazon alleges that five people used a number of prohibited strategies to manipulate customers reviews and worked to inflate sales and royalties. Amazon essentially charges that a handful of individuals worked to create fake reviews for their books and others’ in addition to attempts to manipulate Amazon systems that count book sales and the royalties paid to authors via its subscription reading service.

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A Montana Bound Christmas – by Linda Bradley

Introducing Linda:

I’m Linda Bradley, author of the Montana Bound Series.  After receiving reader requests for A Montana Bound Christmas, this merry band of misfits is together once again. Like warm cocoa and your favorite pair of slippers, I hope ho, ho, home for the holidays! warms your heart.

A little about myself…When I’m not writing or plotting my next Women’s Fiction book, you can find me teaching second grade, reading, dabbling with my art supplies, baking, walking my beautiful rescue dog, Maisey or traveling.

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Linda’s Books:


 

A Montana Bound Christmas:

 

Blurb: 

Chloe and John McIntyre await Maggie Abernathy’s arrival at the 617 Ranch, but snowfall has halted flights from Michigan to Montana. While Maggie and her mother prepare for a delayed departure, eight-year-old Chloe prepares for disappointment by inviting her Hollywood mother to the ranch in hopes of filling the void. Brook’s unexpected acceptance raises the stakes for John who longs for the perfect Christmas. This cast of misfits bands together in true Montana Bound style when unexpected guests arrive and a curious dog goes missing.

 

Buy Linkhttp://amzn.to/2bakz7T  

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

John

“DAD, WHEN’S MAGGIE going to get here?” Chloe’s breath fogged up the picture window. Her gaze scanned the snowy Montana mountains. “I hope she makes it in time for Christmas.”
Ruffling Chloe’s dishwater-blond mane, I prayed like hell Maggie and her mother, Glad, would get here soon. Traveling had come to a halt across the country thanks to the winter storm, but at least Maggie and Glad were safe at home and not sleeping on some airport floor like the many interviewed on the news.

Feeling anxious, I massaged my temples. Wrapping my arms around Maggie and kissing her lips were the only Christmas presents I needed.

“Not sure, Pumpkin. Depends on the flights.”

Crossing paths with Maggie the summer before last was like finding a rose bush on top of a mountain while searching for gold. As much as she resisted, her heart finally won. We all won. Acquiring Glad in the deal was a bonus. Without hesitation, she’d taken a special liking to Chloe. They’d bonded instantly through their love of mischief. Glad was like the grandmother Chloe never had, and her sense of humor cut to the quick. Glad wore her heart on her sleeve and was the only one capable of giving Maggie a run for her money when Maggie needed a challenge. Glad was Maggie’s mother first and foremost, but their relationship—built on sarcastic wit, middle-naming, and genuine love—was most unique.

“Maggie has to get here.” Chloe drew a heart in the moisture on the frosty glass pane. She wrote her initials above Maggie’s, then she added a plus sign. “The snow is so thick you can barely see through it.” Chloe hummed a holiday tune between thoughts. “Just think, Dad, next year at this time, I’ll be nine and Maggie will have been here a whole year.”

Nudging the hat back from my brow, I thought about the woman who’d stolen my heart. I never dreamed in a million years I’d fall head over heels for my Michigan neighbor lady, Maggie Abernathy. Living in Grosse Pointe hadn’t been on my agenda originally, but the picture was crystal clear why I’d established residency in the Great Lake State before coming back to Montana. If I didn’t believe in fate before, I did now, and I wanted Maggie to get here as much as Chloe. We had big plans of starting a life together and this was only the beginning.

“Why couldn’t Maggie and Glad come earlier?” When Chloe spoke, deep lines appeared along the bridge of her nose.

“I told you, Chloe, Maggie’s settling things with her house. Remember when we sold our house in Grosse Pointe? It takes time. Papers have to be signed, things need to be packed, and besides Maggie wanted to spend some extra time with her momma. You can understand that, right? When Christmas is over, Glad’ll fly home. I don’t think Maggie has ever really been apart from her momma.”

I lifted Chloe’s chin with my index finger. My daughter’s soul shimmered behind her green stare. Hope should’ve been Chloe’s middle name because my girl never gave up when the chips were down.
“Glad’s house is where Maggie grew up. Maggie’s saying her last goodbye.”

Chloe’s expression tugged at my heart like the snap of a lasso when wrangling a wild pony.

“I know what you mean. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to being apart from my momma, but maybe that’ll change someday. Hollywood sure is a far way away.”

Chloe’s momma was nothing like Maggie, and I wondered if I’d ever shed the guilt from our failed marriage that had left my daughter living with her old man. Chloe longed for a normal household, whatever that was in this day and age. Smiling at Chloe, I wished she’d see the well of hope I carried myself.

“I guess so, but I want Maggie to be here. It’s almost Christmas. We have so much to do.”

“I want Maggie here, too, Peanut, but it is what it is.” Resting my hands on Chloe’s thin shoulders, I prayed for the skies to clear so our Maggie’s arrival was sooner than later.

“Maggie promised she’d make cookies with me. Christmas will be here before you know it. This is our first Montana Christmas, and I want it to be perfect.” Chloe leaned her forehead against the window, closed her eyes then whispered in the sweetest of voices, “Please Lord, it’s me, Chloe. I know I can be kind of a pain, but can you please help Maggie and Glad get here, and fast?”

“Come here, Peanut.” Opening my arms, I scooped my little girl up. My cheek grazed hers. Nothing compared to her soft touch when pangs of disappointment bristled.

On the outside, my daughter was as tough as they come, but on the inside, she was soft and cuddly. Chloe rested her head against my shoulder, her warm breath like butterfly kisses upon my neck.
“Are you going to marry Maggie?”

“Without a doubt.” My heart pounded as I imagined sharing life with the woman I loved. “Don’t you worry.”

“Good,” Chloe whispered. “I can feel your heartbeat against mine. I think we both love her.”

“This is where Maggie needs to be, Peanut.” Holding my daughter tight, I breathed her in. She was a wee one, but something told me the years would pass in a blink of an eye if I wasn’t careful.

“I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you, too, Munchkin.”
Outside, heaping mounds of snow grew deeper
with each passing hour. If Maggie and Glad couldn’t get to the 617 Ranch before Christmas morning this was going to be some Montana-bound holiday.

 

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2bakz7T  

Don’t Advertise With Amazon Until You’ve Read This

Nicholas C. Rossis has provided us with a fantastic blog post about advertising with Amazon. Read this article before you decide to do so. Thank you very much Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Yes, this is the long-promised post where I share my experience advertising with Amazon and the things I’ve learned — things that could make or break your campaign.

What I’ve Learned Advertising With Amazon

You may remember my past experiences with Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) and the recent plan I’d set for myself. I started promoting in April with 3 kinds of ads:

Ad #1: Sponsored Products, Manual Keywords

This was the bulk of my promos. I chose up to 1,000 keywords for each book and used them to target potential readers.

How does one come up with so many keywords, you ask? Well, there are two easy ways:

Advertising with Amazon (AMS) | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books1. Choose The Best-Selling Books In Your Genre

The first strategy requires that you find the genres in which your books sells. Amazon does some automatic choosing for you, and you can sometimes see these listed under your book details…

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Fashion For Characters I

For some time now I realize that very often the book cover varies significantly from the story of a book. Quite pronounced it shows in the genre ‘Historical Romance.’

Now, don’t get me wrong! I don’t mind that much! Unless of course, the story tells us of a golden-haired beauty and the cover shows a black-haired gypsy woman I often don’t care.

I’m not complaining about anything within the book! Very often Historical Romance tells us a story of two loving people in the medieval times, being pushed into an arranged marriage by society and their families and falling in love for the first time.  Blessings to them! Falling in love is an exquisite feeling and should be enjoyed.

Let’s see: When I researched for this blog post, I have seen the U.S. covers of some of Virginia Henley’s older books and liked them a lot. By continuing the research, I discovered the German book covers of Virginia Henley’s books and laughed loudly.

Oh – no! Not what you think! I love them. They’re beautiful, they’re artistic, they’re intriguing, and they’re sexy. Just what I’d been expecting of the story. – But they don’t show anything historical in the lady’s dresses as they were around 1300 when the stories are supposed to take place.

Within the story, Virginia Henley talked about wide, flowing robes, made of light and beautiful fabric, unique and sexy, showing the women’s ‘ripe breasts’ and feminine curves.

Let me show you what I’m talking about:

Picture courtesy of http://www.amazon.de

Picture courtesy of: http://www.amazon.de

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now, seeing these wonderful dresses on the cover pictures and carrying these images through reading the romance makes the fun twice as nice. Seeing the beautiful sexy ladies and the strong muscular, handsome men and reading about their eternal love makes for an enjoyable time.

At this point now I have to be fair and add that I don’t ‘blame’ Virginia Henley for anything. She’s a great writer, and I enjoyed reading the few books I have from her.

But I’m afraid, right now I have to ruin our dreams of sexy medieval ladies in wide hot high slit dresses of silk and purest sensuality.

The sad truth is that medieval ladies in their gowns looked more like this:

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I figure every nun dresses sexier than these medieval ladies. But I as well understand that it would be a little, let’s say, ‘difficult’ for a lady to show yourself as being enormously sexy in a dress where the man of your dreams has to peel you out of that very same dress like an onion.

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When it comes to reading a medieval historical romance book, I’m the first one to admit that looking at a book cover like this wouldn’t tickle my ‘need’ to buy that book in the first place, let alone read it.

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Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

On the other hand, seeing a book cover like this below and feeling like reading a steamy historical romance would make me buy it immediately.

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.amazon.de

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Now I’m curious: When it comes to historical romance or historical fiction, what do you think? Are we, as writers, permitted to add a little fantasy, a little imagination and a little cheating when it comes to the fashion – either on the cover or within the story? Or should we be very strict in sticking to facts? Please let us know your opinion in the comments.

 

Creating a Universal Amazon Link – One Link Amazon Sites in all Countries

There is a universal Amazon link to Amazon Sites in all countries. Don Massenzio shows us how to get it. Thank you so much Don!

Author Don Massenzio

I posted this tip a while ago and got some positive feedback. If you set up buying links for your books, many of you are probably posting Amazon links for each country that you think your book will likely realize some sales.

There is no need to do this.

I was getting frustrated when I ran a free book promotion weekend and experimented with placing a Facebook ad that reached out to multiple countries. My dilemma with doing this is that I didn’t have a way to post all of the links for the various Amazon sites in other countries on my ad without it looking clumsy.

I searched for a way to create a universal link for my book. A universal link, when clicked by a potential reader, is designed to take them to my book on the appropriate Amazon page for their country.

All they needed to do was…

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Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

Jo Robinson provides us with a fantastic article about self publishing and formatting. Thank you so much Jo. I’m more than convinced these are a gift to us Newbies. (Even though I personally think you might hear from me, once I’m there).

Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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DRM or Not for Amazon

DRM or not for Amazon? Jo Robinson has the answer. Thank you for an excellent article, Jo!

Lit World Interviews

When you load your book up to Amazon you will get to choose whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management.


It is important to note here that this particular choice cannot be undone. Short of unpublishing and republishing this cannot be changed. Once you have some nice reviews and lots of sales on any particular book unpublishing it is not a great idea, so give some thought to this before setting it in stone. So, what is DRM?

Amazon says that Digital Rights Management “is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files”. While this sounds great in terms of combating piracy, in reality it’s about as effective in this regard as a straw hut would be at keeping you dry in a hurricane. My African Me & Satellite TV was published with DRM enabled and it is my most pirated book. Stripping DRM is…

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