UPDATED: Why Amazon deleted all my ebooks

UPDATE: Rethana’s Surrender, Rethana’s Trial, Colors of Deception, Shadows after Midnight, and Stains of Grace are once again live at Amazon. And the reviews for R’S TRIAL and STAINS have transferred. HALLELUJAH! Hopefully, the other books’ reviews will transfer soon. (Draft2Digital has notified me that I shouldn’t be surprised if it takes a week or more for this to happen [if it happens at all {I remain dismally skeptical on this point }].) (I hope I got that punctuation right.)

(You should interpret my overuse of ( ) as an indication that I am keeping a stiff upper lip, old chap.)

To my dismay, D2D also corrected my misconception that ranking would transfer. Ranking will, in fact, NOT transfer. I guess it’s not such a big deal for me, since I’ve never ranked terribly high anyway…but it really sucks for a ton of other D2D authors who DID have a decent ranking. Great sympathies to them. This situation is so very frustrating for all of us.

~C.

Hile, lovelies,

Once upon a time, you might recall, I wrote a review of a great tool for writers called Draft2Digital. In brief, Draft2Digital (D2D) does all the work for me of uploading my books to the vendors Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, CreateSpace, and Barnes & Noble. I called D2D “the only thing you need to self-publish.”

Thanks to Amazon, I’m having to rethink that assessment.

I still believe 110% in the D2D model. It works fantastically, it saves me time, and it’s more author-friendly than its competitors (mainly because it was conceived of and executed by writers).

But for reasons* unknown to me, Amazon this week decided to remove all ebooks published through Draft2Digital. According to D2D, Amazon claims that D2D is…

“…in violation of [Amazon’s] terms.” Amazon gave D2D “…no opportunity to appeal or correct their complaints, and showed little concern for the impact that action has had on [D2D’s] users….”

–Draft2Digital,
January 31, 2014
February 4, 2014

Amazon’s course of action was to block D2D’s access to its account and to de-list all ebooks published through D2D. Notably, all notification I’ve received on this situation has come from the very apologetic Draft2Digital. I have yet to receive a single communication from Amazon.

Today is when the fit really hit the shan (thank you, Zelazny). One of my books, Rethana’s Trial, has disappeared from Amazon entirely, because I only ever had the ebook for sale. (I am remedying this by at least finally getting around to uploading the paperback file to CreateSpace.)

The rest of my novels — Rethana’s Surrender and all three Demons of Saltmarch books — are still available at Amazon in paperback, but the ebooks are gone. I’ve still got ebooks for sale at Kobo, iTunes, and Nook, but those sales are barely pocket change. Since ebooks at Amazon comprise most of my sales, you can imagine where this leaves me. (READ: high and dry.)

Oh, and the A Consortium of Worlds anthologies in which I have short stories — available only as ebooks — have disappeared just like Rethana’s Trial. So much for those.

I probably don’t have to tell you that I am beyond frustrated over this situation. Today I spent a total of 6 hours filling out tax info at Amazon, as well as filling out information on five different books and uploading book files and cover art.

I was involved in getting the Consortium of Worlds anthologies on Amazon, so I’ve at least worked with their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system before. But that was several years ago. And there’s a reason I went with Draft2Digital in the first place: SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN USER INTERFACES AND FILL OUT FIELDS AND UPLOAD FILES.

GAH.

I’m relearning/learning KDP in the middle of knowing that I’m losing sales as we speak. No, I’m not a best-seller, but I at least make enough on my novels to contribute to the grocery budget every month. And that happens to be money my family needs. Amazon is directly responsible for taking grocery money out of my pocket — READ: food out of my baby’s mouth — and oh honey you better believe that burns me up.

No, nobody’s gonna starve. But things are going to get a little tight around here if I can’t fix this fast.

However, since all five of my novels were indie-published (meaning I didn’t have to do all the uploading to D2D myself in the first place), I’m having to hunt down mobi files and cover art files and make sure I’m uploading everything exactly the way the original files were uploaded. Otherwise I lose my rank and all of reviews.

Oh yeah. There’s that, too. If I don’t do it all exactly right, the ranks and reviews of all my books won’t transfer to my new sales pages, and it’ll be like I’m starting my indie/self-pub career from scratch.

No, I don’t have a high ranking. No, I don’t have a lot of reviews. But I fought hard for what I do have, and to know that I might lose it all in one fell, Amazonic swoop is just utterly demoralizing.

I’m mad. I’m frustrated. I’m irritated. I’m discouraged. I want to sling profanities haphazardly.

Really, I just want to cry.

But I’m not going to cry. I’m going to do what I have to do to get my grubby hands on the mobi files and the jpg files and the rest of the info I need, and I’m going to get those ebooks back up on Amazon. And if the rankings and reviews don’t transfer, then so be it. I’ll start over. Because, yes indeed, friends and neighbors and assorted pets, I AM IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL, no matter how long it takes or how hard I have to work or how discouraging the road gets at times. This is a roadblock, and I’m going to flatten it.

Noli nothis permittere te terere.

I’m also going to watch this a few times because it’s FUNNY.

MAKE ME FRIES.

__________________

*I have my suspicions, but it’s probably good form to keep those to myself for now, considering that I have no shred of evidence that certain big-name companies have anything at all to do with this situation. 😛

The Starship Enterprise and a Break from Social Media

Yesterday I posted this to Facebook / tweeted this to Twitter:

So…I decided a few days ago that I need a social media break. It’s starting at midnight, it covers Twitter and Facebook, and it will likely last a week.

notweetingI need this for several reasons, the main one being that I desperately need to finish my work-in-progress, the much-neglected Elevator People. Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting, sharing, horizon-expanding, giving, receiving…but it is also a fantabulous time-suck. I need to see if spending my social-media time on my novel instead will help me finally finish the darn thing.

Furthermore, Twitter and FB have been the sources of a lot of OUTRAGE over various and sundry of late. And I’ve let myself join in on it. Yes, there are many things that SHOULD engender outrage. Injustice and cruelty, illogic and conspiracy. Incomprehensible chaos…. I don’t want to hide from it all, because I recognize the importance of participating in the story of the world, even if that story is sad and gruesome and despicable (usually the sparks of the outrage). Social media is part of living in the future, and I want to be part of that.

But.

All the outrage is contagious. All the outrage is addictive. All the outrage, and I throw myself into it, and my blood pressure rises, and my spirits sink, and I can’t get away from all the pleading voices that clamor for my attention. I can’t think my own thoughts, I can’t feel my own feelings beyond the MUST REACT TO CONVICTIONS AND SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

nofacebookingI need to think, need to breathe. I need to be in my own head and heart and in the my-life that I can touch with my fingers and smell and taste. I need to rediscover what it’s like to hear see read feel imagine something and not immediately reach out and tell the worlds about it. I need space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise…. #kidding #notreallykidding

I need to live my life without status updates and hashtags for a while.

So I’m taking a break. I’ll miss y’all. I’ll have withdrawal symptoms, and I’ll wonder what I’m s’posed to do with myself.

Maybe I’ll blog. ; )

Maybe I’ll finish my book. Maybe I’ll write poetry. Maybe I’ll have apostrophes. I mean, epiphanies.

But whatever happens, I know for certain it will be good.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and then I’m going dark. I’ll see y’all on the other side.

INVISIBLE ZOMBIE SPIDERS. FBthumbsup

Sweet dreams!

Norah Jones, Election Day, and Quiche

Hile, inklings!

If you didn’t already know, today is Election Day in the United States of America: the day on which we, the People, decide on what the next four years of our country are going to look like. Or, at least, we express in an official manner how we imagine the next four years are going to look like. As we all now, imagination and reality don’t always have a whit to do with one another. Time will tell.

Hard Truth

But, in connection with the events of this momentous day, the following thought keeps running through my head:

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.”

Every nation gets the government it deserves.

~Joseph de Maistre
Letter 76, Lettres et Opuscules

If you disagree, feel free to debate Joseph and me on the topic, but I don’t think you’ll get very far. Just FYI. ; )

Ad Infinitum, Ad Nauseam

Anyway, onward! If you know me IRL, you already know that I long ago became everlastingly sick of this year’s presidential race, and for three reasons:

1. It’s stupid to spend so much money on a mud-slinging, high-school-esque popularity contest when the nation is already in gabillion-dollar debt. I mean, it’s not just poor politics or poor choices or selfishness or foolishness. IT’S STUPIDITY. Notably, this stupidity didn’t begin with the current party in power. This brand of stupidity has been going on for a lot longer than that, probably longer than I’ve been alive. So there’s that.

2. Mud-slinging, high-school-esque CHILDISHNESS. These are the people I’m supposed to trust with the running of my country? Please.

3. I don’t care for the candidates of the Republican and Democratic parties. They each have their good points and their bad points, but the plain fact is that I simply don’t like them. Yes, you could make the argument that I don’t have to like someone in order to trust them to make good choices. I agree with you there. But liking one of them would certainly make my vote easier to cast.

Breakfast Food and Norah Jones

One thought I keep coming back to is that we Americans have it pretty cushy. Or is it quooshy? I think it’s quooshy, because I just made that up and I like it. It can even be quiche-y, if you like (and I happen to). Anyway, we’ve got it easy when it comes to voting. For one thing, we get to vote. This, if you recall the quote from above, is because we have chosen the legal establishment of that right to vote. Yay us. We’ve picked a pretty easy system to live under, and so far, we’ve done things to keep that system in place. Whether or not we will or should continue to do those things is a point of philosophy for debate at another time.

Furthermore, we have chosen this system, and so we get to stand in lines today and cast our votes. While we’re standing in line, we might have to listen to the loudly expressed opinions of people who disagree with us on one thing or another…but the good news is that we won’t have soldiers trying to arrest us or terrorists trying to blow us up or government-hired mercenaries trying to shoot us. We get to have our quiche and eat it, too: voting relatively unmolested as compared to some other attempted democracies in the world. In our case, the grand democratic experiment is a success thus far. So there’s that, too.

In closing, I leave you with the words of singer/songwriter Norah Jones, who brings the kind of honesty and just enough sarcasm to the table to have captured the essence of my feeling on all of this:

My Dear Country
by Norah Jones

‘Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out,
And everywhere they’d go, they shout,
And though I covered my eyes I knew
They’d go away.

But fear’s the only thing I saw,
And three days later ’twas clear to all
That nothing is as scary as election day.

But the day after is darker,
And darker and darker it goes,
Who knows, maybe the plans will change,
Who knows, maybe he’s not deranged.

The news men know what they know, but they
Know even less than what they say,
And I don’t know who I can trust,
For they come what may.

‘Cause we believed in our candidate,
But even more it’s the one we hate.
I needed someone I could shake
On election day.

But the day after is darker,
And deeper and deeper we go.
Who knows, maybe it’s all a dream,
Who knows if I’ll wake up and scream.

I love the things that you’ve given me,
I cherish you my dear country,
But sometimes I don’t understand
The way we play.

I love the things that you’ve given me,
And most of all that I am free
To have a song that I can sing
On election day.

Pregnancy Still Isn’t for Sissies

Hey y’all. It’s been a rough weekend pregnancy-wise. You probably won’t hear anything coherent from me until tomorrow.

Or mayhap Tuesday. I didn’t get much accomplished this weekend, and I might be doing ketchup catch-up over the next few days.

Play nice!

Oh, and 36 weeks, 1 day, and counting if you were wondering. ; )

Neurocardiogenic Syncope (This Thing I Have)

So. I have a weird condition. It’s taken 24 years and unquantifiable medical hoopla to figure out, but as of a few months ago, I finally have the real diagnosis:

Neurocardiogenic syncope.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.
 

Since I can't photograph neurocardiongenic syncope, here is a nice picture of German-style chocolate mousse cake instead.


 
 

 

Neurocardiowhatsit?

In simple terms (which comprise my only understanding of the whole mess), neuro-receptors around my heart sometimes (for no apparent reason) send the wrong signals to my brain. These wrong signals tell my brain to dilate my blood vessels in moments when the vessels actually need constricting. The result is a crazy rapid drop in blood pressure, and I pass out. Sometimes I stop breathing, which is great fun.

Most of the time, I regain consciousness right after vomiting. You don’t wanna know more than that. I promise.

The weirdest part of it all (and this is the part no doctors have been able to explain yet) is that I’ll wake up from a dead sleep in time to tell my husband I’m about to pass out. Then I pass out flat on my back without even sitting up in bed.

When I have one of these episodes, I feel weak, sickish, and lethargic for 2-4 weeks afterward. The good news is that none of this stuff is life-threatening — but it sure is dang inconvenient, because until I get over the weaksickishlethargic, I pretty much can’t do anything except watch TV.

The last two times this happened were in January and February of this year, respectively. I didn’t really feel like myself again until May.

The doc who gave me the definitive diagnosis a few months back? He wants to put me on beta blockers (to regulate heartbeat & blood pressure) or on anti-depressants (to up my serotonin levels, which the screwed-up neuro-receptors would appreciate).

I’m not too thrilled about either option. I spent 15 years (ages 14-29) on beta-blockers, and they made me sluggish and tired and pale and flabby. The doc assures me that today’s beta-blockers don’t have such strong side effects, but I am skeptical.

Also, I continued to have plenty of pass-out-stop-breathing-and-vomit episodes while on beta-blockers, so forgive me if I question their effectiveness.

In other news, I’m such a natural-foods, non-toxins hippie these days, I’m not keen on pumping more chemicals into my body. For the same reasons, I don’t like the idea of anti-depressants. If I were clinically depressed and under a psychiatrist’s care, that would be different. It’s true, I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but that has gone away since I got my vitamin D levels up. I understand that the cardiologist doesn’t think I’m depressed…but still, I’m concerned that even if the anti-depressants helped my neuro-receptors, they’d have all sorts of unpleasant side effects. Like the kind that change who you are, and not necessarily for the better. I have no wish to alter my personality with chemicals.

What’s the Because?

I’m not sure why I’m writing about all of this here. I’m not sure why I’m telling y’all any of this…except that it’s a part of me, and this passing-out nonsense happens to me sometimes, and I might reference it on Twitter at some point.

Besides — how am I to know whether or not one of you struggles with this kind of stuff? If my baring my heart (har de har) leads to somebody getting some answers of their own, then I’ve done a good thing by rambling on about this.

Shiny! Now What?

Somebody at the doc’s office botched the process, and they haven’t called me in for a consultation again. I should call them…but for now, I ain’t gonna.

For now, I’m letting my friend and nutritionist Erin fix me up with whole foods and ply me with all sorts of fantabulous supplements to get my amino acids in order. In the past 11 months, I’ve dropped 25lbs., developed regular exercise habits, and learned to prepare (and eat eat eat!) healthy food. The girl who hates cooking has turned into a foodie. I’m still not a fan of elaborate meal prep, but at least I spend quality time with my kitchen utensils.

(Also, we tossed the microwave and got a food processor. Best kitchen move EVER.)

My heart still flutters, and I still see black & white spots sometimes when I stand up. I can never run as far or as long as I want to.

But I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, and I feel good about myself.

That’s good for my heart and great for my soul.

_____________________

Speak up, lovelies. Neurocardiogenic syncope, anyone? What about your own health/fitness/nutrition woes? What about your successes?