Amazon and the ‘foreign’ writer

Mystery thriller

Mystery thriller

I live in South Africa and have several books (10) published on KDP. Amazon is refusing to pay me for book sales in certain global shops because I have not reached the obligatory $100 dollars sales target. As I have been in these shops for 3 years now, with minimal sales in these areas, I am unlikely to reach their target until I’m 140 years old. So I cancelled those shops on my list of outlets and requested the money owed. And guess what? They refuse to pay me unless I close my entire KDP account and then – and only then – will they pay me all monies owed.

Does this in any way make sense to you? Would you classify this as fair? Would you call it good business relations? I find it bizarre – and also a framework of how large organizations so often become detached from the real world and assume themselves omnipotent and unaccountable.

Here’s the other interesting thing if you live beyond what Amazon considers the ‘real’ world – they pay you by sending a check through the post. I kid you not. They refuse my numerous requests to be paid via EFT or (even easier) PayPal. It is as though there is only America and Europe and no one else really counts. I have explained that South Africa has a very sophisticated banking system but a very untrustworthy postal system. I have told them I have a PayPal account specifically for receiving book payments. Their response (for months now) ‘we’re looking into better ways to provide you with a better service’ – or some such wording. A check through the post! It makes you want to weep.

A check through the post means I have to drive to the bank and find parking (petrol and parking fees). Then I have to wait to be attended to (sometimes up to an hour). Then I have to fill in pages and pages of forms – and then once this joy is over, the bank takes 25% of the money for the processing charges.

Psychological suspense thriller

Psychological suspense thriller

And then the other thing Amazon does to ‘foreign’ writers. They add $2.00 onto every one of my books selling in certain ‘foreign’ shops. Why? Because of ‘taxes’ and ‘operating costs’. Two whole dollars per BOOK! Consequently, my sales are compromised in these shops anyway – no wonder I will never make their $100 target. I have never felt so ‘punished’ for dealing with an organization in my life before. Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple never mess with my book prices (always $2.99) and they sell all over the world. Why is Amazon so different and peculiar and difficult?

So here’s the thing: I have closed all Amazon global shops for my books except for UK and US outlets – and of course, South Africa – otherwise I see a page without pricing details.

Why are writers outside of the US and UK treated like this? Why have GLOBAL shops if you haven’t got the wherewith all to manage things in an up to date and equitable manner?

A warning to all ‘foreign’ writers: Amazon will see you as an odd, quirky, weird, possibly of Martian extraction – and definitely with a mindset only capable of operating in the 1960’s.

But then maybe it’s just South Africans they single out for this suffering. And then, honestly, to be fair to Amazon – there are days when we do fit that description rather well.

But seriously, guys – a check through the post? Who does that in 2014?

Happy writing!

 

 

 

D-Day Commemorations in Pictures

Malla Duncan:

Stephen Liddell gives a stunning pictorial remembrance of D-Day – not to be missed!

Originally posted on Stephen Liddell:

Most of the D-Day veterans are sadly no longer with us but this past weekend has seen commemorations with some of the few more survivors.  All photos from BBC, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Getty Images, AP.

Paris Guard of Honour

A Paris Guard of Honour escorts The Queen down the Champs Elysees in Paris

The Queen in Paris

The Queen is the only state leader who served during WW2 and here she is laying a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris

A number of events were also held in Portsmouth which was the Headquarters for D-Day planning including a Drumhead ceremony, commemorations and a special flypast by the Red Arrows acrobatic team.

Red Arrows

The Red Arrows perform a fly-by and stunt-show at Portsmouth, the D-Day Headquarters.

Allied Flags

Flags of the U.K. and U.S. are flown on the south coast of England.

British Veteran

A British D-Day veteran visits the grave of his friend, killed 70 years ago today.

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Finding magic and legend in a sleepy Welsh village.

Malla Duncan:

Jenny Lloyd of “Leap the Wild Water” fame is travelling the beautiful countryside of Wales. A journey full of scenic wonder, history and cosy anecdotes.

Originally posted on jennylloydwriter:

WP_20140522_12_21_17_ProMyddfai is a little more than a cluster of pastel-coloured cottages encircling a church. Yet, in the 11th and 12th centuries it was a centre for healing, inhabited by the Physicians of Myddfai, renowned across Wales. The remedies of these herbalists were recorded in the Red Book of Hergest; one of the most important medieval manuscripts written in the Welsh language.

 

WP_20140522_12_00_59_ProBeyond the little village, a lane takes you up to the mountain of Myddfai. This is where the physicians gathered the herbs and flowers used in their remedies.  Beyond Myddfai is the Black Mountain range and the mountain lake of Llyn y Fan Fach.

The first physician of Myddfai was named Rhiwallon. He was court physician to Rhys Gryg, Lord of Dinefwr Castle, about 1200AD. Rhiwallon was awarded land at Myddfai and he treated the poor for free. He passed on his knowledge to his descendants who carried…

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MY INTERVIEW WITH ACCOMPLISHED STORYTELLER CHRISTOPH FISCHER

Malla Duncan:

Bob Rector interviews the very interesting Christoph Fischer – writer, reader and reviewer extraordinaire!

Originally posted on RectorWriter:

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and ‘The Black Eagle Inn’ in October 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization. His newest novel, Time…

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Game of Thrones – The fact behind the fiction

Malla Duncan:

Stephen Liddell shows how close the plot of Game of Thrones runs to the fascinating and complex plots of medieval English history.

Originally posted on Stephen Liddell:

Like many others I am an avid fan of Game of Thrones, not the novels as I simply don’t have time to read them but most definitely the television series.  However I don’t have access to the particular TV channel that broadcasts it in the UK so like probably many others are a year behind and watching the events over one or two Westeros crazed afternoons.  Game of Thrones is a success for many reasons, not least the complexity of the plot lines, the vivid reality of life in its environs and long character arcs that reward long term view whilst all the while us viewers are well aware that anyone could be killed off in an instant and by the third season probably all of us fans have seen this happen once or twice.

What separates Game of Thrones from similar shows or movies is not just its huge…

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The Writing Process – Monday Blog Hop

Welcome to the Monday Blogs Writing Process Blog Hop!

The talented Jenny Lloyd invited me to post and many thanks to her for including me. Jenny is the author of the compelling historical novel “Leap the Wild Water” – set in Wales in the early 1800s; a deeply moving romantic drama and very authentic social commentary on the times. You can find Jenny’s book here. And visit her blog here.

Deep As Bone cover

Psychological suspense crime thriller

Writing is a different process for everybody. But every writer experiences the personal intensity and overwhelming compulsion that is the process of writing. If you’re not excited all the time about writing, then you’d better be off doing something else. Writing is the view into the valley that no one else sees – and to engage and enthrall, you have put that vision into words. To give you an idea of how I go about the process of writing, I have answered the following four questions:

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m working on two novels. ‘The Ghost Road’ is the sequel to ‘The Vampire Castle’ currently available only on Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, Apple, and suitable for children 9 – 12. The story continues the adventures of Elspeth as she unravels the strange and frightening secrets of ‘The Shadow Garden’ at her grandfather’s mysterious mansion, Whitterburn. Whitterburn is unlike any normal house – there are doorways, passages and wormholes to all sorts of strange worlds – and a grid pattern in the garden that if coded incorrectly – can take one into the most terrifying situations. Part of Elspeth’s adventures entail learning who she really is -and how to use the codes in the ‘Shadow Garden’ effectively.

My new mystery novel involves a strange and reclusive family living on the east coast of England who have maintained ties to their ancestors’ pagan rituals – and who hide a darker secret in their old family home. Grace, a statue specialist, finds herself searching for her missing friend, Ruth. She is employed by the family to repair the statues in their wild garden but is really there to find out why Ruth has disappeared. What she discovers is a terrifying mix of history and the supernatural – and an ancient, appalling evocation of evil.

Psychological suspense thriller

Psychological suspense thriller

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

I like to write women’s thrillers as opposed to general thrillers – and there’s not that many writers in this genre. My books are for women specifically – but perfectly readable by anybody. I don’t write romance, romantic thrillers or chick lit. My focus is less on relationships (although that plays a part) but more on the story, the action, the development of intrigue, pace and tension – and how  ordinary women cope with extraordinary situations.

 Why do I write what I do?

I write these stories because I rarely find what I like to read. Usually, women’s thrillers beat off down the same old track of predictable romance. I don’t do that because I like to be surprised. I like the unexpected character who doesn’t quite do the right thing at the right moment. I like flawed, real characters who can do wrong or make mistakes. I like to understand why a character’s mind would work the way that it does – and I like to put them into unusual situations to see what happens. I hate padded writing and always try to keep the mystery building at a pace because that is what I’m looking for when I read a thriller. Best women’s thriller I ever read? ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Nicci French. Oh, and ‘Total Eclipse’ by Liz Rigby – superb read.

One Night cover

Suspense thriller

How does my writing process work?

Difficult question. Usually I begin with one idea in mind and end up with something else entirely. I’m a pantser writer – I write by the seat of my pants. I see how a character is developing and then I challenge them – this way I learn more about them. And the more I learn, the more pressure I pile on. But always my focus is on the reader: how can I stop the reader from putting this book down and going to do something boring like the washing? There must be a cliffhanger-type ending to each chapter – and the more I reveal of the mystery, the more I must deepen it. I prefer first person narrator because that gives the story more immediacy and more personal connection to the character. I can’t plan too much because I can’t write unless I surprise myself along the way – and hopefully the reader will enjoy that surprise as well!

My books are on all major sites but you can find out all about my writing on my website: http://www.malladuncanbooks.weebly.com

Please keep a look out for other writers I’ve tagged in this hop – most specifically Jill Paterson and Nicole Storey and Christoph Fischer – writers you do not want to miss.

Jill Paterson is the author of the highly popular detective series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. She has already published three mystery books and is working on a fourth – not to mention her very informative Pocket Guides to Writing and Self-Publishing. Jill lives in Australia and owns just about the biggest cat in the world. She takes much of her inspiration from the lovely country surrounds where she lives. Find her cosy mystery “The Celtic Dagger”,  here. And visit her blog here.

Nicole Storey is the author of an outstanding children’s series “Grimsley Hollow” and has raced up the charts with the release of her first paranormal fantasy YA novel “Blind Sight”. Nicole lives in Georgia, USA,  and is currently working on the sequel . She is an avid Holloween fan – as you’ll find out when you read her wonderfully gripping, frightening stories! Find Nicole’s book “Blind Sight” here. And find her blog here.

And I’m also tagging Christoph Fischer even though he’s already been tagged and done his ‘hop’ so to speak! Christoph is the acclaimed author of ‘The Three Nations Trilogy’ series on WW1 with the first book entitled “Sebastian”. Christoph lives in England and goes out of his way to support other writers. A top 500 reviewer on Amazon, he is also an accomplished writer able to recreate the dark days of WW1 with pathos and accuracy. Find Christoph’s book “Sebastian” here. And find his blog here.

Fat Chance cover

Comedy mystery thriller set in Italy

Suspense thriller, unexpected, dark and edgy

Suspense thriller, unexpected, dark and edgy

Children's - fun, frightening and mysterious.

Children’s – fun, frightening and mysterious.

 

 

April 23rd is Saint George’s Day – The Patron Saint of England & dragon slayer extraordinaire

Malla Duncan:

Today – April 23 – is St George’s day! And here is the history of St George (and the dragon) from Stephen Liddell.

Originally posted on Stephen Liddell:

Wednesday is April 23rd and St. George’s Day which is remembered annually on the day of his death.  Whilst his famous dragon slaying exploits are the stuff of legend, Saint George himself was porn in the Roman-Palestine town of Lydda around 275AD.  Both his parents were Greek and George himself served in the Roman Army.

Saint George is one of the most venerated Saints and unusually is remembered not just in Christian nations but Muslim ones too.  In places he is the Patron Saint of a country and in others of cities or districts. As such his Patronage extends from England in the west to India in the east and many places in between including Georgia, Israel, Palestine,Iraq, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Moscow, Barcelona, Preston and Rio.

George was a great soldier and rapidly rose through the ranks until in the year 302AD Roman Emperor Diocletian ordered that every Christian soldier…

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