Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Amazon Free Month - Day 24 - Made It!

I realized that, as I leave for vacation this evening, I'm not going to be back home until August and I cannot think of a reason why I would order something from Amazon while I'm in another state! 

I have learned a LOT from this experiment, not the least is how much I allowed myself to become dependent on Amazon, both as a purchaser and as an author - and sometimes to my own detriment! I found cheaper deals on items better suited to my needs, I was able to easily buy ebooks from places other than Amazon and reward wide authors by making wide purchases, and I honestly feel really good about opening up other avenues of shopping for myself. 

Amazon is not the end all, be all, even though when I started this month it kind of felt that way. 

I think this month has definitely changed how I'm going to be shopping in the future. 

Going forward, hitting up Google's search bar rather than Amazon's is definitely going to be my first step rather than my second when I need something specific. 

I've decided to keep my Kobo. I'm making as many book purchases as I from websites other than Amazon or Walmart, but when it comes down to those two being the options I'll probably go with the Kobo for now, because I want wide authors to know that it's WORTH being wide.

However, I'm definitely keeping my KU subscription. It allows me to discover new authors and read a lot more books than I could actually afford to buy. Even with my reading curtailed by a lack of time, I think it's still worth it to have KU for when I do have time to binge read. I'm a speed reader, so if I have time and the books are short, I can get through multiple in one day =P I am also all about supporting authors in general, including those who are in KU whom I love. The current KU system is rife with scammers and thieves, so I like to try and help the honest KU authors whose books I enjoy get their fair share of the monthly pie. Especially since, honestly, if they all went wide, I would have to make some hard choices about purchases.

My Prime account renewed in May so I have almost a year to decide if I'm going to keep it or not. I'm going to track how often I actually use it - for both packages and video rentals - now that I'm not actually relying on Amazon for everything anymore and see if it's worth renewing in May 2020. I have a suspicion that it will not be, but I want to make sure and obviously I have plenty of time to do so since I paid for the annual subscription back in May. 

So that's my no-Amazon for a month experiment... I'll do another update at the end of August and we'll see how well I've managed to keep up my changes! =P 

Stay Sassy and I hope everyone is having a fab summer!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

It's time for a forbidden fantasy!

It's time for a forbidden fantasy!
Forbidden Fantasy House by Golden Angel writing as Sinistre Ange is NOW AVAILABLE!

Or read it #FREE with KindleUnlimited!!!

Embarrassed by her fantasies, Elena can't admit what she needs to her boyfriend Lance. No matter how many ways he lights up her body with pleasure and pain, she just can't bring herself to share that much with him, and eventually their relationship crumbles under the strain. In the aftermath of their breakup, Elena gathers the courage to visit the Forbidden Fantasy House where confessing her desires to a complete stranger is far easier than she imagines. And the House is more than happy to provide. But when Lance spots Elena in the one place he never expected to see her, he can't resist finding out exactly what it was his ex-girlfriend didn't trust him to give her. As Lance investigates Elena's innermost secret, things at the House spin wildly out of control. And Elena, who is desperate to be taken hard and fast by a man who won't give in to her pleas to stop, has only one more choice to make before she no longer has any choices at all.

PROMOTIONAL NOTE: Forbidden Fantasy House is an erotic story with elements of non-con. If you do not like intense sexuality or are triggered by dubious and/or missing consent, please do not read this book!

About Sinistre Ange
Sinistre Ange is the alter ego of Golden Angel and explores some of the darker sides of erotica - kink, fetish, supernatural creatures, breeding fantasies, etc. You might find some love in these books, but they are not necessarily romances; the focus is on the fantasy and the physical interactions between characters.
Follow Sinistre Ange Online!
BookBub →
Goodreads →

Friday, July 19, 2019

My Amazon Free Month - Day 19 - Barnes & Noble

The other day I happened to be doing a Harry Potter walk where there was a Barnes and Noble actual store. 

Since I'm having an Amazon free month and my baby girl is too smart for her own good and is already getting tired of a lot of the books we have for her, I stopped in. Ended up leaving with about seven new books for her =P Three of which I got off the sale bin at the very front of the store - and since I renewed my Barnes and Noble membership they were even cheaper!

I've decided I definitely like buying kids books at the store better than online. I can actually read through them. Check out the story, see if it's something I think she'll pay attention to or if it's too old for her, and especially check out the 'touch and feel' books to see if they're things she'll actually want to touch and feel. Because the one I ordered online sounded a lot better than it ended up being. Flipping through them in person, I was able to pick out one I knew she'd have fun with. 

It was kind of fun being back in a brick and mortar book store. I haven't been in one in a while. 

I swung by the romance section to see if they had me (They didn't... was not surprised lol), walked through the bargain books, picked up and put down more books than I can recall, and walked out with a satisfyingly heavy bag. 

Then they sent me a 30% off coupon for signing up for the (free) kids program (earn points on kids books for future discounts on kids books... uh, yes please!) and I'm going to be back in that area today so it's likely I'll stop in again. 

In other news, the shelves I ordered from Target for the convention next week are way too big. That's another thing I'm going to have to check on in person... fortunately the Target near me is very close to the Barnes and Noble store =P So it should be productive day!

I've continued to buy books off of Smashwords but I haven't tried any of the other bookstores yet. I really should check out Eden Books and Bookstrand. And also get MY books uploaded to Eden books. 

So much to do, so little time!

But we're more than halfway through my Amazon Free Month and I'm feeling pretty good about it!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

My Amazon Free Month - Day 16 - The Prime Resistance

Prime Day was successfully resisted.

I didn't even look at the sales.

And when I heard about the protests going on, by Amazon workers, I felt even better about my decision.

What I DID do was check out Target's deals. It was kind of fun knowing they were going up against the big Zon's biggest day and helping them out, while also buying some things that I wanted / needed. Especially because, while Target has some problems (as any big company does) I keep seeing lots of great things that they're doing, from their teacher discounts to their breastfeeding policies / nursing rooms. I feel like every time I've seen their name in the news lately, it's for something positive that I support.

It made me wish that they sold e-books actually.

However, they did have a buy 2 get 1 free sale on their regular books! I got the third illustrated Harry Potter book, pre-ordered the fourth, and got the illustrated Fantastic Beasts book for free =) WOOT! Not only that, but the books were cheaper at Target ($25.99) than they were on Amazon ($29.99). So double win for me.

I also picked up two super tankinis that were on sale, some cheap bubble wrap that I need for shipping some delicate items, and a folding shelving unit that I'm *hoping* I'll be able to use at Literary Love: Authors Rock Savannah next weekend. I saw another author with shelves on her table at RomCon and it made me very jealous about how much space it saved her lol.

One moment of drama today - I had forgotten about pre-orders.

Lexie Blake's latest Bliss re-release came out today. She's a one-click author for me and I pre-order her books as soon as they go up. So when I opened up my Kindle this morning and saw Once Upon A Time in Bliss I was like CRAP! I'd forgotten about pre-orders.

But I did the work. Found Once Upon a Time in Bliss on Smashwords, ordered it there, and returned it on Amazon. I won't lie, for a brief moment I considered just letting the Amazon order stand... but I'm trying to do this right! It would have been easier and more convenient to just let it go, sure, but it also only took me a few minutes to return the book and buy it from Smashwords. It wasn't exactly a big inconvenience.

I also went through and canceled my other pre-orders and added them to my wishlist instead. I don't think I'm going to be totally Amazon-free after this month, but I'm going to do my best to keep up most of it. I'll use Amazon when it really does have a great deal, but otherwise... I'm going to keep trying to encourage wide authors to remain wide by purchasing their books from other platforms!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Amazon Free Month - Day 13 - The Prime Test

One of the first things I've heard when I tell people that I'm having an Amazon-free month, over and over, is the horrified - "But Prime day is this month!"

True confession: I don't keep track of when Prime day is.

My usual prime day is someone telling me a few days beforehand and me going "oh..." and then trying to think of all the things that I might want to buy. I don't save up for it or wait for it, I tend to buy things as I need them, but once I know it's coming I try to think of things I might want / need in the future that I should just go ahead and buy now. There's usually a few things, but I don't go crazy with the spending usually. Still, I always end up buying something.

Because it's Prime Day.

Amazon is testing me extra hard this year with this Kindle deal.

However - I've found a replacement.

Knowing that I'm doing an Amazon-free month, someone was nice enough to tell me that Target is also having "Prime Days" on July 15th and 16th! I've already been going through their website and adding things to my 'favorites' - which is basically their version of a wishlist and also something that I didn't know they had. It's definitely going to make things a lot easier on me.

I need some new towels. And a new bathmat. Probably would have bought them on prime day this year but instead... Target Day!

Apparently Red Card users also get an additional 5% off everything. I'm currently considering opening a new credit card lol.

Things are definitely getting a little bit easier each day. I still have to remind myself not to sign into Amazon every morning, but I no longer pull up the page before I remember that I'm not immediately signing in. I still use my Kindle every day, but I'm on Smashwords a lot more often than I used to be, seeing if they whatever I'm looking for. So far I haven't bought any books this month, I've just been using my Kindle Unlimited subscription, but I also read a lot less than I used to.

I did try to pre-order an anthology that Lexi Blake and Sierra Cartwright are a part of off of Kobo but for some reason couldn't get the pre-order to work =( I'm still not sure why. I'm going to wait until release day and try to order it then - or maybe see if it's up on Smashwords by then. I'll use the Kobo ordering system if I have to though.

So that's where I'm at! Looking forward to seeing what a Target Day is like =)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

No fantasy should be forbidden...

No fantasy should be forbidden...
Forbidden Fantasy House by Sinistre Ange, the alter-ego of Golden Angel, re-releases July 20th!!!


Embarrassed by her fantasies, Elena can't admit what she needs to her boyfriend Lance. No matter how many ways he lights up her body with pleasure and pain, she just can't bring herself to share that much with him, and eventually their relationship crumbles under the strain. In the aftermath of their breakup, Elena gathers the courage to visit the Forbidden Fantasy House where confessing her desires to a complete stranger is far easier than she imagines. And the House is more than happy to provide. But when Lance spots Elena in the one place he never expected to see her, he can't resist finding out exactly what it was his ex-girlfriend didn't trust him to give her. As Lance investigates Elena's innermost secret, things at the House spin wildly out of control. And Elena, who is desperate to be taken hard and fast by a man who won't give in to her pleas to stop, has only one more choice to make before she no longer has any choices at all.

PROMOTIONAL NOTE: Forbidden Fantasy House is an erotic story with elements of non-con. If you do not like intense sexuality or are triggered by dubious and/or missing consent, please do not read this book!

About Sinistre Ange
Sinistre Ange is the alter ego of Golden Angel and explores some of the darker sides of erotica - kink, fetish, supernatural creatures, breeding fantasies, etc. You might find some love in these books, but they are not necessarily romances; the focus is on the fantasy and the physical interactions between characters.
Follow Sinistre Ange Online!

BookBub →
Goodreads →

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Amazon Free Month - Day 9 & 10 - Why I'm Doing This

So, something I forgot to mention in the past couple of blog posts -

On Sunday I was spending time with my family when somehow the topic of Amazon came up. My aunt and uncle were trying to convince my grandparents to use it, as they're now having more trouble getting around, especially to the store and things. They extolled it's many virtues - from the convenience, to the amount of things available on the site, to the Amazon credit card and the 3% back on Amazon purchases.

And a little part of me hurt inside, because my grandparents need that convenience. They need the kind of help that Amazon can provide. They need the ease of being able to go to just one website and getting everything they need and having all their information - from their address to their credit card - saved so that they don't have to enter anything new in. Technology is hard for them. They've resisted it for a long time and now that they're no longer in a position to be able to just get in the car and go to the store, having to learn new technology to replace that is even harder.

But does it have to be from Amazon? or Walmart?

Unfortunately, right now the answer is yes. And that's the problem. Because these big stores have all sorts of issues, from how they treat their workers to how they treat the people providing their products.

People have been asking me if John Oliver's piece is why I decided to do the Amazon-free month. It's actually not, but it certainly underlines the issues. I'd heard that the situations in warehouses were bad, thanks to other videos that were circulating on Facebook long before John Oliver's piece.

But more than that, the number of issues that authors have on Amazon made it unappealing to buy books on there - especially for someone who is an author on there. I'm what's considered a 'wide' author - the vast majority of my books are not in Kindle Unlimited. Could I be making a killing if all my books were in KU? Probably. But then they'd only be available on Amazon.

Last year one of my friends had her entire Amazon account disbanded - she was a victim of click farms. There are scammers who game the KU system by using click farms to up their page reads in KU, but the click farms also target innocent authors in order to make themselves seem more legit. They can also be weaponized, used to target authors that someone wants to get rid of. Up until last year, when readers became very vocal on social media over the many KU scams that were being run (from book stuffing to giveaways that violated Amazon's Terms of Service, to the click farms), Amazon did absolutely nothing to try and control the scammers. And then when they did, they swept up innocent authors right alongside the scammers - and gave them no way to prove their innocence. This is called "prawning".

It took weeks for my friend to get her account back - weeks in which she wasn't earning any money - and then even after they returned the account to her, they confiscated some of the earning of previous months. Presumably these were the 'click farm' earnings, but since they kept her mostly in the dark about what was going on (she still doesn't know how they decided to restore her account).

Now, it's great that Amazon is finally cracking down on scammers, but it took them a while to get there. And obviously the way they run KU and the way they run the all-stars program means that people are gonna keep trying to find ways to scam. Amazon also does not get ALL the scammers. There are constantly books stuffed or in the wrong categories, etc. etc. etc.

If you want to read more about how KU authors are struggling against scammers you can check out these posts:

David Gaughran has been a long time critic of KU / the scams
Geekwire did a great piece on it
How Kindle Unlimited is - in the long run - bad for authors AND readers

Pretty much every author I know has some horror story about dealing with Amazon. They really don't care about the authors. I had issues with them a couple years ago because someone ELSE was also using the Dark Angel pen name, the same one I'd been using for 6 years, but when I tried to upload a new book using it, I was told it was too similar to their pen name. Even though they'd only started using it the year before. It took WEEKS of back and forth emails until I finally went onto Facebook and Twitter and tagged them in posts before they finally fixed the issue... not that they contacted me about it. The new book just suddenly uploaded and was approved.

Since then I've ended up changing the pen name so as not to run into the same issue again, but the point is that there was no way the other Dark Angel should have been able to upload ANY books using that name - and Amazon sure as heck shouldn't have stopped ME from being able to upload books using it!

Now I'm finding out how easy it is to get books onto my Kindle from Smashwords. Sure it's an extra step or two, but it means I don't need a new ereader (so I can return the Kobo, although I'm going to hold off on doing that for now, because there might be more experiments that require a non-Kindle) and it means I can keep buying ebooks not on Amazon. Because right now, Amazon has no reason to change how it treats authors or scammers or readers trying to leave reviews. They are the book giant and they know it, they keep making the money, they have no reason to change.

Considering my considerable Amazon habit, I'm part of that system of feedback that tells them they don't NEED to change. Because I bought my year long Kindle Unlimited subscription, I pay for Prime, and I buy all sorts of non-KU books from them. I've complained about them before, but I was still giving them my money. It was just so easy. So convenient.

But an extra couple of steps is a small price to pay when Smashwords is having a massive sale and I can hold to my Amazon-Free month.

Monday, July 8, 2019

My Amazon Free July - Day 8 - A Test of Willpower

Today I had a test of willpower.

See, I'm writing a short story for two characters from my Stronghold Doms series and I wanted to re-read their book, Breaking the Chain, to make sure that I get them right. Well, when I went to read it on my kindle... it wasn't there.

Yeah, I know I'm the author and I have it on word, but I find things easier to read on my Kindle. I have all my books on there - or so I thought.

I did not have Breaking the Chain. I'm actually missing several of my Stronghold books on my Kindle.

My plan had been to read some of it during my lunch break.

I didn't bring my new Kobo to work, which *I thought* meant I wouldn't be able to read the book if I bought it anywhere other than Amazon.

I was so tempted to just buy it on Amazon. I even went to the page. Had my mouse hovering over the "one click" button.

It would be so easy to just buy it, boom it's on my Kindle, boom I can read it during lunch... and it's for my writing, right? Totally doesn't count... except that it does.

Literally the only thing that kept me from clicking the buy button was the fact that I'm documenting this journey on this blog. If I wasn't, I'm pretty sure I would have just bought it on Amazon today and told myself that it was a 'one time cheat' because I needed to work on my story today and I wanted to be in the right head space.

Instead I made myself go to Smashwords and purchase it there. Which is when I remembered that Smashwords is having a July summer sale and it's cheaper there than anywhere else right now anyway. So I saved myself some money by going there.

The process to buy on Smashwords is a little more complicated than on Amazon or Kobo. It doesn't just magically show up on my device. But they do send a nice, handy email when a purchase is made with instructions on how to read the book on your computer or download it to your reading device. Is it as convenient as buying through Amazon or Kobo? No. but it was cheaper and means I'm not purchasing from Amazon or Walmart.

I didn't get to read it during lunch, but that's okay. It just set me back by a day.

Interestingly, it was actually easier to download the mobi file and email it to my Kindle than it was to use Kobo, which would have required me to find a USB cord.

So far I haven't used my Kobo much. And I still need to order a replacement cover for it. But I might wait on that because if I can keep ordering through Smashwords, etc and just put it all on my Kindle, I may end up returning the Kobo. I have until October to decide if I want to keep it or not, per the return policy, so I'm going to keep experimenting.

It might be far easier to not use Amazon with my Kindle than I thought possible.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

My Amazon Free July - Days 6 & 7 - Learning to Kobo

So I broke out the Kobo reader and case.

Unfortunately for me, I apparently ordered the wrong case. I'm a little annoyed, because this is the case that was advertised on the page that I ordered my Kobo reader so you would think it would be the case FOR the Kobo reader... but apparently not. It's for a different Kobo reader.

However, having looked for Kindle cases on Amazon, I know that it's not much different over there.

Caveat Emptor.

The good news is, this allowed me to try out returning something! Because something else I love about Amazon is how freaking easy it is to return things. This was just as easy. Just open the email, click that I want to return, and the process was the exact same as Amazon's. Even easier, in the end, because I can use the regular postal service for the return, I don't have to stop by the UPS store like I do with Amazon.

Now, on to the real challenge - new technology.

Fortunately, I'm a smartie and I bought what looked like the closest thing to the Kindle that I have.

There was a moment of stress when I couldn't get it to turn on, and then I realized I should probably try plugging it in because it might need to be charged.

Can't make this stuff up.

After letting it charge for a while, I went through the process of getting it hooked up to my Wi-Fi and then synching the device to my Rakutan (the Kobo) account. It was pretty much idiot-proof (because I could do it lol). And then I bought my first non-Amazon book!

And it does look just like my Kindle. I had no problem purchasing a book on the website and it immediately showed up. Yay Carolyn Faulkner! She's fab, by the way, if you like spanking books or age play, definitely check her out.

The controls are all very similar to the Kindle. The biggest difference is that the font size, etc. shows up on the bottom of the screen rather than the top. Otherwise, might as well be the same device.

One more small moment of thinking I did something wrong... when I turned the Kobo reader off it did this.

Which, I initially thought meant I'd somehow accidentally turned the book back to the beginning rather than turning it off, but no! This is what it looks like when it's off. And it tells me what book I was reading and how far into it I've gotten and shows the cover.

Considering the books I read, I 100% need to invest in that Kobo case and it needs to get here soon. Thankfully, this particular cover / title isn't scandalous. That is definitely not always the case with me though.

At the moment, I can't think of anything I might need to order this upcoming week, but hey... the week is young. I guess we'll find out ;)

Friday, July 5, 2019

My Amazon-Free July: Day 5 aka Delivery Day!

Today was apparently delivery day =)

I got my kobo & kobo cover, my inflatable aliens, AND my jewelry!

And the pink thing on the left with the aliens is the free beach ball that Party Palooza sent me for spending over some amount. So, you know, didn't buy from Amazon, got a bunch of things for a convention that are better than the things I was finding on Amazon AND cheaper than what I was finding on Amazon, AND I got a free beach ball.

Which my daughter is enjoying greatly.

Some of my overseas readers have mentioned that they didn't realize Amazon was such a big thing here in the states! Maybe it's just in my area, but we use Amazon for pretty much everything. Since even before baby girl was born, hubby and I have used Amazon to buy food (including ordering fresh veggies, etc. through their new fresh pantry), clothing, books, household items, cleaning items, baby wipes, toys, books, and pretty much anything you can imagine. Esp if we needed it for baby girl. And our baby registry, while not on Amazon, had a LOT of Amazon items on it. Our wishlists that we hand out to family and friends when they ask for Christmas / birthday ideas are Amazon wishlists. Like... it's bad ya'll.

I've realized, over the past few days as I order from other websites, how very lazy I've become thanks to Amazon. Part of the convenience of it is that I don't have to put in my credit card information, because it's already there. Add in that I use an Amazon credit card and therefore get 'points' for everything that I buy (points that I can save up to use to buy MORE things from Amazon or give myself a discount on something expensive) and it's just so convenient to stay in one place.

Having to enter my credit card info to multiple sites, I've groaned and sighed every time I had to pull my card out of my purse... and cheered when they took Paypal. Which made me realize that wow... I'm really spoiled. My motivation for NOT shopping on other sites is because I don't feel like getting out my credit card and entering the information?


Next up... gonna figure out how to use my new Kobo =D Will report back on how it goes.

Oh, and for those of you breathlessly awaiting to know what I got for my friend's birthday present... we all went to a really nice place so those of us who were NOT the birthday girl paid for her lunch. My back-up plan was to hit the liquor store on the way there (she loves rum). I might still do that later.

The first week of my Amazon-free month is almost over!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

My Amazon-Free July - Days 3 & 4 - THEY TRICKED ME!

I'm so mad right now.

So, I got home yesterday from work to find this package.

Umm.... that looks like an Amazon package.

And I start trying to figure out if I ordered something back in June that had a delayed shipment or that I didn't use 2 day shipping for. Don't think so.

I open it up.

Well, that's the phone stand I ordered.


I went to check my eboy order.

Yeah. That doesn't look like "Amazon" seller to me.

I check the inside of the package and out falls two pieces of paper. Once is a receipt. The other:


Some jerk decided to make a measly $2 off of advertising the phone holder and then buying it for me as a 'gift' from Amazon.

I won't be using ebay again, suffice to say.

Seriously though, I'm TICKED! Even when I try not to use Amazon, someone else just ended up using it FOR ME!

However, my July ordering is so far not a total loss.

I'm going to focus on my successes, because there were quite a few other things I ordered for the convention last night and I actually found some really great stuff by NOT using Amazon!

For one - I'm one of the hosts for the Sci-Fi Dance Party and we need decorations / favors. I did a google search for alien stuff and ended up finding these awesome inflatable aliens from Partypalooza, for way cheaper than any of the alien stuff I'd found on Amazon when I'd looked there last month! I'd been putting off buying anything because I couldn't find what I liked on Amazon...

Aren't they cute?!

Silly Angel. But I was so well trained to do Amazon that I only looked in one other place - Etsy. And literally, that was it.

Something else I didn't find on Amazon when I've been looking? Favors for the ball table I'm hosting. I've been looking for nature themed jewelry on Amazon for the past several months now and didn't find anything that I liked, but one search on google and these gorgeous sets came up (for 90% off their usual price! - it looks like the price has gone up a little since I bought them, but I got them for less than $10 each).

The other thing I ordered - a Kobo ereader. Now, I haven't bought anything from Walmart in a looooooong time. I have a lot of issues with how they treat their employees. But, there aren't that many viable ereaders outside of Kindles, I cannot use apple products at all (it's an exercise in frustration that stresses me out), I'm leery about the Nook now that it's been sold, and I figure I don't HAVE to purchase epubs off of Kobo, but at least this way I'll have an epub reader AND a mobi reader and so I should be able to get books from any site I want.

Also, the Kobo looks similar enough to a Kindle that I hope there's not going to be a steep learning curve for me.

I also had to make an intentional order to Amazon for Literary Love: Authors Rock Savannah at the end of this month, since I needed paperbacks.

As far as I know, Ingram Spark is the only other paperback option for indie authors outside of Amazon. I never looked into it because, as always, Amazon made their paperback system so easy. So convenient. And for someone who struggles with any kind of new technology (you should have seen me the first time I got a smart phone, I swear, my own mom had one before me), I just wanted easy and convenient. Why stress over and take valuable time to learn something new when this gets me the result that I want?

Well, obviously I never thought I'd do an Amazon-free month. 

So, true confessions, I ordered over 40 author copies of books for the convention last night. I didn't have another choice, because I rely so heavily on Amazon 

Looking at Ingram Spark, I'm a little leery too. It looks so different from what I'm used to. But I'm going to spend at least part of this weekend trying to set it up, because otherwise I'm totally reliant on Amazon for all paperback stuff. I'm also a little worried that it's going to get expensive, because of the covers. Amazon allows indie authors to just use the same cover they use for ebooks in their cover creator, which can save an author a lot of money (especially if they're not sure their paperbacks are going to sell enough to even justify covering the cost of a cover).

In the meantime - I'm going to go spend some time with my friends and enjoy my day off... and also think about what I'm getting my friend for her birthday tomorrow. I still haven't bought her anything. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My Amazon-Free July: Day 2 aka PANIC

This morning started off so well...

I pushed back my instinct to immediately sign into my Amazon. In fact, when I got a newsletter that one of my favorite authors whose books are available through KU had a new release today, I immediately clicked the link and then was surprised when it prompted me to sign in!

So I congratulated myself on my decision to allow KU reading (since otherwise I'm losing money on this month, having pre-paid for a year long membership), signed into Amazon and downloaded the book. So far, I'm doing well on Day 2!

But then came... the test.

Ya'll... I truly did not know how bad my Amazon-oriented-brain was until a friend invited me to a last-minute birthday lunch this Friday.

My first thought was - I must get her a gift!

My second thought was - But I'm not using Amazon this month... and cue my panic. 

Like... really brain? Within thirty seconds logic had caught up to me and reminded me that I have so many options that don't involve ordering something through Amazon.

Does it mean extra effort? Yes. Probably. There might be some other stores that will also deliver quickly enough on a holiday week if I find something I want for her online, but I also literally forgot that just going out to a store and buying something is a viable option. 

I'm going to give myself a partial pass for that one, only because I have an 8 1/2 month old daughter at home and during the last month of my pregnancy / these first months of her life, my husband and I have become increasingly reliant on Amazon. Because it's so easy. And fast. And convenient. 

Especially when compared with having to either leave the kiddo at home while feeling extra guilt about the fact that I'm spending MORE time away from her (as if my 40 hour work week plus 2 hour total commute per day on average wasn't enough time away) or having to pack her up, take her to the store, and then wrestle her back into her car seat. She actually does fairly well with the first two parts, but trying to put her back into a confining car seat after she's been stuck in a shopping car for the last 20/30 minutes isn't fun for either of us. And then she fusses the whole way home.

Daughter pic just for the bragging rights -

So Amazon and ordering has been the easiest choice. No guilt about spending more time away from my daughter! No packing her up into the car! It just shows up at my house. Within a day if I need it to! Heck, sometimes I can get same day delivery. Amazon does a great job of helping out with these small inconveniences, it cannot be denied. But, when I really sit down to examine it, the inconvenience is just that: small.

Tune in later this week to find out what I end up getting her.

As for yesterday's vacuum search - success!

Google turned up several search results - surprisingly none of the first ones were Amazon - and I ended up going with a Dirt Devil from Home Depot. I chose NOT to have it delivered - instead it's going to a nearby store for free and all I have to do is stop in to pick it up. Is that as convenient as having it delivered directly to my door?

No. But it IS free. And will only take me a few minutes out of my way on the way home from work.


Although I'm already feeling the withdrawal of not being able to purchase ebooks. Tomorrow I'm going to work on figuring out how to get new ebooks without buying them through Amazon. I've also realized that I'm going to have to purchase my own paperbacks from Amazon for a convention I'm going to at the end of this month. I have no other choice since they're the ones who have published my paperbacks. So I'm also going to spend some time tomorrow checking out the alternate paperback publishers... of which I think there is one =/ Just another way in which Amazon has cornered the market, I guess.

Monday, July 1, 2019

My Amazon-Free July - Day 1

Now, don't get me wrong - I love a lot of what Amazon does.

However, I also truly dislike a lot of what Amazon does.

They're wonderfully convenient, fast, reliable, and I adore my Kindle and finding new authors through KU. The first thing I do online in the morning is sign into my email account, the second is check facebook, and the third is get onto Amazon even if I have nothing I want to buy.

On the flip side - there's a lot wrong with KU, Amazon has a habit of not policing scammers the way they should, and their domination of the market is slowly giving them even more power... and so far a lot of their power use seems to be detrimental to authors. They're not doing anything wrong persay, but they aren't doing everything right.

But instead of continuing to complain while also continuing to spend the majority of my money at Amazon every month, I decided to try NOT spending money there for a whole month. This is not something that is going to be easy for me, even though I've decided that I am still allowed to use my Kindle Unlimited subscription to read KU books (since I already paid for the year anyway).

Proof of how difficult this is going to be - I made the decision this morning that I was going to have an Amazon-free month but by lunch time I had already purchased an Elle James book on my Kindle without even thinking twice about it. I didn't even check if it was available anywhere else. I just automatically clicked and bought.


I am very well trained by Amazon, so this should be an interesting ride.

On a side note - Smashwords is having an amazeballs sale this month and almost all of my books are on sale there.

Okay, so I failed my first test this morning when I bought an ebook without thinking. My second test came this afternoon when I remembered I needed to order another phone holder for doing my live videos. Of course, I bought the last one off of Amazon. I really want the same one. So I went into my past orders and found it... and then did a google search to find it on another site. Of course the first three results are Amazon, but they're not the ONLY ones.

Success! It's on ebay... for $2 more. but hey, ebay is mostly smaller businesses / individuals doing business, right? (no idea if I'm right, but that's what I think of when I think ebay) So I can pay $2 more to help out the little guy instead of the massive conglomerate. And hey, it's still free shipping! Will I have it in two days?... Doubtful.

But I don't NEED it in two days either. Heck, half the time when I buy something on Amazon, I request the longer delivery anyway so that I can get the free kindle credit.

Anyway. Off to find a small vacuum...