Rimrider Cover lakelley-72dpi-1500x2000Please welcome L.A.  Kelley to the blog today. She’s discussing her wonderful novel, Rimrider, which is a contender on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. She’s going to tell you all about the book, Kindle Scout, and how it benefits you, the reader. (Click that gorgeous cover to see it in its full-size glory.)

What the heck is Kindle Scout?

A few short years ago, Amazon launched a venture for new, never-before-published books where readers help decide a contract. Selected novels are published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing. The marketing part is a huge appeal. It’s the curse of most authors’ existence (I spit on you, hateful marketing gods!) Having Amazon shoulder the burden is a major plus.

If a book is approved, the author receives a preview link to check the data submitted along with the Kindle Scout campaign launch date. All campaigns last 30 days. The more nominations a book receives the more likely it will get the attention of the Kindle Scout team and be selected for publication.

Will the requirements make my head hurt?

Nope. Submissions are taken all year long and eligibility standards are simple. The manuscript must be submitted in English and be 50,000 words or more. Authors must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid Amazon account, and reside in a Kindle Scout–eligible country. Five categories are available: Romance, Mystery & Thriller, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult, and general Literature & Fiction.

Any downside with Kindle Scout for the author?

Isn’t there always? The author is responsible for the book’s cover art. It must look professional, be ready to go when the manuscript is submitted, and satisfy Amazon’s specifications. Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, you’ll have to shell out money for an artist. The manuscript should also be professionally edited, free of typos and grammar errors. Paying for a good editor is a must. Kindle Scout doesn’t offer hardcovers or paperbacks, so if an author wants something to hold in his or her hot little hand, the printing cost are shouldered alone. For some, the lack of marketing decisions can be irksome. Amazon has total control. An author can’t run a 99 cent sale or post the first book in a series for free to drum up interest in the rest. Finally, the terms of the contract state that the book will only be available on Amazon, so bye-bye Barnes and Noble, any other site, and all ereaders who can’t open a MOBI file.

What’s the benefit to the reader?

You’re allowed to vote for three nominations. If your choice is a winner, Amazon will send a free copy of the ebook upon publication. No muss. No fuss. The only cost was a few minutes of your time to check out the book. You also get to proudly strut around the room and brag to others about supporting indy writers.

Who the heck are you?

I’m a fantasy/science fiction indy writer with five published books with a small press and a book now a Kindle Scout nominee. I live in Florida, slathered in sunscreen, and prefer air-conditioned comfort to heat and humidity. On the plus side, my skin will never look like badly laid roofing shingles. Here are my lurking spots if you care to lurk with me:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/l.a.kelley.author

Twitter: @AuthorLAKelley

http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

Be honest. Do you think you really have a shot?

Let’s put it this way… Amazon labels the popular Kindle Scout nominations in the smoking hot category. Even as a teenager I was only found in the dorky and peculiar category. The odds aren’t great, but if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. That being said I would greatly appreciate a vote for Rimrider by L. A. Kelley. It’s a science fiction space opera about a teenage girl who becomes a space pirate. Imagine the American Revolution with Earth as the redcoats and the colony planets as Yankee rebels and you get the idea. Intrigued? Click on the link and heartfelt thanks for taking a peek.

Kindle Scout link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1135KKAY4C6QF

I know you’re all probably sick of hearing about my broken Kindle. Poor me. But, I’ve found solace in choosing just how to make my new Kindle my own.

 

 

Kindle Goodies Collage

 

 

Right?

However, because I am not a rich person who can drop a bundle on a new Kindle (coming this week!) and a bunch of accessories, I have a plan.

  1. Order a divine Kindle Paperwhite with special offers. Done, baby.
  2. Buy a two year protection plan within 30 days of purchase. Because, hello? I like to drop my Kindle. Or, in the case of my last Kindle, forget where I put it and kick it off the bed. Got this done before the 30 day window closed. I MUST have protection. 
  3. Order a case. Did you see the case? It has the names of my favorite heroines, most notably Elizabeth Bennet and Holly Golightly. *sigh* Here’s something sad: I forgot all about the case. Forgot. So, when I went to buy it, they’re no longer in stock for a Paperwhite. However, I just purchased a Kindle Fire (for tableting, not reading) and I was able to get this case for that.

    I’ve decided I’d prefer an envelope case for my Paperwhite, because I want to see my skin and I like to hold the Paperwhite to read–with nothing extra weighing it down.

  4. Order the skin that makes it scream, “This Kindle could belong to no one but Lori!” It’s called Paris Makes Me Happy. And I’m sure it would. It has a cafe, and a stylish woman walking her petite puppy, and a woman in a beret, reading. I like to think she’s me. Ordered this at the end of August. (Forgot–again). Two days later, decalgirl.com put everything on sale, 25%. *sigh*
  5. Finally, pay the extra $20 to get those special offers to go away. I’m using my daughter’s Kindle now, and hers has the special offers. They don’t in any way interfere with the reading and they’re not hideous on the sleep screen. It’s just… I’ve really become attached to my literary portraits. When I turn my Kindle off and see a portrait of Jane Austen or some other incredible writer, I’m inspired. I don’t know if I’ll ever do this. I don’t mind the ads. I’ve bought books and the aforementioned Kindle Fire because of ads I’ve seen. 

I know this new Kindle will bring me (at least two) years of reading joy. And that, my friends, is how you finance a perfectly personal e-reading experience.

Now, who wants to tell my husband about all this?

Tweet this!

How I replaced my Kindle and plan to finance my so-me accessories addiction. #Kindle #blog ~ Click to Tweet

My Kindle has died.

Yes, let’s all take a moment of silence.

Before I go on, let me explain why the loss of my Kindle has made me inconsolable. I’ve always been a book lover.

Paper books. Mmm, is there anything like that smell? A little vanilla, a little ducking into the library to read because you don’t really fit anywhere.

But, then, the idea started to grow on me. Never being without a book because I can slip this small, lightweight techno-gadget in my purse. I’m a techie kind of girl.My two favorite things had made a sweet little baby capable of holding a thousand books.

A few subtle hints to my husband (reality: I pestered the hell out of him), and I got one for Christmas. Destitute from gift-giving, I filled it up with free books. FREE books. That I didn’t even have to leave my home to acquire. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I read a bajillion more books. I found ways to read online articles and receive site feeds on my Kindle. I was suddenly reading at the doctor’s office, reading while I stirred food on the stove. Reading, reading, reading.

Since then, two years, they’ve come out with several new models and, what I’ve been eyeing for the last few months, the Kindle Paperwhite. In fact, my Kindle (billed as the top-of-the-line Kindle 3) became downgraded to the Kindle Keyboard and isn’t even sold anymore. Point: it’s old and ready to be replaced.

So, I’ll be happy to have my new Kindle. Reading in bed without lights on a screen that isn’t backlit! (I’m squeeing right now.) And yet, seeing my Kindle lying there, useless–I’m filled with sadness. We shared some pretty incredible times. I dressed it up, made it mine, filled it with magical stories that inspired me and helped me get through the hard times. It’s like my love of reading in physical form.

Okay, but what about those old Kindles?

Do you remember how on Toy Story 3, all the toys got donated (finally! Jeez kid, give up the toys already!) to a little girl who would love them just the way that kid in the movie did? Well, if you are a better Kindle caretaker than I obviously am and have an older model lying around, while you enjoy your new e-reader toy, then I have a suggestion for you. Donate it to the Kindle Classroom Project. I can think of no better purpose than giving the joy of reading to kids. Maybe, they’ll find a private corner somewhere and discover the place they fit, inside a story.

P.S. If you also have broken your Kindle, be responsible and recycle. Those batteries don’t belong in your local landfill. Amazon will pay for you to ship it back. I imagine they’ll mine it for parts before doing whatever it is one does with batteries that can explode when mishandled.

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“My two favorite things had made a sweet little baby capable of holding a thousand books.” ~ Click to Tweet

I grew up, and still live, in a small town.  Not small town like less than 5000.  Small town like… 265 people live in my town.  Not that it’s much of a town.  I have to drive 5-10 miles to the nearest 7-11.  Another 40 to Wal-Mart or McDonald’s. It’s 55 miles to the nearest book store–a chain.  An indie bookstore? That would be 91 miles away.  Sure, we have a library.  Only barbarians don’t have libraries.  But… if I had to guess, I’d say we might have 500-1000 books.  Total.

So, I think you feel me now.  Growing up and as an adult, I read whatever I could get my hands on.  I couldn’t afford to be picky.  Later, I discovered Amazon (I’m sorry indie stores!) and Booksfree and Paperback Swap.  Still, there was time and effort and hard-earned money involved in all of those ventures.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was worth it.  I wouldn’t trade the pleasure and escape I’ve gotten from reading for anything.

When I got my Kindle for Christmas–that all changed.  It was no longer a matter of driving an hour or more to buy a book (and you know, I didn’t just buy any book–I wanted my money’s worth).  I could browse whenever I wanted for a book, buy it, and be reading it in less than a minute.

Oh, sure, that’s awesome, you say.  But think about it for a minute.  Reading books was something I worked for.  I planned trips to the Book Exchange or the mall for days.  Called around to make sure they had the book I was looking for or saved up to buy several because it wasn’t a convenient trip to make.  Even with Amazon, I took my time, finding enough books to earn free shipping ($25) and, believe me, I got really good at getting the right books to total just over that amount.  And then there was packaging and shipping time.  I worked for the privilege of reading.

To suddenly be able to read anything I wanted any time I wanted, it was like being given the keys to Eden.  It was my happy place, that’s for sure.

For a while, I read lots of books I never would’ve tried before.  I’d send a sample and if I was hooked by the end, I bought it.  I combed through the free books trying to find one that might interest me.  Then I found sites like Kindle Obsessed, with reviews and recommended free titles, and Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author, who have high standards in their reviews.

It became so easy.  So, so easy.  I’d read the review, and if it sounded awesome, I’d download the free ones and sample the not-so-free ones.  Except now?  I have 42 books in my T0-Be-Read collection and 42 samples in my Fiction Samples collection.  84 books, at my fingertips, I feel confident I’ll really enjoy.  I’m overwhelmed by my stellar, easily accessible choices.

I know, I know.  It’s a poor-little-rich (in books)-girl whine.  Shameful, really.  I’m very fortunate to have access to so many books.  Even as hard as it was in the years pre-Kindle, when I had to work for my fictional fun, I was still luckier than many.

In recognition of that and to share what reading has meant to me, I’ve made a donation to The Lisa Libraries, which:

…donates new children’s books and small libraries to organizations that work with kids in poor and under-served areas.

I hope you’ll think about making a donation or sending new children’s/YA books their way as well.  And I hope everyone is cursed with so many ways and opportunities to read.

Since my last post about awesome websites that make the Kindle even MORE awesome than it already is, I’ve paid for premium service with Kindlefeeder.com.

How much?

I paid $19.95 USD for one year of premium service.

Why upgrade?

I’ll go into all the features a premium membership brings in just a minute.  But the main reason I upgraded was because I wanted to be able to subscribe to more than 12 feeds.  I think for free, basic membership, 12 feeds is more than fair.  Well, it’s free.   Any thing more than none would be fair.  But, I love my feeds.  I have a lot of sites that I want to read regularly, even more regularly than the every-day-or-two I check in with my Google Reader.

What comes with premium service?

So. much.

  • Unlimited number of feeds.
  • Ability to trigger a wireless delivery from the kindle.
  • Subscribe to feeds from processing-intensive* feeds.
  • Lots of delivery options. Lots. (See picture below).

Click the picture for a full view of my Kindlefeeder feeds management page.

As you can see, there’s a drop-down menu under delivery window.  From Kindlefeeder.com:

You can restrict the delivery of content from a feed to weekday mornings, weekday evenings, or weekends only. “Evening” means after 3 p.m. EDT; “morning” means before 3 p.m. EDT. “Weekends” means Saturday and Sunday. This setting affects both scheduled deliveries and immediate deliveries that you trigger yourself.

  • Schedule up to TWO automatic deliveries per day at times you choose.

If you recall my previous post, deliveries from Kindlefeeder were triggered by going to the site and clicking a button.  Not so with premium service.

Note that delivery options are the same.  An email to forward to your free Kindle address (Kindle 3 only); an emailed zip file you can unzip and load directly to your Kindle; a direct delivery to your Kindle (which will incur a surcharge by Amazon).  Or, at least, I’m pretty sure it will.  I’ve been too cheap to try it out.

One final note.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that scheduling automatic conversions / documents to your Kindle may violate the terms of service.  It’s unclear.  Or, it would seem to be so, but Amazon hasn’t yet responded to the creator of Kindlefeeder when he asked for clarification (in March 2009) and hasn’t stopped users from receiving emails from Kindlefeeder.com.  Yet.  Even more unclear, if one forwards them from one’s own email, does that violate the terms of service?  If I find out a clear answer, I will let you know.

* Processing-intensive feeds, like Yahoo Pipes and EchoDitto, take an “inordinate amount of time to fetch and update.”  They are only available to premium users because of the “disproportionate burden these feeds impose on the Kindlefeeder service.”

Edit 05.04.2012: Kindlefeeder seems to be gone. I’ve unlinked the links that were available in this post.

Yes, apparently, you can LOAN your Kindle ebooks.  At least, some of them.  I find this awesome because it allows you to say, “Hey, I think you’re going to love this author.  Give this book a try!”

My nephew and I are finding that our reading preferences cross in strange places.  So, we’re a little excited to recommend books to each other.  Our new deal?  I’ll read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Side of the Moon if he reads Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Unfortunately, neither of us have these books on the Kindle, so we can’t use the loan feature this time.  (Of course, we have paper copies because they’re faves).  But, I’m just so excited to share books with friends.  Even friends who live far away.  I’ve talked at least two people into a Kindle since Christmas.

So, how does it work?

Go to www.amazon.com/myk.

You’ll see a list of books you’ve purchased (or sampled).  Click on the plus icon beside the book you want to loan.

Click the “Loan this book” button, beside the cover.

Here’s what comes up:

Fill out the fields and that’s it!  You’ve loaned your ebook!

The Fine Print

  • Not all publishers allow you to loan books.  Boo to them, I say.  Lending reaches more readers which means more purchases later!
  • The book must be downloaded within 7 days or it is no longer available to your lendee.
  • Your lendee can keep the book for 14 days.  Presumably, Amazon removes the book at that point–finished or not.
  • You can’t read your book for the 14 days it’s being loaned out.  Which makes sense.  If you loaned a real book, you couldn’t read it, either.
  • Most books I’ve explored can only be loaned once.  Not quite the same as a real book, but I see the need for limits (since this is so easy) and I can live with that.

P.S. I swear this is not becoming the pimpmykindle site.  It’s just… topical and interesting to me.  And, oddly, I like writing about those things.  Enjoy!

I use my Kindle everyday.  This is no secret.  I’ve facebooked, tweeted, and posted my love for the Kindle.

I consider myself tech-ish savvy.  I’m not a geek (a badge I’d wear with honor, mind you), but I know a few who point me in the right directions.  And, so, because I’m awesome, I’m going to point you to some very awesome Kindle sites that will make it even harder to pry the Kindle from your grip.

Instapaper

I use Google Reader a lot.  It’s how I get my tech fix and find all of these nifty things, it’s how I keep up with gossip from Jezebel (don’t judge me!), and how I know when a friend posts to their personal blog.

With Instapaper, I can use the spacebar to flip through all that content (and it becomes quite a bit–maybe I’ll share my favorite RSS feeds with you one day) and when I find something I think I’ll want to read, I just use the “Read Later” button that sits on my bookmark toolbar.  It saves and when Instapaper sends me my document, it’s all there.

Pros:

  • It sends to your free Kindle address (which only works if you  have a Kindle 3).  What this means is you will download it via your wi-fi, as opposed to Whispernet.  My Kindle does not make use of Whispernet, but I understand Amazon will begin (or has already) charging for those downloads.  I’m fine with waiting for my Instapaper document to download at home (or wherever I can get wi-fi) and then it’s there when I choose to read it.
  • It will send up to 20 articles and you can use your 5-way button to go to the next article if you decide it’s not something you want to read.

Cons:

  • It only sends 20.  I think (correct me if I’m wrong, peeps).  This is easily manageable by going to the Instapaper site and requesting it be sent right away (as opposed to it’s daily, or weekly, deliver time).  That said, after counting “Read Later” clicks in my head and heading there at 20 and hitting send, it could be better.  Say, if it just sent new content (as opposed to sometimes getting halfway through the document only to find stuff I’ve already read) and sent all the new content.
  • It does not pull feeds for you.  But that’s okay, because something else does.

Make It Work:

Get the Instapaper bookmarklet on the Extras page.

Go to Manage My Kindle, under the Account tab, to set up use with Kindle.  (There are several steps. Don’t be like me, read halfway through, then wonder why it isn’t working.)

Kindlefeeder

Once I started using Instapaper, I started seeing trends.  Some feeds, I sent every article to my Kindle.  I actually found the link for Kindlefeeder on the Instapaper site since they don’t pull feeds.

Pros:

  • Perfect if you’d rather read your favorite sites on your Kindle.
  • They come in one document and you can order them anyway you choose on the Kindlefeeder site.

Cons:

  • You only get 12 feeds free.  After that,  you need a premium service.  This has caused me to be really picky about who I let on my Kindlefeeder list.  It’s like that episode of Seinfeld, when they discontinue Elaine’s birth control of choice and she’s trying to decide not if a man is sex-worthy, but is he sponge-worthy.
  • I use the basic formatting and haven’t seen what it looks like otherwise, but you can’t use any buttons on your Kindle to move through sections, other than the one that turns the page.
  • It will not send to your free Kindle address.  It will, however, let you send the document to your email and you can forward it on to your free address.  Other choices include sending wirelessly to your Kindle (not free!) or emailing a downloadable file which you can transfer to your Kindle with the cable.

I’ve considered a premium account, because I really enjoy this application.  You can even trigger a feed pull and automatically send it to your Kindle from the Kindle with this option.  But, that would probably be delivered wirelessly which I’d have to pay for, they say.

Your feeds will be packaged and delivered wirelessly to your Kindle. Make sure to turn your Kindle’s WiFi switch on. Note that Amazon imposes a per delivery surchage on this wireless delivery option.

Make It Work:

Add feeds-Self explanatory, I think.

Manage my feeds-Delete or rearrange the order of your feeds.

Dashboard-Where the magic happens.

I just visit the site every day or two, click send forward, and wait for it to appear in my gmail.  When it does, I clear out the body (not making the document blank seemed to cause Kindle delivery to be hit or miss) and forward it to my Kindle free address.

Send to Kindle Chrome Extension

Want to hear something a little sad?  This extension is why I finally gave in and switched from Firefox to Chrome.  My Kindle owns me, people.

Anyway, get the extension here.

Pros:

  • Send almost* any article, blog post, I guess whatever your e-reading heart desires straight to your Kindle.
  • If you have the Kindle 3, you can use your free Kindle address.
  • They format nicely and include a link to the original at the end of the document.
  • Um, it’s awesome?

Cons:

  • If you are anything like me, and you’re licking up the links people tweet, you can end up with several documents to read.
  • *Sometimes the extension tells me it couldn’t send the content.  Sometimes, if I refresh, it does.  Sometimes, not.  Not sure what that’s about.

And that’s about it for bad things.  Lots to read and, on the rare occasion, it doesn’t work.

Make it Work:

I’m not even going to attempt to explain how to install a chrome extensions.  Others have done it far better already.

The extension itself is easy to setup and can be changed at anytime by right clicking on it (it’s an orange box with a K inside) and going to options.

And that’s it from me.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m heading to surgery to have my Kindle removed from my hand.

 

Yes, I write romance, and I’d never (until this past December) read a Jane Austen book. Any. At all.

Yes, I was ashamed of this deficit. When I was growing up, I didn’t get new books. I had trips to the library, occasionally, which I reserved for horror and mystery. I don’t know why. Well, I do, and this is the reason I never read Jane Austen.

*Ahem*, when I was a kid, I didn’t get new books. I read everyone else’s leftovers. I read them thankfully and voraciously and often multiple times. I read fast.

My mom loved horror, mostly Stephen King. Which I still read. It’s an unspoken agreement between my husband and me that started early on and has continued these last fifteen years… a new SK hardcover comes out, he buys it for me. Never mind that I’d rather have that Jennifer Crusie or Susan Elizabeth Phillips hardcover, would in fact, die of excitement. This is what we do, because that is what we did.

But, back to the kiddie days. My maternal grandmother, she was the intellectual, going back to college in her fifties, after picking up her GED. I read mythology books, psychology books, Christian fiction. The woman has a bookcase, several bookcases, full of amazing books. I’d spend the summer with her, my IQ would rise 15 points.

My paternal grandmother, who is gone now, went through romance novels–Harlequin and I can’t remember the name of the other publisher, but I’m pretty sure Harlequin bought them at some point so it probably doesn’t matter (I just remembered!  It was Silhouette!). She read them fast and she always had one handy.

When I turned sixteen, and could drive, I took her to the library every two weeks. She would take a box of fifty books and the nice librarian (I love librarians) would let her switch her fifty with another fifty from the donation pile. At that time, I’d pick up a Star Trek novel, or Dean Koontz, or that sequel to Gone With the Wind (I still can’t believe I read that. At 17, I was excited to see what would happen next; at 36, I’m aghast that someone would dare tamper with something so sacred as Rhett and Scarlett).

My dad read cowboy and spy novels–I stayed away from those. I think we were both too embarrassed to become mutually aware the other was reading about S-E-X. And an aunt, long exiled from the family by divorce, once gave me a big box of classics: The Outsiders, Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Most of that probably isn’t all that interesting to you, but it’s written and it’s my blog and I’m leaving it. The point is, I was never picky. I loved books, I loved them in all genres, and times, and sizes, and viewpoints, and plot points. Stories were my world, maybe my drug, and like any good junkie, I took whatever hit I could get.

As I got older, I found the things I enjoyed, I found new authors, and read through their booklists. At one time, when I was staying home with the kiddies and fighting through a bout of depression, I had a very active account with booksfree.com. I had the six books at a time plan, so I was never, ever without reading material. Then I had another baby, I started working outside the home, I started writing. My reading time became more precious and I became less willing to try new things. I have a drawer full of to-be-read books (that I may never get to, I love reading on my Kindle SO freaking much).

But, speaking of my Kindle, it’s all changed now. Reading is so convenient. Getting new books is so easy and quick and sample chapters are my best friend. I can try something new, buy it if I like, and find all new backlists to explore. I’m a loyal reader.

Another great thing about the Kindle? Free books. I feel like my grandmother, carrying in my box of fifty and picking through thousands of incredible stories.

And so, I found Ms. Austen. This blog post has become far too long already for me to go on and on about my newfound love for Pride and Prejudice (and naturally, all the other books she wrote). I’m not even sure what it’s about anymore, except:

Reading is a beautiful, empowering experience that I'm not sure I could've survived without. Click To Tweet

Yeah. That’s what I’m saying.

At least, it has for me. So convenient. Such a dream come true–any book I want to read is at my fingertips and delivered in less than a minute. I’ve probably read more books in the last month than I have in the year before that. And that’s a really satisfying thing. Anyway, you should totally have one.

I found Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister at the Dollar Store for $1.25! Squee!

One’s To Be Read (TBR) pile can never be too large.  Especially when it’s a favorite author.

Update 03/14/2011–I think I bought this book for my Kindle because I never get in my TBR drawer anymore.  Those books are all heavy and awkward and stuff.

Update 08/26/2011–I gave this paperback to my daughter’s best friend’s because she loves vamps and I love Katie MacAlister.