An Open Letter To:

Mr. Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO 
Amazon.com


Dear Mr. Bezos, 

I am a writer with several novels for sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Several issues have been reported over the last while about alleged sales inaccuracies, "stuttering" book rankings and inaccessible web reports on the Amazon KDP web site. I have experienced those same problems myself. 

I went onto the Amazon KDP community forums to get information and see hundreds of posts from other writers. I gave up reading after a half dozen pages because of the vitriol and invectives being flung around. Authors are frustrated because they are getting contradictory, vague and generic responses from your support teams. There is no information out there describing what the issue(s) are, their cause or how long it will take to fix them. 

I don't make my primary income from my book sales, but many authors do. When there are issues with royalty payments (real or perceived) it directly affects the income they use to feed their families, pay the heating bill, etc. The poor state of the global economy at the moment does not help either. 

Amazon is a phenomenal platform for independent authors to utilize, dare I say the best in the world. I doubt there are many writers out there who expect you to be perfect 100% of the time. With the complex infrastructure Amazon maintains globally, things will occasionally go wrong. We understand that and know you make your best effort to keep systems operational / accurate. Those of us who live in the real world know "stuff happens" on occasion. All I request is that you keep us in the loop. A simple one paragraph statement letting us know what is going on and roughly when we can expect a resolution. That will end the speculation along with the dramatic posts on KDP and reassure people simultaneously.  

Could you have someone on your KDP team post some sort of update to answer the above concerns with solid information please? I don't think it’s too much to ask to keep your suppliers up to date.  

Respectfully, 

SJ Parkinson
http://sjparkinson.com

 
 
I had a long exhale of breath this weekend when I received a second positive review for Predation. I was not sure if people would relate to a story with no central character. However, with both Amazon reviews and received emails being positive, I can relax and move onto the next project. A quote from a review said, "This is one of those hard core military fighting page turners" and I am glad because that is what I was going for. A favorite book of mine is The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan and Predation is a fictional homage to that work. 

The Legionnaire: Origins (Book Two) is shaping up nicely. I am roughly a third of the way through an internal review and hope (fingers and toes crossed) to get it to the editors soon. I have an edit slot in November and that is my goal, but as always I try to get it in early so I can move onto other things, like writing book three. Finishing Mask, the first Legionnaire book, felt like such a victory, but now, facing the balance of the planned original three books, I am faced with a heck of a lot of work. :-) Spare time seems so much more elusive over the last few months. Research is continuing on the fourth Legionnaire as well. 

Sales continue to improve slowly as word spreads. Seventy-two "Likes" on my Facebook page which is humbling and thirteen followers on Twitter.  Now I am faced with a choice. I need to get Origins out the door, but then do I finish the Legionnaire series or work on one of the other two sci-fi books I have envisioned and ready to go? Decisions, decisions. Time will tell. 


 
 
The one question that is resounding in my Inbox right now, "When will Predation be out?" Word has spread and several sci-fi fans are urging me to get it out ASAP.  That's my reward for setting up a Contact Form on sjparkinson.com  :-}

I am happy to say it should be out in early August. Predation has finished editing (Thank you Rosemary and Lynn) and just went for the second (and last) proof read. Once I get it back, add three or four days for formatting and then it will be out. The comments I am getting back so far have been very encouraging.

I am enlisting Predation in KDP Select as a test. So it will be available exclusively on Amazon in mobi format for the first three months, but I shall be producing paperbacks as well. Expect those by September. After KDP, it shall be available via Nook, Kobo and Barnes & Noble in other ebook formats. Other markets are pending.

In other news, Legionnaire: Book Two is almost done. I suspect I have forty pages to go before I complete it. I have been burning the midnight oil for that and hope to get it finished before the late hours catch up to me. As of now, my target date for Book Two is December 2012. That is so I can review it several times and get the cover art done without feeling rushed. Then off to the editors. Once I get the cover art completed, I shall release the title and jacket description. Then I shall take a whack at Legionnaire: Book Three. I cannot even think of setting a date on that project yet. 

Finally, I recently read an interesting book and have been inspired for a fourth Legionnaire book. A generic outline has been completed and I think it is a viable project / story. No details yet and the schedule for that book is "when it is done". I have to do a lot of research and have two other books to finish before that happens.

The more I write, the more I am inspired to write more. I should have started this journey much sooner. As always, I appreciate your comments, feedback and support.
 
 
As of today, I am a author.

My first novel was just uploaded to Amazon Kindle and after many years of effort toward that goal, I can barely believe the day is actually upon me. I have had the draft manuscript on my tablet for a couple of days now and it feels surreal to see my words on the screen. I forgot who said it originally, but it certainly applies. It has taken me ten years to become an overnight success.

In no way can I claim sole credit for this journey. I owe a debt to several people for getting me this far: Keith C. Blackmore for his guidance and assistance. The Red Adept Publishing team took my childish scribblings and turned them into something intelligible. Christine DeMaio-Rice for taking my vague cover art concepts and turning them into stunning reality. Jason G. Anderson has been doing all of my book conversions for Kindle, CreateSpace and Smashwords. My girlfriend Joanne has pushed, prodded and encouraged me tirelessly since reading the early drafts.

Thank you all. 

A paperback version is coming in a month or so. Stay tuned for that.

It was a hard decision for me to give up diving for a year so I could focus on writing. Now that I have a book actually for sale, I think I made the right one. I will have another book out by the end of the summer (Predation) and have two more novels on the go. My next goal is to make enough through writing to be able to write full time. That might take another ten years of effort, but I cannot think of a more noble goal.  The Legionnaire: Mask of the Pharaoh is now available on Amazon for purchase.

Today is a very good day.