Can Amazon Be Trusted? The name will get a reaction, negative or positive, from almost everyone. It gives authors, even independent authors, a massive marketplace on which to showcase their work. On the other hand, Amazon has been the target of many complaints from indie authors and small presses regarding some of their business practices. One of the more recent examples is a lawsuit by independent booksellers who alleged that Amazon had “colluded with publishers ‘to keep rivals from selling eBooks.'” As it happens, a judge threw out the charges on December 11, citing what ultimately came down to a lack of evidence.

At the same time, Amazon has been busy creating a lengthening list of publishing imprints, the most recent of which is StoryFront, which seeks to capitalize on the growing popularity of short work available for the Kindle. And speaking of Kindle, Amazon also offers KDP, which allows anyone to publish ebooks for the popular reading device. And let’s not forget CreateSpace!

Is Amazon on the side of small, indie authors and publishers or does it favor the establishment? A case could be made either way. In my view, it seems that Amazon is attempting to position itself as the alternative to big publishing, while playing nice with the Big Six. (For now, they still have something the other wants.) While it is great to have the alternative, the question arises, “Can Amazon be trusted?” What happens when they’ve accomplished their goal of becoming the alternative? Will Amazon continue or even broaden their small author outreach? Or will they simply become the new establishment? Your thoughts?

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Grammarly: A Writer’s Best Friend

ImageI use Grammarly for proofreading because it makes me look less foolish when I submit my work to editors.

And I say that as an editor myself. The painful truth is that most writers and, yes, even editors are not qualified to edit their own work. This doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re doing or are bad at what we do. It’s simply a matter of being too close to the work at hand.

For example, by the time I get to the final stages of a work, I’ve looked through it so many times that I could almost recite it from memory. And every time I read it, I pay a little less attention to the details. It’s not that I don’t care about the details, I just stop seeing them. And, with them, the errors. Think about your commute to work, a drive you take every day. Something you might have thought strange or interesting your first day doesn’t even warrant a glance a year later. The same thing happens with a manuscript. Once we’ve seen it so many times and become so familiar with it, we tend to overlook its faults. And that’s where a tool like Grammarly comes in.

The great thing about Grammarly is that it doesn’t stop at just showing us typos or basic grammar missteps. It also searches for possible plagiarism, word choices, punctuation, and more. It’s an awesome tool for any writer and cheaper than hiring a third party editor every time.

You can try Grammarly here for free! And don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

“The Magician” Official Release

1277704_501453409949554_835672948_oAnd it’s finally here! The Magician of Wrigley Street is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats. Keep your eyes peeled for the audio version coming soon!

From the back cover: “This debut collection of poetry explores life issues within the context of the mundane. While investigating such heavy topics as death, the loss of virginity, and even politics, these often lighthearted, occasionally dark poems take time to give the reader a sidelong glance and a wink, all the while poking fun at human nature, conventional wisdom, and even poetry itself.”

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