Ed’s Deal Cow: Prime Day deals!

I decided to take a quick break from writing, so I could talk to the Deal Cow about Prime Day deals. Bossy the Deal Cow had some very strong opinions about taking full advantage of Amazon Prime Day. 

 

Ed: Hey, Bossy, what’s up?

Bossy: What do you mean, ‘what’s up’? Are you living under a rock, Ed? They’ve got Prime Day deals over at Amazon!

Ed: Is that right?

Bossy: Yeah… They’re really moooo-ving merchandise over there. But tell your readers that they’ve got to act quickly, because Amazon Prime Day is almost over!

Ed: Okay, okay; I get it. Are there any deals that you suggest, in particular?

Bossy: Hell, yeah! That’s why they call me the Deal Cow, after all! I especially recommend that your readers take advantage of savings in Amazon devices. Amazon is discounting those big-time for Prime Day.

Take Bossy’s advice and look at Amazon devices NOW over at Amazon!

Ed: Is there anything else you recommend? 

Bossy: Yes! Check out the deals on Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners! They’re super useful…They clean both carpet and hardwood floors. And Amazon has them deeply discounted for Prime Day!

Get Bossy off my back and check out these Roomba robotic vacuums on Amazon! You’ll be glad you did!

Ed: What do you suggest my readers do after they get done saving on Amazon, Bossy?

Bossy: Well, isn’t that obvious? I would suggest that they read your FREE online thriller serial, The Consultant. 

Ed: All right, I’ve leave them a link. And speaking of The Consultant, I’d better get back to writing it!

Bossy: You could have written an entire chapter in the time you just wasted, pointing out the obvious!

You heard Bossy. First, please get over to Amazon, and save yourself some money before Prime Day ends. 

It’s really important. 

Then you can start reading The Consultant: my ongoing serial thriller about an American businessman trapped in North Korea.

Start reading The Consultant!

Anyway: I’m going back to writing. Thanks for your time!

The Consultant: Chapter 63

Barry was actually relieved: If Jung-Ho had any suspicions, they were suspicions of him attempting an impossible escape from the heart of Pyongyang. Jung-Ho apparently hadn’t considered the possibility that Barry would dare to approach the American star of the basketball exhibition. 

Barry had never been in the sports complex before. But it wasn’t hard to guess, from the general layout of the building, where the locker room would be. 

The space immediately outside the auditorium—a vast main lobby—was mostly empty. Barry saw a few guards standing around, but they did not accost him. They must have figured that if Barry was an attendee at the exhibition, then he was a VIP of some kind, foreign devil or not. 

Beyond the main lobby, Barry got lucky again. He saw a pair of metal doors that were propped open. Based on their location, they likely led down to the locker area. 

He was aware that Jung-Ho would come after him if he were gone too long. Out of view of any of the guards now, Barry started running.

Chapter 64

Table of contents

CNN still doesn’t get it

The shrill media virtue-signalling over Donald Trump’s weekend tweets about AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib continues. 

I would guess that the ranks of staff writers at CNN nowadays are dominated by millennials, who were raised on that soupy mixture of identity politics and active offense-seeking. It’s also true that since journalism hasn’t been a money-earning career for decades now, it doesn’t typically attract the best and brightest. 

This is my not-so-tactful way of saying that in 2019, the typical CNN staff writer is likely a wet-behind-the-ears dolt. Therefore, perhaps we should not be surprised that they don’t get it. 

Or perhaps they do get it–and they simply don’t want to have a discussion that they’re bound to lose. The race card is such a powerful weapon in American politics nowadays.

Nevertheless, criticizing someone for their ideological leanings is not racism. Criticizing someone for having toxic ideological leanings that are foreign to American traditions is not racism.

Donald Trump essentially told Omar and Tlaib that if they want to be Islamic radicals, then they should go (back) to a country where that viewpoint is valued.

Admittedly, Trump could have stated his case in words that would have been less prone to willful misinterpretation. I’ve said for a long time that Twitter is not an ideal platform for presidential communications.

But if calling Islamic radicals un-American is racism, then there’s a whole lot of us out here in the heartland who are racist. 

Book haul: China and Leonardo Da Vinci

My first “book haul” video, for what it’s worth…

Although I regularly order books from Amazon, I haven’t done any “book haul” videos up to this time.

The other day, however, I received a suggestion from a reader/viewer, that I film such a video. The above video is the result.

If you would like to purchase either of the books featured in the above video, there are Amazon links below.

Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age 
Leonardo da Vinci

Amal Clooney’s attack on Trump

Amal Clooney’s biased interpretation

In the video above, Amal Clooney, wife of the ultra-leftwing American celebrity George Clooney, attempts to establish a link between Donald Trump and attacks on journalists throughout the world.

Donald Trump has not advocated violence against journalists, or anyone else…

What he has done is call out the leftwing biases of the media. 

And this is fair. CNN, for example, doesn’t even make a pretense of neutrality anymore. CNN has become the media wing of the Democratic Party.

Being called out is something that the media’s elite ideologues don’t like. Ergo, their desire to depict presidential criticism of them as “hate speech”.

How Amazon responded to the indie publishing glut

An article on Yahoo Finance, entitled, Amazon Advertising Is Just a Toll in Disguise,”has generated a lot of controversy in the indie publishing community. Below is a key paragraph:

Amazon’s growing cut from its merchants is one reason why the company’s revenue is increasing more quickly than its merchandise sales. Amazon is extracting a bigger share for itself. Like other powerful tech companies, Amazon is able to charge more to the partners that rely on it, because they don’t really have a choice. 

Yahoo Finance

This applies to all varieties of vendors, of course.  (Thousands of merchants, both small and large, sell everything on Amazon from used books to lawnmowers.)

But the issue has especially resonated within the indie author community of late. (Here on Edward Trimnell Books, my post about Amazon ad inflation is one of the more trafficked pages on the site.)

The new divide in the author community: Is Amazon good or evil?

Ten years ago, the writing/author community was more or less evenly divided between trad pub vs indie.

About half of all authors were eager to embrace indie publishing (or some hybrid publishing model). The other half insisted that the only viable way to publish your book was in the passive tense: i.e., to have a New York publisher publish it for you.

In 2019, serious denunciations of independent publishing per se are extremely rare. Aside from literary fiction (which has a very small market), and the mega-bestsellers like King and Patterson, indie is the wave of the future. (This is especially true in genre fiction like science fiction.)

Today, if authors are arguing about something in an online discussion forum or Facebook group, they are probably arguing about Amazon. 

Specifically, the new division is between those authors who want to rely wholly on Amazon (the Amazon as benevolent parent faction), and those who resent Amazon (the Amazon as evil slavemaster faction).

Authors and their dogmas

The current divide over Amazon tends to be as dogmatic as the divide over indie vs trad was a decade ago. 

I mean: If Random House called me up tomorrow and offered me a $5 million contract, with lots of television promotion and whatnot, I’d say, “Hell, yeah!”

Who wouldn’t?

But short of that, I have no intention of routing my stuff through the antiquated, byzantine New York publishing system, when I can go direct to my readers.

Indie publishing isn’t (and shouldn’t become) an ideology. Neither should traditional publishing. 

Nor should pro-Amazon sentiment…or anti-Amazon sentiment. 

Authors: Amazon is neither your benevolent parent nor your slavemaster.

Amazon, rather, is a profit-seeking corporation. And based on what they’ve done through competition to Borders and B&N (not to mention your local shopping mall), Amazon is pretty good at this whole retail thing.

Another thing you should know (if you don’t already): Amazon wants a bigger share of the global ad market. Now that they’ve eaten Borders’s lunch, Amazon wants to eat Google’s and Facebook’s lunch, too. 

But how does this shake out, specifically, for authors?  

A few years ago, someone in Amazon must have noticed that indie publishing was becoming just a bit too popular. In other words, more books were being published than the market could absorb. 

A glut, in other words, of indie-published books. 

This was back in the days when gurus like Joanna Penn were saying, “Everyone should write a book!” (That’s a bit like saying, “Everyone should start a rock band,” or “Everyone should start a corner restaurant.” It’s fuzzy economic thinking.)

I’ve noticed that Joanna Penn doesn’t say this anymore. 

Amazon probably wanted to tame the irrational exuberance in the indie publishing space. (And this isn’t even taking into account all the scammy books from plagiarists and get-rich-quick artists.)

Amazon’s solution to the glut of self-published books: paid ads

For a long time, I figured that Amazon would start charging authors to publish, along with an annual hosting fee for every book on the platform. Not a huge sum, mind you–maybe $25 per year, per title. That would be a reasonable amount for any serious author. But the nuisance fee would eliminate the plagiarists and the get-rich-quick artists, at the very least.

But Amazon came up with a better idea: The company changed the algorithms on the website, and transitioned to a pay-to-play marketplace.

It’s still free to publish on Amazon. But now if you want to actually sell any books on Amazon, you have to buy ads.  You can no longer rely much on organic discovery or also-boughts.

This has led to AMS ad inflation, and business opportunities for enterprising authors-turned-advertising-gurus, like Mark Dawson. It has also created opportunities for AMS ad aggregators.

Economics is inexorable–even for writers

It’s fine for Mark Dawson to sell a $749 course on advertising for authors. (A note of clarification is in order here: Despite my tone, I have a lot of respect for Mark Dawson. Mark Dawson is a sharp, ethical fellow. I took one of Mark Dawson’s other courses.  The course I bought was worth every penny. If I were going to take a course on ads, I would take his course.)

It’s also fine for the ad aggregators to do their thing. There is inherently nothing dishonest about any of that. These players are all responding to market demands.

Capitalism 101.

But the larger problem–the one that no one wants to talk about, really–is that more books are being published than the market can absorb.  

The current bidding war over AMS ads is leading to pessimism in the indie author community, which is putting a damper on all that irrational exuberance of a few years ago. 

Almost no one is now giddily saying, “Everyone should write a book!”

(By the way, I have a lot of respect for Joanna Penn, too. She has great insights on book distribution and marketing. But she was wrong about the basic economics of publishing.)

The endgame: balance

There will probably always be more books than the market can–or will want to–absorb. That’s the nature of the arts. But I would wager that as the irrational exuberance of indie publishing continues to wane, the imbalance will become less extreme than it currently is.

That will lead to a fall in Amazon Marketing Services PPC prices–at least for books. 

In the meantime, though, Amazon is going to make a mint off many authors who will ultimately lose money on the AMS platform. These authors will not necessarily pull their books off Amazon, but they will cease to aggressively market them. They will also write fewer books in the future.

Many will resign themselves to day jobs–in perpetuity. 

They will stop saying things like, “Everyone should write a book.”

This will all happen not because Amazon is evil…but because Amazon knows how to make money from supply-and-demand. 

Work smarter with a standing desk! Order from Amazon or directly from StandDesk!

Storewide Discount Coupon Code:15%OFF

“A bunch of communists”

Lindsay Graham has stirred the outrage of the mainstream media, by calling Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and AOC “a bunch of communists”.

“Well, we all know that (New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country,” Graham said during an appearance on “Fox and Friends.” “They’re calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, ‘concentration camp guards.’ They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-America.”

Asked by co-host Steve Doocy if he thinks Trump “went too far” with his comments, Graham, who represents South Carolina, said the President should “aim higher” than the personalities of the congresswomen and instead talk about their policies. 

“You don’t need to — they are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies,” he said.

CNN

Lindsay Graham is right on multiple counts. Donald Trump somewhat foolishly played into the media’s hands with his tweets over the weekend. (Always remember that the media is looking for any chance to hurl the R-word.)

As for them being “a bunch of communists”: AOC, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar all either a.) are card-carrying members of Marxist groups, or b.) have publicly advocated Marxism.

That makes them “a bunch of communists”–even if some people don’t like to hear it.

Today (7/15/19) is Prime Day at Amazon…Click the banner below for major savings!

Coming-of-age horror from the 1980s

How about  a coming-of-age horror tale set in 1980?

How about you get to read it for FREE? (Or at least try it for FREE.)

I’m serializing my novel 12 Hours of Halloween here on Edward Trimnell Books, where you can read it for FREE.

You can also check out the book on Amazon (available in multiple formats).

And while you’re on Amazon, don’t forget to check out Prime Day (7/15~16) deals on Electronics!

Clean floors–the easy way

If you are looking for a way to get clean floors (without the fuss of a mop or conventional vacuum cleaner), then you’ve got get a robotic vacuum cleaner.

Robotic vacuum cleaners are available on Amazon. 

Today is a great day to pick one out, too, because today is Prime Day. Hoo-rah!