Journaling Basics - Journal Writing for Beginners

Journaling Basics – Journal Writing for Beginners

Journaling was embraced by Leonardo da Vinci and it kept Bob Dylan’s lyrics insightful. Anne Frank’s journal shared poignant moments in her too-short life. Basho, the famous poet, kept a journal of his travels. Journals can help you release stress, develop forgiveness, embrace your past, adore your future, and explore aspects of your creativity that you never knew existed.

And the entire process is free. Even this ebook is free!

Journaling Basics – Journal Writing for Beginners takes your hand and guides you on a journey of emotional healing and creative blossomings. From deciding what to journal in to investigating the different styles journals, the 160-page book is there every step of the way to offer insight, ideas, and suggestions.

Author Lisa Shea has been journaling for many years and presents the pros and cons of styles of books, styles of writing, and a myriad of other topics. She’s also available on a number of social network systems like Facebook and Twitter to lend a hand if you get stuck.

Together we can take that first step to achieving your dreams!

Clouds of Witness - A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel by Dorothy L Sayers

Amazon Search Result Failures – Not Finding a Book

We all understand that Amazon has billions of books in its system. If you were to search for a particular book title – like “Clouds of Witness” – you could easily get 20 pages of results at 22 books per page. You could expect that your own book “Clouds of Witness” might show up on page 19 of 20, for a variety of reasons.

Your book “Clouds of Witness”, though, should show up SOMEWHERE in those search results for the term “Clouds of Witness”. Your book should not be wholly blocked from showing up as a result.

As you might guess, I have had several of my books wholly blocked from appearing in title / author searches.

For my book “Clouds of Witness” I ran paid Amazon sponsor ads for this book for a month. During that month my book was visible and a top result. The moment I stopped paying for ads, the book vanished from the search results. The book didn’t just drop to a lower ranking. It became completely blocked from showing.

I just spent an hour talking with an Amazon Support Technician about this issue. He said it’s normal for books to show up at the bottom of search results. I had to point out – again – that I would be fine to be item 2000 of 2000. However, Amazon search is broken if an exact matching title does not show up anywhere in the search results.

He next directed me to this Amazon Help page about search results:

On the Amazon Help page it explicitly says:

I can’t find my book on search results. Why?

… 5. Now that you are on Amazon, go to the main search box and type the name of your book and your author name.

6. Are you able to see your book?
If your answer is yes, then search results are working as expected. You can refer to our other resources list to make your book discoverable section.
If your answer is no, you can contact us so we can do additional research and determine how we can help.

So Amazon’s own Help system says explicitly that searching for a book on its title and author name should return your book as one of the results. If it does not, there is a problem.

The sole exception Amazon mentions is if a book has adult content it might be blocked based on a user’s filter setting.

The Amazon Support Tech said that he could find my book if he searched on “clouds of witness wimsey novel” – because the full title of my book is:

Clouds of Witness – A Lord Peter Wimsey Novel

However, something is broken in Amazon search if a person has to use five words from a title to get search results. If you look for the phrase “Clouds of Witness” every single other top search result also has additional words in their title which were not necessary to use in order for those books to be found.

It seems fairly concerning if authors who pay money to Amazon’s sponsored ad program get top results on their own book title but if they stop paying their book is entirely blocked from the search results for their book title.

The Amazon Support Tech finally gave up after an hour and said he’d email me after more research. I have a feeling they are simply going to email me that the search results are only able to guarantee results if a person types in every single word in the title plus every word in the author name. Given that the search results for “Clouds of Witness” currently return a bunch of wholly inappropriate results, like a prison movie video, which has no reference at all to “Clouds of Witness”, I would consider the Amazon search functionality a substantial issue both for authors and for readers.

I will update this when I hear from the support tech.

Amazon Kindle Vella SciFi

Amazon Classics / Out of Copyright Content

Dear group –

It used to be, when you were publishing out-of-copyright content, that you primarily had to contend with other authors also trying to republish the same work. If for example a book by Dorothy L Sayers came out of copyright, and I wanted to publish it, I would try to get my copy live quickly before other authors got their copies live.

Now it turns out all of us are trying to compete with Amazon itself, as a corporation.

Amazon apparently realized that there’s a lot of ‘free money’ available once a book comes out of copyright. Why would they want to give that free money to lowly authors and publishers when they could keep it for themselves?

Amazon has therefore created the “Amazon Classics” line.

Amazon is doing exactly what I have been teaching authors how to do. Amazon scans in a copy of the out-of-copyright book, formats it, and sells it in Kindle and paperback options. But to make it even less fair, Amazon is giving their copies away to Amazon Prime members for FREE. That then gives Amazon’s versions tons of reviews, which then creates more sales, which creates more reviews, and so on. Those Amazon Classics books often then get the #1 spot in search results, which also means the Amazon Classics version gets more visibility.

How is Amazon benefitting from this?

First, by having a library of ‘free books’ available to Amazon Prime members, it lures even more people to signing up for Amazon Prime. That is a steady stream of income for Amazon.

Second, the books which are free to Amazon Prime members are $2.99 for non-Prime members. As these books now earn high rankings and visibility, it makes it likely that all the non-Prime members will shell out the $2.99 for a copy of that book.

Here’s an example. The poetry book “Color” by Countee Cullen came out of copyright. I created a Kindle and paperback version. My Kindle version was the only version available on Amazon.

However, Amazon itself then published a Kindle version of “Color” and listed their version as free for Prime members. So the Amazon Classics version now has top listing and is earning more reviews than mine. As they earn more reviews, they will maintain the top ranking spot, which will get them more reviews, and so on.

There’s no way for me to ‘compete with’ the free price point. I just have to do my best to stay in the number 2 ranking spot, and hopefully lure in the non-prime members who see my Kindle version is cheaper than Amazon’s.

Ask with any questions!

Ballads for Sale - Amy Lowell

Ballads for Sale – Amy Lowell

Hurrah! My latest out-of-copyright book from 1927 is published! I got the ‘top spot’ in Amazon since I got mine live before anyone else!

Amy Lowell was an AMAZING poet, an intelligent outspoken woman, a lesbian, and from Massachusetts. She’s a true inspiration.

Kindle is only 99 cents.

I’d love any feedback on my formatting or if you spot typos!

Authors Essentials Books by Lisa Shea

Out of Copyright Books 2023

Here’s an update on my four out-of-copyright books that I loaded on January 1 2023. This will give you a sense of how the process can go.

The Tall Men – a book of poetry – is still in an “in review” state. So Amazon is still researching that one. There is no other copy on Amazon except first edition hardcovers, so this is a “new entry” for Amazon.

Fine Clothes for the Jew – a book of poetry – was flagged as a problem. This is another “new entry” for Amazon, and those always pose the biggest challenges. I had to send them proof that the book was out of copyright. This included screenshots of the title page with the publication date, links to authoritative articles about the book, etc. They finally put it live but even in its live state it is not able to be bought. I sent a friendly gentle message to their support team asking them to look into it. Always be nice to the support folk. They are overworked. 

To The Lighthouse – a short novel by Virginia Woolf. This one already had lots of versions in Amazon so there wasn’t the problem of being a ‘new entry’. In order to have my version allowed, I made an illustrated version. However, while it go in easily enough, it’s not visible on searches. I will gently prod Amazon about that once I get Fine Clothes for the Jew resolved. With Fine Clothes for the Jew preparing to be the “one and only” version on Amazon (besides the expensive first edition hardcovers) that is my main priority.

Clouds of Witness – murder mystery. This also has several versions already live, so I made an illustrated version. My book shows up on the tenth page of search results even though it’s the cheapest one. I’m going to run a sponsored ad for the book so it shows up higher, to get it some views. Once it gets some purchases and reviews, it should naturally start showing up higher, and I can then remove the ad payment.

I have three more books that I want to work on. These books exist NOWHERE in text form on the web, meaning my copies will be “even more valuable” than some of these other ones. Once copies of these books physically arrive at my house, I can take photos of their pages, use OCR software to turn that into an editable Word document, and then format and publish my own copies of them. That takes a bit of work, but if I end up having the only copy on the entire Amazon system of these books, it becomes worth it.

Ask with any questions about this process or about any of the books I’ve been revising these past few weeks!

Here’s my full book on how to work with out of copyright content –

Chaos in Lisa Shea Publishing

ChatGPT for Authors

OK do you guys remember when I tried the AIDungeon program which interactively constructs a story with you? I told AIDungeon I was a ranger elf. It told me the ranger was tracking a magical beast and that the ranger saw a deer in a clearing of a forest. I told it I wanted to sing a song to the deer. It said the ranger fired an arrow at the deer and killed it, and now the ranger was sad.

I decided never to use AIDungeon ever again :).

So now!!

I tried ChatGPT!! It is here:

I submitted this prompt to ChatGPT:

“write a story of an elf ranger finding a beautiful magical deer in a forest glade”.

This story is what it created.

This is a wonderful way to get prompts and ideas for your projects!

* * *

Once upon a time, in a magical forest that stretched on for miles and miles, there lived an elf ranger by the name of Elara. Elara was a skilled tracker and hunter, with keen eyes and a gentle touch that allowed her to move through the forest without disturbing a single leaf.

One day, while out on patrol, Elara came across a beautiful glade nestled deep in the heart of the forest. As she stepped into the clearing, she was immediately struck by the serene beauty that surrounded her. The sun was just beginning to rise, casting a warm golden glow over the glade and illuminating the dew-covered grass.

As Elara stood there, taking in the peaceful atmosphere of the glade, she noticed movement in the corner of her eye. She turned to see a magnificent deer with shimmering golden antlers and a coat of pure white fur. The deer seemed to glow with an otherworldly radiance, and Elara could sense that there was something special about this creature.

Elara approached the deer cautiously, not wanting to startle it. As she drew closer, she saw that the deer had a small, delicate fawn by its side. The fawn looked up at Elara with wide, curious eyes, and Elara’s heart melted at the sight.

As Elara reached out to pet the fawn, the deer spoke to her in a soft, musical voice. “Thank you for not harming us,” it said. “We are magical creatures, and we are not meant to be hunted.”

Elara was shocked to hear the deer speak, but she quickly recovered and assured the deer that she meant no harm. “I am an elf ranger, and it is my duty to protect the forest and all of its inhabitants,” she said.

The deer seemed to sense Elara’s sincerity, and it nodded its head in understanding. “You are a kind and noble being,” it said. “And you have proven yourself worthy of our trust. We will be forever grateful for your protection.”

From that day on, Elara and the magical deer became the closest of friends. They spent countless hours together in the glade, exploring the forest and learning from one another. And Elara knew that she would always treasure the memory of the day that she met the beautiful magical deer in the forest glade.

* * *

I’m quite impressed with what ChatGPT wrote. I would never use it to WRITE content for me, but it is a great tool to come up with ideas and suggestions if you’ve hit writer’s block.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about ChatGPT!

Chaos in Lisa Shea Publishing

Amazon Again Links Sex Book to My Author Page

For the second time in just four months, Amazon has caused a complete stranger’s book containing stepdaughter-with-stepfather sex smut to be shown on my Lisa Shea Amazon Author Central Page. This stranger decided to write their erotica under the pen name of “Lisa Shea”. Both times, completely without my permission, Amazon connected this smut book with my teen-friendly 500-plus-books account on Amazon.

The last time this happened, in March 2022, Amazon even sent a DIRECT EMAIL to all of my followers telling them I had just written a BDSM sex book. When I asked Amazon to send a retraction, Amazon refused.


Amazon did not promote my “Amazon made a mistake” book for me. So Amazon was fine promoting a sex book I **didn’t even write** to my fans, but they would not promote a book which clarified the situation to my fans.

Amazon swore this situation would never happen again.

Well, here we are, July 18 2022, and it has happed again. The fake author used nearly the exact same name for their new sex smut book about a teen stepdaughter lusting after her stepfather while her mother goes out drinking all night. And this book says it is SUITABLE FOR SIXTH GRADERS. What?? How did this smut even get through the normal Amazon KDP quality checks with this age range listed, never mind get loaded live with my name on it?

I of course immediately contacted Amazon to lodge a complaint about this situation.

At this point Amazon has removed the photo of my face from the book and the link to my Author Central page. But the book is still live and looks, to all my readers, as if “Lisa Shea” has written it. And it still says it is good for 6th graders. An erotic book about stepfather-stepdaughter sex!!

It is stunning to me that this happened once, but for it to happen twice in four months is just beyond belief. Something is viscerally wrong with the Amazon Author Central system and it needs to be fixed. Only books I personally approve should ever be appearing on my Author Central page and mailed out to my fan base.

Some people have said I should contact a lawyer, but you can probably imagine that Amazon is ENORMOUS and has an entire team of lawyers on call. The chance of any smaller author like me, even with my 500+ books, making any headway against Amazon is slim to none.

Lisa Shea Did Not Write a Porn Book

Porn Book NOT by Me Lisa Shea Gone

Woo hoo! Remember how there was a 2022 porn book by an author who deliberately chose the pen name of “Lisa Shea” even though I have 500+ books on Amazon which are sweetly gentle for teens? And then Amazon sent a mailing out to all my teen fans telling them I’d just published a porn book? Well, that porn book is now mysteriously missing! It doesn’t show up on any search results, and going to the direct link for it generates a “page not found” error.

The pen-name-Lisa-Shea porn book is no longer on Amazon!

Did the porn author decide to change their author pen name to something other than Lisa Shea due to the backlash? Did they realize that my fans were going to give them one-star reviews for using such a questionable method of getting ‘free marketing’ for their new porn project?

Inquiring minds want to know.

I know the removal of a porn book claiming to be by “Lisa Shea” is good for my reputation!!

It shows sometimes perseverance pays off

I’ll note that there are still two hard-core porn books back from 2018 on Amazon, also claiming to be by “Lisa Shea”, but at least Amazon didn’t mail all my fans about those books and claim that I the teen-friendly Lisa Shea wrote those.

One step at a time …

Amazon Made a Mistake - I Did NOT Write A Porn Erotic Book!

Amazon Made a Mistake – I Did NOT Write A Porn Erotic Book!

Remember how Amazon mailed every one of my fans by mistake, telling them “Lisa Shea just published a hard core erotic porn book”?

Amazon still refuses to contact those fans with a retraction.

So my only option seems to be to publish this book and hope Amazon sends the notice of it out to everybody promptly.

Thoughts? Suggestions?