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.
Many people run into issues when trying to connect to a Zoom conference call. Here are some ways to fix that problem.
Launching the Zoom Link
To participate in a Zoom call, you should be given a full URL link to click on, to get you into the right meeting room. When you click on that link, you’ll be taken to a page which looks something like this (depending on your browser and device)
First, approve the cookies at the bottom by just closing the lower window, by clicking the little X in the top right of that ‘cookies’ windows. Zoom needs cookies to work properly.
Second, you want Zoom to use its app to run. So in the top center, click the box to “always allow” the app. Then click on “Open”.
Now the meeting should try to start. If the host hasn’t begun the meeting yet, you could get this waiting message:
If you get this message it does NOT MEAN YOU LOGIN. That login is only for the host who runs the meeting. It means you just wait. You have to wait for the host to start the meeting up.
If the meeting is in fact running, you could see a message like this:
That message means you are in the ‘waiting room’. The host is running the meeting and needs to click the button to let you in. If you get stuck in a waiting room for a while, maybe try texting or contacting the host in some way to let them know you’re waiting there. They might not have seen the alert that you are waiting.
Once the host lets you into the meeting, you should be able to use the Zoom options to mute and unmute yourself, show or hide your video, and other standard options explained in the Zoom how-to documentation.
What If Zoom Won’t Run?
If Zoom won’t run at all, it might be time to look at your computer. For Windows users, Zoom is supported on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11. It’s a good idea to make sure your copy of Windows is fully updated. On Windows systems, the browsers supported include Edge 12+, Firefox 27+, and Chrome 30+. They recommend a dual-core 2GHz machine with 4Gb of RAM. Here are the full details:
Reboot. Often a reboot shakes loose random issues.
In your web browser, clear your cache and cookies. For example, in the Chrome browser, click on the vertical “dot-dot-dot” in the top right of the browser window. Choose ‘settings’. In settings, choose ‘security and privacy’. Go into the ‘clear browsing data’ area. Clear your browsing history, cookies, and cached images. Note this means your browser will forget EVERYTHING about where you’ve been and will make you re-log-in to sites. Still, if Zoom is not working at all, this may help.
Click ‘clear data’, then close everything and reboot for good measure. Start your computer up fresh and see if that helped.
I only saw this by accident and wondered why my book had the wrong cover on it. Then I realized that a thief had loaded this copy into Amazon on January 24th and used my name – meaning it linked to my photo and other books, too!
It even linked to my existing reviews!!
How could Amazon even allow this to happen, since my book with the exact same title and content has been in their system since January 2016???
February is the month of love and joy. Here are a few writing contests to enter in February 2022!
50 Word Stories
This is a fun one. It happens every month. Submit your 50-word story sometime between the 1st and 15th of that month. You cannot submit during the second half of a month. Free to enter and you can win money! Make sure to read their instructions about how to count words.
101 Word Stories
Again, the aim is to nail a specific word limit. You can submit once a month – at any point during that month. You get paid cash if you win, and there’s no entry fee.
They have a monthly contest for 1500-word-max short stories, a weekly flash fiction contest with 300-word-max. It’s free to enter. If you choose to get a membership for $25/yr, you become eligible to win Amazon gift cards. I’d recommend entering for a while just for the fun of entering. If you find you win a few times, it might be worth it to sign up as a member.
This is a fun one. Every month they give you an intriguing image / artwork. You need to write a short story / flash fiction inspired by that art, under 1,000 words. The deadline is the 14th of each month. You can win a cash prize. On the website, scroll down a little and look on the right-hand side. You’ll see the entry info for the “Flash Fiction” challenge there.
They also have an astrology-themed contest. Officially the deadline was Jan 1st but they are still actively asking for submissions on Twitter. I have confirmed with them that they DO need more submissions, so send them in! You have a high chance of being accepted!
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Counting Your Blessings. Genre: True stories and poems. “Please share your stories about handling challenges in your life, finding the silver linings, and counting your blessings, whether the challenges you are facing are COVID-19 related or other kinds. Stories can be serious or funny, but definitely should be inspirational and heartwarming. Attitude adjustments, finding contentment and gratitude, a new way of handling your daily life, and other great ideas to inspire readers to find their own paths to happiness and to remember to count their blessings every day are what we are looking for.” Payment: $200. Deadline: January 15, 2022.
For the past few years, every January 1st has been a celebration for authors, musicians, and artists. A new swath of stories and music has become copyright-free, as the copyright expires. Until now, this event hasn’t been widely known about and I was able to get a bunch of the books republished quickly on Amazon before anybody else did. Nowadays, though, the media really plays up the event. So when I went to publish my book of Dorothy Parker’s poetry, just 5 days into its “release”, there were already 3 other copies of it online that had been published on January 1st :). So it goes to show, you have to be quick now to grab your chance.
First, the basics. Items come out of copyright on a yearly basis, not as of the actual month and day of publication. Maybe it’s too tricky to figure out more granular detail. So on January 1 2022, anything published in 1926 or before is now free game for use. Here’s the lists, down at the bottom under “United States”.
So Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Dorothy Parker’s Enough Rope, and more.
So it’s not that you can publish Winnie-the-Pooh and claim YOU wrote it. That would be wrong :). However, you could write your own story set in the Pooh world, using Pooh characters, and that is fine. You have the right to use that environment. Also, you could simply republish Milne’s book as-is, listing him (properly) as the author. In essence you’d be like Penguin or Random House or all those other companies that publish old books. You take the book, you make a cover, and you publish it.
You can see where I did that with e. e. cumming’s book Tulips and Chimneys:
I also did it with Pablo Neruda’s Crepusculario –
So in those two cases I simply republished an existing book to get sales with it. In the end area of the book I promote my own books, so it’s free advertising for me.
I’ve also written ‘fresh versions’ of some out-of-copyright stories, such as my version of Pride & Prejudice –
It’s important to pay attention to precisely WHAT has come out of copyright. For example with Winnie-the-Pooh, that first book has Pooh but it DOES NOT HAVE TIGGER. So Tigger as a character is still under copyright as he was introduced in a later year.
If you’re releasing your own version of the story, like my twist on Pride & Prejudice, the only reason that you’d want to get it out “quickly” is because other people probably are going to be posting their own versions, and you want to be ahead of that flood. If you post your take on Pooh when there are 800 other Pooh-versions already out there, it will be hard to be found.
If you are releasing a REPUBLISH of the exact story, like in my Crepusculario situation, you want to get your Kindle version in FIRST. The reason is that Amazon doesn’t want 800 copies of the exact same book in their Kindle library. It would lead to confusion and chaos. So whoever gets their Kindle version of a given book loaded first gets “first dibs”. Theirs is the only Kindle version. Nobody else can load a straight-copy-of-the-book Kindle version. However, people are allowed to load annotated versions and illustrated versions. So in that situation you’d either have to annotate the book with notes or add some illustrations to it. Over the years I’ve done both of those things.
It is well worth getting a classic book into Amazon. I still regularly get sales on my public-domain poetry books like Tulips and Chimneys. There are always people interested in reading those classics, and if they find my version, I get the sales with pretty much no effort.
In general I never try to go after the ‘big books’ like Winnie-the-Pooh. I figure there are too many people fighting for that book. I tend to go for the poetry books which are more work to format and less “popular”. I figure those give me the best chance of being the first to publish.
What I ended up doing with the Dorothy Parker poetry book today, once I realized I wasn’t going to grab the “prime spot” with my Kindle version, was to toss in 10 illustrations. Now my book is an illustrated copy and can go up into Amazon. I then set the price to 99 cents to undercut the 3 other copies which are $2.99 and $3.99. That should still get me sales and ‘free money’ for just a few hours of formatting work.
Ask with any questions about how any of this works. The copyright-release cycle creates a great resource for authors, artists, and musicians.