Saturday, December 19, 2015

Some gifts should not be swapped

I just finished listening to a fabulous book on Audible. While Amazon offers you a free book to get you started, after that they are pricey, except Amazon puts books on sale, and authors might offer you a free book, but if you accept said free book, you should never switch it for another book and you should write a review.

"Is it possible switch it out for another book?" you ask in anticipation of getting all the best sellers for free. Per my test, it is. 

Kim Headlee, a very fine historical author, gave me a promotional code so I could claim her short novella The Color of Vengeance, which it said I could read in about 40 minutes.

When I entered the promotional number for The Color of Vengeance, it gave me a 1 book credit. Hmmmmm, the credit looks generic. What if I wanted to use my 1 book credit for a different book. So I got Kim's permission to try. (She didn't think it would work.) But it did work. I was able to buy one of her major works with my free book credit.

Now here is why that is soooo wrong. Kim's major work was over 17 hours of hard work. By using her promo for her novella (presently on sale for $1.97) to buy a major work (presently on sale for $12.47) cheats the author, and frankly I think Amazon should reconsider their policy or at least have exchange rates. For example perhaps a short novella should only be worth .3 of a book credit if it doesn't match the book given.

Worse yet for Kim, I could have bought any book in the Audible library with my reward credit, even a book that normally costs $40 that belonged to a best-selling author.

I, of course, spent my credit on her substantial book, Dawnflight so I could review it. And then I bought her novella so I could review it too. 

As an author, I'm not thrilled that after all the costly hard work that goes into making an audiobook, someone can take my gift and exchange it for a different book and I won't even know, other than I won't get a cent in royalties and they won't leave a review, given they didn't even read my book. 

Truth is Amazon  doesn't really care who makes them money. So stealing from poor authors to enrich rich best-sellers is okay by them. 

However, I'm telling you that morally it is not okay! If you receive a book credit from an author, you should buy one of their books. Did James Patterson give you that book credit? No, he did not!  So if a poor author is nice enough to give you a promotional code that gives you a book, then you should, at least, spend it on one of their books and write a review.

This might sound like I'm a bit personally involved and I'm harboring anger based on my own experiences. Perhaps, you think, ah, Liza has passed out a ton of audio books promotional codes that have gone to other authors.

Nope. I don't have any audio books. 

While I see the value for best sellers, I'm still not seeing the value for me. However, if you would like to make one of my books a bestseller, I will absolutely make an audio for it. I prefer to lead with the chicken. Eggs are too fragile and often crack. 

(Think about it, if it still doesn't make sense after an hour, take an aspirin and continue on with your life.)

Enough on the etiquettes of audio books. Let's discuss Amazon's Audibles listening features.

The pause  books pause    are pause   created pause   for pause   really pause  slow pause  listeners  pause.

If I listened to an audible book set at its 'normal' speed while driving, I would fall into a coma and oddly my car still can't drive itself. (They need to fast-track the concept of self-driving cars.)

 So I searched the internet to see if there was a way to speed up Audible. My Robot, David, can read incredibly fast, but he can't read an Audible book and he always mispronounces 'live' and 'read'. Technically he should have a 50% chance of getting it right, but he always gets it wrong.

Here's what my google found: if you have an ipod, you have voice speed control, but no, otherwise. But all the entries were years old. So I returned to Audible and searched about. 

In the process I activated Dawnflight. The mellifluous female voice had an accent (yes, female voices can be mellifluous): 

She is Scottish I think. That added a flair to the speech and pulled me back to long ago, but she spoke much too slowly. 

So I shut it down and tried the free book I got for joining Audible: The Martian.

Damn it, it was too slow, as well. Annoyed, I returned to the book cover/pop up on my PC screen (I chose to listen to it from my PC). There are lots of options.

 There among the little odd shapes was a number. To my utter surprise, it's the speedometer! I moved The Martian up to 1.45. For Dawnflight that was too fast to comprehend the Scottish accent, so I moved it to 1.30. 

Problem solved, Liza is happy! 
Still poor audio authors shouldn't be happy. 

Audio books are far most costly to make than an ebook. And for starving authors to have their promotional gifts given to best-sellers that earn far more than they do is just wrong.

So when you receive an audio book from an author, please don't swap it out. However, if you receive a book from a non-author, say your uncle who hasn't a clue what type of books you like to listen to, then swap it for whatever you want. No moral quandries there.

Go forth and be happy! 

and I wish you many gift audio books for Christmas.

Many thanks to Kim Headlee for sending me a promotional code for her small book that caused me to write this blog.

If you love the time of King Author, you will adore her books. Here are the books that have been made into audiobooks thus far:

Dawnflight: (clicks through to the Amazon product page in/nearest to the visitor's country); on Audible.

The Color of Vengeance:

The other books I've listened to are
Bait by Annie Nicholas (My favorite vampire story ever!)
The Martian by Andy Weir (Smart ass Sci-Fi)

All were fabulous once I sped up the speed. However, be warned, when you speed up the dialog there is small popping between sentences. If your volume is high enough to hear it, then try turning the volume down a bit. That makes it less distracting to me.

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