Monthly Archives: April 2014

Feeding the Amazon Addiction

Hi, my name is Kay, and I’m an Amazon one-click addict. And I’m glad to know I’m not alone! If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you are, too. Now, there’s tons of free books available daily, and I couldn’t even begin to list them all. I have a Kindle that’s full to bursting, and I have the Kindle app installed on my phone, tablet, and laptop. Needless to say, reading is a beloved hobby of mine. 

But books aren’t my only passion. I enjoy online shopping. There’s lots of things cheaper online, as I’m sure many of you know. And with my health, I don’t particularly care to be outside my home if I can avoid it, especially as shopping can be draining. (For more on my health, check out a previous blog post:  https://kayglassauthor.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/a-peek-into-pain) Amazon gets costly, however, and I’m always seeking better ways to spend my money… or even better, earn gift cards! So here are some tips I’ve accumulated on earning Amazon gift cards! 

1- MyPoints: One of my favorite websites, MyPoints is a way to earn points by shopping, reading emails, and taking the occasional survey. I have the MyPoints toolbar installed, so if I go to a website to make a purchase and they are a MyPoints site, a reminder pops up so I never miss an opportunity to earn points. Some of their sites include Walmart, Avon, and Julep, but there are hundreds. Want to sign up? https://www.facebook.com/authorkayglass/posts/539519256168171?stream_ref=10

2- mPoints: Same idea as MyPoints, but mPoints are mobile apps. Again, these are apps I use on my cell phone as well as my tablet. There are a bunch of mPoints apps being added all the time. The quickest way to find them? Go to your store for app downloads and type mPoints into the search bar. Some of my favorites are Nexercise (a motion-tracking app that helps with fitness), Office Zombie, MovieFone, Scramble With Friends, and the Weather Channel app. There are many others available, and there should be something that meets your needs. You can earn up to 1000 points a day, which is easy if you have enough apps that you play when the mood strikes. 25,000 points earns a $10 Amazon gift card! 

3- Crowdtap: Crowdtap is a website where you answer survey questions to be entered in sweepstakes to win gift cards. Last month I won $15 in Amazon gift cards, the month before I won $5 for Amazon, $10 for Walmart, and $10 for Sephora, and the month before that? $30 in Amazon gift cards. Just answer a few questions here and there when you find the time, and voila! It’s that easy! If you’ve won anything that month, they’ll send you an email on the 3rd of 4th of the following month. Win for April? Get your gift cards before May 5th. See? Easy! And even better? Sometimes they do sample and share, so you’ll get free products, too! http://www.crowdtap.com 

4- This one is rather unrelated, but it’s a way to earn MyPoints, which again can be redeemed for gift cards. BzzAgent is a site where you answer survey questions and they match you with companies. Those companies will send you free merchandise in exchange for an honest review. Some recent companies I’ve been matched with? Dr. Scholl’s insoles, Quaker Oats Warm & Crunchy Granola, and Starbucks Coffee. To sign up, just go to http://www.bzzagent.com 

 

I hope these sites help you as much as they helped me! And if you have any suggestions or any comments, please feel free to leave them on this post! 

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Amazon: What You Can Do

I’ve seen the petitions flying around Facebook these days about changing Amazon’s policies on book returns. A lot of authors, disappointed with returns, want the return window changed from 7 days to a mere 24-hours. That is something I disagree with, as both an author and a reader. But that’s not the point of this blog post, and frankly, I couldn’t say it better than Lisa McCourt Hollar does here: http://www.lisamccourthollar.com/2014/03/e-book-returns-my-thoughts.html

The point of this blog post is simply to make some suggestions that will benefit readers and authors alike. 

Kindle lending library: Many authors, myself include, allow lending for their books. After all, when I read a good paperback or hardback, I usually lend it to someone I know will enjoy it. I treat my Kindle books the same way. I know not everyone can afford to shell out their money, especially if they’re not sure how they’ll like a certain author. There are even groups you can join for lending. This cuts down treating the Amazon website like a library- buying a book, reading it, and returning it so the buyer isn’t out any money. One huge way to support your favorite authors? Don’t do that! Returns may save you money, but they do hurt your favorite authors. 

Read the information available to you: This can be broken down into several categories… 

1- Reviews: Read the reviews, particularly the long ones. Those reviews generally highlight the reasons the reader liked or disliked what they read. Maybe the book was compelling, but maybe the characters were flat, emotionless. Maybe the book was well-written, but lacked good editing. Know before you buy! 

2- Description: It sounds silly, sure, but there are many people who don’t even bother. If they see a good sale and the cover catches their eye, they’ll download the book… and many return because the book wasn’t what they wanted. Read the description to make sure the product is what you’re seeking! 

3- A lot of books offer the “Look Inside” option. That’s key for me when I download a book. I like to read the free preview so I know if the writing style and story appeal to me. Very seldom do I return a book now. Most of the ones I download but return are ones with little to no reviews and no “Look Inside” option, so I’m downloading ‘blind’ so to speak. 

Write good reviews: Love a book? Hate it? Write the review so future downloaders know what they’re getting into. Amazon will allow you to review with a minimum of 20 words, but that’s not particularly helpful. What information would YOU have wanted to know before downloading? Was the book good? Does it have a lot of typos and wrong word usage? If that’s information that would have been important to you, include it in your review! You’re helping people choosing what book to spend their money on, and you’re helping the author, too. We do pay attention to suggestions, and those reviews tell us what to fix, what books you want more of, whether to continue a series or not… We listen! 

There are so many things you can do to avoid downloading a book you won’t like, and prevent someone else from doing the same. An honest return is acceptable, but Amazon isn’t your public library. I don’t want to see the policy changed, but a lot of authors feel differently. More careful research from a potential buyer can stop the return issues in a way a policy change won’t. Just a little food for thought… 

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