Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Is the #amazonfail really over?

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2010 at 10:14 am

So Amazon has conceded and has removed the despicable book from its site. For that I’m glad. Very glad.

However …

What did it take for this action to occur? A twitter, blogosphere, and facebook uproar. Thousands of one-star, “I hate this!” ratings and just as many comments opposing the soul-destroying, childhood stealing, criminal promoting book. Countless personal emails and phone calls to Amazon. Anderson Cooper.

The problem, here, is that Amazon has no effective filters. No real people with real eyes and real brains who screen the stuff that goes up on their site. Apparently, no one at Amazon was even aware of it. Until the uproar.

Well, I say that’s too late. The last time I checked the site to see if the book was still up, it was ranking #96 on the Kindle bestseller list. Number 96! Shame on Amazon for their lack of safeguards. Shame on Amazon for keeping this book available long enough that it even ranked AT ALL on their bestseller list.

The fact is, anyone can publish anything these days with all the do-it-yourself opportunities out there. The problem is when those offering the services have little or no idea of what’s being published through the tools they’re offering. And what’s worse is when they don’t care. When companies get so big that they have to send you automated boilerplate responses when they should have real people investigating each serious complaint, you know their main concern is the bottom line, not their customers. Amazon proudly displays, “Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company” as a closing for their automated responses. Uh, not when our feedback is received and responded to by a machine. What’s so customer-centric about that? And certainly not when it takes the combined voices of an entire continent, plus media coverage, to make you realize and rectify your careless error. Customer-centric isn’t the term that comes to mind.

You can be sure of this: This wasn’t the first incident. And it won’t be the last.

The bottom line is this people: support your local indies. Use your hard-earned money to support a business that truly does care about their customers. Support a business that cares enough to know exactly what’s on their shelves. Support a business that employs real people with real brains.

 **Check the comment below from Paul Agius … It’s NOT over. We must continue speaking loudly! Take action.

Objectionable??! Try Illegal!

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm

UPDATE: 11 p.m. It looks like Amazon has finally taken the page down. The link is no longer working.

I’m sorry, I just can’t keep silent on this one. But I’m really fuming too much to really say a whole lot other than,

First, click here. (Warning: this is disturbing.)

When I saw that, I immediately sent Amazon an email demanding they remove this title from their site because it is downright despicable and is promoting ILLEGAL behavior.

Well, the kind people at Amazon were speedy with their reply. This is the response I got from Amazon just now: (I’ve copied and pasted directly from the email message they sent me)

“Hello,

As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they  might be seeking. That selection includes some items which many people may find objectionable. Therefore, the items offered on our website represent a wide spectrum of opinions on a variety of topics.

Let me assure you that Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.

Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable. Therefore, we’ll continue to make controversial works available in the United States and everywhere else, except where they’re prohibited by law. We also allow readers, authors, and publishers to express their views freely about these titles and other products we offer on our website. However, Amazon.com doesn’t endorse opinions expressed by individual authors, musical artists, or filmmakers. 

We value all feedback from our customers, and I thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments about this issue. Although we won’t be able to comment further on this topic, we hope you’ll allow us to continue to serve you.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=ABCUTWJ8X3KUQ&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=ABCUTWJ8X3KUQ&k=hn

Best regards,

Pravin M.
Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously Amazon representative?? Objectionable?? You lump this under censorship?? Did you even take the time to check out what I was referring to?

This is the ULTIMATE Amazonfail!

Please, speak loudly and click on the “NO” above to help me tell Amazon that no, they did not solve this problem. That pedophilia is not only objectionable, but illegal and that by leaving this on their site they are supporting and promoting criminal acts. How much more illegal does something have to be before they’ll disallow it on their site??

Please, repost this, re-tweet this, speak loudly, and tell Amazon that this is completely unacceptable.

Just because I love giving stuff away…

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Just a quick reminder about the SMUDGE’S MARK giveaway over at The Novel Emporium.

And as a little something extra – just because I love giving stuff away – for the next few weeks I’ll send you a personalized, signed card that you can attach to the inside cover of your own copy of SMUDGE’S MARK, should you already have one. (It’s already got adhesive strips on it and everything so all you have to do is peel and stick! How convenient!)

This is a little thank you from me to you for buying SMUDGE, since I can’t necessarily thank you all in person. You don’t even have to enter the contest to receive one of these personalized cards. Heck, you don’t even really have to own a copy of SMUDGE to receive a card, although I don’t know why you’d want to stick a personalized SMUDGE card inside a different book… But hey, people have done stranger things :0)

So, for a chance to win a signed, hardcover copy of SMUDGE’S MARK, enter the contest. It ends April 2, 2010. And if you want a personalized, signed card email your address to claudia@smudgesmark.com . (Don’t forget to include the name that you want on the card!)

Spread the word!

Pssst!

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Yeah, you.

There’s a brand new SMUDGE’S MARK giveaway up, over here, at The Novel Emporium!

Torkidlit is Simply the Best!

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

I want to do a little promo for some local talent, today, if that’s okay with you.

I’m a part of a group of Toronto area writers who meet on a monthly basis purely for the enjoyment and encouragement of hanging out together. I really love my writer’s group. Many of them are published and soon-to-be published authors and I’d like to give you the chance to get to know them, too.

On a grand scale, you can check out this link. It leads to our Toronto Middle-Grade and Young Adult Authors Facebook page where you can familiarize yourself with the amazing authors who live right here, in the Toronto area. Some names may already be familiar to you and you’ll be like, “Hey! I didn’t know that author is from Toronto!” And other names may not be familiar to you, but I can assure you it’s worth it to find out who they are and what they’re writing. Toronto’s writing talent runs deep! And we’re just beginning to scratch the surface!

Most of the authors on the Facebook page are fully accessible via Facebook and Twitter and the published authors all have websites as well. On Twitter our hashtag is #torkidlit and you’re welcome to join the conversation!

Another link that is actually still under construction is the Torkidlit website. Debbie Ohi has courageously taken on this enormous task and is doing a fantastic job of it. Here, you will (eventually) be able to read about individual Toronto area authors, their work, and any events they may be involved in. You will also be able to link to author websites via Torkidlit.com as well.

When you’ve got some time, please do check out the links. I know I’m always excited to find a new local author and I love supporting local talent. If you’re looking for your next good read, Torkidlit author books are available through most bookstores and, of course, online. If you want a few recommendations you can visit The Novel Emporium, a brand new book review blog that supports and promotes Toronto area authors, along with many others.

I truly hope you find your next favorite book from right here in Toronto! Chances are, you will! :0)

True Words From the Not-too-distant Past

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

My husband showed me a quote this morning and I want to share it with you.

This is for you, for me, for all those who dare greatly by stepping into the arena.

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Two Posts in One Day, Oh My!

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Yes, I know, I already wrote a post this morning; one about SMUDGE and the giveaways and the lucky winner who was conceived in a patch of four-leaf clovers. (Actually, I discovered there was some truth in that. Well, the four-leaf clover part – but it had to do with an oak log on a driveway, not where she was conceived. At least I don’t think–)

Aaaanyway, I didn’t want to let the entire day to go by without pausing a moment to pay tribute to a man who was very influential to my writing career:

You see, Dr. Seuss is my most beloved author hero. I’ve always adored his books; their silliness, the way they make me laugh (and stare), the way rules are broken to make up brand new words no one’s ever used before, and the way the illustrations magically transform those fantastic words into real, living, breathing, creatures. Dr. Seuss was the one who sparked my love of letters and words.

When I was young, I read his books over and over again, committing them to memory and even tape recording myself reading them. (Yes, tape recording myself – that was the extent of technology back then! What can I say?) A few years ago, I accidentally threw out my only live recording of reading Mr. Brown can Moo… Can You? and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. When I realized what I’d done, I cried. It still makes me so sad to think about it.

So, here’s to you, Dr. Seuss, on your birthday. Your forever fan, Claudia.

Into the Wilds of the World

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 11:03 am

What a great day yesterday was! SMUDGE is now in the wilds of the world.

You know, when SMUDGE was released into Canada it was a bittersweet moment: kind of like seeing your first child off to kindergarten. So proud that you’ve worked so hard to help prepare them to be launched into the real world, yet deep down you wish you could hold onto them for just a little while longer.

This time around, however, the release feels more like seeing an adolescent, who’s been living in their parents’ basement playing video games for the last 10 years, decide they’re going to college. Yes! Finally!!

Whew! Raising a book is hard work! It certainly isn’t a predictable industry nor is it an easy job, but along the way there are rewards and little boosts that help keep you going. And sometimes you just have to give yourself that little boost!

Which is what I did by holding two book giveaways: one on Goodreads and one on this blog/Facebook. I love giving stuff away! On Goodreads, 3 winners were randomly chosen out of 781 entries. And here, because I had such a hard time picking the winners, I did a totally random “shout out a number” draw via Twitter and came up with my winners that way. And wouldn’t you know it, the same person won twice! She won a copy here AND on Goodreads! Out of 781 people! What are the chances of that happening?? She must have been born (or conceived) in a patch of four-leaf clovers!

So, off to the post office I go, books in hand. And just like paying tuition for the kid who’s moving out of the basement, now that the moment has finally arrived, I think I’ll just close my eyes and hand over my bank card.

The Best Visual Ever

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Picture this, if you will:

“…we have one copy of your book. The cover has been eaten by a MaltesePoodle; however, the kids are quickly passing around the only copy we have. Now, the kids are eating the WHOLE BOOK, they are so excited. Their imaginations are at work and their interest is keen.”

Can you picture it? Dog-eaten cover and all? (I love that! Ha!) Now, let me give you a bit of background info to help put it into context for you:

The aforementioned kids are connected to Lifeline Malawi; an independent Canadian humanitarian medical relief and development organization in Malawi, Africa. Lifeline’s mission is to provide medical aid without discrimination to the peoples of developing countries.

THIS is what it’s all about: The kids whose imaginations are sparked, whose interests are keen, and whose days are made a little brighter through the wonder and magic of the written word.

I’m humbled, choked up, and tremendously honored. As I read those words, I can’t help but think this just might be the best review Smudge’s Mark will ever get.

Only One Week Left!

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm

For a chance to win a copy of SMUDGE’S MARK and other great book-related goodies,

Leave a comment telling me how you (or someone you know) are making your mark in your school, community, city, country or world. What are you doing to make a difference? How are you helping the world become a better place?The winning comment will be chosen on March 1, 2010 by 12 midnight EST.

I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re making your MARK!