Friday, August 17, 2012

Mauled by an Obese Catwoman

I try not to take shots at people very often. Well that's a lie... I take shots at people all the time for being stupid, lazy, hypocritical, etc. I don't usually feel good about it though. My target today seems to deserve it. Why am I annoyed right now? I got my first two one star reviews on Amazon on a couple of my e-books. I would be fine with that if they included constructive criticism. They didn't. Upon further research... I found out that this lady (who considers herself a reviewer of history) didn't even read anything I wrote.

This lady left a one star review on both "The Mormon Theocracy" and "Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings." Neither of her reviews show an "Amazon Verified Purchase" below them so the most she could have read was the sample. From what she criticizes, I doubt she read anymore than the page count and description. Here are her reviews of my history articles, which she hasn't read.

The Mormon Theocracy: Free

Review: Have you noticed a lack of concern on the part of readers? Perhaps that is because we don't think you have finished your research. You aren't ready to write. Try harder. And when you take 5 of your 'articles' and put them together, that doesn't do it either. While I think that your topics sound interesting, I would prefer to find someone else with the initiative to research and share that information with me. Your's is more a rush to publish than a concerted effort to share your thoughts with the reading public. Again I say "try harder".

Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings: $1.49

Review: I can't imagine how the writer can call himself an author when he hasn't bothered to research the topic enough to write more than a handful of pages. This, sir, does not make you an author! I believe that you have the ability to write, but not the initiative to adequately research your chosen topic and say enough to inlist a reading public. Try harder.

I've decided I won't be responding on Amazon because people have a right to say whatever they want about whatever they want... even when they don't know what they're talking about. My articles stand on their own. Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings gets a few sales every month and The Mormon Theocracy has been downloaded over 130 times. That doesn't mean that I won't take this opportunity to destroy this reviewer on my blog... it's been one of those days and this really annoyed me beyond my ability to not retaliate somewhere in some form. So here are some problems I have with my reviewer, the cat lady:

1. My reviewer is an obese cat lady.

I wouldn't poke fun at her for this except for the fact that she makes it obvious and it really does take away from her ability to critique me. Here are a few more of her reviews on Amazon:

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is she wearing?, August 19, 2011
I have not bought this item. I will not buy this item. I wear plus sizes and this model clearly shows that a plus sized woman should NOT put this garment on her bod

5.0 out of 5 stars At last...a pill I can swallow., June 2, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
All the other joint pills are HUGE and I had so much trouble getting them down...and I had to do it twice! The Move Free Ultra is a small pill and I only have to take one. I have already reordered.

2.0 out of 5 stars They hurt., June 2, 2012
This review is from: David Tate Women's Yknot (Apparel)
The shoes are cute, but the thin straps and knots hurt as soon as I put them on. I knew I wouldn't be able to walk a block in them. I returned them.

5.0 out of 5 stars They WORK!, July 21, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought a couple of pair for a leaky cat of ours. We had tried diapers and at first he refused to walk in them. When he finally got over that fear, he'd take off running and in 10 minutes he'd stroll by "naked". Just couldn't keep the diapers on him no matter how tight we taped them. But Piddle Pants stay on, are less bulky, and do a good job. The pads are thin but hold a lot of urine. Great product.

5.0 out of 5 stars Cat Cocaine!, July 21, 2010
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Catnip Pellets 2 Oz (Misc.)
Pellets are not easy to find, and I hate the loose-leaf catnip. Too messy. This stuff is so good that my cats played with the box and the packing for hours. I had to hide the pellet packs where they couldn't get to them. I think they would have eaten it! Hurry and restock so I can keep this stuff in the house.

See what I mean? Her reviewer profile also has a picture of four cats with the heading "My Babies" underneath. How can you take a woman like that seriously on an intellectual topic other than... well I won't say anymore on this. I honestly just found this part funny. My first hater is an obese cat lady.

2. My reviewer is a hypocrite

While this lady enjoys lashing out at authors for poor spelling and bad grammar... she can't even write a review without screwing up herself. While not all of her reviews had mistakes, many of them did. Both of the reviews she wrote on my articles had mistakes.

The Mormon Theocracy
-"Your's" is not possessive in the way you want it to be. Yours should never have an apostrophe (look it up). The sentence you were trying to write would read a lot better like this: "Your works are more of a rush to publish than a concerted effort to share your thoughts with the reading public."

Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings
-It's spelled "enlist" not "inlist"

Using big words doesn't make up for the fact that you make mistakes on a consistent basis. Don't get me wrong here, I know I make mistakes and some of my works have typos. I don't chastise others for poor spelling and bad grammar, though.

3. My reviewer didn't read any of my articles

She doesn't feel the need to have that much information to give something a 1 star review. Going through her reviews, she gives out many 1 and 2 star reviews and then admits in her review that she never read the book. It extends further than that. In the review above where she admits that she is a plus size, she also admits that she hasn't bought the product she's reviewing and that she never would. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but every opinion is not an informed one. None of her opinions seem to approach the "informed" category unless we're talking about cat diapers and how much urine they can hold.

4. My reviewer knows nothing about history or history articles

History articles tend to narrow in on a specific topic and prove a thesis. I would say the following is a good list of what a solid history article contains:

-A clear, concise thesis statement that is as specific as you can make it
-Organizational structure that follows logically when proving the thesis
-Ample usage of primary and secondary sources
-A conclusion that presents something new to the field or helps you think about a topic in a new way

Now if an article has those five things, it can be an interesting, solid article because it makes for a good argument. My article on Constantine is a great example if you haven't read it but I did broaden the thesis to add in some interesting stuff that wasn't really relevant to what I was trying to prove. Gotta keep my Amazon readers awake :-P To help those of you out who don't write or read much history:

Historiography: refers either to the study of the methodology and development of "history" (as a discipline), or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic. (taken from To make it simpler, a historiography traces what scholars have said on a certain topic in the past. A historiography will make several cases from past scholars (some of which have been proven wrong) that eventually lead up to the thesis you wrote and the support you give to your thesis. It's almost like tracing the evolution of the topic.

Primary and Seconday sources: Primary sources are sources from the era of the topic you are discussing. For example, in my article, Caribbean Piracy: Pirates and Privateers, the journals of John Esquemeling are a primary source because they were written when he acted as a barber/surgeon and a pirate on board with Captain Morgan. Secondary sources are sources written after the time of the subject. Anything I write about history would be a secondary source unless I write about current events that I'm involved in or have witnessed in my lifetime. Scholars writing today using primary sources would be considered secondary sources.

So while my article The Mormon Theocracy doesn't contain a historiography (and I couldn't include one when my professor gave us a five page limit), it does contain all the other elements. Also, neither Prayer: Archangels and Intercessory Beings or The Mormon Theocracy claim to be an exhaustive book on the topic. Let's be honest, would any of you want to read a 400 page non-fiction book on a topic like Caribbean piracy? If you do, I envy the amount of time you have available. Most people wouldn't... is what I'm guessing. It doesn't mean you don't have an interest in the topic which is why I provide much shorter articles that can familiarize you with the topic, give you some key points, and give you my perspective.

I wanted to add in here as well that most of the online databases that history majors use for secondary sources (JSTOR, SSCI, etc) all contain published journal articles that average between five and twenty pages. Trust me, I've read through hundreds of them. Sometimes I would read partway into one, find it wasn't relevant to my topic, and move on to more. Most of them are about that length. When I'm trying to find good secondary sources, I have to choose the information that is most relevant to my topic and most helpful in proving my thesis. If I use a 400 page secondary source, I will never end up using all of it.


While I respect everyone's right to their own opinion, I am very much against how many people in today's society seem to hero worship themselves. Not everything that pops into your head is gold, or even silver or bronze. I'll be the first to admit that I'm wrong sometimes. I'm wrong on occasion even when I'm pretty sure I'm right. There are too many people that can't admit that to themselves or others. You may be right a lot of the time. You are not right 100% of the time. If your intent is to break someone down and you know nothing about the subject... you're wrong before you even say anything. When it comes to history articles I research and write, my opinion is fairly informed. I would assume that most readers are not yet informed but they would like to be and that's why they purchase my articles.

Months of research went in to most of my articles. Like I said earlier, I constantly run into sources that I initially think will be helpful and then I find out that they aren't. When writing Constantine, I made major changes to my thesis and the organizational structure of my paper four times. So whether you know something on the subject or not, you shouldn't ignorantly dismiss an informed opinion. You can disagree with me all you want but reading my description, looking at my page count, and then calling me uninformed just shows how ignorant you are. Thank you, obese cat lady, for giving me a reason to lash out against the ignorant. I also really hope that the next time I'm stalked by a Catwoman... that it's Anne Hathaway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mission Accomplished: Amazon Caves

We did it. The Mormon Theocracy is free on Amazon now. They broke their own rule so that Randy and his friends would leave them alone. I feel kind of like a bully right now. A bully who beat up a chubby kid who had an infinite supply of chocolate bars. That's what this feels like. Anyways... thanks. I really appreciate it that a few of you went and harassed Amazon with me every few hours. I know that's why they caved... because I've been harassing them by myself for a long time with no result. So thanks everyone.

The Mormon Theocracy went free some time in the afternoon yesterday. It immediately hit #1 in its sub-category and its on several Free Top 100 lists. It has had over 100 downloads so far. I'm pretty happy about the way this all turned out.

The main point of this whole thing was to see if I had an option available to me. Having short stories and articles as permanent freebies definitely changes marketing strategy. I have plans to write a free Jehovah and Hades short so its nice to know that I can. All that being said, feel free to grab The Mormon Theocracy for free here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Help me punch Amazon in the face

I've been pretty busy with work, picking up extra jobs and problematic jobs that other Geek Squad agents needed help with. It hasn't left me a ton of time to write. Since I last posted, I have removed several titles from being Amazon exclusive and I've had a few sales on Barnes and Noble and a lot of giveaways (mostly of samples) on Smashwords. Smashwords is a cool place to get ebooks because they convert it to all formats and you can download works directly from on to a Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. (supports most major formats including ePub, mobi, pdf, rtf, HTML, etc). I've also raised most of my prices since I last posted and while sales have declined somewhat, I'm still selling and I'm actually making more money as an author (July was my most profitable month so far).

The main reason I'm posting this today is that I need a favor. Amazon stopped price matching free books for most authors a while back and I'm trying to fight them on this. I've heard that some persistent authors have recently annoyed Amazon into making a few of their titles permanently free. I need some help getting one of my history articles to go free (just to prove that if I annoy them enough, it's a possibility). I plan on writing a Jehovah and Hades short eventually that I would also like to make a permanent freebie. I'll walk you through how to help me make my history article, The Mormon Theocracy, free.

Step One: Here's the link on Amazon: Go there.

Step Two: There's a link that says: Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price? Click on "tell us about a lower price." Here's an image that shows you exactly what I'm talking about:

Step Three: When it asks "Where did you see a lower price?" Click on the "Website (Online)" option.

Step Four: Enter the following information:

Price ($): 0.00
Shipping cost ($): 0.00

Step Five: Click on Submit Feedback.

Step Six: You're awesome. Thanks for helping me annoy Amazon to death until they do what I want. :-P

For those of you who keep asking, yes... I'm working on a new Jehovah and Hades book but it has been put on hold for now because I started writing a comparative study of the Bible and the Qur'an that I would like to get out first. Please be patient... I'm only human. I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who has purchased anything from me. Knowing that what I write is being read is great, but sales and a little extra income are even better. You're always free to contact me about my writing at Thanks again for helping me annoy Amazon.