Amazon manages to make money by offering books for free. How do they do that? One way is to include sponsored ads on their book pages, The ads are specifically targeted to the subject matter of the book. Clever of them! But every once in a while . . . .
Usually I don't object to finding extraneous material on my book pages. But this morning I checked on The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese and found some disturbing ads. One came from a company who wanted to offer mouse-proofing to keep mice out of your house. No, I thought. I want my mouse to get INTO your house. Another guaranteed that they would kill your mice. How could they?
All right, I understand that pairing ads with appropriate book titles is a huge job -- one that is best handled by a mega-computer with a fancy algorithm. And machines make mistakes. I just hope no one gets the wrong impression of my book.
Take a look at that sweet little mouse on the book cover. Can you resist those huge eyes? Sure, he's gnawing on a piece of cheese, but he didn't steal it from your pantry. The cheese is his reward for learning all the tricks of self-publishing. He's a good little mouse who does his research, checks his spelling, keeps careful tax records, and markets his books tastefully. His antics decorate the pages of my book and make the reader smile.
On second thought, I suppose I ought to be grateful for the ads. After all, they wouldn't be there if readers were not frequenting the page. During this interlude when Amazon offers my book for free, downloaded copies of the book fly all across the country. The word spreads, and a clever little mouse does his best to charm browsers into becoming readers.
So thank you, Amazon, and an even bigger thank you to Second Mouse, whose floppy ears and buck teeth make learning important rules a little bit easier.
Don't worry, little fellow. Reviews from readers tell me they like you. We'll protect you, even from the cat.
As for the exterminators, they can can go off and hunt down termites or cockroaches (unless e.e. cummings comes after them!)