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Reedsy is a British-based author services firm in the self-publishing industry. As well as helping authors find and hire vetted freelance professionals it offers online software tools to help authors convert their manuscript file to e-books.

Discovery is their new program launched “because we saw way too many authors getting frustrated with their marketing campaigns.”

No argument there.

Reedsy describes Discovery as a pre-publication marketing tool to be used to build momentum on the day your book launches.

So how does their new site work for an author? I needed some clarification, so I sent Emmanuel, CEO of Reedsy an email. Below is a transcript of my enquiry and his response.

Dear Emmanuel,

Thank you for contacting me regarding Reedsy Discovery. May I please get some clarification on this new marketing platform for authors? 

As I understand, I submit my book plus $50 for the opportunity to have one of your one hundred reviewers review it. If my book is lucky enough to be selected and receive a high-quality review, it will be promoted on the Discovery Feed where readers can read, comment and up-vote it.

If my book is among the most up-voted that week it will be featured in your weekly newsletter which is sent to thousands of readers in my genre. How many thousands of readers would that be if you don’t mind me asking?

If the reviewers don’t review my book, or if they review it and don’t like it, there’ll be no review. Without this review, it will not be promoted on the Discovery Feed and will be relegated to the Recently Added tab.

However, when my book is launched, the first chapter will still be made available on the Recently Added tab for readers to read, comment and up-vote—if they can find it. 

Would you agree the key to success is for my book to get a high-quality review and then be promoted on the Discover Feed where it will be featured prominently and much more likely to be read, commented upon and up-voted?  

Regardless of whether my book has the potential to be blockbuster if it is not selected it will have to compete with those arbitrarily chosen for a high-quality review and promoted on the Discovery Feed. 

From this disadvantaged position, do you still contend it could receive enough up-votes to be featured on your homepage and emailed directly to readers (the number still to be determined) in my genre?

All things considered, the most likely outcome for my book in my opinion, and indeed for most books submitted to Reedsy Discovery, will be to end up on the Recently Added list with one chapter featured. No review and no direct mail sent to your thousands (exact amount yet to be divulged) of readers in their genre.

And you think that’s worth $50? No, I mean do you really think it’s worth $50?

Sorry, I  forgot the professional landing page – that would make five including my website, D2D, Smashwords, and Amazon. 

Obviously, there’s something I’m missing. Something that will distinguish this venture from other sites that promote bad literature by offering paid reviews and the opportunity for unscrupulous writers using the most imaginative, but still unethical, ways of advancing (up-voting) their books with no regard for quality.

Please tell me I’m wrong.

Rod Raglin

PS When and if you do respond can you please provide an approximate number of thousands of readers in my genre you have access too? Is it two thousand or two hundred thousand? I think you’d agree it could make a difference.

 

RESPONSE FROM REEDSY

 

Hey Rod,

We are not currently disclosing how many readers we precisely have but it’s in the tens of thousands. So far most authors have received a review on Discovery.

Regarding upvotes, I agree it’s advantageous to receive a review. But you can counterbalance that by asking your existing base of readers to upvote you (or at least friends and family.

Note: I had a look at your Amazon page and I’d recommend you work with a professional cover designer before submitting to Discovery — it’ll give you much great chances of receiving a review (yes, people do judge a book by its cover…)

All the best,

Emmanuel, CEO @ reedsy.com

 

MY RESPONSE TO REEDSY’S RESPONSE

Dear Emmanuel, 

Thought you might suggest the friends and family thing. Sorry, but I find it unethical and apparently so does Amazon. I also noticed in your submission form it’s required to indicate whether the author has engaged the services of Reedsy. I guess that’s one way to select who gets a review or not.

Thanks for the advice on the cover, but rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a professionally designed cover so your reviewers might consider reviewing my book, I can spend $9 more than your asking and Readers’ Favourite Book Reviews will review my book (no professional cover required) within two weeks—guaranteed. 

Their review is posted on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, many of their reviewers post reviews to their blogs and social media sites. The review is also indexed by search engines like Google, which recognizes RFBR reviews and formats them with their starred rating, just like Amazon and Goodreads.

They also post the review on a landing page, their app, announce it to 500,000 libraries, bookstores and schools and give you a month of free advertising on their Featured Book Rotator visible to everyone who visits their site.

Unfortunately, like Reedsy Discovery they only publish four and five star reviews which I think is a disservice to readers as well as writers.  However, regardless of the rating. they send you the review and a mini-critique of your book that provides ratings on 5 key areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability.

Regardless of your quasi-ethical practices;  not being transparent with your numbers, encouraging bogus up-voting and the conflict of interest inherent in any review that’s paid for, I think you need to up your game, Emmanuel. 

Rod

 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive.

Marketing my books has that influence on me. I can feel my tolerance fraying as I read the pitch from yet another book marketer, publishing consultant, or whatever they call themselves hoping to sell you their services or programs that offer simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

I shouldn’t be so hard on them. After all, they’re just trying to make a living and being a salesman myself how often have I taken the sale knowing full well the client’s expectations would never be met?

Perhaps it’s because I’d like to believe that hiring an editor, cover designer and all the other professional publishing services available would guarantee me success.

It won’t. It’ll just make me poorer.

So I resent the dozens of emails I get, like this one, suggesting they will, and I feel empathy for those who pay the money only to have their dreams dashed and their wallet emptied.

Is there a solution?

In ten years of experimentation I’m resigned that first I have to get good, then get lucky.

Stay Calm, be Brave and Watch for the Signs

 

Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews https://readersfavorite.com/

Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1859327/reedsy-discovery-another-paid-review-bogus-up-voting-book-marketing-site

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BirdWhisperCoverEbook

Though the pain was bearable, it diminished everything else in my life.

Ignoring the twinges, I decided to lift and twist at the same time. Now nothing over the counter was relieving the pain in my lower back. Of course, it was Saturday late afternoon with no chance of seeing a doctor except at the emergency ward, a place I consider the less of two evils, one being death.

Who did I know that recently had surgery, wisdom teeth removed, a hip replacement – anything that would warrant a prescription for Tylenol 3. Friends, neighbours, relatives; I called them all. Finally, I scored. Ten T-3 ’s would tide me over until I saw my doctor on Monday.

It was a hellish couple of days. Some things you actually have to experience to have empathy. Chronic pain is one of them.

When I finally got in to see my doctor, after standing in his waiting room for an hour and a half (too painful to sit), he wasn’t very sympathetic.

“How did you do this?”

“I don’t really know?”

“Do you exercise?”

“I run at least twice a week?

“How old are you?”
“Sixty-nine.”

“What are you doing running at that age?” He shook his head. “If you want your back to heal stop running.” He wrote me out a prescription for painkillers and muscle relaxants and a referral to a physiotherapist.

I left his office more hurt by his incredulity than by the pain in my lower lumbar.

Running is therapy for me, it takes me out of my head. When you run, it’s not only your legs and lungs that get a workout but all your senses. You have to be aware of the terrain and traffic, sounds and colours. It’s total exertion, and you experience it throughout your body – especially in my back, at least lately. t the time I was working on my third Mattie Saunders novel. If you haven’t met her yet, she’s an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves birds, but not so much people.

Mattie is particularly down on addicts which is not difficult to understand considering her history, but if you want the specifics, you’ll have to read the two previous books.

To have a character address a particular issue in my fiction I undertake a lot of research. Discovering the cause of the opioid epidemic killing hundreds in Vancouver and thousands throughout North America was an epiphany. Many people have become addicted using legitimately prescribed opioid painkillers. When the doctor cuts them off, they turn to street drugs cut with deadly fentanyl. It’s a short journey from respectability to the morgue and death by overdose.

It’s not a stretch to say that could have been me.

They say if you want to know an author read their fiction, so not surprisingly, Mattie softens her stand on addicts in The Bird Whisper, the next in the series and soon to be released.

What about my back?

It slowly and reluctantly got better and without too many painkillers. I discovered I preferred the pain to the zombie-like feeling I got from the medication.

And I’m back running. Okay, not quite as far or as hard, but enough to get my runner’s high.

That’s the other thing Mattie, and I have in common, we don’t take advice well.

Tagore said, “We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as normal, so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go.” He was right about that, but I find myself ascribing to the words of Dylan Thomas, when he wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 

 

 

Though the pain was bearable, it diminished everything else in my life.

 

Ignoring the twinges, I decided to lift and twist at the same time. Now nothing over the counter was relieving the pain in my lower back. Of course, it was Saturday late afternoon with no chance of seeing a doctor except at the emergency ward, a place I consider the less of two evils, one being death.

 

Who did I know that recently had surgery, wisdom teeth removed, a hip replacement – anything that would warrant a prescription for Tylenol 3. Friends, neighbours, relatives; I called them all. Finally, I scored. Ten T-3 ’s would tide me over until I saw my doctor on Monday.

 

It was a hellish couple of days. Some things you actually have to experience to have empathy. Chronic pain is one of them.

 

When I finally got in to see my doctor, after standing in his waiting room for an hour and a half (too painful to sit), he wasn’t very sympathetic.

 

“How did you do this?”

 

“I don’t really know?”

 

“Do you exercise?”

 

“I run at least twice a week.”

 

“How old are you?”

 

“Sixty-nine.” “

 

What are you doing running at that age?” He shook his head. “If you want your back to heal stop running.” He wrote me out a prescription for painkillers and muscle relaxants and a referral to a physiotherapist.

 

I left his office more hurt by his incredulity than by the pain in my lower lumbar.

 

Running is therapy for me, it takes me out of my head. When you run, it’s not only your legs and lungs that get a workout but all your senses. You have to be aware of the terrain and traffic, sounds and colours. It’s total exertion, and you experience it throughout your body – especially in my back, at least lately.

 

At the time I was working on my third Mattie Saunders novel. If you haven’t met her yet, she’s an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves birds, but not so much people.

 

Mattie is particularly down on addicts which is not difficult to understand considering her history, but if you want the specifics, you’ll have to read the two previous books.

 

To have a character address a particular issue in my fiction I undertake a lot of research. Discovering the cause of the opioid epidemic killing hundreds in Vancouver and thousands throughout North America was an epiphany. Many people have become addicted using legitimately prescribed opioid painkillers. When the doctor cuts them off, they turn to street drugs cut with deadly fentanyl. It’s a short journey from respectability to the morgue and death by overdose.

 

It’s not a stretch to say that could have been me.

 

They say if you want to know an author read their fiction, so not surprisingly, Mattie softens her stand on addicts in The Bird Whisper, the next in the series and soon to be released.

 

What about my back?

 

It slowly and reluctantly got better and without too many painkillers. I discovered I preferred the pain to the zombie-like feeling I got from the medication.

 

And I’m back running. Okay, not quite as far or as hard, but enough to get my runner’s high. That’s the other thing Mattie, and I have in common, we don’t take advice well.

 

Tagore said, “We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as normal, so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go.” He was right about that, but I find myself ascribing to the words of Dylan Thomas, when he wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1853145/me-mattie-and-the-opioid-epidemic

Review:

 

The Novel Writing Training Plan is a short (55 pages) and concise e-book that synthesizes all the necessary information often hidden in books about writing fiction written by academics and authors themselves.

 

The seventeen steps include information on fiction fundamentals like characterization, story structure, dialogue, and setting. There are also chapters are the more subtle areas like point of view, backstory and subplots.

 

It’s graphic style with numbered tips and end of chapter takeaways make it unintimidating and easy to read.

 

Best of all you don’t have to endure pretentious academic language or multiple quotes from an author ’s books used as examples.

 

Don’t be put off that last chapter is used to promote ProWritingAid, a software editing tool. The rest of the book is jammed with valuable information.

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1850183/a-synthesis-of-vital-information-on-how-to-write-a-novel

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients – FREE
Book 3 in the stand-alone series Eco-Warriors is free “til February 12, 2019
Download your copy at
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY ABOUT MAD MAGGIE…

Maggie is such an unexpected protagonist with so many barriers to achieving her dreams that I found her inspiring. I cheered for every single one of her victories. I feel that few romance heroines deserved HEA more.
– FIVE STARS, Shomeret on Flying High Reviews

 

“A good read that explores an improbable romance with all its consequences.”
– FIVE STARS, C. Widmann, Goodreads review

 

“The storyline was captivating, the characters believable.”
– FIVE STARS, Reviewed by Bitten by Books

 

“Magical story!”
– FOUR STARS, Elspeth, Goodreads review

 

“The plot was unconventional, it really had me hooked… Insightful.
– FOUR STARS, Dee, Goodreads review

 

“Loved it! Couldn’t put it down.”
– FOUR STARS, Booklikes.com review

 

Two passionate opponents, the antithesis of each other are about to clash over the future of a grove of Ancient Old Growth Forest on a secluded island.

 

Maggie talks to trees. Dieter talks to corporations. Maggie embraces mystery and flirts with magic. Dieter adheres to logic and the doctrine of Nietzsche. Dieter’s client wants to destroy the trees. The trees want Maggie to protect them. Dieter has terminal cancer. Maggie is schizophrenic. Maggie says she can save him if he saves the trees. Dieter thinks she’s crazy, but what choice does he have?

 

A week together alone on Deadman’s Island changes everything for both of them. Is it madness? Is it magic? Or is it love?

 

Mad Maggie is a love story between two disparate characters, a brilliant though somewhat anal retentive corporate lawyer whose personal and career mantra is “the will to power,” and a free, uninhibited spirit who practices natural healing on a secluded island in the wilderness.

 

It’s a story about protecting wild things and wild places as well as the devastating effects of mental illness and the stigma society still inflicts on those affected. It’s a story about compromise, tolerance and understanding and how these feelings spring from love and are nurtured by it. It’s about mystery, secrets and power that abounds in nature and within ourselves.

 

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients is the third book in the stand alone series ECO-WARRIORS.

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1843149/mad-maggie-and-the-wisdom-of-the-ancients-free-til-feb-12

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients – FREE
Book 3 in the stand-alone series Eco-Warriors is free “til January 31, 2019
Download your copy at
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/700967

 

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY ABOUT MAD MAGGIE…

Maggie is such an unexpected protagonist with so many barriers to achieving her dreams that I found her inspiring. I cheered for every single one of her victories. I feel that few romance heroines deserved HEA more.
– FIVE STARS, Shomeret on Flying High Reviews

 

“A good read that explores an improbable romance with all its consequences.”
– FIVE STARS, C. Widmann, Goodreads review

 

“The storyline was captivating, the characters believable.”
– FIVE STARS, Reviewed by Bitten by Books

 

“Magical story!”
– FOUR STARS, Elspeth, Goodreads review

 

“The plot was unconventional, it really had me hooked… Insightful.
– FOUR STARS, Dee, Goodreads review

 

“Loved it! Couldn’t put it down.”
– FOUR STARS, Booklikes.com review

 

Two passionate opponents, the antithesis of each other are about to clash over the future of a grove of Ancient Old Growth Forest on a secluded island.

 

Maggie talks to trees. Dieter talks to corporations. Maggie embraces mystery and flirts with magic. Dieter adheres to logic and the doctrine of Nietzsche. Dieter’s client wants to destroy the trees. The trees want Maggie to protect them. Dieter has terminal cancer. Maggie is schizophrenic. Maggie says she can save him if he saves the trees. Dieter thinks she’s crazy, but what choice does he have?

 

A week together alone on Deadman’s Island changes everything for both of them. Is it madness? Is it magic? Or is it love?

 

Mad Maggie is a love story between two disparate characters, a brilliant though somewhat anal retentive corporate lawyer whose personal and career mantra is “the will to power,” and a free, uninhibited spirit who practices natural healing on a secluded island in the wilderness.

 

It’s a story about protecting wild things and wild places as well as the devastating effects of mental illness and the stigma society still inflicts on those affected. It’s a story about compromise, tolerance and understanding and how these feelings spring from love and are nurtured by it. It’s about mystery, secrets and power that abounds in nature and within ourselves.

 

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients is the third book in the stand alone series ECO-WARRIORS.

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1837251/mad-maggie-and-the-wisdom-of-the-ancients-free

The Rocker and the Bird Girl - Rod Raglin

The Rocker and the Bird Girl – January 24, 2019

Reviewed By Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews

FOUR STARS

 

When Saunders Exotic Bird Sanctuary falls into financial crisis, owner Mattie Saunders realizes that her grandfather’s passion is not necessarily her own. Initially honored to continue her grandfather’s business mainly as a symbol of love to the man who raised her, Mattie wasn’t certain she was the woman for the job. Maybe the sanctuary would be better off in the hands of a commercial developer. She could find forever homes for all the birds in her care and finally make a life of her own. Of course she would have to part with her favorite feathered friends, especially Pickles. As she contemplates this major life move, her life becomes further complicated with a surprise introduction to the infamous reportedly drug-addicted rock star, Bodine. Even if his devotion to his own exotic macaw was sincere, could she trust his promise to clear her debt while being the upstanding citizen he professed to be?

The Rocker and the Bird Girl by Rod Raglin is a seriously non-traditional love story. Written by an environmentalist, the novel not only paints a sweet picture of hearts in tune, but offers respect for the breathtaking gift of the colorful birds of the rainforest. Raglin’s words caution the reader to study the serious consequences of pet adoption, while creating a heart-warming novella that contains just the right amount of romance.

 

A secondary theme to the story is being open to second chances. Rock star Bodine is not the stereotypical stage musician. While his band mates fall victim to the allure of sex and drugs with their rock-n-roll routine, Bodine is proof of not judging a book by its cover.

 

The Rocker and the Bird Girl is Book 1 in the Mattie Saunders Series and is available for $1.00 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1836392/a-seriously-non-traditional-love-story-a-review-of-my-novella-the-rocker-and-the-bird-girl

Review:

Alternate Side: A Novel - Anna Quindlen

 

Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen is a story about New Yorkers, though not necessarily those native to the city, but those who have become successful and thrive on its energy and eccentricities.

 

Nora Nolan and her husband, Charlie, are two of those people as are their neighbours, a privileged few who live on a street that is unique in that it is short and a dead end, allowing limited access and maximum exclusivity.

 

What makes this book so entertaining is Quindlen’s excellent characterization and authentic dialogue. Indeed, this book has very little plot at all with the inciting incident not even arriving until nearly halfway through the book.

 

The event that starts this cliquish neighbourhood unravelling is when one of the neighbours brutally assaults Ricky, the handyman for the entire enclave, with a golf club because he blocked the entrance to the exclusive neighbourhood parking lot.

 

Though the reader might expect dramatic revelations there aren’t any, everything is resolved in a civilized manner, as befitting these very civilized people.

 

The worst that Quindlen can evoke is the falling out between some neighbours re-enforcing in this reader that you’re often better off not getting to know people too well.

 

The ending has some uninspired musing by the protagonist about the road untaken. I had the impression the author hoped an appropriate ending would present itself and it didn’t, or it did, and she didn’t have the courage to write it.

 

I’m not sure if Alternate Side was an entertaining story about nothing or a story about everything, but nothing specific.

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1830185/a-story-about-nothing-or-about-everything-and-nothing-specific

Time’s running out to get your

of

Loving the Terrorist, Book 2 in the Eco-Warrior Series

Offer ends tonight at midnight.

Download your free copy at

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1824665/loving-the-terrorist-free-dec-30th

Abandoned Dreams - Rod Raglin

This year I decided to spend some of my paltry marketing budget entering my novels in a few of the many contests offered on the internet.

 

I may as well have flushed the funds down the toilet for all the good it did. Most contests hastily cashed my cheque and then didn’t even bother spamming me to advise that I didn’t win, place or show.

 

These for sure are cash grabs for financially beleaguered writing sites, festivals, literary publications or outright scam artists.

 

The exception so far has been the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards that provided a brief commentary from an anonymous judge.

 

So here are Judge Number 54 comments regarding my submission to The 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Not a bad review, but then it did cost $116.45 ($99.49 entry fee + $10.30 postage + $6.66 for the price of the book and shipping)

 

 

Entry Title: Abandoned Dreams

Author: Rod Raglin

Judge Number: 54

Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

 

 * Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

 

 

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

 

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

 

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

 

Character Appeal and Development: 4

 

Voice and Writing Style: 4

 

 

Judge’s Commentary

 

   This novel uses a distinctive succession of first-person sections that combine to offer an incisive perspective on the loves and fortunes of several characters whose lives intersect in tortured relationships. Musings and actions by the characters as the story progresses create a running succession of candid revelations. Along the way, readers get intimate understandings of what motivates the characters, who cross a wide age range, as they seek to reach their social and artistic goals. Literary and artistic matters including the drive for fame and creativity, as well as cutting criticism, are refreshingly realistic and provide illuminating insights into the minds of writers and artists. How the past and present link up and influence their current lives and activities is skillfully portrayed. Generational aspects, including a visit to an ashram in the U.S., are woven into the multiple relationships and ambitions that stir the narrative.

       Overall, the dreams of the past blend into the aspirations of the present as the force of character persists.

         More suspense in what will happen, especially as the past is recalled, would enhance the book’s drive. More chapters should end on a suspenseful note to make readers wonder what will happen next. The dialogue is snappy with good use of interior monologue while showing the mind-sets of the characters.

     The title is intriguing and spurs interest. The first two lines of the subtitle work, but the third one raises the question of who the “they” is. Perhaps “life” could be used instead. The cover image is interesting, but consider placing an easel between the chairs and a manuscript on one chair to better reflect the contents and themes of the novel.

 

You can purchase Abandoned Dreams from my Amazon Author’s Page at

https:www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1812399/contest-entry-commentary-costs-116-45

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