Archives for the month of: May, 2014

fringed tulip_0010I’m sensitive to conflict of interest.

Sometimes it’s overt; like an author giving his own book five stars. Most times it’s more subtle.

Here’s and example of what I mean. I’m registered with an online site that lists agents and publishers and helps writers keep track of queries they send out. At least a couple times a week I get an email with updates, publishing news tips and links to relevant sites and articles.

Here’s what I received recently:

“Pinterest is a great tool to promote your books. Here are eight tips for writers on how to use it.” A link is supplied with this recommendation.

This link is to a website of a “social media manger” and the author of three related books, all self-published.

I was hoping to get some ideas from writers like myself. Something they tried that worked or wasted their time, in other words, an opinion from an objective third party.

Instead, I get advice right from the pages of the most recent book this person is trying to flog.

How likely is she to be objective about techniques she’s promoting in her book? Therein lies the conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest is a concept that seems to be incomprehensible to these constant pitchmen. They consider it passé, akin to chivalrous practices like standing when a woman enters the room, walking on the street side when accompanying a lady, opening doors, offering seats, or just plain being courteous.

Like multi-level marketing zealots, they use every occasion as an opportunity to sell. Good manners are an impediment and modesty and humility are seen as signs of weakness.

The uber-ambitious are totally self-absorbed, either myopic or suffer from tunnel vision or both, and are continually pitching some form of self-aggrandizement.

Unfortunately, this abhorrent personality type is on the increase spawned by obnoxious behavior on reality television and “Hey, look at me!” social media promotion. Indeed, in some circles they are even considered chic and trendy.

For me, I find full frontal, unabashed ambition at the best unappealing, and at the worst outright repugnant. Not surprising, it has the exact opposite effect on me as what is intended.

The same goes for conflict of interest. If I catch a whiff of it, credibility is compromised.

So how does a writer succeed without being obnoxiously ambitious and chronically comprising their credibility?

Maybe try to write something that, without promise of profit or pain, other people recommend.

 

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Comments and criticisms appreciated but not likely reciprocated.

For a limited time read all my novels free for an honest review.

htttp://storycartel.com

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

 

I blog about “Writing – the experience” at

https://rodraglin.wordpress.com/

 

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

 

 

Read ”Bubble” excerpts of my novels at

http://bublish.com/author/view/3307

http://bublish.com/bubble/add/1637#

 

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

Flower with attitude at http://youtu.be/ICrt4eY-rx8

Pacific Coast Sunsets at http://youtu.be/BxSTGuNh_gY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EagleridgeBluffs CoverRead my books, Not Wonder More, Eagleridge Bluffs and Spirit Bear for free!

For a limited time you can download and read any one, or all three of my novels in the ECO-WARRIOR SERIES free. They include Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs and Not Wonder More-Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

All you need to do is go to storycartel.com and register. Books are free in exchange for your honest review (see my previous blog for more information). This offer is available for about a month.

If you follow this blog here’s your chance to see if I can actually write or are my rants just sour grapes. Am I a cynical, bitter, nasty, no-talent guy with a giant chip on his shoulder taking cheap shots, or am I an undiscovered literary genius?

It’s likely somewhere in between, well maybe more of the former, but hey, you can decide for yourself, and for free.

Maybe I trashed your book in a review. Here’s your chance to get back at me. Read my books and if you honestly think they’re crap, don’t hold back. A bad review is better than no review (hmm…I’ll get back to you on that).

As you read this, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs and Not Wonder More are available now and can be downloaded free.

You have my word the reader reviews you see for my books on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes and Noble will not be manipulated, paid for, or fraudulent in any way. Frankly, it’s just too much effort for too little gain, and besides what would be the point? You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but how long can you go on fooling yourself?

Have I been fooling myself?

You tell me.

 

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I’m not a very friendly person.

If we attended the same party you’d see standing alone at the edge of an animated group, not contributing. If you thought I looked like I wished I could be someplace else, you’d probably be right.

But being a misanthrope doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate and value comments and criticisms of my work. Insightful comments from strangers have taught me more about writing and photography than anything else.

So please comment and criticize if you wish.

Just don’t expect it to be the beginning of an online relationship.

R

 

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

 

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

 

Read ”Bubble” excerpts of my novels at

http://bublish.com/author/view/3307

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

Flowers with Attitude at http://youtu.be/ICrt4eY-rx8

Pacific Coast Sunsets at http://youtu.be/BxSTGuNh_gY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CherryBlossoms_0025 copyRecently I received a book free from Story Cartel http://www.storycartel.com/  in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

If you register with Story Cartel you can download free books. The only requirement is that you write an honest review and post it on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N and maybe your blog. If you’re not registered with all these sites than you can just post on the ones you’re familiar with. You’ve got four weeks to post your review – they even send you prompts. No one comes after you if you fail to post.

Your reviews help authors market their books and gives them valuable feedback to improve their writing.

Are customer reviews important? You bet they are.

Customer reviews of books, no matter how unprofessional, help sell books.

BookBub http://www.bookbu.com/  , a daily deal site for e-books that helps lesser known authors build a fan base by giving a away deeply discounted e-books, says the following about customer reviews:

If one thing is certain from the results we’ve seen, it’s that customer reviews can help sell eBooks. We’ve consistently found that mentioning reader reviews in a BookBub blurb results in better response rates. In one test, including the phrase “over 200 five-star Amazon reviews” drove over 20 percent more clicks than a version of the blurb that did not mention reviews.

Which brings us to Amazon http://www.amazon.com/ , a company that captures nearly a third of every dollar spent on purchasing books. It values reviews more than other online booksellers featuring them prominently.

If you think that might make unscrupulous authors try to find ways of garnering lots five star reviews for books that are dreck, well, you’d be right, and they’ve been doing it.

The easiest is guilting friends and family into submitting one paragraph reviews (probably written by the author) and ticking the five star box, likely without even reading the book. Authors give away books for positive reviews, swap positive reviews with other authors, even pay professional reviewers, go to http://www.fiverr.com/ , to write and post five star reviews.

So how do you sort out the fraudulent reviews from the legitimate ones?

That’s what Amazon is wondering.

After several well-publicized cases involving writers buying or manipulating their reviews, Amazon appears to be cracking down on what appear to be fraudulent reviews. Though the shopping site has not said how many reviews it’s deleted, writers say thousands have disappeared in recent months.

Sorting the legitimate from the illegitimate reviews seems an impossible task, After all, who can account for someone’s taste?

Back to the book I got for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

This novel is a mess. The plot glitches are more entertaining than the plot and the characters are one dimensional and unmotivated. I generously gave it two stars, the equivalent to “I don’t like it.”

It so far has garnered eleven reviews on Amazon, five of which are five stars.

One five star reviewer called it Thrilling, tightly written, gripping”, another said it was an “Impressive debut novel”. Both of these reviews were one paragraph. Click on “see all my reviews” and there aren’t any others.

There were five reviews from Story Cartel members. Their average rating was 2.8 stars, or almost “it’s okay”. Factor in the other reviews, which include four five-star ratings and a one-line four-star review (also no other reviews posted) and the average becomes 3.6 or almost “I like it”.

The suspect reviews bump the novel rating by twenty percent.

If you’re a writer who will not impugn their integrity by participating in this online chicanery then you’re pretty much screwed. Legitimate reader reviews are far and few between and they are seldom five stars.

If you’re a reader looking for the truth about a book you’re considering purchasing, I suggest you read reviews in newspapers and magazines. Or, if you find it more convenient to read Amazon reviews, skip the five star ones and read the negative reviews – three stars or less. There are usually more in depth and give you a better understanding of the novel – you have the sense the reviewer actually read the book. They are more unbiased because in most cases the reviewer will attempt to justify his criticisms.

They are almost always better written and more entertaining.

Fraudulent reviews, manipulated best-seller lists, all for a few bucks and a little fame. Is this the way the game has to be played?

I think not.

“Character is that which can do without success.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

~   ~   ~

 

I’m not a very friendly person.

If we attended the same party you’d see standing alone at the edge of an animated group, not contributing. If you thought I looked like I wished I could be someplace else, you’d probably be right.

But being a misanthrope doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate and value comments and criticisms of my work. Insightful comments from strangers have taught me more about writing and photography than anything else.

So please comment and criticize if you wish.

Just don’t expect it to be the beginning of an online relationship.

 

R

 

 

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

 

 

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

 

 

Read ”Bubble” excerpts of my novels at

http://bublish.com/author/view/3307

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

Flower with attitude at http://youtu.be/ICrt4eY-rx8

Pacific Coast Sunsets at http://youtu.be/BxSTGuNh_gY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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