Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Ruby Red Horse Chestnut Tree in bloomTim Grahl

Book Marketing Legend

Internet Marketing Pioneer

Out:think Group
Dear Tim,

First, let me thank you for sending me your emails and allowing me to download your Book Launch Crash Course. I‘ve never subscribed to any of your programs, but I find the emails informative and have even used some of your ideas.

You asked me to take a minute and give you a bit of feedback so here it is– I’m afraid it’s a bit more than a bit and strays off topic – a bit.

I love writing and I don’t care too much about sales. This is a good thing considering how poor the sales of my books are. That probably makes me not an ideal candidate for your marketing strategies and most of what I’m going to say is probably just so much nonsense to a guy like you.

I was keen when you were sending emails about “facing (your) fears and moving right into uncomfortable territory” promoting your book Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book [Kindle Edition]”. Let me just say, since I don’t want you to feel bad, I never considered subscribing to your service, but the “fears” and “uncomfortable territory” intrigued me.

It was when it appeared you’d fall short of selling 10,000 copies in one year and you slashed the price and “begged” (well, that’s what it sounded like to me) your followers/friends/strangers/do-gooders/anybody receiving your emails to buy your book so you could attain your personal goal that you lost me.

Quite remarkably, you made it sound as if they were “begging” to help you and you, albeit very reluctantly, were “going to accept (their) kind offers to help”. Even now as I write this the spin you put on that desperate entreaty leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

But I guess that’s the difference between you and me, you might say between success and failure. You’re the guy who’s prepared to achieve success by whatever means necessary, and I’m, well, I’m not.

I want writing to be my one true thing and I’m just not willing to sacrifice my integrity for sales. If that sounds self-righteous let me say I realize integrity is subjective so this is my integrity we’re talking about.

I won’t guilt my family and friends into rating or buying my books, I won’t go online and beg for sales, I won’t let my personal ambition make me “insufferable” to the person most important to me.

Delusional maybe, but not insufferable.

I’m happy for your success, Tim, that’s right. Happy.

I’m happy for the other author’s you’ve helped achieve success, though I wonder, have there not been any failures? No? It’s a wonder then why you have to keep sending out all these solicitations and aren’t like, you know, overbooked by soon-to-be bestselling authors.

Anyhow, keep sending me your stuff and, as long as it’s free I’ll keep considering it and poaching any good ideas that come along.

Thanks and good luck with your new program Launch a Bestseller.

Rod

P.S. I’ve mentioned your book, your crash course and your new program and I thought you were the one who’s supposed to be “relentlessly helpful”.

P.P.S. This took more than one minute.

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Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

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, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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SunsetClouds_0023When I began my commitment to give honest, no conflict of interest reviews for the work of new, self-published authors I wasn’t expecting much. I’m a tough reviewer and I wasn’t prepared to lower my standards and though I try to temper my criticism with suggestions on how the work might be improved, I sometimes find that’s a challenge.

Considering that I’m reviewing my peers, most who have had as much or more success than myself, you might ask what good are my suggestions? Probably not very good, but I’ve found well considered negative reviews had more to offer, more to learn from, than the “loved it, couldn’t put it down” non-specific five star rating (yes, I’ve actually had a few of those).

What I wasn’t prepared for were some of the best books I’ve ever read.

Two books so far have been astounding – the voice, the diction, the wit, the wisdom, the originality, the conception of plot, the being swept away by the prose. I was enthralled.

The books are War in a Beautiful Country by Patricia Ryan and Not Lost For Lookin’ by Lexi Boeger. They were both offered free on Smashwords and as far as I can tell have had very limited success.

I’ve always maintained “if it don’t sell, it ain’t good”. I mean, how else can you gauge success or even improvement without becoming totally delusional. By delusional I mean thinking you’re an undiscovered literary genius when you’re actually a shitty writer. Sales, or the lack of them, is my benchmark.

But apparently, there really are some undiscovered literary geniuses out there, sales or no sales.

War in a Beautiful Country and Not Lost For Lookin’ aren’t perfect. They both could use the services of a dispassionate and objective editor, but who couldn’t, and they both have issues with formatting, but they are so much better than most of the traditionally published, critically acclaimed literary novels I’ve read lately that it gave me pause.

Everything being equal (and it never is), and these author’s are actually attempting to get their books published traditionally, why is crap being accepted when brilliance isn’t, my books aside?

Here’s what I think.

Agents and publishers don’t take risks. Despite what they tell you on their website they really aren’t looking for new talent, they’re looking for a paycheck, something they can take to the bank.

Critical acclaim is a commodity that can be purchased or bartered for.

Book endorsements on the covers of bestsellers are likely swaps arranged by the publisher – if you plug his book he’ll plug yours, and the majority of reviews are paid for (oh, yes they are) and only the positive ones used. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that if it’s paid for it’s usually positive.

Perhaps the only bastion of integrity for book reviews are newspapers and newsmagazines where there doesn’t appear to be any advantage in lying, unless you’d impugn your integrity for a free book. Just a second, I know journalists that would impugn their integrity for a free meal. Hmm.

Unfortunately, as a journalist I’m familiar with the media’s pack mentality – they all cover the same stories, the same topics and, in the case of books, they all review the same books, usually hot titles already on the bestseller’s list that don’t need another review.

So what’s a writer suppose to do if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to pay out for reviews and don’t know any famous writers who will endorse your work? How do you get reviewed and make that essential connection with readers?

Write, pray, hope?

For me, I take solace in the words of Nietzsche,

“Art is the proper task in life.”

He also said, “The doer alone learneth.”

I am doer so I guess I’m still learnething.

Keep writing.

Stay Calm, Be Brave and Watch for the Signs

 

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My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

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, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

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