Archives for the month of: June, 2015

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Beta Readers needed

For my upcoming novel

Details in this blog

Before there was an opportunity to publish a book on your own, free, through sites like Kindle Direct/Create Space and Smashwords, would be authors had to submit their work to agents and publishers. The alternative was to come up with at least a few thousand dollars to have the vanity press publish it for you.

Though you may think everyone deserves the right to publish their own book the one thing the old system prevented was a lot of premature publication. Quite a bit of the stuff I’ve been reading falls into this category. The authors of these books haven’t matured as writers.

Maturity as a writer comes in two parts – craft and humility. I think they develop hand in hand. The more you write the better you get, and the better you get, the more you realize you can always improve. With the knowledge you’re never going to get it right comes humility.

To put it another way if you haven’t done your 10,000 hours of craft, it’s not likely you’re going to have any humility. Still don’t get it? Okay, a lot of the new self-published authors I’m reading can’t write and having decided to prematurely publish their work shows they have no humility either, or perhaps I should I say, yet.

Completing a novel, though a real achievement and something to be proud of, doesn’t necessarily make worthy of publication. Yet that’s exactly what so many new authors do. Filled with hubris they forge ahead with unrealistic expectations. The book dies and so do their dreams.

Before you begin to think I’m sounding all high and mighty I should tell you I cringe when I think of the material I submitted to publishers when I was young and full of myself.

Just recently, when my publisher decided to issue my third novel as a paperback I was given the opportunity to “tweak” it. I soon abandoned the project and told my publisher to let it go out without any changes. After reading the first few pages I realized once I started I would pretty much want to rewrite the entire thing. It was just so, well, mediocre.

If you’ve got the guts you’ll consider this failure part of your apprenticeship, take what you’ve learned from negative reviews like mine at NOT YOUR FAMILY, NOT YOUR FRIEND BOOK REVIEWS and continue to write and improve.

So, to those new indie-authors whose books I’ve trashed here’s some advice I didn’t have space for or it wasn’t appropriate to include in the review.

DON’T RUSH TO PUBLISH.

– I revise a manuscript a minimum three times or until I feel it’s finished.

– Then I put it away for at least three months or however long it takes to get it out of my system.

– While I’m waiting to be purged, I work on something completely different.

– Once I’ve put some distance between my ego and the book I’m ready. I take out the manuscript and send it to as many beta readers for comment as I can. If you don’t have a stable of readers who are free from conflict of interest, join a writing group online of otherwise and workshop the novel.

– At some point I gather all the comments and criticisms together and begin my final rewrite.

If you follow this method I guarantee your final version will be different and better than it was when you deemed it complete.

Speaking of which, I need to increase my roster of beta readers for my forthcoming sixth novel. This is not critiquing, but rather checking for plot glitches, discrepancies or anything else you think might improve the work. Finding typos and dropped words is also really helpful.

Your reward will be satisfaction at having input into the novel and being recognized for your efforts on the Acknowledgements Page. I will also return the favor if you’re an author. Contact me at rod_raglin@yahoo.com

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

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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Layout 1

Here are two covers I designed for my new novel

The Widower – Can Dreams be Renewed?

I need your help to decide which is best

If you let me know which you prefer,

I’ll enter your name to win one of three copies of my latest novel

FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend

Your choice of digital or paperback

Send me an email at

mailto:rod_raglin@yahoo.com

and indicate

SUNSET

OR

ADIRONDACKS

Contest closes July 31, 2015

 

IMG_0017 copy copySmashwords has just introduced Assetless Preorders (http://www.smashwords.com/preorder), an opportunity for the public to preorder your novel long before it’s finished, or for that matter even before you begin writing it.

You simply decide on the title, the price, the description and the release date. The cover is optional to get started. You can update any of the details about your book prior to its release.

Smashwords will deliver your preorder listing to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Readers can then preorder your book and their credit card won’t be dinged until the e-book is released.

Why would you want to do this?

At iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, all accumulated pre-orders credit toward your first day’s sales rank. Theoretically, on release day your sales will spike giving you a shot at ranking as a best seller, though fleetingly, and since readers use retailer bestseller lists to discover their next read, a higher sales rank makes your book more visible and more desirable to readers.

According to Smashwords you only need 90 preorders to be on the top 100 best seller list. They don’t say how long you’ll be there (hours, minutes?).

You can then legitimately(?) use the tag “best selling author” to promote your work which evidently also resonates with book-buyers.

Smashwords even goes as far as giving you data as to which day of the week (Sunday) and time of the month (the first week) to plan your release so it has minimum competition.

Just how you go about getting those 90 preorders is up to you. Most book marketeers suggest you have the lowest introductory price possible and guilt everyone one you know and their friends into buying the book. For those legitimate readers (non-related, non-acquaintances) make sure you indicate this is a special pre-order price after which the price goes up (maybe).

Begin your promoting by adding the preorder special to the back matter of your previous e-books. Sounds like a good idea if anyone was buying them.

As my ongoing commitment to read and review the work of indie-published authors I’ve discovered some exceptionally good novels that have received little or no recognition. Assuming these authors have done everything possible, legitimately and morally, to get their book traditionally published and exposed to the public, I would suggest for their next book they park their integrity and give the preorder gimmick a try.

I mean, what’s the downside?

The first draft of my sixth novel, The Widower, is just about complete. If I start now and upload the necessary information, Smashwords will give me a year runway to launch day. Taking into consideration what they say about the day of the week and time of month, I’ll plan to launch on Sunday, July 3, 2016. Maybe I can coordinate a launch at Amazon simultaneously.

I somehow doubt this will make a difference. It’s like all those other “tried and true” techniques that never amounted to anything. There’s obviously something missing when I continue to find really good novels languishing in book oblivion, undiscovered and unappreciated despite being offered free.

I am beginning to think maybe you need a modicum of success to begin with if any of these techniques are going to work, a primer, so to speak, of loyal followers to kick-start the process.

Tough to form such a cabal when you’re starting at zero and dropping.

No doubt the launch of The Widower will be as inauspicious as the release of my other novels, but the process might be interesting. I’ll keep you posted. Until then…

Stay calm, be brave, and watch for the signs.

30

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

IMG_0042 copyAre video book reviews an oxymoron?

I mean, if you read books why wouldn’t you prefer to read book reviews instead of watching them?

Just a second, I love to read but I also enjoy television documentaries and news shows. Hmm.

I’ve been motivated to do video reviews by my wife. She’s an avid fan of YouTube and watches videos of reviews on every thing imaginable including Dollar Store Hauls – videos of purchases people have made at Dollar Stores.

How could anyone be interested in watching something like that? Well, they are. Some of these “Haul” videos have hundreds of thousand of hits as well as subscribers.

I like writing book reviews and I know how much I appreciate it when someone takes the time to review one of my books. I also think taking a few moments to jot down my thoughts on what I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about a novel, and maybe how it could be improved helps my own writing.

I guess there’s also a chance it might encourage someone to pick up one of my books.

I have no idea how many people read my reviews – certainly not as many people as watch “Haul” videos, but if I could get just a few thousand to watch a book review video it would be win-win – for the author of the book I reviewed and maybe for my own work.

I call my channel Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews and explain that these are honest, constructive reviews free of conflict on interest of works by self-published authors. I’ve written dozens book reviews but only three reviews are currently on my channel.

I figured this would be pretty easy but so far it’s been a huge learning curve and  taken way too many hours. If you’re not into book reviews you might want to watch one anyway just for a laugh. On camera I open and close my mouth like a guppy, gaze off camera, and constantly bob and weave like a moving target. The production quality is embarrassing.

I’m learning and if I continue I promise they’ll improve.

But will I continue? So far my site has recorded only a few hits and likely half of them are from me checking to see if I haven’t inadvertently edited out half the video  or that the lighting’s so bad all you can see is a shadowy figure – you got it, bobbing and weaving.

The web address for Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews is

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

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs (and the video)

30

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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