Archives for the month of: September, 2015

Untitled-1I’m not a very smart guy.

At least not compared to Zia Haider Rahman, author of In Light of What We Know.

I dropped out of journalism school because I got a job on a newspaper – hey, I thought if I could get a job on a newspaper before graduating just think of all the tuition I’d save, right?

Anyhow, this is a review about Zia Haider Rahman’s novel, not my autobiography.

Smart is what Rahman is – first class honours at Balliol Oxford, then on to Munich and back to finish at Cambridge and Yale, sort of the academic grand slam.

This is his first novel and as one would suspect for a guy that smart – did I say he also worked as a investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York – that would likely make him rich as well as smart.

Back to the novel, his first one, it’s a huge hit. Well, what would you expect from a super rich, super smart guy except his first novel would be a best seller?

In Rahman’s novel, the protagonist has an unexpected visit from an old friend, Zafar. It’s been a long time with no contact. The guy’s a wreck, obviously been through a lot. Our hero naturally takes him in and as Zafar recovers over the next few weeks he tells him what he’s been up to.

Pretty ordinary set up, certainly not what I’d call a dramatic hook, but then like I said I’m not very smart and Rahman, well…

The title of Rahman’s book’s appropriate since In Light of What We Know tells the reader everything there is to know about Zafar; how the narrator and he met and their college days, Zafar’s upbringing in the UK, his return to his homeland of Bangladesh for a few years when he was a boy, how he met his wife, the social status of his wife’s family, plus a whole lot more with only the occasional, very slight nudge to move the plot forward.

The reader also learns similar information about the protagonist including lots of philosophical and mathematical ramblings with a few pages thrown in on how maps of the globe misrepresent the size and proximity of the continents.

All I wanted was more details about Zafar’s journey, but no, Rahman is stingy with plot details and even a hint of his friend’s story is burdened with pages of personal, philosophical and cultural perspectives.

I get it that this information may be necessary for context, but of the one hundred and sixteen pages I managed to struggle through ninety percent of it was backstory. Because I didn’t persevere beyond this point I’m in the dark as to whether all this history was necessary, but in light of what I read I decided to abandon In Light of What We Know.

This, of course, cannot be the novel’s fault after all it was awarded the James Tait Memorial Prize, Britian’s oldest literary award. Perhaps if I would have finished my education I might have enjoyed Rahman’s novel more, or even a little bit, but who am I kidding. Obviously someone who dropped out of community college can’t begin to comprehend the subtleties and nuances of a novel written by a guy with honors from Oxford, Yale, and Cambridge.

I’m hoping he’ll dumb down his next novel for the likes of me.

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SPECIAL PRE-0RDER PRICE NOW AVAILABLE

Saving Spirit Bear – 99¢ if ordered before November 8, 2015

Loving the Terrorist –  Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs – 99¢ if ordered before December 6, 2015

After pre-order dates regular price will apply $2.99

To pre-order go to

http://www. amazon.com/author/rodraglin

 

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 a buy link to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

ECO-WARRIOR Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear is available at

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

ECO-WARRIOR Book 2, Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs is now available as in paperback at

http://www.amazon.com/author/rodraglin

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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SSBCoverPromoThe re-issue of my novel Spirit Bear is now available for pre-order.

This was my first novel and though far from stellar it deserved better than to languish on my publisher’s website. So when the contract expired I yanked it and have re-issued it as an indie publication, both in paperback and e-book.

Will it do better? Let’s just say it can’t do worse.

I fixed a few typos, tweaked the front and back matter, designed a new cover and added the word “saving” to the title. It’s now called Saving Spirit Bear.

I began by using Amazon’s Createspace to publish the paperback version. I find this platform pretty straightforward and the turn around time remarkably quick. Unfortunately, Createspace does not have a pre-order option, so the paperback is out there and available for $7.99.

I took advantage of Kindle Matchbook, Amazon uses the same files from Createspace to publish a companion e-book on Kindle Direct Publishing. The only condition is you have to sell your e-book for $2.99 or less.

It’s too easy, really.

KDP has a pre-order option so I’m trying it out.

The book-marketing gurus tell you this is the best way to “gimmick” yourself onto the New York Times bestseller list – briefly. The deal is you promote your book in advance as a pre-order and the day the book is released those pre-orders are converted to orders all at once. That could give you a real bump in the ratings – maybe enough to make it to a bestseller list.

If you make it to that esteemed position, however briefly, you can legitimately(?) promote yourself as a bestselling author, forever, on any book you write. You’re not saying the book is a bestseller, only that at one point in time the author had a bestseller on the New York Times bestseller list – thus, a NYT bestselling author.

And saying a book is written by a New York Times bestselling author evidently sells more books.

Can this possibly work?

Only a couple of months ago my novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic had two sales in one day and my author rating jumped from 2,593,668 to 173,973, a gain of 2,419,695 points.

So yes, I would imagine this gimmick can actually work.

In my quest to become a New York Times bestselling author I’ve also lowered the pre-order price to 99¢ from $2.99.

I’ve also published Saving Spirit Bear on Smashwords which allows you to set up a pre-order account without even uploading a book. The price there is also 99¢ during the pre-order period, after which the e-book will be $2.99.

From now until November 8, 2015, when the e-book edition of Saving Spirit Bear becomes available, I’ll be trying to find ways (like this blog) of letting readers know about this pre-order deal.

Here are the links to pre-order :

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0150PMX0Y

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/575296

Both KDP and Smashwords allow me to check to see how the pre-orders are flooding in – or not, so I’ll keep you posted.

I’d like to become a New York Times bestselling author, but I’d rather not do it manipulating sales figures and ratings. However, when I read all the excellent independent authors whose books are abandoned in the backlists of Amazon and Smashwords for no other reason than the lack of publicity I realize I have to give this a try – for them as well as myself.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

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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 a buy link to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

ECO-WARRIOR Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear is available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

ECO-WARRIOR Book 2, Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs is soon to be re-issued.

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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