Archives for the month of: November, 2015

IMG_0310If anything, self-promotion is more prevalent (and just as distasteful) now as it was when I originally wrote this article five years ago.

At that time Harper Collins had launched a website called authonomy.com. That site has since been closed. I don’t know why but perhaps they began to realize what I did right from the beginning – online votes, likes, recommendations, nominations – whatever you want to call them, don’t translate into sales.

Five years later and up steps Amazon with Kindle Scout, more or less the same deal. As you read this just substitute Amazon for Harper Collins and Kindle Scout for authonomy.com

I should mention I submitted my soon-to-be-release novel, The Widower for the Kindle Scout program (see my blog of October 24, 2015, Kindle Scout scouting for sales not quality). I didn’t get nominated and the title of this article is likely one of the reasons why, though I’m sure not the only one.

So some of you might consider this blog sour grapes. Would I still be writing this if I’d won the $1500 advance and a publishing contract? To that I say – I hope so.

 

The distasteful business of self-promotion

Most the lessons I’ve learned in life are not from people who excelled, but from people who were jerks, morons, mind-numbingly boring, or teeth grinding obnoxious. I have this moment when I realize I am or have been that person. I’ve actually displayed that kind of attitude or conducted myself in that manner. Believe me, this kind of epiphany is the best behavior modification I can think of.

This brings me to the subject of self-promotion, or self-aggrandizement, defined as “an act undertaken to increase your own power and influence or to draw attention to your own importance.” For me, even the definition, sounds distasteful and a huge personal turn-off. This is probably because, as a former aspiring politician, I’ve done so much of it myself – until, you guessed it, I had one of those behavioral modifying moments.

Second only to the previously mentioned calling, we writers seem to be the most flagrant self-promoters. Indeed, we are encouraged to be. Some agents and publishers, as part of their submission process, start by asking how we personally plan to promote our work – this even before they decide whether what is being submitted has merit. Many people in the industry suggest you begin building your profile even before you’re published. Just what you would say, and who would be interested I’m sure I don’t know.

A new twist to the self-promotion game came with the launching of Harper Collins website authonomy.com. Here’s what this publishing giant has to say about their site.

The site “…invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

“Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site.

HarperCollins hopes to find new, talented writers we can sign up for our traditional book publishing programmes – we’ll be reading the most popular manuscripts each month as part of this search.”

When you upload your manuscript or w.i.p. you immediately receive requests from other authors basically saying, “if you plug mine, I’ll plug yours.” There is no caveat about it being well written or a good story, or requests for suggestions on how to improve the work. The emphasis is on self-promotion and networking not good writing with these ambitious wannabes hoping to secure enough recommendations to get their work before the decision makers at HC. The assumption appears to be that HC will be so impressed with their self-promotion skills they will over look the fact the work is crap.

Frightening, but maybe they’re right.

I recently came across another writer’s version of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’.

I was intrigued by an offer that appeared on my publisher’s author’s forum expressed as an opportunity for fellow authors to promote one another. It amounted to author’s writing positive reviews for each others books and than posting them on various sites like Goodreads, and Amazon.

What makes a review credible? The absence of conflict of interest would be a good start.

I think the importance of self-promotion is blown way out of proportion. Contributing to blogs, managing Facebook and Twitter, uploading stuff onto YouTube, keeping a website up-to-date and sending out that newsletter all takes time. Though some of this might be necessary, even essential, it needs to be kept to a minimum because it takes away from what’s important, writing.

Beyond putting you’re work out there, self-promotion is only marginally effective, in my opinion, because it lacks a most important ingredient – credibility. However, an unsolicited* endorsement has the sincerity that can generate a word of mouth ground swell that spreads exponentially. I believe a worthwhile story told by a good writer can do this, and will ultimately prevail over all the hi-tech gimmicks and new age marketing chicanery.

Naïve? Unspohisticated? Old-fashioned? Out-of-touch with reality? Maybe, probably, bu I’ve learned the hard way that, indeed, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but in the end the merit and true value of what you’re doing becomes apparent to almost everyone (except maybe yourself), and what you’ve sacrificed blowing your own horn is dignity, self-esteem and character.

Perhaps a certain amount of self-promoting has to be done but surely it can be done graciously and with humility. As we build confidence in our ability and our work, hopefully the need to applaud one-self in public will diminish. If not, we’ll be the ones avoided at social gatherings.

As Emerson said; ‘A little integrity is better than any career.’

*Unsolicited as in without conflict of interest. Anyone that stands to gain either personally or financially in supporting your writing is suspect including; your publisher, agent, publicist, spouse, friends, family, etc.

 Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

ONLY 99¢

SPECIAL PRE-0RDER PRICE ‘til Dec.6/15

After pre-order date regular price will apply $3.99

To pre-order go to

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

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

 

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 – What Price Success? 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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CoppersHawk_IMG_0163 copyHave you ever read a book and wondered why the author wrote it?

I’ve just finished reading two books and despite being quite well written I couldn’t understand why the authors put in the time and effort to produce these works.

The protagonists were weak, ineffectual and impossible to find sympathetic. It wasn’t that they were poorly drawn characters, this was how the authors chose to convey them.

Of course our heroes need to be flawed to be real, but come on, these guys had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

And the stories were like “so what?” Either nothing happened or what did happen was boring.

Readers don’t pick up a work of fiction to be reminded of their life. They read to escape their life. Most people’s lives are humdrum.

No?

Well mine sure is. There’s not one event in the last few years that’s worthy of eighty thousand words.

The solution? Don’t write about your life, at least not literally.

If your hero’s life isn’t at risk then at least the world as he knows should be. If neither his life nor his way-of-life are threatened, you’re writing a yawner.

While you’re thinking about this consider if you’re going to put immense time and effort into writing a novel why not make it worthwhile in the sense that it imparts something to the reader, something significant.

What’s significant? Well, that depends on what’s important to you.

Carol Bly, author of The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart’s Truth into Literature, suggests you consider your “writing as a moral act …and build your fiction on strong ethical ground.

Even before beginning to write a story Bly recommends you compose a “Values Listing,” a written record of the things most important to you.

Then throughout the writing process; the crafting of the plot, the developing of the characters, the imagining of the setting, return to this list to ensure these values continue to be identified in your work. That means these values are present in the issues and conflicts your characters confront and they themselves are grounded in or address these same principles.

Here’s Bly’s four-point value listing. My responses are in italic – if you’re influenced by them, well, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

VALUE’S LISTING:

  1. Two goals or values which make life good or bearable or would if they were in operation. Preserving the Environment/ Encouraging the Human Spirit
  1. Two goals or values which cause injustice and suffering or lessening of joy.  Wealth-Materialism/The Need to Control
  1. Two missing goals or behaviors. As a child, you thought grown-up life would have these. Now that you are an adult you don’t see them around. Honesty-Integrity/Responsibility-Credibility
  1. Two injustices you see about you and should keep an eye on, even on your wedding day. Racism-Discrimination/Destruction of Wild Things and Wild Places.

The values you write down aren’t about creating or even directing your story, but since you must imbue your characters with qualities why not make them ones that are important to you? Why can’t their motives be pure or at least well-intentioned? Every story must have a conflict so make the fight a good fight, one worthy of a sympathetic hero.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if something you wrote made your readers (some of your readers, a reader) enriched, enlightened, maybe even a better person?

Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, says,

“We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.”

Ask yourself, in the face of death what kind of men and women are the characters you create? Then put “your heart’s truth” into your story.

30

 

Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

ONLY 99¢

SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE ‘til Dec.6/15

After pre-order date regular price will apply $3.99

To pre-order go to

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

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors a https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

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 – What Price Success? 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I warned you.

7 NottheWay2_IMG_0196Now it’s too late.

Back on September 6th, 2015, I launched the pre-order campaign for the re-issue of the e-book version of Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success? (formerly entitled Spirit Bear). Up until November 8th you could pre-order it for just 99¢. Today it’s $3.99.

You could have saved three bucks, but did you?

Well, one person did.

Thank you.

I followed all of Mark Coker’s advice – he’s the Smashwords guy. I launched my pre-order campaign using the book’s cover, a preamble and a fifteen percent free preview, offered an attractive price, gave it a run up of two months, and even scheduled the launch on the day of the week he suggested to maximize the NY Times Bestseller List.

I did the same with Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Then I sent out a hundred and sixty-five personal emails to people who have expressed an interest in my novels (not one to a friend or family member mind you) and promoted it on Twitter, Booklikes, WordPress, and Promocave as often as I could and still keep a modicum of self-respect.

Speaking of carrying on…

You still have an opportunity (13 more days actually) to nominate my new novel, The Widower, on Kindle Scout and help me win that $1500 advance and a publishing contract from Amazon.

Go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/25MD9OLX9C88T

Upon checking the campaign stats I see my book has had 104 page views, but has spent zero hours in “Hot and Trending”. Sounds like my life.

And though you missed the pre-order deal on Saving Spirit Bear you can still cash in on Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. Until Dec. 5, 2015, you can pre-order it for 99¢ and save $3.00.

Go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015MK5UL6 or https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/579221

Hey, it’s not all bad news. The Vancouver Public Library (I love libraries and especially the VPL) now carry three of my novels with the other two on order. At the time of this writing all copies are in use – how good is that!

No, I didn’t take them out myself.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

SPECIAL PRE-0RDER PRICE NOW AVAILABLE

Loving the Terrorist – 99¢ Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

– order before December 6, 2015

After pre-order dates regular price will apply $3.99

To pre-order go to

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

 

Nominate The Widower,

my new novel on Kindle Scout

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/25MD9OLX9C88T

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

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

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 – What Price Success? 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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