Archives for the month of: January, 2016

BuddhaSnow110In case you don’t know, and why would you, I write a fair number of book reviews. They’re broken into two categories:

– Reviews of new, self-published authors, and

– Reviews of new, traditionally published Canadian authors.

I post these reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, BookLikes, LibraryThing, Smashwords and Google Books as well as my local library subject to the book being available on or through these sites. For example, if a book is not listed on Smashwords, no review is posted.

With new self-published authors I also post the review as a video on my YouTube channel Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

I’ve chosen these two categories to review because I am them (or is it they are me) and I know how difficult it is to get reviewed and acknowledged.

I’m not a top Amazon reviewer – my actual ranking is 323,578. My YouTube channel has one hundred and ninety views, half of them probably me trying to get it right, and one subscriber. So I was a bit surprised to receive this email:

Dear Rod,

As a quick introduction, I was the #1 bestselling novelist in India in 2008 (Keep off the Grass, HarperCollins India) and 2010 (Johnny Gone down, HarperCollins India) with 200,000+ copies of my novels in print. Both novels have been optioned into major films, currently in different stages of development.

Penguin Random House publishes my first international novel, THE YOGA OF MAX’S DISCONTENT, worldwide in Spring 2016. The book is about a Wall Street investment banker who becomes a yogi in the Himalayas and is both a page turning adventure through the hidden underbelly of India and a journey of tremendous inner transformation. I was looking at books with similar themes i.e. contemporary fiction or international voices on Amazon and saw you had reviewed The Lowland.

Would you be interested in receiving a free advance review copy of my novel? We’re sharing them with a small handful of interested international readers for their honest reviews in advance of the The Yoga of Max’s Discontent’s worldwide release.

I’d be obliged if you could let me know of your interest.

Thank you,

Karan Bajaj

I’m not going to flatter myself by thinking I was personally chosen, or that I’m even part of “a small handful of interested international readers” since there are already twenty-eight advance reviews for the novel posted on Goodreads. More likely there’s a software program that selected me because I reviewed The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Though this novel doesn’t fit into my review criteria I’m going to accept the author’s offer of an advance reading copy (ARC) for an honest review.

I sent out ARCs prior to self-publishing my last two books, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend. Each time about one hundred and fifty people who’d previously expressed an interest in my work received an e-book . Altogether I doubt I got a half a dozen reviews.

It’s interesting that an author with considerable success and a powerhouse traditional publisher behind him is doing what appears to be the same hands on book flogging a nobody like me resorts to.

I’ll keep you posted on the process and my review.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

 

Advertisements

NROW_0006My Goodreads giveaway https://www.goodreads.com attracted twelve hundred and seventeen entries to win four paperbacks. Loving the Terrorist received five hundred and thirty-four and Saving Spirit Bear six hundred and eighty-three.

I just mailed the books to the four winners and the postage was $51.50, half of that was to send one book to a winner in Australia.

Tip: You might want to limit the entries to Canada and United States unless you’re rich or have a big following overseas.

When you factor in what Createspace charged me for print-on-demand copies and shipping the entire giveaway cost $88.98

Results? I did garner one five star review on Goodreads for both Saving Spirit Bear and Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs and…hold on, what’s this, two hundred and sixty-five other Goodreads members have marked Saving Spirit Bear “to read”?

I’m flattered, but I’m thinking it might be a computer glitch.

Forty-five people took advantage of my LibraryThing e-book giveaway https://www.librarything.com of The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic. This cost me nothing except about an hour and a half sending emails.

So the question is which giveaway is better:

Goodreads with twelve hundred and fifteen entries and four paperbacks given away at a cost of $88.98?

or

LibraryThing with forty-five entries and forty-five e-books given away at no cost?

I’ll let you know, but considering I’m expecting the net result in reviews and sales from both giveaways to be little better than nothing I’m leaning toward the least expensive. I mean, wouldn’t you?

I see I have a royalty credit on Smashwords for $4.47 and Kindle Direct is sending me an electronic deposit for 35¢ USD (which will actually net out to about 45¢ CA), so once again I’m starting the year in a deficit position of about $84.00.

What was I thinking?

30

Abandoned Dreams

Special Preorder Price 99¢ ’til March 6, 2016

After March 6, $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

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

 

 

FrostyFingers3_IMG_0034 copy

I recently discovered Inkitt. Actually, they discovered me through a website link on Goodreads(?).

Here’s the email I received from Mihaly Borbely:

“I was looking for romance authors on Goodreads, and found your contact through a website link. Here is something you might be interested in:

Inkitt is using data analysis to determine and predict the success of a novel. We are also working together with some of the world’s biggest publishing houses to publish any potential best-sellers we find. We are just about to sign a massive deal for a fantasy book series.

We are now looking for our next novel to publish – this time from the romance genre.

In partnership with the Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency, tomorrow Inkitt is launching a brand new romance writing contest. With a publishing deal and a $500USD prize on the line for the contest winner, this is a huge opportunity for romance authors. The judging panel is made up of bestselling authors Laurelin Page and Melody Grace, as well as literary agent Rebecca Friedman herself.

Here is the contest link:  http://www.inkitt.com/swoon

So what is Inkitt?

Inkitt is a company based in Germany that is reaching out to new authors or writers with works in progress to upload stories to their website and have it read and peer-edited (reviewed) by other writers.

They also claim to have developed an algorithm that examines reading patterns of stories at the site to determine very early if a story will become a best-seller.

Unlike editors who according to Inkitt, are biased and make decisions on gut feelings, their data is unbiased and objective.

To support their theory they point to the twelve publishers who turned down Harry Potter and the fourteen who rejected Twilight.

I really find these “exceptions that prove the rule” arguments specious, as if there are thousands of masterpieces (likely one of yours, right?) that editors are indiscriminately tossing in the recycling bin.

Putting aside the claim Inkitt actually has technology that can pick a best-seller from among the many submissions they’re receiving, what they’re really offering is the same as Watt Pad, Kindle Scout, and the  defunct Authonomy. Writers post their work and it’s “crowd critiqued”. The owners of the site then have the option to take the most popular stories  (those with the most votes, most comments, most promising algorithm, etc.) further – or not.

Inkitt says there’s an additional the benefit of being peer edited (you read and comment on mine and I’ll return the favour) however this feature can be accessed on most online critique sites like Scribophile  http://www.scribophile.com

I thought I’d  test out Inkitt and so submitted my novel Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs to their Swoon Romance Novel Contest. Check it out at http://www.inkitt.com/stories/58597

Then I checked out some of the stories posted to assess the quality of submissions. Most are in the fantasy genre and the work amateurs. Hey, just saying. Most are incomplete and the “peer editing” comments, though warm and fuzzy, are not very constructive.

Suffice to say I don’t see many masterpieces coming from this digital slush pile, but you can decide for yourself. Check Inkitt out at http://www.inkitt.com/

I plan to keep my work on Inkitt at least until the contest ends on February 23 or they contact me and say Loving the Terrorist has tested positive for a best-seller and provide me with a list of publishers bidding on it.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

 

100 copies of The BIG PICTURE given away at

http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list 

til Jan. 23, 2016 at

Abandoned Dreams

Special Preorder Price 99¢ ’til March 6, 2016

After March 6, $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

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

 

 

IMG_0010 copy

With the New Year come resolutions.

Is this the year you begin, get back to, finish that novel you’ve been planning, working on, put away?

Well, good for you.

Maybe you’re thinking about taking an online course, going to a convention, or subscribing to some sort of writer’s motivational newsletter. Maybe you’ve got a completed manuscript and an inbox full of rejection slips and you’re considering self-publishing and are wondering how to launch that soon-to-be, out-of-nowhere bestseller? Perhaps you’ve already self-published and you’re wondering how to market that box of your books in the closet?

If you’re thinking about getting some help in any of these areas you might find this article helpful (discouraging?). I wrote it five years ago, updated three years ago, and have just now tweaked it with more relevant information (in brackets). With the surge of free and easy self-publishing sites it is, without a doubt, more relevant today than it’s ever been.

 

The Industry of Writers Teaching other Writers to Write

In less than a second (I have a very fast computer), my Google search engines provides me with the following:

How to write a query letter to a publisher – results 142,000 (five years ago 139,000)

How to pitch an editor – 56,100,000 results (8,500,000 results five years ago)

How to write fiction – 281,000,000 results (48,900,000 results five years ago)

Ever wonder why so many (more) writers are so keen to teach others how to write? Is it that writing somehow elevates the human spirit and elucidates the masses about esoteric concepts and endeavors?

Well, yes. That and money.

Here’s some statistics sobering statistics provided by a number sources:

– The average writer in Canada makes about $12,000 on book royalties.

– The average book in Canada sells 400 copies.

– In Canada a best seller is 5,000 copies.

I’m not even going to attempt the math, but suffice to say that the royalties for a best selling author in Canada would make his income below the poverty level – significantly.

The e-publishing industry is even more dismal. New Concepts Publishing, an e-publisher, had the courage to head up the submissions page of their website with the following royalty information from their stable of authors:

Science Fiction/Futuristic range: $127.89–$8455.46

Paranormal range: $78.00–$5673.50

Contemporary range: $55.18–$7913.78

Historical range: $75.16–$3863.12

Romantic Suspense range: $124.24–$1977.20

Fantasy range: $44.00–$4774.80

Average payout over the three year contract period $450.00

It’s estimated the average self-published author (anywhere) makes an average of $500 a year (I should be so wealthy).

How many hours did I put in writing my two (now six) e-published (paperback as well) novels? My wife could probably tell you, but there’s no question my hourly wage would be well below the minimum, probably closer to that of an itinerant laborer in a destitute third world country.

I’ve always believed, somewhat cynically I must admit, that those who can – do; and those who can’t – teach, give seminars, workshops, online courses, etc. I’ve rethought this now that I facilitate creative writing circles – yes, for money.

Poverty is a mighty motivator and who am I to act superior to other writers, the majority who are more skilled at the craft than myself? It does indeed take time away from my actual writing but I still adhere to the adage that “teaching is learning twice”.

Where am I going with this rambling piece, other than the poorhouse?

A while ago I had the opportunity to pitch a manuscript to an editor at a conference. Having been a sales person all my adult life it seemed to me nothing more than a cold call, of which I’ve made countless thousands.

However, my writing group loop was filled with anxious missives about what to say, how to say it, and how to present it. Was there more to this than being personable, knowing your product, and presenting it in a way to benefit the buyer? I decided to look at a few of the 8,500,000 results from my Google search.

Here’s some of the invaluable information I gleaned (actual quotes) about pitching your manuscript from a few of these sites:

– neatness counts when making first impressions… set the example by presenting a professional appearance. And leave the chewing gum, snacks, and cigarettes behind.

– remember, you must first believe in yourself and your work before you can persuade others to believe in it. Be proud of your writing.

– exude self-assurance, but not arrogance. It’s okay to convey enthusiasm, but temper your zeal with a patina of humility.

– pretend this is someone you’ve met at a party. Offer a personable handshake and some small talk to start things off in a relaxed manner. You’ll then find it easy to segue into the business at hand.

– take a couple of calming breaths before you go in, smile, and be yourself.

If you don’t think this is ridiculous and self-evident than consider the opposite. Would you go into an interview a looking dishevelled, chewing gum, giving attitude and being rude?

What does this say about the writing industry – or more specifically about all those conferences, the workshops and the online courses where writers advise, teach and coach other aspiring writers.

I was further dismayed when I took in the conferences keynote address delivered by a best-selling, making-the-circuit author. She focused on Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers – basically that practice, a lot of it, makes perfect.

No insights, no anecdotes, no secrets, not even any gossip.

I’m inclined to say that it’s all bogus. A self-serving undertaking capitalizing on the zeal and inexperience of those who dream of becoming successful writers.

Unfortunately, the best advice I’ve received about my writing comes from other writers, from discussions with them, and reading their how-to books.

It’s a conundrum.

So before seeing the editor (remember the editor?) I’m not taking any chances. I spit out my gum, slick back my cowlick, park my ego, take a few deep breaths, smile and introduce myself just like I would if I was meeting someone at a party.

Seven minutes later I’m out the door. He doesn’t ask to see my manuscript.

(And just as well, because shortly after this conference the publisher declared bankruptcy)

So you’re saying, all that’s old hat. This guy is not sophisticated at all. The way to publishing success is through social media.

Oh, really?

Last September I wrote an article for BookLikes and subsequently they invited me to be a guest blogger.

At the time, Booklikes had 3,143 followers on Twitter and 4,605 “likes” on Facebook. I don’t know how many members they have but they claim to be “The number one blogging platform for book lovers and the best way to discover new books”.

Then I discovered Promocave ,“A place for authors to find readers, and for readers to find books”. I posted my books free and submitted two articles, both which they published. Promocave says they have 16,046 followers on Twitter and 645 “Likes” on Facebook.

That’s nearly 20,000 new people on Twitter and over 5,000 on Facebook who had the opportunity to “discover” me and turn that interest into sales.

Despite all the social media exposure that month I didn’t sell one book.

This is further evidence to me, like I needed it, social media does not sell books. It also hints at something far more significant. Social media perpetrates the myth of popularity, but when put to the test nobody out there really “likes” you, “follows” you or supports you as a member of their “tribe”, at least not enough to buy your books.

So, if you’re an author, the best way to sell your books is…? I don’t know, but certainly not through social media or apparently not by any of the other methods I’ve attempted in the last year (see my previous blog: My 2015 Writing Year in Review).

So in 2016 my suggestion is to resolve to write better, and hope to get lucky,

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

GIVEAWAYS

Enter to win a paperback of

SAVING SPIRIT BEAT or LOVING THE TERRORIST at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164880-saving-spirit-bear

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27032523-loving-the-terrorist

Contest ends January 8, 2016

100 copies of The BIG PICTURE given away at http://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list … til Jan. 23, 2016 at

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: