Archives for the month of: September, 2017

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According to Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader, the leading news website devoted to digital publishing, e-books, and e-reader news I’m a bad writer.

How does he come to that conclusion? In his own words, You are only considered a real author if you can make your living solely from the book sales. If you can’t, you are merely a writer… the industry needs to define the good writers from the bad. The primary way we can do this is by sales figures; if authors make their living from publishing, they are often considered good writers.  Once we can define a good writer from a bad, we can start to segregate them.”

Which brings us to another of his suggestions, segregating self-published books according to sales.

“My suggestion is for all major online bookstores that take submitted indie content to create their own sections for self-published writers. These titles should not be listed side by side with the traditional press.  Indie titles should have their own dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore.”

Why, you ask, does Kozlowski think this is necessary?

“There are a copious number of online self-publishing companies that promise aspiring authors the opportunity to distribute their e-book all over the world. Millions of authors publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press and Smashwords. Most “authors” who self-publish an e-book never sell more than a handful and over seventy-five percent of all authors never earn a living through their writing.”

And the result of this plethora of self-published dreck (my word) is that “We live in a world full of terrible e-book titles that ruin e-book discovery and make it difficult to find a good book. It is no small wonder why e-book sales have plummeted in recent years.”

The comments on Kozlowski’s blog https://goodereader.com/blog/author/michael-kozlowski on this topic are mostly specious in that they don’t respond to the problem he’s addressing. They range from outright denial to dismissing his ideas because there’s a typo in his text. As one who actually reads and reviews the work of unknown, randomly selected indie authors I’d have to agree with his assessment and his solution.

When I decided to write fiction about ten years ago I had about forty years of journalism as a formative base. But even though I’d written hundreds of thousands of words up to that point it, fiction was a different style of writing. To learn how to write fiction I attended writer’s groups, joined online critique sites and read dozens of books and I continue to do so.

Writing fiction is a craft and it can be learned and mastered, to some degree, by learning the fundamentals and then practicing – a lot. It’s evident that the vast majority of the indie authors I’ve read haven’t even bothered to learn the basics and have spent no where near enough time practicing.

As Kozlowski says “Indie titles have no quality and control, often they are merely submitting a Word document to Amazon and clicking publish.”

Kozlowski’s not suggesting all self-published books are crap and all traditionally published books are classics, just that “there is some expectation of quality” in reading a traditionally published book”, and that’s definitely not the case with reading a self-published work.

From the beginning of my venture into writing and publishing fiction it became apparent to me the only way to measure success was with book sales. This is an industry of illusion and delusion and the majority those involved are, as Kozlowski suggested, subject to the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

“Unskilled individuals that suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

I have come to accept that I am “inept” until my book sales prove otherwise.

Accordingly, I’m prepared to have all my books segregated in “dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore.”

I’m sure there will be very good books that never attain that threshold (mine?) and I’m just as sure there will be those who, rather than hone their craft to the point they can write a good book, will find ways of attaining that threshold fraudulently.

However, this is a solution I am prepared to considered in hopes “the cream might rise to the top”.

If Kozlowski’s is right that by 2020, fifty percent of all digital books will be written by indie authors and that will account for 25,000 new titles a month being submitted to online bookstores than something, indeed, has to be done.

So just how many books would you need to sell to meet the threshold and advance to “the majors”?

Amazon has author and sales ranking graphs that are updated hourly. On Sept. 5, 2017, someone purchased one (1) e-book edition of my novel Saving Spirit Bear. That single sale boosted the novel’s ranking from 8,787,432 to 201, 692 an increase of 8,585,740 points. My author ranking subsequently increased 582,673 points from 825,278 to 242,605.

What do these numbers mean? I’d say a few sales a month and an indie author would be among the top 100,000 selling authors on Amazon. Would that get you into “the majors”?

Who cares, you’d still be making peanuts.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my eight novels and two plays at

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

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, and discounts regarding my books

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486&fref=comp

 

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/

 

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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Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby. He writes the bookbaby Blog at http://blog.bookbaby.com/

It’s a thinly veiled promotional blog that encourages self-published authors to use the services of BookBaby to prepare and publish their manuscripts. I compare it to the weekly newsletter I get from a local realtor where despite rising interest rates, falling house prices and any other economic calamity that might be happening “it’s always a good time to buy or sell property”.

Here’s my response to his most recent blog entitle “Book Reviews: The Ultimate Word Of Mouth Promotion”.

 

Hi Steven,
Let’s crunch some numbers shall we. You shouldn’t mind because they’re ones you provided.

You write in your recent BookBaby blog that book reviews are critical to promoting my book. I agree. You write ” “There are literally thousands of book reviewers and bloggers online, and most of them review books even though they aren’t paid.”

I’d be doing a little more research before making a statement like that if I were you. I’ll bet you’ll find the majority of these bloggers and reviewers though online aren’t active.

After making this unqualified claim about thousands of bloggers and reviewers who want to review my work at no charge you then “recommend the following sites:

Midwest Book Review that charges $50 a review;
The Indie Reader at $255 a review: and,
The Self-Publishing Review at $119 a review.

If I was to “purchase” one review from each site it would cost a total of $394.

What happened to the thousands of unpaid book reviewers and bloggers? Why didn’t you list a few of them?

You can purchase an e-book of mine from Amazon for $3.99 of which I get 35% royalty or $1.35. I’d need to sell about 291 books to pay for these three reviews.

And what if they’re bad reviews?

According to your 2017 Self-Publishing Survey

https://www.bookbaby.com/…/official-self-publishing-survey-…

of the 4300 authors who took part only 5%, or about 215 authors, made $5000 a year from their writing. The other category you draw comparisons from which is obviously significantly larger, is the one you call lower earning authors who earn less than $100 a year from their writing.

The inherent conflict of interest of “paid for reviews” aside, how in good conscience can you recommend to the majority of indie authors, making less than $100 a year from their writing as indicated by your own research, that they spend that kind of money on reviews?

So which is it, Steven? Are either totally out of touch with your own research and our plight, or part of the pack who prey on naive and delusional new indie authors who are prepared to throw money away chasing that elusive dream?

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1600874/bookbaby-prez-says-thousands-want-to-review-your-book-free-then-suggest-three-that-would-cost-394

 

Tree Therapy

Most days I get ahead of the morning. I’m up and busy with the mindless tasks that paradoxically fill my mind. It’s good to be engaged, interested, anticipating the challenges and rewards of the day unfolding.

 

Then there are days I awake anxious and for no particular reason. I don’t indulge these moods but despite my best efforts they prevail. I become disconcerted and irritable. Little things seem difficult, difficult things seem insurmountable.

 

On days like these I’m more keenly aware of intolerance and bigotry, of ignorance. I despair at people’s motives and am appalled by their actions. Frustration gives way to anger, gives way to cynicism, gives way to a feeling of hopelessness.

 

I’m running out of optimism. I know for a fact that everything is not going to be all right.

I would surrender, but to whom? I would retreat, but to where?

 

Nothing constructive or creative will happen until I shake this pall of despondency. I gear up and head out.

 

Even as I approached them my mood begins to lift.

 

The Maples of Kensington. Eight stately giants – so huge, so proud, so magnificently impersonal.

 

These are Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum), the largest of the Maple family perhaps 300 years old, maybe 50 metres high. Being tightly clustered they have developed a narrow crown supported by a trunk free of branches for about half its length.

 

I stand beneath them, I press my palms against their bark, I take a deep breath and listen.

 

And they speak to me.

 

High in their lofty branches the leaves rush and whisper and their sound soothes and reassures. Slowly their benign energy renews my confidence and restores my vitality. The desolation passes, and I feel unburdened, at peace and prepared.

 

 

 

 

Indian Summer

 

The summer had inhaled
And held its breath too long*

 

A strange mood ascends on me as summer slowly draws to an end.

 

The days have a listless quality, time seems suspended. There’s a feeling of deja vu – though not of an experience, rather an emotion, a dream sense, vague and inarticulate.

It’s like a lost memory – tinged with warning.

 

It’s about ending – something good, something sweet and easy. It’s about something approaching – new, different, challenging. The anticipation of change sends a ripple of foreboding, but I feel resigned, accepting.

 

One afternoon I find myself at Trout Lake, the local swimming hole.

 

When I was a kid the entire family would walk here from our home on East 4th. Sometimes I’d go with my neighbourhood buddies. It was a different world then, no structured play dates, we roamed free seeking and finding adventures. Most of these people are gone now, yet standing on the shore I can hear their happy voices, catch glimpses of them splashing into the green water.

 

This lake was witness to many rites of passage and figures prominently in my writing. The beach is small and less crowded than I remember. The raft I nearly drowned trying to swim to is not so far. Could it possibly be sixty years since I swam here?

 

Suddenly I’m enveloped in a sense of longing for a phantom life that almost was, but never will be.

 

I run across the hot sand, splash through the shallows and dive in.

 

The water is cool, slightly murky, exactly as I remember it and for brief seconds it washes the years away. I kick hard, go deeper, then roll over. Up through the depths the sun sparkles, shards of diffused light. I’m eight years old until I break the surface and look back to shore.

 

They’re gone.

 

And I’m still here.

 

 

 

*From Coming Back to Me, written by Marty Balin,
On Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, 1967

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6HEU

Facebook https://www.facebook.com

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1600863/tree-therapy-indian-summer-facebook-vignettes

MaplesSunFlare_IMG_0108

Tree Therapy

Most days I get ahead of the morning. I’m up and busy with the mindless tasks that paradoxically fill my mind. It’s good to be engaged, interested, anticipating the challenges and rewards of the day unfolding.

Then there are days I awake anxious and for no particular reason. I don’t indulge these moods but despite my best efforts they prevail. I become disconcerted and irritable. Little things seem difficult, difficult things seem insurmountable.

On days like these I’m more keenly aware of intolerance and bigotry, of ignorance. I despair at people’s motives and am appalled by their actions. Frustration gives way to anger, gives way to cynicism, gives way to a feeling of hopelessness.

I’m running out of optimism. I know for a fact that everything is not going to be all right.

I would surrender, but to whom? I would retreat, but to where?

Nothing constructive or creative will happen until I shake this pall of despondency. I gear up and head out.

Even as I approached them my mood begins to lift.

The Maples of Kensington. Eight stately giants – so huge, so proud, so magnificently impersonal.

These are Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum), the largest of the Maple family perhaps 300 years old, maybe 50 metres high. Being tightly clustered they have developed a narrow crown supported by a trunk free of branches for about half its length.

I stand beneath them, I press my palms against their bark, I take a deep breath and listen.

And they speak to me.

High in their lofty branches the leaves rush and whisper and their sound soothes and reassures. Slowly their benign energy renews my confidence and restores my vitality. The desolation passes, and I feel unburdened, at peace and prepared.

 

TroutLakeBeachIMG_0057

Indian Summer

The summer had inhaled
And held its breath too long*

A strange mood ascends on me as summer slowly draws to an end.

The days have a listless quality, time seems suspended. There’s a feeling of deja vu – though not of an experience, rather an emotion, a dream sense, vague and inarticulate.

It’s like a lost memory – tinged with warning.

It’s about ending – something good, something sweet and easy. It’s about something approaching – new, different, challenging. The anticipation of change sends a ripple of foreboding, but I feel resigned, accepting.

One afternoon I find myself at Trout Lake, the local swimming hole.

When I was a kid the entire family would walk here from our home on East 4th. Sometimes I’d go with my neighbourhood buddies. It was a different world then, no structured play dates, we roamed free seeking and finding adventures. Most of these people are gone now, yet standing on the shore I can hear their happy voices, catch glimpses of them splashing into the green water.

This lake was witness to many rites of passage and figures prominently in my writing. The beach is small and less crowded than I remember. The raft I nearly drowned trying to swim to is not so far. Could it possibly be sixty years since I swam here?

Suddenly I’m enveloped in a sense of longing for a phantom life that almost was, but never will be.

I run across the hot sand, splash through the shallows and dive in.

The water is cool, slightly murky, exactly as I remember it and for brief seconds it washes the years away. I kick hard, go deeper, then roll over. Up through the depths the sun sparkles, shards of diffused light. I’m eight years old until I break the surface and look back to shore.

They’re gone.

And I’m still here.

*From Coming Back to Me, written by Marty Balin,
On Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, 1967

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6HEU

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486&fref=comp

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