Archives for category: Uncategorized

 

East Van Saturday – four short stories and a novella, has just been sent out to three more Canadian publishers.

 

The process began in November of last year when I decided that self-publishing another work (currently I’ve self-published eight novels and two plays) wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted.

 

What do I want?

Critical, serious consideration for my writing and you’re not likely going to receive that as an self-published author.

 

Why? Because it’s now dead easy to self-publish and guess what, everybody’s doing it. In 2015 alone, 625,327 ISBN numbers were issued for individual indie books.

 

In the past six months I’ve submitted to five publishers. If you think sending out submissions is easy, well, I guess it depends on what you’re comparing it to.

 

Consider:

– publishers are obsessively specific about how your manuscript should be presented: what font style, what type size, margin widths, headers, etc.

– part of the submission package is to explain why you think your work is a good fit for them,

– you must provide details on how you’re prepared to market your book,

– in most cases they will not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions,

– they won’t let you know they received your submission,

– you are under no circumstances allowed to contact them in any way,

– they won’t let you know if they reject your work, they’ll just shred it, using “a secure process”.

 

Okay, so it’s not that difficult, it’s just extremely annoying to have to deal with their arrogance – and that’s without ever having the opportunity to speak with any of them.

 

To make it even more galling, in 2014-15 these guys (and gals) received $30 million dollars in Canadian government subsidies – that’s my tax money.

 

And what exactly do they do for this money now that all the services: editing, cover design, production, marketing and distribution can be done by the author or purchased from experts relatively inexpensively?

 

One thing.

 

They’re the gatekeepers to literary acceptance. If you’re an indie author you’re a joke, if your traditionally published you’re accepted by the literati.

 

Not that I’ll make any more money. Emerging authors are lucky to receive a fifteen percent royalty on traditionally published books.

So here we go again.

 

East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella, are to some degree autobiographical and impart to the reader why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you’ll never take East Van out of the boy.

Though the stories are all set in East Vancouver (with the exception of Hitchhike, which is a cross Canada misadventure during the “summer of love”), the themes have universal appeal and the music, the fashions and the culture are distinctly familiar to “boomers”.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1580255/east-van-saturday-night-submissions-round-two

Characters & Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing) - Orson Scott Card

There’s nothing new in books about writing fiction, only on how they’re presented.

 

Some are written by academics and you need to be one to understand them. Others are written by authors who use them as a means of self-aggrandizement constantly quoting examples from their own work. These may not necessarily be good examples of what they’re trying to demonstrate, but they’re not about to let an opportunity to promote their work slip by.

 

In Characters and Viewpoint, author Orson Scott Card uses straight forward prose and not a lot of examples from his own work and gives good insight into these two important aspects of writing fiction.

 

This is a solid book about what is stated in the title.

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1575160/goods-insights-into-two-important-aspects-of-writing-fiction

Review:

Crying for the Moon: A Novel - Mary Walsh

 

 

Maureen comes from a working class family in St John’s, Newfoundland. She’s a senior in a Catholic parochial high school.

 

Even though she can’t sing she fakes her way into the school choir so she can travel as part of the group to Montreal and perform at Expo ’67, the world’s fair taking place there in 1967.

 

As soon as she arrives, her and a girlfriend go AWOL and hit the Montreal nightlife.

 

 

Before you can say ” G’wan with cha” she gets drunk and wakes up in a strange hotel room having lost her virginity as well as her girlfriend.

Evidently not big deal.

 

She goes back to the hotel, don’t know that she ever performs at Expo, but the next night is out looking for her girlfriend in the same bars and has sex with another, more or less anonymous guy all the while not enjoying it one bit, which makes this reader wonder why she does it?

 

Not wanting to hang around with someone she hardly knows she ends up at yet another bar, gets dead drunk and has sex with an “old man”.

 

Back home and back at Catholic school in St. John’s she throws up on a nun’s habit and is announced pregnant and kicked out of school.

 

Her mother, “the Sarge” tells her she isn’t going to sit around so she gets a part time job in a discount store where all the other employees hate her.

 

There’s more, but none of it has any motivation, there’s little character development – it is just one grim situation after another.

 

Why would a “good” girl attending a Catholic school, suddenly go on a sex and drinking binge just because she’s away from home?

 

I never found out because I abandoned Crying for the Moon after three chapters. Blame it on a really unsympathetic character and an inability to suspend disbelief.

 

This is a good example of a “celebrity book”. The publisher knows the author’s fame in other endeavours, in this case author Mary Walsh being somewhat of an comic icon in Canada, will sell enough books to make a profit.

 

Maybe stick to comedy, Mary, or was this book supposed to be a joke and I just didn’t get it?

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1575158/crying-for-the-moon-a-dreary-tawdry-series-of-events-lacking-in-motivation

ButtercupFieldH_IMG_0073

The Rocker and the Bird Girl (RBG) is a novella I wrote on Inkitt, more as an experiment than a serious piece of writing. I wanted to see if I wrote something YA oriented if it would generate for me any of the response this site boasts about. I’d have been happy with comments and criticism, but wouldn’t have turned down a publishing deal.

Here’s the blurb for the story.

If someone called Mattie a bird brain she’d take it as a compliment. She loves birds, has spent her entire twenty years surrounded by them and believes they are more intelligent, loving and loyal than, well, most anything else in this world.

Mattie’s grandfather spent all his retirement, time and funds, establishing a sanctuary for homeless, imported, exotic birds. Now granddad was gone and so was the money to support the sanctuary. In her desperate search for funding to keep the refuge open

Mattie had read that lead guitarist and lyricist Bodine, of the notorious rock band, Seditious, owned a Macaw as a pet. The guy was obviously fabulously wealthy. Maybe he’d like to spend some of that money saving these beautiful, precious creatures instead of on drugs and expensive toys?

He wasn’t answering her emails so she guessed she’d have to try to get his attention at the Seditious concert that was coming to town. She’d never been to a rock concert and wasn’t looking forward to it, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

***

Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll have taken their toll on Bodine, lead guitarist and songwriter for Seditious, the chart topping, outrageous rock band. He’s just playing the part until something better comes along. The problem is what’s better than being a rich and famous rock idol? Certainly not helping some over zealous young woman save exotic birds, even if his best friend is a Blue and Gold Macaw.

 

I’d knock off a chapter about once every three days and upload it to the site then promote it on Twitter and Facebook. I kind of got caught up with the characters and the plot and before I knew it they were having their way with me.

Once completed, it’s a novella, only 20,000 words, I left it up for awhile but had become too attached to it to let it languish among all the dreck. Besides after four months it had received no comments or criticisms and accumulated only about two hundred and fifty reads and eleven downloads. I’m not sure what that means in terms of success on Inkitt, but it was obvious to me nothing was happening.

And so, more or less to keep my hand in, and as an offering to my ART members (Advance Reading Team) I’ve self-published it and even have some ideas about developing it into a series. It was fun, easy to write and I got to addressed some issues. You can become an ART member and receive a free copy of The Rocker and the Bird Girl by clicking this link http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

I’m seriously considering turning RBG into a series. Apparently, novellas are very popular (easily read on your cell phone during a commute), and the characters and story ideas are still resonating with me.

All the while I’m still waiting for a traditional publisher to pickup East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella. So far not a peep, one way or another.

When it came to self-publishing the e-book edition of RBG I went with Smashwords and Kindle Direct (Amazon) and this time added Draft2Digital (D2D), more so I could pass along the experience to you and the participants of my workshops and creative writing circles since D2D has limited distribution which is more than duplicated by the coverage Smashwords offers.

If you think making it even easier to self-publish is a good thing (I’m not sure it is) than you’ll love Draft2Digital (D2D). I found uploading my manuscript along with the pertinent details extremely user friendly. They’ll even provide front and back matter for your e-book from the information you provide.

However, after uploading RBG I received an error message via email from D2D. My book was blocked from being distributed because I inadvertently hit the public domain button when uploading my file. I followed the instructions, went back and made the correction – nothing changed. My book was still blocked.

I sent an email message explaining my dilemma on June 1. Two days later after receiving no response I tried to de-list my book. It wouldn’t go away. I then decided to reload my book making sure to not hit the public domain button and bingo it went through and got distributed.

Now two listings for The Rocker and the Bird Girl appear on my D2D dashboard – one blocked and one published. Compare this to Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle Direct who always resolve my issues within twenty-four hours.

Three things I didn’t bother with in this launch were Kindle Select, Kindle Scout, and Smashwords Pre-order. These highly touted services have generated nothing whatsoever in response for me.

My email list continues generate response and I’m getting quite creative with MailChimp about using free copies to increase the membership, like using Instafreebie’s one month free introductory offer. Make sure you click the option to have Instafreebie members “opt in” by giving up their email address for a free book.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

Links to websites referenced in this blog.

Link to become an ART member http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com/

Inkitt http://inkitt.com/

Instafreebie https://www.instafreebie.com/

Mail Chimp https://mailchimp.com/

Smashwords http://smashwords.com/

Kindle Direct https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/

Create Space http://createspace.com/

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

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

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1568839/experiments-in-self-publishing-with-the-rocker-and-the-bird-girl

Reblogged from: Rod Raglin

Review:

 

In a dystopian future with civilization all but destroyed, Emperor Donovan, a wicked, evil, despot rules an area that includes London Ruins. His DRT (?) agents control the impoverished subjects with ruthless violence and the help of digital implants embedded in each person at birth (?) that identifies who they are and where they are.

 

Jacks is a homeless, pickpocket in her early teens. Her parents, branded as rebels, were murdered before her eyes when she was just a child. Her hatred for the Emperor and his agents is only slightly less than her will to survive.

 

When she is asked to see what has happened to a friend she stumbles on a roundup of subjects by DRT agents looking for rebels. To save them from execution she creates a distraction only to find she’s not the only one on a rescue mission.

 

Members of The Flames, an underground movement fighting against the tyranny of the Empire, are there as well and their members and Jacks form an uneasy alliance.

 

Gradually Jacks becomes accepted by The Flames, which consists of only five members all in their teens. However, the group’s leader, Zira, feels uneasy about the new recruit.

 

As the rebel group fights to save innocents as well as themselves from the malevolent Emperor Donovan and his henchmen, Zira’s apprehension comes to the fore as she is forced to reveal secrets of her own that involve Jacks.

 

As dystopian fiction goes Ignite is not very original but it does have potential. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered by lack of craft including amateur writing, lack of plot structure, one dimensional characterization and chapter after chapter that do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

For example, the Emperor and his agents are without exception evil, nasty, cruel and stupid. The Flames are without exception good, nice, friendly, and exceptionally smart especially for teenagers living in a society that has collapsed.

 

They are constantly one up on the bad guys even though there are a lot more of them and they have unlimited resources including weapons.

 

Hold on, two of The Flames are from a wealthy “shiner” family. Their father was thrown into the dungeons for consorting with rebels but apparently the Emperor forgot to confiscate the family wealth and throw the wife and children into the street, so now the kids use their father’s money to undermine the Empire.

 

If you think that’s dumb, the DRT agents of the Empire are so stupid they don’t even think to have paid or coerced informants in the general population considering everyone is starving and they’d likely sell their mother not to mention The Flames, for a meal.

But no they wouldn’t because in Rogland’s dystopian future everyone poor is honest, noble and loyal to The Flames, starving or otherwise.

 

In addition to attaining more writing (and reading) experience what author Danielle Rogland desperately needs is a good editor. Someone who can tell her that using adverbs to describe the delivery of almost every sentence of dialogue she’s written is the mark of an amateur. If your dialogue needs to be described it likely is weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb.

 

A good editor would cut back on the tedious descriptions of setting suggesting she leave it to the readers imagination. Most importantly, her editor would tell her to delete or significantly cut the chapters that are basically redundant chit chat and do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

In the end, Ignite would be tight, entertaining and about two-thirds as long as it is now with all the superfluity eliminated.

 

I received this e-book free from Inkitt in return for an honest review.

 

Inkitt says its  mission is “to ensure fair publishing and objectivity for authors. Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing? We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt.”

 

And how do they do this?

 

“We built artificially intelligent algorithms that have the ability to analyze reading pattern data and engagement levels. This allows us to make objective and data-driven decisions regarding a novel’s potential to become a bestseller. “

 

Apparently none of the above, as copied from Inkitt’s site, has anything to do with good writing, but hey, who am I to argue with artificially intelligent algorithms, or how many people you can persuade to click on your online book and add it to their “reading list”.

 

All the same, and despite being approved by artificially intelligent algorithms, I’m giving Ignite two stars.

 

 

 

 

Source:
www.rodraglin.com

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1558412/lack-of-craft-and-editing-extinguishes-the-potential-in-ignite

Review:

 

In a dystopian future with civilization all but destroyed, Emperor Donovan, a wicked, evil, despot rules an area that includes London Ruins. His DRT (?) agents control the impoverished subjects with ruthless violence and the help of digital implants embedded in each person at birth (?) that identifies who they are and where they are.

 

Jacks is a homeless, pickpocket in her early teens. Her parents, branded as rebels, were murdered before her eyes when she was just a child. Her hatred for the Emperor and his agents is only slightly less than her will to survive.

 

When she is asked to see what has happened to a friend she stumbles on a roundup of subjects by DRT agents looking for rebels. To save them from execution she creates a distraction only to find she’s not the only one on a rescue mission.

 

Members of The Flames, an underground movement fighting against the tyranny of the Empire, are there as well and their members and Jacks form an uneasy alliance.

 

Gradually Jacks becomes accepted by The Flames, which consists of only five members all in their teens. However, the group’s leader, Zira, feels uneasy about the new recruit.

 

As the rebel group fights to save innocents as well as themselves from the malevolent Emperor Donovan and his henchmen, Zira’s apprehension comes to the fore as she is forced to reveal secrets of her own that involve Jacks.

 

As dystopian fiction goes Ignite is not very original but it does have potential. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered by lack of craft including amateur writing, lack of plot structure, one dimensional characterization and chapter after chapter that do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

For example, the Emperor and his agents are without exception evil, nasty, cruel and stupid. The Flames are without exception good, nice, friendly, and exceptionally smart especially for teenagers living in a society that has collapsed.

 

They are constantly one up on the bad guys even though there are a lot more of them and they have unlimited resources including weapons.

 

Hold on, two of The Flames are from a wealthy “shiner” family. Their father was thrown into the dungeons for consorting with rebels but apparently the Emperor forgot to confiscate the family wealth and throw the wife and children into the street, so now the kids use their father’s money to undermine the Empire.

 

If you think that’s dumb, the DRT agents of the Empire are so stupid they don’t even think to have paid or coerced informants in the general population considering everyone is starving and they’d likely sell their mother not to mention The Flames, for a meal.

But no they wouldn’t because in Rogland’s dystopian future everyone poor is honest, noble and loyal to The Flames, starving or otherwise.

 

In addition to attaining more writing (and reading) experience what author Danielle Rogland desperately needs is a good editor. Someone who can tell her that using adverbs to describe the delivery of almost every sentence of dialogue she’s written is the mark of an amateur. If your dialogue needs to be described it likely is weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb.

 

A good editor would cut back on the tedious descriptions of setting suggesting she leave it to the readers imagination. Most importantly, her editor would tell her to delete or significantly cut the chapters that are basically redundant chit chat and do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

In the end, Ignite would be tight, entertaining and about two-thirds as long as it is now with all the superfluity eliminated.

 

I received this e-book free from Inkitt in return for an honest review.

 

Inkitt says its  mission is “to ensure fair publishing and objectivity for authors. Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing? We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt.”

 

And how do they do this?

 

“We built artificially intelligent algorithms that have the ability to analyze reading pattern data and engagement levels. This allows us to make objective and data-driven decisions regarding a novel’s potential to become a bestseller. “

 

Apparently none of the above, as copied from Inkitt’s site, has anything to do with good writing, but hey, who am I to argue with artificially intelligent algorithms, or how many people you can persuade to click on your online book and add it to their “reading list”.

 

All the same, and despite being approved by artificially intelligent algorithms, I’m giving Ignite two stars.

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1558403/lack-of-craft-and-editing-extinguishes-the-potential-in-ignite

FOREST-EbookFrontPageHow I came to write my fifth novel, Forest – Love, Loss and Legend.

My fifth novel was being written in my head even before I put anything on paper (more precisely typed anything into my laptop). It was the residuals of past works.

Left over from The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic was my research into the drug war in Mexico which my heroine Freyja covered as a photo journalist. I’d also done some investigating of failed states and civil wars throughout Africa where she was going on her next assignment. Added to that was my fascination with war correspondents and how they cope with a steady diet of death, destruction, chaos and hopelessness.

I also wanted to delve deeper into intimate relationships – what attracts us, what keep us engaged and what are the impediments to long lasting relationships? I’d touch on this in my previous novels with the turbulent romances between Freyja and Marty, and Freyja and Miguel in The Big Picture, and Dieter and Maggie in Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. I wanted to explore further how different values, different cultures, timing and circumstances impact on how, who and when we fall in love – and if it lasts.

I set this book in the Pacific Northwest of Canada – perhaps one of the few areas on the planet where there still are vast tracts of wilderness. Where behind an impenetrable wall of green it was as my hero, Matt Bennett says, “easy to imagine no human had ever set foot a hundred metres on either side of the road. Species could come to life, thrive and die without anyone except God ever knowing they existed.”

This land is a place of legend and mystery and if you’re born and raised here and take an interest in the wild things and wild places as I have, well, there’s no end to fascinating tales with just enough substantiated fact to whet the imagination. Two of which I incorporated into this story.

Here’s the blurb that introduces the novel.

Matthew and Raminder are young, idealistic and in love.

As soon as they can they plan to leave behind the small town and small minds of Pitt Landing. They will embrace life and experience the world, maybe even change it.

Man plans, God laughs. Raminder’s father has a stroke and her commitment to her family means she must postpone her plans and stay in Pitt Lake. It’s just the opposite for Matt. A family tragedy leaves irreconcilable differences between him and his father and forces him to leave.

They promise to reunite, but life happens.

Twelve years later, Matt is an acclaimed war correspondent. He’s seen it all and it’s left him with post-traumatic stress, a gastric ulcer, and an enlarged liver. He’s never been back to Pitt Landing though the memory of Raminder and their love has more than once kept him sane.

He’s at his desk in the newsroom, recuperating from his last assignment and current hangover and reading a letter from his father, the first contact they’ve had in over a decade. It talks about a legendary lost gold mine, a map leading to it, and proof in a safety deposit box back in Pitt Lake. He’s sent it to Matt in case something happens to him and cautions his son to keep it a secret.

Matt is about to dismiss the letter when the telephone rings. It’s Raminder telling him his father has disappeared somewhere in the wilderness that surrounds Pitt Lake.

Lost gold, lost love and lost hope compels Matt to return home to Pitt Landing, a dying town on the edge of the rainforest on the west coast of Canada. Will he find any of these, or does something else await him?

This novel also gave me an opportunity to revisit one of my central themes – the environment, specifically the protection of endangered species and forest conservation.

Quite inadvertently it also turned out to be a mystery.

Forest – Love, Loss, Legend was released in January 2015 with no expectations. Sales have been dismal despite the handful of very flattering reviews it has garnered.

Perhaps because it was told from only one point of view, Forest was easy to write. Too easy. I resolved that my next book would be more challenging in format and content.

 

Check out my Amazon Author Page for reviews, blurbs and buy links for all my work.

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

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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