Archives for posts with tag: book reviews

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The 9th annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is drawing to an end with thousands of E-books, including mine, offered free or at deep discounts through the month of July, 2017.

You might want to take advantage of this offer and download some of my books free since I am resolved not to give anymore of my work away with the exception to my ADVANCE READING TEAM.

Why is that, you might ask? And why now?

There is a school of thought among book marketeers (no, it’s not a typo since I consider them in the same category as racketeers) that giving away your work will create readers who will write reviews that will generate book sales.

It’s a lie.

Take for example this Smashwords promotion. A total of thirty-seven copies of the five books I offered free were downloaded. My other five titles were offered for fifty-percent off. Zero were downloaded. The vast majority of the two hundred and five books that have been downloaded from Smashwords over the past five years have been free. They’ve generated zero reviews.

There are two things about offering your work free to readers:

– there’s no downside. The reader has invested nothing, so if he doesn’t read it he’s lost nothing.

– free is equated to no value. The reader thinks the work is garbage (and he might be right) and that’s why it’s free.

I think my work has value, but I’d still might consider offering it free during the launch if I thought it would generate future sales. It doesn’t so there’s no point in continuing to demean it.

The exception might be the first book in the Mattie Saunders Series I’m writing featuring an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves animals, but not so much people. There’s some good evidence that offering the first book in a series free encourages readers to buy the rest of the series. I’ll let you know once I have a few more books in the series written and published.

Members of my Advance Reading Team will continue to get free and discounted books as well as an opportunity to read new work before it’s released to the public. You can become a member by clicking this link

http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

No spam, no tips to live by, no click bait,

Here’s a list and the link to my books, in e-book format, available free or deeply discounted for two more days during Smashwords sale.

Loving the Terrorist – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/579221

 

The Rocker and Bird Girl – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727720

 

The LOCAL RAG – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671782

 

End of the Rope – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655643

 

Harry’s Truth – Free

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649522

 

Saving Spirit Bear – 50% OFF

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

 

Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/700967

 

FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend- 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515038

 

Abandoned Dreams – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573742

 

The BIG PICTURE- A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic – 50% OFF

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515877

 

If you’re an indie author you can check out this promotion at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/sitewidePromos

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

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My first novel was published six years ago followed by five more with the most current one, Abandoned Dreams, released in March, 2016.

Over that period of time I’ve had a total of about thirty reviews – that’s for all books combined, non-duplicated. They’ve appeared and can actually be read on:

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

Goodreads   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4603345.Rod_Raglin

LibraryThing  https://www.librarything.com/search.php?search=rod+raglin 

I’ve had a few other reviews on personal blogs, and there may even be more out there I’m not aware of.

I confess I actually paid for three, but never again. Despite the assurances from paid for review sites that the fee does not guarantee a positive review I can’t reconcile this practice with my own conscience.

So how does an indie author get honest reviews since reviews apparently sell books?

I say apparently because I don’t know otherwise. My experience has been a few reviews equal a few sales. Would a whole bunch of reviews translate into a whole bunch of sales? I can’t say for sure because…well, you figure it out.

As a journalist I was trained to not to assume anything and take nothing for granted. I strongly urge other indie authors to do the same. As far as unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims the charlatans in the writing/publishing industry rank right up there with those affiliated with miracle cures and get rich internet scams.

But I digress. How does an indie author get honest reviews?

I’ve tried book giveaways on sites like Booklikes http://booklikes.com/  LibraryThing, Goodreads and StoryCartel. I’ve sent hundreds of free e-books attached to personalized e-mails. I keep an up-to-date website, tweet everyday and even blog, as you are no doubt aware, though I have yet to establish any link between the last three “soft sells” and book sales, unless after reading this you decide to buy one of my books and post a review (let me know if you do).

Media reviews or other established review outlets like Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal seem reluctant to review your book unless it’s successful(?) or at least traditionally published.

In desperation I checked out a site called The Indie View http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/

If you’re inclined to read and subsequently write reviews of the work of independent authors you’re invited to add your name to their list, which is quite substantial.

If you’re an author and fishing for reviews the site provides you with the name of the reviewer, their website, their preferences, guidelines, where they post their reviews and the date this information was last refreshed.

Keeping all this in mind I sent about a dozen review requests with an e-book of Abandoned Dreams a little over two weeks ago. So far nothing.

However, here are some interesting things I discovered.

A least twenty-five percent of the reviewers listed are closed for reviews due to a backlog. I take that as not a good sign.

Quite a few reviewers state they will not post a review of a work they cannot rate as at least three stars. I imagine they do this out of consideration, however misguided, thinking a bad review can pull down an author’s average rating.

Depending on why you write, you may be of the opinion, as I am, there is no such thing as a bad review. First and foremost I want to become a better writer – money and fame, well, I’ll accept those too – if you insist. Critical reviews, especially those that are specific, point out where I’ve let the reader down and allow me to consider how to improve in those areas.

If you’re in this game for ego, if you some how think you can fool all the readers all the time than I can understand that a bad review really sucks.

But not for me.

If someone hated my book, well, that’s okay. I’m just glad they read it and took the time to review it.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs.

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Book Giveaway Win a copy of

THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS

Enter at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway


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 novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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RenfrewRavine011015_0017Okay, remember when I made that commitment to review unknown, self-published authors. Well, I’m adding a corollary to it.

If, after three chapters, the book is causing me severe cerebral stress manifesting in physical symptoms such as clenched teeth, muttering under my breath and the onset of clinical depression at having to resume reading it, I will abandon it and write a review accordingly.

I do the same with best sellers so why should a newbie get preferential treatment? Besides, we all know that what is indicative in the first three chapters will be repeated throughout the rest of the book.

If you’re not all right with this, well, too bad.

Okay, one more thing. If I slam Michael Ondaatje why shouldn’t I slam John Doe? Does it help anyone if I send an unfavorable review to the author, they look at it, then redirect it to trash? They could think “what does he know?”, which is a valid point, and not consider any of my suggestions to improve their writing. It is, after all, just one person’s opinion.

What about the prospective reader ready to slap down $2.99 (or more) on this e-book on the strength of twenty glowing reviews? Do I have an obligation to forewarn them? Reviews are for readers.

So my review gets buried and nobody benefits – including me.

I don’t think so.

New policy. I review your book, you get my honest opinion – posted, everywhere.

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My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

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

foggyLance_0025 copy copyI was about to review The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje when I discovered this work already has 352 reviews on Amazon. Does Michael need another review? Will my comments make a difference to this internationally known, winner of every major literary award, Canadian literary icon?

I know an author that would like to see his novel(s) reviewed – me. Or someone like me. Someone at the beginning of his or her writing career when a review and a starred rating are actually worth something, perhaps in sales and certainly in self-esteem.

So why not read works written by author’s like myself and write a review of their book instead of a book by the Michael Ondaatje’s of this world? There’s certainly lots to choose from and many of these books are free on sites like BookLikes, StoryCartel, even Smashwords and Amazon.

Just a second, that could mean reading a lot of bad writing. Am I up to that kind of sacrifice to help promote new literary voices?

No.

I believe an author should read the same type of books he wants to writes. Why read westerns when you write commercial/literary fiction? Why read amateurs when you want to be a pro?

Nietzsche said, “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” If I want to create great art, perhaps I should be a little more gracious. Probably good for my karma as well.

Okay, how about half of what I read will be from new, undiscovered writers and the other half from someone I aspire to write like?

I can’t see any point in writing a dishonest review. There’s likely at least a few on most new writers book pages as it is – family and friends guilted into posting something flattering and hitting five stars. I’m not sure how that helps them and I won’t be doing that.

I’ll write constructive reviews. I think I know enough about this craft to point out what the author is doing right and perhaps suggest how they might improve other areas, though this by no means suggests I don’t make the same mistakes myself – again and again.

I actually get more from well-considered negative reviews of my work (and I’ve had enough) than glowing ones that lack specifics. However, if the review I write is less than three stars I’ll email it to the author to see if they want me to post it. If they don’t, I won’t. They can use it for their edification or send it to their trash file unread.

I hope to make some surprising discoveries and maybe offer some assistance along the way.

P.S. Anyway, I went ahead and reviewed The Cat’s Table. I gave it one star just so you know what you’re in for.

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My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

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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