Archives for posts with tag: giveaways

TulipMeldIMG1_0029 copy – publishing and writing technology that fails to deliver

Back in November I wrote a blog entitled, “matches manuscripts to non-existent pages, vanity press when I discovered that the platform that claims to “…connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published” had connected one of my uploaded books to publishing sites that, among other inconsistencies, didn’t even exist or wanted me to pay them to publish my book. In fact, sixty percent of “matches” didn’t actually match.

Further to that, today I received an email from one of the sites that actually did “match”, Black Rose Writing, saying they “were going to pass on Loving the Terrorist (my novel) at present”, however if I decided to self-publish to consider their imprint, Bookend Design “where (you) would work directly with the Black Rose Writing Design Team.”

I’m wondering how much business Black Rose Writing gets from submissions from authors hoping for a traditional publishing contract and then redirecting them to their self-publishing imprint, Bookend Design?

Is there no end to the scams in this industry? And what about vetting these so-called publishers for their site?

Technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.

The latest product from is Intelligent Editorial Analysis, “technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.”

They offered me the opportunity to test drive this product and so I uploaded the manuscript of my novel The Big Picture, A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

On a scale of 1 to 100, where a 100 most resembles a commercially viable book, my manuscript scored 85.48.

My strengths included “an elevated level of craft” because of my “measured use of adjectives like “very” ” as well as “going easy on the exclamation marks”. Weaknesses were inconsistent spelling (they don’t say what), explicit language (curse words) and the use of clichés .

This last one I’d challenge but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and I don’t plan to get bent out of shape over it since it’s all grist for the mill.

If you want to try this out it will now cost you $49. Go to

InstaFreebie bolsters Advance Reading Team E-mail list

I just finished a trial offer on Instafreebie. For those of you who are not familiar with this giveaway platform here’s how it’s described on their site:

InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways, we live our mission every day and give readers a chance to SEE IT FIRST™.InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.

Their basic program is free but I signed up for a thirty day free trial of the “Plus” program that allowed me to add subscribers to my email list. Fourteen people received an e-book edition of one of my novels and became a member of my Advance Reading Team by opting in with their email address.

A monthly subscription to this program is $20. That works out to $1.43 and e-mail.


Here’s the site address:

Deliver an hour long workshop – sell a few books

I delivered an hour long workshop on Introduction to Memoir Writing. This was in return for an opportunity to sell my books at the event. It worked, but if you factored in my time in preparation and the actual presentation I ended up subsidizing the sales.

There’s got to be easier ways to sell books. Any ideas?

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.


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

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

Video book reviews of books about how to write fiction as well as the work of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

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:

View my flickr photostream at

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music






The byzantine behavior of author services sites continues to intrigue and repulse.

Intrigue because of creative ways they come up with to be disingenuous; repluse because they take advantage, both emotionally and financially, of the newly naive and eternally hopeful.

These services can provide manuscript assessment, developmental editing (?) formatting, design, distribution book launch, marketing, PR, social media management – in other words they can do everything for a price except guarantee the success they insinuate or imply.

What’s disconcerting is many of these services are unnecessary and those that are necessary can be accomplished by the author at no charge except in time and patience.

I suppose when you’re chasing a dream, time and patience are not something you’re considering and that’s too bad, because that’s what these services are counting on.

I recently investigated one such service to see what they could offer by way of book distribution.

Not surprising it was less than what I have achieved through my own initiatives and with the considerable assistance of Amazon, Smashwords and Google.

For their distribution service they were asking a ninety-nine dollar membership fee and fifteen percent of royalties from sales generated from Amazon and any other sites. This for something any author can plug into free.

I can understand why these services might intrigue a new, self-published author. Why not to let someone else do the publishing and distribution while they focus on writing best sellers. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the new author will sell enough books to recover his costs, which to me has always been like adding insult to injury.

Giveaways generate little meaningful response

While we’re on the topic – that being insult to injury, let’s revisit Goodreads site that claims 40,000 of their members enter giveaway contests everyday.

For the month of April I ran a giveaway for one paperback edition of my novels Abandoned Dreams, The Big Picture and Forest. Here’s the results

Abandoned Dreams: 422 requests, 160 added it “to read”

The Big Picture: 381 requests, 129 added it “to read”

Forest: 437 requests, 171 added it “to read”

At the time of writing this, 923 people “want to read” at least one of the six books I have on Goodreads and yet I’m still stuck at twenty-four reviews since March 2016. These people are awfully slow readers. I’m still hopeful that at least the people who won the books will review them.

I gave away forty-six e-books of Forest on LibraryThing month as well but at least it didn’t cost me anything.

New multiple query site draws a blank

Despite claiming to be “the easiest, smartest and most rewarding way for writers, agents and publishers to connect” has yet to make a connection for my books after being on their site a month now.

Inkitt’s offer so simple it’s suspicious

Inkitt in my in-box asking if I was “Interested in having your novel in the spotlight.”

The email went on to say, “We’re featuring six of your novels in upcoming editions of Inkitt’s newsletter to help promote your work and recommend some great summer reads!”

All I have to do is “Send a 200-character catchy teaser and the link to your story”.

The loglines have been sent and I’ll let you know what happens since I’ve only uploaded one of my novels to their site.

The Local Rag up next

My new novel, The Local Rag, a story about what it’s like to be the publisher and editor of a community newspaper in these changing times, of which I know a fair bit, was completed April 9 and is now resting. I plan to resurrect it mid-July for rewrites, beta readers and formatting. The plot also includes infidelity, murder and drug smuggling for good measure.

WIP East Van Saturday Night – anthology of short storys plus a novella

I’m currently doing a rewrite of Hitchhike, a 30,000 word novella and part of a book that includes an additional five short stories. The stories all have the same main character and are a chronological accounting of major life events from the age of five to nineteen. The title of this compilation is East Van Saturday Night, taken from one of the stories.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs




BacklitMaple111114_53 copyTo date I have sent approximately 150 personal emails with a file of my book, The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic attached. These are to readers who have received free copies of at least one of my other novels through giveaways on BookLikes and StoryCartel. The last of these emails was sent about a month ago. To date I have received two reviews. At least both of them have been good.

In a desperate effort to get something happening for my new novel I enlisted the services of Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews (RFBR).

Originally, I had posted all four of my novels with them for a free review. After three months and no response I figured my books were not among the 65% of free review requests selected. I opted for the $129 – 3 Express Reviews Package that features:

– Three different reviews and critiques of your book.

– 3 guaranteed reviews by 3 different reviewers completed and posted in 2-3 weeks.

– 3 months of advertising in our Featured Book rotator.

– Reviews posted on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Google+, Twitter & Pinterest.

– Reviews displayed on your Readers’ Favorite review page.

You can also post the review on your Amazon author page in your Editorial Reviews section.

The BIG PICTURE received two five star and one four star review. I was not impressed with the quality of the reviews but they were high marks and made for flattering quotes.

A week later my novel SPIRIT BEAR was reviewed for free and it got three stars. You can draw your own conclusions here, but I’m going to have to assume paid reviews don’t get higher ratings. I mean you got to believe some people associated with this industry have integrity – don’t you?

For more information on Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews go to

To read the reviews on The BIG PICTURE go to

RFBR said they’d post my reviews on Google Books so I registered there and, yes indeed, here is another opportunity to list your book. Go to

I continue to Tweet even the most inconsequential developments. Twitter analysis shows this is yet another futile endeavor. Take for example the month of November: on an average my tweets earned 64 impressions a day, but so what? The engagement rate was 1.2%; link clicks 3; retweets 0; favourites 0.

Has any of this – the free books, the paid for positive reviews, the social media, made a difference.

So far, no.

After four and a half months The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic still has zero sales as an e-book despite a few flattering editorial and reader reviews.

Still I persevere. The book format is now in final proofing stages and will soon be released with Amazon’s Createspace.

With the interest in the new genre Environmental Fiction (Eco-Fiction or Eco-Fi), my publisher is now moving ahead and my novel Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients, book three in the stand-alone ECO-WARRIOR SERIES, will soon be available in book form as well.

Likely by the end of the year I’ll have two books available in print.

How do I feel at this point? Here’s a quote attributed to best-selling author, Lee Child, that sums it up:

“It’s a kind of zen question: if you write a book and no one reads it, is it really a book?”

I don’t know, is it?



My new novel, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic is now available on Amazon at

Read Reviews

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.

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:

View my flickr photostream at

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

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