Archives for posts with tag: writing

I spoke for an hour – flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn’t miss them).

A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don’t know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.

They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.

Here’s the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you’re considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I’ll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.

Here’s the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

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

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.

What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.

How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?

Be specific about your Goal

It’s best to be specific and not generalize – I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.

Motivation

Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more – the prestige, the power, the independence?

Conflict

These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel – the responsibility of a family, lack of time – or fear of failure?

Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don’t start with backstory – your personal history – fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.

Story structure

The story arc – begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax – the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.

Then denouement – wrap up loose ends and finish.

Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How – and answer these questions honestly

Evoke emotion – how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don’t tell the reader how you felt about the events you’re writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing – the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.

Show don’t tell

You want your reader to feel like they’re actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember exactly what was said – this is your story.

Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel. Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.

Use specifics – don’t generalize

Revision

Once you’ve written your memoir you need to put it away until it’s out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You’ll likely have lots of revisions.

Once you’ve done the re-write, you need to find as many “objective” people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.

Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.

Once you’ve done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon – free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.

Books that are helpful:

The Writer’s Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne

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So how was your year in writing? Mine was, as always, interesting though not commercially successful.

I’ll list my publishing credits for 2016 at the end of this blog that way you can skip them if you like.

I’d rather talk about what worked and more often what didn’t. I want to tell you what I learned and how I feel about it. Perhaps by the end of this accounting a way to move forward will become evident – a more positive, less frustrating one.

To complete and self publish two novels, as well as resurrecting and self-publishing two plays means, if nothing else, that I’ve been busy. I’ve also tried to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry including the new publishing platforms and book marketing techniques.

After the launch of The Local Rag in October, I once again revisited that dark place, the one where I feel the only way I’ll achieve publishing success is by divine intervention and how likely is that for someone as undeserving as me?

I had used every iota of publishing savvy I had gleaned from a myriad of sources and, though more successful than previous launches, it came up short – way short.

To continue what I was doing and expecting a different result, well, that’s a definition of insanity, or at least severe delusion.

The only thing I had yet to attempt that is highly touted by the book marketing gurus is the internet connection – becoming chummy with groups of writers and readers online. The theory is if you’re sincere and share something of yourself a relationship will bloom and from relationships evolve all good things, right? Anyhow,  you get the picture.

What did I have to lose? Say again, what did I have to lose?

Nothing. All, right maybe dignity, but how bad could it be?

Goodreads is a big proponent of the benefit of participating in groups. I joined three; two were dead and the few active members of the one that was functioning were so ostentatious I couldn’t stand it.

Internet group snobs – who’d have known.

I registered with Amazon’s Write on, “a place for all the people who make great writing happen. Here, you can get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process.

Very quickly it becomes apparent this site is populated primarily by new writers – very new writers, many whom have no desire to go further. They write their stories, post them on the site and receive positive, if specious, comments that feed their delusion.

Go deeper into the site and there are some very toxic groups – interesting but not illuminating.

Then there’s Wattpad and Inkitt.

Both these sites are primarily populated by teenagers – seriously. However, moving forward with the “what have I got to lose” attitude I decided to participate.

I began writing a story for the target audience just to see what kind of response I’d get. It’s actually been fun, submitting chapters and seeing how many hits you get – not many. Here’s the link to The Rocker and the Bird Girl.

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/romance/85760?ref=a_f0008a76-bbb3-4b9e-b291-bd01bbc0e8ce&utm_source=share_author_reminder

I also contributed mini reviews for a number of works posted on Inkitt. It’s safe to say very few writers on this site understand the basic structure of a story – though some have been less hostile than others in regards to learning about it.

This sojourn into internet socialization has been exhausting and fruitless. My time is better spent trying to sustain my Advance Reading Team e-mail list which seems to diminish with every campaign I send out – a disturbing trend.

You can help bolster it by signing up if you like and get free e-books, discounts and interesting links to other writing stuff from time to time. Click here to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

In 2017 I’ll focus on East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella, currently being considered by a traditional publisher, and re-releasing under my own name Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients, the third book in the Eco-Warrior Series, when my publisher finally relinquishes the rights.

I currently have two works in progress that are introducing me to fascinating characters including an asexual politician, a passionate ornithology student and a ass-kicking rock guitarist who studied at Juilliard. I’m learning new things and visiting exotic places.

And they say a writer’s life is lonely.

Achievements (?) in 2016

Self-published Abandoned Dreams (March 22)

Resurrected and self-published two plays, Harry’s Truth (July 15) and End of The Rope (August 16)

Self-published The Local Rag (October 8)

Read and reviewed 12 books

Wrote and posted 34 blogs

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

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Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven 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, 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

Layout 1

This is my seventh novel, you’d think I should know something about launching one by now. Right?

Because I write this blog and facilitate creative writing circles I continue to read books and participate in webinars on book marketing hoping there’ll be something new I can pass on.

There isn’t.

There’s stats, graphs, media mixes and the occasional ridiculous suggestions like:

– include the title of all your books in the header photo of your various social media sites, and

– post photos of five covers of your books on your Facebook opening page – bottom left column below your intro.

As if this preaching to the converted (since they’re already on your site) will make a difference.

Currently, the Holy Grail of social media marketeers is “the e-mail list”.

Building the email list should be the primary objective of authors and this is done through giveaways, signups for your newsletter and any other way you can get a person to divulge their email address.

Then, if done right – right timing, content and frequency, these lists can apparently be mined for gold.

Without exception these social media marketeers, authors and webinar presenters all have their own marketing company and will be happy to further enlighten you with an online course or program (for a fee).

Armed with the experience of six previous launches and now buoyed with all this new(?) marketing information I set forth on October 1, 2016 to launch my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

The first thing I did was to enroll my book in Kindle Scout, Amazon’s “reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com

There’s a forty-five day exclusive agreement stating you’re not selling your book while it’s part of the contest.

In essence this is an electronic slush pile, but it’s free and easy though it provides little indication if your book is popular since, like most internet polls, it can be easily skewed by nominees who rabidly recruit votes from everyone they’ve ever come in contact with.

Then I sent an email with a free Advance Reading Copy e-book.

For the first time I used MailChimp. They offer a free service for lists less than two thousand subscribers. I have two hundred and thirty-five emails from people who at one time or another expressed and interest in my writing. MailChimp is worth investigating and certainly beats sending individual emails.

https://www.mailchimp.com

I enrolled the e-book edition of The LOCAL RAG in Kindle Select. For a ninety day exclusive Kindle Select offers me greater royalties, wider distribution, participation in Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and the opportunity to offer my book free on Amazon for five days during that period. I chose five individual free days more or less spaced equally apart.

I’ve used this program for some launches and not for others. The results have been the same – zero.

https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se

By the end of the month I had sent out two follow-up emails urging people to vote for The LOCAL RAG on Kindle Scout and read and review my book.

Once the Kindle Scout promotion had expired (results pending but not holding my breath) I scheduled a giveaway from November 7th to December 4th on Goodreads for two paperback books, and on BookLikes and LibraryThing for the same duration for one hundred ebooks each.

http://goodreads.com/

http://booklikes.com/

http://librarything.com/

I set up a pre-order on Smashwords for January 7, 2017, ninety days out and once my commitment to Kindle Select is over. I’ll likely offer it for free for a couple of weeks just for exposure. Smashwords is another non-starter, but what the hell.

https://www.smashwords.com/

I’ve joined four Goodreads groups and will endeavor to engage in meaningful and civil discussions during the next three months as well. Social media gurus insist joining and participating in online groups will increase sales – at least indirectly. This by far is the most difficult and time consuming part of the launch.

My goal is to get at least ten reviews and sell at least fifty books within six months of the launch.

With about one month down I’ve so far received three reviews (all five stars) and no sales.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Stay calm, be brave watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven 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, 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When it comes to my writing and friends and family I’ve established clear boundaries. Here they are:

– I don’t talk about my writing even if asked. Those enquiring are usually only doing so to be polite and aren’t really interested. In any case, listening to someone talk about their writing is profoundly boring – even for me and I’m a writer.

– I don’t solicit reviews or ratings from them. I try to avoid even the faintest hint of conflict of interest in the support and criticisms I get.

– I very rarely give them my books. If they’re interested they can buy one.

I once went to a birthday party  where a friend’s partner had rented a gallery and had a show professionally mounted of her paintings. Needless to say, most of those attending bought some of her art. She was thrilled.

This to me is not a measure of artistic merit. I didn’t buy anything,  in fact, I was surprised and not a little offended. This was hardly better than  a Tupperware party.

I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to take advantage of my friends and family. I don’t want to demean myself and my work.

The independent publishing industry is rife with nepotism, gimmicks, and chicanery – all geared toward reaching bestseller status. I don’t care if I’m a bestseller, but I do want to become a better writer. I think these practices prevent that from happening by creating a false sense of accomplishment.

You think you’re good, but your not. You’re delusional.

I don’t know if this stand has hurt my sales or not. If it has it hasn’t been significant because I’m just not that popular – with friends or family.

I’ve also developed guidelines for social media.

I don’t solicit followers on Twitter, don’t “friend” people on Facebook, and don’t appeal to viewers to “like” or “subscribe” to my YouTube channel.

I do encourage comments and criticisms which I faithfully respond to and hopefully learn something from.

Amazingly, some people chose to follow me which is gratifying because it definitely is not reciprocated.

I had one expert tell me “social media is not for you”. Really? Maybe just not her kind of social media, the kind where friends and followers are little more than meaningless numbers and bare no resemblance of reality.

I still believe a social media following can be built by someone who has something interesting and original to say regardless of whether he’s a friend, follower or subscriber.

Later this month I’ll be waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Layout 1The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, was the first novel I knew I would publish independently.

I wanted to explore a number issues and without the constrains of genre I had no idea where they would take me. I was excited.

I wanted to examine the creative process – and how the art and the artist are influenced by the marketplace.

I wanted to delve into the intensity of family dynamics – how wonderful it is when it works and how damaging it can be when it doesn’t.

I wanted complex characters and authentic relationships.

As a journalist, I’d covered stories that couldn’t be reported. I knew what was going on but I couldn’t get someone to go on (or off) the record to admit it. It was frustrating, but what could you do?

Well, you could use it in fiction. The plot of The Big Picture is comprised of some of those unsubstantiated stories and also my investigation into the influence of drug money on our lives .

To get at my protagonist’s inner journey I went deep inside myself, rooted around, and came forth with not so much the truth about a life I’ve experienced, but one I’d hoped (still hope) to live.

Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe said, “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” I wanted Freyja, my heroine, to be that person. I wanted to see where her blunt refusal to compromise and her intolerant attitude toward those who did would lead her.

Here’s what I came up with:

Young, talented, ambitious, Freyja Brynjarrson’s a photographer struggling to crash the art establishment, the challenges presented by her family, and still keep true to her uncompromising ethic.

Fate places her on the front line of a political demonstration where soldiers open fire on civilians. She photographs death for the first time and likes it.

Because of the sensitive nature of her pictures the current government, facing an imminent election, tries to suppress them. But someone far more unscrupulous than government spin-doctors also wants those images destroyed.

Gunnar Brynjarrson, Freyja’s eldest brother is the head of an illegal narcotics empire. He’s concerned about the opposition party’s platform to decriminalize drugs. His sister’s photographs could influence the outcome of a close election and put his business in jeopardy.

As events unfold, Freyja slowly becomes aware of the far-reaching impact the billions of narco dollars have on the government, the economy, friends, family and even herself. Something insidious has infected society and like a super bug it’s resilient, opportunistic and appears as a mutation in the most unexpected places.

Freyja refuses to compromise and is intolerant and unforgiving of those who succumb to this evil or are complicit in their acceptance of it. If she stays at home she’s afraid she’ll be infected and never attain success on her own terms.

She takes an assignment with an international agency photographing the chaos and casualties of Mexico’s drug war. Freyja soon discovers she’s shot only one frame of ‘the big picture’.

The Big Picture focuses on dramatic action, zooms in on political intrigue, and takes a candid snap shot of modern romance. The plot also reveals how narco dollars, overtly and covertly, influence every level of our lives; the wars we fight, the governments we elect, the impact on healthcare, and most importantly and tragically, our personal relationships.

When The Big Picture was finished I set about self-publishing it. I used Kindle Direct for the e-book and Createspace for the paperback, both Amazon platforms.

I know a little about publishing having been (and still am) a community newspaper publisher for nearly four decades. Mind you, with the speed technology is evolving past experience doesn’t count for much, if anything. In any case, I didn’t find the process that difficult. The most difficult part was, and still is, making sure my original manuscript is error free.

I loved this book. I did everything I could to promote it – used social media, sent out advance copies, ran giveaways, sent forth positive thoughts.

I allowed myself to hope. It was a mistake. The Big Picture was self-published without acclaim, reviews or sales. I was disappointed. I felt bad, not so much for myself as for the book. I felt I had let everyone down – meaning my characters.

I regrouped and focused on why I write – because I love to, to learn new things, and to pass my view of the world on to others. Two out of three – not too bad.

Upon reflection I realized The Big Picture had done no worse than the first three books I had published with a publisher. I enjoyed the independence of self-publishing – and the responsibility. So when it became time to renew the contracts with my publisher I said I would if they would publish all the books as paperbacks. We compromised – they published Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients and I yanked the other two books, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs.

I subsequently self-published and released Spirit Bear as Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success, and Eagleridge Bluffs as Loving the Terrorists – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. My re-released books have fared no worse than the one remaining on the publisher’s list, all have done terrible.

Next month I’ll retain the rights of my last book under contract and plan to re-release it as a self-published book as well.

The next novel I wrote, Forest – Love, Loss, Legend came out of the residuals of the previous one – war, drugs, and murder combined with my love of the wilderness – it’s splendor and it’s mystery.

 

For more information on all my books and plays visit my Amazon Author Page at

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

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I recently received an email from an indie author bookstore that wants to stock my books.

My response is not elation or gratitude, it’s suspicion.

I think this industry is making me a cynic.

Anyhow…

P.J. Boox  http://pjboox.com/  was started by “award-winning”(?) author and illustrator, Patti Brassard Jefferson in the summer of 2015. Brassard describes herself as a self-published author who released her first book with an indie publisher (how does that work?) and so on and so forth to the end that apparently she can “relate”.

Her store only accepts self-published and indie authors (are these not one and the same?), “as well, micro, small press, vanity and subsidy publishers may submit books. Traditionally published large publishing houses and imprints may not.”

Already I’m having difficulty with the pitch and wondering if Brassard wrote this how she became an award-winning author? I mean is there a difference between micro and small press? Aren’t vanity and subsidy publishers the same thing? Is a traditionally published large publishing house the same as a large publishing house or a traditional publisher? Does the writer know that saying the same thing only using different words is still being redundant?

Anyhow, let’s cut to the chase.

Brassard doesn’t want to stock my books she wants to rent me shelf space in her store.

For $80.00 and a one time set up fee of $18.00, I can rent a shelf that will fit six books max for four months. If they sell your books in the store you get 98 percent royalty. If you want them to sell them online you ante up another $15.00 set up fee and they take twenty percent.

You send them your books and every month they send you the money you earned that month.

So lets crunch some numbers, shall we?

My novel Abandoned Dreams sells for $9.99. I order six to fill the shelf and have CreateSpace ship them to PJ Boox. It costs $26.57

I add the set up charge and the shelf rental of $98.00 plus the cost of the books for a total of 124.57. If I sell all six books at $10.00 = $60.00, less 2%@ $1.20 = $58.80 net. I’m in the hole $65.77.

What about if I sell more than double that, say 13 books at $10.00 = $130.00, less 2% @$2.40 = $127.60, but printing and shipping has just jumped to $49.07, so I’m still in the red $46.04.

My brain’s getting tired but suffice to say I would need to sell about 20 books in four months to break even and just a few less in the next four month cycle to pay the shelf rental considering the setup fee is waived. I fare even worse with books sold online by PJ Boox.

Will a bookstore in a strip mall in Fort Myers, Florida sell more books (a lot more) for me than Amazon considering they have my books available in all major English speaking countries in the world.

So let’s sum up shall we? Taking advantage of the offer presented by PJ Boox means more hassle and less profit plus grinding my teeth every time I have to think, say or write that ridiculous name.

Sure I want to see my books in a bookstore, but I’m waiting until they pay me rather then the other way around.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

30


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

30

 

 

trinityangel copyTwo pre-order promotions for the re-issues of Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success? and Loving the Terrorist – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs, plus the Kindle Scout nomination promotion for The Widower, and, don’t forget, the corresponding blogs and tweets – it’s been a busy three months.

What do I have to show for it? One sale.

Ever the optimist I have uploaded The Widower to both Smashwords and Amazon as a pre-order which will be released March 6, 2016. That gives you plenty of time after paying your Holiday bills to save up 99¢ for this e-book.

I’m not sure about the wisdom of such a long pre-order period but since when did wisdom factor into anything I do regarding writing?

If you don’t think you can afford it (and, let’s face it, you haven’t before) you might

want to visit these sites and enter my Goodreads giveaway for two each of the above mentioned books as paperbacks.

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

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

Contest ends January 8, 2016

I haven’t tried Goodreads before because their giveaways are only for actual books and I’ve been too cheap to offer up the books and pay the postage – which is like adding insult to injury in my opinion.

What’s changed? Did I suddenly come into a windfall?

Goodreads claims they’re the largest site for readers and book recommendations and that 40,000 people enter their giveaways everyday.

Four books x 40,000 views x 30 days … let’s just say I’m curious as to how many people actually request my books.

Watch for my year end blog coming soon entitled A Year of Futility.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs.

 

30

 

WindGrassIMG_0225 copyIf you’ve been a writer for any length of time you’ve no doubt read many books that tell you how to write bestselling fiction. You’ve also no doubt been assailed with at least as many marketing experts telling you the best way to market your novel so it will become a bestseller.

I’ve been writing all my life. My first attempt at fiction was e-published in 2010. For five years now I’ve been actively honing my fiction writing and marketing skills in pursuit of ever elusive success. I’ve read a lot of books and investigated a lot of book marketing programs.

Here’s what I know for sure – nothing.

Most what I’ve learned is what doesn’t work. Here’s a few of them:

– social media

– giveaways

– blogs

– free books – as in zero price point

– contests

– email lists

– social media – yes, I know I’ve already mentioned it, but social media deserves to be reinforced because not only does it not sell books, but for the delusional among us (myself included) it’s seductive, addictive, and a huge time waster – time that could be better spent actually writing something worthwhile instead of responding to virtual fans in the internet void.

So how do you become a bestselling author?

You get lucky.

According to Malcom Gladwell in his book Outliers, The Story of Success, success follows a predictable pattern. It’s not the brightest who succeed, nor is it the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf.

Success is bestowed upon those who have been given opportunities – and have the strength and the presence of mind to seize them – plus accidents of time, birth and place matter greatly.

Let me repeat that; success is less about talent and more about opportunity plus it’s greatly influenced by accidents of time, birth and place.

In a word, luck.

There’s no master plan, no formula, it’s all a fluke, pure and simple serendipity.

So, is luck all it takes to be a success?

No, you also have to be prepared so if you do get lucky and get invited to the ball you actually know how to dance.

There’s this little thing about having to do 10,000 hours (ten years) of practice to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything. According to neurologist Daniel Levitin, “In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, etc., this number comes up again and again.”

Excellence at performing a complex task, like writing a good novel, requires a critical minimum level of practice and that’s all there is to it.

You first must get good, then get lucky.

So if you’re an indie author about to self-publish your first novel and you haven’t logged 10,000 hours of practice your chance at success is negligible, nil, nada.

Worse yet, if by a fluke you do get lucky without being good you’ve likely blown your big chance.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

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

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

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links 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-WARRIORS Books 1 and 2, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs respectively, are soon to be re-issued

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

Ruby Red Horse Chestnut Tree in bloomTim Grahl

Book Marketing Legend

Internet Marketing Pioneer

Out:think Group
Dear Tim,

First, let me thank you for sending me your emails and allowing me to download your Book Launch Crash Course. I‘ve never subscribed to any of your programs, but I find the emails informative and have even used some of your ideas.

You asked me to take a minute and give you a bit of feedback so here it is– I’m afraid it’s a bit more than a bit and strays off topic – a bit.

I love writing and I don’t care too much about sales. This is a good thing considering how poor the sales of my books are. That probably makes me not an ideal candidate for your marketing strategies and most of what I’m going to say is probably just so much nonsense to a guy like you.

I was keen when you were sending emails about “facing (your) fears and moving right into uncomfortable territory” promoting your book Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book [Kindle Edition]”. Let me just say, since I don’t want you to feel bad, I never considered subscribing to your service, but the “fears” and “uncomfortable territory” intrigued me.

It was when it appeared you’d fall short of selling 10,000 copies in one year and you slashed the price and “begged” (well, that’s what it sounded like to me) your followers/friends/strangers/do-gooders/anybody receiving your emails to buy your book so you could attain your personal goal that you lost me.

Quite remarkably, you made it sound as if they were “begging” to help you and you, albeit very reluctantly, were “going to accept (their) kind offers to help”. Even now as I write this the spin you put on that desperate entreaty leaves me feeling uncomfortable.

But I guess that’s the difference between you and me, you might say between success and failure. You’re the guy who’s prepared to achieve success by whatever means necessary, and I’m, well, I’m not.

I want writing to be my one true thing and I’m just not willing to sacrifice my integrity for sales. If that sounds self-righteous let me say I realize integrity is subjective so this is my integrity we’re talking about.

I won’t guilt my family and friends into rating or buying my books, I won’t go online and beg for sales, I won’t let my personal ambition make me “insufferable” to the person most important to me.

Delusional maybe, but not insufferable.

I’m happy for your success, Tim, that’s right. Happy.

I’m happy for the other author’s you’ve helped achieve success, though I wonder, have there not been any failures? No? It’s a wonder then why you have to keep sending out all these solicitations and aren’t like, you know, overbooked by soon-to-be bestselling authors.

Anyhow, keep sending me your stuff and, as long as it’s free I’ll keep considering it and poaching any good ideas that come along.

Thanks and good luck with your new program Launch a Bestseller.

Rod

P.S. I’ve mentioned your book, your crash course and your new program and I thought you were the one who’s supposed to be “relentlessly helpful”.

P.P.S. This took more than one minute.

 30

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

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

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

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to my Eco-Fi series ECO-WARRIORS, that includes 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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