Very good advice from Tricia Drammeh at Authors to Watch!
Originally posted on Tricia Drammeh:
Experts. They’re everywhere. Self-publishing experts, social media experts, writing experts… the list goes on and on.
How can you tell if someone is an expert in their field? Anyone can claim to be an expert. Not everyone who claims to be an expert is an expert. They lack credentials, experience, and sometimes integrity. They sell services to unsuspecting authors and pad their own pockets by destroying a writer’s dreams.
I know an author who paid a “professional” to edit and format her book. When she tried to upload the book, it looked a mess on Kindle. It wouldn’t pass Createspace’s review. Her “formatted” file was useless. When she asked for help in a writer’s group we both belong to, I offered to look at her file. Wow. Not only was the formatting horrible, the editing was a mess too. When I skimmed the document in an attempt to clean up…
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A number of years ago, I had the opportunity of a 3-hour-long drive to an event with a Canadian author I’ve known for decades (but who will remain nameless here) during which we discussed many issues to do with promoting authors, publishing, and finding readers for books in general.
This particular author is a voracious reader and does write many in-depth reviews of books for newspapers and magazines in Canada and abroad. For which she is paid by the magazines and newspapers. She is also a tireless champion for authors whose work she truly believes in, and constantly helps those she deems to be deserving to get a leg up in the business. For which she is not paid. She does so because she has always been a contributing member to this writing community.
What we discussed for the most part was the dwindling number of places where readers can turn to find a good, honest review of new books, and where authors can expect to receive an even-handed opinion that will, hopefully, lead to attracting new readers. She was more concerned with finding sites that posted legitimate reviews for all books and authors than finding places where she would be paid to write reviews. That’s where she was coming from. And it was the same direction I was approaching the issue – to find sites dedicated to reviewing, and bringing to our attention, good books.
We tossed around the idea of me developing a website that solely reviewed books … and then we arrived at our destination. I haven’t discussed this idea any further with her since that time.
I did, however, create the site Reading Recommendations in Nov. 2013, with this earlier conversation still lingering in my mind. I wasn’t interested in reading and reviewing books myself, but I did want to promote authors who I felt deserved international attention that this site has since provided them. They don’t pay me for this exposure* and, while I don’t review the books myself (or, at least not all of them), the authors are asked to provide links to promotion sites so that my readers may read reviews of these books in addition to my promotion. This site has worked well and I have promoted more than 250 authors of various nationalities, both traditionally and self-published, writing in every genre, format, and for all age groups. I don’t intend to change the format of Reading Recommendations now. Why fix what ain’t broke?
I’ve been giving a great deal of thought though to the problem of authors receiving legitimate reviews for their work, especially in light of what’s been going on lately with reviews posted to online sales sites and book listing services. And I’ve been thinking about the conversation I had several years ago with my friend. What if I were to set up another sister-site to RR that focuses only on reviews from readers of the books I promote? There would be no anonymity allowed and any connection to the author, including having received a free copy for review, would need to be divulged. In all fairness, I would like readers to know exactly where the reviewer is coming from – no star ratings, no negative reviews, just a good discussion as to why they enjoyed and now recommend that particular book. Reviews may be lengthy, if the reviewer feels they have a lot to say about a book, but will preferably be short and sweet, with no spoilers included, and no personal comments made about the author. Since I will be editing these reviews before posting them to the site, I can delete any trolls who try to spoil this party. (Oh, the power!) It is my hope that readers who normally wouldn’t leave a review on one of those other sites will consider writing something, however brief it may be, to let other readers know they enjoyed a book by one of the authors I’ve promoted on Reading Recommendations. Because, as I’ve said before, If you like a book, tell a friend … and we’re all friends here, right?
I will also link back to the original promotion on Reading Recommendations for each author who is reviewed on this new site. And I will create a list of other review sites (and there are many out there) that provide thoughtful, intelligent reviews for all books.
So, what do you think? Is this a good idea? Will you write reviews to be posted to this site? But, more importantly, as a reader – will your read and take note of reviews on a site like this? Reviewers, this will give you the opportunity to share your passion about particular authors and books with my readers. Readers, this will give you an idea of new books and authors you could be reading.
Would you be interested in providing reviews for this site? Are you interested in reading reviews on a site such as I’ve described? Please post your comments, yay or nay, below. I’m all eyes!
*The authors are asked, in lieu of payment, to promote the site, me, and my books in return – an agreement which has worked to a certain, only middling, extent, I’m sorry to say …
Sally Cronin, the blogger behind Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life, reblogged a post from Hugh’s Views and News, titled Is Your Blog Living By Numbers? Very good post, and I urge you to read both Sally’s intro and Hugh’s post itself.
This reminded me of a post I had previously written about being fixated on always checking the numbers, so I dug back into the archives and am including the link here as a reminder or, as I say in the post, a revelation. It never hurts to repeat yourself on these subjects, I find.
There are no Write-By-Numbers kits …
When I was a kid, we spent our summers at the family cottage, north of Toronto. Two entire months to amuse ourselves – preferably, according to my mother, out-of-doors. But there were often rainy days we’d be forced to spend inside, and one of the “hobbies” I got into was Paint-By-Numbers. My parents would buy a kit and I’d create a work of art (in my mother’s eyes only, of course) that would then be framed to hang on a nail. But eventually, over the years, that painting would either fall behind the furniture, or be replaced by a genuine work of art. I prided myself on those “paintings” because I managed to keep inside the lines and always used the recommended colours of paint.
So much for encouraging any creativity or originality.
Fom Jack Eason, on the pricing of eBooks and why we should never expect to buy them cheap or receive them for free.
Originally posted on Have We Had Help?:
Everything, that’s what!!!
The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand it must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!
Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that subject – Taylor Swift!!!
Thanks to Amazon belabouring…
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On Aug. 9, I posted to this blog about having received a review of my novel that contained spoilers. I asked what you thought I should do and many of you responded with a great deal of information about your own experiences dealing with reviewers and suggestions on how to handle this situation.
My editor sent the reviewer an email asking her to consider removing the spoilers or at least to warn readers from the outset that her review contained spoilers. The reviewer immediately replied that she would amend the review.
I learned a great deal from working through this situation – mainly due to your very considered comments on the post. I thank you all for reading and for your support. I hope my blog post and the links I included have also been instructive and helpful to others.
Aside from the suggestion in the box below, if you truly cannot afford to purchase an author’s work, you may always recommend to your local library that they consider adding either the print or eBook version (or both!) to their collection. Then you, and other patrons, may read the book and the author makes at least one sale. And every bit of exposure like this helps us immensely!
And here’s another mention from Susan Holmes on her Waterside Kennels Mysteries blog!
Originally posted on Waterside Kennels Mysteries:
Following up on my last post: the dogs of Bequia and the people who love them have gone straight to my heart, courtesy of the gifted author Susan Toy in her novel One Woman’s Island.
“I must return to my boat,” she said, pointing out towards the water. “But why not come with me? I can make some tea and you could meet all my other little doggies.” She flashed me that same kind smile she had given the dog earlier, her eyes crinkling around the sides.
“Oh, no. I don’t want to put you out at all. We can make it another time.”
But Solfrid assured me she would enjoy having human company onboard her boat for a change.
She repacked her bag then said, “Come!” in a rather forceful command, almost as though I was one of her “little doggies.” So I heeled, following Solfrid to the jetty where…
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Paul Wensley and I attended the same school, Malvern Collegiate in Toronto, several decades ago, although we weren’t in the same class. We met up again on Facebook, where Paul was constantly posting great videos of his cats! I also discovered that Paul is an accomplished musician/singer/songwriter/actor/film maker/editor/producer/etc … so I promoted him on the Listening Recommendations segment of my blog, hoping to give his career some more exposure to my friends and blog readers. It’s also through Paul that I learned of this terrific evening of entertainment held monthly in Toronto …
Live from the Annex – Comedy, Music, Booze, and Hummus
is a live Cabaret held the first Tuesday evening of every month. I had the great pleasure to attend my first LFTA in July, as part of what turned out to be their largest attendance since the Cabaret began a few months before. We were treated to a terrific lineup of music, comedy, sketches, a magician, card tricks, the Brunswick Stew Improv group, and an exceptionally good MC, Ron Pederson.
Chris Funk, the magician who prefers to call himself a Wonderist, still has us wondering (and arguing about …) how he managed to do what he did on that stage! My friend and I particularly enjoyed the card tricks that were wrapped in an intricate story told by Tim Motley, who plays a character called Dirk Darrow in a show, 2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick, about a hard-boiled detective working on a case.
The Two Juliets performed several sketches, but particularly good was their song about Starbucks. There was a bit of a technical glitch (this is LIVE theatre, folks!) in the performance of a song from the Everyone Loves Marineland Musical, so we were treated to an a capella version instead. (The troupe later came back to perform once again when the glitch was fixed.) Gavin Crawford did a brilliant one-man sketch about Facebook.
The Brunswick Stew Improv Group were on stage a number of times throughout the evening and improvised sketches out of words we’d been asked to write on pieces of paper and other words shouted from the audience. (Paul Wensley performed as a part of this group.) And that terrific MC I mentioned earlier, Ron Pederson, kept us laughing throughout with his delivery of introductions and one-liners, as well as the drawing of door prizes.
What a great evening of entertainment! No end of laughs – and wonderment … and hummus! Thanks to co-producers Laurie Murphy, Sasha Wentges and Brian G. Smith for bringing such a great Cabaret to The Annex!
And, if you require any further convincing, here’s the new promotional video Paul has just created for Live From The Annex.
If you’re in Toronto the first Tuesday in any month, head on down to 720 Bathurst St., to “The Garage” inside the CSI Annex. For more information and videos of past shows, click on their webpage, Live From The Annex.
And, if you can’t be in Toronto on the first Tuesday of every month, you are still in luck, because each show is now being broadcast live online! Check out the Daily Motion site for more information on that.