Book Reviews, Goodreads, and Amazon

A while back I discussed the value of book reviews with some author friends. One-self pubbed author offered some (to me) amazing information and I share it here with the big caveat (from the source) “Please take nothing here as gospel.”

First, everything offered is based on research and articles read over several years, and a lot of informed guesswork.

This stuff is a rabbit hole and I find my time is better spent reading books and writing novels than trying to see the wood for the trees with this stuff.


The above is an old graphic, the thresholds have changed and it over simplifies. It’s from an article way back, one of several that all agreed in principle on how it worked, but varied hugely on numbers, the list offered below is also an oversimplification and about the average threshold numbers from memory.

There are a shit ton of articles out there, but a fair few of them are screwed by people trying to sell services, ‘we can help you beat amazons algorithm, just send us money’, etc. As such I am always a little dubious of their ‘facts’ though the concessions of those facts adds up to what is described.

The best of these is KDP rocket, and it’s a one off fee with a whole lot of support, but it is also a rabbit hole.

If your goal is improving book sales through reviews… Continue reading “Book Reviews, Goodreads, and Amazon”

More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Just under three years ago I posted Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes. I had both Patreon and this blog at the time, Patreon’s interface got more challenging than it was worth, and over time I moved everything here and closed down my Patreon account completely.

Most people supporting me on Patreon followed me over (thanks!). Some didn’t, explained their reasoning, I honored it, and so it goes.

Recently…oh, pretty much this year…more and more people contact me about how useful my blog is to them, what a resource it is to them, how informative it is to them, and I’m thrilled because I enjoy helping people.

And at a certain point, some people – not all people, only some – take advantage.

It’s one thing when people take advantage and know they’re doing so. Such people are abusive and are generally hollow, with little real depth. Avoid them. They’ll suck you dry, spit out what’s left, and move on to their next victim.

It’s a completely different thing when people don’t know they’re taking advantage of a situation. Let them know, point out what they’re doing, they’ll make amends.

And if they don’t? For whatever reason they don’t? See two paragraphs above re “It’s one thing…”

If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker

Susan and I ran a successful business for years. We ran it according to some Principles we learned during our walk upon the planet, through the cosmos, and elsewhere.

Allow me to share two which pertain to this:

  • #65: A worker is worthy of their wages.
    Recognize that nothing is free. That’s first. Somebody is paying some where at some time any time some thing is done. Directly paying the worker for work done demonstrates you value them and their work, that you recognize them as equals in a fair-exchange, and (perhaps most importantly) that you respect yourself enough to know your own value is not in question. That last one throw you? Then go elsewhere. The only time people want something for free is when they’re not sure of the value of their own efforts because the price people are willing to pay is a measure of the value they place on their request. Want something for free? Then it has little value to you. Willing to pay? Then it’s important to you. It’s as simple as that.
    The other side of this is that the worker can ask for wages in other than coin of the realm (and barter doesn’t count. Barter is mutually agreed to coin of the realm). Recognize that the only commerce besides coin of the realm is with a piece of yourself — your time, your strength, your thoughts, your word, your knowledge, your wisdom, your friendship, your oath. Be careful with these. Coin is far cheaper than heart.
  • An individual can only receive a certain benefit if others are willing to take on a certain burden.
    Remember, the Universe works in balance. From Principles 1,4,6,9,20, …, remember that what you take you owe. Think you don’t owe often enough, think this doesn’t apply to you often enough, and you’ll find yourself on the long end of burden. Not a happy place.

What’s Changing
Most of the Marketing and StoryCrafting posts now require either free or paid membership. I’ve modified the Critiques charge structure so that membership at any paying level gets 50% off the cost of critiques.

Everything everything everything in life has a pricetag on it. You have to decide if you’re willing to pay the price.

Have a challenge with the For-Pay model? Let me know what it is
I’ll give you a Muse subscription account for free. I’ve done it for several people. But be prepared to offer serious comments on my posts and join in the discussion, be one of my first readers, leave reviews on my books on Amazon or Goodreads, or offer something in exchange.

Ruminations Part 6 – Professionalize this, Buddy

My first rumination can be found at Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”
My second at Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions
Rumination Part 3-1 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 1
Rumination Part 3-2 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 2
Rumination Part 3-3 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 3 – I Take a “Writing the Other” class
Rumination Part 3-4 is Ruminations Part 3 – Sensitivity Readers, Part 4 – Is your character POC or POM?
Ruminations Part 4 is Ruminations Part 4 – I can’t talk to women anymore
Ruminations Part 5 is Ruminations Part 5 – Joseph Carrabis (was/could be/might have been) (Personal Pronouns in Fun and Earnest)

Long, long ago I read Robert Silverberg’s NightWings and loved it. I reread it in college, again in my thirties, in my fifties, and it’s on my shelf for yet another read as I type this.

My latest version has a new introduction by Silverberg and is the genesis of this rumination.

Personal Setbacks
Silverberg mentions some personal losses in his new introduction; his house caught fire and he lost many works in progress (this was in the 1960s. “Backup” was a carbon copy you kept in another room). He sent an editor a rough version of NightWings. Silverberg lived in New York City, the editor’s offices were in New York City, people knew each other in the NYC science fiction/fantasy writing community, and the editor, knowing Silverberg’s situation, offered him LOTS of money for the rough draft.

…it was the sort of favor that one professional would automatically grant another in a time of crisis.

Silverberg describes it as “…the sort of favor that one professional would automatically grant another in a time of crisis.”
Continue reading “Ruminations Part 6 – Professionalize this, Buddy”

Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions

This is my second rumination on writing, the writing business, and how they intersect with my life. I started with Ruminations Part I – “Your eyes are completely healed”.

I almost entitled this part “Can you just tell me the g**d*** f***ing truth?”

A fellow author sent me a link to a zoom meeting a while back. The invitation she received was

If you’re able to make it, just a quick reminder about our first ever Open House for Authors on XXX, being held *today* on Zoom at 3 pm Eastern time at this url: xxx
No need to RSVP, just show up and say hi! We’ll field questions and suggestions from authors — and we have a few questions of our own about how to make our site better so you can sell more books.
Hope to see you there!

More and more fellow authors are sending me solicitations like this (probably due to my background in marketing).

Regarding the above, I listened to their spiel for a while. They kept on asking us to ask them questions. Specifically, “…don’t put your questions in the chat, just unmute yourself and ask away.”

I’d already asked a few questions in the chat which went unanswered.

My questions in such things tend to be business oriented, not author oriented. Especially when someone tells me their service or offering is free.

If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker
If it’s free, you’re probably the product – David Kelleher

Continue reading “Ruminations Part 2 – Numbers lead to informed decisions”

I Can Crack My Knuckles Therefore I Must Be a Chiropractor! (Musings on Expertise)

[[This post originally appeared on my Stating the Obvious blog back in 2011. I’m resurrecting it because I’m currently taking a series of classes from people who are…interesting. Why interesting? Well, as an example, if you can’t remember the terms for what you’re teaching, perhaps you shouldn’t be teaching it. Or how about, if every student’s answer is correct – even when they contradict each other – perhaps the first part of the class should be “We’re going to be sharing opinions. There’s no right or wrong.” Or how about…

And this has more to do with me and my expectations than those teaching.

And I have definitely learned from them.

And here, for your enjoyment,

I Can Crack My Knuckles Therefore I Must Be a Chiropractor! (Musings on Expertise) Enjoy!

This post is about lowering the bar. In a world where everyone is a guru, maven, jedi, rock star, queen, genius, leader and last but not least, expert, how do we recognize real ability from self-defined hype and bling? There have been two LinkedIn discussions that I know of, one in social media, the other in analytics, one from Apr 2011, the other from earlier in 2011 and both themed “What is expertise?” I wrote The Unfulfilled Promise of Online Analytics series (I’ll resurrect those, too, if you’d like) a while ago and one of its subthemes is “What is expertise?”

The level of “expertise” required to hang out a shingle has gone beyond touching the ground, it’s gone subterranean in many disciplines. And it’s pointless to create governance groups that offer accreditation because once such groups gain popularity they are usurped by vendors and HIPPOs to serve purposes different than governance and accreditation.

Let me offer some suggestions for marketers and consumers of expertise. Note: especially those marketing their teaching/editing/proofing skills.

Truth in Self-Marketing Rule #1: Never Believe Your Own Hype
Continue reading “I Can Crack My Knuckles Therefore I Must Be a Chiropractor! (Musings on Expertise)”