About Writers, blogging, book promotion, book reviews, book sales, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s a Community

above: Terry Pratchett 1948-2015 By Artist ‘Sandara’

One of the advantages of joining a community of like-minded people on the ‘Net is the likelihood of meeting someone totally unlike yourself. That is always good for a writer. I can’t draw an expressive crooked line. But Sandara can create a whole world in one image. Her visualization of Terry Pratchett shaking Death’s hand is fresh, striking and memorable. Don’t we writers wish all our stories were that good?

Amazing, the talents in the writing community: Publishers, editors & marketing people of course. Cover artists, beta readers, blurb writers, personal assistants and reviewers are some more. I’m sure I’ve left out important categories. No writer has all of the talents needed for a successful book. Hence, the usefulness of belonging to a writing community. Want to know the best print-on-demand service out there right now? Ask.

And best of all is the feedback. Excellent services at reasonable prices receive as much publicity on a writers’ forum as do services that waste your time and money. Think you have a really good idea for marketing your book? Ask and see if anyone has already tried that. Not sure of your book cover? Post it for comments.

Finally, always return favors. While I do owe her one, the real reason I recommend Sandara Tang here is her art. Take a look at some. It will surprise your imagination.

The Art Of Sandara
https://sandara.deviantart.com/ (best Hi-Res images)
https://www.facebook.com/ArtofSandara3/

Who have you worked with that you would recommend to other writers?

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book promotion, book reviews, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Time To Choose

chooseWe have had many suggested titles for our new section, wherein we allow authors, editors, publishers and professional members of the writing community at large to recommend books. There are three common threads running through the titles suggested here and on Facebook: people like clarity, catchy and enthusiasm.
For pure clarity, it’s hard to beat “Recommended Reading.”
While “Peer Picks” is short and catchy.
And “I Love This Book” is highly enthusiastic.

So, which of the three will communicate best with the widest possible audience? They’re all good.

Last chance, pick one:
1. Recommended Reading
2. Peer Picks
3. I Love This Book

Please vote in the comments section. And, thank you all for your great suggestions!
(For the record, I liked “Hey, Good Bookin'” for the grins 🙂 but it didn’t make the final cut.)

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book promotion, book reviews, book sales, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Name This!

Cool LukeWhat we have here is failure to communicate. The word “Review” communicates negative reactions to many authors. Not the least of which is the certainty that all reviews cannot be good reviews. True, that. So, after listening to the gnawback, it’s obvious that we need a better name for our new section than, “Peer Reviews.”

We need a name that says here are books well received by the authors’ peers. The purpose of the new section is to have a place for recommendations by other authors, editors, publishers and professional members of the writing community at large.

The following names have been suggested, but please use the comments section to add more names.

Books We Like
I Like This Book
I Love This Book
Insider Picks
Peers’ Picks
Recommended Reading

What’s your suggestion?

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book reviews, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Peer Review Page

 

whispersWhat People Think
Our “proto-work-in-progress” page is up. I posted, on Facebook, a link & invite to comment on the concept. Many think it’s a great idea, some want to contribute now, others are clearly confused by my use of the word “review” and one has a fantastic idea for anyone selling books on Amazon. Here’s a sampling of the initial reaction to the concept.

Sharon Sasaki: I think it would be good if writers review other writers with some kindness and encouragement in mind. Sometimes authors can be extremely critical of other authors.

Bill McCormick: I have a set of reviews I’ve already done that could easily be retrofitted into your format. Would you like those?
(Added as author for posting reviews.)

Mike Van Horn: Seems like a great idea in principle. But I have problems with reviewing books of people I know. What if I review your book and I don’t like it? I don’t think it merits 5 stars? Maybe 3. What if I review your book and I find typos and other glitches? All too common with self-pubs. I have an inner English teacher, and she grades down for these things. I told somebody on the Sci Fi forum yesterday she needs to hire a copy editor. Some people need critiques before they get reviews.

Carlos Morales: And make sure you sign up to be an affiliate, and use affiliate links. There isn’t much money in it, but it’s like playing the lottery. There’s a tiny chance that someone clicks on the book, then decides to buy a $900 computer with their next couple of clicks. If that happens, you pull a decent commission.
It’s happened to me once or twice. Someone bought a $175 tent, and another one bought a laptop for $600 in the same couple of hours during one of my Bargain Promos. It was a good day for revenue.

Thanks all, for the great feedback! As these samples are from a mere 24-hour posting, I think we have a concept worth pursuing. But if we want the writing community to contribute reviews of books they recommend, we may need to re-think our title for the section. Some in the community have been bitten by a “peer review” and many rightfully expect reviews to be negative as well as positive.
We will get more reviews of books recommended by the writing community if we are very clear that is what we are looking for.

Any suggestions for a better title than, “Peer Review?”

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About Writers, Amazon, book promotion, book reviews, book sales, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Speak Now Or ….

Peer reviewWHAT
After discussion, the group has decided to add Peer Reviews. Peer Reviews are book reviews written by the author’s peers: other authors, editors, publishers and professional members of the writing community at large.

HOW
Writers Co-op would allow authors to post reviews and link to the book’s sale page. We’d just set up the page(s) and grant the authors’ permission to post there.
Atthys Gage has agreed to monitor the reviews.

WHEN
Next week, at the earliest, I could set up a prototype page to see how it goes.

WILL IT WORK
“Who knows?” said the first person over Niagara Falls in a barrel. One thing of which we can be certain is a learning curve. The hardest part will probably be the startup. I’ll start with what I can do based on my best understanding of the peer review discussions, in accordance with the limitations of our website and of course my deficient abilities. 🙂 It should be all down-the-falls sailing from there.

WAIT… WHY!?
If you haven’t read the discussions, many authors are complaining about Amazon banning reviews from anyone their algorithms decide knows the author. Offering authors a work-around could be our opportunity to provide a real service that incidentally increases Writers Co-op membership.

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About Writers, Amazon, blogging, book reviews, book sales, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

PEER REVIEWS

Amazon prevented me from reviewing books by Curtis Bausse and Victor Acquista because, they say, my review may be perceived as biased. Duh. I don’t know how they know but I do know they are wrong.
True, I only review books that are good. And yes, my reviews were positive but that’s because, as a writer myself, I know how difficult writing is and the good parts are always worth praising. Praising the best of a good book is not bias. It is acknowledgement.

So, I came up with half an idea.

If Facebook posts are any guide, many writers these days are pissed at Amazon’s review policies. What we need is a place where writers may post reviews of books. Peer reviews. Reviews by people who have read the story and can comment in depth because they have an appreciation for what it took to create that story.

Readers will not be mislead by reviews written by another writer if the fact’s disclosed:
– Review by Thomas Wolosz, Author of Agony of the Gods
Jeesh! It’s arrogant to believe that people can’t be trusted to think.

So, fellow writer co-opers, what say we create a place here, on the Writers Co-op, for writers to review books?
Call it, “Peer Reviews” and claim the high ground.
Many authors might appreciate it.
Authors will, of course, still want reviews on Amazon, but they would also link from their web page to their review in our Peer Reviews. It could make our site a bit more relevant to today’s writers.

As I said, it’s half an idea. The other half are the develish details.
What do you think and how might this work?

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About Writers, book reviews, Research, Uncategorized, world-building, Writers Co-op

A Question For Mimi

Mimi Speake is an historian of sixteenth century Europe & therabouts. She delves into the private lives of such as Bernard Délicieux, the Friar of Carcassonne and Henry of Navarre. Nothing seems to delight Mimi more than to accurately include in her stories obscure details about the financial information of a walled town from that period, or a seminal work on algebra, or even lore about La Fée Verte, the green fairy.
And uh, Mimi is the only historian I know. So, I have a question for her.

Is Google messing with history? Not on purpose. But is that repository of human knowledge fatally flawed because of what it does not include?

I ask because I recently searched for early reviews of Arthur C. Clarke’s first book, Against the Fall of Night, published by Startling Stories magazine in 1948. Despite the story itself being vintage Clarke, the novella was initially panned for its word dumps of the author’s social theories. They added nothing to the story. I know this because I read it as a kid and I still remember my eyes glassing over the pages of preaching.
A few years ago, I re-read it. The book that I re-read said it had been published only because fans had expressed interest in reading Clarke’s first novel. It’s forward discussed Against the Fall of Night’s initial reception (dismal) and included some of those early reviews (bad.)

But Google has unwittingly rewritten history. I cannot find any of those original reviews. The Fall of Night is today presented as if it hadn’t bombed; as if it is just another good book by Clarke, even though he had to rewrite it in 1956 as The City and the Stars.

I know. I know. Google is not a complete history of anything. It is only a collection of whatever bits people put on the ‘Net. (But I wonder how many people think about things that are not on the Internet.)

So, Mimi, if I may follow-up, how do you find information that is not on Google?

And for everyone, a broader question:
To what extent are search engine results and social media the background against which we frame our questions? Do they guide the answers that we accept?
In short, does the Internet shape our collective consciousness?

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