Bezos’ book graveyard

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Ever wondered how to remove a book from the reading public’s gaze? Simple. Publish it exclusively on Amazon!

The company’s CEO Jeff Bezos only cares about profit. When he realised he was losing money by paying royalties to each and every author who make their book available only through his company, he put a stop to the time-honoured practice.

From the readers point of view Amazon’s all you can read for X dollars/pounds per month makes sense. The problem is that because of the way it is set up, the author gets next to nothing. Why? Because no copy of the book is actually bought, only ever borrowed and read. All the author receives is less than $0.0003 of a cent per page read!

Even if you are foolish enough to spend money in an attempt to promote your book. If it is only on Amazon, after a few days it will disappear anyway alongside the millions of others in Bezos’ graveyard for books, thanks to one of Amazon’s algorithms, specifically designed to bury your book. Of course something else may account for its disappearance from the top one hundred. It simply may not appeal to the general reader. Even so, the way Amazon’s book division is set up is not conducive to long term book sales, particularly where Indie books are concerned.

You would think that a man whose net worth currently stands at US$116.8 Billion would appreciate how his author’s feel. He doesn’t. All he cares about is increasing his fortune! Since he changed the rules in his favour, is it any wonder that so many people have stopped buying a copy of any book on his lists. Instead they wait until an author realises that sales of their book(s) have ground to a halt and foolishly decide to offer it for free, using KDP’s up to five-day giveaway program, once every ninety days.

Bezos completely destroys the myth that a publisher cares for his authors, and by all accounts he isn’t exactly enamoured with his warehouse staff worldwide either. The UK ones are paid as low as ยฃ6.65 per hour.

If anyone reading this still thinks he is a good guy, take a look at his Prime Video streaming system. Currently it’s costing UK residents ยฃ7.99 per month. Then on top of that there is the cost of hiring or buying a copy of any of the films on the site. Compare that to Netflix’s ยฃ7.49 per month with no additional costs involved.

I rest my case…

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I still don’t get it!

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How can you possibly ‘Like’ a blog post unless you have taken the opportunity to actually read it in the first place. It makes no sense whatsoever! I’ve had totally illogical responses in the past. One stands out. I’m talking about people who think that clicking ‘like’ is good. It is, but it isn’t! All it shows is that you can’t actually be bothered to read the post in question! If you did, I’m betting that you would feel compelled to comment!

We all know that while there are millions who still love to read, the majority who class themselves as writers these days, especially on all forms of Social Media – simply aren’t. Instead they pontificate endlessly on the English language and its use. I would suggest that these people have yet to write a book of their own!

In complete contrast, one or two of us like myself and my fellow authors Adele Marie Park, Seumus Gallacher, Bob Van Laerhoven and Allan Hudson to name a few, are actually the genuine article. We don’t spend our entire time just talking about writing. We are writers in the truest sense of the word. We also read work by others, be it a book or a blog post!!!

Now back to the totally illogical practice of ‘Liking’ blog posts. The whole concept of why people do it without reading the post before them in the first place is utterly beyond me. After all, you wouldn’t ‘Like’ or dislike a sculpture, painting or play without familiarising yourself with it first!

Well would you?

All I’m asking is that you break a bad habit. Start with this post. Don’t just click ‘Like. Comment on it for goodness sake! Even if as one of the writers out there who thinks that you are gaining Brownie points by following my blog and others, you completely disagree.

One thing is abundantly clear. I’m not the only one needing answers as to why it is people feel compelled to just ‘Like’ blog posts, while neither reading nor commenting. Help me and everyone else make sense of this utterly nonsensicle practice.

I have to say it makes me wonder why people bother to ‘follow’ my blog, or anyone else’ for that matter if they have no intention of reading the posts we provide. Perhaps seeing how many blogs you can follow is today’s equivalent of collecting stamps. I would remind you that even stamp collecting requires much more from its participants than merely liking those little bits of paper!!!

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Why do writers write…

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J.K Rowling

…when they know that there are bitter and twisted individuals who don’t want you to succeed. Those who can’t wait to attack your book(s)!!!

You may as well ask why do painters paint, or sculptors sculpt. Like them, weย  writers have a burning desire within us to produce something for posterity. In our case, for your reading pleasure. The serious writer isn’t in it for the money, only the story. Nor are we attempting to become famous during our lifetimes, just to be read.

Sculptors use chisels and other tools to release that statue trapped inside the block of marble. Painters use brushes, palette knives and all manner of paints and pigments to produce that painting which you admire so much in an art gallery. Whereas we use words to paint a picture for your imagination to feast upon.

By its very nature, writing is a solitary occupation. You have to have a writer’s soul and a total commitment to the craft, not to mention a steely determination.

An editor or a teacher of English can give you an explanation for every part of speech in the English language, be it verb; adverb, noun or pronoun, etc, etc. But if you are a writer, what a particular word is formerly categorized as by the academically minded is utterly irrelevant? Leave that kind of thing up to the so called editors and critics of this world. Does a sculptor need to know how to make a chisel, or a painter how to make a paint brush? No. In our case what matters is knowing how to use words to their best effect. To achieve that takes years of practice.

To aid us in writing that story for you, we employ our equivalent of brushes and chisels by spending endless hours researching and fact-finding as well as using our dictionary and thesaurus for the best possible choice of word, plus by reading the works of others.

So, the next time you feel the overwhelming desire to pass judgment on a book you have just read, pause for a moment and ask yourself this simple question, “could I have written it any better?” If you are honest, chances are the answer will be no. Why? Because despite all of your efforts to dissuade others from reading it, the real reason is that you have never, ever written a book worth a damn!

Further to that point, in a post on Facebook a couple of years ago, put out by the BBC about J.K Rowling sharing some of the rejection letters she received over the years with would-be writers, certain sarcastic armchair critics, every one of them insanely jealous of her success, immediately went on the attack by amongst other things, claiming she can’t write. Nothing surprising there. Most social networking sites and internet forums automatically attract highly opinionated hate filled individuals. Not prepared to simply let them get away with it, I posted the following comment in support of Joanne – “I see a hell of a lot of envy by people who should know better going on here.

It’s interesting that after I’d posted my comment the criticism slowed to a trickle, particularly when many other people agreed with me. One of them went as far as saying to one of the critics, “tell you what, why don’t you give me the name of a book you’ve written?” Not unsurprisingly they received no reply.

While Joanne will never know how we rallied to her defense unless one of you tells her, it’s nice to be able to silence a handful of the highly vocal idiots out there from time to time, don’t you think.

Score one for all writers…

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How many more times must I state that when it comes to love scenes, it’s always better to suggest than describe!!!

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Ok, so does this stunningly beautiful young woman meet with your approval? She does? Good, now that I have your complete and undivided attention, let’s get on with what I want to talk about today.

I know I tend to bang on about what’s acceptable in literature and whats not when it comes to sex scenes. But let’s face it, the vast majority of writers don’t think before they write! When it comes to a lot of the books on offer under the heading of romance, what you get these days is pure porn. If only the authors concerned had taken the time and trouble to think things through first. Instead of being in such a blinding hurry to get themselves noticed for all the wrong reasons. There really is no need to resort to spelling out every detail in such an explicit manner as some writers tend to do, when describing what’s going on…

Suggestion is always the key to writing any and all scenes of a sexual nature, never full on description.

In the first draft of any such scene, I start by spelling it out, leaving absolutely nothing whatsoever to the imagination, merely to get the scene firmly fixed in my mind. Then by taking the sentences one at a time as I go back over what I initially wrote, by carefully choosing my words. I then rewrite each one until they still say what I originally intended. I do this purely by changing the wording so as not to give offence. That way I leave it entirely up to the often over fertile imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks for themselves.

In other words, unless you have been living in a cave, cut off from the rest of humanity for your entire life, you will know exactly what is happening in the particular scene without my having to spell it out for you.

The art of suggestion is not a difficult technique to master, providing you are prepared to think about how you want the scene to finally end up looking on the page. In other words, take your time to ensure that the reader will totally ‘get’ what you are saying without being shocked or disgusted by what they have just read.

Not too many years ago, the way I currently write love scenes would definitely have enraged some narrow-minded individuals, while the romance lovers back then would simply enjoy them for what they are, as they still do today…

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We need your feedback!!!

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When it comes to meaningful dialogue with our readers it rarely if ever happens, more’s the pity. We writers need the one to one connection. Not just a b….y ‘like’ on Facebook or Twitter!!!

As for reviews, all they tell us is that the individual responsible for it either loved or hated the book in question. I had one so-called reviewer not long ago who demanded that he got his money back, when in fact he had read a giveaway copy of the book he loathed so much. Then again, have you noticed how books written by Indies tend to attract the attention of complete morons!!!

Most writers like myself have a blog like this one where you can leave comments below a post, and a Facebook page where you can voice your thoughts in person on any book written by any of us, should you choose to do so. Or if you want, we can just chat about something else entirely. The point is that by chatting, we get to know each other, hopefully forging a lasting friendship. Trolls never openly engage with any author on Facebook. Why? Because FB doesn’t allow pseudonyms, the trolls favourite hiding place! One recently made the mistake of writing his review having read a free copy of one of my books, using his own name. Then approached me on FB to say he had just posted it. For a few weeks he hung around on one specific writers page I frequent, hoping to find allies. He was disappointed to find that writers tend to support each other, not trolls. So he left. I still check the list of people who view my blog posts on that specific FB page, just in case he sneaks back…

Like you, every writer is plagued with the typical faults, passions and emotions that all human beings share. Some like myself are known to hold strong views on varying subjects. Don’t let that necessarily put you off talking to any of us. We’re not ogres. Just battle-hardened…

Now here is a link to an interview every prospective writer needs to read: https://bookwormex.com/bob-van-laerhoven-interview/

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Nothing is ever new…

…just endlessly rediscovered!!!

There was a time when I used to write several thousand words per day. In fact I subscribed to the idea that unless I wrote at least five thousand words a day, I wasnโ€™t really writing, merely dawdling. Oh how wrong I was! These days I barely write two hundred words in one day.

Why?

Simple โ€“ I spend the rest of the day and the one after, even the one after that, endlessly checking each word, often substituting a far better one. I lengthen or shorten sentences, move them around in the paragraph before me. All of this until I’m satisfied that the end product flows. Or to put it another way – I prefer painting a picture with as few words as is necessary…

Ask yourselves how many books have you started to read then discarded because they grind to a halt on nearly every page. Usually because the author in question favours endless detail over getting on with the story???

I recall watching this fifty-eight minute episode of Fry’s Planet Word back in 2012 (don’t ignore the red highlighted link I’ve given you. CLICK ON IT!!!) on the subject of James Joyce and the written word. Steven Fry was discussing Joyceโ€™s way of working with an enthusiastic aficionado in Dublin.

Imagine my total surprise when it was revealed that Joyce approached each work in progress in exactly the same way as myself. Some days he would write a chapter, some days a paragraph. But more often than not he would only write a sentence, spending hours poring over it to make sure that each word was the best possible choice to use, and that it was in just the right place within the sentence.

Don’t get me wrong now, Iโ€™m not claiming by any stretch of the imagination to be the 21st century version of writers like James Joyce, or George Orwell, or even my literary hero J.R.R Tolkien, who all used this method. But when I learn from programmes like Steven Fryโ€™s that I have unwittingly adopted and employed the same writing techniques, all of a sudden I donโ€™t feel alone anymore. More to the point I no longer think, or believe, that high daily word counts are the be all and end all.

Neither should you…

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Thinking of writing a book review?

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This post is aimed squarely at my fellow writers.

Since the act of reviewing a book was made available to every Tom, Dick or Harriet, and before you even think about writing one, there are a few things everyone needs to take into consideration before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.

To begin with, avoid spoilers (giving away the plot) like the plague. Next refrain from mentioning that you found errors in any given book, whether traditional or Indie published. It is extremely bad form. No one likes a smart arse endlessly droning on about it in every review they write, least of all the publisher and author of the work in question. To say the least, it becomes tiresome in the extreme. To that end there’s a highly appropriate saying which goes something like this – People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” In other words, unless your book(s) is 100% error free, say nothing derogatory. If it is, believe me, it will be a first in the history of publishing!!!

If you don’t want to give the wrong impression, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, refrain from incessantly pouring scorn and finding fault with the majority of books you review. As for the content of your review, always ensure that it is error free. In other words, start the review’s title and every sentence with a capital letter. Then make sure that the content of your review is as word perfect as it can possibly be, not forgetting to make it grammatically correct.

So many reviews by writers these days are chock full of appalling basic errors which should have been knocked out of the potential reviewer when they attended primary school. Then there are the totally uncalled for comments where the reviewer tells the world about certain passages in the book they are reviewing that they objected to. All such comments are mostly penned by jealous writers hiding behind pseudonyms (trolls) on book sites like Amazon and Goodreads, hoping to destroy another writer’s reputation. What they fail to appreciate is that the only person they are hurting is themselves. If they can’t see that, they need serious one on one time with a psychiatrist.

Above all always remember this – no book is ever 100% error free. Not even your own. If all you have to offer is nitpicking criticism then maybe you need to refrain from reviewing. However if you do want to write a review, why not simply concentrate on what you actually liked about the book in question. Trust me you will feel better and your reputation as a reviewer will benefit enormously. Plus you will win the respect of your peers.

One last thing, making apologies for these sad individuals is not something you want to get involved in. There are no legitimate excuses for what some in our industry believe is their God given right to pour scorn!

While we have no say in what the general public say about our work, at least as writers we can set them an example by writing a non-toxic review.

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