Criticism versus Reviews

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What any writer dreads the most are attacks by members of the public, often with an axe to grind…

In days gone by every writer knew that the only individuals who offered opinions about their work were journalists working for leading newspapers, in the guise of literary critics. Back then they encapsulated the essence of a new work of fiction in one line of carefully chosen words taken from the text in question. Never once did their newspaper’s editor allow them to speak harshly against a given work. Instead, they chose to beguile future readers with the use of a single sentence from the book in question as an enticement like the following:

“A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

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Sadly those days are no more. Today, every reader has the freedom to criticise by writing whatever they believe is a review, knowing that they can get away with blue murder, then posting it on book sites such as Amazon. Most are not true reviews at all. Instead what you will see are endless examples of critiques, or far worse! The vast majority believe it is their god given right to tear apart any and every book, in particular ebooks by both traditional and indie authors.

It isn’t! All you are doing is showing your ignorance to the world at large. Some, not all, make it their business to harangue the author of the work they have just written about. A small number will insist that they could have made a far better job of writing the story!

To all of them I ask this – how many of them have ever written anything longer than their own signature I wonder? Have any of them ever had a book published? How would they feel if the boot was on the other foot? Would they feel outraged about the product of all their hard work being considered rubbish by hateful individuals? These people who go on the offensive are too cowardly to use their own name, preferring instead to remain anonymous by hiding behind a pseudonym.

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Are Amazon’s published authors being shafted?

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From their published author’s point of view the answer has to be yes!!!

While the realists among our ranks (myself included) know we will never gain fame and fortune despite our best efforts, when you become a published author you would be forgiven for thinking that once your book(s) has been accepted and published that you are entitled to receive royalties for each copy of your book sold.

That used to be the case with Amazon until they decided to change the rules to save themselves having to honour their side of the agreement in favour of the far cheaper alternative from their point of view – Kindle Edition Normalized Pages!

While the idea of being able to read as many books as you can each month for very little outlay (Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited) may appeal to the avid reader, do any of them for one moment bother to ask themselves whether or not the authors of those books are being provided with royalties for each copy of their book(s) sold by Amazon? I seriously doubt it!

While its true that we do receive a pittance in the form of a few cents for every page read, we do not receive royalties for books sold under the Kindle Unlimited program! In essence what we are subjected to thanks to our books being advertised in Kindle Unlimited is nothing short of blatant exploitation by Amazon!

While we all reluctantly give away a few free copies while promoting a work, regarding it as a necessary evil, what Amazon is doing is outrageous! In essence they deliberately abandoned paying royalties to each author in favour of KU and their cheap skate pay per page read scheme. Did it increase the number of copies bought? No! Nor does the giving away of hundreds of copies in a free promotion, despite what some pro Amazon pundits may say!

As a published author I will never ever obtain a copy of anyone’s book using KU. To do so would be to deprive my fellow published authors of the monetary acknowledgement for their literary endeavours – in other words, their royalty payment. As readers I strongly urge you to consider doing the right thing as well. Buy your copy!

I know there are many tight-fisted individuals who would argue that by getting books using KU they save money, and that in effect they are buying their copy.They could not be more in error if they tried! So the next time you chose a book to read consider paying for it.

DO NOT HIT THE BIG YELLOW ‘READ FOR £0.00’ BUTTON!!!

Before you ask – yes I do have some free copies of ebooks. In total they number less than eight, each one sent to me by their author as a complimentary copy…

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It’s inevitable whenever you publish…

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Hi kiddies, I’m back on the offensive once again.

The following is a classic example of what happens when a Troll goes on the attack by looking for the next title on their hate list:

The text does not flow. I was frequently jolted by missing punctuation and poor sentence structure.
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In this particular instance, the targeted book is my scifi love story:

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Céleste: Love, Hate, Revenge and Danger among the Stars.

And yet, despite the above pathetic attempt to rubbish the book by a specific troll living in Vermont, one Sligo McKluge, when he delivered his blatantly obvious attack, the book continues to receive nothing but praise by those who have actually bought and read it from the beginning to the end. Which begs the simple question – why the hell does Amazon still allow bitter and twisted morons like McKluge to comment in the first place?

Before the peace and brotherly love set jump in to defend him by preaching about the fundamental rights of the individual, insisting McKluge was merely exercising his/its/her/their right to express their personal opinion according to the section on the democratic right to freedom of speech in the first amendment of United States’ Constitution, I would remind you that like every other successfully published author of my acquaintance who are constantly targeted by total fwits like McKluge, I can tell you that that particular argument does not wash! It is nothing more or less than a load of old horse manure, especially when authors do not have the right to veto all one and two star reviews. Or better still, like Facebook, be allowed to block certain people from commenting, or in this instance reviewing!!!

PS – according to KDP, its being read in the US at the moment McKluge, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

Bah Bloody humbug

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Two more reviews…

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Despite everything here are a two more reviews – this time from Amazon Australia

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I loved reading Celeste, where for me Star Trek meets a more current way of thinking, keeping it smaller and simpler in some ways yet much more complex and deep in others. Fascinating turns everywhere from steamy relationships, danger, a ship that comes to life, to meeting different yet familiar entities that have mastered the power of thoughts. A nice not seen before (by me) creative touch at the end, and yes, l would like to find out what happens after, hint, hint 😉
PollyEsther

 

By Chris Graham TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 March 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

A well thought out Space Trek, brief but plausible encounters with Aliens, touching on why they don’t seem to be keen on contacting us, the evolution of an Artificial Intelligence, a look at the origins of some ancient myths and a touch of Romance.
All the boxes are ticked in this latest Sci-Fi tale from author Jack Eason.
Will there be a sequel?
I’d like to think so.
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The top revue is from PollyEster in Australia. The second is from our hairy friend Chris Graham aka The Story Reading Ape here in the UK. Both of them are followers of my blog. For which I am eternally grateful.
A few more positive reviews like these and I might just be tempted to write a sequal. So get buying and reading people…
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Here is the first UK review

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

If you like your action fast paced this is for you. A beautiful ancient mystical being, an English Archaeologist and an ever changing band of misfits and rogues working together to save the world from a count down to an apocalyptic end.
A secret society and an evil god, trying to stop them from achieving their aim. Working against the clock to reactivate an ancient machine, it takes them across the globe. Will they make it? Love, treachery, heroism and around the world action – what’s not to like? This would make a great movie.
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Now come on the rest of you, follow Kate’s example. Read and review it!
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Thank goodness the promotion is over!

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What many of today’s readers conveniently forget, or are wholly ignorant of, is the fact that getting your hands on a free copy of any book is a privilege, not a right!

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To that end, the one time only five day promotion for this book ended at midnight California Time – that’s 8am this morning, here in the UK. From now on, if you want a copy you will have to open your wallet, set the moths free, and spend money buying it like everybody else.

Here are the two main links – Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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The following is the breakdown of the free copies taken:

Amazon US – 46

Amazon UK – 5

Amazon Germany – 2

Amazon Japan – 1

Amazon India – 3

The burning question now is how many of the fifty-seven free copies will actually be read, let alone reviewed? I’ll know the answer when I see movement on KDP’s Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, along with any review posted on the book’s relevant Amazon page.

For your information, 170 pages equals one copy of the book read. So I’ll know exactly how many of you actually bothered to read it. Back in the real world, past experience dictates that the numbers of pages read, and the reviews, will be pitifully low. So how about proving me wrong for a change. After all I gave you a free copy out of the goodness of my heart. So now its time for you to do the decent thing by me in return, don’t you think? Read and review it!!!

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Second Chapter

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Here is the second chapter of the re-written novella…

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Chapter Two

The search begins

When Nick returned home to his sixteenth century thatched cottage in the ancient Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire from the Stonehenge event, he immediately began re-reading all of his extensive notes on the various legends he had gathered about time. His black cat who grudgingly allowed Nick to cohabit with him, came in through the cat flap with another gift for the cottage’s larder in the form of a half dead mouse. “Cheers Dragon, just what I need,” Nick chuckled as he warily stroked the half wild cat’s head. With the mouse forgotten for the moment, Dragon leapt up to his favourite place on the window sill where he could watch the world outside in comfort and began to meticulously groom himself.

Nick fired up his laptop and looked at the blog the three hippies had mentioned – Time Reversed. The author had gathered together a vast raft of information, gleaned from the countless thousands of internet sites on the subject of time. Some were recognized scientific sites, but the vast majority fell into the crank category. These were the ones Nick and the blog’s author, who went by the internet handle ‘Clocked’, were most interested in. After bookmarking the blog for future reference, Nick checked his emails hoping for one from his long-time girlfriend Sophie. But she was still working deep in the highlands of Uganda as a volunteer animal behaviour research assistant for the World Wildlife project, created to protect the endangered mountain gorilla groups living there. Typing in the pass-worded URL for the British Museum’s archaeology department, he began his search.

At least for the moment he could still get access. Randle had not been able to close him down just yet. “Where do I begin to look eh Dragon?” Nick asked the wily old cat. Dragon flicked his thick tail in reply and looked at his human companion with those piercing eyes that mesmerize his prey, purring loudly as he settled down to doze with one eye open, carefully watching out for another possible addition to the larder. After an hour or so perusing the titles of the many papers on file, one in particular caught Nick’s eye, concerning an unusual find made in the mid nineteen twenties on an island at the Bolivian end of Lake Titicaca. Copying the paper onto his hard drive and backing it up on his memory stick for good measure; he looked at Dragon and said, “looks like you’ll be on your own for a while old mate.” Dragon just yawned and stretched out on his back for his human companion to stroke his belly.

Nick checked the available flights to South America via an internet booking agency. Finding what he wanted, he made his reservation on Virgin flight 92 bound for Miami, where he would catch his connection to Lima in Peru. Throwing some old clothes, his laptop and a few other things he knew he would need into his old backpack, he finally found his passport, grabbed his wallet and checked that his credit card was there and still up to date, before stuffing them along with his computer memory stick into the front pocket of his bum bag. With luck and no major traffic jams or accidents, Nick hoped to arrive at Heathrow Airport in approximately five hours’ time.

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The departure lounge was packed solid with hundreds of people off to other parts of the world. Nick pushed his way through crowds of people, bewildered by the hundreds of signs pointing here and there to the various departure gates, check in counters, waiting lounges and duty free shopping areas, and the Virgin booking office, where he made good his purchase of the precious ticket on Virgin flight 92. After parting with his backpack for the flight at the departure counter, he made his way to the bar nearest to his departure gate where he paid an outrageous price for a beer and relaxed for a while, armed with his ticket and boarding pass also securely stashed in his bum bag’s front pocket. The call he had been waiting for was finally made over the busy airport’s announcement system. “All passengers for Virgin flight 92 to Miami please go to departure gate 7 immediately.”

Nick made himself comfortable in the coach class seat allocated to him next to a window. From where he sat, he looked out at the leading edge of the starboard wing of the red and white liveried Virgin 747 Jumbo Jet with the two massive gaping mouths of the powerful Rolls-Royce engines slung beneath it, and settled back for the long flight to Miami on his first step towards the truth to the puzzle. Unbeknown to him, two passengers seated three rows behind him were also headed for Lake Titicaca, posing as tourists. On the forearm of one of the passengers was a distinctive tattoo of a shield with a pierced heart at its centre. Several hours later after an uneventful flight across the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, Miami’s heat hit Nick like a blast furnace, giving him a taste of what was to come as he sat down on a seat in the roof observation area, with an ice-cold bottle of weak Budweiser. How he longed for a proper pint of room temperature English bitter. The two tourists sat a few yards away observing his every move. He had a couple of hours to kill before the connecting flight to Lima and he was not looking forward to enduring it in an ancient DC3 for two very good reasons. The first being the radial-engined plane’s great age combined with its lack of modern comfort and heat. The other was the bumpy flight that lay ahead down the mountainous South American continent’s spine – the Andes. But needs must. The old Dakota was the only available flight, unless he wanted to wait on standby for a more comfortable flight at a later date.

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After what seemed like an eternity, the tired Dakota’s wheels screeched under braking as the plane at long last landed and taxied off the runway and over to the airport complex that housed the building containing the airport’s departure and arrival areas.  After completing the border control checks, Nick relaxed while surveying the streets of rain-soaked Lima by night, through the windows of the taxi as he was driven to his hotel. He laid on top of the bed, exhausted by the seemingly endless hours of his flight halfway across the world. He sweated profusely in the high humidity of the night. His eyes began to close as he watched the nineteen twenties style ceiling fan’s massive blades, mesmerized by their slow spinning attempt to move the thick air in the hotel room above his bed. Tomorrow he would begin the long journey to the shores of Lake Titicaca and the first of his clues, he hoped. His eyes finally began to close as a combination of exhaustion and the strength sapping heat gradually made him succumb. For a brief moment as he drifted between being awake and asleep, he had one of those corner of the eye moments, where you think you see something, only to find out a split second later that you were mistaken, as his tired eyes finally closed and he thankfully drifted off to sleep.

Ithis opened her eyes and smiled to herself once more from her hiding place in the hotel’s wall and looked at the now sleeping man, satisfied with his progress. She was now certain she had chosen the right one for the task ahead. She would follow him wherever he went, do whatever she could to help and protect him. Finding the ‘key’ was entirely up to him. She could not simply take him by the hand and lead him to its location. It had to be found by someone like Nick, after following all the vague clues she had put in place. For her to actively interfere would lead to disaster. Her DNA was enough to trigger the device’s instant self-destruct system, which would be catastrophic not only for the Earth, but the whole solar system. That instruction had been clearly set in place within its programmed system countless millennia ago, when her people were driven underground by the original surface-occupiers. They had activated its slow countdown which was set to occur by the end of 2012, purely out of revenge. She had been left behind at her own request when her people left Earth forever. Unlike them, she loved the primitive surface-dwellers and had watched their development for thousands of years.

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Next time, if you’re lucky, the third chapter.

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