Criticism versus Reviews

source-criticism-in-the-media

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.

~~~

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.

😉

It’s inevitable whenever you publish…

images

~~~

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.
~~~

In this particular instance, the targeted book is my scifi love story:

511nMxX+gVL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_

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

😦

Without Reviews Books Don’t Sell!

bookreviews

I’ll say it again – without reviews, books don’t sell!

~~~

Sunday last I posted about a perfectly good, balanced review for my latest science fiction romance Céleste that Amazon refused to allow because its author and I know each other. Since then, thanks to Derek Haines telling me how, it now appears as an Editorial Review on Céleste’s page on Amazon.com.

It’s bad enough that many people today don’t want to read a book. But for those that do, the number who take the time to acknowledge the book they have read by posting a genuine review are rarer than hen’s teeth. It doesn’t help matters when Amazon deliberately remove reviews willy-nilly, under the pretence of doing away with fake ones, while at the same time bending their own rules, when they openly offer professional reviews for a price. So how can they possibly justify their actions while removing reviews written by perfectly ordinary readers who bought and enjoyed any given book? The mind simply boggles at what can only be described as Amazon’s blatantly obvious double standards where reviews are concerned.

We writers are always telling you that reviews sell books. It’s a great pity that Amazon fails to appreciate that simple fact. After all, if a book doesn’t sell, they earn nothing, as does the author who did all the hard work in the first place…

😦

Taking a calculated gamble with the Trolls

online troll

To survive in the merciless world of Indie books, let alone achieve meaningful sales, sometimes you have to take steps to give your book a real chance. I’m not advocating that anyone tries what I did in this particular instance by any means. Occasionally it works. Most of the time it doesn’t.

***

There was a time when like all writers I used to really get upset by Troll attacks. Then I saw a way of turning them to my advantage, a way that turns their attacks into book sales. A few days ago I decided to once again try a tactic I hadn’t used in many a long year, to get the Trolls that lurk on Amazon.com to attack my latest novella The Guardian (click on the link in green to see their one and two star reviews). I laid a trap to make it easy for them to find me on Amazon.com and Twitter by including my name and the book title in a deliberately hard hitting review of another scifi book. Predictably they took the bait.

When it comes to getting your book noticed, in this day and age you have to make use of any and all tactics, in this case by turning what many (myself included) normally see as a negative, into a positive. As a sales tactic, at best its dubious. But it works. Remember that the literary world takes no prisoners. To succeed you not only have to develop a thick skin, but also be prepared to sometimes turn other’s underhanded tactics to your own advantage, as distasteful as they may be.

Amazon Troll’s reactions are always the same. They rarely vary, therefore they can easily be manipulated to your advantage.

The gamble paid off. It’s working brilliantly. Once again the Trolls have obliged by falling for the same old ruse. Consequently sales have already picked up!

The more loudly the Trolls condemn a book, not only on Amazon but also on Twitter, the more readers become curious about why they are viciously attacking your book, and so they buy a copy. Sounds crazy I know. But it works!

Sometimes you have to employ tactics like this to survive in the dog eat dog world of books, especially when your latest offering is just another title among the hundreds of thousands of newly published books on offer. If you don’t want it to disappear from the reading public’s gaze, distastful as it may be, even employing the Troll’s negativity becomes a legitimate sales tactic.

My sincere thanks to the Trolls for your one and two star reviews on Amazon and comments on Twitter. Please keep them coming. The last time you attacked one of my books like this back in 2012, it became a best seller.

😉

What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

Free Books.001

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 the fact that eBooks are electronic files, the concept of never paying for any eBook written by an Indie has become the norm. How many of you feel guilty about reading that eBook you got for nothing? More to the point, how many of those free eBooks you downloaded, have you actually read, let alone reviewed?

Doesn’t it bother you that the eBook’s author invested several months, or in some cases, years writing it? If not, it damned well should!

It’s high time you all grew a conscience and put yourselves in the author’s place for once. After all, would you go into work if you knew that you would not receive a salary for your hard work? Of course you wouldn’t!

More fool us for loving the written word, to the point where we sweat blood like you wouldn’t believe to bring you that latest book. Common decency demands that we are owed monetary recompense for all our hard work in the form of royalties, no matter the price of the book in question.

Unfortunately these days most Indies are lucky if their titles sell in the dozens per annum. Thanks to Amazon’s penny pinching change in how they pay royalties, known as KENPR or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, combined with your own selfish attitudes towards the product of our labours, if any writer thinks they will become rich these days, they’re seriously kidding themselves. We’re no different to you in that we need money to survive, but thanks to Amazon and uncaring people like you, 99.999% of Amazon’s Indie authors consider themselves lucky if they make maybe a couple of hundred dollars yearly from writing.

Remember this tightwads – authors never receive royalties from those free copies you all greedily help yourselves too.

PS – if you agree with me, reblog this!!!

😦

Beware – Idiotic Marketing Ideas Are Here!

deal-high-street_2779514b

A Typical English High Street

Yesterday morning I took delivery of an electric air-pump, which I need to inflate my new airbed. Now all I’m waiting for are those highly idiotic ‘please rate the product’ emails from Amazon UK. While they will expect me to rave on like a two bob watch about both products, I think on this occasion I’ll refrain. Hell’s teeth, we’re only talking about a blow up mattress and an electric air-pump, nothing special.

I hate to tell you this Amazon, but we’re a nation that still likes shopping in small family run businesses in our high streets where you get friendly courteous service. Yes there is a place for large concerns like yours where we can buy almost anything we care to name. Undoutedly the prices will be cheaper than any high street shop, but what we don’t need is all the hype and BS that goes with buying anything from you.

There is another thing which has crept in from across the pond, the sheer lunacy of sales days like Black Friday where total idiots with money to burn literally battle with one another, often violently, over products, and Cyber Monday when the emphasis is on equally insane online buying of those self same products.

I honestly don’t know how any of you feel about sales days like these, but when US based companies think that what works back home, will not only become accepted practice, but also be welcomed with open arms by the vast majority of the population of other lands, I’m sorry Amazon etal, but while the young may see nothing wrong with American sales tactics being employed more and more these days, the older generations, which is by far the majority here in the UK, usually steer well clear, preferring the peace and quiet of small shops.

Why an airbed? Two reasons. First of all because as a pensioner on a low income I can’t afford to buy a new soft mattress, necessary for a comfortable night’s sleep. Secondly, my back and other places, one of which I sit on, is now covered in various types of skin cancer, a legacy of spending forty-two years exposed to direct UV radiation from the Sun within the hole in the ozone layer down south in New Zealand. As for the ones on my back, which despite being benign are never the less painful, especially if I lay on my back at some point during the night, the doctors will only treat them if I submit to the knife once more. Or allow them to use focused radiation to fix the problem.

Will I let them near me ever again? Hell no. My previous experience with the local mob of medical specialists, was to say the least, far worse than putting up with the damned cancers. And another thing, it was radiation that caused the problem in the first place. I don’t need the side effects of any other form of radiation to add to my woes, thank you very much. Some people’s bodies are covered in freckles. In my case its skin cancer.

Rant almost over. What do I really think about rating anything? What do you think?

Bah Humbug!

PS – I can honestly say that I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years last night, even if the airbed tended to crackle when I turned over, and I sank into it. Why on Earth didn’t I buy one much earlier? LOL

😉

A Couple Of Problems With Social Media Sites That Need Addressing

social_media_strategy111

Ever noticed how when setting yourselves up on any Social Media site, how they all appear to be blighted by exactly the same problems? Crass stupidity seems to be the order of the day, or could that be just sheer ignorance on the part of those responsible for the sites?

For example, take the field to be filled in re your current work status in the section where your personal details are held. If you are retired, as I am, no Social Media site appears to be able to comprehend the fact that you are no longer part of the workforce. Facebook is a glaring example of what I’m talking about. When I retired almost two years ago, I changed the information to simply read retired. Job done, or so I thought. But no. According to Facebook I now ‘work’ at retired. Duh! No I don’t! What part of the fact that I am retired are you dipsticks unable to grasp?

The same stupidity applies when it comes to your educational status. Why do any of the Social Media sites automatically assume that everyone must have gone to university? Could it be because they were set up by young graduate American entrepreneurs, with no awareness of how people in the real word actually exist?

While it may be the case for a large percentage of today’s generation like them, for people my age and older, most left high school and went into the workforce, or into the armed forces as I did. Very few ever got the chance to do a degree. Most didn’t even want to. Back when I was at school we were ‘streamed’. The few academically bright ones were either groomed for University or Teachers College, while the rest of us were directed elsewhere. Most either entered a trade learning on the job (apprenticeship), or became part of the general workforce, where you were expected to turn your hand to everything and anything, unlike today when you need to have served an apprenticeship (they call it an inhouse degree for some weird reason), to even make and serve a cup of coffee in a certain well known American coffee chain. Perhaps the management think that a degree in coffee making is far more prestigious, who knows. Either way its still learning on the job.

Linkedin is another classic example of a Social Media site suffering from this shared insanity. According to them, I’m retired at retired, whatever that means. Even after I entered the fact in their system, for some strange reason, probably something to do with my full to bursting ‘Skills’ page where other people tell the world what you are good at, they keep on suggesting job offers which they think I may be suited too!

Once again – no, I’m retired you idiots. Get over it! I worked full time for forty years from my fifteenth year until the end of 2003, when at fifty-five, I experienced a total mental breakdown, brought on by stress in the workplace, rendering me unemployable. From then until my sixty-fifth birthday, I existed (barely) on a mental health benefit.

When someone updates their personal information, especially regarding their work status, to read retired, we are not working at retired, nor are we retired at retired. We’re just retired, no longer working, no longer commuting, no longer part of the rat race. We’ve done our bit, paid income tax, worked for various businesses and other employers. We have earned the right to be retired and to finally do what we want, not what an employer demands we do for an often paltry weekly wage. What part of any of that don’t the idiotic dipsticks in charge of Social Media sites seem to be able to fully appreciate?

Rant over…

😉