Showing posts with label self-publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self-publishing. Show all posts

Friday, November 11, 2016

More Generous Ratings For Indie Books? | Book Blogging Tips (#46)

I've noticed recently that I tend to give indie books better ratings than traditionally published ones. 

I wish I could say it wasn't intentional, but I think it is. Here's why I rate indie books more generously.

First, let me slam-dunk your prejudices in the trash. 
  • Quality is absolutely not an issue. If you think indie books are low quality, sorry, you just probably don't have a qualified opinion here. Of course, with EVERYONE being able to publish books these days, there's a fair share of bad writers. It's logical. But condemning everyone because of a handful of bad books you read is a little... narrow-minded. That's like saying I don't read Hachette books anymore because I didn't like the only 3 of their books that I've read. 
  • Because you don't hear about them, they're bad? Especially if you sign with a small publishing house or are self-published, there is near to no way to get the word out about your book the same way you'd be able to if you were published under the Big Five. 

TL; DR - here's why I rate indie books more generously than traditionally published books:

#5: Indie publishing is hard, competitive, and authors rely on reviews and ratings. 
A Big Five author won't give a rat's ass about my one star review, but bad reviews can crush indie authors' sales. Don't be unnecessarily mean. When in doubt, give one star more than fewer.

#4: Indie authors do their publicity themselves. 
Every review copy sent out goes out of their own pocket. Especially when you received a physical copy, that's the author straight up taking their own money, relying on your review. Writing a fair critique is the LEAST you can do.

#3: Collaboration with indie authors is more personal. 

Often the authors themselves reach out to me, asking me to review their book. If I'm going to write a bad review, I BETTER know what I'm talking about. I better have reasons for every single negative thing I say, because guess what - the author's at the other end of the receiving line and they sure as hell will realize when I'm being a dick for no reason.

Yeah, I have to admit, sometimes I'm a little hard on traditionally published authors and nitpicking a lot. Among other things, a reason for this is probably that I'm not face to face with the author.

#2: There are people who refuse reading indie books. 

A few bloggers I (used to) admire actually support this. Oddly enough, none of them has ever dared to state why. Let's prove em wrong.

#1: People think indie books are all shit. 

And honestly, if the one thing I can do to help ERASE this stupid, ignorant stigma, I'll do it via good reviews. I would never rate a book that's bad, positive just because it's indie, don't get me wrong - but I'll do my darn best to promote the crap out of every wonderful indie book I encounter.

Are you more generous with your indie ratings?

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are you awkward about getting Review Requests from Authors? | Book Blogging Tips (#44)

Even though I don't really mean to be, I have to admit I'm super awkward about getting review requests by authors. This is 100% on me.

Most experiences I've made so far were delightful and I ended up liking most of the books that were offered to me by their authors.

But what if I hadn't?


How do I phrase politely that I absolutely hated your novel and wrote a 300 word review about how much I hated it? Even though I feel like my reviewing style is at that point where even negative criticism is phrased respectfully, I'm sure no author wants to read this about their book. And yea, indie authors read reviews. I know they do because I get reactions to the reviews from them once I have sent the links over...!

I still want to review books that are offered to me by the authors, I think it's a great opportunity and I like that they are so approachable, but sometimes I just wish there was more .... distance. I wish I didn't have to bite my nails feeling ashamed. I wish I would stare at my email account, just waiting for one author to absolutely flip out when I send over a bad review. That stuff happens. 

Last year an author actually tracked down someone who gave them a negative review and wrote an article in The Guardian about this, not seeing what's wrong with that. Since I read that article I've been extra picky with accepting books for review that weren't offered through a publishing house.


Heck yea, I am. I'm scared of getting negative reviews, possibly managing to agitate a black sheep that turns out to be a psychopath. Things like this are known to happen. Remember that author who tracked down a reviewer and hit them over the head with a bottle? I'm flat out scared to get my face slashed by someone that didn't like my opinion. Is this far-fetched? Maybe

The thing is, while this probably, very likely *knock on wood* won't happen to me, there's always the possibility. The easiest solution would be to only work with big publishers then and completely cut off any contact with authors that isn't going through their publicists first. Well. I don't know if that really is a solution. 
  • I want to read indie books, 
  • I want to talk to authors, 
  • I want to see their reactions to nice reviews, 
... but there's always going to be this little voice inside my head that will tell me to keep this or that sentence out of my review.

It will tell me to censor my review a little more, which I definitely wouldn't have done if the book were offered to me through a publicist.

While I do know that not every author can afford a publicist and/or it doesn't make sense for everyone, sometimes I wish there was a puffer person. 

Am I weird or are you also awkward about getting review requests from authors?

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

How to Make Your Book Stand Out - Tips from Eric Matheny

Now more than ever it is critical that your work be as original and polished as possible.
Why? There are just too many of us.

Anybody can publish a book

With digital publishing, mostly utilized through tablets and Kindle and Nook devices, the publishing houses are no longer the gatekeepers. Anybody with access to publishing software can create an ebook. Many of these self-publishing companies can print paperbacks, even hardcover books as well.

But in the last year, I have discovered tons of great authors who were either published by small independent presses or self-published. I read mysteries and thrillers primarily and I can honestly say that their work is indistinguishable from the top writers in the genre. So there’s no shortage of talent. A good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re a writer or a reader.

So now the marketplace is saturated with great writers whose talent isn’t halted by agents or acquisitions editors who have the power to say no. The power to accept or reject a book is vested entirely in the public. But with so many writers having direct access to the reading public, it is more important than ever that your work stand out among the rest. how do you stand out?
  • First and foremost, don’t chase trends. They never last. No more vampires, post-apocalyptic dystopia, or thrillers about bad marriages. While I absolutely loved Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, that story’s been told. Nobody wants to read a carbon copy of an original. Remember when The Da Vinci Code was all the rage and everybody started writing Jesus thrillers?
  • Don’t jump on a bandwagon. By the time your book is researched, written, edited, and published, a year or two will have passed and people will have moved on to something new. And besides, if you’re not hitting the trend right at the precise moment it arrives, you’re already late.
  • Keep it original. Avoid fads. Also, make sure you love what you are writing. Gregg Hurwitz, whose work is a clinic in style, plotting, and pacing, said it best: write stuff that you would want to read. Who would have thought it was so easy? 
  • Think about it - don’t write stuff that you think you should write or material that you believe will sell better than something else. It’s disingenuous and your craft will suffer. And people will notice. It’s the literary equivalent of faking an orgasm.

Think about the stuff that you enjoy, and I mean really enjoy. 

Take your favorite book, for instance. 
  • Why is it your favorite? You obviously enjoyed it for a reason. 
  • Without plagiarizing, how could you replicate that work? 
  • Was it the subject matter?

I’ll give you an example. I am fascinated by outlaw motorcycle clubs. Always have been, don’t ask me why. I have seen all the Gangland episodes - The Warlocks, The Pagans, Sons of Silence. I’ve read Hell’s Angels and Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws. I loved Dead In Five Heartbeats by one-percenter legend Sonny Barger.
I find that culture so interesting. 

So when I was writing The Victim - a legal thriller - I had to somehow work a biker gang, or two, into my story. And that was the best part, creating these grizzly, tattooed behemoths, flying their colors, roaring down the highway on custom Harley V-Rods. I wrote scenes that I would’ve loved to have read. And if I must admit, I think they turned out pretty well.

In sum, there is not much I can tell you that you don’t already know, but I think the keys to success in today’s publishing marketplace are sometimes the most simple and most often overlooked. There is no recipe or magic button.

Write well, write often, write what you love.


Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney who enjoys writing crime fiction, drawing from his experience working in the legal system. He has handled everything from DUI to murder. His latest novel The Victim was released on August 13, 2015, published by Zharmae. 

The Victim is a tense, fast-paced, legal thriller/psychological suspense novel that centers around a young defense attorney whose horrifying misdeed from his college days comes back to haunt him. 
It is available for sale on Amazon.

Eric Matheny on Facebook |  Twitter  | Goodreads
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