Alexie said on 02/05/2012
I saw you on Authonomy and I’m interested. My question is, what experience of editing do you offer and do you really put $5,000-10,000 into marketing and advertising of each book?
William said on 02/05/2012
Currently we outsource out editing to a professional editor (genre dependent). The price of the marketing depends on the book and its rating within our community and also on the major book selling sites. Yes we try to put as much money we can into marketing, but if the ratings don’t look good we don’t do it. But with continued positive ratings we have no reasons not to.
If you have anymore questions feel free to connect with us at the link below.
Destiny Allison said on 31/05/2012
Thanks for the thoughtful post. I couldn’t agree more with you on all points. I chose to self-publish because given the current climate, legacy publishing doesn’t make financial sense. If I have to build a platform and market my book anyway, why would I give up the royalties that self-publishing provides. I think the publicists need to also adapt their model and price according the the new market dynamics. Most authors can’t afford a publicist. They rely on social media, existing platforms, and prayers (regardless of the time and energy they are willing to commit). It would be great to see quality publicists engage with the indie authors and publishers in a way that would benefit both.
Mimi said on 01/06/2012
Self-publishing isn’t a bubble, it’s a wave tearing through the publishing industry and reforming the boundaries. It’s not going away, but it does need help. The companies and people that will form specifically to help self-publishing …
William, you are so right. You have seen a potential that others (so I assume. I have not read about your approach elsewhere) have missed. I say this is a useful, and promising, idea.
Can we get some input from folks who have self-published and listed work on Amazon, etc.? What has been your experience, in terms of Attention Paid? Professionals like JoeTeeVee (find him on Book Country) know the ropes. Most of the rest of us do not.
I could use a publicist/marketer on my side, in my little corner of this Brave New World.
Cindy (Blosser) Winfrey said on 05/06/2012
Wonderful job Joleen! Found this link on Brock Mullis’ Facebook page. How are you? Love your topic. Your soul shines through your words. Much love, Cindy
Guilherme said on 28/06/2012
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Carmel @ Rabid Reads said on 06/06/2012
Yay! Thanks so much for having me, it was a lot of fun! 🙂
Lupdilup said on 06/06/2012
Let me start by saying, I’m so glad you decided to come back, I value your opinion very highly. I always know I’m going to get your honest opinion. I also recognized the hard work that goes into keeping a blog, specially posting every day, so I understand how it can become a chore.
2 years at that pace had to be hard, I’m glad you took a much deserved break.
Carmel @ Rabid Reads said on 07/06/2012
It’s fellow bloggers like you who help keep me sane. 🙂
Roxanne said on 07/06/2012
Maintaining a balance is important. Burn out is NO FUN. Glad you’re back!
I agree, I have new found respect and sympathy towards anyone who’s ever suffered through a burn out. Thanks for your support!
Proserpine said on 07/06/2012
Hi! Great post! I saw a few weeks ago on your blog, the post about the fact that you needed to take some times for you and slow down and I was like: Nooooo! But as a girl who can’t say no, I understand you on many points and I too begin to be overload with review requests! And I want to read all these books and help all these authors, but now I know I have to work on myself and learn to say no! And it’s ok to take time for myself!
Exactly! Sometimes you just have to say NO!
Zoe said on 13/06/2012
Fantastic post! This gives us all hope: the fallacy that self-publishing is a death sentence for your book and career has this as clear and undeniable proof that it’s simply not true.
Congratulations on all your successes, CJ. Thank you for your inspiring words.
Roxanne said on 14/06/2012
I guess I am a recovering cowardly author …
Kate said on 21/06/2012
I think there may be quite a few of us about Roxanne!!
Darlene Jones said on 20/06/2012
Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books. Watch for EMBRACED coming soon to an ereader near you.
Mimi said on 21/06/2012
Kate, I have read your excerpt and I find it to be absolutely wonderful. I am eager to read more.
I’m fascinated by the period detail, my own novel is set one hundred years earlier, and you write with a hugely enjoyable finesse.
Thank you Mimi! I’m so glad you liked it. Is there somewhere I could read some of your work?
Mimi said on 06/07/2012
The first four chapters of my book, Sly! are up on bookcountry.com. Unfortunately, in order to read more than 3000 words, you have to join up. I will have my thing posted on a blog at some point. I have registered for a blog, I just don’t know how to get it going.
If you should care to read a bit on bookcountry, I must warn you. My first chapter is heavy on backstory. The action doesn’t really start until chapter two. I have been heavily criticized for the slow start and the abundance of sham history, which I judge to be a total riot. I’ll deal with this at some point, just not right now.
I have just submitted my own Vacant entry, which describes my writing style and the thrust of my story. You might better wait for my piece: The Intrusive Author.
By the way, it took me two weeks to reply because until about an hour ago I had completely missed the itty-bitty ‘Comments’ at the bottom right of your piece. All this time I’ve been looking for a prominent reply box.
I’ll get the hang of this site sooner or later.
Randy Attwood said on 21/06/2012
We are, indeed, kindred souls. http://randyattwood.blogspot.com/2011/08/reflections-from-aging-writer.html
Edward said on 25/06/2012
Further to my juvenile suspense novel ‘Archie’s Gold’. The reason Tundra Books doesn’t sign contracts with authors until just before publication is because they claim some authors become belligerent when it comes time to make changes to the manuscript. With a written contract, you see, there is a compromise between the two parties to reach agreeable editing terms. With a verbal contract, an author is put in a subservient position knowing the editor has the hammer. Any author who decides not to back down on certain editing issues flirts with being dropped. It’s not only first time authors being treated badly, either. Jan Wong, veteran journalist and author, is a notable case in point as she was dumped by Doubleday Canada. http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/05/07/jan-wong-dishes-on-depression-in-the-workplace/
Rowena Wiseman said on 26/06/2012
Kate – this has really struck a chord with me! I love where you say ‘Later today if someone asks me what I’ve been up to, I’ll tell them I’ve been writing. I won’t mutter about folding the laundry or washing the kitchen floor. I’ll say I’m a writer, because I am a writer – and a better one for having braved my fears.’ Can you hear my applause from there??!!
Mary W. Walters said on 01/07/2012
Nice to see that there’s another militant around! If you are looking for a kindred spirit, I invite you to check out my “Militant Writer” blog.
Roxanne said on 05/07/2012
I’m not sure that this is the right site for you. Bookkus is, after all, a site for fiction.
Mr.Ben said on 06/07/2012
There is a fiction-based work of mine,’Wake Up, Dream Boy!’. Please, follow its link.
Are you really sure it’s a site for fiction?
Under the ‘I’m an author’ segment, Bookkus recognize fiction and non-fiction work titles.
Anyway, thanks for your comment.
Edward said on 28/09/2012
The author should separate dialogue by different speakers. It’s all crammed into a paragraph. I think, in the 50’s a good whuppin’ would’ve been the norm. Too goody-goody for me.
DocTom said on 30/09/2012
Good story, but the ending is problematic. I get that Drew is pulling the ultimate masochistic act so Mai will feel responsible, but after that it seems that he’s taking her with him and making her suffer a long slow death. That might work if she had been tied to a chair and her mouth duct-taped, but the way it’s written I found myself not feeling horrified, but wondering why Mai doesn’t just throw something through one of the windows, climb out and get the police?
Minor point: people don’t think “Jerry, my exterminator, sprayed….” They just think “Jerry sprayed….” The reader will figure the rest out.
Hobo said on 03/10/2012
Thank you, Edward, for taking the time to read my story. Your criticism is important to me. I must say however that, likely due to a weakness on my part, I did not understand your critique. I hope it not too much of an imposition, but would you be so kind as to clarify the comments stated in the first two sentences. It would also be helpful if you could include something you liked.
Edward said on 04/10/2012
Dialogue by different speakers and narration should be separated.
“No need to cry” said *Jerome. Everyone is alright and the house is ok.” At that moment Louise bent down and hugged her son. After Wes settled down he said (WHO SAID?), “So you forgive me for what I did?” ID HERE“What do you mean?” ID HERE“You know, about how I started the fire.” Both Louise and Jerome looked somewhat puzzled and *Louise said, “Go on.” NARRATION Wes sensed that his parents wanted a full confession so he started from the beginning then ended with. “We thought that the fire was out but I guess it wasn’t and I feel awful about what happened and what I did.”
You’ve got three people speaking here crammed into one para. mixed in with narration and it’s confusing. It’s called structure It’s an amateur mistake corrected by picking up almost any book.
As for the goody-goody stuff, every kid I knew back in the day got spanked, slapped, or kicked for the smallest of transgressions. Setting fires would’ve been far more severe punishment. It’s just the way it was then.
As for anything I liked…not so much, I like edgier stories. Everyone is just so goody-goody it creeped me out, was almost like some cult or something with them all smiling. No one gets emotional about a potential disaster. Put some feeling into this.
Hobo said on 04/10/2012
Thank you again for your input. You have pointed out some valid editing errors and they have in fact been made by an amateur. I am new to writing and am exposing myself to criticism in order to get better. I am eager to learn and welcome editing suggestions. Bear in mind that the guidelines for Bookkus do not include that a submission be professionally edited. I did the best I could and hopefully my editing abilities will improve over time.
Your comment that the story lacked any emotion was not totally accurate. I will agree however that as a matter of style, the story could have benefited from the inclusion of a more intense emotional tone. One of the criteria for the story was that it is humorous and therefore I shied away from it being overly dramatic.
Your comment of the story lacking corporal punishment is also interesting. I agree that most people are of the opinion that it was a common practice in the 50’s. I grew up in the 50’s and my parents had seven children. They were blue collar, middle class folk and I never once received a “whuppin” and as far as I know, neither did any of my brothers or sisters. With that said, including a good spanking in the story would have spiced it up.
Lastly, it is helpful for a would be writer of fiction to know if his (or her) ability to imagine a memorable story merits their taking the time to learn editing points. In other words, are they creative enough to become successful? Speaking for myself, I do want to know about editing errors but I am also interested in knowing if I had a good story to tell.
Kevin said on 05/10/2012
I enjoyed this story. It has an O’henry feel to it. The ending is very satisfying; poetic justice. The story includes all three of the required themes; a little water, a little danger, and a lot of humor. Good characterizations, even with the secondary characters, through the skillful use of dialog. The premise is perhaps just a bit incredulous, but because the story is so much fun I’m willing to go along with it.
This is a very good story, tightly crafted. The ending, when the boy keeps his eyes closed because he’s not supposed to see the angels, and he interprets the sound of gunshots as angels building a stairway to heaven, is eerie. It’s also quite masterful, in that it is a metaphor that ties together at least three separate elements introduced earlier, and distills the story’s meaning. The interaction between the boy and the Old Man, when they’re playing games and singing children’s songs, is eerie, poignant, horrifying, and humorous, all at once.
DocTom said on 09/10/2012
Lovely and funny story. My only suggestion is that Sharon would not give up so quickly. After Reggie hangs up on her do you really think she’d not try calling back to tell him about the “rocks” (BTW great joke in the title!). We already know that Reggie is a self-centered twit, and I think you missed a chance at delicious irony by not having Sharon try ringing back and having the supercilious Reggie refuse to answer, especially as the bus is pulling away and Reggie is smirking about the fellow who missed the bus.
But overall a very enjoyable and well written story.
Atthys said on 18/10/2012
Nicely done. Beautifully understated ending.
Tsquare said on 23/10/2012
I used Wattpad for a few short stories for about a month. In order for stories to get attention, you really have to commit some time into the community by offering to read the stories of others, so there’s a give and take aspect to it; if you have the time to read other stories and offer feedback, then your own works might get a good amount of attention as well.
However, if you don’t have the time to really plug away at this, then your energy might be better spent elsewhere.
Based on my own experience, I’d say it’s entirely possible to attract a following online using Wattpad which would help once you move into the published realm, but I personally found I was reading and critiquing more stories while my own were being neglected.
William said on 23/10/2012
That seems to be a problem among all the sites similar to this. Autonomy is the same way, but has more chance of being tampered with fake accounts. Every tried Scribophile?
Tsquare said on 24/10/2012
I haven’t! I took a brief look at their site and it’s an interesting concept: having a control mechanism for critiquing and publishing. I also like the “karma points” as a currency to promote your own work. I’d be interested to see how it all works. I also wonder if there’s a mechanism with which the community’s reviews and critiques are spread out evenly instead of users seeking out popular trends.
Mimi said on 25/10/2012
Well, I guess wattpad is not for me after all. I see that it’s for YA romance/mystery lovers.
My stuff is screwball/fantasy/quasi-historical adventure with philosophical components (relax, also screwball … on the surface) but is, at heart, literary fiction.
I’ll look at Scribophile.
William said on 25/10/2012
I think there is a chance that Wattpad could have some of the readers you want Mimi. Maybe not in the amounts you want. Where can I read some of your book?
Mimi said on 26/10/2012
The first four chapters of ‘Sly’ are on Book Country, on which I’m known as Mimi Speike.
These chapters have been trashed, because of the way-too-much detail and description and tangential fluff, which I adore, but which puts many off. I have yet to decide on how to trim/restructure the stuff, to move the plot along at a better pace. If you read it, keep this in mind. I am well aware that it needs something done to it, and I have a few (screwball, natch) solutions in mind.
No one disputes the quality of the writing. I maintain that the remarks I’ve received are the best awful reviews anyone has ever gotten.
Edward said on 27/10/2012
Your original deadline was too short as writers don’t have copies with the particular theme sitting around. The creative process requires a lot of thinking about the theme then stringing together whatever fragments come to mind.
William said on 28/10/2012
I have made it longer. Hopefully we get some great stories out of it.
Mimi said on 24/11/2012
I can’t figure out what this is all about. I just watched a Gangnan video for the first time, and I don’t get it. Cute, okay, but, what else? Help me out. I’m an out-of-it old lady. I still prefer the Beatles and the Stones. I’ve never been on Facebook or Twitter in my life. But if I can use it, in some way, in my writing, I want to understand it.
What’s the big deal?
William said on 25/11/2012
That is a good question. I really don’t see the appeal from a western viewpoint. A lot of the cultural references in the video are lost. I still don’t really understand the lyrics either translated or not.
The video is making fun of the wealth of a particular area in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a type or rebelling against society. I think that is what makes it kind of Taboo. Psy is kind of known for being a bit taboo, some of his past videos were banned.
Psy was never really successful in his musical career until this. I think most Koreans like the video because it is internationally popular and they tend to support internationally popular celebrities for the sake of national pride.
Musical value it has none I think. I think it is the cute and that it deviates from the norm as to why people like it.
bemiown said on 11/12/2012
I’m with you all the way. I’m not real good at this reviewing stuff yet but I’m trying. Let’s all give it a big heartfelt try for William. We can do it!
William said on 17/12/2012
Just have fun when you write the reviews and find books you think you would enjoy.
Edward said on 18/12/2012
Do what you can, how you can. Good stuff, Mimi. Well said.
Mimi said on 21/12/2012
I am thinking about the new publishing reality, and I will be commenting further. For now, I want to say this to anyone who has ears to hear:
A large part of a publishing success (after an outstanding product, of course) is advertising. That means, more than anything else, self-promotion. When you comment, either in the forum on in a book review, edit your thoughts and groom your written remarks. My strategy on all these sites is to write so well, and so intelligently, and so entertainingly, that whenever anyone sees my name attached to a piece, they’ll say, (as I say of Joan Walsh on salon.com) that dame can write. I’ve got to see what she’s up to now.
My idea is to attract a following, anticipating the day when my book will be either posted somewhere, or in print, available for purchase.
There are people on Bookkus who have impressed me, despite my having seen no more than snippets of their work. I zero in on anything they post. I’m eager to get their point of view. There are a few whom I only read for laughs. Sorry, I’ve got to speak my mind. You’d best get used to it.
William said on 27/12/2012
Great post. Thanks again for writing once again.
Mimi said on 28/12/2012
You are very right that all reviews are useful. It’s good to hear what pleases on an emotional rather than an analytical level.
You get to the heart of the matter with your question: Would you buy this book?
DocTom said on 30/12/2012
Interesting post. I think there’s a bit of an assumption in it though – that all the works reviewed are actually ready to be critically reviewed. Of the two works I’ve reviewed on Bookkus, I truly felt that neither were yet at that stage. One struck me as just barely out of 1st draft territory, while the other probably needed a good critical read through by the author (and possibly an editor) to clean up a lot of writing problems. The odd thing is that if both works had been in good, clean final draft form I might well have (using the Goodreads star system) rated the first work higher than the second because it appeared (from what I could make out) to be more original, and hence, more interesting.
When I approach a book sample, I always read it twice – once to get a general sense of the story, and the second time to confirm my initial impression (let’s face it, sometimes you can just not be up to things without realizing it), see if I missed anything (I often do), and take note of things that can or may be corrected to improve the story. All in all, I want to help the author if possible (I’ve received great help in this way from others).
So I guess I use a dual rating system. First and foremost, is the work ready for publication? If yes, then did I like it?
William said on 30/12/2012
I like the dual rating system it is great. We are willing to work with a story not 100% ready for publication, if it is interesting enough. I assume your rating system takes that into account though.
I try. In my last review I specifically ended by saying 4 for story, but writing problems brought it down to a 3 (something I hope to do in future). The first work I reviewed had so many problems that I had to go with only a ready for publication score.
Mimi said on 31/12/2012
Explain to me what you mean by a ‘Ready for Publication’ work. Is it a ‘no outrageous errors, interesting enough plot’ deal? Certainly a lot of that makes it to the market.
The Romance genre, with no aim other than to get two clowns together, fits that description quite well. Beware of introducing material that does not pertain to the silly scuffle/shuffle of two souls who are meant for each other. I know there are interesting love stories to be found, Daphne Du Maurier comes to mind, but they are few. The ‘Dusk With a Dastardly Duke’ drivel that I see at work (I work for a compositor) are often hilarious, which is certainly not the intent of the author, nor the expectation of the romance reader.
Even in science fiction, which is not at all my thing, I have found pieces that dazzled me, but not because of plot. It was the exceptional command of language that enthralled me, far beyond what I assume you mean by a base-line ‘Ready for Publication’.
DocTom said on 31/12/2012
I look upon a work as ready for publication if the writing is reasonable , with no obvious errors in grammar, spelling, tense, missed words, idiomatic god-awfulness (i.e. the army, routed by the enemy, ran off like so many chickens without heads), or major plot inconsistencies.
That is not the same as saying I’d actually bother reading the complete work. If you note in my review of The Aduramis Chronicles: Destiny of the Wulf I ended by saying that I thought it lacked originality. But as you point out, when dealing with genre writing that might not be a bad thing. I shamefully admit I spent years reading Star Trek novels (80% were trash), but I really liked the characters and the concept and it was escapism par excellence. So I don’t judge (except by not buying books like this any more). I think William is spot on in requiring about 20 reviews before making a decision. I might think a book is ready for publication, but if no one wants to read it….
On the other hand, I found Universal Constance: The Haunted Shadow so unready for publication that I came down really hard on it. If I had read this on Book Country I’d have written the same review, possibly a bit more leniently, because BC is for work in progress. I assume that people are really sending what they conceive of as well polished work to Bookkus hoping for publication. Sad to say I might have given Constance a better review than Aduramis under other circumstances because I couldn’t see where it was going, which generally makes you want to read on; however it was so poorly done (I assume still a first draft) that I could not force myself all the way through a second read. If you read that review, you’ll note that I spent a lot of time pointing out problems with the work (as I did with Aduramis) because whether l like the story or not, I still try to help the writer.
Edward said on 31/12/2012
Obviously, Bookus will look at the stars and pick from the pile. I would assume, since not all reviewers are particularly good at editing (some authors might be worse), Bookkus will have to examine the editing and make a 2nd decision. If the editing is poor, the cost to properly edit will be prohibitive and the property handed back to the author to do his/her own editing for cleaning up like it should have initially been done. Is the story good enough to resubmit? Or will Bookus say the author had an opportunity and blew it–next!
That’s why authors have to do their diligence and not do editing in a vacuum. I’m shocked that authors would dare submit poor stories after all the info that is out there on Not submitting sub-standard writing. I can see why publishers and agents have huge slush piles.
I used to play in a big band, very precise arrangements, timing, etc., and had band members and the director tell me to play louder/softer/ faster. I responded accordingly and became a better musician. I was always on the lookout for musicians to fill occasional vacancies. You wouldn’t believe how many people play instruments who will probably never leave their basements yet think they are great musicians. They’re not. Like authors, it’s all in their mind. I write a book and I think it’s absolutely wonderful, right? The author sees the characters, smells the odor, hears the speakers, etc. The art in writing is showing the readers that particular world. Therefore, the manuscript has to see daylight and react with readers. If you wish to expand your art you have to reveal it, risking possible bad responses. Even on Bookkus, which will provide a wonderful outlet for authors, poor editing will probably still kill a 4 or 5 star story. Did anyone understand that rambling?
DocTom said on 02/01/2013
Came across loud and clear, and I agree 100%
Mimi said on 03/01/2013
I work for a compositor, creating the printer files for publishers all over the country. I see the raw manuscripts as they come in the front door. This is presumably the best of the best, the submissions that have been accepted, the lucky few. These are the authors’ best efforts, yet many of them are very heavily edited, some to the point of pages and pages being nearly unreadable. They bounce back and forth from us to the publisher to the author for months, round after round of corrections/revisions.
The things that tend to need the least work are the genre pieces, the romances and mysteries. There may be more of a formula for that stuff, and the authors are often repeat offenders, they’ve got a style nailed.
The instruction here was loud and clear: submit only finished, polished work, ready to go with minor touch-ups. Some of what I’ve read is indeed polished. It’s the concept that is inadequate, the most serious problem of all.
I never thought this was going to be easy, but it may be even more difficult than I thought.
William, Edward, everyone,
The figure Alan Rinzler gave of 90-95% of published books being unprofitable, it’s not as dire as it appears. Overhead is covered, jobs are provided, many valuable books are produced which were never expected to turn a profit, important work that deserves to be made available.
My first hand experience of the labor-intensive process tells me that your model needs to include stringent developmental assistance far earlier in the game.
DocTom said on 03/01/2013
Of course, you are right. I look at sites like Book Country as places to post WIP’s and get feed back. I assumed Bookkus would get mostly well polished work that could be judged solely on concept and how interesting the story actually was. From now on I’ll try to start each review by listing my two ratings – ready for pub and would you buy. Maybe that way the writer will be able to take helpful advice as that and not just look at the rating and get angry. Actually, it’s something I hadn’t expected, but should be used to. As a college prof. I sometimes spend hours making corrections on essays and term papers only to see students glance at the grade and throw the thing away without having even read the comments. Human nature rules I guess.
Mimi said on 04/01/2013
Well, that would be the equivalent of picking up books in a bookstore and reading only work that has been first chosen and then groomed.
You have to think of this as what it is, a submissions situation, exactly what publishers encounter. Very little work, except by writers of long experience, probably already successful and not likely to hang out here, is going to be publish-ready. That is very unrealistic. The best we can hope for is that the concept and the voice are solid, it’s only minor issues that need a rethink.
The promise of Bookkus is that work that would get a thumbs down at a publishing house because of (for instance) a slow start has a better chance to impress here. And work that wanders off the beaten track, not a no-brainer sure-fire idea, also will receive due diligence, not by one or two assistant readers, but by ones who do not have a reputation on the line.
Eventually, I believe, we will be called upon to advocate for our favorites. I have reviewed about half a dozen pieces so far, and I have one stand-out favorite. But I need to see much more in order to be sure. I wonder when we will get to see an entire manuscript.
DocTom said on 04/01/2013
Well, each to their own I guess. I know I generally go through about 6 drafts before I try sending anything out, and I have read very well written, highly polished, work by wanna-be authors. I would expect that someone who is trying to publish something would show at least a relative level of maturity and proof read their work before posting. I can agree that something can be perfectly written mechanically, but be as exciting to read as watching paint dry. But I can’t agree that you can have a super concept which reads like it was written by someone for whom English is only of passing aquaintance and have an enjoyable book. Obviously, the happy medium lies somewhere in between. That’s where I assume the group discussions will eventually come in. If the group says “Yea!”, but the book needs extensive editing, well then it moves up to a higher power.
What I’ve seen so far is exactly what I expected to see. No one submits to a publisher without being sure that the work is close to their idea of perfection. But we all have a measure of myopia. It is never bad for thinking to be challenged.
In the end, you may insist upon your original vision, but you will be the more able to defend it for what it is, rather than to cave to what others feel it might be or should be. (In most cases that means more marketable.)
If you can live with that, I’m in your corner. So long as you’ve done your homework, thought it through, and are prepared for an up or down vote with no wiggle room.
Writing is a three-legged stool: voice, conception (crudely, plot) and mechanics. Mechanics can be tinkered with. The other two are a balancing act. If one of them is weak, the other must be all the stronger, very well engineered, to keep you from falling on your ass.
I don’t look for a finished product. I look for exceptional promise in one area (my preference is for voice), without a huge screw-up in the others. This is how I approach a review. My opinion is not necessarily that of the author, nor should it be. Take it or leave it.
Lord knows I reject most of the advice given to me. But I appreciate every bit of it, don’t think I don’t.
Tom, I wrote this before I saw your reply. Maybe we’ve looked at different pieces. I’ve read nothing that I found beyond the pale on mechanics. (Okay, there was one.)
In a sense we may be arguing apples and oranges here. When I give a work a poor rating I always make sure the writer knows why. I do it to help the writer. I’m basically saying, “If you can correct the following, you’ll make this work more saleable (in my opinion).” Believe me, I’d save myself a lot of time if I read a fragment quickly, clicked on a star rating and walked away. That of course is barely a step away from submitting a MS to a publisher and getting a form letter reply: “Thank you for sharing…but we regret….” As I said earlier, I’ve read some MS’s that were really poor quality, but could they be improved? Possibly. It’s up to the writer. Some have intriguing ideas, but are poorly presented, so I’m not sure they would work.
Bottom line, if I was part of a group and thought a MS needed work, but the rest of the group said “publish!” would I object? Of course not. I might just hope that William has a crew of good editors at hand.
Actually Mimi, despite our differeing philosophies, our ratings don’t seem that different. I checked and we’ve both reviewed “Aduramis” and “Constance” on Bookkus. We both gave “Aduramis” 3 stars, while you gave “Constance” 2 stars to my 1. So by different paths to generally similar conclusions we go.
Mimi said on 05/01/2013
You are right about abysmal mechanics. I had forgotten about Universal Constance.
I believe it was my first Bookkus review, and I was timid. I found the concept promising and gave points for that. But promising means little without the ability to exploit possibilities, and I saw small reason to hope in the poorly considered and poorly presented material.
Give me your opinion on Blood Stones. It’s a slow starter and may never pick up any appreciable speed. Many will be unhappy with it, I fear, but I love it.
DocTom said on 05/01/2013
I’ll see if I can get to it this weekend.
DocTom said on 06/01/2013
Well we definitely disagree on Bloodstones. I must found the writer trying too hard with the descriptive writing. It distracted me from the plot (what there was of one) and I also found myself stopping often and trying to figure out what he meant. Don’t get me wrong, many of the descriptives were good, but others “…sending jets of sweetness deep into his bowels.” left me cold. I also don’t think that anyone could really see the detail he describes from 5 miles away, but that’s just another quibble. I guess my bottom line is that the writer seemed more interested in descibing than in telling a story.
Mimi said on 06/01/2013
Yeah, that five miles away thing, I wondered about that also. Sweetness into his bowels … damn! I missed that. I’ll go back and look for it.
Never mind, I like this anyway, and want to see where it goes.
Every genre has its lovers and its detractors. If the world were different it would be a very boring place. I’d gladly support more of this being posted so we can see where it goes.
Edward said on 06/01/2013
Thanks for the GPS locator, Tom. This should be the right place to post.
Mimi likes Weekend In Weighton, I like it, Tom doesn’t. So when it comes to a Bookus pick and moving the property forward they end up same, same, but different, when compared with traditional publishers. The bottom line is trying to be objective, yet subjective will rule the day.
Everyone has read books that lack in certain aspects: slowed down in the middle, characters uneven, poor ending, etc. Lord knows how some literary award winners ever see the light of day. I thought the ’Life Of Pi’ was ridiculous and now it’s a movie. So possibly Bookus will have pick a few, go over the reviews in regards to comments, and read the entire manuscript. For example, Tom didn’t like the character. Perhaps the character will be developed better in following chapters. I will forgive a lot if the story is entertaining and keeps me reading. The only books I’ve started and not finished were literary novels that were so mind-numbing boring and/or badly needed an editor. Another was a ’crime’ novel called ’Tip Of The Halo’ which was a murder investigation that was done by retards and I’m not sure if it was a satire. Right now I’m reading ’Bloodlines’ by an obscure Calgary writer. It’s very good but probably has no marketing behind it so will languish. Many of the bestselling authors have sunk into mundane formulaic stories. I swear the big one ’The DaVinci Code ’ was done using writer’s software: insert tension here, ramp up suspense here, give the reader a break here, examine investigation here, add a character, etc. I couldn’t read it. I’m getting good at not finishing novels that turn into bestsellers and movies.
Finding perfection in a story is elusive. One of my juvenile novels made it to the Scholastic editorial board. This is where all the associates, stringers, interns (whatever you want to call them) have a meeting to choose what properties will be selected for publishing. Every member has a few properties they’ve gleaned from slush piles and they pitch each one to the Head Honcho. Unfortunately to get this far, the story only has to be liked by one person. The HH needs only five stories. The lucky five are now liked by only two people regardless of their condition. Very subjective. After all it is the story that sells. Everything else can be fixed, and they surely will be bent to satisfy whatever is demanded by the publisher. The remainder are never to be submitted again at this pub. house. Perhaps if the pub. house were to use the Bookkus method and spread out their marketing dollars they’d have more sales and their industry wouldn’t be in such a shambles.
Edward said on 08/01/2013
eBook predictions for 2013
Mark Coker of Smashwords has made some predictions regarding the industry and where eBooks are going. It’s worth a read.
Mimi said on 23/01/2013
I’ve posted this on Book Country, and I’ll post it here. I’m thinking about how to market books. The following is about Amazon. I haven’t spent a lot of time checking out the search tools, but I haven’t been able to … well, just read the following:
I’ve gone on Amazon. I see that under fiction there are over two million entries, I see the navigation tool at the bottom, the arrow to next page.
What I don’t see is an option ‘Go To’ to take you, for instance, to page 1200, full of unknown titles/authors. What if I want to see the obscure stuff, I don’t have a name to plunk in, I just want to see what’s available by the nobodies? Maybe I’ll find something grand there.
How do you do that? Are you able to?
Why isn’t there a browse option available? Why can’t Amazon have a virtual bookshelf, (create a sharp graphic of stacks of books, titles and authors) you hit a name and a box with cover art and a synopsis pops up, like on Netflix?
You could cover a lot of territory in one hundred pages of line items. A catchy title would be your all important check-me-out sales tool. A quick, in and out function would be a boon to browsers who want to fish for an undiscovered possible treasure.
In other words, no one can stumble across your book? We have to have seen a title on a site (or a scribble on a restroom wall?)
That sucks. Somebody tell me I’m wrong.
William, what about a browser-friendly function, site, whatever? Is such a thing around, I just don’t know about it? I bet it would be very popular.
William said on 24/01/2013
How can you browse 2 million fiction books?
I like the idea of being able to browse it is interesting and unique. I am sure they could randomize it and have continuous scrolling book covers that flip when you click on them to let you read the back of each book. Make it feel like a book store, because Amazon feels more like a Costco than anything else. I like that idea and I’ll try to remember it as things move on.
Mimi said on 24/01/2013
Yes, the publish part is easy. How to get your book noticed?
I’m back to my original low-tech idea: design a poster. Create a bumper sticker and send it to friends/family around the country, begging them to browbeat their friends into slapping it on their cars. Take a trip down to New York City and spend the day sticking it up in high traffic areas (I’m thinking subways in particular, high traffic connecting tunnels like from the Port Authority to Times Square).
Also: Postcard mailers. Pop-up mailers. A paperdoll of my cat character, with a fancy wardrobe. A three-dimensional paperdoll (I used to collect antique paperdolls, and I’ve seen a ton of approaches) A put-together-yourself jumping jack of my cat. A board game of my cat and his travels (I also collect game boards with outstanding graphics).
You should be thinking about bumper stickers for Bookkus. Easy/cheap to produce, each one seen by hundreds, easily.
Mimi said on 27/01/2013
William, this article is very interesting:
Piracy is yesterday’s worry for today’s ‘artisan authors’
File sharing and self-publishing are becoming the norm for a generation of writers looking beyond a moribund publishing eco-system
Also, I have found http://oddbooks.co.uk/oddbooks, which biils itself as ‘a safehouse for literary misfits’. That’s me, absolutely.
William said on 29/01/2013
I like these articles, expect a post about it in the near future. Thanks Mimi.
Edward said on 29/01/2013
Good article, Wiiliam. A lot of firefighters I worked with wore the Livestrong wrist band. I wonder how many have snipped it off. They hate bullshit. Lance Armstrong is the typical American Hero who at first is adorned and fawned on until the secrets come out: athlete and author drug/alcohol use, cheating, bullying, lying about Vietnam war records, bank and stock market defrauding, paedophiles in university wrestling teams and Boy Scouts, and some even comparing themselves to God (Chris Brown idiot rapper). It’s the media who needs an education as to who is are the heroes in society, certainly not someone who rides a bicycle. Lance isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. What I really hate about him is his bullying. He had the money and power to haul you into court and sue your ass off if you spoke against him. Imagine, for a moment you are one of his victims and he drags you into court for your accusations that he was a drug user and cheated to get his wins. He has enough money to hire the smartest lawyer and win. In this case the truth will not set you free, you lose big time. He can’t remember how many people he sued. He even sued the London Times. As for his books, it’s too bad for readers because any effort he made around any of his races was bullshit. His books should be removed from shelves because it was far more than just illegal drugs, he was an ogre. I hope people spit on him when he walks into the 7-11 in Hawaii. His neighbors should buy some rope, fashion it into a noose and throw it over the fence a few times a month. Maybe he’ll get the message.
Melissa wrote this article, check the authors name.
Mimi said on 06/02/2013
I can’t find a button to download Holy Innocents. I am going to try to review everything by the end of the month. I have them all downloaded except for this one.
Terencetino said on 11/02/2013
I’ve been trying to use the site today but most times I click a link or try to post a comment or new topic, this is the message that comes up:
“Page not found
We’re sorry, but we can’t find the page that you’re looking for. Perhaps searching will help.
I have spent a lot of time typing messages only to be rewarded with this message.”
It is very frustrating.
Can you help?
Bill said on 21/02/2013
Helpful video! With unfamiliar websites, there’s often a learning curve on which some potential users don’t want to drive. This can speed them up.
Frankie Stevens said on 02/06/2014
It’s wonderful that my novel “Divine Spark” is being exhibited on this blog. However, I really should have told you that I’m a “she,” not a “he.” That’s easy to correct, though.
William said on 03/06/2014
My mistake… Fixed!
Julia said on 03/06/2014
Also, I seem to have mistakingly spoiled the ending of my story in the summary section. Is it all right if I redo my summary?
Michael H said on 07/06/2014
Yahoo, congrats to Michelle and Coedee. Fabulous to see two great and very different romances going to press; I’ll be snatching copies of both… Want ‘m signed though, if there’s any chance. 🙂
Welcome Rosa…exciting times!!!
DocTom said on 28/07/2014
Always thought it was a great cover. Now it’s even better. Best of luck Mike!
Michael H said on 29/07/2014
I think it’s Freaky Good, though maybe I’m bias. So good, please feel free to judge the book by its cover.
Best of luck,
Michelle Hiscox said on 29/07/2014
I think the cover is perfectly creepy, which is exactly what it should be. I think it’s excellent!
Stewart said on 31/07/2014
Cool! I didn’t know this was an activity here. I’m looking forward to the community rewrites and tips.
DocTom said on 31/07/2014
Well, Mike’s synopsis is too wordy. I lost interest part way through paragraph 2 (which is a definite problem since I gave the book 5 stars!). Since it’s supposed to be a fast paced thriller, the synopsis should covey that. I threw the following together in about 5 minutes:
“Omens of doom are common in ancient writings, but after years of studying ancient civilizations the renowned archaeologist James McKenzie has begun to feel fear. He has found inscriptions of the same omen, always with an oddly shaped triangular symbol, in ruins separated by vast distances and time. Now the symbol has been found in London, painted in blood at the scene of horrific murders. Teaming with Detective Inspector Hassom, the two must untangle the mystery of the symbol, the appearance of a charismatic maniac leading an army of the insane, and the significance of a strangely gifted eight year old boy, all before the omen comes true and bathes the world in the blood of the innocent.”
Probably a bit cheesy, but browsers will get the idea.
Mimi said on 31/07/2014
Well, this is a fabulous idea. I’m beat, I just got off work – it’s 2 am – I’ll take a look at this tomorrow.
Stewart said on 10/09/2014
For those curious about The Life and Times of Dinah Marton, here’s a quick pitch:
There’s something wrong about Dr. Dinah Marton.
The only survivor of a car crash that took her parents, she managed to make the school bully who raped her best friend fear and respect her, and then graduated from Harvard to become a successful criminal psychologist in Florida – throughout her life she’s been touched by evil over and over again and managed to overcome it. Or at least that’s what people think. But whenever evil touches a person it leaves a stain…and in Dinah Morton that stain has grown.
I dare you to read the first page and NOT be consumed.
Ashok said on 25/09/2014
Ashok LR – See all my reviews (Amazon.com)
William said on 26/09/2014
I found 12 reviews.
Stephanie Cook said on 26/09/2014
I’m excited to become a reviewer for you!
Michael H said on 02/12/2014
Is Ringo the best drummer in the world?
He’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles!
Crikey thanks guys… The banter and ragging I’ll be getting in the Hagan home is going to be just horrendous. 🙂
Maybe I’ll just tell Shaz I won, and when the prize arrives, just say it’s for me….. Think she’d twig?
Great craic…. join the next one, everybody.
William said on 03/12/2014
Here is the prize: http://www.ihighfive.com/
Stewart said on 03/12/2014
I like the way you think, Michael H.
E.R. Yatscoff said on 03/12/2014
Good Luck, Michael. May the sales be with you.
Is that a star wars reference?
Michael H said on 03/12/2014
Oh… 🙂 Well given the season, that’s all the excuse I need to post this.
DocTom said on 03/12/2014
Congratulations Mike! And best wishes for many more great novels to come!
lulubizou said on 15/12/2014
Man created The Machine. The Machine gave each mortal a world of their own design, to do with as they pleased. They became Gods – omnipotent, absolute rulers; but also vain, arrogant, hedonistic and brutal.
Now someone is killing them.
As the death toll mounts, and the pressure from their masters to find the killer increases, an enforcer and his apprentice learn more and more about the strange universe of The Machine, about the different worlds, and about themselves. But soon they face the ultimate question: is the killer a monster…or a hero?
Who is killing the Gods?
Edward said on 15/12/2014
I read this book and I don’t get “Softly Falls The Snow” as a subtitle
Edward said on 09/01/2015
The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile by Jonah Lukeman.
Mr. Lukeman is an agent. The premise of his how-to book is to make your first pages absolutely gripping. Once the reader is hooked you can sail on with your story. But more importantly, these pages are to prepare your work like a spotlessly dressed troop to go on parade before a king and queen. Because publishers and agents are so pressed for time, anything distracting will, unfortunately move your work closer to the trash bin. It’s a valuable read for all writers. You don’t have to explain everything in the first chapter either. Start with the action or a crisis or a tragedy or a sad moment. Tug the heartstrings. You can create a memorable character such as Ignatius Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces, or describe a poor black man in Louisiana selling watermelons by the side of the road, as James Lee Burke has done with many of his characters to lead off a novel.
So, your story has to be compelling. But even before you get to reading your story you have to have an even better synopsis.
jadero said on 12/01/2015
Thank you everyone :p
William said on 12/01/2015
Congrats! Do you have a name for the story?
The Christmas Cover Up
Oops accidently posted too early. The story is called The Christmas Cover Up By Neysha Reeves.
Thank you William.
Edward said on 15/01/2015
Have you ever heard the quote, “The first page sells this book. The last page sells your next book?” In the first chapters of a book, the writer’s main job is to convince the reader to keep going. Convince the reader that there is something to gain if she keeps turning the page.
Edward said on 15/02/2015
Michelle Hiscox said on 16/02/2015
The cover looks fantastic, very professional! I love the black and white.
Mimi said on 25/02/2015
I’ve come back and back to this cover, and I don’t quite know how to say it. The layout is fine, I don’t mind the black and white though I would have preferred color. The type bothers me. I am a graphic designer, and type is one of my strengths. I find this treatment awkward, though most people won’t.
I haven’t been commenting much lately. I’m sorry for that. The reason is I am trying to wrestle my novella into final publishable shape. As soon as I have it under control, I’ll be back to being more active.
Michael H said on 26/02/2015
Think it’s great. Paperbacks available yet in our Bookkus shoppy? Off to look. 🙂
jadero said on 19/03/2015
Michael H said on 22/03/2015
Yea… I’ve been waiting for this one. I loved the draft when it was up for review and can’t wait to read the paperback and see what, if anything has been changed. Fabulously rich story and recommend to all!
Delighted for Michee too; a wonderful author and one of life’s gems.
Mimi said on 06/04/2015
The new logo is a great improvement over the old one. I agree with Doc Tom that ‘Community Approved’ should be flipped to be upright. I might also put a 2 point border in the light blue around the design. Go with this new one William. Seriously. The old design looks made by a non-designer.
William said on 06/04/2015
I still like this better as well. I might flip the lettering to be right side up. That could be good.
Ronnie293 said on 06/04/2015
Maybe I’m just old fashioned or it’s just that I don’t like change but I prefer the old logo. I like the gold background and the fact that the company name is on it also.
DocTom said on 07/04/2015
I voted, but just thought I’d explain my vote. Also, folks might want to discuss this, not just vote.
Okay, the new logo is bold, it’s bright, it catches the eye!
I voted for the old one.
Why? Mainly, I like the figures in the old logo. They give a sense of the community – not one, but many offering the book which is the whole idea behind Bookkus. Also I didn’t like the circular “Community Powered * Community Approved”. It’s too easy to miss the point as looks like just a reflection image. If nothing else “Community Approved” should be turned right side up so it can be read easily.
So that’s my 2 cents. What’s everyone else think?
Mimi said on 07/04/2015
Well, I had overlooked that. Bookkus Publishing should be part of it. Good catch.
Sherit said on 08/04/2015
If I could interject … I take the comments on the circular type constructively. I’ve seen it done both ways. I just want to say in terms of adding the words Bookkus Publishing, let’s think that through. This was never meant to replace the official logo. It was to be an update of the Bookkus Community “medallion”. Personally, in terms of branding on a book, I think the logo (not the medallion) should be presented tastefully on the spine with the words Bookkus Publishing (like the big publishers do) as well as on the back cover. I’d even say why not a grayscale version on the IBSN page. People need to start identifying the B as Bookkus. Isn’t the the job of the logo? Brand recognition without necessarily having to spell the name out every time. Of course the words could be added to the Medallion but I think it will become cluttered. Just my two cents, but as my lovely English friend likes to tell me, “what the hell do I know” … 🙂
William said on 08/04/2015
I agree with Sherit. Medallion is the goal for this and not to replace the logo. And I think a small one on the back and inside is a great fit as well.
Em said on 11/04/2015
I chose to vote for both, for the following reasons:
The old one – I like the gold colour – almost like a ‘seal of approval’ – 🙂 The message is precise. Also because it says ‘Bookkus Publishing’
The new one – It is clean. It does catch the eye, but I would agree with many that ‘Community Approved’ needs to be turned right side up. As is, I had to look at it closer before realizing it wasn’t just a reflection. Question: If a stranger were to see the logo, would they know it is Bookkus Publishing?
M.P.Mongrain said on 16/04/2015
There is a self-publishing company in Ottawa called Baico that has the same iconic B
rubra said on 28/04/2015
DocTom said on 10/05/2015
Great advice, Michelle! I hope many of the aspiring authors who submit to, or just read posts on, Bookkus take it to heart.
I might also add that everyone should remember that no one – NO ONE – can please everyone with their writing. There will always be those who dislike your style, or your plot development, or just the genre you write in. Sometimes it’s actually funny. I recently got two reviews of my book “Agony of the Gods” which were diametrically opposed to each other. One loved the fact that I “didn’t spoon feed each chapter” to the reader, while the other felt there were too many things they didn’t understand. Same book, two readers, two entirely contradictory reviews!
So you are absolutely right, Michelle – take the criticism and use it to help yourself grow as a writer.
Mimi said on 10/05/2015
Here’s my advice to all of us. (I have gotten some daunting reviews. Bad daunting, not good daunting.)
You and only you can decide what is non-negotiable about your choices. Think very carefully, then hold tight to what you feel is integral to your work.
Mimi said on 12/05/2015
Here’s the thing: most of the criticism I get, I am very comfortable ignoring. I have thought through my approach and I am committed (generally) to it. But I study the crits obsessively, because there will be something there that I need to pay attention to. I take no remark as mean-spirited. I take it all as a sincere point of view deserving my full attention. I dismiss it out of hand to my peril. I’m still flailing, over a new round of comments on a new version.
I’ll remind myself, here, in public: to your peril, girl. Get that through your thick head.
E.R. Yatscoff said on 17/05/2015
Like Ricky Nelson sang in “Garden Party” you can’t please everybody, so you got to please yourself.
Rinette Kaschula said on 19/05/2015
We can not please everyone out there, build on the good reviews, learn from the bad reviews and stay true to yourself. Writing is what you offer the world to enjoy. Keep on writing for yourself and the majority that enjoy it
Ryan F said on 23/07/2015
I’ve found this equally true, too. Especially writing my last book, later in the process, I learned to try and identify how I was feeling at the time, and then match it up to times throughout my story where other characters feel similarly. Afterwards, I felt like the emotions of the specific scenes and characters really shone through because of it. Best of luck!
val littlewolf said on 25/07/2015
I find that when I’m melancholy and teary my passions are on high alert andy thoughts ooze out of me upon my paper.
Louis said on 07/08/2015
Die-hard Rush fans have longed for Peart s narrative songwriting to be adapted into comic book form for decades, but fans of steampunk fantasy will enjoy journeying into the world of Albion thanks to Anderson s skilled storytelling.
mikey said on 08/10/2015
Hi I am Chris Dyer (Intro below in previous comment). If you want anti Brit propaganda you should see what they are teaching as history here! But then history is in fact always corrupt, depending on who is writing it! Facts are seen differently by individuals and therefore history becomes laden with opinion. It is something we have to accept unfortunately but should correct if discovered. The important matter however is the present learn from history and move on with better prospects as Bookkus for instance, a new concept that puts the onus squarely with the people that matter… the reader. Let’s hope it goes from strength to strength and of course that everybody likes my manuscript (coming in the next lot of reviewable work!!!), We all need a little self promotion.
DocTom said on 09/10/2015
Haven’t had the time to read many of these books, but here are some I can definitely recommend (I gave each 4 out of 5 stars):
Prostitute of the State by Kate Kinnear. If you like a good spy story placed squarely in an intriguing “the prodigal returns” novel, then I highly recommend this book
“Bubble in Time” by Rick Trivett. If the late Sir Terry Pratchett had written Brigadoon it might have looked like this. A fun fantasy well worth your time.
“On a Fooler’s Errand” by R. Aaron Thompson. A post-apocalyptic space opera filled with a diversity of cultures that would have made Edgar Rice Burroughs proud. If you are into scifi, this is a really good read.
“Sabien’s Quest” by Shomari Black. A ‘quest’ fantasy that carries the reader along. Well written and a great read.
These are all fun reads. I haven’t had time to get to any of the others, and some are just in genres I don’t read, but look through them all and give them a try. If you like the genres of any of the four above, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Kate kinnear said on 12/10/2015
You are not only a great talent, but also a very generous man. Thanks …
Kate kinnear said on 20/10/2015
Writers tend to be like new mothers, anxious to show off the baby, but the advice given by Doc Tom is excellent!
Edward said on 25/10/2015
For those who want some non-human help before submitting it try AutoCrit. It savers a ton of editing time. There’s a link on this site.
Bookreader said on 15/01/2016
Can’t wait to get my first book.
Bunny Frye said on 19/09/2016
I would love to review any books I get.