The Book Review Rumpus

What’s a Rumpus? The dictionary describes it this way; noun: a noisy disturbance; a commotion.

That’s what it feels like when I’m trying to get a reader to ask for a review. I feel like I’m disturbing them, causing a commotion, maybe not a noisy one. I’m usually quite polite about it but I get the feeling that they would prefer I didn’t ask. I’ll ask anyway, of course. We have to, right?

Now, if they like the book, then most people will say they will leave a review, but there are lots of things that get in their way: other things in their lives, amazon’s review policy, their memory, their need to go a bit out of there way to pull up a website to put the review on . . . just to name a few.

One thing you can do is ask for reviews from places like Publishers Weekly or Library Journal. And Kirkus even has a review you can get for free, or it used to be. But with these places, you have to do it at least 3 months before you even publish. You can do that if you create an ARC (advanced reader copy – book form or pdf) and you can hold off publishing.

I have to admit, I haven’t been very good at waiting, especially since I usually have spent a lot of time and money on creating my books and I’m anxious to get it out there, see what people think and recoup the costs of publishing.

There are paid services for reviews too. And I usually tell my clients not to use those, unless they want to, of course. But it’s a bit of a gamble.

NetGalley Discount

However, the one review service I have paid for that I thought was a good deal is NetGalley. NetGalley is a service that has lots of lots of people that have signed up specifically to review books, I am guessing they do this just because they like reading. They don’t get paid to do it but they do get free books to read from any genre they choose. There are over 360,000 reviewers on NetGalley – All pre-approved! Many are librarians, newspaper reviewers, top Amazon reviewers, and influential bloggers.

Getting into NetGalley is normally not cheap. The company I used was BooksGoSocial. And just like now, on occasion they have a sale for their Netgalley service, which is when I signed up.

So right now you can get their NetGalley service for 40% off (normally $79-$199 depending on now many months you want your book up on NetGalley). Click on this NetGalley Link, and enter the code ntgdisc and you’ll get 40% off whatever NetGalley service you choose.

BooksGoSocial will give you great information about your book from the reviewer (Here is a video that explains more) and even email address of all who sign up to review your book. Quite valuable information! It was over a year ago that I did this so I don’t remember how many reviews I got (I know it was at least 4 or maybe it was 6) = but I remember one reviewer was very popular on Goodreads, so she shared her positive review of my book with her many followers and I did get a couple sales from that one reviewer!

I only recommend things to authors that I’ve tried or that I know from other reputable authors recommends. This service I would recommend.

And they have other services too. I am seriously considering their Amazon ad service. I’ve set up an Amazon ad before (I broke even, basically), but it’s a royal pain in the you know what. When I break down and try their ad service, I’ll let you know how it goes. For any folks who read this blog and want to get a $20 discount on any of BooksGoSocial services, just contact me and I’ll email you the discount code.

Image: Business photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com
Note: I am an affiliate of BooksGoSocial, so I get a small compensation for any sales from this post. But I still would recommend them (and I have before I became an affiliate).

If you give them a try, let me know how it goes. I like to keep up on what works and what doesn’t work for people.

Happy writing!
And Happy Turkey Day – for those in the US!

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

#Audiblegate – Audible Audiobook Return Policy 

When I was working in my other job (before I started publishing), I had extra funds, so I hired a wonderful narrator (Adam Seeger) and used a local production company run by the incomparable Jake Johnson (Paradyme Productions) to create an audio book for my first book “Rosebloom.” (A few of the Links: Apple, Nook, scribd, Kobo)

That was about 10 years ago and the only option was to publish it on Audible, which I did. I didn’t choose the “exclusive” option because I don’t like anything that restricts my freedom. I sold very few audio books on audible over those 10 years, and I wonder because I didn’t choose their exclusive policy if I got less exposure (but that’s just a guess).

About six weeks ago I moved my audio book from Audible to Findaway Voices and I don’t regret it one bit. I have already sold 3 books without any advertising. And they have 45 different distributors (including Audible and some library distributors. Note: your audiobook may not be eligible for all 45). So I’m not sure why someone would not choose Findaway Voices. I’m still waiting to find a downside but haven’t seen it yet. (Anyone out there know any downside?).

Meanwhile, audible seems to have given indie authors another reason to choose someone else. Read David’s post below.


By David Kudler – Perhaps you have seen grumbling on social media and across the internet about #Audiblegate and Audible’s return policy. In case you haven’t been following the controversy, let me

Source: #Audiblegate and the Audiobook Return Fiasco – The Book Designer

Copyright – To Do or Not to Do, Is That Still the Question?

I think most authors know that they don’t have to register their work through the government copyright office, it’s still a question, perhaps, why they should still do it.

Liani Kotcher came to Jane Friedmann’s website to answer that question.

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Though registration with the Copyright Office is no longer required for protection, there are still many reasons why it’s important.

Source: Why Waiting Too Long to Register Your Copyright Is a Big Mistake | Jane Friedman

Cutting Word Count Without Giving Your Whole Story the Ax!

If you’re looking to traditionally publish your novel, keeping the word count down to about 80 – 85K is important. It’s mostly a matter of publishing costs – bigger books cost more to produce.

I have a large book: A Burnished Rose – Book I  and book II (don’t remember the total work count but it’s over 400 pages) that I split online because it was too costly to print as one book.

A Burnished Rose: Book I (Rose Series 2)
A Burnished Rose: Book II (Rose Series 3)

that I split up for selling online because of the printing cost. When I sell it in person, I have a brick and mortar printer print Book I and II together because it is cost-effective for me, but not for online print sales.

Leslie Vedder gives us three helpful tips to cutting down your manuscript without losing the good bits. (Thanks to Jane Friedmann and Valarie Biel)

The Link Between Your Story’s First Plot Point and Third Plot Point 

If you are a plotter (a writer that likes to work on your plot usually via an outline before you start writing), or a plotter once the whole thing is written (using the exercise to make your story as strong as it can be), then this post, along with the others that K.M. Wieland has written (or will write) will be very helpful.

I liked I liked her line: The First Plot Point may take the protagonist to a new place, but the Third Plot Point makes him into a new person.

K.M also has a great archive of movie and some book plot points that can help you when you’re struggling with your own manuscript.

Thanks K.M.!

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Deepen your understanding of story structure by examining the parallel functions of the First Plot Point and the Third Plot Point.

Source: The Link Between Your Story’s First Plot Point and Third Plot Point – Helping Writers Become Authors

Characterization Through Dialogue

This is something that I see debated often and probably will continue to be a topic of discussion; I think because there isn’t any one right answer. Odd characters are fun to write so writers like to create them. And odd character often speak in odd ways. Or if you’re trying to portray a certain group or character by their/the character’s speech pattern, trying to make them stand out, dialogue is one way to do that.

But as K.M. Weiland notes in the post below, if you use slang, or even odd speech ticks, I agree, that a little goes a long way. Part of the reason for this is you don’t want the reader to stop and have to really look at a word(s) to try and interpret what you’re trying to say. Text should flow easily through the readers mind. An odd word here and there probably isn’t an issue, but if you make the reader stop too often, they may decide they need to unload the dishwasher instead of continuing to read your book!

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Authors need to get the nuances of slang in dialogue right, because smart readers will always recognize phony speech patterns.

Source: Slang in Dialogue: Use It Sparingly – Helping Writers Become Authors

my imageCKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

How To Get Libraries To Buy Your Book

Rebecca Langley lays out a specific list of to-do tasks to try and get your book into libraries. It’s not for the marketing faint of heart, but if you can get in, libraries are all over this country.

Getting into your local library is probably easier than what she describes. Knowing your librarians and finding out what they might be looking for for their patrons is helpful. Just ask. Rebecca is right, it’s all about getting patrons in the door.

She doesn’t mention audio books. Having your book as an audio book is also another plus. Findaway voices is a new service that puts your audio book on multiple formats (including audible).

And look at that list of reviewers (Library Journal, Kirkus, PW, Booklist…) early in your writing process. Many free reviews require the book 3 months before publication. You can send them an ARC (advanced reader copy), so that is helpful. But you’ll have to plan ahead. I know once your book is done, you really want to get it out, but getting your book reviewed by a few of these companies can go a long way in selling more books. I know I wish I had done this for a couple of my books.

And speaking of reviews, you’ll want a decent number (10-20+?) of reviews on Amazon before you do any marketing. Librarians look at Amazon too.

Best of luck!

Stay safe!
Christine

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Library books have a longer shelf life than in bookstores, and they get more action, because there’s no financial risk for the inquisitive reader.

Source: How To Get Libraries To Buy Your Book

CKBooks Publishing
Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality

11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description 

I haven’t posted in a while. I think covid is having more of an effect on me than I thought. There are a few things in my life that I’m having trouble doing – blogging is one of them. Unfortunately, exercising is another, along with a desire to write. But I saw this post and thought I’d share Rebecca McClanahan’s thoughts on character development. It’s an old post, but I don’t think character development has changed that much. Rebecca makes some good points.

Hope you’re writing life is fairing better than mine in these strange times.

Take care!

Christine
(p.s. I would change one word in the Carole Stivers quote – I would use critique vs criticism. I don’t think criticizing a work in progress is helpful to anyone.)

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11 secrets to keep in mind as you breathe life into your characters through effective character description, including physical and emotional description.

Source: 11 Secrets to Writing an Effective Character Description – Writer’s Digest

The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor 

Chantel Hamilton is an editor and guest writer on Jane Hamilton’s blog. Her post is a comprehensive discussion about book editing that I would recommend reading if you have any questions about editing. The only thing I disagree with is she says that other writers can not help you with your writing. I think maybe what she meant was other writers shouldn’t be asked to edit your manuscript.

Other writers can definitely help you with your writing. That called a critique group and critique groups can be very beneficial. But in a critique group, your fellow writers aren’t editing, per se. They may catch punctuation and grammar items but they are looking at your piece for the more obvious things: “This sentence confused me.”  “Above you have him in the hallway, now he appears in the bathroom. How did he get there?”  “Who is saying this?” “You changed POV here.” And they help keep you writing and praise you when you do something they enjoy – which is always nice :).

Granted, these are all things an editor may tell you, but an editor will go through your piece in more detail than a fellow writer. Editors also have a view of your whole piece in their mind. When they are reading chapter 10, they may think “Didn’t the author say this in chapter 2?” They may have to go back and confirm that, but even copyediting is not looking at just what is in the page in front of them; it’s keeping the whole piece in their mind to some degree.

And a writer might be able to edit your book, but most would not want to, even if you paid them. It takes a lot of time and effort to do that and most writers want to spend that time and effort editing (revision) their own stuff. Editors may also be writers (as I am), but an editor wants to edit. It’s their job, and if they are good, they enjoy it. And as Chantel mentions, editors have had training in the “rules” and are very familiar with the standard style guides (Chicago Manual of Style – CMS – and the Associated Press style guide – AP – are the two most common, though there are others).

Note: Even though Chantel defines 4 different types of editing, make sure you understand your editor’s definition of the type of edit they think (or you think) you need. There is some variation out there for these definitions. As long as you both understand what is going to happen, then you should be good to go.

p.s. I think most editors will do a sample copyedit for you for free. It won’t be a long edit, but enough to allow you to compare different editor’s styles. I recommend it when trying to whittle down your editor prospects.

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This post explains four critical types of book editing, why you need an editor, how to choose one, and what your editor can and cannot do.

Source: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor | Jane Friedman

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Where Publishing Dreams Become Reality