Tag Archives: book reviews

Favorable Book Reviews – Freedom Club

Freedom Club - KindleI’m very satisfied to report that Freedom Club continues to gain favorable reviews. Recently, I received a positive review from Eeclectic Breakfast who rated my book 4 stars on Amazon. A second four star review came from Adam-P-Reviews who also had a favorable opinion of my writing.

In addition, both Goodreads and Amazon have a continuously growing number of optimistic star ratings and comments. It’s a good sign, and gives me confidence that the years I spent writing this book are starting to pay off.

Take a look for yourself. If you find that the synopsis and reviews are to your liking, by all means, please take a read of Freedom Club.

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Making a POD with Lightning Source: Holy crap…I got me a book!

The process of creating a POD version of Freedom Club continues to progress well.  After uploading my content PDFs for both the book’s interior and cover, I finally received my proof copy by UPS.

And the final result? You can see here:

It’s a perfect bound 5×8 trade paperback, perfectly square with soft cream paper. Just over 400 pages, it feels like a quality product. Lightning Source has done an outstanding job, and it sure does feel like I made the right choice using them for POD distribution.

I must say, seeing the book on real paper does give one a true sense of accomplishment. Now all I have to do is market the book, and get everyone to read the darn thing. That…will probably end of being a life long endeavor.

I am of course indebted to everyone at Hotspur Publishing who helped bring this to fruition. I’m certain my first book would have been a disaster if I’d gone it alone.

Stay tuned for more on my humble attempts at marketing.

Reader’s Guide and Having Fun

One criticism about my book FREEDOM CLUB is about its alternate history flashbacks, and the fact that diverging from the primary plot makes the book more difficult to read. I suppose this is true to some limited extent. However, I also feel that readers have become overly accustomed to the homogenized story-telling techniques employed by big publishers. I’m not saying I don’t like a good thriller now and then. But for some reason it seems wrong to enforce preconditions on how one must write a book. Is this not art?

Now some people will say that intellectual issues within a book are fine if treated the right way. The ‘right’ way? Sadly, I translate this as a prerequisite to couch all text in nail-biting action which keeps readers glued to each line of text. Fine for thrillers; but not every book needs to be a thriller, right?

Right?

In any event, to help readers try to understand my non-standard flashbacks,  I’ve put together a ‘reader’s guide’. You can see it from the blog’s main menu, and I hope it helps extract greater meaning from the flashbacks, so that they don’t feel like they are just roadblocks.

It was always my goal to make a book that would entice people to think. How interesting to see that when you actually do this, you pay a price.

And to those who say all higher learning can be fun: sorry, I must disagree. Intellectual pursuits can be extremely enjoyable, but they’re not fun. Look at any serious artist painting, writing, making music, sculpting…. Are they skipping around and going WEEEEEEE ? I don’t think so. Normally, they’ve got on some hard face and look like they’re zoned out (or want to kill someone). For sure, they are enjoying themselves.

But that’s not the same as having fun.

Making a POD with Lightning Source: Submitting New Titles

The process of creating a POD version of Freedom Club has progressed very well.  After having my designer create PDFs for both the book’s interior and cover, it was fairly painless to upload the files, and request a proof copy. Cost of the Proof? $30

One thing I’d like to highlight is the Lightning Source customer website. It shows all the titles that have been submitted, and contains an instant link to on-line chat with their customer support team. Below is a screen capture of my chat with them. They were nice about confirming the status of my new submission and the next steps of the process. I must say, it was wonderful having their on-line chat– right there on the spot. All my questions were answered, taking a lot of worry out of the process.

Customer service website with full overview and on-line Chat. Very nice!

Another point worth mentioning is the fact that Lightning Source  is having a campaign, allowing me to set up new titles for free. Normally, it costs $75 to set up each book, but this fee is dropped if I order 50 copies. Since I needed promotional copies anyway, this was great timing!

So far, so good. I’ll keep writing as this process continues.

Making an eBook: Working with Smashwords

To complement my Amazon version of Freedom Club, I’ve created a Smashwords version that is now on sale. The main reason I’ve done this to increase the number of channels my book can be sold through. Namely, I want Freedom Club to be sold not only on Smashwords, but also through Apple’s iBooks and Barns and Noble dot com. There are more channels available, but from my point of view, these three are the big ones I wish to cover at minimum.

Like Amazon, Smashwords makes the “basic” process simple. You make an account, fill out a few fields of metadata, and then upload your book and cover via a Microsoft DOC file. What could be easier? Well, the process is deceptively complex, primarily because Smashwords claims to require “minimal formatting” requirements to make the book available via all participating channels. Now you may ask what that means? It means that the converted file formats (converted by Smashwords themselves) must pass their internal testing engine called EpubCheck. I’m not going to explain what technical magic it takes to pass this test. If you want to know about that, just search the interenet. There, you’ll find boatloads of people pulling the hair out of their heads trying to figure out why errors occur, even when they follow the Smashwords guidelines precisely.

To make a long story short, I simply used Amy Gilbert Design to format my book for me. Amy is (as far as I’m concerned) a goddess of ePub formatting and has figured out not only how to pass the dreaded EpubCheck-a-monster, but makes the books look very good after Smashwords conversion is finished. This is no small feat, I assure you.

Having avoided most formatting issues, the more positive side of Smashwords was available to me. They have a fairly reasonable royalty sharing scheme, the breakdown of which can be seen in the image I included above. There may be those who feel the amount paid is not worth it, but as an aggregator (a company which collects royalties from other channels and pays you one check) I think Smashwords’ royalty scheme is acceptable. In the end, they save me from having to upload my book to various channels, and monitor everything on my own. For this service, I’m happy to pay.

In the end, Smashwords seems like a good choice. However, I will hold back my final recommendation until I gather more experience with them. It’s not like I expect bad things to happen. But I live by the credo: hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Will keep you all posted.

Freedom Club Showcased on AISFP

Shaun Farrell, who runs the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast, interviewed my editor David Bischoff last week.  The whole thing went very well, and David did an excellent job talking about his long career both as a writer and editor of SF, and his recent foray into indie publishing. As you may know, David started Hotspur Publishing, an independent company to publish his backlog that has accumulated over the years, along with new titles like Freedom Club, written by me.

I’m especially pleased that my book was mentioned as well during the podcast. It was really nice of Shaun to help promote the book, and I would urge everyone to listen to episode 154 of Adventures in SciFi Publishing and even comment on the the podcast web page if you can.

AISFP Rocks!

2.7 Million Indie Books Published in 2010 – Holy Bejeezes!

During a recent twitter chat, someone pointed me towards an interesting fact. According to an article published by the Association of Independent Authors,  over 2.7 million, yes that really is millions, new independent book titles were published in 2010.

What the…that many? Holy bejeezes Batman!

If you’re like me, you may find this number alarmingly high. But after you settle down and realize it’s just the way things are at the moment,contemplation sets in. You then wonder, what on earth is driving all this?

Clearly, there’s a lot to discount. One should assume that a good portion of these millions are spammers (public domain works dumped on Amazon to nab buyers who think, what the heck, it’s only 99 cents) plus a deluge of quite horrible slush pile fire starter.

However, there’s probably a good portion worth reading too. And that number, which I can only speculate, is growing at a huge rate. I like to think there are some good reasons for this phenomenon.

The analogy I’m trying to make is like torrential rain and flood water, and it goes like this. Traditional publishers have been rejecting so much work over the decades, by either system inefficiencies or anticompetitive activity, that a flood of books now inundate the market. The dam is broken, and the waters come down. There are many new and established authors who have simply given up the “rejection marry-go-round”. And established authors have even a greater reason to self/indie publish if they have a large backlog of edited  work ready-to-go.

Important for anyone stepping into these murky water will be to figure out how to survive over time. I believe that even though many barriers-to-entry have been removed, rising above the dark waters of schlock and mud will prove difficult. The solution? Patience, and the unending tenacity to demonstrate quality. This is key.

The other question I have is, how long will this flood last? I don’t believe every new author will keep pumping out books. Many will have pipe dreams, and give up when they realize there is no pot of gold for them. Also, backlogs from established authors will eventually run dry. What then?

Like many people say, we live during very interesting times in the publishing industry. I’m enjoying myself. Getting my feet wet, and splashing around in the water. So far it’s been loads of fun. I just hope I don’t lose my bathing suit, get washed away…or drown!