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text 2017-04-27 08:16
Technology, giveaways, workshops - all in the name of book sales

Authors.me - publishing and writing technology that fails to deliver

Back in November I wrote a blog entitled, Authors.me "matches manuscripts to non-existent pages, vanity press when I discovered that the platform that claims to "...connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published" had connected one of my uploaded books to publishing sites that, among other inconsistencies, didn't even exist or wanted me to pay them to publish my book. In fact, sixty percent of Author.me "matches" didn't actually match.

 

Further to that, today I received an email from one of the sites that actually did "match", Black Rose Writing, saying they "were going to pass on Loving the Terrorist (my novel) at present", however if I decided to self-publish to consider their imprint, Bookend Design "where (you) would work directly with the Black Rose Writing Design Team."

 

I'm wondering how much business Black Rose Writing gets from submissions by authors hoping for a traditional publishing contract and then redirecting them to their self-publishing imprint, Bookend Design?

 

Is there no end to the scams in this industry? And what about Authors.me vetting these so-called publishers for their site?

 

Technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.

The latest product from Authors.me is Intelligent Editorial Analysis, "technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights."

 

They offered me the opportunity to test drive this product and so I uploaded the manuscript of my novel The Big Picture, A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

 

On a scale of 1 to 100, where a 100 most resembles a commercially viable book, my manuscript scored 85.48.

 

My strengths included "an elevated level of craft" because of my "measured use of adjectives like "very" " as well as "going easy on the exclamation marks". Weaknesses were inconsistent spelling (they don't say what), explicit language (curse words) and the use of clichés.

 

This last one I'd challenge but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and I don't plan to get bent out of shape over it since it's all grist for the mill.

If you want to try this out it will now cost you $49. Go to

https://app.authors.me/#partner/booklife-authors

 

InstaFreebie bolsters Advance Reading Team E-mail list

I just finished a trial offer on Instafreebie. For those of you who are not familiar with this giveaway platform here's how it's described on their site:

 

InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways, we live our mission every day and give readers a chance to SEE IT FIRST™.InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.

 

Their basic program is free but I signed up for a thirty day free trial of the "Plus" program that allowed me to add subscribers to my email list. Fourteen people received an e-book edition of one of my novels and became a member of my Advance Reading Team by opting in with their email address.

 

A monthly subscription to this program is $20. That works out to $1.43 and e-mail. Nope.

 

Here's the site address:

https://www.instafreebie.com/plans

 

Deliver an hour long workshop - sell a few books

I delivered an hour long workshop on Introduction to Memoir Writing. This was in return for an opportunity to sell my books at the event. It worked, but if you factored in my time in preparation and the actual presentation I ended up subsidizing the sales.

 

There's got to be easier ways to sell books. Any ideas?

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of books about how to write fiction as well as the work of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-04-09 14:19
The Secret Subway - Shana Corey, Red Nose Studio
The Secret Subway - Red Nose Studio,Shana Corey

Forgotten engineering, steampunk pneumatic tubes, political machinations: I love stories of grand efforts that get overlooked by history, and trains, so this would be a winner. But then, the art: the puppets, the sets, the costumes! And excellent back matter! Sadly my local library, like many, wraps the dust jacket in a milar/paper cover which is then taped down, so I couldn't enjoy the bonus material on the art, but I get it's really cool. I'm only sorry it isn't also a short film, because that would be awesome!

 

Library copy.

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text 2017-04-04 16:29
Curious enough to sample this one
The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data - Kevin D. Mitnick,Robert Vamosi,Mikko Hypponen

From the synopsis of The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data:

"...In THE ART OF INVISIBILITY Mitnick provides both online and real life tactics and inexpensive methods to protect you and your family, in easy step-by-step instructions. He even talks about more advanced "elite" techniques, which, if used properly, can maximize your privacy. Invisibility isn't just for superheroes--privacy is a power you deserve and need in this modern age."

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review 2017-04-01 05:11
Waking Hell
Waking Hell - Al Robertson

[I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley.]

Sequel to 'Crashing Heaven', a novel I read a couple of years ago, and quite liked. The world is roughly the same—Station, floating in space—but the protagonists are different, and the situation has changed: one of the gods was forcibly removed, and the fetches (dead people reconstructed from their memories) now have existences of their own, even though their community went through a plague that almost destroyed them along the way.

The characters: as mentioned above, no Hugo Fist or Jack Forster here, although they're briefly mentioned. This time, the story mainly follows Leila, a fetch who's trying to save her genius brother Dieter, and Cassiel, a Totality mind who's investigating said brother's death. It starts with Dieter falling prey to an old tech artifact, and dying from it; however, contrary to what Leila thinks at first, he cannot be brought back as a fetch, due to a fishy contract he signed at the last moment with a couple of shady characters called 'pressure men'. Finding herself the unwilling beneficiary of this contract that left her a rich heiress, Leila uses her newly acquired money—and the door it opens—to try and find out what really happened to Dieter, and bring him back at all costs, the way himself helped her build herself back up after the fetch plague almost deconstructed her for good.

Even though I admit I didn't like Leila much at first (too whiny and self-centered), and would have hoped to see Jack and Hugo again, soon enough the new characters grew up on me. On the one hand, Leila tends to keep focused on Dieter and not on the bigger picture, but this bit on the selfish side makes her, in a way, very human. On the other hand, she puts herself on the front line as well: you definitely can't call her a coward, all the more as the enemy could very well wipe her out of existence. As for Cassiel, she brings a lot of information about the AIs, the way they live, and how close they are to humans even if the latter don't always notice it.

(Interestingly, as a fetch, Leila is just as much dependent on hardware and on the local equivalent of the online world to exist and manifest herself. The world of Station definitely keeps blurring the lines and questioning what makes us human, especially once you throw the gods into the mix: the Rose who isn't so infallible, East who's obsessed with the media and her reality shows...)

There are a lot of epic virtual reality/online world/hidden servers moments. Because both Leila and Cassiel are reconstructed or artificial AIs, they're both powerful and frail. Without a physical body, and armed with a weapon Dieter had once designed for her only, Leila has means of her own to fight and resist; and Cassiel was designed as a weapon herself, with a nanogel body making her suited for both physical and digital combat; and yet, because they're software-based, they're vulnerable to viruses and similar attacks... which makes the pressure men and their ability to edit data (including memories) all the more dangerous to them. Memory is clearly one of the stakes in the novel, because there comes a point when neither characters nor readers can really tell whether their memories are true or were manipulated.

A few discrepancies in terms of style (I had noticed that in the first book already: sometimes the prose switches to short sentences that jar a little with the rest), but not enough to really be a problem. All instances of 'brought' were also printed as 'bought', but since I got a preprint copy, this was hopefully corrected in the final version.

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. I found the ending a little rushed, with some loose ends not so properly tied, and there were a couple of moments when I had to push through for a few pages (for some reason I can't exactly pinpoint). Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed diving into Station and its particular blend of bleak cyberpunk and transhumanism. Should there be a third book, I wouldn't mind reading it either.

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review 2017-03-17 01:17
Version Control, by Dexter Palmer
Version Control: A Novel - Dexter Palmer

I'm seeing a theme in this year's Tournament of Books shortlist (or, I should say, those books whose samples appealed to me): genre-bending and concerns about identity. I like to think about the lines between or blurring genres, and I appreciate the lens of race or sexuality, both of which are commonly excluded from much genre fic.

 

Dexter Palmer's Version Control is speculative, but only just: its future is near, and there are certainly elements that are not at all far-fetched and therefore frightening: self-driving cars that can endanger passengers when, say, a firmware update has a glitch; data mining and what it could be used for; digital avatars, operating much like bot accounts on social media sites. There are also reminders for our own present, such as the real goals of online dating services--to keep you using (and paying) as long as possible, not successfully find a partner.

 

Palmer's novel is marketed as "time travel like you've never seen it before." I'll go ahead and preface my questions about and problems with the book by saying I'm easily confused by time travel narratives, no matter how well explained.

 

The book is structurally tight, with thematic echoes across points of view and timelines, of which there are two. The idea of "the best of all possible worlds" is central; when it's inevitably discovered that the device the protagonist's husband is working on is, well, working, despite a lack of scientific proof, the characters realize what we as readers learned about halfway through the book when details of their lives change (character x is dead instead of y; characters go--or don't go--by certain nicknames; character a cheats with character b rather than c, etc.): every time someone enters the "causation violation" chamber, a new timeline branches off.

 

Before the characters themselves are in the know, in the first timeline explored, the protagonist feels something's not right, but can't explain what. She's not alone; the phenomenon is experienced by others and has become a diagnosis. What I don't understand is why they have that sense of wrongness. I was also confused by Sean, the physicist and protagonist's son. Is his mural as his mother, Rebecca, sees it, or as Alicia sees (or doesn't see) it? Is he simply an artistic child suffering from loss?

 

Though thematically sound with some fresh explorations of gender and race in the hard sciences especially, Version Control didn't quite come together for me. I didn't particularly like or care about any of the characters; I'd say Carson was most interesting to me. The end was fairly predictable; I enjoyed the first half more. I have some stylistic quibbles that are just my bias, like chunks or pages of dialog, which reminded me of exposition in movies, and what felt like unnecessary section breaks. But I wanted to know what happened next, and the mystery of what was going on and why definitely kept me reading.

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