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text 2019-03-17 05:10
Reedsy Discovery - Another paid review, bogus up-voting book marketing site

Reedsy is a British-based author services firm in the self-publishing industry. As well as helping authors find and hire vetted freelance professionals it offers online software tools to help authors convert their manuscript file to e-books. 

 

Discovery is their new program launched “because we saw way too many authors getting frustrated with their marketing campaigns.” 

 

No argument there. 

 

Reedsy describes Discovery as a pre-publication marketing tool to be used to build momentum on the day your book launches. 

 

So how does their new site work for an author? I needed some clarification, so I sent Emmanuel, CEO of Reedsy an email. Below is a transcript of my enquiry and his response.

 

 

Dear Emmanuel,

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding Reedsy Discovery. May I please get some clarification on this new marketing platform for authors? 

 

As I understand, I submit my book plus $50 for the opportunity to have one of your one hundred reviewers review it. If my book is lucky enough to be selected and receive a high-quality review, it will be promoted on the Discovery Feed where readers can read, comment and up-vote it.

 

If my book is among the most up-voted that week it will be featured in your weekly newsletter which is sent to thousands of readers in my genre. How many thousands of readers would that be if you don’t mind me asking?

 

If the reviewers don’t review my book, or if they review it and don’t like it, there’ll be no review. Without this review, it will not be promoted on the Discovery Feed and will be relegated to the Recently Added tab.

 

However, when my book is launched, the first chapter will still be made available on the Recently Added tab for readers to read, comment and up-vote—if they can find it. 

 

Would you agree the key to success is for my book to get a high-quality review and then be promoted on the Discover Feed where it will be featured prominently and much more likely to be read, commented upon and up-voted?  

 

Regardless of whether my book has the potential to be blockbuster if it is not selected it will have to compete with those arbitrarily chosen for a high-quality review and promoted on the Discovery Feed. 

 

From this disadvantaged position, do you still contend it could receive enough up-votes to be featured on your homepage and emailed directly to readers (the number still to be determined) in my genre?

 

All things considered, the most likely outcome for my book in my opinion, and indeed for most books submitted to Reedsy Discovery, will be to end up on the Recently Added list with one chapter featured. No review and no direct mail sent to your thousands (exact amount yet to be divulged) of readers in their genre.

 

And you think that’s worth $50? No, I mean do you really think it’s worth $50?

 

Sorry, I  forgot the professional landing page - that would make five including my website, D2D, Smashwords, and Amazon. 

 

Obviously, there’s something I'm missing. Something that will distinguish this venture from other sites that promote bad literature by offering paid reviews and the opportunity for unscrupulous writers using the most imaginative, but still unethical, ways of advancing (up-voting) their books with no regard for quality.

 

Please tell me I’m wrong.

 

Rod Raglin

 

PS When and if you do respond can you please provide an approximate number of thousands of readers in my genre you have access too? Is it two thousand or two hundred thousand? I think you’d agree it could make a difference.

 

 

RESPONSE FROM REEDSY

 

Hey Rod,

 

We are not currently disclosing how many readers we precisely have but it's in the tens of thousands. So far most authors have received a review on Discovery.

 

Regarding upvotes, I agree it's advantageous to receive a review. But you can counterbalance that by asking your existing base of readers to upvote you (or at least friends and family)

 

Note: I had a look at your Amazon page and I'd recommend you work with a professional cover designer before submitting to Discovery — it'll give you much great chances of receiving a review (yes, people do judge a book by its cover…)

 

All the best,

 

Emmanuel, CEO @ reedsy.com

 

 

MY RESPONSE TO REEDSY’S RESPONES

 

Dear Emmanuel, 

 

Thought you might suggest the friends and family thing. Sorry, but I find it unethical and apparently so does Amazon. I also noticed in your submission form it's required to indicate whether the author has engaged the services of Reedsy. I guess that’s one way to select who gets a review or not.

 

Thanks for the advice on the cover, but rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a professionally designed cover so your reviewers might consider reviewing my book, I can spend $9 more than your asking and Readers’ Favourite Book Reviews will review my book (no professional cover required) within two weeks—guaranteed. 

 

Their review is posted on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, many of their reviewers post reviews to their blogs and social media sites. The review is also indexed by search engines like Google, which recognizes RFBR reviews and formats them with their starred rating, just like Amazon and Goodreads.

 

They also post the review on a landing page, their app, announce it to 500,000 libraries, bookstores and schools and give you a month of free advertising on their Featured Book Rotator visible to everyone who visits their site.

 

Unfortunately, like Reedsy Discovery they only publish four and five star reviews which I think is a disservice to readers as well as writers.  However, regardless of the rating. they send you the review and a mini-critique of your book that provides ratings on 5 key areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability.

 

Regardless of your quasi-ethical practices;  not being transparent with your numbers, encouraging bogus up-voting and the conflict of interest inherent in any review that's paid for, I think you need to up your game, Emmanuel. 

 

Rod

 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive. 

 

Marketing my books has that influence on me. I can feel my tolerance fraying as I read the pitch from yet another book marketer, publishing consultant, or whatever they call themselves hoping to sell you their services or programs that offer simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

 

I shouldn’t be so hard on them. After all, they’re just trying to make a living and being a salesman myself how often have I taken the sale knowing full well the client’s expectations would never be met? 

 

Perhaps it’s because I’d like to believe that hiring an editor, cover designer and all the other professional publishing services available would guarantee me success. 

 

It won’t. It’ll just make me poorer. 

 

So I resent the dozens of emails I get, like this one, suggesting they will, and I feel empathy for those who pay the money only to have their dreams dashed and their wallet emptied.

 

Is there a solution? 

 

In ten years of experimentation I’m resigned that first I have to get good, then get lucky.

 

Stay Calm, be Brave and Watch for the Signs

 

Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews https://readersfavorite.com/

Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-11-27 08:56
Abandoned Dreams contest entry commentary costs $116.45
Abandoned Dreams - Rod Raglin

This year I decided to spend some of my paltry marketing budget entering my novels in a few of the many contests offered on the internet.

 

I may as well have flushed the funds down the toilet for all the good it did. Most contests hastily cashed my cheque and then didn’t even bother spamming me to advise that I didn't win, place or show.

 

These for sure are cash grabs for financially beleaguered writing sites, festivals, literary publications or outright scam artists.

 

The exception so far has been the Writer's Digest Self Published Book Awards that provided a brief commentary from an anonymous judge.

 

So here are Judge Number 54 comments regarding my submission to The 26th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Not a bad review, but then it did cost $116.45 ($99.49 entry fee + $10.30 postage + $6.66 for the price of the book and shipping)

 

 

Entry Title: Abandoned Dreams

Author: Rod Raglin

Judge Number: 54

Entry Category: Mainstream/Literary Fiction

 

 * Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

 

 

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

 

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

 

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

 

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

 

Character Appeal and Development: 4

 

Voice and Writing Style: 4

 

 

Judge’s Commentary

 

   This novel uses a distinctive succession of first-person sections that combine to offer an incisive perspective on the loves and fortunes of several characters whose lives intersect in tortured relationships. Musings and actions by the characters as the story progresses create a running succession of candid revelations. Along the way, readers get intimate understandings of what motivates the characters, who cross a wide age range, as they seek to reach their social and artistic goals. Literary and artistic matters including the drive for fame and creativity, as well as cutting criticism, are refreshingly realistic and provide illuminating insights into the minds of writers and artists. How the past and present link up and influence their current lives and activities is skillfully portrayed. Generational aspects, including a visit to an ashram in the U.S., are woven into the multiple relationships and ambitions that stir the narrative.

       Overall, the dreams of the past blend into the aspirations of the present as the force of character persists.

         More suspense in what will happen, especially as the past is recalled, would enhance the book’s drive. More chapters should end on a suspenseful note to make readers wonder what will happen next. The dialogue is snappy with good use of interior monologue while showing the mind-sets of the characters.

     The title is intriguing and spurs interest. The first two lines of the subtitle work, but the third one raises the question of who the “they” is. Perhaps “life” could be used instead. The cover image is interesting, but consider placing an easel between the chairs and a manuscript on one chair to better reflect the contents and themes of the novel.

 

You can purchase Abandoned Dreams from my Amazon Author's Page at

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

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

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text 2018-09-10 06:57
Enhanced Bublish delivers the same results - none
Three months ago, I responded to a free offer from Bublish to use their “e-book Author and Discovery Platform” for two weeks.
 
Bublish claims they can help you “promote your work and build your brand” with, among other things, “book bubbles,” excerpts of your work shared across social networks. These bubbles also allow you to share “the story behind the story,” similar to a director’s rough cut which Bublish claims “is a powerful way to build social proof with readers.”
 
I already had a Bublish experience shortly after it was launched a few years ago. I quit using the platform then because despite encouraging numbers regarding bubble views, profile views and conversions there were no sales.
 
When I logged in I was surprised to see previous bubbles for my novels Forest, and The Big Picture still on the site.
 
Since I was launching Cold-Blooded, Book 2 of the Mattie Saunders Series, that’s what I began promoting, but after a month, and still having free access to the site, I decided to repost the bubbles from The Big Picture.
 
Bublish provides a daily update of social metrics for the past 90 days on a member’s dashboard. I’ve just completed my current 90 day run posting almost every day and here are the results:
 
Bubble Views - 4891; Profile Views - 47; Conversions (which retailers users are visiting from your bubbles) - 161
 
Sorry to pop their bubble but again my use of Bublish did not result in a single sale, and neither did it generate any additional activity such as page views on Smashwords or visits to my author website over the three month period.
 
Today’s enhanced Bublish costs $99.00 a year or $9.99 a month. For a paid subscription you receive the opportunity to upload unlimited books, an author profile, social metrics, e-pub creator, exclusive programs (deals from their corporate partners) premium resources (tutorials, videos, etc.). You can also sign up as an Emerging Author and upload one book and post unlimited book bubbles free.
 
With the exception of posting unlimited books on Bublish, you can get everything else Bublish offers from other sites free.
 
The only benefit I gleaned from Bublish then and now, was condensing scenes into author insights (bubbles). It really hones your focus.
 
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
 
https://www.bublish.com/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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text 2018-08-23 06:31
Author as a salesperson

The only way I have been able to sell my books is in person, directly to a potential reader.

 

When I did the math, I realized that I could order my books, mark them up and sell them cheaper than someone could buy them from Amazon, when you factored in the cost of shipping.

 

Here’s an example: For me to order a copy of Local Rag costs $4.40 CA, plus $2.43 shipping = $6.83 For anyone else to buy a copy of Local Rag from Amazon Canada costs $13.29, plus $4.98 shipping, plus GST 91¢ = $18.95 The difference is $12.12 (I don’t have to collect the GST because my sales are under $30,000 annually).

 

If I deduct the $2.86 royalty from my Amazon sale, I'm  still ahead $9.26.  I can offer a $2.00 discount to the purchaser and make more than $4.00 more than I get from a sale on Amazon.

 

About a year ago, I started researching venues where I could sell my books in person. I rejected flea markets and other events unrelated to literature and soon found opportunities to participate in public readings and talks. You speak briefly about your book or a related topic and sell your work after the event while mingling with the audience.

 

I took it a step further and developed mini-seminars in self-publishing and memoir writing which I conducted free. The audience was very sales friendly. This system worked at book fairs as well, but since the table rental had to be taken into consideration, I had to be a little more aggressive.

 

In sales, it’s essential to engage the customer, so you have to get out from behind the table and chat up the passers-by. I printed up cheap bookmarks to give away, had them fill out an entry form (don’t forget their email address) for a free draw of some of my books, and talked about the event, even the other authors.

 

I’ve made a living at direct sales so this is second nature to me, but even so it was exhausting and not a lot of fun.

 

After six months I had a decision to make. I now had lots of opportunities to speak, teach and sell my books, but I needed to invest in more stock. If I ordered more books, I’d have to get out there and flog them.

 

I decided I’d had enough.

 

So what have I learned?

 

Selling a book is a lot like writing one. There’s no easy way,

 

and nobody can do it for you.

 

Too bad.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

 

Amazon Author Page (still the easiest way to sell books)

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

 

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text 2018-08-21 08:36
Promoting your books on discount book sites

The internet has a plethora of sites that offer free or deeply discounted e-books to members.


They get their product from authors who are enticed by the opportunity to have a promo template of their book sent free to the site’s membership in hopes that some members will download it, read and review it.


The free offer is a teaser to encourage you to pay for their enhanced list - more members and prolonged exposure.


They also offer a free author interview template. Answer the questions, add your picture and they’ll post it for free.


I discounted Local Rag to 99¢ and submitted it to the four sites listed below, taking advantage of free option only. I work hard to write and produce a decent book and I won't pay to give it away for free.

 

Like so many things that are free, and I suppose that goes for most free e-books, you get what you pay for. I didn’t see a whiff of interest.


I’ve researched a few authors who have documented how much they spent versus how much they made in sales using this approach. They claim to have broke even, but I have my doubts. I’m reminded of my friend who makes frequent trips to Las Vegas. When he wins, I hear about it. When he loses, well, he’s back talking about the time he won.


The other thing I noticed is that their book sales were not sustained. There may have been a blip, but there was not enough reviews, word of mouth, or buzz, in general, to elevate their book from self-publishing oblivion.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

Discount book sites

http://discountbookman.com

http://pretty-hot.com

http://mybookplace.net

Awesomegang.com

 

My Amazon Book Page in case you want to purchase Local Rag for 99¢ until the end of August

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

 

 

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