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text 2017-09-21 07:10
BookBaby prez says thousands want to review your book free - then suggest three that would cost $394

Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby. He writes the bookbaby Blog at http://blog.bookbaby.com/

 

It's a thinly veiled promotional blog that encourages self-published authors to use the services of BookBaby to prepare and publish their manuscripts. I compare it to the weekly newsletter I get from a local realtor where despite rising interest rates, falling house prices and any other economic calamity that might be happening "it's always a good time to buy or sell property".

 

Here's my response to his most recent blog entitle "Book Reviews: The Ultimate Word Of Mouth Promotion".

 

 

Hi Steven,
Let's crunch some numbers shall we. You shouldn't mind because they're ones you provided.

 

You write in your recent BookBaby blog that book reviews are critical to promoting my book. I agree. You write " "There are literally thousands of book reviewers and bloggers online, and most of them review books even though they aren’t paid."

 

I'd be doing a little more research before making a statement like that if I were you. I'll bet you'll find the majority of these bloggers and reviewers though online aren't active.

 

After making this unqualified claim about thousands of bloggers and reviewers who want to review my work at no charge you then "recommend the following sites:

 

Midwest Book Review that charges $50 a review;
The Indie Reader at $255 a review: and,
The Self-Publishing Review at $119 a review.

 

If I was to "purchase" one review from each site it would cost a total of $394.

 

What happened to the thousands of unpaid book reviewers and bloggers? Why didn't you list a few of them?

 

You can purchase an e-book of mine from Amazon for $3.99 of which I get 35% royalty or $1.35. I'd need to sell about 291 books to pay for these three reviews.

 

And what if they're bad reviews?

 

According to your 2017 Self-Publishing Survey

https://www.bookbaby.com/…/official-self-publishing-survey-…

of the 4300 authors who took part only 5%, or about 215 authors, made $5000 a year from their writing. The other category you draw comparisons from which is obviously significantly larger, is the one you call lower earning authors who earn less than $100 a year from their writing.

 

The inherent conflict of interest of "paid for reviews" aside, how in good conscience can you recommend to the majority of indie authors, making less than $100 a year from their writing as indicated by your own research, that they spend that kind of money on reviews?

 

So which is it, Steven? Are either totally out of touch with your own research and our plight, or part of the pack who prey on naive and delusional new indie authors who are prepared to throw money away chasing that elusive dream?

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-13 22:59
Breaching the Contract
Breaching the Contract (The Conflict of Interest Series Book 1) - Chantal Fernando

I was invited by the publisher (through Netgalley) to read this book. I was a fan of some of Chantal Fernando's previous books so I was excited to read the start of this new series. While the book had some great steamy scenes I feel like this was way too short and because of that the characters felt underdeveloped. I don't feel like we even learned all that much about Kat and Tristan and I didn't read enough about them to feel compelled to keep reading. I would consider continuing this series if the characters are more developed and the plot is not rushed. 

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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text 2017-07-23 00:33
Reading progress update: I've read 73 out of 168 pages.
The Final Conflict: Omen 3 - Gordon McGill
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review 2017-05-13 18:21
Made me think, don't agree with all of it.
Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair - Sarah Schulman

"Snowflakes." Liberal college campuses are denying speakers freedom of speech. Oh, don't like what I said? Do you need a safe space? Are you triggered? Are you upset over the election?

 

While this book is not specifically about any of the above, I definitely thought of some of the ongoing discussions/arguments (depending on how you put it) and the conflicts that arise. Author Schulman takes the reader on why and how things like texting and emails are harmful for communication, the difference between conflict and abuse (and how to resolve them), how this dynamic can manifest on both the personal level and within the public sphere, and so forth. 

 

I was not familiar with her background prior to reading this book but despite some of the mixed reviews I thought this would be an interesting book that would be good reading. And it was, but I'm not sure how helpful this can be since I couldn't help but feel the author is writing very much from her own personal experiences (which in itself is not terrible but not always applicable to other people) and may not fully realize some of the complex issues that go on in many of the situations she writes about.

 

For example, I honestly wondered if she's had bad experiences with the silent treatment or ghosting. She blames the person who refuses to talk for "withholding" and that it's detrimental to everyone involved. Or she talks about an example of receiving an email cancellation for a lunch date and says "Email creates repression and anxiety" (pg 45). She honestly reminded me of anecdotes that I've heard where the romantic relationship ended yet one partner insists on "hashing it out" or "working through our issues" or whatever but it becomes a long, dragged out process where's clear that partner just doesn't want to let go and often doesn't accept it until the other party deliberately puts up barriers (cutting off all contact, blocking on social media, sending a third party to communicate to leave them alone, etc.).

 

Or, in another example in the introduction, she talks about how her high school guidance counselor warned her not to tell her parents about her sexual orientation due to their homophobia. She writes that by doing so "he upheld the distorted thinking, unjustified punishment, and exclusion." Schulman continues to write that if she is in a similar situation now with her students, she offers to speak to the parents, to provide alternatives, "to intervene and stand up to brutality in order to protect its recipient and transform their context" (pg 27). 

 

I honestly found that quite misguided. She made it about her and what she would do but what about the students? What is their background, could they be in danger if they were outed to their parents/peers/community, do they have resources, do they WANT to come out? I do not share her experiences but this made me incredibly uncomfortable. Certainly there are many situations where having someone like a professor speak on your behalf can be quite helpful but I was puzzled by the lack discussion on the possible dangers too. 

 

That said, I think there is merit to the book. I can agree that sometimes there is a reaction for too quick of a judgment in situations that really could be resolved by an honest conversation where both parties do want to resolve the situation before it escalates. Email and texting are handy as forms of communication but sometimes there is an essence lost when communicating that way. 

 

But in the end, I feel the author thinks there should be a greater level of engagement and assumes too much: that both parties want to resolve the situation amiably, that there is an equal dynamic (the want for communication *can* become abusive by demanding someone's time, emotional labor, maybe even money if it requires travel or phone minutes, etc.). On a personal level I can respect that and have encountered people who feel the same way that Schulman does: more communication, that people should be willing to educate, etc. But I do thinks she projects a little too much of her own personal preferences and feels entitled to something that not everyone wants to give.

 

People also liked her chapter on HIV and the chapter on Israel and Palestine but honestly I can't help but be a bit jaded as to how much of her own personal biases may have played a part after the initial chapters. They were also not topics that interested me (and quite frankly felt out of place--sometimes the author really didn't do a great job in switching/transitional between the personal and the not so much). At times it also felt like the author put down a lot of words but didn't actually SAY anything substantive.

 

Again, it made me think and I would be interested in reading more but at the same time it felt like the author is in a bit of a bubble. I'd borrow it from the library or get it as a bargain book.

 

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review 2017-04-24 23:24
Slow Burn
Conflict Management - Rachel White

Pros: 

  • I liked Law once we started to get his POV. He wasn't perfect but he did try to do his best by people.
  • I liked the crime part of the story and would have liked more to be made of this.
  • Christian. Law's brother was unapologetically rude and not just because of his illness.
  • The slow burn
  • Not everything was resolved at the end.

 

Cons: 

  • The slow burn was exceptionally slow which isn't a problem, but Morgan couldn't make his mind up. I'm surprised he didn't give himself whiplash.
  • I'd have liked for them to work on the 'crime' issue together
  • Anita. Bro this, bro that. It got old really quickly.
  • I don't understand [spoiler]why Law got fired for whistleblowing. I'm sure there is protection in place for employees. [/spoiler]
  • Things were repeated, a lot. I'd have liked these to be streamlined for a tighter storyline.

 

Ultimately a story about two insecure men with poor dating history, one who knows what he wants but doesn't think he can have it, and the other unable to decide what/who he wants.

 

I'd be interested to read a story about Christian finding his special someone. He was an interesting secondary character.

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