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text 2017-01-26 07:01
Stigma of self-publishing denies good authors critical acclaim

 I want you to take a look at some research I've done and see if you come to the same conclusion I do.


Lets start with two novels I reviewed that are written by local Vancouver authors.

The first is The Continuation of Love by Other Means by Claudia Casper.

It has one, two-star review on Amazon.com, which I wrote, and two reviews on Amazon.ca, one of which is also mine, averaging three stars.


Lucky by Kathryn Para, the winner of the second search for the Great BC Novel, has two reviews on Amazon.ca, one mine and one that appears to be by a personal friend who "visited her at home". The average is four stars. On Amazon.com Lucky has five reviews (including mine) for an average of four stars.


Not so stellar I'm thinking when you compare them to my latest novel, The Local Rag which has seven reviews on Amazon.com (none of which I wrote, paid for, or pleaded with friends to review) for an average of four stars, and one on Amazon.ca of five stars.


So how come both these women are getting paid reading gigs and interviews with main stream media and I'm getting nothing?


Upon further investigation I discovered local poets who are garnering the same acclaim with the local literati but zero with Amazon reviewers. Some didn't even have their books available on Amazon or at the Vancouver Public Library.


I'm not disparaging these other local writers and I'm happy for their success, even though it would appear, at least on Amazon, that my latest book is more popular then theirs.


So what's the difference between them and me?


One thing. They all have traditional publishers.


Sure, their publisher may be some small press operating from a barn just north of Nowhere, Saskatchewan, but these authors didn't self publish. One way or another they got their manuscript accepted and published by a bona fide (?) Canadian publisher who's likely getting significant grants from the Canadian government just for existing.


I've traveled the submissions route before and it's like living in suspended animation. You send out your manuscript and wait at least six months. By then maybe you've heard something, maybe not. You decide to continue to wait or accept that the recipient of your work is not even gracious enough to let you know they threw your manuscript in the garbage, and you move on.


You have no idea what's going on, you have no control over the process. You are, in a word, powerless. No wonder so many authors choose to self-publish their work.


Unfortunately, you're very, very unlikely to receive any critical acclaim if you follow the self-publishing path and that's because there's a stigma attached to self-published books and regrettably it's deserved.


With the increasing ease of self-publishing and the complete lack of gatekeepers self-published books have become an anathema to the serious writer. It's estimated Amazon carries 37 million self-published titles, up 438% since 2008. Most of these books are terrible or mediocre at best. Finding a well written, good story among all this dreck is near impossible and every one has come to realized it including credible publishers, agents, reviewers and even readers.


For me to self-publish another novel is futile. I'll garner a handful of positive reader reviews, fewer sales and that's it.


So I'm going back to researching potential publishers and submitting my manuscripts, the first being East Van Saturday Night, four short stories and a novella.


It's deja vu all over again only this time I'm older (not necessarily a plus), smarter (at least in this arena) and a far better writer.


It's time for real critical acclaim and credibility as a writer - or not.


Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs




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



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



Video book reviews 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



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








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review 2015-01-30 17:24
love this series!!
Buried in New Orleans - Chris Myers

I received a copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

I've done my best to keep spoilers out of this review in case you haven't read the first two books, but there may be a tiny detail or two I've forgotten. :P

Buried in New Orleans starts off with Jolie, Brit, and Drew heading to New Orleans so he can cross over. They search for April, Drew's girlfriend from when he was alive, to get answers as to why he hasn't been able to. They run into Jolie's old ghost hunting group NOSH (New Orleans Spirit Hunters), and she's less than thrilled to see them because Drew has been hanging around her for so long. Jolie's kind of been putting off helping him move on, and it's a huge no-no to allow a spirit to hang around.

I love these characters and this series! It's an amazing story line which gets better with each book. Each character has his or her strengths and weakness, but they all bring something to the table which makes them such a great team.

I truly believe Jolie was born to help spirits. She gets part of her talent through her mother and grandmother, but she also puts her heart into everything she does. Her downfall? Drew, but I can't blame her!

Brit is so spunky it gets her into trouble sometimes, but I like her spunk. She's completely fearless and a great partner in crime. Her downfall? The color pink. And money. ;)

Drew has been there for Jolie - helping her get ghost hunting jobs, supporting her on the move to Massachusetts and starting a new school. He's been her only friend until Brit. He's comforted her, and it's totally understandable why she wouldn't want to let all that go.

So when the mystery of why he can't cross over is revealed, it's a complete shocker. Never saw it coming! It makes it even more difficult for Jolie to help him because helping him means letting him go. I really empathized with her - I wouldn't want to lose my best friend either.

Buried in New Orleans is a fantastic addition to the RIPSTERS series! I love the modernized Nancy Drew-like paranormal mystery aspect this series has. Reading Buried in New Orleans was like visiting with old friends. I love the dynamics in Jolie and Brit's friendship. I highly recommend this series if you love young adult books with paranormal mystery, and romance.

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review 2014-12-05 02:50
Read this book! Today! lol
Accumulation - G Nykanen

I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

A thoroughly addictive and entertaining read, Accumulation had me enthralled from the first page. I. Love. This. Book. The writing, the plot, the cast of characters, the pacing...all of its elements came together perfectly and gave me a new book in the zombie genre to recommend to friends and family.

When Accumulation begins, news reports are coming in about an infection spreading causing people to become violent and attack each other. People have even begun posting videos to YouTube of the attacks. Once infected, the victim goes through a transformation similar to that of a werewolf with the distinct sound of bones snapping. Then the victim lunges for whomever is nearby and eats them like a zombie.

The governor, Steve Landis, is a madman and doesn't care about anyone surviving the apocalypse except himself. He was so calm and matter-of-fact about everything that it freaked me out much more than if he had been a raving lunatic. I think the bizarrely calm megalomaniacs are much scarier than the loud in-your-face ones. He has delusions of grandeur in thinking himself to be the commander-in-chief after having the bridge to the peninsula destroyed, cutting off access so no infected can cross into the area and to use up all the energy and resources for himself.

The Riley family (grandparents, parents, kids, and uncle - they're a large family!) hides out together in a cabin the grandparents, Pop and Nan, bought a long time ago in case of a situation such as this. Totally great to have a conspiracy theorist in the family in times such as these! The dynamics of this family were really interesting and added tension to the story.

One of the aspects of Accumulation I thought was so cool was how the large cast of characters start out separate and end up coming together in a realistic and believable way. Plus I really liked the unique twist on zombies - I wouldn't quite call the people who turn after infection zombies; it's a little more complicated than that with their strange transformation that always includes the body contorting in a way that should not be humanly possible. It's so creepy!

Overall, Accumulation is a story about the world going to hell in a completely realistic way and in which the government can't be trusted to help its own people, which also seemed way too realistic. I kept thinking while reading this novel that I hope nothing like this ever happens and how much worse it would be to go through it with young kids. I was freaked out and yet couldn't stop reading - definitely a novel you shouldn't miss!

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review 2014-11-10 11:33
Werewolves Across The Universe

Synopsis: For hundreds of years the Scotia wolves have lived in the Highlands and enjoyed the protection of the Fae Monarchy, but the world is changing and the straining population compels the werewolves to adapt. Or die. Or MOVE.

First of a series of three novellas about the Brothers Cu Ahlee.


***Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy in exchange for a review.***


Being new to the series and not knowing what to expect, I was thinking it'd be a more grounded, more realistic fantasy. So I was a little put off by the over-the-top elements: angels and demons working together, inter-dimensional travel as easy as crossing the street, utopian shifter societies...


All the same old PNR cliches apply here, almost to a beat. Uber hot alpha male with no flaws whatsoever meets a winsome, virgin girl who's clearly his soulmate because reasons, etc and so forth. Virgin Girl hasn't been or done anything outside of her clan yet somehow manages to beat down the older, stronger competition for her new man. Because strawberries. At least she didn't fall head over heels for him at first blush- she waited until he didn't want to kill a she-bear protecting her cubs before she decided she wanted him and fell into his arms. Ok.


Story's practically non-existent: no struggle, no obstacles, no nothing. The wolf clan packs up and plane shifts to their new home with nary a fuss or a conflict and everything's just peachy, including the sex. Now Liulf just has to get Rain into his bed and it's a party.


For fans of the series, it looks to be keeping in the spirit of things. For those looking for a light, easy PNR read... your mileage may vary.

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review 2014-08-30 20:22
come explore the dark side of human nature
Pieces of Autumn - Mara Black

I received a review copy of this book for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

I wasn't sure what to expect from Pieces of Autumn after reading the synopsis. I remember feeling intrigued to find out who this girl was and what happened to her. Told from two different characters' POV, this novel was so much more than the synopsis leads you to believe. 

Hints are dropped here and there that the world has gone to hell and now only the extremely wealthy have luxuries such as running water and electricity. Society didn't collapse too terribly long ago; Autumn, the main character, can still remember vividly what life was like before the collapse. I've never come across this in a dark romance before, and it made for an interesting backdrop to the story. 

Spending several years living homeless, Autumn became desperate to stay one step ahead of the man searching for her. With her life in jeopardy from both the man searching for her and the dangers of living on the streets, she decided to trade safety for freedom. It's been said that you can't have both - to be safer, you have to give up some freedom. Autumn gave up all of her freedom for only a small bit of safety. 

Autumn is given to a man named Tate, also known as the Viper. Their relationship is dark and twisted but also has moments where they understand each other better than anyone they've come into contact with for a very long time. I didn't understand why Autumn was so attracted to Tate right away without knowing him, and even she questioned herself time and time again. She saw something in him that he didn't want her to see, and he did his best to hide it but it was too late. She already knew it was there. 

I haven't thought of people as all good or all bad since I was a little girl. I know we're all a mixture of both with some of us having a little more of one or the other. Admittedly, that's a terribly simplistic way of explaining my view on human nature, but we're bad or good in degrees. Even people whom we see as truly evil started out as innocent babies. Pieces of Autumn forced me to examine not only the dark side of humanity but my own as well, and it was uncomfortable at times. 

Pieces of Autumn couldn't have been a better title for this book. Autumn was in pieces at the beginning, and I'll leave it to you to find out if she's still in pieces by the end. This novel gave me much to think about while at the same time delivering a story that won't be forgotten anytime soon, if ever.

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