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review 2017-10-21 02:16
Review: The Delphi Effect
The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker

I'll admit I snagged this one mostly on the strength of the author's name.  I've already read previous books by Rysa Walker, and very much enjoyed them.  From the blurb it sounds potentially interesting, but not particularly original.  But I trusted the author, and I'm glad I did.

 

Anna Morgan is a seventeen year old who is jaded by the foster care system.  She also has the ability to communicate with the dead.  However in this story her communication is facilitated by a dead person attaching him/herself to Anna inside her mind.  She calls them "hitchers". And typically it's one at a time.

 

At the beginning of the story Anna is playing host to Molly, a young girl who had been murdered and wants Anna to communicate with Molly's grandfather, a retired police officer, in order to provide him with information that will hopefully catch her killer.

 

But there's more going on here than a simple murder mystery.  Molly's murderer was tied to a much larger scheme involving kidnapping and experiments. And Anna's contact with Molly's grandfather brings her, and her gift, to the attention of this nefarious group.

 

Anna, along with her younger former foster brother Deo, are both in danger.  Along the way they do have some allies, including Anna's therapist and Molly's grandfather.

 

I'll admit the basic plot isn't terribly original, although I did really like how Anna's gift was handled and the way it worked.  But it's much better and more engaging that it may sound.  What takes what might have been well-worn ground in another's hands and turns it into an interesting story is Ms. Walker's skill in writing a well paced story with believable characters and likable protagonists.  

 

And while there are occasional hints of attraction between Anna and another character, it remains infrequent and very slow burn.  There's no insta-love or teen angsty romance here.  Something I very much appreciated.

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text 2017-10-19 20:57
Currently Reading: The Delphi Effect
The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy) - Rysa Walker
Timebound - Rysa Walker

I started listening to the audio version of "The Delphi Effect" yesterday and I'm enjoying it so far.

I previously read "Timebound" by the same author, and enjoyed it, so I was hopeful I'd enjoy this new one.  First in a trilogy, already have the next one ready to go thanks to Netgalley (official release is next week).

 

The premise isn't terribly original, girl in her late teens has the ability to communicate with ghosts.  Our MC Anna is latched onto by the ghost of a murdered girl and she wants Anna to communicate what she knows to the murdered girl's retired cop grandfather in order to catch her killer.

 

But it's interestingly written, and Anna is likeable.  There's also something else going on here, hints of a secret group, experiments and a powerful man. One that may have something to do with Anna's "gift" and may want to stop her.

Yeah, not terribly original, but still enjoyable.  Ms. Walker can write.

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text 2017-09-22 07:56
Using sales to segregate good writers from bad - and save the e-book industry

According to Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader, the leading news website devoted to digital publishing, e-books, and e-reader news I'm a bad writer.

 

How does he come to that conclusion? In his own words, "You are only considered a real author if you can make your living solely from the book sales. If you can’t, you are merely a writer... the industry needs to define the good writers from the bad. The primary way we can do this is by sales figures; if authors make their living from publishing, they are often considered good writers.  Once we can define a good writer from a bad, we can start to segregate them."

 

Which brings us to another of his suggestions, segregating self-published books according to sales.

 

"My suggestion is for all major online bookstores that take submitted indie content to create their own sections for self-published writers. These titles should not be listed side by side with the traditional press.  Indie titles should have their own dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

Why, you ask, does Kozlowski think this is necessary?

 

"There are a copious number of online self-publishing companies that promise aspiring authors the opportunity to distribute their e-book all over the world. Millions of authors publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press and Smashwords. Most “authors” who self-publish an e-book never sell more than a handful and over seventy-five percent of all authors never earn a living through their writing."

 

And the result of this plethora of self-published dreck (my word) is that "We live in a world full of terrible e-book titles that ruin e-book discovery and make it difficult to find a good book. It is no small wonder why e-book sales have plummeted in recent years."

 

The comments on Kozlowski's blog https://goodereader.com/blog/author/michael-kozlowski on this topic are mostly specious in that they don't respond to the problem he's addressing. They range from outright denial to dismissing his ideas because there's a typo in his text.

 

As one who actually reads and reviews the work of unknown, randomly selected indie authors I'd have to agree with his assessment and his solution.

 

When I decided to write fiction about ten years ago I had about forty years of journalism as a formative base. But even though I'd written hundreds of thousands of words up to that point it, fiction was a different style of writing. To learn how to write fiction I attended writer's groups, joined online critique sites and read dozens of books and I continue to do so.

 

Writing fiction is a craft and it can be learned and mastered, to some degree, by learning the fundamentals and then practicing - a lot. It's evident that the vast majority of the indie authors I've read haven't even bothered to learn the basics and have spent no where near enough time practicing.

 

As Kozlowski says "Indie titles have no quality and control, often they are merely submitting a Word document to Amazon and clicking publish."

 

Kozlowski's not suggesting all self-published books are crap and all traditionally published books are classics, just that "there is some expectation of quality" in reading a traditionally published book", and that's definitely not the case with reading a self-published work.

 

From the beginning of my venture into writing and publishing fiction it became apparent to me the only way to measure success was with book sales. This is an industry of illusion and delusion and the majority those involved are, as Kozlowski suggested, subject to the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

 

“Unskilled individuals that suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

 

I have come to accept that I am "inept" until my book sales prove otherwise.

 

Accordingly, I'm prepared to have all my books segregated in "dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

I'm sure there will be very good books that never attain that threshold (mine?) and I'm just as sure there will be those who, rather than hone their craft to the point they can write a good book, will find ways of attaining that threshold fraudulently.

 

However, this is a solution I am prepared to considered in hopes "the cream might rise to the top".

 

If Kozlowski's is right that by 2020, fifty percent of all digital books will be written by indie authors and that will account for 25,000 new titles a month being submitted to online bookstores than something, indeed, has to be done.

 

  1. And just how many books would you need to sell to meet the threshold and advance to "the majors"?

Amazon has author and sales ranking graphs that are updated hourly. On Sept. 5, 2017, someone purchased one (1) e-book edition of my novel Saving Spirit Bear. That single sale boosted the novel's ranking from 8,787,432 to 201,692 an increase of 8,585,740 points. My author ranking subsequently increased 582,673 points from 825,278 to 242,605.

What do these numbers mean? I'd say a few sales a month and an indie author would be among the top 100,000 selling authors on Amazon. Would that get you into "the majors"?

Who cares, you'd still be making peanuts.

 

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

 

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

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

 

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

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486&fref=comp

 

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

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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