Tag Archives: reviews

It’s 2019 and I’ve got Goals with a capital G

Happy New Year, everyone! My regular followers might have noticed that my output in 2018, and for that matter in 2017, hasn’t exactly been high. Part of that, I think, was fatigue around blogging and part was having quite a lot else on to worry about in my personal life. But 2019 is going to be different. Honest. While a lot of 2018’s worries haven’t gone away, with a new year comes a fresh outlook.

This is a quick update about my goals for the year and what I’ve got planned. So let’s get right to it.

Reading

Last year was a dismal year for me as far as reading was concerned. I barely read anything and didn’t review what I did read. This year I’ll do better. I’ve set a goal on Goodreads to read 24 books in 2019 – that’s two per month. And I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding 24 books to read, between my “to read” pile (utterly massive) and the books coming out this year that I’m excited about (loads of them). I plan on reviewing any fantasy novels I read right here, but I’ll keep track of everything else – which is likely to include historical fiction and loads of non-fiction – with quarterly updates on my progress towards my 24 book goal, much like I did back in 2016.

Writing

I’ve been hard at work in the last few months working out what I want from my current novel. I now have a working title – Feud and Fire – as well as a general outline, a lot of notes about themes, particular plotlines, character and the world, and at the end of December I started the latest draft. I am happy with where I am with this story. My goal for 2019 is to write it, edit it and get it to a refined final state. Whether I then consider submitting for publication or decide there’s more work to be done is something I’ll decide when I get to that point.

I am also planning on writing some short fiction in 2019. I spend so much time working on these big novels, that a short break after finishing the Feud and Fire draft would be an ideal time to practice a shorter format, especially since I have enjoyed reading short fiction in 2018 (just about the only type of story where I have read more than previous years, thanks to the Daily Science Fiction emails I receive) and it’s been a while since I’ve written any.

Later this week I’ll be taking a look at how things stand for my One Million Words Challenge. I started it back in 2015 but stopped keeping track of it after a while. I have, however, continued to date each new document I create and each day of handwritten fiction in my notebooks, so it should only take an hour or two to get a fairly good idea of my overall total, by simply adding up the wordcounts of the numerous documents I have created since I started and adding an estimate of the handwritten stuff based on multiplying an average page wordcount by the number of pages.

Blogging

Yep, this is something I’m planning on increasing this year. I can hardly do worse than last year, so I’ve got that going for me. But in fact I’ve got a few ideas planned out, and with all that reading I’ll be doing there are bound to be a few reviews at the very least.

So that’s the plan for this year.

What about you? Do you have reading and writing goals for 2019? What are they? How do you think you’ll do? Did you meet your 2018 goals?

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Amazon is blocking book reviews if it thinks you know the author

In a Guardian article posted this afternoon, it is revealed that Amazon’s attempt to clamp down on fake and inaccurate reviews has taken a creepy turn. An author called Lori L Otto posted on her blog some weeks ago about a fan who was blocked from posting a review of her latest book on Amazon, because, to quote the Amazon email she received:

We cannot post your Customer Review for “Olivia (Choisie Book 2)” to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author.

Continue reading Amazon is blocking book reviews if it thinks you know the author

How to ask for reviews of your self-published novel on forums

Congratulations, you’ve published your novel! Well done, that’s a point many people don’t reach. Now you just need to sell it. And that’s harder than it looks. Statistics published in The Guardian reveal that half of all self-published authors earned less than $500 in 2011. When you consider that hundreds of thousands of books are self published annually (319,000 in 2012), you’ve got a lot of competition.

It is widely acknowledged that having reviews helps sell your novel. On Amazon Kindle, readers can browse by review rating – and any book that’s never been reviewed is cut right out. Reviews help wavering potential readers make up their minds whether or not to buy. Readers might even discover that your book exists by reading a review of it on a book blog they follow. So reviews are an important component of marketing your book.

So how do you get reviews?

Continue reading How to ask for reviews of your self-published novel on forums

6 month review

So I’ve been doing this blog for six months as of today. And I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve learned a lot from it, about structure and marketing myself and all sorts. So here are a few things I’ve pulled out of my experiences:

What I’ve enjoyed the most

The posts I’ve enjoyed the most are those where I’ve had the opportunity to analyse a topic and bring in my experiences and observations. If you look at my Archives page, I’ve listed three poss as “Promoted” – the three I am most happy with, that I like the best. They are Inspiration, Archaeology and the One Ring, Building Worlds Alongside Stories and What’s With all the Kings and Queens in Fantasy? Overall, the posts I’m most happy with are those that I felt driven to produce; the more generic posts like the Best Fantasy Films posts, and the posts where I was wondering what I would post next, didn’t come out so well, I think.

Continue reading 6 month review

Amazon’s approach to book reviews

Writerly types and those with interest in publishing (or even just reading) may have come across a tweet that was posted yesterday by author and TV producer Daisy Goodwin, reading:

‘We don’t require people to have read the product before reviewing’ amazon spokesperson #sockpuppets

This quote was published in the Guardian, in an article called Why Amazon Just Can’t Win yesterday morning and refers also, with the #sockpuppet hashtag, to the events of last September, when author R J Ellroy was found using a sockpuppet account to give other authors bad reviews and his own books good reviews. In response to this Amazon deleted thousands of reviews on books simply because they were written by other authors – widely condemned as an overreaction.

Continue reading Amazon’s approach to book reviews