Tag: books

Paid book review: rant

A few days ago, I was emailed by the proprietor of this blog. The conversation went a little something like this:

Proprietor:  Hi! I’d like to review your book on my website. Are you willing to shell out 75$ for my services

Me: Uhm, I’d rather not. I can pay you 10$ now, and 65$ once I’ve made that much in book sales. That shouldn’t be any trouble for you if you’re actually confident in your own product.

Proprietor: I’ve done this with three authors before, and not one of them fulfilled on the promised deal.  They made the money back and more and still they did not pay me.

At this point, I am sceptical. How did she know that the authors “made the money back and more”? Clicks does not equal sales. The conversation continued:

Me: Fine. I guess it’s fair that we should split the risk. I’ll pay you 35$ now, and then 35$ later.

Proprietor: I’d like to go through with this. You’ll pay me 35$ now, and then 35$ when I prove I’ve written a review, before I publish it.

Me: I’m not sure you understand. My risk is that I won’t make back the money in sales. I have no doubt that you’ll actually write the review. I’ll pay you the remaining 35$ once I’ve made 75$ in sales.

I haven’t heard from her since. Here’s the thing – and I can’t believe I have to state this again:

Clicks and/or pageviews does not equal sales!

I  have no problems paying maybe 10$ or so for a review now and again when someone contacts me, even though they usually never equate to any sales (maybe one or two). Mostly, they build my ego, even if I prefer reviews that are not paid for (I have some of them as well). I’m an author, my job is not to be a financial advisor to myself.

However, I’m also not stupid. If I were to shell out 75$ for every review without expecting a return on my investment, I’d be financially ruined.

If you read this, and you’re a book blogger, you need to understand that from a business perspective,  your review is essentially worthless if it doesn’t generate sales. I’m sure some of you will be thinking “it’s a hobby, you shouldn’t expect to be making money off of it”.

But that’s exactly the problem – there are a million and one of not just reviewers out there, but publishers, proof readers etc. who are doing everything they can to make a quick buck off of people’s hobbies. And it’s a real shame, because for every genuine hobbyist out there, there are two more secretly wishing to reach the New York Time’s  best seller list. I can tell you right now – you don’t get there by paying for reviews.

Smashwords

I decided that I will publish my latest book, Trouble in Trondheim: Bikers and Gangsters, through Smashwords (and Amazon, for Kindle).

Smashwords will publish authors’ books to all the largest retailers, including Apple’s iBooks, Barnes and Nobles’ Nook and Kobo.

They will also help you as an author with marketing, through an affiliate program where you can get paid to market other people’s books!

As if that wasn’t enough, you can launch your book as a preorder in multiple stores. Right now, my book is available on the iBooks store, but will eventually be available on Nook and many others. I will update the book’s page with links as they become available.

The psychology of character development

Last night, as I read and explained some chapters of Trouble in Trondheim: Bikers and Gangsters to my brother, he pointed out to me that some of the actions taken by the main character were so morally wrong that he probably wouldn’t be able to sympathize with him.

I found this very interesting. It made me see the character in a new light, and now I want to try to change him, or at least the actions that he takes.

When creating a character, as an author you’re creating a character purely out of your own egotistical need to see that particular character come to life. Without that, there is no motivation.

On the other hand, you’re also trying to create a character that the audience will root for (in this case, because it is the protagonist) and perhaps even identify with.

But, of course, you can’t please everyone. Even out of those who actually read your story, not everyone is going to like it – certainly not equally much!

Therefore, the best thing you can do as an author is to create characters that you love (or despise, if the character in question is the antagonist). And by “love”, I mean such that you would defend their actions to your grave – unless someone provides a very concise argument why their actions are such that they would be very hard to sympathize with. Or why they make no sense in the context of the plot, usually meaning you have a deeper problem in regards to plot rather than character.

This goes straight to the heart of good storytelling (regardless of medium). Somehow, if you manage to create a story that is loved by its audience, you’ve manage to uncover a vital part of their psychology. More often than not, it means your audience is more like you than you’d be comfortable admitting to.

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