Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Oh, Librarian, whoever you are. You have made me sad

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

This post at Library Journal made me sad. It’s a late commentary on the whole Joe “No Such Thing as a Conflict of Interest” Konrath/Amazon review situation (I blogged about that here) and also slightly about some review abuse (which I have blogged about here – sarcasm version and here – the Swiftian version as well as here – This is just wrong version.

It’s pretty clear the author of the post isn’t fully informed about the whole Amazon review thing and missed entirely the disturbing implications regarding the outing of Harriet Klausner. That’s a whole other post. Here’s what this post is about: (Emphasis added):

Sitting around all day reading romance novels hardly qualifies as a life, and romance novels hardly qualify as books.

But it’s also hard to feel sorry for customers who were duped into buying a “bad” romance novel by a good review. After all, they’re all bad books. It’s not like people are reading romances for their literary quality. I almost feel sorry for the people who get so worked up over this.

Right. Anyway, I left a comment and since comments are moderated there, it’s possible mine won’t be approved. Here’s what I said:

Wow. I was with you, kind of, up until this: “romance novels hardly qualify as books.” I’m so sorry you feel this way. I am, as you may note, an author of romance. Like many readers and writers of Romance, I am not only a college graduate but in possession of a graduate degree. (In English, by the way.)

It’s been my experience that most people who go down the “All Romance is trash” path have in fact never read a romance. There are as well a lot of people who read one romance (often years ago) didn’t like it, and now, based on a sample size in single digits and in no way reflective of Romances being written today, decided that the entire genre must be awful. This mutually assured stupidity conclusion about the genre and the people who read it is, sadly, all too familiar.

There are so many talented, gifted authors of Romance and they come from all backgrounds, some are academics, some are librarians, some are even men. Since I write in the genre, I happen to know a lot of authors of the genre. They are lawyers, PhDs, engineers, technologists, teachers. There are also, by the way, many fine Romance authors who did not go to college, but let me ask you this:

Do you really believe that so many smart, educated women (and a few men) would ALL write awful books with no redeeming value? Are you honestly willing to suggest that’s remotely possible?

Please, please, consider the possibility that you are wrong. Maybe Romance just isn’t the genre for you, but I can assure you there are Romances out there as fine, or finer, than any literature you care to name.

Share

Effects of Unfairly Favorable Book Reviews on Independent Readers

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Readers are cheated when a majorly flawed piece of writing receives unfairly favorable reviews.

Books with severe language errors cannot have earned a 5-star review. Correct grammar is not a matter of opinion. The correct usage of a word is not opinion. There are reference books that contain the rules of grammar. Dictionaries contain both the accepted spellings and definition of 99 percent of all words in the English language. There is no excuse for getting these things wrong out of ignorance or sheer lack of interest.

No reader should be required to mentally substitute correct grammar, word usage, and sentence structure in order to make sense of the words the writer actually put on the page.

Readers have a right to assume the writer has written in a purposeful way such that she has, in fact, said what she means. When the connection between words, sentences, and meaning is fundamentally broken, then, objectively, that book does not deserve a 5-Star review. Yet such books do receive 5-star reviews.

Some Examples

I hated Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. I think that book has serious flaws, but none of them are language flaws. Franzen’s writing is not incoherent. He uses words correctly. My disagreements are with the story he chose to tell and the actions of his characters in that story. Reasonable people can, and have, disagreed with my opinion. I understand why someone might give the book 5 stars. There are, by the way, 1,091 Amazon reviews of this book. The average star rating is three. 307 of them are 5-star reviews. 308 are 1-star. Obviously, opinions differ.

There are two self-published books I’ve read recently and both were dreadful. The writing in both was immature and unprofessional. The plots appealed to me, which is why I bought them, but the execution was so bad, I could not finish either. One of them has 23 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5 star average. The lowest star reviews are 3-stars and there are only three of them. A book that is objectively bad did not get a single 1-star review. That is a completely unfair representation of the objective quality of the book.

Here’s a snippet from one of the reviews:

. . . one word that would express my thoughts of this book, and the only one that I can find is WOW!

Really? Really? The writing is objectively bad. BAD. The heroine is infantile and infantilized. The writing is confusing and muddled. This author brings all the insight and maturity of a five-year-old to her work. None of the reviewers who gave this book five stars said word one about any of the objective flaws. Why? What’s fair to the reader when a book receives a plurality of glowing reviews that omit mention of such egregious writing errors?

In case you think I’m picking on self-published books, how about Hugh Howey’s Wool? Howey was never NY published, and yet Wool is better, yes, better, than most of what comes out of NY. Readers found him, in droves.

There are 2,415 reviews of the Kindle Omnibus version and the star average is five. Wool is an amazing piece of writing, in my opinion. Like Franzen, Howey does not make language errors. If you read Wool, or Freedom, for that matter, you can assume the words were chosen with great care and thought and that the authors thought hard about the stories being told.

Don’t Cheat the Reader

Wool and Freedom are a far cry from books written by an author who can’t spell, doesn’t know the difference between past and passed and couldn’t correctly punctuate a sentence if her life depended on it.

Giving books like those 5-stars cheats the reader, and those reviews unfairly increase the ranking of those books.

Take Your Review with Lumps

If you’re an author, take your lumps. Franzen is considered one of America’s greatest writers, and his book has 307 1-star reviews, while books written by authors with less than a third-grade command of language receive not a single 1-star review. How is that fair? Say what you will about Franzen’s book or his blindness to the reality of being a woman in America, I’ve not heard him whine about bad reviews.

If Franzen can suck it up, so can you. If a book like Freedom, which some reviewers called a masterpiece, can end up with an average 3-star review, then surely the rest of us can live with the same result for our books.

This is my my response to this baloney.

Share

Authors and Book Reviewers: Together we CAN do it!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

It’s a known fact that when book reviewers start blackmailing you for swag, you are a made author. MADE. Effing made in the goddamned shade. It means the USA Today and the NYT lists are just around the corner. Once that happens, triple digit reviews on Amazon are about to explode on your books like a nest of vipers on a bully who just stepped in it. Over at B&N, the Warrior Cats will stop talking about Glitter Cat and Moonkitty and they will buy your book.

I have never been blackmailed for swag. Not one single book reviewer has ever said Carolyn, we would be SO excited to review your book. SO EXCITED! Please send it immediately, but first, we need to have some swag from you. Without that, I’m afraid we’ll accidentally post-date our review to 1977.

No one has ever said, psst. hey you, author nobody ever heard of! Give us a job at your company and we’ll review your book!

God, it’s just SO UNFAIR.  No book reviewer will blackmail me.

In order to get around this, I am prepared to to offer you book reviewers swag you can’t get anywhere else. The images are extra-large so you can really take a look.

A 4 star review will get you anything you want from my junk drawer. You’ll notice it is chock full of swag. The gift card has $3.49 cents left on it. For that much money you could get a $3.00 coffee and leave a .49 cent tip. You could buy three .99 cent eBooks and have money left over! That’s my son’s report card over there in the upper left. He got an A+ in Honors Physics. A little white-out and your kid is in the college of his or her choice.  Got a pet? Check out the pet brush! The nail clippers are fully functional. Need a pen? You’re covered. Possibly not for long, but hey.

First come first serve.

 

Picture of Carolyn's Junk Drawer

Pick the Swag of Your Choice

 

But here’s something BETTER. For a 5-star review I will let you in on this deal:

screenshot of spam email

Exciting Opportunity!

Mr. Andrew Liu from Hong Kong is loaded and I am the only person who can help him! This is totally going to work. Wire me $100,000 US and I will contact Mr. Liu on your behalf and send you half the money, less a convenience fee.

Authors and Book Reviewers. Together, we can do it!

Reserve your swag now! Leave a comment.

Share

An Obervation that Pains Me.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Before I dive into this topic, let me put it out there that, by any definition, I am a bleeding heart liberal. That’s going to matter to this post.

I have now read several memoires by US Navy SEALs. I’ve also read several non-fiction accounts about Navy SEALs. Here’s a partial list:

Fearless, by Eric Blehm. This is an account of the life and service of SEAL team 6 member Adam Brown, who was killed in action in 2010.

No Easy Day, by Mark Owen and Keven Maurer. This is an account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

American Sniper, Jim DeFelice and Chris Kyle. The service of SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.

Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. An account of the mission that resulted in Luttrell being stranded in Pashtun territory.

Warrior Elite, by Dick Couch. Follows SEAL class 228

Warrior Soul, by Chuck Pfarrer, his account of his time as a SEAL and his service in Beruit and elsewhere.

I enjoyed every single one of these books, by the way. They help inform elements of my writing. (Well, yes, all my reading does this, but hey, some books are more insight-giving than others.)

But there’s a theme that gets sounded in every single one of them and it pains me.

In each of these books there is always mention (and in the case of Luttrell’s book CONSTANT mention) of how the liberal media and liberal elite hate SEALs and actively attempt to make their jobs harder. This blog post isn’t about whether there might be some people who do feel and act that way. There surely are.

What I want to say, as a bleeding heart liberal and someone whose education probably lands me in the “elite” category, is that not only do I not resent the military, I agree that a prepared military is necessary. There is evil in this world. There are governments, movements, heads of governments and heads of movements who are engaged in moral and ethical evil. I am not sorry that Osama bin Laden is dead. I regret that we live in a world where we haven’t figured out how to exist without violence, but that does not mean I don’t understand why people are moved to revolution or why a people or government have no choice but to pick up arms. I don’t advocate doing nothing when a government or movement is engaged in genocide or when the lives of women are given up to political expediency.

I think Teddy Roosevelt was right when he said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy cost the lives of millions.

I am profoundly grateful for the sacrifices and dedication of the men and women who serve in our military. They put their lives on the line every single day.

But I’m saddened by the apparent belief, as expressed in these books, that people like me don’t appreciate what Navy SEALs do. I’m even sorrier that somehow people like me have failed to make it known that we do not feel that way.

Believe me I do appreciate it. This blog is my opportunity to express my thanks and admiration to everyone in the military. Even as I wish war was unnecessary.

 

Share

Let’s NOT Get Over It

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

 

Normally, I take Joe Konrath with a large grain of salt. He’s opinionated, wildly so, and it’s always interesting to read over-the-top opinions. By and large I’d say I agree with his points about publishing, though I agree less often with the words he chooses. But mostly, I agree with his take on what’s going on the publishing business these days.  But I disagree a lot with his Enough Already Post.

In this post, Konrath says he sees nothing wrong with authors sock puppeting reviews of their own books or posting, under an account meant to disguise the author’s identity, negative reviews for competing books.

Every one of those millions of reviewers who trashed a book deliberately did it to harm that book’s sales. That’s the whole point of a one star review

Actually, no. I don’t think Konrath is right on this one. People write 1-star reviews in order to tell other people that they did not like that book. They are expressing an opinion about the book they read. It’s the expression of opinion that’s the whole point of a review, 1-star or 5.  To suggest that all 1-star reviews are motivated by malice (“did it to harm that book’s sales”) is ridiculous. It is not malicious to say you did not like a book when, in fact, you did not like that book.

He moves on to muddy his point about 1-star reviews being written for the purpose of deliberate harm with an acknowledgment that people are allowed to express their opinions. Indeed, we are.

In a society that permits people to express their opinion about things, the subjects of those opinions can and do take a beating. When a company puts a product into the stream of commerce, in such a society, consumers of that product are allowed to say what they think, and what they say and think is not always nice. The reviews are not always well-written. Sometimes they’re mean. Sometimes the words are incoherent and sometimes it’s plain the opinion is not well-founded in logic or accuracy. Some reviews are written by people who are not our best and brightest. But the reviews are still the genuine words of someone who experienced the product.

Here’s an example:

I stopped buying Sanford Uniball pens when the pens started breaking long before they ran out of ink. I used to buy them by the box. They were my favorite writing pens. The change in quality made me stop buying them. I have, quite literally, bought dozens of boxes of these pens. I used them, too. And now I don’t because the quality became shoddy. Now I buy Bic pens. They are not shoddy. They are miracle pens that make my writing even better. My star assessment: 1-star.

There is nothing unethical about my posting my opinion of the Sanford Uniball pen. This was, in fact, my true and actual experience of the product. I no longer buy these pens. (I don’t buy Bic pens, though.)

But what if you then found out that, in fact, I am an employee of Bic? Does not my failure to disclose that change how you read that review? Don’t you, as a reader, now wonder if those words are true?

Most of us understand quite well the difference between a reader posting a negative review of a book she did not like and an author who posts a negative review of a competing book under a fake account for the sole purpose harming that book.

The first case is freedom of expression: a real reader expressing her opinion about a book she read. The second case is, pure and simple, deceit and fraud. The author is pretending to be a reader with no skin in the game. The author is using words intended to harm the product he is “reviewing.” By disguising his identity, and therefore his conflict of interest, he is attempting to dupe other readers.

There is nothing right about that. Nothing.

We all know why Mr. Ellory didn’t use his real name in posting those reviews of competing books: if he had, his “review” would have been instantly identifiable as biased. If he had posted those reviews as himself, his reviews would have been read in the proper context and readers could have made an informed decision about how much weight to give to those words. But he didn’t.

1-star reviews by readers who didn’t like a book they read are not unethical. It doesn’t matter if the review is badly written. A reader is entitled to express her opinion about the book.

1-star reviews by authors who disguise their identity so that readers of his words are unaware of the bias are deceitful and unethical.

Let’s not get over that at all.

Share

Books I’ve Been Reading

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

In the current order in my Kindle App, which is not chronological because I was talking about several of these books with others:

Gaijin, by Remittance Girl

Erotica. Trigger warning for flat out rape.

Why I bought it: From a discussion at Dear Author.

What I think: I’ve read this several times. Not for everyone, and not romance. Remittance Girl is a writer to watch.

A Virgin Enslaved, Artemis Hunt

50 Shades Fan Fic?

Why I bought it: Saw it being tweeted as it was read by someone whose opinion I respect. It sounded interesting.

What I think: It’s well written and not very long. It’s also 50 Shades fanfic and/or a retelling. From the story tag line, you’d think it is parody, but it did not read like a parody and I did not detect anything that was a comment on all the issues of 50. (and I went to grad school where I was trained to do that!) This is way better written than 50 Shades, but ultimately, it didn’t work for me overall. The virgin in this story was never enslaved (literally or figuratively) and the BDSM stuff completely dropped out. It had zero impact on the story. I did not find the characters as compelling as the poorly written ones in 50. This story, for me, missed that Alpha/Innocent trope that hits so hard in Twilight and 50. Nevertheless, I will be reading other things by this author and I will NOT be reading anything more by James. I’m glad I found out about this writer. There’s a deep, deep backlist. YAY.

Please note: If this book had contained clickable buy links to that backlist, I would have bought at least one and probably several. In other words, I now have to work 10 times harder to find/buy this author’s books. Don’t do this to me. This author now has to depend upon me remembering those pen names…. And, sadly, that’s just not a guarantee.

Doubled, by Charlotte Stein

Erotic Romance

Why I bought it: Megan Frampton tweeted that she’d been reading Stein. She has good book tastes, but I’m also very clear about how and where we differ in our reading tastes. I’ll typically take a look at any author she really likes. Which I did a while back. This purchase was just another book by an author I’d read before.

What I thought: Stein is a Jekyll and Hyde author for me. The writing is always good, but some of her books have been a total fail for me, while others have made me weep with jealousy at her talent. This one was a meh for me. I know how good she is, so I want that complexity in everything I read from her, and this lacked the punch. It’s an EC (Ellora’s Cave) book so I’m wondering if that’s the problem….  I think the books that work for me are not EC books. See below.

Ember, Bettie Sharpe

Romance, Fairy Tale, at the border of erotic.

Why I bought it: I recently tweeted a plea for book recommendations. (Yes, I ignored the one from an author pushing his own book. Bad Form, author dude.) I wanted to try several of the suggestions, but I’m just not going to pay $8.99+ for an eBook. Ember was a suggestion, the price was right, I bought it.

What I think: LOVE IT. This is a wickedly subversive retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. I have a couple of quibbles, but nothing that makes me not love this story. I will be buying more by this author.

Note: Also NO BUY LINKS. What the H?

Easy, Tammara Webber

College Age Romance? (What is this called? New Adult?) Trigger warning for attempted rape scene.

Why I bought it: I bought it instead of the $9.00 plus books that were recommended. It happened to be either free or sub $5.00 when I saw it, and I knew I’d heard others talking about it. I can’t recall where, though.

What I thought: I have to confess that when I started this book, I was under the completely mistaken impression that it was erotic romance. Uh, NO! So I spent a disorienting few moments thinking, wow, this writing is amazing, but OMG this scene is …. <<horrific in impact>> But then I realized the problem had to be me, because writing that strong rarely goes along with that kind of world view without also offering deep hints as to intent– in other words, I knew the writer was saying what she meant on several levels whereas weak writing is often full of offensive and likely unintended ideas because, well, the weak writer isn’t thinking at a very complex level.

Anyway, then I settled in for a very enjoyable read except in the middle where it began to feel very preachy. I LOVED the hero. OK with the heroine. Can’t say that I loved the book, but I liked it a lot and I will absolutely read more by this author. This was a win, by the way. I’m really glad I read it.

This book was also missing any links to buy other books by her. FAIL. Because I would have clicked and probably bought.

Control, by Charlotte Stein

Erotic Romance.

Why I bought it: Because I have really, really liked other books by her.

What I think: Holy cow. The hero of this book is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I like in a hero and I still think this is an amazing book. I just like those alpha men and this guy is not in any way an alpha. But this is a damn fine book and one of those, OMG why can’t I write like this books. Complete win even though there were parts where the hero/heroine dynamic simply did not work for me. Not an EC book…

Plummet, by Michael Zaracostas

Legal Thriller

Why I bought it: Someone recommended it on twitter, I think. It was free and though I had doubts, I do enjoy a good mystery/legal thriller…

What I thought: Well written and definitely engaging, but so unrelentingly oblivious-male in its gaze, I ended up depressed and annoyed. The women weren’t very well done. You could just feel this author’s lack of understanding about the real lives and experiences of women. There are male writers who carry off unsympathetic female characters without falling into offensive cliche.

I have lost all tolerance for writing, however fine, in which the female is merely a reflection of what is, in fact, a male point of view that fails utterly to understand what it means to be a woman in America. Such a flaw in the authorial view diminishes the male characters, too, by the way. I wish I’d liked this book better because a lot of interesting things went on. If I want to read about a male view of the world that manages not to portray demeaning and damaging views of women, I can read Lee Child or Barry Eisler.

Concluding Remarks

Whoa! Twitter is a major source of book recommendations for me. Generally not from author promotion but from readers, reviewers, or bloggers.

Did you notice how many sales were lost because books did not have buy links? If you’re an author, think about what that means to your bottom line. You, dear author, cannot rely on me remembering, late at night (or at any time) who I read that I liked. Names and titles blur in my head. I know I have stared at Kindle book recommendations or search results while I thought, “Who was that author I liked???”

Do not ever, ever underestimate the power of the one-click buy. Put the damn buy links in your book so I can buy while my love and satisfaction with your book is hot and immediate.

I’m surprised by my resistance to books that are $8.99 and above. I’d pay that for certain non-fiction books, and possibly for certain fiction — maybe for a brand new, just released book by really big author. But not for genre fiction. Here’s part of what goes through my head: I am on a reading jag. Chances are I’m going to read 10-20 books in a very short period of time. 10-20 books at $10 bucks a book is $100-200. I do this several time a year . . . I have a growing teenager who will be off to college soon. I have bills and groceries…

So, do I buy 10 or fewer books or do I get more books that are priced at less than $8.00? Why should I pay the same price for an eBook as for paper when, with the eBook, I can’t lend it (except, possibly, once) and I have to worry about what happens if I try to read it on too many devices? Why, I think, should I support a publisher’s refusal to price to the market?

Share

The Lovely Words

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

What They’re Saying About Midnight Scandals

Each of the three stories takes place around a small home (cue Doyle’s Grange) on a larger estate. As one era passes into the next the elderly couple from the former generation brush paths with the young couple of the next. How is that not prime time catnip? As a well executed concept the home bridges the gaps between the tales, making them stronger collectively than they are alone. As the authors involved in Midnight Scandals are some of the genre’s strongest, this takes us pretty close to perfection.

First up is Carolyn Jewel. Her story of lovers with two unforgivable secrets made me realize I don’t read Carolyn Jewel often enough. (Why don’t I read more Carolyn Jewel?)
It’s My Genre Baby

Places to get Midnight Scandals

What They’re Saying About Not Proper Enough

This was another delicious, detailed, smoldering romance from Carolyn Jewel.
Rogues Under the Covers

OH MY GOODNESS! What an awesome book! I loved every minute of it. Talk about a page turner that I couldn’t put down. First off, the story line was moving and shocking at the same time. Not Proper Enough kept me wanting more. To be honest it would be one of those books to re-read again. That right there says a lot. So, I hope that you all get a chance to check this book out when it comes out. Plus, you all want to know if Fenris is able to change Eugenia’s opinion of him.
The Cutest Blog on the Block

With her engaging, complex characters, knowledge of the era and a sharp ear for dialogue, Jewel creates a nicely written, highly sensual and emotional love story.
RT Magazine

Places to get Not Proper Enough

Share

How to Avoid Bad Book Reviews

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

If you write a book, don’t let anyone read it.

You’re welcome.

Are you kidding me? Sorry, but authors aren’t entitled to good reviews. Just honest ones, and even that isn’t an entitlement, it would just be the decent thing for someone to do if they decide to share their opinion about a book they’ve read.

But you, the author? Bad reviews happen. Get over it. If you can’t take it, then turn off your Google Alerts and don’t click.

Share

What Other People Think

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

True story: Way back a few years, a friend of mine and I applied for the same job. She got the job. And then, every day for two weeks she called me to find out how to do the job. I was happy to tell her. But it occurred to me that I was, in fact, doing the very job this particular company had decided I was not right for. They had NOT actually hired the right person. My friend left the job very soon after because, actually, she wasn’t the right person for that job.

That was a HUGE life lesson for me. People and companies make the wrong choice all the time and that choice might well have NOTHING to do with me, my abilities or qualifications.

This is something helpful for authors to keep in mind. If a publisher doesn’t buy your book, that doesn’t necessarily mean your book is awful. If a reviewer doesn’t like your book, that doesn’t mean your book is awful. They just felt, quite possibly wrongly, that your book was not right for them. It means nothing about you personally.

Move on. Write another book.

And if you’re the kind of person who is cast down into dumps by unflattering reviews, then turn off your Google Alerts, don’t click on those links, or engage a trusted friend to tell you which reviews are safe to read.

But you should still move on and write another book.

Share

Book Review: That Bear Ate My Pants

Friday, March 9th, 2012

I recently finished a self-published travelogue/memoir by Tony James Slater, titled That Bear Ate My Pants: the adventures of a real idiot abroad. (Link to Book at Amazon)

Verdict: Big Big Win.

This book made me laugh out loud several times. It’s about a Brit who ends up volunteering at an Animal Rescue center in Ecuador. Despite a few complaints, I highly recommend this book. I know the author was rejected by many many publishers who seem to have said, in the main, that they didn’t know how to market it. Well, true, the man has no platform. He’s not famous. The Rescue center is run on a shoestring and is not world famous. He’s a nobody (in the publishing world) and I enjoyed the hell out of his book. I stayed up too late 3 nights running.

Slater has a way with words and a charming world view (in the main) and his adventures are funny. His story about the Galapagos turtle escape had me howling with laughter.

Sadly, I think if the book had been traditionally published, it’s likely to have died an ignoble death from the neglect that happens to lots of really good books that aren’t massively pushed in traditional channels. In the current environment, he’s probably better off with his charming, funny and heart warming story selling to readers for $2.99. You should read it.

First a Few Cons

Slater needs a copy-editor. He is consistently unclear on the difference between its and it’s and frequently wrong about I vs. me. He misused words just often enough to bug me. (As a writer, of course, I notice these things.)

An editor would not have been amiss, but not for structure or writing. In the main (spelling and word use aside) he’s an excellent writer. But for this reader, I was quite bothered whenever he seemed equate a woman’s appearance with her worth. A good editor would have challenged him on that. There are ways he could have written certain scenes without coming across as thoughtlessly sexist and yet still have conveyed the fact that a certain woman was a dark cloud to be around.

The Pros

This book was funny. I loved it. Halfway through I bought a copy for my mom because I know she’ll enjoy it. I’ll probably buy one for my sister, too. The turtle escape was hilarious. His commentary on machismo was revelatory and quite deft as his adventures continued. It made for one of many thought-provoking themes. The arrival (and departure) of El Lobos was also snicker inducing. Despite the humor, Slater makes it plain, without ever saying it, that what humans do to animals is often disgraceful.

Some Other Thoughts

This book represents what’s fantastic about the New Publishing. Traditional publishing wouldn’t buy this book because it doesn’t fit the mold. But what does this say about all those rejections?

Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,301 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Travel > Latin America > South America
#1 in Books > Travel > Latin America > South America > Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
(emphasis added, captured Friday, March 9, 2012 about 8:00 pm Pacific.)

Yesterday it was in the low 2,000′s. The 4,000′s is a very decent ranking, and that’s without a NY marketing push. The book is outselling a LOT of NY published books. Lots. Based on my reading of the book, I’m not at all surprised by the number of 5 star reviews. I’d give it 5 myself.

So, yeah. What’s wrong in traditional publishing that they felt they couldn’t make a profit off a book that’s out-selling their titles? A title, I should point out, that is #1 in two categories. Would it have been unprofitable in print?

It seems to me there needs to be a shift in how NY approaches what it decides to sell and how it decides to sell it.

Thoughts?

Share