Worshipping the Ever-Elusive Amazon Book Review

Amazon vs. Paid Reviews

disappearinginplainsight

five stars - google image

Amazon is in the process of suing 1,114 Fiverr users for offering to write fake product reviews for money. The publishing giant is hot on the scent of authors who used this type of service. That will result in many book reviews being pulled. Amazon is also cracking down heavily on the practice of review swapping amongst authors.

This is a positive happening for readers. I’m not alone in having skimmed through some stellar reviews, bought the book in question, began to read and found myself stunned at the formulaic, predictable writing, or plot holes, or lack of proofreading or all of the above. I definitely wondered who on earth could have penned those five-star reviews.

Cash register - Google image

Paying for reviews is a major no-no for all self-published authors. Put aside the fact that the big publishing houses pay for reviews all the time. For those of us who have chosen self-publishing…

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DEAR FRIENDS

Libba Bray

Dear Friends,
I’m thrilled to announce that today is the pub day for my sixth novel, WE ARE ALL STRANGERS HERE—a story about a dysfunctional southern family, addiction, pedophilia, cannibalism, and the last days of New Wave, interwoven with the lucid dreaming of Manuel, a Sandinista rebel facing execution in 1986. It’s difficult for me to be “sales-y,” but I’m immensely proud of the work, which took me five years to write, and I hope you’ll consider ordering a copy. Thanks so much.
🙂 Emily

Dear Friends,
My publicist, Shana, tells me I should “take a more proactive role” in promoting the book. So, you can now follow me on Twitter @TheNovelNovelist. On Facebook: WeRAllStrange. Tumblr: Write2Live. Instagram: StrangerBook. (Warning: Lots of pictures of our cat dressed as Ian McKellen.) Working on getting a YouTube channel, which…anybody know anything about how to shoot, edit, and score videos?…

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The Seasons and Writing – Jill James

Authors of Main Street

autumn leaves 3I’m enjoying the feel of autumn returning to Northern California. We don’t get the colors of the Northeast, our leaves usually just turn brown and fall off, but we do get that slight chill to the air in the morning. The one that lets us know winter will arrive someday. The one that allows for a cup of hot tea nestled in your hands. By noon it is warm and breezy, and late afternoon can get into the 90s. But evening arrives a little sooner every day and the warmth disappears like a wisp of fog at sundown. Returning to that beckoning chill.

These are the days that I love to write. During the summer, my office is an oven, with my arms sweating and making puddles on my desk and my legs are sticking to my leather chair. It is easy to fall asleep at my computer in the…

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Writing and Deadlines

Authors of Main Street

I’m under a major deadline for the Authors of Main Street’s upcoming Christmas boxed set.  I’ve been trying to do edits and I’m failing. I promise, I have an excuse, but that won’t stop the deadline. These edits should have taken me an hour or two at the most, except my head is so stopped up that I can’t think straight  – so please forgive any mistakes here!

Anyone who writes has seen these deadlines coming full speed at them as if it were a big locomotive. It’s part of the business. And I’m often running for my life to meet them, but I never let deadlines out of my line of sight. They are too important!

I’m also teaching classes on writing. I can teach people how to craft a story to make it interesting. But I can’t teach them to actually put words on paper. Every writer has…

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How Did That Bridge Get There?

Authors of Main Street

As a writer I have the choice of using a real place in my stories or making up a fictional one. But what is a writer to do when the real place they are using undergoes BIG renovations?

constructionWhen I started Love in the Time of Zombies in 2011 in my real hometown of Brentwood, California we were in the middle of the Recession and our town was like a frozen slice of time with roads to nowhere and bridges and overcrossings half-done. There were several subdivisions with lights and plumbing but no houses or half-completed houses with no utilities. It seemed the perfect place to put my zombie apocalypse.

Unfortunately, the book took 4 years to complete and publish. So I was left with a choice; leave it as is and have local people know our town didn’t look like that anymore with the recent booms in building and…

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How Real are Your Characters?

Authors of Main Street

The authors of Main Street started discussing character reality over the weekend. So I thought I’d share my views with everyone. Let me say upfront, I totally know the difference between reality and character reality.

Yes, there are people who drop into a Neverland and no longer can separate the two. Somehow authors and other creative people manage to straddle the two worlds and remain sane. We talk about voices in our heads. We aren’t going to follow the voice who tells us to go rob a bank, but we might have our characters robbing a bank. So the separation remains.

For me, the creative process of selecting characters for a novel takes place in an odd sort of way. It’s not the same each time. Most of the time, I have a physical description that emerges first and then all the back story, quirks, etc. begin to pull together…

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