Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Inkitt - The fairest publishing house in the world?

Here's an email I received a couple of weeks ago from Inkitt.

 

Hey,

I'm Marvin, Head of Growth at Inkitt and I wanted to reach out to you personally. It seems that you have not entered our new novel contest yet, is there a specific reason for that?

It's now or never - the contest will end in two weeks and all you have to do is gather 100 readers for "Loving the Terrorist" to be considered for publication!

I'd love to shift your story into the contest. What do you think?

Best,
Marvin Wey
Head of Growth | Inkitt.com

 

I thought you might find my response and the subsequent reply from Inkitt's founder and CEO, Ali Albazaz interesting. First a bit of background.

In the past few months I've written two  articles about Inkitt and the concept which you can find in my blog archives.

Briefly, Inkitt is a site where you can upload your stories for free. Besides the opportunity for crowd critiquing, Inkitt claims to have created an algorithm that identifies best sellers (sic). If your story is chosen by this "objective", computer generated program Inkitt will either set you up with an established, traditional publisher or publish it themselves.

 

Here's my response.

Dear Martin,


Just how do you guys make your money? Certainly not as a publishing company with eighty-five percent  going to the author though there's a little bit of word play involved - is it net earnings or a royalty on the price of the book? There could be quite a difference.

I see you've changed the criteria of your contests - it's not longer the top few who get the nod, but everyone who exceeds one hundred reads - that would be downloads.

 I imagine somewhere in the process the hopeful author will run into additional fees - maybe paying for those cool covers you design. No? Good for you.

So maybe you make it with print on demand. Just how many books have to be ordered to start showing a profit? Can it be made up with sales from the family and friends of all those really bad authors you're publishing?

But that's not what I find disturbing about sites like Inkitt , Kindle Scout  and HarperCollins'  now defunct  authonomy. It's that they encourage bad writing - or put another way,  they don't encourage new writers to improve their craft.

The peer critiquing system is like , "you vote for mine and I'll vote for yours" regardless of whether the writing is good or not.  It's a mutual admiration society and a phony one at that.

But who I am to be critical - a nobody with the sales to prove it.

So, for me is there a downside to having you "shift" Loving the Terrorist into to the Story Peak Novel Contest?

I'm still trying to figure that out, but until I do why don't you go ahead and put it in.

Thanks,
Rod Raglin


Hi Rod,

Marvin forwarded your email to me and it makes me very sad to hear this from you.

Me and my co-founder, Linda, started Inkitt because we want to make publishing more fair, transparent and objective. We had seen from the outside how unfair and subjective publishers can be. Linda and I are both coming from a technical / IT startup background. Three years ago I had the idea that we could track people's reading behaviour, and analyze it to find consistent patterns. This way it would be possible to predict bestsellers. Long story short: we built it. We then found investors who believe in our idea to democratize publishing, and raised over a million dollars to make this dream come true. Now we are a team of 17 people working day and night to make the publishing process fair and objective.

Since we launched Inkitt to the public around 1.5 years ago we had a rocket speed growth. Over 20.000 writers have uploaded their works (from short stories, poems to novels) on Inkitt and we've just started publishing them. The first book our algorithm picked is getting published by Tor / MacMillan (see links below). The second book: we're publishing with the Inkitt imprint and it's doing great (links below). Since this month, we started publishing 1-2 new books every month, and have plans to grow that number by 4 times each year. Every book gets a professional cover, editing, a dedicated online marketing team with a minimum of 6,000 dollars in marketing budget. With clear guidelines in place for budget increases based on performance.

In cases where Inkitt publishes a book we receive 50% of the net revenues (50% royalties for the author) and in cases where we re-sell the rights to another publisher on behalf of the author, we receive 15% agents-fee. Authors do not pay anything for our services - we are their publisher and it's our duty to take care of all costs.

We want to give the spotlight to the authors because they deserve it. I don't want to see the next J. K. Rowling receiving a rejection from an old-school publisher and give up her writing dreams. Me and the entire team, we're all in this game because we want to build the fairest publishing house in the world.


Best wishes,
Ali


Ali Albazaz
Founder & CEO | Inkitt.com
Mobile: +49 170 8647236



PS It appears Inkitt has indeed shifted my novel Loving the Terrorist into the competition. It needs one hundred readers to be considered for publication. So far it has zero.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Mountains don't care if you live or die, but friends do. Don't they?

End of the Rope - Rod Raglin

When you rope up you put your life into the hands of your climbing partner. But what if you've just ruined his?

Craig, Whit and Milt are friends, have been for a long time. They've grown up together, but the friendship forged as young boys is getting tested as they grow into men - men with different perspectives and priorities.  

Their love of climbing has kept them together. On the rock faces of the mountains they are as they once were - a team, a unit, loyal and committed. The ambiguous world of careers and relationships is left below - or is it?

Since he can remember, Craig's loved Jennifer. He can't wait for them to get married, he's even bought a house.

When she breaks it off saying she's not ready, he's hurt and confused, but if Jennifer needs more time he can wait. He's been waiting all his life for her so what's a few more months?

Then she starts dating Whit.

Whit doesn't do relationships, but that doesn't seem to matter to the many women who compete for his attention. He doesn't understand what Jennifer represents to Craig, can't even begin to imagine it, but just the same he'd never hit on a friend's woman.
But, hey, it's a free country, right, and  Jennifer's warm and willing, and after all  it's been about, what, two months since she dumped Craig. He needs to get over it.

Milt sees the potential for trouble, but  he has his own problems. His new wife, Samantha, thinks her husband's band of brothers are a bad influence. She wants him to grow up and give up these juvenile escapades.

It's a constant battle for Milt to maintain some independence and now the tension between his friends makes him wonder if it's worth it.

This is not the way to start a challenging climb - filled with anxiety, anger and resentment. On a sheer granite wall distractions kill you. You need singularity of purpose, a clear mind and a focus that's finite.

Now Whit's goading Craig to try a new route, Craig's worried that the weather's breaking down, and Milt's frantic because his cellphone's broken and he can't  report in to Samantha.

Everyone's just about at the end of their rope, but only figuratively - for now.



Insights in East German spy story overshadowed by didactic passages and convoluted conspiracy

Stealing the Future (The East Berlin Series) (Volume 1) - Max Hertzberg

It's 1993 and East Germany (GDR), recently free from the grip of the Soviet Union, is experimenting with a socialist style of direct democracy. The country is struggling - economically, politically, even psychologically and it's citizens are doing their best to cope.

Martin Grobe is sort of a cop, but without much authority. His job is to keep the new republic on course. How he and his colleagues do this is by attending a lot of meaningless meetings and talking philosophy.

A minor official is found murdered. Why Grobe is sent to investigate is never clear. In fact quite a bit of Max Hertzberg's, Stealing the Future, An East German Spy Story is vague including the conspiracy theory behind the murder.

However, if you're interested in the landmarks of East Berlin this story reads like a guidebook and there's some interesting history of what it was like to live in the German Democratic Republic while controlled by the Soviets and the difficulty it's citizens had in changing from a totalitarian regime, where you were told what to do and how to think, to democratic system where you must take control of your own destiny.

There's some good characterization with realistic relationships and dialogue but overall the plot is plagued by didactic passages and the conspiracy that drives the narrative was beyond this reader's comprehension.  

Sifting through the minutiae of the Smashwords Sale

 

 Throughout the month of July I gave away one hundred and thirty-seven e-book editions of my novels during Smashwords SummerWinterSale 2016.

 

As an author who has published his books with Smashwords I was contacted and asked if I wanted to participate. You could offer whatever discount you wanted for what ever period of time you wanted during the month of July. Once you registered, Smashwords applied a coupon code to your dashboard and anyone who wanted the book just entered the code and got it free.

 

I've had no more success with Smashwords than I've had with any other sites selling my books - which is just about nil, but since I've been giving my work away on other sites lately, which entails a sweepstake and then actually sending the e-book to the individual winners via email, this seemed way easier.

 

It was.

 

Giving your work away on Smashwords was free and unrestricted. One might think that's not a lot to expect considering the time and effort that went into it, however, to give away a single title on StoryCartel costs twenty-five dollars, on Goodreads - one hundred and nineteen, and Kindle Select (Amazon) wants exclusive rights for ninety days.

 

LibraryThing and BookLikes don't charge for their giveaways but they generate about a third of the results and, as I mentioned, you have the labourious job of sending out individual emails with your e-book attached to the winners.    

 

I have six works on Smashwords - five novels and a play. I decided to go for broke and offer them all free for the month.

 

Just a brief aside here. Have you ever noticed how people without success pour over meaningless minutiae like the numbers hold the secret to fame and fortune if only they could decipher them? No? Well, I have, probably because I've begun to do it - and now you get experience it.

 

The Smashwords giveaway was interesting to me on a number of levels - though, like I said, not likely interesting to anyone else.

 

This was the first time all my writing (barring one of my better novels yet to be released by the publisher) was presented to the public in one place, at one time and on equal terms.

 

Here's how they faired in regard to free downloads:

Harry's Truth - A Play in One Act - 33

Saving Spirit Bear - What Price Success - 31

Abandoned Dreams - 22

 

Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs - 20

The Big Picture - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic - 18

Forest - Love, Loss, Legend - 13

 

What does it mean that my one act play, Harry's Truth, only sixty pages, ranked first? Or that Saving Spirit Bear, my first novel with the least positive reviews (and rightly so) was second? What does it mean that the better I write the less popular the book?

 

Any suggestions?

 

Other than those conundrums it appears giving away one hundred and thirty-seven books does not generate any reviews - at least not on Smashwords, or likely on any other site for that matter. Free, it appears, is the equivalent to no value - or, more specifically no downside.

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Links to associated sites:

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com

Kindle Select   https://kdp.amazon.com

Goodreads   https://www.goodreads.com

LibraryThing   https://www.librarything.com

BookLikes   http://booklikes.com

StoryCartel  https://www.storycartel.com

 

30

 

My novels and play Harry's Truth - A Play in One Act, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams and

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books and paperbacks at

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

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

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

 

 

To fail alone or succeed with collaboration?

I use to want to be a playwright.

 

I took a program at Playwrights Theatre Centre in Vancouver and with the help of professional dramaturg's and the other members of the group developed Harry's Truth, A Play in One Act.

 

"Harry" even had a "reading" - professional actors read the play aloud. I was blown away and, believe it or not, so were they.

 

The next step was to take it to production, maybe in conjunction with a couple of other one act plays by other playwrights - make an evening of it.

 

Whether that would have happened or not I'll never know. You see, I'm not much of a collaborator and theatre is all about collaboration. By the time Harry's Truth was ready for production I'd about had it with the affected (def.: artificial, pretentious, and designed to impress) people I'd been working with, and believe me the definition fits when it comes to theatre people.

 

If you come right down to it I'd rather go it alone and fail than have to work with someone and succeed, which is probably one of the reasons I'm where I am at this point in my career, alone and a failure. Hmm.

 

Recently I came across Harry's Truth when I was searching the hard drive of my old laptop. I clicked and remarkably it opened. Nine years had passed and as I read it I thought this isn't half bad.

 

The play asks the question, "are there cosmic truths?" Harry thinks there are and he's discovered one which will make life easier, simpler and more fulfilling. He wants to share this epiphany with those he loves but not only do they not want to share in his enlightenment, they feel threatened by what he has to tell them. Much is at stake – careers, lifestyles, power – if Harry pursues his truth.

 

Seven scenes, forty-four pages and eleven and a half thousand words later Harry has his answer - the truth doesn't necessarily set you free, but it can sure make you unpopular.

 

Harry's Truth is now available as an e-book (should that be e-script?) at Smashwords. Until July 31st you can download it free as part of Smashwords SummerWinter Sale. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649522

 

Actually, five of my novels are also available free at Smashwords during the same promotion. You can go to my website http://rodraglin.com for direct links.

 

In a week or so it will be available on Amazon as an e-book and eventually a paperback at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

HARRY'S TRUTH - A Play in One Act

Harry's Truth: A Play in One Act - Rod Raglin

Harry's Truth is my new one act play currently available FREE at Smashwords during their SummerWinterSale 

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649522

 

and soon to be available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback.

 

 

 

The truth may not set you free,

but it can make you very unpopular.

 

 

Are there cosmic truths? Harry thinks there are and he's discovered one which will make life easier, simpler and more fulfilling. He wants to share this epiphany with those he loves but not only do they not want to share in his enlightenment, they feel threatened by what he has to tell them. Much is at stake – careers, lifestyles, power – if Harry pursues his truth.

 

For Deidre, his wife - all her life she has worked to overcome the stigma of being the daughter of the neighbourhood drunk. She has struggled for social status, “respectability” and to have “nice things”. Now she has attained it and more is within her grasp. She can’t allow Harry to jeopardize it.

 

For Philip, his partner - his aggressive manner, lack of sophistication, short stature, balding pate, pudgy midriff and loud ties have made him a subject of derision among his colleagues, but landing this multi-million dollar client will change all that. Soon Harry’s condescension and the humiliation of his marriage will be overshadowed by the respect and power corporate success will bring. The “truth” is he only needs Harry to keep it together until the deal closes. After that, he can goddam well wander off into the wilderness if that’s what he wants.

 

For Joan, Phil's wife - the bitterness of her affair with Harry twenty years ago in college has shaped and defined her life, But not Harry’s. No, he just up and left her in search for “the truth” and she had to survive as best she could on her own. Now he’s about to do it again – turn her world upside down with the same selfish, irresponsible behavior. Maybe she can’t stop this middle-age flight of fancy but she isn’t going to let him influence her teenage daughter with all his nonsense about “following your heart”.

 

For Alexus, Joan’s daughter - her parent’s marriage is empty of love but filled with material possessions. How could “Uncle Harry’s” truth make anything worse? Her mom’s pushing her to go to college but that’s just more “preparing for life”. Uncle Harry’s truth sounds far more appealing. Better to fill your life with experiences than just more “stuff”.

 

Harry's Truth is my new one act play currently available FREE at Smashwords during the SummerWinterSale 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649522

and soon to be available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback.

 

 

 

 

Interesting tips and insights, but nothing to "startle and illuminate"

Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing - Carol Shields, Anne Giardini

 Carol Shields, novelist, poet, short story writer, lecturer, playwright, teacher and winner of numerous prestigious literary awards died in 2003 at the age of sixty-eight.

 

Though born in Illinois she married a Canadian, became a citizen and went on to become an icon of Canadian literature.

 

Startle and Illuminate, Carol Shields on Writing, has been drawn from her letters, essays, notes and comments and edited by her daughter, Anne Giardini and grandson, Nicholas Giardini.

 

Shields was not a big fan of structure - goal, motivation and conflict, the story arc and other such literary devices. She said write first and structure will follow.

 

Shields maintained there was a dichotomy between reality and fiction. In reality people are not always beset with problems and to present a story as such (conflict) is not a true reflection of reality. She wanted to explore what happened to ordinary people, how they thought and reacted in everyday situations, particularly women.

 

Which might be one of the reasons I was never drawn to her fiction.

 

Much of the book is not about how to write but about the state of writing/literature in the world, specifically Canada. There's even a chapter on what Shields' read as a child. At the end of each chapter there's a brief summary of themes and ideas addressed which is helpful if you're not interested in say, why women are particularly suited to the short story form.

 

Even if the subject matter of a section is not of interest to you it may be worthwhile to read them just to experience her wit and humility.

 

There's also a section of letters - to colleagues, students, and friends some actually taking the form of mini critiques.

 

By far the most informative chapter for me was the one entitled, Be Bold All the Way Through. This is made up of "quick notes", succinct sentences or short paragraphs that address a specific writing issue.

 

Shield provides some interesting tips and insights, but nothing to "startle and illuminate" this reader.

 

 

A book about being old written acutally written by someone old

The Measure of My Days by Scott-Maxwell Florida (1979-04-26) Paperback - Scott-Maxwell Florida

The Measure of My Days is a remarkable thing - a book about being old written by someone who is old.

 

Most often I have found books about being old or about elderly people are written by someone who, indeed, is not old. He or she may be observing the elderly but they are not living the experience.

 

In her eighties, Florida Scott-Maxwell began writing her thoughts, philosophical and religious musings and experiences in a notebook that became this slim volume, The Measure of My Days.

 

The writing is lyrical, at times almost poetic. By far the most interesting passages for this reader related to being old - physically and emotionally, the decline of energy, the constant and ongoing loss of friends, family, of one's own capabilities and how one must surrender to a state of "heroic helplessness".

 

This very moving passage is an indication of the author's insight and pathos:

"When old, one has only one's soul for company. There are times when you feel it crying, you do not ask why. Your eyes are dry, but heavy, hot tears drop on your heart. There is nothing to do but wait, and listen to the emptiness which is sometimes gentle. You and the day are quiet, and you have no comment to make."

 

On the other hand there's a fierceness of the mind to be opinionated, informed, to find solutions and to challenge the unknown and come to some resolution with life.

 

Published in 1968, the author's views on society, especially women are interesting from an historical viewpoint if only to see how mores have changed.

 

Three Day Road a memorable story that will haunt, inspire and entertain.

Three Day Road - Joseph Boyden

Niska is a traditional medicine woman, a mix of Cree and Ojibway. She's been taught divining and traditional medicine by her mother and father, has seizures and sees visions. She's also the destroyer of windago, an evil presence that sometimes takes possession of humans, a role she has inherited through the generations.

 

Niska is a "bush Indian", living alone in the wilderness of northern Ontario. She is coming by canoe to a small town to meet Xavier, her nephew and last remaining relative. She raised him in the traditional ways until WW I broke out and he and his friend Elijah enlisted in the Canadian Army and were sent to France.

 

Xavier and Elijah have used their hunting skills to become an outstanding snipers. In France they hunted men instead of game. It changed them.

 

Xavier arrives home a deeply troubled young man, his leg has been amputated at the knee, he's addicted to the painkiller morphine.

 

Niska meets him and so begins their journey back into the wilderness, back to sanity, back to healing.

 

Author Joseph Boyden uses these two main characters to tell the story. Xavier floats on a morphine high and remembers the trenches, the bombardments, the death of comrades, the calculated killing of the enemy one by one as a sniper.

 

In an effort to draw him out of his personal hell Niska talks to him of her early life, of her parents, of how she came to raise him, of the windago.

 

Three Day Road is a moving story of love and sacrifice, of friendship and loyalty, of the horror of war and the pointlessness of it.

 

Immaculately researched, powerfully written, this is a story that will haunt, inspire, entertain and stay with you.

 

Secret Wisdom of the Earth lacks intensity

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth - Christopher Scotton

 

Fourteen year-old Kevin and his mother have come to live with his grandfather in Kentucky for the summer to try to heal after the tragic death of his three year-old brother.

 

"Pops" is a veterinarian in the small coal-mining town of Medgar, deep in the Appalachians.

 

His grandfather is wise and compassionate and soon Kevin is helping him with his rounds, getting acquainted with the area and making friends.

 

It soon becomes apparent the town is split between those who support the coal baron who provides jobs and economic activity and those opposed because of the environmental degradation caused by the new technique of blowing the tops off mountains to get at the coal rather then sink shafts and extracting it.

 

The tension mounts and culminates in the murder of a popular opponent to the mining. It's a complicated situation for a fourteen year-old and it tests his courage and his integrity.

 

Christopher Scotton has done a good job on describing the lifestyle of rural Kentucky as well as damage to the environment of this new type of mountain top removal mining.

 

Though the dialogue sounds authentic the characterization of many of his major characters is clichéd.

 

The novel seems to lack intensity and I found myself skimming pages to get to some meaningful action. Finally when it happens I found the motivation and unfolding of events went beyond this readers suspension of disbelief.

 

Then, when the story appears to be about to end naturally Scotton for some reason feels compelled to let the reader know how it all works out for everyone in the future.

 

Endings are difficult but in this case Scotten would have been better leaving the future to the reader's imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New streamlined process for multiple submissions - but it won't improve your writing

The creators of https://www.authors.me say they have designed a site "for the writer who wants to get read and get published."

 

Hey, that's me. Just a second, isn't that every writer?

 

What they say they've done "is hone the submission process" with a questionnaire that is not unlike preparing your manuscript to be self published.

 

Anyhow, you answer the questions and the people at Authors.me plug it into a template and make it available to agents and publishers who have also registered on the site.

 

The benefits for the writer are you don't have to research and prepare multiple submissions, a process that makes writing a novel seem easy.

 

The benefit for the agent or publisher is they have a standardized and thorough submission, which they can review within minutes and accept, reject or refer as easy as forwarding an email.

 

So, what's the catch?

 

Well, until July 15, 2016, there isn't one because until then you can submit your completed manuscript, the first thirty pages or even a non-fiction book proposal free.

 

After that, well, the creators of Authors.me aren't saying.

 

Once a price is attached to your submission the question will be how many agents and publishers have signed on, are they using the site and will it make any difference?

 

Sure the submission process is a pain but if you've persevered and done the research, meticulously followed instructions as to what to submit and what not to submit, incurred the expense, and still haven't got a publisher or agent then is a new, streamlined submission process going to change that?

 

Put another way, an improved submission process won't improve your writing.

 

So until July 15th why not submit your completed or even partially completed manuscripts since there's no downside (I've upload three of my books).

 

After July 15th you might want to reconsider and if you've already gone the traditional submission route to no avail perhaps the money Authors.me will no doubt be charging might be better spent on a writing course, a how to book or membership to writers' club.

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

30

 

 

Book Giveaway Win a copy of

FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

Enter at

https://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

 

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/

 

My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

 

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

 

Wages of Rebellion - prophetic or paranoid?

Wages of Rebellion - Chris Hedges

 

 

Even though Chris Hedges published the Wages of Rebellion, The Moral Imperative of Revolt in 2015 it was likely finished and at the publishers long before the rise of Donald Trump. That's why the candidate for the Republican Party nomination isn't mentioned specifically, though Hedges has identified him. Trump is the epitome of the demagogue the beleaguered white middle class battered by a stagnant and flagging economy, either unemployed and poor, or crippled with debt will turn to as American society begins to unravel.

 

According to Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning foreign correspondent who has covered wars in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Iraq, he's seen it all before and it won't be pretty.

 

In this meticulously documented book he reveals the rot in the system showing how all levels government are controlled by multinational corporations and the mega rich whose main purpose is to amass more wealth and power by subjugation of the masses.

 

America is about to boil over according to Hedges, but it won't be the poor who will initiate a revolution, but rather the middle class upon realizing their expectations cannot be achieved.

 

On one hand Hedges appears to encourage revolt while cautioning it can only be successful if it is non-violent even in the face of violence perpetrated by the state and it's tacit approval of vigilante groups.

 

On the other hand he lays out a bloody scenario of chaos and death that leads to fascism and beyond - the collapse of American civilization, which he predicts not in the distant future, but maybe tomorrow.

 

Hedges' heroes are Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning who released the video "Collateral Murder" as well as other classified documents to Wikileaks, and Jeremy Hammond who hacked the private security agency Stratfor and released five million emails exposing the monitoring, infiltration and surveillance of dissidents and protestors on behalf of the National Security Agency.

 

Those he vilifies include President Obama, Bill Clinton, the American judiciary and large corporations.

 

Hedges is also caustically critical of the wealthy. He attributes some of his insight to the fact that as a boy he was "thrown into the embrace of the upper crust" as a scholarship student at a New England boarding school. He spent time in the "mansions of the ultra rich and powerful" and this is where his "hatred of authority, along with my loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness and sense of entitlement of the rich comes from...". He calls living among the rich "a deeply unpleasant experience".

 

Poor guy.

 

He says the rich view the lower classes "as uncouth parasites, annoyances to be endured, sometimes placated, but always controlled in the quest to amass more power and money." Yet his portrayal of the working class is hardly better suggesting most white Americans are ignorant, gun-toting, racists prepared to use Muslims, Blacks and Latinos as scapegoats for all their unfulfilled expectations.

 

That, of course, does not include him.

 

Hedges makes convincing arguments by carefully choosing incidents past and present that prove his thesis, indeed, maybe even advance his agenda. Though his arguments are compelling and persuasive this reader had to wonder if another writer, as skilled as Hedges who did not have a " hatred of authority..." along with a "loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness and sense of entitlement of the rich...", but rather an opposite point of view could make the case for a very different America?

 

In the last chapter of Wages of Rebellion, Hedges gives examples of rebels who have defied the forces of injustice and repression including Martin Luther King. He says they were imbued by "sublime madness", a term coined by American theologist. Rheinbold Niebuhr. Hedges maintains that to fight "radical evil" this quality is essential and it demands "self sacrifice and entails the very real possibility of death".

 

Depending on your cause and your faith might others call "sublime madness" by another name?

 

Is Hedges a prophet or just a clever guy with a giant chip on his shoulder?

 

Time will tell and that time may actually have a date, July 18-21, 2016 - the 41st Republican National Convention.

 

30

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELF-e connecting indie books, libraries and readers

 

Out of the blue came an email inviting me to participate in the third Thursday Self-e Twitter chat focused on international authors in indie and self-publishing.

 

How come I wasn't invited to the first two? Never mind, I wouldn't have participated anyway just as I'm not planning to participate in this one, but I am interested in indie and self-publishing and who and what is SELF-e?

 

SELF-e is a discovery platform powered by Library Journal designed to expose self-published ebooks to more readers via the public library, locally or nationwide (that means the US).

 

Authors whose ebooks are selected by Library Journal for inclusion in our SELF-e modules can use a digital badge promoting their inclusion to potential readers who may choose to purchase a copy of the title and/or to purchase other books by that author via retail channels. Ebooks that are not selected by Library Journal will still be accessible to local library patrons via state-specific modules.

 

Okay, what's the catch, as in how much are they going to charge?

 

But wait, there is no cost to participate, and distribution via the SELF-e platform is royalty-free.

 

What they do ask is if your book is selected you give them a non-exclusive license to make your ebook available to public library patrons via subscribing institutions in the public library market, including subscribing public libraries in your state.

 

My local library is currently carrying my six novels, which they actually purchased (a thousand thank you's) but, hell, I would have donated them.

 

Authors and their publishing service providers/future publishers are not restricted in any manner from promoting and selling their ebooks to any market (including the public library market via other vendors).

 

This information comes off their website which has yet to be updated to let authors know they are now also accepting international titles.

 

So why is Library Journal doing this?

 

Forgive me if I'm sceptical but there's an entire industry of sycophants who's sole purpose is to rip off vulnerable, delusional, hopeful and yes, stupid new authors. Is LJ the exception?

 

Apparently.

 

They claim their primary directive is connecting indie books, libraries and readers.

"Libraries are driving a new era of ebook discovery for indie authors and small presses. SELF-e helps develop robust local writing communities and keeps libraries at the center of the indie book movement."

 

Visit their blog http://self-e.libraryjournal.com/blog/to see the latest SELF-e news and events.

 

Submit your books at self-e.libraryjournal.com

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

30

 

 

 

Book Giveaway Win a copy of

THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS

Enter at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

 

 

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/

 

My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie author bookstore wants to rent you shelf space

I recently received an email from an indie author bookstore that wants to stock my books.

 

My response is not elation or gratitude, it's suspicion.

 

I think this industry is making me a cynic.

 

Anyhow...

 

P.J. Boox http://pjboox.com/ was started by "award-winning(?) author and illustrator, Patti Brassard Jefferson in the summer of 2015. Brassard describes herself as a self-published author who released her first book with an indie publisher (how does that work?) and so on and so forth to the end that apparently she can "relate".

 

Her store only accepts self-published and indie authors (are these not one and the same?), "as well, micro, small press, vanity and subsidy publishers may submit books. Traditionally published large publishing houses and imprints may not."

 

Already I'm having difficulty with the pitch and wondering if Brassard wrote this how she became an award-winning author? I mean is there a difference between micro and small press? Aren't vanity and subsidy publishers the same thing? Is a traditionally published large publishing house the same as a large publishing house or a traditional publisher? Does the writer know that saying the same thing only using different words is still being redundant?

 

Anyhow, let's cut to the chase.

 

Brassard doesn't want to stock my books she wants to rent me shelf space in her store.

 

For $80.00 and a one time set up fee of $18.00, I can rent a shelf that will fit six books max for four months. If they sell your books in the store you get 98 percent royalty. If you want them to sell them online you ante up another $15.00 set up fee and they take twenty percent.

 

You send them your books and every month they send you the money you earned that month.

 

So lets crunch some numbers, shall we?

 

My novel Abandoned Dreams sells for $9.99. I order six to fill the shelf and have CreateSpace ship them to PJ Boox. It costs $26.57

 

I add the set up charge and the shelf rental of $98.00 plus the cost of the books for a total of 124.57. If I sell all six books at $10.00 = 60.00, less 2%@ $1.20 = $58.80 net. I'm in the hole $65.77.

 

What about if I sell more than double that, say 13 books at $10.00 = 130.00, less 2% @$2.40 = $127.60, but printing and shipping has just jumped to $49.07, so I'm still in the red $46.04.

 

My brain's getting tired but suffice to say I would need to sell about 20 books in four months to break even and just a few less in the next four month cycle to pay the shelf rental considering the setup fee is waived. I fare even worse with books sold online by PJ Boox.

 

Will a bookstore in a strip mall in Fort Myers, Florida sell more books (a lot more) for me than Amazon considering they have my books available in all major English speaking countries in the world?

 

So let's sum up shall we? Taking advantage of the offer presented by PJ Boox means more hassle and less profit and grinding my teeth every time I have to think, say or write that ridiculous name.

 

Sure I want to see my books in a bookstore, but I'm waiting until they pay me rather then the other way around.

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

30

 

 

 

Book Giveaway Win a copy of

THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS

Enter at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

 

 

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/

 

My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Chasing the elusive book review

My first novel was published six years ago followed by five more with the most current one, Abandoned Dreams, released in March, 2016.

 

Over that period of time I've had a total of about thirty reviews - that's for all books combined, non-duplicated. They've appeared and can actually be read on:

 

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Goodreads   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4603345.Rod_Raglin

LibraryThing  https://www.librarything.com/search.php?search=rod+raglin

 

I've had a few other reviews on personal blogs, and there may even be more out there I'm not aware of.

 

I confess I actually paid for three, but never again. Despite the assurances from paid for review sites that the fee does not guarantee a positive review I can't reconcile this practice with my own conscience.

 

So how does an indie author get honest reviews since reviews apparently sell books?

 

I say apparently because I don't know otherwise. My experience has been a few reviews equal a few sales. Would a whole bunch of reviews translate into a whole bunch of sales? I can't say for sure because...well, you figure it out.

 

As a journalist I was trained to not to assume anything and take nothing for granted. I strongly urge other indie authors to do the same. As far as unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims the charlatans in the writing/publishing industry rank right up there with those affiliated with miracle cures and get rich internet scams.

 

But I digress. How does an indie author get honest reviews?

 

I've tried book giveways on sites like Booklikes http://booklikes.com/  LibraryThing, Goodreads and StoryCartel. I've sent hundreds of free e-books attached to personalized e-mails. I keep an up-to-date website, tweet everyday and even blog, as you are no doubt aware, though I have yet to establish any link between the last three "soft sells" and book sales, unless after reading this you decide to buy one of my books and post a review (let me know if you do).

 

Media reviews or other established review outlets like Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal seem reluctant to review your book unless it's successful (go figure) or at least traditionally published.

 

In desperation I checked out a site called The Indie View http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/

 

If you're inclined to read and subsequently write reviews of the work of independent authors you're invited to add your name to their list, which is quite substantial.

 

If you're an author and fishing for reviews the site provides your with the name of the reviewer, their website, their preferences, guidelines, where they post their reviews and the date this information was last refreshed.

 

Keeping all this in mind I sent about a dozen review requests with an e-book of Abandoned Dreams a little over two weeks ago. So far nothing.

 

However, here are some interesting things I discovered.

 

A least twenty-five percent of the reviewers listed are closed for reviews due to a backlog. I take that as not a good sign.

 

Quite a few reviewers state they will not post a review of a work they cannot rate as at least three stars. I imagine they do this out of consideration, however misguided, thinking a bad review can pull down an author's average rating.

 

Depending on why you write, you may be of the opinion, as I am, there is no such thing as a bad review. First and foremost I want to become a better writer - money and fame, well, I'll accept those too - if you insist. Critical reviews, especially those that are specific, point out where I've let the reader down and allow me to consider how to improve in those areas.

 

If you're in this game for ego, if you some how think you can fool all the readers all the time than I can understand that a bad review really sucks.

 

But not for me.

 

If someone hated my book, well, that's okay. I'm just glad they read it and took the time to review it.

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs.

 

30

 

 

Book Giveaway Win a copy of

THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS

Enter at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

 

 

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/

 

My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Seventh novels reaffirms why I write

I've finished the first draft of The Local Rag.

 

It's now resting for about three months or until I've got it out of my system. Then I'll do another rewrite and send it to my beta readers. They'll come back to me in about six weeks with lots of errors and some incites.

 

This is my seventh novel. Why, you might ask, did I write this book when the previous six have cost me more in postage and delivery than I've made in royalties?

 

So more for myself than for you, let me review the reasons I write:

• I write because it's fun. If you need me to explain fun, well, I'm sorry for you.

• I write because I learn stuff. All my novels are about something I want to learn more about. As the story unfolds I'm doing research and learning right along with my characters.

• I write because I hope to share my views about issues that are important to me - I'm still hoping to.

 

The Local Rag is about journalism, the media, publishing, and the truth.

 

My career in journalism, mostly as publisher and editor of my own community newspapers, has spanned nearly forty years. I've seen lots of changes but none so disconcerting as what I see today. I set out to learn more about the concentration of media ownership, the decline of print and the rise of online news outlets, and the role of citizen journalism (also known as public, participatory, democratic, guerrilla or street journalism) and how it affects the legitimacy of our news.

 

I learned a lot.

 

I'm sharing what I learned in the context of a novel that also includes friendship, small business, politics, murder, crime and corruption.

 

Have I missed anything?

 

Why don't you tell me? There are never enough beta readers.

 

Three months from now I'll be sending out the manuscript to beta readers. At that time the manuscript will be quite polished, but by my eyes only. I'm looking for my beta readers to find plot glitches, inconsistencies, typos, spelling mistakes - anything and everything that will make The Local Rag a better read and error free.

 

All beta readers are acknowledged in the front matter of the book and get a paperback edition free.

 

Interested? E-mail me at mailto:rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

30

 

Book Giveaway - Win a copy of

THE BIG PICTURE, FOREST or ABANDONED DREAMS

Enter at

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway

 

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/

 

My novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and Abandoned Dreams are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and as e-books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

The ECO-WARRIORS series:

Book 1, Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success?

Book 2, Loving the Terrorist - Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs

Book 3, Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients

are available as e-books an paperbacks at

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

 

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