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.

Does sending out Advance Reading Copies get more reviews?

The Yoga of Max's Discontent - Karan Bajaj

In case you don't know, and why would you, I write a fair number of book reviews.


They're broken into two categories:

- Reviews of new, self-published authors, and

- Reviews of new, traditionally published Canadian authors.


I post these reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, BookLikes, LibraryThing, Smashwords and Google Books as well as my local library subject to the book being available on or through these sites. For example, if a book is not listed on Smashwords, no review is posted.


With new self-published authors I also post the review as a video on my YouTube channel Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Book Reviews


I've chosen these two categories to review because I am them (or is it they are me) and I know how difficult it is to get reviewed and acknowledged.


I'm not a top Amazon reviewer - my actual ranking is 323,578. My YouTube channel has one hundred and ninety views, half of them probably me trying to get it right, and one subscriber. So I was a bit surprised to receive this email:


Dear Rod,

As a quick introduction, I was the #1 bestselling novelist in India in 2008 (Keep off the Grass, HarperCollins India) and 2010 (Johnny Gone down, HarperCollins India) with 200,000+ copies of my novels in print. Both novels have been optioned into major films, currently in different stages of development.


Penguin Random House publishes my first international novel, THE YOGA OF MAX’S DISCONTENT, worldwide in Spring 2016. The book is about a Wall Street investment banker who becomes a yogi in the Himalayas and is both a page turning adventure through the hidden underbelly of India and a journey of tremendous inner transformation. I was looking at books with similar themes i.e. contemporary fiction or international voices on Amazon and saw you had reviewed The Lowland.


Would you be interested in receiving a free advance review copy of my novel? We're sharing them with a small handful of interested international readers for their honest reviews in advance of the The Yoga of Max's Discontent’s worldwide release.

I'd be obliged if you could let me know of your interest.


Thank you,

Karan Bajaj


I'm not going to flatter myself by thinking I was personally chosen, or that I'm even part of "a small handful of interested international readers" since there are already twenty-eight advance reviews for the novel posted on Goodreads. More likely there's a software program that selected me because I reviewed The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri.


Though this novel doesn't fit into my review criteria I'm going to accept the author's offer of an advance reading copy (ARC) for an honest review.


I sent out ARCs prior to self-publishing my last two books, The BIG PICTURE - A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic and FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend. Each time about one hundred and fifty people who'd previously expressed an interest in my work received an e-book . Altogether I doubt I got a half a dozen reviews.


It's interesting that an author with considerable success and a powerhouse traditional publisher behind him is doing what appears to be the same hands on book flogging a nobody like me resorts to.


I'll keep you posted on the process and my review.



Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs