Book Review Requests

Since I’ve self-published my first book I’ve been running around like a madwoman (in cyberspace, of course, so it’s not like I’ve gotten out of breath) requesting reviews of as many readers as possible. Here’s what I’ve learned.

First of all, friends are invaluable, for moral support, encouragement, and a sympathetic ear. There are many people I’ve met through this blogging game, writers and readers, poets and philosophers. No, I’m not taking the piss (ockerism, see ‘joking’). Blogging is probably once of the best tools for reflection on the world and the self, as it’s both a way to record important events and thoughts (like a diary) and a forum for discussion of such topics with a variety of people, many of whom have strong curiosity and are open-minded.

Secondly, people want to read, but there are a LOT of books out there. I’m taking the same attitude to this as I took to when I was out of work: apply, apply, apply. If I approach a few bloggers a day or even every week, I’m going to consider that progress. Bethany Hatheway, a fellow indie author whose book I reviewed here, gave me invaluable advice that I should expect about a 5% response rate. It was sobering but I naively hold onto the belief that this advice has prepared me for eventual success.

I have signed up for The Indie View and within a three days I’ve received six requests from people to review their books. I am not a fast reader – I manage about one book a week when I’m working, maybe two when I’m not (although holiday season means lots of family to visit, so I’m not spending as much time reading as I hoped). So now I’ve had some experience with what I’ve always known – it’s impossible for reviewers to read every book that they’re asked. And then, not every reviewer is interested in reading every book. It’s honestly been a better database for authors to approach me rather than the other way around – I haven’t had any luck with using it to gain responses about my work.

However, it was only through authors approaching me to read their books that I found out about Reader’s Favourite (the link takes you to a review of the book I was asked to review), a website that utilises the huge number of readers out there to review everyone’s books. I highly recommend checking them out. I have found similar websites since but they all seem to ask for exhobertant fees in exchange for a review. Reader’s Favourite is, by contrast, free. I haven’t heard back from them since my initial application yesterday, but they seem genuine, and I highly recommend checking them out.


So that’s it for now! I shall update as I discover more…


Ebook Distribution Services

While investigating the nitty-gritty unexpected details in this self-publishing business (I think I was googling something about ISBNs (those numbers above the barcodes if you didn’t know (like how I didn’t) – consensus seems to be that they aren’t necessary, but are a good thing to have to back up your rights)), I came across this blog post by savvy writers:

It references the British company eBook Partnership as an option for self-publishers who want to reach ALL OF THE DISTRIBUTORS!

all the distributors

This is a thing? You can pay someone to reach all of the outlets and even libraries? AND THEY DON’T TAKE COMMISSION???

Colour me suspicious.

I’ve got to be honest here: this seems too good to be true. These guys only charge $50 for a year of this:


They do have plenty of recommendations on their website… but you know how if it seems too good to be true, it probably is?

What I’d like to know, is if any of you authors/interested parties out there have heard of this? For now, it seems legit, but I’m definitely curious on getting some third-party opinions…

So, what do you think?

Influencing Your Characters Just Because You Can

This is the first time I’ve ever had my book professionally edited, and Leiah Cooper picked up something interesting.

See, I had almost finished writing my novel when something pissed me off. I don’t remember what it was exactly… oh wait, yes I do. The last manuscript I had sent off was rejected.

Yeah, that pissed me off.

I had almost finished writing The Black Swan Inheritance, a book about magic and conquering your own shortcomings with a bit of a romance slant. Actually, it had a lot of a romance slant – more than I personally liked just because I knew that sort of shit would sell. At least, that was where I was coming from when I started writing. As these things do, the characters developed a life of their own and I grew a little attached to them.

Then that other manuscript was rejected.

So what do I do? Since I was the goddess of this new world I created I decided, in the heat of the moment, I was justified in absolutely ruining the romance. Then I ended the book.

Yeah, I’m a very mature adult. Just be grateful I’m a writer and not, for instance, a mad scientist. Okay, I am a scientist, but as a geologist the best I can do is throw rocks around.

I did some of that too. And hammers.

Anyway, I finished the book. Over the course of the next few months I went back to it and edited, but somehow it never occurred to me to do justice to the relationships of the characters and give everyone closure.

Leiah brought that up.

I’m paraphrasing a little here, but she essentially asked, “Why has the main character reverted back to bitch-mode in the last few scenes?”


Because I was in bitch-mode when I wrote it.

Whoa, that was selfish of me. What was all that about authors respecting their own work? Yeah, I just threw it all out the window.

SO I am fixing that. I am going to do justice to the story. I am going to allow the characters to each have their place in the sun, to say their piece, to do what they want to do, not what I impose on them.

Aspiring writers, have you ever done this? Has something happened to you that has effectively driven you to write:



I expect George R R Martin goes through it a lot.


Top Tips for Writers from Random House

This is a new blog post from Random House Australia. There’s not necessarily any new advice here, but everything listed is worth keeping in mind. Especially since the advice is from Random House’s Selina Walker (apparently a massively important editor who launched Fifty Shades of Grey, so yeah, I’ll take her advice).

Actually the first point is a good one: have a good title and a strong first chapter. So easy to forget sometimes. It’s so easy just to ‘write your way through the story’ instead. I usually have to rearrange and edit the first bit to make the first chapter exciting and not just ‘setting everything up’.