Posts Tagged ‘indie’

Dear Debut Self-Published Author, $4.99 (plus!) For Your Kindle Book?

November 7, 2011

Ummm, how can I say this nicely?

Are you kidding me?

Let’s just put this into context. I buy a lot of self-published books. I buy a lot of small-publisher books. And I buy the big pubs too. I’m OK paying $7.99, even $8.99 or (cringe) $9.99 for the Kindle version of a book from a big publisher whose track record is proven, and for either an author I know, or someone I don’t but who has 1000+ reviews on Amazon and still has an average of 4.5 stars.

You’ve gotta be J.K. Effing Rowling to get $12.99 for a Kindle book out of me.

If you don’t have a publisher behind you, (which I’m THOROUGHLY OK with,) I’m sorry, but you’ve got to prove to me that you’re worth my time and money before I’m going to take a chance. Why? Because there are a million more out there I could be enjoying.

Did you hire an editor? Good for you! Was it someone who just hung a virtual shingle or someone respected in the industry? How am I to know until I read the final product? Am I going to be pissed that I spent my money on your book which, after the sample I read and was happy with, slowed to a crawl and bored me to tears?

If I spent $.99 on it, no I won’t be too upset. If I spent $4.99? Hell yes!

So that brings me back around to the title of this post.

I didn’t spend that $4.99 on your book and I won’t. Quite frankly because I DO buy self published books. All the time. I know exactly what a gamble I’m taking. I know that I might find a jewel for a steal, or I might find a totally frustrating waste of my time.

This isn’t prejudice against anything at all. It’s my experience of reality.

Yes I’m more likely to take a chance on a unknown from a publisher I recognize. They’ve got a team behind them that’s proven their worth and their discretion in choosing books that I won’t regret paying for.

Your fifteen Amazon reviews (eight of which are from people who have no other reviews on there,) aren’t enough to convince me that you’re worth my time and money.

YOU need to prove it to me. By offering me your product at a price I’m willing to pay for a total gamble.

Now your second book, when the first has done so well and gotten a lot more reviews and earned you cred’, we can talk about $4. (Though honestly, why you wouldn’t go with $2.99 like every other sensible person, I can’t imagine.) Otherwise? You’re totally costing yourself sales, and you’ve lost my respect as well. Because I’m questioning your business sense now. Which makes me wonder if you know what your audience wants at all. Which means I didn’t buy your book.

So was that higher price really worth whatever intangible you got out of it? Because it’s losing you sales.


What about you? Does the publisher (or not) affect the price you’re willing to pay? Is your price ceiling the same no matter what? Do you even notice before you buy?

#5MinuteInterview w/ R.B. Wood, of The Prodigal’s Foole

November 3, 2011

Today we’re going to do a little thing I like to call the 5MinuteInterview. This week we’re celebrating the release of The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood. You can buy your copy RIGHT NOW!

So let’s interview Mr. Wood, (oh gosh, there’s so many places I can go with that…) shall we?

1. Tell me one thing about little Richy Wood that, looking back now, you think was proof that one day you’d be a writer.

I loved stories of all kinds when I was younger.  Even at an early age I wondered what went into creating a story from the imagination—and I’d try it on my own.

Plus, as a kid, I always hated waiting for the next “Hardy Boy” book, so I’d try and create my own in the interim.  Frank and Joe hardy were probably glad I wasn’t writing their stories as they ended up in far more trouble in my tales than in Franklyn W Dixon’s.

2. Where did the idea for The Prodigal’s Foole come from?

All those fantasy stories about magic have this throw-away line about “magic can’t be known/used in front of ‘normal’ people.  I started off with the idea—“What if non-magical folks started figuring out what was going on?”  And the series started from there.

3. Name two people from all of history you’d love to take to the pub, and one you’d avoid like the plague (or punch his/her lights out.)

I’d love to go drinking with Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain.  Avoid?  YOU know the real answer to this one, but I’ll pick Adolf Hitler because he was a serious Jackwagon.

4. What was the biggest surprise in this whole writing/publishing game?

How supportive and open to questions professionals in the business are.  Once I started to connect with writers, editors and the like via social media, everyone was VERY patient with my newbie questions and either answered them directly or pointed me to helpful resources.  It’s been a wonderful experience—and I was expecting a lot less.

5. Give me one sentence, no more than a dozen words, of wisdom you’ve learned since you decided to write TPF.

Keep going!

I have ten words left…

6. Your favorite place to be/One place you never want to be again.

My favorite place to be is anywhere with my partner, Tina.  Never again? Hong Kong.  Long story.

7. You get to name one person who had been the biggest influence on you as a writer, only one, from any point in your life, whether you know them or not. Why?

Oh bugger.  I can pick only ONE? Well, I’ll say my parents (two people, one partnership) who encouraged me to do what I enjoy.

8. You have an unlimited amount of time and money: Where are we going drinking?

Ireland.  We are going to every bloody pub in the 36 counties.

Back to your host: I bet you can tell I had fun with this interview. The book’s better. Go get it!


R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy.  His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, is now available from Pfoxchase Publishing.  Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series and is host of The Word Count podcast.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Find him on his blog:
Feel free to contact him at:

You can find The Prodigal’s Foole on:

Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble

RELEASE DAY!!!!! The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood

October 31, 2011

It’s HERE! The Prodigal’s Foole by R.B. Wood. This is release day. You can buy your copy RIGHT NOW!

Hmmm, how to encapsulate my opinion of The Prodigal’s Foole? It’s hard because I saw this go through its many permutations prior to publication, so it’s just sorta one of those things that is. How do you describe it except “I love it!” (Or possibly “Thank God he took my advice on that section.”) 😉

I’ll say this, I give critique to other writers a lot. (Often without being asked…) Sometimes it’s honestly a chore to get through an unpolished draft. Granted, I came to The Prodigal’s Foole after it was past the first draft stage, but still. I loved it from page one. Couldn’t put it down.

Here’s the book-jacket blurb:

A man can run from his past … but not his future.

Symon Bryson lives in self-imposed exile until Monsignor DuBarry goes missing and not even the most adept of the magic practitioners can determine the reason for the abduction. The clues lie buried in the past amidst epic battles and horrific losses but reliving that failed mission uncovers fresh challenges and fearsome threats that reunite his old team.

Symon must deal with his own hidden demons and confront the menace that threatens the delicate balance of power. When the darkest of all evils lures Symon into springing a long-planned trap, an unsuspecting world will confront the unthinkable.

When all that stands between Heaven and Hell is magic, more than faith will be tested.

And the blurb he sold me on:

In a world where real magic has been kept from mankind for millennia by organized religion, the dawning of globalization and the communication age threaten a mass awakening and exposure of the darkest and most holy of secrets. 

Symon Bryson is a thirty year-old drifter and former magic practitioner.  Originally raised in secret by the Catholic Church to use his God-given power to fight evil, he has spent the last ten years of his life hiding from a tragedy caused by his wildly destructive spell casting abilities. When a cryptic telegram arrives pleading for his help, Symon returns to old friends and a skeptical Church to solve a mystery and face decade-old terrors that were part of a sinister plan put in motion by the epitome of evil itself.

So, that’s all you get from me by way of expounding on the plot because I figure that says it better than I ever could. (Plus I helped him write the second one.) :p Now, on to the review:

The Prodigal’s Foole is the sort of read I’m always looking for but can be so hard to find. Doesn’t every girl want more action-movie-excitement-with-an-actual-smart-engaging-plot in her life? It’s easy to find the smash-em-up, continuous-stunt-scene type of fiction, and not hard to find a smart, funny read. But it’s really hard to find them together in one book.

R.B. Wood weaves together an imaginative, unique plot with a great feel for pace and real characters. The main character, Symon Bryson has a great, dry wit; he’s such a smartass I was snorting with amusement or full-out laughter every other page.  Wood brings in the cast of characters without drowning us in names and details, and makes them fascinating, distinct pieces of the puzzle. And he does what I consider absolutely necessary in any good book: he makes the characters real and vivid so that you grieve, bleed, and rejoice along with every one of them.

The religion angle was awesome, specifically because it wasn’t religious at all. There’s nothing to offend here, no matter which side of the faith spectrum you fall on. Religious institutions are major players in this conflict that spans continents and centuries because religious institutions are the only other constant over that much time and distance. This book doesn’t preach or proselytize one way or the other. It features believers and disillusioned alike with no prejudice. It would be so easy for someone to shy away from this book because of the presence of the Catholic Church in the plot, and that would be a huge mistake.

I’ve said before that I don’t trust reviews that don’t have anything negative at all to point out, so here goes: There isn’t much sex. Specifically hot sex, with maybe some of the… I mean, more than one… ahem. Yeah.

This is simply a marvelous read, don’t pass it up.

Of course, you can always win your copy. This Wednesday, as part of 5MinuteFiction, I’ll be giving away TWO copies, and on Friday, I’ll be giving away another. All you have to do to win your copy in Friday’s drawing is leave a comment in on this post. (Make sure I have a way to contact you. Twitter handle or website url works fine.)


R.B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, is now available from Pfoxchase Publishing. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series and is host of The Word Count podcast.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Find him on his blog:
Feel free to contact him at:

You can find The Prodigal’s Foole on:
Amazon (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble

Release Week PARTY!

October 27, 2011


It’s COMING! Next week, October 31, 2011, is the release date for my dear friend (I initially typed that deer friend, which is really pretty funny) R.B. Wood‘s debut novel, The Prodigal’s Foole!

We’re going to PAR-TAY! Reviews, interviews, and prizes to be given away throughout the week. So BE HERE!

In the meantime, enjoy the awesome book trailer.


Karma, Solidarity, and the Bad Part of the Review I Wrote for You

October 21, 2011

This topic has been brewing in my brain for a while now. A while back Roni Loren wrote a blog post called Book Review Debate in which she explained why she didn’t write bad reviews for books and why maybe other authors should consider not doing so either. There was a great debate that followed in the comments (which unfortunately seem to have been lost in a blog conversion.)

I agreed with her points, namely:

1. The writing world is SMALL. 
The writer you one-star today may be the writer…sitting next to you at your next writers’ meeting, may one day share an agent/editor/publisher with you, may be someone you have to do a workshop with, may be someone who’s asked to blurb your book, etc.

A lot of the commenters disagreed with the stance as a whole, saying it lacked integrity not to give a negative review if you thought a book was bad. But it occurred to me that, in light of the above, posting a bad review as an author, is a bit like posting job reviews of your co-workers on the announcement board and signing your name to it. Sure, you’re owning your opinion, but you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot too. And for what? If they’re a bad employee, your one personal opinion isn’t the only thing that will clue others in to this. Let their boss, their clients, etc., be the ones to point this out, not you as a person who may have to work with them on an important project.

And yet, as my blog has evolved, I find myself writing more and more reviews. Why? Quite simply because having guest judges for 5MinuteFiction ties in so well with promoting a fellow author. But I’m not going to promote someone unless I know what I’m promoting. Which means I read their book. And we all know that reviews on the major sites where readers make their purchasing decisions (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc.) is the lifeblood of new-author promotion. So if I’ve read the book, and can give it a good review, then it’d just be selfish and shortsighted of me not to do so, right?

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s the not-so-good things about the book.

See, I review self-published books more than anything else. And I don’t care who you are, unless you were insanely lucky and snagged a great editor and the perfect crit-partners for yourself the first time around, your book will have problems. In my experience, the right editor and crit-partners are generally things you find after you’ve run through a few of the wrong ones. And that means putting yourself out there.

I found mine through the process of querying agents and small publishers. I had to expose my work to enough people over a long enough period of time, that I finally made those connections. That’s not the only path, but most people aren’t going to find the right team until they’ve survived the wrong one, which for self-published authors, often means after their first book is already out.

So I have your book and I really enjoyed it. I want to write you a good review because that’s what I’d want you to do for me and because you deserve it.


Do I ignore the weaknesses, pretend I didn’t see them, and write only about the good stuff?

I don’t think I can. For a lot of reasons.

  • I usually don’t trust reviews like that anyway, especially if they’re an unknown author self-publishing and all they have are glowing reviews. I’m pretty much going to assume that all the reviews are written by friends and family and I can’t trust them to give the whole truth.
  • Is anybody else going to tell you? If not, how will you know in order to improve the next time? Granted, this one can be handled by offering private comments, which I almost always do.


  • I’m also putting my own professional name and reputation behind your book if I give it a good review.

And, here’s where it may get selfish, but I don’t want other authors and readers thinking I can’t tell good writing from bad. I may have enjoyed your book in spite of the cringe-worthy flood of adverbs and telling, because the plot, or character development, or whatever was just that good. Another person may not have the tolerance to handle that and may throw the book away in disgust and then resent me for leading them to believe that it had no major faults.

Neal Hock wrote a great guest post on The Writing Bomb that talked about the author risking their reputation by self-publishing a book with glaring errors or weaknesses. I 100% agree with this. But I think it goes farther than this. I think it risks my reputation too if I don’t at least acknowledge that, while I recommend the read, it does have drawbacks that one reader might consider a deal-breaker even if another doesn’t care that much about them. At least I’m giving them the information, as I see it, to make an honest assessment and informed decision.

To a lesser extent, a post by Chuck Wendig, Putting the Publishing Cart Before The Storytelling Horse, made me think of this topic. In a large part because the authors who are loudly denouncing the publishing industry from experience, and claiming that anyone not self-publishing is making a terrible error, are ones who have already gotten to the point at which they have a quality editor and the industry know-how and writing chops that their self-published works won’t have this kind of problem.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about typos and poor grammar. Quite frankly, I won’t finish a book that’s an egregious offender in those areas to have a review to write of it.

But if on the balance sheet I think your book was a good read, and you’re a good writer who will quit making those mistakes eventually, I want to help you promote it! I want to review it and tell others to read it.

But I have a career to think about too.

Thus my conundrum. Is it important as authors to maintain your professional integrity and list the bad with the good? Is it not important enough to readers or worth it for you and you should pretend the bad isn’t there? Should you just not write reviews at all? What do you think?