Friday, July 7, 2017

Free Books that Need Reviews

So I spent some time looking for books that have very few reviews on Amazon today. Originally my goal was books with less than 100 reviews; it quickly dropped down to 50 as I scrolled through all the free books available. Then 25, and finally 10. I bought several free books that definitely need more reviews, and each one I purchased for 0 dollars is a book I am interested in reading.

One of the things that surprised me in my search was the page upon page of what appeared to be sexually graphic, possibly pornographic, definitely erotica books that need reviews. Many books in this genre have no reviews at all. My basket was overflowing with too many other books, everything ranging from cookbooks to historical fiction, so I didn't end up adding any of these to my pile.

If you are a reviewer, this is a great way to help indie authors out. If you're simply looking for a few free books to pick up, and maybe help an author while you're at it by leaving a review when you finish the book, so much the better. Regardless,  this is a great way to score some free books and help an indie author simultaneously.

Best of the weekend to you. I will catch up with you again soon.

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Credible Reviews from Validated Purchases

There was a time not so long ago when Amazon cracked down on authors and book reviewers. At least a few authors contacted me because many of their reviews had been deleted. It made me sad for them, but there wasn't much I could do. Amazon prefers reviews by people who actually purchase their books. I'm guessing it likes them written when prompted at the end of the book, after someone has read it.

I couldn't tell you if any of my reviews posted on this blog, then teased on Amazon with a link to my full review were ever deleted. I can tell you my links to read the full review didn't work, so I was more or less wasting my time trying to get people to read my detailed, in depth reviews through Amazon.

This is yet another reason authors need to make their books available through their published sites. There's an authenticity to the review from a book that has been published and purchased there. So if you don't want to have a grand scale book give away, perhaps you might gift your book to your reviewers. This will validate their purchase, thereby making their review more credible.

Just thinking out loud on this one. We are all in this together.

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved 2017

Book Review Information

No pressure or anything.  The day started out simply enough as it usually does. I know my routine, creature of habit that I am. I also know what I need to get done, what I'd like to get done, what I hope I can find time to make happen,  and what I'd rather not do but will probably end up doing anyway. Add in a few of those unexpected things I never saw coming, and the day is all set!

Regarding Book Reviews

I receive at least half a dozen, usually many more, in my email every day.  As much as I'd like to help every indie author out, there is no way for me to do so. For a long time I would challenge myself to accept as many as I could, reading until I couldn't see the words on the pages anymore,  and too often to the point where every book turned to mush, much like when painting a picture and overloading the same area with different colors until everything turned into an awful brown mess on the canvas.

Those days are gone. Today I search for free books through various channels, determine if I want to add them to my reading apps and download them directly from the secure site that they were published on. I am on a couple of email lists that notify me of books they think I'd like too. Just this week I've downloaded several books from secure sites, and I'm looking forward to reading them all.

At least twice now, possibly more, I've run into problems from links for books within emails. Lesson learned, and I'm sorry to those who simply send their books requesting a fair and honest review, no malware to be found in your emails.  I know most of you fall into that category,  but it only takes one really good virus to damage my devices. I simply cannot take the chance.

If you do request  a review via email, please let me know where your book is so I can go to the site and decide if I want to add it to my library.  If you don't have it available for free, please provide a coupon code so I can purchase it for free that way. This is the best I can offer right now. Follow me on Amazon, Goodreads and Twitter to read my recent reviews. Feel free to share them and pass them around. I like knowing people read and appreciate my writing as much as the next guy.

Happy writing good people! May your words provide hope and inspiration to others.

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Blogging is not Writing, Writing is not Blogging

Whether you use blogger, wordpress,  weebly, medium, wix or a host of other blogging platforms,  the reality is that blogging is publishing. It is for all intensive purposes a jack of all trades publishing forum, where anyone can post and publish anything.

Writers can easily get caught up in the details,  neglecting their true calling as wordsmiths.  The overwhelming responsibilities of being a publisher outweigh the necessary calling of negotiating words upon the page. Divide and conquer, weeding out those with too many words to share, and not enough experience in publishing to spend enough time engraving their multitude of words in each post.

Vicious as the cycle can get, it will never prevent a true writer from penning words to paper, computer,  blog, article, book or diary. True writers will find a way to tangibly expel their words from their hearts. Their audience while being important,  is not a requirement for their release of the written word.

Personally speaking, I was a bit of a paranoid blogger,  always checking to see if my formatting, links, publishing and marketing was right, always wondering if some of those helps like linking with other bloggers did more harm than good. I'm still not convinced some of those blog hops didn't hurt me. It doesn't take a genius to know that when your page views go way up, your pennies shouldn't be going way down. 

None of that seems to matter much now, since life took me on an extended adventure that didn't have time for blogging. It gave me a new perspective being away, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this new journey in blogging ends up. Right now I'm just glad it's more about the writing.

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved 2017

The Trap of Blogging

As much as I went through a sort of blogging withdrawal,  if you will, I also came to understand that blogging was a habit, something I made a point to do as much as I could. The allure of page views and those pennies for them was akin to that slow rise on the roller coaster ramp, right before you suddenly dropped into oblivion only to be tossed in a different direction,  before rising and falling again.

Blogging was hard for me to stop, much like Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that have a way of sucking the life out of us, or at least monopolizing way too much of our time. And for what? Popularity,  page views,  pennies??? The art form deducted from the intensity of immediate gratification soon gave me to realize blogging was not my life, but rather a means of expressing myself and sharing my thoughts with others.

To gain what I had lost by blogging so much, I had to rediscover a part of myself overshadowed by daily task and time consumption associated with blogging. All the while new experiences kept me on my toes, and my longing for the present emerged with severe intensity.

Ultimately my blogging habits, and indeed my blogging attitude had to change. I was to control my blogging experience as much as my blogging output, though admittedly there was a destined decrease in blogging output due to a variety of circumstances both beyond and within my control.

Goodbye to the days of blogging being an unending and tedious chore. Hello to the days of blogging as a leisurely activity again. It also helps to simplify my blogging experience these days, focusing more on my writing than all the distractions that come with production and marketing each blog post. There's an app for that, and the learning curve is smaller.

It's nice to be blogging again. I love to write, but I don't live to write. I write because it's part of who I am. Like gardening, crocheting and cooking, writing adds value to my experience as a human being.  Hopefully it adds value with those I share it with too, but that is not a requirement,  only a hope on a wing and a prayer.

Wishing you enough,

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved 2017

Happy to Blog Again...

By M. J. Joachim

Clearly it has been a long time since I have blogged about anything. Ah life, and then we ...

Yes, we do that too I suppose. I won't claim to be older and wiser at all, perhaps older since there is no point in denying it, and if wisdom is shown by the amount of gray hairs one has, then it is fair to say I might have outdone myself in that department,  but I don't think so regardless of how many gray hairs I now proudly refuse to dye.

I believe I may have disappointed more than a few promised reviews. Technology is more to blame than I am, since the device the books were on decided to crash and burn. I am to blame too, since I probably should have reached out to a few of those authors and didn't.

I now review directly on Amazon, Goodreads, LibriVox... wherever the book was read. It is much easier to post a review right after I have read the book this way, ultimately simplifying my life and the steps I must take to share a good book, or warn about a bad one with others. I also try to tweet and facebook my reviews, but not always in a timely manner.

There are twists and turns in the road ahead for me as always. Life is an adventure if nothing else. My newest life goal is to live in the present without dwelling too much on the past, or looking too far into the future. It is not as easy as it sounds, and I highly recommend it if you haven't done so already.

I am sure there is much more to say, but I am at a loss for the words right now. I hope you all are well. Thank you for taking a few moments of your time and spending it with me today.

Best to all,

M. J.

Copyright All Rights Reserved July 5, 2017
Photo credit M. J. Joachim,  All Rights Reserved