Weekly Ramble #88

Crossing the 600 follower mark is truly a noteworthy achievement. From every part of my heart, not just the bottom, thank you for following this blog so it could get to this moment.

When I was much younger, we’re going back to the very early years of when I used to just be a kid staying up and reading past bedtime, I only really wanted to be one thing when I was older; someone. The day in day outer’s who like the post’s on this blog; many who blog nearly daily themselves with pictures, stories, reviews, current events, book tag stuff, craft stuff and even a few political pieces – I feel like I’m someone to them.

Those day in day outers combined with followers who supported this blog from the very start over 6 years ago combined with those just showing up and those who I’ve connected with on the way through all the years – that’s you, loyal cultured reader. It means so much to feel like my words are being read. This blog has become my number 1 platform because of that support. Long may it continue, and those who see something in me, I don’t know what, thank you, wholeheartedly. I’ll keep chasing the words if you help me catch them in moments like this.

Weekly Writing Inspiration #16

I think some you need some memes right now. The first few are actually writing related…

Write your book if you’ve got one, it makes for a great escape trust me….

I mean this review for the Ghost Beside Me is better than the damn book and has nearly a higher word count… thank you for the glowing words!

Back to some regularly scheduled memes...

Ha

Being a cat is good choice I reckon…

Yes I own a Michael Myers mask… I mean we’re supposed to be wearing masks right? Halloween feels like two years ago now…

I could really go for some nuggets right about now…

Grove Street represent…. I loved that game.

Yep they have locked us down here in the UK. Sigh….

Plant that seed folks!

Thanks for joining meme… pun intended, see you in the next one, look after yourselves!

Lockdown Equals Opportunity

What a week this is shaping up to be. I mean is this the run up to the final episode of 2020? We’ve got lockdowns announced left right and centre along with an election across the pond. It’s felt like one hell of a long slog to get here with March literally being three years ago, or so it seems…

While in an ideal world it’s fun to compare this present reality to one of our favourite or not so favourite shows (Game of Thrones, cough, cough…), in real life there isn’t the luxury of fading to black and rolling to the credits, or blaming the writers who secured a gig with Star Wars just before they started production of the final season…

Over here in the UK – or specifically England, we’re about to face a second lockdown. Having been there before and because so many of this blog’s followers are facing similar circumstances in other countries I can wholeheartedly say that with a lockdown comes opportunity. Now I’m not talking about the business shark antics that take advantage of someone else’s misfortunate – what do you think this is the 80’s? But when the first lockdown hit back in March I eventually realised people need content for a distraction. Because I had the time to focus more on producing content, the numbers, follows, book sales and pretty much everything went up. This blog has faced more success this year than ever before!

If you have something to offer in this world that will serve other people, offer it, especially now…

Those who can produce content, right now this is your opportunity, not only does it express the importance of you personally carrying on, but someone somewhere will appreciate your efforts. It’s a circle of well-being because for me expression through words makes me feel good and my hope is that those good feels are passed on to readers. The world is in a state of flux right now but those who can remain doing what they did before without endangering themselves are serving to preserve what will be left after this era has gone. We as humans have always looked to escapism to survive the crap that is happening out the window, be that escape for someone. You’ll find purpose in creativity and content trust me.

Carry on, write that blog post, produce that video, put out that tweet, review that book because you’ve probably got the time now, seize it because lockdown equals opportunity!

Weekly Writing Inspiration #10

Sharing memes that may or may not be inspirational for writing but everyone is welcome here. Either way this is week 10, let’s dive in…

Ah the posture, I had this once… my original writing ‘desk’ was a bed for about 5 years. Book 1 Open Evening was drafted in said bed…

Lisa Simpson is normally the moral compass/party pooper but yep, this all day long…

YouTube right? Another platform would be nice… and also, I really don’t appreciate the double ads these days…

Microsoft taking over Bethesda, this might turn out okay.

Shout out/Interaction of the week

It’s wonderful to be mentioned for my reviews especially from awesome authors like Villimey, you should give her a follow on the Tweet machine and check out my review of her vampire book – it’s part of a series!

Some truly wonderful folks that seem to believe in me have pre ordered book six and since this tweet the numbers have increased! You guys rock!

It’s coming next week!

September 2020 has been a record breaking month with over 100 paid book sales for the first time. Of course I’ve shared my marketing methods here and here. I also have plenty of other book and blogger resources . The plan right now is to finish drafting an authoring and blogging guide book which should be released in the first half of next year….

As you can see the viewing figures are exceptional in the past few years and they jumped by four fold compared to the first years we shall name the tumbleweed era. Much of this success is a combination of a few readers believing in me and putting out consistent content. Ride that wave bloggers, when the views come in, capitalise on it. I’m lucky enough to have loyal readers!

As always thanks for scrolling and for the support. See ya in the next one… and go pre order Darke Awakening.

Hall of Information Investigation: Being paid to leave 5 Star Book Reviews on Amazon

This post is designed to inform and help those in the online world of authoring and reading. It is an investigative exploration more than anything. While the subject matter might be subjective, this isn’t the place to be throwing differing opinions around, it is here to be spotlighted.

For the purpose of this investigation, no parties other than myself will be directly named. Let us explore the concept of being paid to leave 5 stars review on Amazon…

Introduction

The world of Amazon reviews is huge business these days. For authors; probably the greatest struggle to get in all of publishing. Nobody has ever complained of having too many reviews and every author I know has faced this at some point as their greatest lament in writing. Don’t get me started on the lower star reviews either…

Authors are always looking for more ways to get those reviews – many seem to think this is the only way to sell books and there are several high end book promo sites that only showcase books with a higher amount of reviews. Authors sometimes shout to the high hills about how important reviews are, especially indie authors and most of the time it goes unheard so there’s a general feel of frustration around the subject. It’s a huge never going away need that can unfortunately be exploited. Exploiting the desperation of a person isn’t a new tactic, it’s basically what sales can be defined by.

Here we have a product, and our marketing team are going to tell you how you need it. You will then feel you can’t live without it and then you’ll buy it…’ – Businesses everywhere, all the time.

Getting book reviews is a constant itch that can only be temporarily scratched. There are several thousands of folks out there who see this as an opportunity to make a fast buck. There are even those who will use readers to carry out the hard work and siphon huge amounts of money in the process all the while working around Amazon who take this very seriously. This is probably why I have written this post, not to controversy grab for reads, not to name and shame but to inform and hopefully get the message across that authors are being exploited for reviews (which aren’t the be all and end all), but what exactly am I trying to inform you about?

Being approached to write 5 star reviews…

I’d never been approached as a reader to leave 5 star reviews on Amazon until the other day an ‘account’ slid straight into my DM’s . For the sake of this post let us call this account ‘Reputable Readers’ and what exactly did ‘RR‘ say in said DM?

(Paraphrased and wording changed)

‘Hey, wanna review books for (undisclosed amount of money)?’

(Three/four paragraphs of waffle about what services they provide for authors and books)

‘There’s a certain expectation that you should leave a 5 star review. We’ll pay you (undisclosed amount of money) per 5 star review’

‘We’ll also pay to buy the books you review just so they are verified purchases via a well known online payment thing. You stay classy!

‘Representative from Reputable Readers’

What’s the big deal about this?

From the paraphrased message and trust me, this is everything relevant they said, you can see they wanted me to just leave 5 star reviews for books they recommend. It’s what they haven’t mentioned that serves as red flag numero uno. There is no mention of leaving an honest review or even reading the work that I would have to buy. They are pretty up front about it but in a clever way and clever is probably what this whole deal seems on the surface.

This whole ‘service’ looks to be instigated via Twitter messages and under the radar. ‘RR’ will approach an author desperate for reviews > author likes the concept and agrees, then pays undisclosed amount of money (probably a lot) > ‘RR’ approaches a willing reviewer offering part of that undisclosed amount of money > Reviewer does all the work, leaves review, verified purchase.

‘RR’ have no real interaction on Amazon and they basically serve as an expensive middle man that rakes in the cash and gives a little to the reviewer who has left the review on their own account. All which operates undetected. A cash incentive will always persuade someone to say yes while they also persuade the author with 5 stars. This whole deed is seemingly invisible to Amazon who are huge on fake reviews but through this process it’s very difficult to prove.

If I were to try and report ‘RR’ I couldn’t due to lack of real proof, they are just a middle man and that probably only leaves me with one choice, to report the author who really isn’t the bad guy here. They just want their work to be liked and in this ever growing world of the internet it’s tempting to google ‘buy 5 star reviews’ because there are so many who are offering this service.

This whole concept is clever and perhaps an immorally genius attempt at making money and that’s why I wrote this post to serve as a warning to authors and readers. I’m not a fan of anyone being exploited and on this world wide web, it’s everywhere and authors are being exploited here. They could also get themselves in trouble if Amazon found out.

Authors paying for 5 star reviews is wrong, being paid to give 5 stars without reading a book is wrong and more importantly Amazon don’t like it, they will shut your shit down if they find out, trust me!

Disrepute

There are several different types of review services that pop up online all the time many of which provide readers with books and authors with honest reviews – it’s all about execution.

I’m a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery who are a growing social platform for readers and writers and I have even been tipped by an author after leaving an honest review for their work . I suppose that’s what this whole deal is about. Paying for 5 star reviews puts other readers who spent time reading into disrepute, it also preys on the desperation of some authors who just want reviews: this is especially prone in beginner authors who no doubt ‘RR’ will target. It’s also lying and misleading potential future readers. You could argue, this is just business, and I want folks to read my stuff, they don’t need to know what goes on in the kitchen. You could argue that, but not here, shove that opinion.

Methods of honesty

Straight up, reviews don’t actually matter that much. And yeah that’s coming from an author who checks to see if he has any new ones multiple times a day. They literally serve as a gate keeping method for some promo sites and not much else. Of course they mean a bunch more to the small time creator but eventually that small time creator won’t need just reviews to sell books because readers would have invested in them as the person first. If I were you, I wouldn’t focus on trying to get reviews but to get people reading your stuff through promotion. Check out the resources section for that…

Concluding thoughts…

The best we can do about subjects like this post is to talk about them and spread awareness, especially to those who are vulnerable to a scam – let’s face it, we all are. Writers and bloggers as a collective are stronger together.

I’ve kept the ‘service provider’ nameless in this post to firstly avoid any retaliation – trust me this happens a lot with these posts and because ‘RR’ will be here today and probably gone tomorrow for another one to pop up. How they change tactics is up to us to find out and report to the community which I care for.

Thanks for reading and of course your thoughts are welcome in the comments – keep the opinions light…

Weekly Writing Inspiration #8

It’s a new month and yet another week so with that in mind it’s time to share memes. Perhaps there’s something amongst all this you will find inspirational, either way September is going to be the busiest month of all time for me. If you hear the faint sound of an explosion in the distance around the 1st of October, it’s just me, exploding….

I suppose we can all relate, although things have been okay-ish this year apart from the global pandemic….. okay maybe I am in denial and I should just accept this year for the dumpster fire it is…

Ah, those tricky interview questions that require an answer outside of logic….

Rock and roll man! Respect to the fans….

Don’t get me started with the Youtube. Would you like premium? Please start this survey, have another ad…. WE NEED A NEW VIDEO PLATFORM without these things…. do something, someone, oh hello Bill Gates…

Good ol’ Bill…. but windows 8 was crap… no hard feelings though, especially if that vaccine works and you create a new platform to rival Youtube! I’m not asking for much

Feel free to copy and paste this all around writers, that’s what I did…. let us browse past the $10,000 part quietly….

And this here graphic shows August was my best ever month for organic book sales ever – no promo, no enhancements just natural sales!

Speaking of Book Sales, this month like I mentioned will be busy and will also see the release of my 6th book Darke Awakening which is part of the Order of the Following Series.

Other books in that series will be on promo starting with Cemetery House which will be FREE to download today and the next day – then discounted over the weekend. If you like a Halloween vibes type of read then check it out, it works as a stand alone also and it NEEDS REVIEWS!

You can also expect another Hall of Information Interview very soon! Stay tuned folks, stay positive but for the love of God do not test positive. Thanks for reading, hope you were moderately inspired. Peace out, rock and roll man!

Weekly Writing Inspiration #6

It’s Friday! We made it, again, what to, nobody knows, the weekend if your not working…

The licence to use memes and twitter re posts in order to make someone laugh is back…

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Seriously, you don’t need to please anyone else in your writing, just you. Reviews and film adaptations would be nice though… 

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Sneakily wholesome…

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Interesting and polarising results, enough to tell me there is probably a market for the covid book/film stuff. My current read is about the covid outbreak which is why I asked, review coming soon.

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So naturally we have just a light pandemic meme…. 

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This was the first of two glowing reviews my works got this week. Open Evening may be the oldest ride in my fairground of books, but the line is still one of the longest…

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I really enjoy asking questions on twitter and Instagram…. so much so I have also started to interview fellow creatives. The 3rd Hall of Information review dropped this week and Blair from Feed the Crime shared some blogging wisdom – she’s close to 1000 WordPress followers! 

hall of information interviews feed the crime

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I mean being a gentleman can probably just extend to having manners and not being an asshole… anyone can do that – and it isn’t a challenge not to… 

And we shall close with the second glowing review my work received this week. The Teleporter owns it! Take care all, and see you in the next one! 

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Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Today’s post is another re-blog but a very important one from fellow author Damien Linnane who has generously shared his experience of how he beat a very well known scammer in the world of book reviews.

As some of you will know I have shared my experience with the same ‘reviewer’ and it’s so important as authors and creators we work together in sharing our experiences for the greater good of the writing community! Check it out below… 

 

It was January 2020. My novel had been released for less than two months. I was busy juggling my day job, my master’s degree, running a small business and preparing for an art exhibition. I knew I should have been doing more work to promote my novel, but I really didn’t have the time. And […]

via Red Headed Book Lover – How I Beat a Scammer — Damien Linnane

Weekly Writing Inspiration #4

It’s been a while since I did one of these. The truth is, I’ve been busy being busy…

In between interviewing fellow creatives, reviewing books, celebrating 6 years of blogging among other stuff I haven’t had time to share memes and writing things so here’s a feature length dose of weekly writing inspiration… hello new followers; thanks for the support!

* The disclaimer is not all of these are writing related or even memes… 

I’m 31 on Tuesday, these are my thoughts… 

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Gary has no chill, we all know someone like that…

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The cake really isn’t a lie… (and wear a face covering if you go anywhere public and indoors!)

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I don’t think Samsung’s ‘Atomic Bell’ alarm clock jingle will be appearing on the radio soon, but I can still relate… 

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Promoting new authors and their awesome works. Check out this one from Eleanor DeSouza

Not what I was expecting

 

the 80s

Aliens is easily in my top 10 awesome films of all time… ‘Alright sweethearts…’ 

Not a meme but a very important read for anyone in the author world. Check out the rest of the post by Damien Linnane here

Red Headed Scammer

 

Time flies when your reading books… Wanna know what I learned along the way?here’s a post about that…

achievement

Futurama has appeared back on my viewing sights as of recent and it’s worth a watch just for the comedy value – laughter = good feelings… plus Bender’s got a shiny metal ass… 

Shout out to fellow author and blogger S.D McKinley for these awesome words. Check out his blog and give it a follow! You can read my review for his book here…

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So I think I might write another play… the source material is pretty good…. 

ghost

That wraps up this weeks writing inspiration in the form of memes. Thanks for stopping by, rock and roll man!

 

Weekly Ramble #39

Blogging seems to be an art form that is rewarded by effort. Much like writing or creating any type of art, it revolves around content. Even in the very early days of starting out, it may feel like you have a solitary audience of that one person looking back at you in the mirror but all of us start somewhere.

Creating content is something anyone can do, but content that readers find compelling may be the biggest challenge and best talent successful artists have; some of the greatest won’t even create something for a market. Some won’t even be appreciated in their lifetime, those lucky enough to may not even appreciate how much their work has an effect.

This year has been a journey for me, in creating. My sole aim is to use my already created content to put myself on the ‘map’, what map that is; ‘Middle Earth’, ‘Westeros’ or even ‘Narnia’, nope,  just a map where people are able to discover and know that my content exists. I’ve tried to fuse that already existing content with further content creation, this blog specifically, and it seems the more I am putting in the more I am getting out.

Knowledge has been a powerful tool in using this blog, I know what its like to be an indie trying to get reviews, so therefore every book I have reviewed this year has been indie. I’m supporting those like me because we are in the same boat and good stories won’t ever disappear. The following I am building in return is just a side effect of that work. Much like art, it’s true power lies outside the boundaries of its own intentions.

Has your work achieved things you would never dream of?