Staying open, but slowing down

I’ll get the submission guidelines updated to reflect this within the next couple of days, but here’s the thing:  Backlog will be updated once a week sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, due to various life things that could interfere with even that the new “did aliens eat it?” is going to be if two whole weekends go by without anything showing up.

The site is staying open for the foreseeable future, but the way Amazon‘s review policies are changing lately I may close down simply because it won’t be worth the bother; this site isn’t where the meat of the promotion for your books comes from and never will be — how many people actually pay attention to review blogs?!  The meat of this site’s benefits to people are the Amazon and Goodreads reviews, and the former probably twice as much as the latter.  There may come a day when our reviews are being pulled from Amazon or being rejected out of hand and when that day comes the site will close.  I shan’t delete it, but the forms will go away and the backlog will remain as it was.

IndieFic closing?

There is a distinct possibility I will eventually close down the site.

It won’t be tomorrow, it won’t be next week.  It may not be ever — it’s up to others.

I started this in hopes that it might become something more like a community.  I knew, primarily, that the traffic to this site would be authors seeking reviews.  I expected some, even many, would come here go straight to the request for a review and move on.  I did not expect that to be virtually the exclusive traffic flow.

Few people ever look at the backlog, certainly no one follows the links from it; few people ever look at the reviews — there’re some who come here directly to the submission guidelines and then to the submission form.

I am giving until January.  If by then I have absolutely no one else reviewing regularly then I will take down the submission forms.  I will leave the site up — no reason to delete the reviews and backlog so that will last as long as WordPress feels inclined to host it.

This is far too much for one person who has his own writing and editing to do, a full time job on top of that, as well as a family to spend time with to do alone.  I’ve greatly enjoyed seeing all the books out there, but this is more stress than it’s worth and the lack of any traffic anywhere but the submissions page is, frankly, depressing.

I’m feeling better so I’ll be getting back to my to-read list and some reviews should be showing up shortly and I will continue to contact authors for another title to read until New Years … or the site might live on, if other will come forward and not just offer a review, but actually follow through.

Long hiatus

I had to go in for emergency surgery.

I’m out now, but on narcotics for pain. I cannot concentrate to read or post.

Those whose titles I have I shall read if/when lucidity allows and post a review when/if I can make anything like sense.

Recovery can be as long as another month. Titles will trickle onto the backlog as capacity to comprehend a computer allows or at the leisure of my pair of assistant admins. Of course others are involved so the site could technically go uninterrupted, but the others all have been conspicuously absent for good reasons related to their own time pressures and those don’t change just because I’m ill … hell, one is my wife!  She’s also impacted and will have even less time for this than she already does!

New policy

Here’s the deal.  I’ve been trying to politely reply to incorrect submissions.  People using the last resort email without reading the guidelines have been getting summarily and unceremoniously deleted, but others have used the submission form for non-fiction, or they’ve submitted their query via the contact us page, one person even recently read the submission guidelines and somehow got the impression it was pick-mix and skipped straight to the last resort option and even admitted as much in the email.  Until today the ones not just sending us any and sundry email on the last resort address have been getting polite replies directing them to the submission guidelines and form.

No more.

The forms explain themselves.  The submission guidelines, while possibly able to stand being phrased more business like and stuffy (something I’d rather slit my own wrists than attempt to do to the poor defenseless English language), are pretty straight forward and clear.  If you can’t read them, it is now our policy to assume that this also means you cannot write and that we will not be able to finish your book; literacy, after all, ought to be a prerequisite for being a writer.

I’m sorry, but it’s going too far and getting to be too much.  There have been days where over half of the submissions were incorrect and it took the better part of an hour to reply to all of them before adding the people who did as they were asked to our backlog!  That’s time that might have seen the start and finish of someone’s short story.  It’s certainly the amount of time it took me to read our first comic submission!

When you waste our time you waste other authors’ time.  So no more.  When you can follow the guidelines we’ll consider your book.  Until then you’re refiled to the bin without a glance or a tear shed.

Yes, this post is rude.  Believe me — there are hundreds of bad submissions behind it.  Patience and politeness have been exhausted and have left the building.

An observation about publicists

As this is an indie reviews blog, I think it is within my responsibility to point out a trend to my fellow broke, struggling authors out there:  Publicists, probably aren’t worth what you’re paying them.

[horror]Whatever do you mean!?[end horror]

I mean out of all the improper submissions to this review site a good 90% of them are made by publicists.  Publicists tend to do things like give me anything and sundry for the title of the book, except the title of the book.  They submit non-fiction or self-help to this fiction only review blog … the list goes on.  Really, if they can screw up the book submission in some way, they’ve done it.  Authors & publishers?  Some, but not hardly as often nor as badly.

So, just from a reviewer’s stand point, you’re really wasting your time and money on most of the publicists that I’ve come across.

Does  this mean publicists are bad?

NO!  Gods, no.  Just like with publishers and agents, some are brilliant (or at least competent) and others are an utter waste of carbon – they tend to resemble humans in this regard.  The key is in carefully research your publicist, ask questions of them before you hire them, then keep an eye on them.  Ask for progress reports, and otherwise check up on them to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  Remember:  they’re your employee, but unlike the agents and publishers (unless you took a scam artist one of those) where if you don’t make money, they don’t either, a publicist gets paid no matter what.

Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2013, Day Two: Non-Traditionally Published Books

A little holiday shopping help.

Authors and publishers? Might want to post your stuff in the comments.

Readers? Some great stuff listed in there. Check it out.

Whatever

Today is Day Two of the Whatever Shopping Guide 2013, and today the focus is on Non-Traditionally Published Books: Self-published works, electronically-exclusive books, books from micro presses, books released outside the usual environs of the publishing world, and so on. Hey, I put my first novel up on this very Web site more than a dozen years ago now and told people to send me a dollar if they liked it. Look where it got me. I hope you find some good stuff today.

Please note that the comment thread today is only for non-traditional authors and editors to post about their books; please do not leave other comments, as they will be snipped out to keep the thread from getting cluttered. Thanks!

Authors/editors: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Authors and editors of non-traditionally published books only. This includes comics and graphic novels…

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It was bound to happen

In the submission guidelines there is listed an email address. Leading up to this address is a careful explanation of the situation in which one is expected to use that address and the manner in which to use it. This circumstance and method are the only uses of this address. Using this address serves no purpose except being a backup method of landing on the backlog at exacly the same expected turn around time.

With this detail is a note. This note is now bolded, italicised, and underlined, in fact. The note explicitly states use of the address in any manner or circumstance save the one described will lead to immediate deletion of the message without opening it.

Naturally one assumes that authors, agents, and publishers would be a literate crowd. It would be rather a serious handicap to their profession if we weren’t.

Sadly, my day job puts me in regular contact with people whose profession ought to require knowing their own arses from holes in the ground who, in fact, could not manage this with illustrated instructions. Thus I suspected (even with the warning, or perhaps especially with it) that someone would, sooner or later, get that far and fire up an email without first engaging their brains.

Today it happened.

To the hapless author of said email. You know who you are even if we do not – as promised the message was unceremoniously discarded – so if you would like to try your message again using the correct submission form we would be glad to hear from you.

The rules are not there to be difficult. Our submission form is not complex and we’re quite loose about it; believe me, some folks could use a lesson in what short & sweet means … Or book description (really, the autobiography with the summary isn’t necessary, we’re reviewers not journalists) and a few books have come across without links and such … still we dutifully post them and dutifully consider them for the next book to read. The rules are there so that things can go quickly. The form keeps the data tidy and eliminates searching or things like the author name or book title when posting to the backlog, quickly finding the book on your site or retailer so we can create the appropriate links, etc. the forms and rules help us help you.

Bypassing them gets you nowhere except possibly mocked. Please don’t think it clever to play those kinds of games. You waste far more of your own time – it takes less than a second to mark a message for deletion.

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Author beware.

Amazon might not be doing this on purpose, or they might not be that incompetent. Regardless if it’s stupidity or malice/greed, this is uncool. Let’s get the word out and keep these jokers honest (or get them some remedial courses in common sense).

jeanettevaughan

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted…

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Break for birthday

Normally I’m the one who adds the new queries to the backlog.

It’s my birthday today, so I’m going to take a break.

If Toby wants to add them she’s welcome to, but I’ll get to them tomorrow or Wednesday.  Don’t worry, though — they will get added, just a day or two later than typical.

Wow!

What a response!

Looks like our listing on The Indie View is getting some folks’ attention!  Every day someone else is added to the backlog.

Toby and I have each claimed a book and are dutifully working our ways through them.  Feel free to peruse the backlog, see if there’s anything you like and consider writing a review of it for us (even if you don’t, go ahead and check it out, there’s some rather amazing variety in there — something for nearly everyone type of thing).