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.

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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.

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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Where did we go?!

Sorry for the disappearance and the less than perfect reviews of just book series instead of books.  Been a pretty hectic few months.

I’m reading ‘Til the Last Petal Falls right now.  About halfway through, so that post shouldn’t be much longer, few days if I can get more than a few minutes at a time to read and then type.

To tide things over until then I’m going to rank a lovely story I’m rather fond of.

No review this week?

As a matter of fact, yes, there should be.

There’s no big press item this week. And as soon as I can get a moment to give it the attention due I plan to review a pair of novels and another webcomic.

There is also another author who is working on a review of some self-published items she’s recently finished reading but she’s an author herself and one of her own stories has engrossed most of her attention of late.

So bear with is for a bit and there will be more coming.

Also there’s the matter of submissions! We could use them. We’re all readers here and could spend a year or two going through our bookshelves reviewing those, but we’d much rather review stuff we’ve never seen before. So, come on, don’t be shy.

Genre doesn’t matter, nor length. Poetry, scifi, westerns, mysteries, romance, it doesn’t matter we want to see it. Published already or coming soon doesn’t matter. Just so long as we can give a date it’ll be on shelves or a link to where it can be bought today we’re good.

Here we are!

Welcome to Indie Fic Reviews!

We’re new. How new? Well, we’re still looking for works to review. In the mean time we’ll just review things we’ve been reading and really liked.

Are you an author? Are you a small, indiepress publisher? Submit your titles!

Who are we?

We’re normal blokes (and ladies). We’re artists, techies, writers (one of us has a published book! Indie, of course), we’re people. We’re the same sorts of people who would be buying your book off the shelf, except you don’t have a big corporation backing you to let people know it’s on any shelf. We’ll tell them how wonderful you are.

We will try to avoid negative reviews. Now this doesn’t mean every book will receive glowing praise. More like if we read it, and we like it, we will say so. If we don’t like it, we will examine if it was our own personal tastes or the book’s quality that was responsible. If the former we will try to review the book on its merits, personal bias be damned. If it’s the latter we will reply back to you, privately, to say that we will not be reviewing your book, unless you select to allow us to post a negative review. Why do we avoid negative reviews? Because you’re small, indie press. You’ve got enough stacked against you. We may not like your stuff, but someone will, and we’d rather not sway that person’s opinion away from you. No press, for you, is (in our default opinion) better than bad press — if you disagree, that’s what the checkbox is for.

Happy reading!

Hello world!

Welcome to Indie Fic, the self-publish and small press reviews blog.

As you can see, we’re still under construction.  Sorry about that, hope to be fully up and running soon.

If you’re wanting to go ahead and submit a review query there’s a simplified form up there.

THAT form will be removed at the end of today, and by then the permanent submission process and form will be in place.