Sunday, 30 June 2013

The ratings game


We're all used to rating things. Whether that's out of five, ten, or 100, we do it instinctively in this online world. Rate books; rate films; rate recipes; and even ratings for more unsavoury things from the slimy depths of the Internet.

Generally we assume we know what different scores mean. We may have our own system, or we may check what the site says scores mean. But overall I think we like to assume that equivalent scores mean the same. And if I give a book three stars on one site, I would also give it three stars on another - after all, they mean the same, right?

Unfortunately, they don't.

I was interested in how different book sites that all use a five star system interpret each score. My books are often reviewed and rated on these sites, and some readers are kind enough to put their ratings and reviews on more than one site. I found some interesting things. Come with me as we delve deeper.

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Monday, 24 June 2013

Friday, 21 June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Reviews


I normally post all my reviews to my Facebook writing page, and link to the best from the book's description page on this blog (in the 'Buy My Work' section). However, reviews of my books have appeared on a blog I'd never encountered before, and I think they're so perceptive and intelligent that I wanted to point people to it. The blog is Need To Read, Got To Watch, and you'll find reviews of Turner and Cold Fusion 2000 there.
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Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: The Wasp Factory


The Wasp Factory
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



A story of cruelty.

I wanted to read this book because I was curious about whether a writer could take a despicable and evil protagonist and create any sympathy for them. Does this succeed? Only partly. But I didn't actually care about the protagonist, and they weren't the reason I read on. My only sympathy was due to circumstances, and I wouldn't have been bothered in the least by any of the characters in the novel dying. To that extent it can't be a success.

On the plus side the novel is well written, and the first-person perspective does not get boring. I wanted to read on to find out what would happen (even if I was then disappointed).
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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Amazon support goes in circles

Oh boy. I've been dreading typing this up. Because it takes so much time. And I'll look like a whinger (I am). On the other hand, companies often ignore you until you go public with your problems. The suddenly it all gets fixed. I've found this many times with other websites I write for. I proved it again recently when Lulu ignored a long-term issue: as soon as I did a blog post and pointed them to it someone got on the case, and the issue was fixed. I literally sigh to myself that you have to do it this way. Big companies are always the worst. The answer is to support the small companies, where customer service comes from someone who cares, rather than being a branching script that ends by looping back to the top! Okay, on with the epic saga. I shall call this one "Sigeon Fighting The Great Amazonian Fire-breathing Beast". And so, back in the mists of time...

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Sunday, 9 June 2013

What blogs do I follow?


Lots! Quite a few of them are the blogs of other writers.

I've spent a lot of time on Lee Thompson's blog recently, working my way through all of his posts with advice for other writers. There are lots of tips in there about the craft of writing and I've enjoyed every post. I also read my friends Bec Zugor and Shaun Horton's blogs. I can often identify with the situations my fellow writers find themselves in!

Then there are blogs which are less about the craft of writing, and more about the marketing and business of getting published. The Bestseller Labs often have good articles on promoting your work sensibly and without annoying potential customers. Query Shark covers the basics of submitting a pitch for your novel: I talked about how useful the site is about a year ago. And the Smashwords blog often has interesting details about the market for e-books.

The Writers' Village blog covers both craft and promotion, so straddles the two areas.

That's not everything I follow but some of the ones I make the most effort to keep up with. Outside of writing  I also read the excellent PC gaming website Rock, Paper Shotgun most days, and read my yoga teacher's blog.
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