Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Amazon Reviews

#SelfPublishing Decisions . . .


There’s no way I could write a post (or, series of posts) that would capture all the decisions you could make in a self-publishing career… Notes from An Alien

Though you could delve into most of the important options by taking this Free Course

The reason you could never discover all the options? The selfpublishing landscape is always changing.

If you were to click on these links {from the Top-Tags widget in the left side-bar} for the archives of my posts about selfpublishing or self-publishing (even the word indicating its existence has two accepted forms…) and read them in chronological order, you’d see my changing coverage of the Whole enterprise.

I began my foray into self-publishing by availing myself of the services of FastPencil and had them help me publish my short novel Notes from An Alien (free to download) in print and e-book formats.

FastPencil distributed the books to Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and a few other places; then, more outlets than I’ve yet been able to determine joined the bandwagon (most of them charging more than I’d asked for from FastPencil {some day I just might figure out how they got away with that; though, I don’t much care if they make money off me as long as my book gets more coverage…}).

Over the last 6+ years since I first published it, I’ve:

Revised it…

Made it free to download here on the blog…

Published it, in serialization, on Wattpad.

Figured out how to make various e-book formats of it…

And, always had a link to it (plus all my other writings) in the left side-bar here…

Just over a week ago, I did something it took me around 4 years to finally accomplish.

I published the revised edition on Smashwords.

It would take a number of blog posts to explain why it took me so long to utilize Smashwords, since I’d blogged about them numerous times (check the Top-Tags widget, down a bit, in the left side-bar…).

Then, last week, I just Did It

Then… I discovered I had to get FastPencil to stop distributing it (they were ultra-nice about it and I’m hoping to get an interview with them here on the blog soon…).

It’ll take another week for the old versions to disappear; and, one of the things which it may surprise you to learn—I, in no way, bemoan not having it on Amazon (though, it will still be on all the other platforms Fastpencil was sending it to—PLUS, about 25,000 libraries…)

O.K….

There are more details about the why and how of this Self-Publishing Decision; but, since the book will no longer be on Amazon; and, since I want the reviews to be on my Review Page; but, since I have to have a post to link to in order to put the reviews on that page, here are the Amazon Reviews (there were more on Amazon; but, they were already included on my Review Page…):

By John Paul:

“Fantastic book that requires the reader to think and rationalize. If you like intellectual reads that inspire provocative discussion this book will not let you down.”

By Emmaleigh:

“Zoltai’s Notes from an Alien is a thought-provoking trip into alien worlds that makes the reader shudder with the close similarities that are often reflected on our own planet. The inhabitants of Zoltai’s worlds are bent on destruction of other worlds, over such things as greed, religion, and politics. Worlds are being lost, and civilizations are declining, all because one civilization assumes they are better than the other.

“This tale is an interesting and provocative leap into the realm of Sci-Fi. Using ties that reflect back on much of our own world history, the story is told by the view of a descendant of the first expedition to a new world. History unfolds rapidly, and the search for everlasting peace in the galaxy is profoundly written. The characters are finely crafted and the story unfolds with magnificent clarity, worthy of a movie. These characters, as they live and die, as they walk through time, leave a palpable change in their world.

“Notes from an Alien is a must read for fans of the Sci-Fi genre. In-depth, detailed, narrated by the fabulous Sena, the reader struggles along with each character, slipping into a world that mirrors our own. Well crafted and, if Sci-Fi novels are among the genres you like to read, definitely add this to your own TBR list.”

By Saran:

“Before reading, I knew very little of what this book was about beyond the title. But in nineteen chapters, each headed by an attribute of the Divine, Mr. Zoltai leads us through the struggles of a dual-planet civilization in achieving real and lasting peace. It is a deep rich read, a history, detailed with nobility and sacrifice, characters that I fell in love with, and mourned when they passed. There’s little humor, but what there is adds whimsy to the personalities of such as Rednaxela, Velu and the Artificial Intelligence Morna (btw, I would like an AI myself!). I also want to say that it’s the novel’s use of religion to create a united world, beyond the division and strife it’s blamed for on this, that appeals greatly to me. That is a subject very close to my heart – seeing the progression from one being and the resulting civilization to the next. I want that for us.”

For those readers still with me, I must reveal an Important Self-Publishing Decision—I began this blog (on January 1st, 2011) as a means to promote my novel; and, it’s probably the most important decision I’ve made; since, constantly shouting about one’s book will not draw folks to reading it—it, most obviously, repels them…

I chose to make this blog an Exploration of Reading, Writing, and Publishing; while, sitting patiently in that handy left side-bar is a link to the novel…

As the broadcasters say: “Today’s Important Take-Away Is…”:

If you plan to self-publish, find a way to be of service to others that carries within it a path toward your book; but, always, Service First………

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A Review of Amazon Reviews . . .


I don’t usually respond to news in the Book-World that has the taint of controversy.

Not that controversies shouldn’t be addressed but, often, they’re full of so much radical personal opinion I can’t find clear issues—I want to provide useful information here, not spectacle

So, I’m treading a narrow path today—this issue may clear itself up rather soon.

But, large corporations can be slow to change their policies and usually make decisions based on bottom-lines rather than humane values.

What’s the big deal?

Awhile back an author was discovered putting fake reviews up on Amazon for the express purpose of damaging the reputation of other authors.

Now, Amazon has blocked all reviews from authors “in the same genre” as the book being reviewed

Here are some comments from an article in The Telegraph, Author backlash over Amazon’s new online review crackdown:

“Scores of authors in Britain and across the Atlantic have recently reported that their reviews have either mysteriously disappeared or were never published.”

“Critics suggest this system is flawed because many authors are impartial and are experts on novels.

“In recent weeks, some authors said they had more than 50 reviews deleted without notice, provoking waves of critical comments and posts on blogs and internet forums.”

“They were later told their reviews breached Amazon’s guidelines because they were left ‘on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product’.”

Hmmm

An author in the same genre is automatically a person with “a directly competing product”

Let’s look at an imaginary headline about two classic adventure novels:

Treasure Island Delivers More Adventure Per Dollar Than Inferior Products Like The Call of The Wild

Rather silly, eh?

A few more comments from authors in that Telegraph article:

“To be honest I would just rather Amazon delete all their reviews as it… has caused so much trouble…”

“The whole online review system is deeply flawed to me and has been for years.

“They need to tackle anonymous reviews as they cause all the trouble. They could easily ban those and all of this would go away.”

Amazon updated its FAQ with this:

“We recently improved our detection of promotional reviews which resulted in the removal of reviews, both new and old.

“While our enforcement has improved, our guidelines have not changed.”

This whole thing is very weird to me.

Such a huge bookseller institutes a policy that stops experts in their field from reviewing a piece of work they have unique insights about, based on a ridiculously flawed perception of books as nothing more than materialistic “Products”

[ EDIT: After I published this post, I read an article on Forbes that gives a great example of how bad Amazon’s mistake is—employing their ban on same genre reviews. ]

More than ever, I would Love to see your comments on this very strange adventure.
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