Tag Archives: book blogging

please keep digital box set covers this

Please put flat covers on digital box sets, a reader’s request.

Yesterday, I fell and twisted my ankle…or twisted my ankle and fell. So, I spent most of the day laid up on the couch with an ice pack, listening to an audio book (Aurora’s End) and tending my Calibre library, which is where I keep track of my non-Kindle books. (I really wish Amazon hadn’t changed file formats to prohibit being uploaded to Calbre. That way I could have them all in one place. But that’s beside the point.) Yesterday, I made sure every book had a listed page length and, if it was part of a series, that series was listed, along with the books place in the series.

look complete we are

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but didn’t want to dedicate several tedious hours to. In this case, I was stuck on the couch anyhow. So, I was glad for a task that was mindless enough to do while following an audio book. And I feel super accomplished!

I’m likely to spend much of today similarly immobile. This morning I’m looking at covers. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I have definite opinions about such things. I realize, of course, that my opinion is just that. I don’t expect to suddenly get my own way in all things, even this small thing. But, as I have little else to do at the moment (and in case it make any difference to hear a reader’s opinion), I’m going to tell you about it.

I want to talk about the covers of box sets/anthologies/omnibuses/etc. (I’m going to use the term box set to include all of these.) Well, as an aside I also want to take a moment to yell at the top of my lungs ALWAYS PUBLISH A BOOK’S PAGE LENGTH! I don’t care if it’s a digital book. It annoys the ever living FUCK out of me to try and discover if I’m picking up a short story or an epic and only find “File size: 3031 KB.” But that isn’t what today’s post is about. Today is about book cover conventions for box sets.

I find that a lot of authors use 3D rendering of the books in the set instead of a flat cover. I 100% hate this. I don’t actually hate the renderings. I think they’re pretty and make great promo tools. But they are pictures of a box set, not a cover of a box set. (See the difference?) Let me show you why I feel the way I feel. Here’s an image from my Calibre library (ordered by length). I could have done the same in Goodreads, but, as I said, I’m working in Calibre.

3d renderings of box sets don't fit in

You see, everything matches in size and shape. There’s a flow and then, BAM you hit those box sets. They’re the wrong shape, all that white space stands out, and they break up the symmetry. They basically stand out for all the wrong reasons. This annoys me more than is probably reasonable, but enough that I’m taking the time to write a whole post about it.

I actually feel the same way about authors who don’t stick to the size and shape conventions for book covers in general too.

make your cover match industry standard
That book in the middle isn’t an audio book. It’s just a book with the wrong shaped cover and it stands out horrendously. To me, books that don’t conform to the industry convention for cover shape scream ‘poorly done self-publishing.’ I actually hate to say anyone has done something wrong, because part of the joys of self-publishing is the ability to do things differently if you choose. But, for me, allowing readers to maintain ascetic cohesion when they are looking at their digital shelves is important. Again, it’s just my opinion. But it’s one I feel strongly about.

Going back to box sets. I don’t actually care If the cover is one created for the set and just lists the series name (like cover one), has stylized rendering of the books (cover 2), just has all the covers of the books themselves (cover 3), or something else entirely.

examples of box sets
Just so long as the overall image is rectangular and flat, so that it matches other books on my shelves.

And in case you needed one more reason to stick to flat covers, let me mention #Bookstagram. I love Instagram. I post a ton of book pictures. So many, in fact, that between See Sadie Read and Sadie’s Spotlight, I have two accounts full of almost nothing but books. (The latter entirely ebooks.) I recently posted this one.

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere (not on Amazon, the author’s page, or Goodreads) can I find a flat image of this book cover. And while this was an ARC, the book has been published with this as it’s cover. Tell me how much nicer that picture would have looked with a flat image of the cover! It’s got a super pretty cover. I’d have much preferred a real image of it.

So, there you have it folks, my unequivocal opinion on the size and shape of digital box sets. Am I alone in this? Anyone feel differently?

jo linsdell blogger interview banner

Hey look, I got interviewed

jo linsdell interview


About a week and a half ago, I was interviewed over on Jo Linsdell Books & Blogging about my experience as a book blogger. It was a lot of fun. I shared it around on social media, but didn’t even think to share it here. Sorry.

If you’re interested in what I might have said you can go check it out here. If you’re interested in what some of the other book bloggers/tubers/tikers/stagramers said, go here or here. Either way, enjoy.


Tips for submitting Ebooks to bloggers for review

ID-100207548This is an on-going list of things that help make submitting an ebook for review flow smoothly. I’ll be adding points as they occur to me. It’s written to be specific to me and my blog, but in all likelihood would work for any number of bloggers. I’m trying to focus on specific tasks—the mechanics, so to speak—not the request itself. So I’m going to skip over the obvious be polite/professional, don’t SPAM or harass the reviewer, and other such basic etiquette. The Bookish Brunette and Lindsay Buroker do a good job of breaking that down, if that’s what you’re looking for. This is about the nuts and bolts of getting a book into my hand and a subsequent review on the net.

To start with,

I know this sounds too simple for words and every blogger to ever write a tips and hints page starts with it, but people really don’t do it. In my case, I don’t just assume they don’t, I know they don’t. I set up two email addresses, one labelled 2lazy2readP&P@sadieforsythe.com and the other, further down the page, labelled ereview@sadieforsythe.com. A full 1/3 of the requests I get come to that first email address. Of those that manage to read far enough to spot the trap, many still don’t follow the directions (point #2), so I’m forced to wonder how well they read them. But it’s a start.

I know, I sound like a first grade teacher. But my case makes an excellent example of why this is important. I strive to write an objective review. And, as much as I love meeting authors (and I really, really do), I find that too much conversation upfront impedes my ability to be impartial. This means I’ve set the whole system up so that I don’t actually ‘meet’ authors prior to reading their work. After—great, but not before.

lady-face-angry-mdSo, if you send me a ‘request’ that says ‘write me back if you would like a copy’ (which is me requesting your book, BTW, not you requesting a review) you’ve A) not followed direction and probably annoying me upfront, but more to the point, B) just collapsed my system. Don’t expect a response (not that you’d know that, since you probably didn’t read the policies or you would know better). And…

Under no circumstances write me this email and expect me to comply.

Good afternoon,

I saw your contact on book tweeting service, can you send me more informations about book reviews? Where will you post your review? your blog, amazon, goodreads, Facebook?

this is my new book…

Thank you very much

Looking forward to hear from you

Best Regards

Not only because all of that information has already been provided in the Do it Yourselfpolicies he/she obviously didn’t bother to read (yes, it came to the 2lazy2readP&P address), not to mention it’s listed on Book Tweeting, but also because I get several requests a day, have more books available to me than I can read, and therefore don’t need to work for more. I don’t need to make my case to you, just the opposite in fact. You make my job easier if you wish me to do you a favour, not the other way around. I don’t work for you. In fact, this gets me so riled up I wrote a whole rant on it. I know this really falls under the etiquette umbrella, that I wasn’t going to address, but it’s just so basic it needs repeating. 

I know this really falls under follow directions, but it deserves it’s own point. I ask for a title, synopsis, page length and cover image. I love it when authors include genre classifications too, but I don’t specify it. I ask for this information for a reason. It helps me decide if I’m interested in your book or not, but it also helps me in another way. I use Goodreads to keep track of my TBR list. If you’re book is too new to be on Goodreads I often add it so that I can place it on the appropriate shelf. To do this I need some basic information. Yes, I can search Amazon for this information (this is now acceptable by GR policies) and I do. But having the basics to begin with helps me help you.

man and kindleThis is something I never would have thought of if I wasn’t running an ebook review blog. Think it through. You send me an e-file. I then log it on my TBR list and plonk it onto my Kindle, to be read at some future date. When that time comes, I search my kindle for one of two things, the title or the author’s name. If the file is called something else, god forbid Unkown (of which I have several), I’ll never find it and, therefore never read it. So take that extra second to ensure that the file you attach to your email will show up when searched for.

If you send a Smashword’s coupon include the Smashwords link, not the Amazon one. I see this all of the time. People send me a coupon for one site and then link me to another. It’s usually Amazon. I think authors want me to know it’s available there. I promise, I’ll always look. But the logistics of the problem is that I still end up having to search for the book before I can actually use that handy-dandy coupon you’ve provided me. And as anyone who searches Smashwords regularly knows, their search engine is a bit of a pain. So just providing the link upfront instead of the higher profile Amazon one makes me happy. Honestly, I would prefer no link to a useless link. I’m just saying.

listI have on more than one occasion, received the same book from the same author 2 or 3 times. I’m assuming this isn’t harassment, so much as poor bookkeeping. This wastes everyone’s time. You waste time posting a duplicate email and I waste time trying to log it only to discover I already have it.

If a book is 2nd, 3rd, etc in a series, I will need the previous books. This admittedly runs the risk of my reading/reviewing the first one and not continuing the series to the newest book. If that happens at least you got one review from me. But without the beginning of the series I’m almost guaranteed not to read the book you send me.

I know those first couple reviews are the hardest and most nerve wracking to find, but I’m unlikely to choose to read your book until you have them. The reason is that I’m going to be honest about my thoughts. That means if I disliked the book I’m going to say so. I’m not heartless though. I want to know going in that if I dislike the book and rate it poorly there are enough other reviews to balance everything out. There are a lot of dissenting views out there on the use of acquaintances for reviews. As long as they actually read the book before reviewing it I have no issue with it.

Like I said, this is an on-going list. Expect it to grow. But it’s a start. I’d be really interested in hearing from others. Have I forgotten something, missed something, mangled something? Let me know.