Tag Archives: book

Indie authors of the world, please stop doing this!


OK, this is me venting at the world. I’ll admit that. This isn’t a reasoned, ‘here is the proof of my argument’ post. It’s me expressing horror at something I seeing become a common, though admittedly not frequent (thank gawd) occurrence.

But if I see something that drives me so crazy that I feel the need to rant about it, I tend to also think I might not be the only person and maybe I should point this out as REALLY, REALLY, REALLY annoying. Plus, at least as far as I’m concerned, not only is this not a productive marketing strategy but it is prohibitive. I don’t buy these books. I don’t even consider buying these books. I actively dislike these books and am inclined to think badly of those who put these books out. I trust I’m making my dislike of the practice I intend to discuss quite clear.

Let me backtrack a moment, let the rest of ya’ll catch up while I tell you what the heck I’m talking about. I am talking about authors that use the ‘book description’ portion of their books’ Amazon page (or any other seller, but lets go with Amazon for simplicities’ sake) to provide the reader praise of the book instead of a blurb, description or synopsis. Why would you do that?  Especially when there is already a section for editorial reviews provided and a whole reader review section.

I have an example and I want to apologise to the author in question for using him as such, but his book’s Amazon page is a perfect example of what I’m talking about (and it’s the book that brought me to my current irritated state).

But first, here is an example of someone doing it right. It’s Julio Alexi Genao’s When You Were Pixels and I chose it simply because it was one of the last books I reviewed on Amazon, but it’s also a fabulous short.

ding it right

Notice, a brief synopsise in the ‘book description’ section. Not an essay, just enough to tempt me into reading the book. If I’m interested in reading it, I can then scroll down the screen and look at the reviews.

Now compare it to this (clicking on them should get you a bigger picture and if you could please ignore the fact that, as always, I had about a bazillion tabs open I’d be eternally grateful):

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 14.08.45 Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 14.08.33 Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 14.09.08

See, here’s my issue. The cover is really intriguing. I’m interested. I scroll down to the blurb…oh, no blurb. People seem to like it, even a couple people whose names I recognise from the book blogging scene, but I still don’t know what the book is about. So, I scroll down a little more to the “From the Author’ section, thinking maybe he might say something hinting at the book’s subject. Um…no…just more people apparently liking the mystery book.

In the end, I’d been given 44 snippets of praise, some repeating, but nothing to tell me what the book is about. Let me make a bold statement here. I don’t care how many people like your book, if it’s not about something I’m interested in. This means that in order to decide if I should buy and eventually read your book or not, the description is significantly more important than the praise. Much, much more important.

But there is a whole secondary problem here. In a world where indie/self-published authors have to work their derrières off to hustle up a couple reviews, I’m left wondering how a book that provides no clue to its content garnered 44 reviews worth quoting. Now, I’m making no allegations. This book has been out for over two years. It’s had some time to gather readers, but it still makes me wonder. And some readers are a lot less forgiving of questionable reviews than me.

So here I am, looking at the book. It has a cool cover and it’s a freebie. So I could take a chance on it, but the honest truth is that unless I know the subject, it’ll just be detritus on my kindle forever. How does this help the author sell books? How does this provide me, a reader, enjoyment? It doesn’t, not at all. In fact, it makes me irate, though I admit that’s possibly not the norm.

So take note self-publishing authors and indie publishers, this is a horrendous practice. It puts this particular reader off, and honestly, since it makes no sense at all anyway, how could I be the only one? Stop. Stop right now. Undo every book page you have in your catalogue that looks like this. It’s a stupid, ridiculous thing to do to yourself and to readers. For all that is holy in the book world, please, please, please stop doing this. I HATE IT! Am I the only one?

Review of Nicky Charles’ Bonded

I’ve been working my way through the Law of the Lycan series, by Nicky Charles. You can find reviews of the previous books under the reviews tab above. I grabbed Bonded from Smashwords. Hint: It’s free if you’re interested.

Description from Smashwords:
Reno’s a tough Enforcer for Lycan Link who finds himself drawn to Brandi but duty rules his life. Brandi, just on the edge of starting her career as a Disaster Control officer, falls for Reno at first sight, but are they really meant to be? Is it love or lust and does it really even matter? Enforcers and DCs don’t get along…unless fate forces them to. Bonded precedes The Mating. 

When reading a lengthy series it isn’t uncommon to have things start to fall apart 3 or 4 books in. Not the case with the Law of the Lycan series. Though this book is numbered 0.05, it is apparently the fourth one published and is every bit as good as the first. [I’ve some how gotten out of order and read it third, but I think I’ll live.]

Reno and Brandi are a heart wrenching couple. If ever there was someone you wanted to kick and then scream, “Come on, figure out their feelings already…and your own too, while your at it” in their face these two are the ones. Both try hard to do right by the other and suffer for their efforts. But I also had to respect that mutual sacrificial attitude. It also just served to make the conclusion more moving, though it did feel just a tad rushed by the time it all finally came together. I liked that Reno was strong and sexy but also inherently flawed, both in his own estimation and as a character. He felt fragile despite his strength. You don’t see that too often. Brandi was ever exasperated, but you could relate to her difficult position. I really liked Damien too and can’t wait for the next one about him.

I’ve noted a clear change in the wolves as the books progress. In book one the human and wolf were as one, with no noticeable difference in persona. By book two the wolves were exerting influence on their human counterparts, and here we find that the wolves are distinctly separate characters. They and their humans discuss problems, fight for control, and argue over decision. I’m undecided if this is an improvement or not. Be that as it may, I’m enjoying the series and intend to continue with it.

Review of Justin Calderone’s LARP: The Battle For Verona

Author, Justin Caldrone, sent me an e-copy of his novel LARP: The Battle For Verona.

Description from Goodreads:
Dennis and his friends have been LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) since high school. Now, in his 20s, Dennis is seriously considering giving up LARPing for good. He’s tired of dealing with his overzealous friend Mark; he’s tired of his older brother Brad’s constant put-downs; and he’s tired of the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Check that. Not a girlfriend, but the girlfriend. Alyssa—the one woman he’s been pining over for years.

Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, in their small island community of Verona, located off the coast of Washington State.

But all of that is about to change . . .

While Dennis and his friends are attending a big LARP tournament on the mainland, a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb, led by an American madman, invade Verona and take its citizens hostage—including their families and friends.

When the LARPers find out what’s happening in their home-town, they do what any dedicated LARPer would do: they put on their armor, strap on their swords, and fight their way home—LARP-style!


Larp: The Battle For Verona is utterly ridiculous. 🙂 A small island off the coast of Washington State is occupied by an invading horde of medieval Mongols…riiighhhtt. Then a group of local Live Action Role Players ride in to save the day, not the US military, militia, or even the freakin’ Boy Scouts, but LARPers….Ooookaaay. But all of that is written on the back of the book, so you know going in exactly what you are going to get. This is the type of book you pick up because of the absurdity of the story, not in spite of it.

For me the whole point is being able to abandon myself to the unpredictable nature of the characters who find themselves in a completely unforeseeable circumstance. LARP doesn’t let you down in this regard. Dennis, Freddy, Mark, and Jen a good fun. As semi-professional twenty-somethings they each embody their time. Dennis is stuck. He can’t seem to find meaning in his mundane life. Freddy is struggling with an ethnic identity. Mark hasn’t quite managed to grow up and Jen is determined to find respect as a ferocious woman (as opposed to a pretty lady, or worse, Daddy’s Little Girl). These are characters you recognise from life. You see them day in and day out. Watching them each overcome their own uniquely modern problems has a certain gratifying feeling to it, as does seeing them concur the external problem.

I did find that the book repeated itself a lot and this got a little tiresome. It also felt like everything wrapped up a little too well. I’m all for a happy ending, but it all became so hunky-dory that it felt a bit like a veneer. This was only a small irritant on an otherwise really enjoyable read however.