Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From Podler:

"If you watch public television, you know all about the periodic membership drives that most stations conduct. Here at the PODler we decided to conduct our own version of such a drive by asking you to contribute by using the above Amazon Paybox in the next 30 days. Why? Like keeping public television on air, keeping the blog running takes money. For me the money comes in the form of the time that I invest to keep the blog running. I would like to keep doing this pro bono, but in real life, as we all know, nothing comes free. The demise of bloggers like PODy Mouth and the slowdown in posts at other review blogs still going reflects that reality--we all have other, more pressing, commitments, and the blogs are essentially spare time hobbies. This drive, therefore, is also a test of the community's ability to come together and a test of the relevance of this review blog to that community. After all, if no one is willing to contribute even a dollar, what's the point? So, please contribute and tell your friends to do so as well. "

My Reply:

"I truly hesitate to say this, but...

What is the point. The love of great fiction? Support of the industry? A chance to share our views? Whatever motivation it was that caused one to start the blog and must, ultimately, cause one to continue it (or not, if it falters).

Asking for donations is one thing, many blogs do. But suggesting a bribe is necessary to continue and prove the communities "worth" strikes a sour note IMHO.

PBS have enormous overheads. A user of blogger has none and either feels the use of their time worthy, or not."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Self-Published Magazines

So, give a poor potential customer a hand here. Today I got the idea that I might want to check out magazines and periodicals available through Lulu. My logic is that I love the idea of magazines--but I hate every actual mainstream magazine out there. Especially the women's mags. So maybe what I need are some niche self-published magazines on topics that interest me.

Only I can't even find them on Lulu. It isn't a product category or an effective search word. I know they exist. Why can't I find them?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hi all! I have begun the simplification of the website by listing all 57 (!) reviews on the main page. The old webpages will be left a little longer but authors should update their links to the blog versions. This would also be a good time to tell me about any errors in reviews and let me know about any books that are listed under the wrong genre (or could be listed under a better one).

I will add listings arranged by author, title and rating when I get a chance.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moving the Furniture

Changes lie ahead! The inimitable Dawno is busy, busy, busy. I didn't sell my soul to the devil for her help, but the neighbor is missing a few chickens. I have also had my thinking cap on.

POD People started as a website, then the blog was added. Now it is clear that posting all reviews both on the blog and the website is too time consuming and I am well behind. So I think in the next upgrade I will swap to just linking from the fixed website to the blog rather than posting in both places. Any objections?

Hopefully this would free up some time to add extra features on the website rather than duplicating what is already here. But make the reviews on the blog easier to find by listing them by genre.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

To Blog or Not to Blog

In a tour of POD blogs today's I find that I am rewarded by new posts at iUniverse Book Reviews (2 days old) and the PODler (1 day old). I know not to check POD Critic who posts to a schedule and lets people know when there with be a hiatus (last post, 5 days old). Some members of the ring post more erratically like Leo Stableford who obviously has other stuff going on right now (last post 7 days old). However both None May Say at 48 days and Pub-ioneer at 70 days will soon fall off my list of bookmarks altogether and I assume that Fantasy POD at 194 days and counting is effectively dead and just hasn't let us know.

It is a widely reported, but potentially apocryphal fact, that most blogs die off within three months. My own rule of thumb is that new blogs not destined to last tend to go within the first 50 posts because blogs that had a lower posting rate tend to take longer to wind down (rather than the sudden burn out characteristic of busy blogs). Needless to say, I hope that all of these POD blogs will experience a resurgence some time soon. I try to have a post up here every day, but if there really is nothing to say there will be gaps....

It is a simple fact that a blog like this tends to be well down the list of things to do. My own list goes roughly: work, writing-editing-promoting my own fiction, my own website and blog, my erotic romance blog, general real life events and then reading-reviewing-posting on the POD People site. The order has to do with real life and money earning activities getting priority.

So, I am currently noticeably derelict in reading the books in my TBR pile. I try to keep posting on the blog to keep it active, to show I am still committed to this place and hopefully tide the readership over 'til the next review. If you get sick of my 'fill in' posts here are some ideas:

1) Send me news, views or any short comments relating to self-POD. Reprints from your own blog are quite welcome and will be posted with a byline, link and a small picture if you so desire. Please, no simple promotional material, although a promotional element is fine if there is also some broader commentary attached. (PODpeep at gmail.com)

2) Join the POD People. The more reviewers we have, the more reviews we will be able to provide. Please note that there is no participation requirement. You selected the books you want and their format, when you want them. If you want to just provide one review that will be appreciated. Email to learn more.

3) Just drop me a comment about what you would like to see more of on the blog. I want to encourage people to visit and help grow interest in self-published books. So any comment is helpful so I know you are out there, what you want to see more or, less of, or just general impressions and suggestions.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Edits, edits, edits....

I just sent off the fourth round of edits for my second fantasy novel (upcoming from Samhain press). It really got me thinking. With an understanding (insistent but not demanding) prompt, or two, or ten, my editor got me to see some weakness in my writing. In fact some pretty serious, repetitive weaknesses. To be honest I doubt I would have faced up to some of these issues without some outside and somewhat authoritative input.

It got me wondering, how do you get that when you self-publish?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Can You Review Half a Book?

From time to time I see reviews on blogs of books that the reviewer didn't finish. Normally it isn't a good sign. My own position is that if I bought a with my own money book and I can write about why I didn't finish a book, why it didn't grip me. If I buy a book I also buy the right to say pretty much anything about it, or use it to line the parrot cage if I so desire.

But if a writer sends me a book I need to finish it. There's a sort of understanding. But boy do I feel bad when the review is negative. I know that's the deal, reviews must be honest. I know most authors realise this too.

If I am not going to review a book I toss it aside as soon as I lose interest; life is too short to spend it reading bad books. And given this attitude when I soldier through something I normally have a much more negative attitude by the end than I would at the 'giving up point'. And hence probably write a much more negative review albeit for more clearly thought out reasons.

I wonder what authors would prefer?

* Positive or nothing
* Give up and tell me why, or'
* Read on, maybe it will grow on you... (but the reverse is more likely, oh well).


Monday, July 09, 2007

I have a suggestion for the PODdy Book Club. Cory Doctorow's latest anthology Overclocked is available here. I am suggesting the first story 'Printcrime' which is only one page long, but if you like it then please try 'When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth' too. Then send me up to 500 words of what you thought abought either story, or both--along with your name and link to your homepage. Please send your thoughts to PODpeep at gmail.com by July 16th.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

'The Splendor of Antiquity' by Cheryl Anne Gardner

Title: The Splendor of Antiquity
Author: Cheryl Anne Gardner
Price: $9.95, paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1-4303-1412-7, paperback
Publisher: Lulu
Point of Sale: lulu.com

Buried along the coast of the Black Sea, a long dead Babylonian god awaits a woman to discover his existence, joining his soul and body once more. She fiercely resists any affection, preferring the uncomplicated company of people long departed and ritualistically buried. A mortal man also desires this woman, though lacks words and the suitable actions to attract her passions. This mummified deity inadvertently sets in motion the union of two wayward lovers.

Joliette is a renowned archaeologist, tenacious in her pursuit of ancient artifacts. Like a dog unearthing a bone, her keen intuition leads to their resting places, where decayed human remains wait patiently for discovery. However, that perception does not apply to relationships that are more intimate. Joliette knows about Olivier’s many indiscretions, breaking off their relations immediately after the India excavation ends. Since then she avoids him, until her major find in the Altari Mountains.

Also an archaeologist, Olivier “Olie” Botton is a suave French playboy whose specialty is – along with women - medieval weaponry. His attraction evident towards Joliette, the pleasing liaison during the India digs proved their compatible intellect and personalities. Olivier’s past dalliances overshadows what they shared. Even though she dumped him, he continues to hope to renew their relationship. Whether she incites a challenge or true love in him, only Olivier can discern.

As related through the ethereal voice of the mummy, “The Splendor of Antiquity” is an intricate though eerie story laced with a subtle but lucid romance. As Joliette reconstructs his face from clay, he senses her every emotion while listening to her idle chatter that fills his lifeless hollowness. She senses an uncomfortable bond forming between her and the mummy, infiltrating even her dreams where they come together in lust.

Ms. Garner’s characterization is at times complex though adds depth, pulling the reader tighter into the dynamic plot. Jeopardizing their painstaking efforts, Olivier shows proof that the artifacts recovered with the body do not match the age of the corpse. Hours upon hours of research leaves them with no way of linking the artifacts to the body. Tired and frustrated Olivier invites Joliette to his apartment for dinner, promising to keep his hands to himself. As the mummy claims…Olivier lies. Rekindling their romance leaves Joliette convincingly uncertain, and feeling the weighted burden of loneliness.

“The Splendor of Antiquity” is a simple, though exquisitely multifaceted romance without the conventional angst. What unadulterated turmoil exists moves smoothly, while building the romance between Joliette and Olivier. The in depth archaeological backdrop does not distract from the story, instead creates a more affluent reading experience for this lover of romance.


Reviewed by: In August of 2006, Pamela broke into book review writing with Erotic Escapades, but writes for The Erotic Bookworm, The Muse Book Reviews, Romance At Heart, and now POD People. Her own web site, Chewing the Bone exhibits book reviews in multilple genres, including children and young adult fiction. With all that she has going on Pamela finds time to dabble in flash-fic writing. Although, she doesn't aspire in becoming a published novelist, because it would take valuable time away from her first love... reading.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Problem with POD...

When I talk to people not directly involved in self-publishing (as a writer or reviewer) I generally get one of two responses.




Both people really don't know about self-publishing and have not come across, as far as they know, any self-published books. Once told about the phenomenon they usually continue to not really care.

Those who have come across it, in my experience, have hit something they didn't like. This isn't surprising, the only gatekeepers of quality are that the author has to be capable of finishing and publishing the book. And via a service like Lulu this is not anywhere near as arduous as it once was.

This means self-published books are roughly equivalent in average quality to the slush pile at a publisher. The general reader, of course, is not being paid to read this material--quite the reverse.

It seems to me that this means readers of self-published books fall into four rough categories.

1) Whoops I bought a self-published book.
If a local author slips a book on the shelf, a good proportion of the customers will probably not know that iUniverse or Lulu are not third party publishers. Of course this kind of distribution is rare.

2) The fearless adventurer
Some readers will take their chances, at least to begin with, and buy anything that looks interesting.

3) The niche reader
If a reader really wants a book about a specialist topic, and the mainstream presses aren't providing it, they will actively seek out self-published material. They will probably also be somewhat forgiving of variable quality.

4) The referral
Just like the editor dealing with slush, people can try and cherry pick the pile through recommendations and referrals. There isn't a publisher out there selecting what they deem the top few percent, but there are other ways to be selective. The difference is that the reader can try to be selective to meet their own tastes not that of a generic readership.

This is what we are trying to help with. But I wonder. Have any of our reviews influenced anyone's decision to purchase a book?

Lulu and Adult Content

Lulu is changing their mature content listings so that book will mature content will be effectively invisible except through direct links you provide to specific customers.

"This means that content rated Direct Access is restricted to customers you select. You will receive a web URL at the end of the publishing process. You can then send this link to the people you want to see and purchase your work. Direct Access content is not searchable on Lulu."

[Thanks to Dusk for mentioning this change at ERWF.]

Book Club?

I am just floating this idea to see if there is any interest:

If I linked to an e-book, short story to novella length, that is available for free on the Internet would anyone be interested in having a look at it? I would give a month for everyone to have a look and invite y'all to send in a brief response to it (up to 500 words?)

I think it would be interesting to see the range of responses a story can elicit.