THE WRITER is an obsessive soul. First the fixation is on the writing. A dedicated writer really does not want to be disturbed to cook dinner, clean house, unload the dryer, iron laundry — even eating can be a secondary concern when inspiration hits.
Say you are not a constipated writer and everything comes out like... you know what — then, the next thing to obsess over is the book cover. Depending on how fast one works, this can take up all of two days. I quite like this phase, because it's sort of like colouring in time at kindergarten. It's creative, and if your laptop isn't being overheated by the various programmes you are using, you can even listen to music as you work.
Next sequence, upload to estore. You would think this would be the easiest part. But not when your ebook is full of pictures. In the digital world, the book full of pictures is like a tome, so heavy that you have to re-edit everything because neither Amazon nor Kobo have the capacity for what your computer says your work is worth in megabytes. This is actually tougher than you might think, because most of the photographs are not there for decoration but complete the chapter of the story.
Spend several hours researching how to squeeze things down and discover that Apple has made its OS upgrade, Mountain Lion, incompatible with nearly everything that isn't Apple. A pox on their corporate ego.
Still, with some judicious editing, the megabytes are dropped to a passable number for Amazon, if not Kobo.
Five seconds later, obsess again: how to get the book in front of enough faces??? Conclusion: reviews are needed. Problem: how to get reviews?
It is probably easier to find a pearl in an oyster than to find someone who is willing to review your book and make it something others want to read. Author David Morrell posted on his Facebook on August 27, 2012: " I put almost no faith in online reviews. The only time they seem to be honest is when some idiot gives somebody's book a one-star review because the e-book price is high." To put the quote in context, he was responding to a New York Times article entitled, "The Best Reviews Money Can Buy."
Money can buy reviews? Why not, right? Money can buy everything else.
I don't know why Morrell focussed only on online reviews. It stands to reason that if an author can buy a review online, he/she can also buy one in print. But if this is considered taboo, so is the concept of having someone the author personally knows do a review. Too biased. Morrell is even anti the idea of bartering: you know, a free book in exchange for a review. He tells those on his Facebook page he has never solicited a review.
Of course he hasn't. He has had the backing of a traditional publishing house to help him with that. They have a whole department to liaise with the press, and the people working in it know exactly who to talk to — because it is their job.
In the new age of digital publishing, print reviews may not be irrelevant but they are certainly an anachronism. Obsess more about how to satisfy a cynical world that does not allow for reviews from people you know — even peripherally on Facebook.
The obsessing brings you to the obvious conclusion: this leaves WHO to spread the word?
Suddenly you are that entrepreneur sitting at the end of a driveway, selling lemonade. It may be the best lemonade in the world, but until some individual stops to say here is my 5 cents for a glass, no-one is going to know. If only people walked more...
Originally posted on Goodreads, September 4, 2012