Beware the keen reviewer!

I learned this one the hard way. Hopefully by sharing my experience I will spare a few indie authors the sting of the keen reviewer – you know, the Goodreads reviewer who has some sort of ranking, a blog, and seems to get an awful lot of novels for free; the reviewer who messages you and asks if they could pretty please have a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. Some want PDF formats only (my e-reader is broken, so I’m having to use my computer), others insist on paperback (my computer is broken, I can only accept paperback), and the ones that will accept .mobi or .epub just, somehow, never get round to reading it (my life is so busy right now, I just can’t cope with all these novels I’ve requested).

Despite any reservations about dishing out your novel for free (and not only that, but in the case of paperback, paying for it), it’s impossible not to consider the what-ifs of sending out your novel to unknowns because, if they do review it, it will hopefully generate book sales. There may be the added risk of the reviewer disliking your novel and slating it (or worse, leaving you with a DNF), but that’s the part of the deal referred to as ‘honest’. The latest obstacle is Amazon’s updated Terms of Service – Authors can no longer send out their book for free with the agreement of a review, only with the possibility of one (they can’t demand, or expect, or request it: only hope). I gave away copies of my novel before these ToS came into force, and have yet to actually see a review from a reviewer who requested to review my book.

At first I only sent out .epubs and .mobis, refusing to distribute PDFs. Anyone with a phone or a computer can read PDF, and if the only version you have is the one you formatted to print, you’d be giving them free rein to print and sell your own novel for you. Ebook files feel more controlled, excluding when it appears in a ripped version, helpfully created by the people who make their living  converting self-published ebooks into PDFs for distribution around pirating websites (side note: society demands to be constantly entertained yet bemoans actually paying authors, artists, writers, directors and musicians fairly for it). The ebooks went out to two or three people early last year, and I’m still waiting for the promised reviews a year later.

Not yet stung by the above agreements involving ebooks, and still believing the reviews would materialise in time, I sent out a couple of paperbacks. I’ve come to admire the cheek of the emails essentially declaring that the person can’t be bothered to pay for your book themselves, but that they would like to read a hard copy, and can you please send it to them posthaste. Usually accompanied by the excuse of a broken e-reader, a few do have the honesty to admit to just preferring paperbacks. Telling them a paperback is currently impossible due to lack of funds, I offer an ebook instead – but no – they brightly insist they are happy to wait until I have more money. After a bit of research to determine that, yes, they did have a reviewing blog, and yes, they were regular reviewers on Goodreads, I decided I was willing to shoulder the cost for the promise of a few more reviews, and sent them the paperbacks.

The reviewers received their paperbacks last year. If a review doesn’t materialise within the first six months the whole process feels like a waste of money – yes, the review may happen eventually, but once you approach the one year mark the reviewers could have arguably just bought the book themselves.

One particular reviewer sent me an email telling me there would be an extra charge to pay if I wanted my book read within a year. They had received my novel a few days before, and were just too busy to read all the books they had requested. I wasn’t the only author stung by this – several complaints appeared on Goodreads from other affected authors. Not only was this reviewer essentially ransoming books for money, they were suddenly declaring themselves a paid reviewer (which is against Amazon and Goodreads’ terms of service), so if a review did materialise there was a very real possibility that Amazon and Goodreads would assume I had paid for the service (I hadn’t), and that I might then be banned.

Three months pass, then six, then nine. Ever hopeful that a review may still appear, you send polite emails prompting for updates, only to be met with radio silence. The ones that do get back to you seem to all be reading off the same script – this year has been manic – I’ve been unwell – your book is next on my review pile – I started reading it but something came up – I’m hoping to get back into it soon. Reasonable excuses, if given the once. Less so, and less believable once given again, and again, and again.

These reviewers need to be aware that when they are asking for a free paperback, most writers probably can’t afford it to send them one, even if they agree to send it anyway. Margins will already be minimal, if there are any profits at all. Just because a book is published does not mean that it is selling, and just because a book is selling does not mean it is profitable. If the reviewer receives the free book as discussed but then doesn’t produce the honest review in return, as discussed and agreed, it is essentially stealing.

Of course this doesn’t apply to the legitimate reviewers on Goodreads, of which there are many. I’ve sent paperbacks to several reviewers who were gracious, kind, prompt and considerate – all of which I, or a friend, approached. If someone approaches you, however, and asks to review your book in exchange for a ‘free’ copy, my advice would be not to do it. It may be tempting, but my experience so far shows me that the review will never materialise. If they’re trying to build their portfolio as a reviewer there’s no reason why they can’t start with free books in promotions, offers from Kindle Unlimited or even just purchase the novels themselves.

If you’re one of the reviewers I sent a free copy to and you happen to read this – I’m still waiting hoping.

Last chance: TFK Logres for £1.99/$2.99!

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LAST CHANCE to pick up your discounted copy of The Future King: Logres on Kindle. Until 11pm today you can get The Future King: Logres on Kindle for £1.99 and $2.99 on Amazon UK and Amazon US. To take advantage of this deal just purchase the Kindle edition of The Future King: Logres from either site while the discount is valid!

This deal finishes at 11pm tonight. Hurry before it ends!

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So things have been busy lately. Not busy in the sense that I’ve got mountains of work done, am now half way through to publishing book two (or indeed that children’s book I was working on), but busy in the sense that real life has got in the way. New job, new home, and a new schedule that so far has left little time for anything else other than working and sitting in the sofa each evening, thinking about how much you should be doing with your evening time versus how little you are actually doing (LOTRO, I blame you).

That said, I have managed to get a couple of things done and will get back into the swing of working on projects evening and weekends soon enough. I’ve just organised another Goodreads Giveaway for the months of June and July and, feeling festive, have sorted out a Kindle Countdown Deal for the Spring Bank Holiday. Ironically in order to do this I’ve been shut inside fiddling with graphics and promotional material rather than actually sitting outside enjoying said spring weather, but so far I’m pleased with what I have planned. The phrases I’ve used to make the promotional posters come from the pages of my novel itself; lifted straight off of the New National propaganda posters that Arthur walks past on a regular basis.

Smile and the world smiles with you, read one. A happy worker is a happy person, read another. You have the things in life you deserve, proclaimed the next. And, would you know if your neighbour is housing illegals?

These posters will be released randomly in the run up to the Goodreads Giveaway I’ve organised, hopefully to rally up some excitement, so watch this space. In the meantime I’m hoping to break through book two syndrome, you know – something halfway between blank page syndrome and where the hell do I start syndrome. Don’t panic if you were expecting me to have already drafted book two by now – it’s all there, ready to go and planned on paper – I just want to start it right.

Except then I remembered that book two isn’t book two at all. I don’t need to worry about starting a new novel – it’s a series. And more specifically the second instalment of the series was always intended to be the second half of Logres, married entirely to Volume One. In fact, they’re not even separate: they should be the same book, just divided into two publications. Suddenly I don’t have to worry about new novel syndrome. Now I can just pick up where I left off – start a new chapter – without worrying about the final finished polished package.

Meanwhile I’ll keep working working, will adapt to my new routine and continue to anxiously await reviews from my read-to-reviewers, the people who are offering an honest review in exchange for a free copy of my novel. Yes, I now know I should have organised all of this before my release date way back in December last year, but I’m new at this book-writing book-promotion thing, and really I’m learning as I go along.

14 things… The Future King: Logres

With many thanks to Mlpmom (blogger, reviewer, and all-round nice person), I present to you my very first guest post: 14 things… The Future King: Logres, as hosted on Mlpmom’s amazing blog, My Guilty Obession!

14 things… The Future King: Logres

I’m excited to bring you a very special guest post from new author M.L. Mackworth-Praed and her fantasy book, The Future King Logres.

This looks like it is such a fun and interesting read and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Thank you so much Meredith for being here today!

Please do take a moment to visit My Guilty Obession to see what I’ve been up to. In my post I offer insight into what led me to the Arthurian Legends, how my characters first emerged and 14 things I learned whilst writing my debut novel. So check it out!


 
Want some links? Here are a couple:
My Guilty Obession (Mlpmom) on Amazon
Mlpmom (My Guilty Obession) on Goodreads

The Future King Logres is available to buy on Amazon!
Just click here.

 

 

Last Day – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

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Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

The final day of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Today is your last chance to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account and to enter on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends and remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ shelf as well!

Thank you and good luck!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Set in a dystopian future that you fear could all to easily come to pass, with a well-written and engaging storyline and believable, intriguing characters, this book pulled me in and kept me hooked until beyond the last page. With the hope that M. L. Mackworth-Praed has already started on the next instalment in this series, I strongly recommend that you read it yourself.

 

Week Five – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway

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Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

The fifth week of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! You still have two days to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account and to enter on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends and remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ shelf!

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling. The Future King: Logres is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Overall it was a weekend well spent, I’d recommend the book to anyone who enjoys YA novels, Orwellian stories, or the legend of King Arthur. In fact, my son is reading it now. I can’t wait for the next installment!

Good luck!

Week Four – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

giveaway4

Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

Week four of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! You still have one week and two days to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account and to enter on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends and remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ shelf!

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

An outstanding work of dystopian fiction, The Future King: Logres centers around Gwenhwyfar, a high school student who seeks a right path as her world grows increasingly dangerous. Set in mid-21st century England, Gwen and her friends must navigate a turbulent and mysterious political scene, oppressive school conditions, and the intricate landscape of their personal lives to survive and hopefully fulfill their destinies.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

As a fan of the Arthurian Legends, this modern day conception of them spoke right to me! This is a brilliant, fast paced read that won’t leave you disappointed!

Good luck!

Week Three – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

giveaway3

Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

The third week of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! You still have two weeks and two days to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account and to enter on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends! Don’t forget to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ shelf either.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

I liked the characterisation of the characters in this book, you loved who you were supposed too and hated who you were meant too! It was so fluid and strong in it’s writing style that it’s hard not to love this book. I’m so excited for the second book to come out, and to see what happens next!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

This is a great read – an exciting story that escalates into something pretty epic before you realise what really is at stake! Would enthusiastically recommend

Good luck!

Week Two – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

giveaway2

Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

Today marks the beginning of the second week of my Goodreads Giveaway! You still have three weeks and two days to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need is a Goodreads account, and to enter the on the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. Again, the purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your Goodreads friends and remember to add The Future King: Logres to one of your Goodreads shelves!

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

Although this book is over 500 pages long, it doesn’t feel like it. You don’t notice the time go by at all because not for a second, are you left bored. My favourite thing about this book was at the beginning, you don’t think there’s much wrong with the world of this story, it seems almost idealistic, until little things start happening…Then bigger things…Then it hits you about this sort of tyrannical system of government and how different things actually are!

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

Came highly recommended. Just taking a break so I can write a review! It’s a must – a new spin on a traditional story. Who doesn’t love a tale about the legendary Arthur?!

Good luck!

Week One – TFK Logres Goodreads Giveaway!

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Giveaway dates: Feb 01 – Mar 02, 2016
Availability: 5 signed copies (1 copy per winner)
Available: Worldwide (see giveaway page for list of eligible countries)

The grand opening of my Goodreads Giveaway is here! Today marks the first day when you can enter for the chance to win one of five signed paperback editions of The Future King: Logres. All you need to enter this raffle is be a Goodreads account holder, and enter the giveaway via the Goodreads Giveaway page. This raffle is available to everyone and runs for one month until the 2nd of March 2016. Once the Giveaway has ended Goodreads will select five winners at random – who will then receive signed copies of The Future King: Logres, posted by me!

Please see the Goodreads terms and conditions for this giveaway.

You can find the event page for this giveaway here, where you can invite others to enter. The purpose of this free raffle is to get as many people involved as possible – so don’t forget to share it with your friends! Remember to add The Future King: Logres to your ‘to read’ list as well.

Thank you and enjoy the Giveaway!

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school’s handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK’s prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.

100% of readers liked this novel. Check out their reviews here.

M.L. Mackworth-Praed creates a multi-layered and inventive story, based on the Arthurian legends, through concise and descriptive prose and a unique sensitivity to the elements of successful storytelling. The Future King: Logres is an amazing novel and a great literary achievement.

Check out more reviews from Amazon here.

What this book does beautifully is describe and explain the world it is set in without you even realising it. You never have to read through a history or exposition explaining the background; you learn through the conversations, narrative and action of the story about the England that Gwenhwyfar and her friends and family live in.

Good luck!