Reviews of IN HER NAME: EMPIRE and THE SAVANNAH PROJECT

It has been a very busy week, and it’s only Monday.  The more Carolynn and I learn about social media, the more time it takes.    This should change as the learning curve flattens and we start to really know what we’re doing.  Hopefully, we have put our time to good use.  We made several updates to the pages of my blog and updated the website, Village Drummer Fiction.  Navigating these sites should be easier.  We are open to feedback.  Let us know how we can improve our sites.

The author community on Twitter and in the world of blogging has been amazingly generous with their help.  I am gradually updating links to include the many wonderful people who are helping so many of us.  This list is not all inclusive and more will be added in upcoming blogs.

Blogging and Twittering has introduced me to a lot of talented authors.  My TBR (to be read) list has grown immensely.  Fortunately my wife also loves to read and is helping with reviews.   I recently read IN HER NAME: EMPIRE by Michael R. Hicks and Carolynn read THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Garrett.  Following are the reviews we posted on Amazon.

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5.0 out of 5 stars “In Her Name: Empire” is a Winner Read, February 12, 2012
By
Richard Alan “Village Drummer Fiction” (Seattle, USA)

Science fiction is not my favorite genre, but I read a few pages of “In Her Name: Empire” and decided to download Michael Hick’s first installment in his series. If all science fiction were as well written, I would read a lot more of it. The story of Reza Gard, a human who ends up being captured by Kreelan warriors, captured my attention from the first page and did not let go until the end. Mr. Hick’s writing provided such graphic and realistic descriptions and characters, I wanted to visit other worlds and know the characters. I could almost believe the Kreelans were real. The book transported me to the Kreelan empire and surrounded me with the spirit of the Way. Reza’s transformation to his belief in the Empress and the Way was developed with patience and thoughtfulness. Although adopting the Kreelans culture and beliefs, he never forgets his own humanity. While the story is violent at times, it is not gratuitous violence. All of the actions seemed real and appropriate for the scenes.

Michael Hicks has written an extraordinary novel that deserves to be a best-seller. I am looking forward to reading all of the books in the series.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Thriller, February 2, 2012
By
Carolynn

I enjoyed every minute of reading THE SAVANNAH PROJECT by Chuck Barrett. The prologue immediately sucked me in and I did not want to put it down. Jake Pendelton, an NTSB investigator gets pulled into an international conspiracy of assassinations, terrorism, IRA vendettas, and non-stop action. The story was fast passed, well crafted, and entertaining. During a lengthy cat and mouse chase scene in Savannah, GA, I found myself feeling winded. Barrett’s descriptions, characters, and plot kept me engaged throughout the 631 page thriller. I read it in two days. I can’t wait to read THE TOYMAKER, Barrett’s subsequent novel. Keep those thrillers coming.

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I never realized how important book reviews are until I published my two books.  From now on Carolynn and I will be writing a review on every book we read.  I encourage all of you to do the same.

It is nearly 3am and I now have over 4000 tweets in queue.  When I wake up sometime later today I will scan what I can.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a happy Valentine’s Day; especially to my partner, my soul-mate, my wife, Carolynn.  I could not do this without her assistance, support and love.

Happy Reading!

Richard

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My Three Newbie Mistakes and the Blogs that Helped Me Past Them

I think many of you will relate to my story.  I’m sure I’m not the only new author who has committed the mistakes that I did.  When I decided to write a novel, I only thought about what I needed to do to write a manuscript.  I asked my wife to look into how we could self-publish.  I set a goal of writing four books in one year.  I’ve always been a good story-teller and many people encouraged me to write a book.  Naively I thought:

  1. My great story would translate into a great book on the first draft.  (It took a few drafts to become the great novel it is.)
  2. My wife would only have to fix the typos and spelling errors.
  3. We would be good to go for uploading it to be published.
  4. Our friends and family would buy the book for themselves and for gifts.
  5. Word of mouth would create frenzied buying; soaring my first book onto the bestseller lists.

I did say we were naive.  My first book, Meant to Be, was published by CreateSpace, Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP), and Smashwords in June, 2011.  (Carolynn will tell you how all that went in a future blog.)  I immediately began work on the second book in the “Meant to Be” series, The Couples (published Dec, 2011).  I also was making notes for book three as ideas came to me.  This activity was taking place during the weeks that Carolynn was trying to manipulate Meant to Be into the multiple different formats each publisher required.  By the time the first book was published, the second was completed.  Carolynn went into editing and publishing mode while I wrote book three (Finding Each Other, which will be available late Spring 2012).

Meant to Be and The Couples are beautiful novels about people who are striving to find their soul-mate; their life-partner; the person they are meant to be with the rest of their lives.  We are getting great feedback on both books.  People have told us that the characters are like family; they like them and want to know what is going to happen next.   Although the books are selling, they are not selling as well as we think they should.  We needed to figure out why.

I’m sure most of you have already spotted what our near fatal mistakes were.

  • Error #1 –  We had no marketing plan in place.
  • Error #2 –  Carolynn was the only one who read and edited the first book.
  • Error #3 – We did not sign up for a Twitter account.

I’m not sure which mistake was more egregious.  I can tell you the second error was easiest to correct.  The Couples was read by multiple people who made suggestions and corrections, in addition to Carolynn’s editing.  This will continue to be our standard operating procedure until we are able to afford a professional editor.

Neither of us had any experience  with marketing.  We did create a website and a Facebook page.   After that our search for knowledge began.  Carolynn and I began to read everything we could find online, and in print, about book marketing.  There is a wealth of excellent sources available.  We were amazed at how much helpful information this community shares.  Following are some of our favorites.  I will also update the blog roll with the various blogs we enjoy following.   These are not complete lists.  They are just the ones we seem to reference the most.  I’m sure I have missed a few and will update the blog roll as I find them.  By the way, we now have a marketing plan, a blog, and a Twitter account.

The helpful blog list:

I hope you find these sites helpful.  What other blogs and websites do you like?  Please share in the comments.

Richard Alan

 

Village Drummer Fiction