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Once a Bestseller, Always a Bestseller

Have you noticed the offers that attack your inbox promising massive increases in book sales? You have, they’re not difficult to miss. Don’t Panic! There are no offers of glory or riches in this post.

Two days ago, one particular email said,

“Unless you have four-star reviews, your book will fail.”

I followed that cheeky suggestion and discovered their point.

Buy one of their review packages and your book will have a better chance of success. I also noticed that they are setting up their own system to challenge Goodreads. Good luck to them, I hope it works out. Or, do I?

It’s true, I wish nobody to fail with their business endeavours and they may have a point that Goodreads perhaps needs to re-evolve to match the ever-changing world.

One thing I noticed that concerned me is their packages mentioned a ‘team.’ If you bought their most expensive package, your book would be reviewed by one of their ‘top reviewers.’ No names, no testimonials offered.

There is a common thread here. So many offers and promises that aren’t backed up with evidence of positive results.

Delving deeper, I discovered something shocking. There are books on the market carrying that wonderful tag ‘Best Seller’ when in reality it’s far from the truth.

In the case of Brent Underwood, who works in book marketing, achieving the best-seller status took less content and work than you might think. His title, Putting My Foot Down, was a page long, featured a picture of his left foot, and became a number 1 best seller on Amazon in a matter of minutes with the sale of three copies.”

I will not reveal how Brent did that (you can always follow the link) but suffice to say,

Once a bestseller, always a bestseller

Playing the best seller system isn’t unique. Authors, particularly those of business books, are using techniques like cherry-picking lists to present an image that may not be true. Like a picture of a foot being a best seller.

When people hear about or see the ‘best seller’ tag their ears prick up, they give the author more attention and sales explode.

There are enough challenges for Indie Authors without inundation from individuals offering fee-based packages. I am sure many will agree that the only way to become a best seller is to write a great story. With dedication and hard work, get people to buy it and place reviews in all the prominent places.

I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine people out there who are outstanding book marketers but, it’s the people who read the books that matter. I’m not so sure we need more than the wonderful networks we develop with other authors and readers to achieve true ‘bestseller’ status. Integrity and honesty is the only way to go.

The dusty world of Star Ratings

There’s plenty of debate around involving book reviewers and readers about what prompts them to award five star reviews (or less). So I decided to explore thoughts posted on ‘Goodreads.com.’ I discovered how people don’t share the same criteria for awarding five stars. Star ratings become a very dusty issue.

Similarly, I remember considerably heated discussions during one of my postgraduate courses at university about the assessment of feedback given by students on a range of courses. We are human beings and our assessment criteria vary considerably. There are differences just as there are similarities but where we are at any given point in our lives affects how we think about things.

I’m not going to write a conclusion to this post and after reading the opinions of readers and a few writers from Goodreads, you may understand why. Reviewing a book is based on the reader’s opinion. A five star for one is not the same for another and less than five stars does not make a book poor. Also, how can you compare five stars given to a J.K Rowling book and one by Tolstoy?

I am sure some would argue that a problem comes to light when the public notices that a book on Amazon only has four stars. How many will pause to consider the issues? Perhaps it’s time for Amazon and others to abandon star ratings because they are misleading and at best, only a guide.

The number of comments to one thread on Goodreads shows what a ‘hot’ subject it is.

“This past week I have reviewed two or three books on here and on my blog. Looking back, I’ve realized that I gave them all 5 stars. Now on other book blogs that I follow, there is usually some sort of mention that the blogger never gives out five stars lightly. I’d like to think that I don’t give them lightly, but now I’m not so sure.”

“My main “criteria” for a five-star read is if I would go back and re-read it. There are many books that I enjoy, but I wouldn’t necessarily read them again.”

“I rate from 1-5 stars, with a Did Not Finish ‘DNF’ option as well. I do have more 4 and 3 stars than 5, but I am not stingy with them either.”

“I think if you have a clear understanding of the types of books you like, and you pick those up more than others, than you will end up with more 5 star ratings.”

“Authors don’t view a blogger giving their book 5 stars as it being perfect. They view it as the blogger loving the book.

On that same note, most authors will feel the blogger really didn’t care for the book if it’s not a 4 or 5. I know when I see a 3 star review for my books the first thing that comes to mind is the blogger was indifferent about it. They didn’t love it. They didn’t hate it. It was eh. Not all bloggers feel this way, however, which makes the whole thing confusing.

I know I received a 3 star review for one of my books over the weekend from a blogger and she did nothing but praise the book throughout her whole review.

The other thing I think bloggers need to consider when they are rating a book is how they would search out a book themselves. I know readers that tend to avoid books that don’t have at least a 4 star average. If you’re one of those, should you be giving a book you enjoyed a rating below 4 stars?”

And in response to that . . .  

“I know that when I give 5 stars, it’s because I absolutely adored it.

And I will definitely start considering the rating in terms of how I search for books. I really try not to even look at the stars though. I’ll read though a few reviews and decide from there. 3 stars for me is “I liked it, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.” I don’t think it’s horrible, but I do think other readers might enjoy it more.”

“I give 5 stars to books that I consider favorites. I don’t re-read books, so that isn’t a criterion. But a 5 is a book I loved and would recommend to lots of people. I sometimes have a long run of 5 star books. I tend to give more 4 stars than anything, though.”

“If I give a 3, I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. It was just eh. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to a lot of people. I usually try to mention positives in the review, though, and give thoughts on who might enjoy the book more than I did. But just because I don’t focus on the bad doesn’t mean I didn’t really mean to give it a 3. I’m just not the type of reviewer to rant about how bad a book is. Even if I give a book a 2, I explain what bothered me, but try to spin some positives since someone else might like it better.”

“I read and review Indie mysteries/romantic suspense and the subgenres of the above because I’m also a mystery & romantic suspense Indie Author. I love to be able to give 5 stars and I have a point system on which do it: originality in plot, character, etc. even if I’m not “in love” with the book.”

“If I can’t give a book a 4 or a 5 I won’t post a review. I did a 3 star once and felt so bad about it I removed it.”

“I don’t use star ratings on my own blog because I think that the reasons why I liked/didn’t like a book are more important than an arbitrary number of stars. I could give a five star rating to something like The Hunger Games but also to Dostoevsky, even though there’s really no basis by which to compare the two.”

“I do give 5 stars. And it’s usually for books that were perfect for me. It usually has something to do with me wanting to reread the book. If I want to reread the book right after I’ve finished it (and it sometimes happens) I have a 5 stars review.
I rarely do a review for less than 3.5 stars. I do them, but I try to be honest and respectful, as with every other review.”

“I give 5 stars if the book deserves it… there’s no criteria which I base my rating… if the book is really mind-blowingly good then I give 5 stars but there are many possible reasons for a book to be mind-blowingly good for me ha-ha! If I liked the book but I wouldn’t consider re-reading it then I’d give it a 4 stars or less.”

“I’ll be completely honest, I don’t think I’ve ever given a 5 star rating, and that’s nothing to do with me not thinking the book is great, or not wanting to reread it (I do a lot of rereading), I just see a 5 as being unobtainably perfect. Similarly though, I rarely give out a rating of one star, a book has to be really bad for me to go that low.”

“Basically if I give your book 4 stars, I loved it (to be honest I give out a lot of 4 stars, I love reading I can’t help it!), 3 stars I really enjoyed it (and would read any sequels), 2 stars I enjoyed it a bit (and would read sequels if I run out of other books), 1 star I didn’t like. I don’t not finish books often enough for that to even matter!

I like to think that I don’t give out a lot of five stars either, but I feel like I’m giving out more five stars than I should be. My criteria are just that I absolutely loved the book, and it in some way or another changed my life. (The way I view things, my beliefs, etc.)”

“This question had been bugging me when I started doing book reviews. All said and done I respect the time and effort any writers puts in the book making process.”

“If I gave 5 star to all the books I read then the ones that truly deserve it will not have a meaning. So whenever I give a 3star or 4star I give my reasons also. I really hope the authors understand that and not get me wrong. I love all books but there are some which leaves a lot of questions in my mind as a reader.”

“I tend to love the majority of books that I read but for me to give out a 5 star review…it has to be excellent. I think I have a given a few.”

“People tend to choose to read the sort of books that they know they’re going to like, or have a strong interest in. Therefore most keen readers are probably often going to give a 4 or 5 star rating.”

“I do give them out, and my main criteria is enjoyment. If that book produced a smile, a sigh or a laugh, chances are you’ll get a good review from me. Many of the books I like are ones I’ve rated here on GR. To be honest, I don’t generally list the books I hated because I hate tearing down a fellow author’s works. I just prefer not to refer to the book at all in that case.”

I” agree that I don’t like to list books I don’t enjoy. I prefer to have a positive attitude to everything, including books.”

“I agree that I don’t like to list books I don’t enjoy. I prefer to have a positive attitude to everything, including books.”

“Me too. There’s already too much negativity in the world. :)”

“I go back and forth on this subject. There’s no perfect book in my opinion, but if the book related to me on a personal level – if I learned something from that book, if I laughed in a way I haven’t in a long time, if I cried, if some of the experiences in the book mirrored my own experience… I give the book a 5 Star.”

“I do give 5 star reviews if I feel the book deserves it based on story-telling skill and how I felt when reading the book. Did I smile the whole time? Did it actually scare me??? Did I cry? Sometimes I will even overlook some errors if I felt it was a really fantastically told story with fresh or newly approached ideas.

I do give 1 and 2 star reviews occasionally, but never if I was *asked* to review. I can’t bring myself to mark a book under 3 stars if the author personally asked for my opinion. Because really, that’s all that a review is – it’s the reader’s opinion. If I do get a book that I can’t in good faith give at least 3 stars, I will tell the reader why. I won’t post a review. Because maybe the author just needed someone to give them a fair chance and will make changes.

So because I feel that it costs me nothing (usually… sometimes you do get an unfortunate book that is so terrible you feel you’ve wasted time reading it), I am not overly stingy with my 5 star reviews. Not if I feel the author told a great tale and deserves a high recommendation.

That being said, my 4 star reviews are also high marks, but maybe there are lots of errors that disrupt the flow, or 3 stars if I had trouble following the story.

Basically, I do this for enjoyment because I love to read, I’m enjoying connecting with other writers, and if I can help someone out, why the heck not?”

“Five stars books are, to me, those that are not only wonderfully written but also leave a lasting impact. Some books let you know right away whether or not they’ll be memorable.

So, yes, I give five star reviews. I don’t believe five star reviews should be withheld on the basis that “nothing is perfect.””

“I give 5 star reviews based pretty much only on my level of enjoyment. It’s my blog, not the Olympics so I don’t really deduct points for grammar if I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. I will note it though. If something kept me from loving the read then I will explain that in the review. That being said I am in no way afraid to give a one star review either.”

“One last comment about 5 star reviews: These are worth their weight in gold to Amazon Authors, and I preach, to whoever will listen, to go thank those readers who’ve taken the time to give a 5 star review. Heck I’ve been known to thank 3 star reviewers!

As a book blogger, I think I’ve gotten more thank yous for 3-star reviews than 5-star reviews. I find my 3-star reviews have more feedback and constructive criticism than my 5-star reviews, which tend to be more gushing, I love this book type rants.

My criteria for giving a 5 star review is it must change my life. It must be a book which I’ll reread many times over and it really clicks on some level.

I do my reviews in a similar manner to how I deal with editing clients. I read the book objectively and then write the reviews in a balanced and constructive manner. This means that I do have 3 star reviews where I pull the book apart and I’ll probably have 1 and 2 star reviews at some point too.”

“For me to give 5 stars to a book I would have to be hooked on it, sitting up late even though I am going to work the next morning, think about the book when not reading it, looking forward to getting back to it, be emotionally tugged at by the book, re-read the book again, immediately recommend the book to friends and family before finishing etc.”

“When I give out 5 star ratings, I determine it based on the level of enjoyment, how much I enjoy the plot, the characters, the world-building, the romance, and the writing.”

“Yes….I give 5 stars when I really enjoy a book. The book has to blow my mind in ALL THE WAYS possible. It must be epic! 4 stars are for really good books that made me feel a sense of accomplishment by reading them, like I’ve just found secret treasure or something like that, and 3 stars are books that were just fun to read. Anything lower than that means I didn’t enjoy the book at all.”

“So far this year I’ve only given 3 books five stars and I loved them all/ wanted to read them again immediately/ recommended and raved about them for all to hear.
On the other side; I never give one star reviews though because I have to really hate a book for that and I tend to not finish them.”

“I don’t use stars on my own blog; here on Goodreads I have given out a handful of five-stars to books I really, really enjoyed and plan to reread as time allows. Four stars is books I really enjoyed reading once, but don’t feel the urge to hold on to forever.

Three stars are for books that are average. I didn’t waste my time reading them, but didn’t thrill to it either…or they were enjoyable but had some problems that lowered the rating (For example, an otherwise good book that has a gaping plot hole, or an unappealing main character.).

Two stars is for books that I actively disliked or are of relatively low quality. These are about as rare as five stars, because I usually avoid reading them to begin with. And one star is for the worst of the worst; I’ve only done that for one or two books.

I find that in general reading the 3 and 2 star reviews of a book is more helpful than the five star reviews. They tend to be more complete and point up issues I might have problems with myself.”

“I give 5 stars if I was (a) entertained to the point where I walked away thinking, ‘wow!’, or (b) the story and technical merits of the book were outstanding.

If it’s a darn good story, but still have minor issues, I give it a four.

If I had major issues with it, I’ll start weighing those against what I like and see if I come out in the 2 or 3 star range.”

“I think I’m a book snob, though. I can find the errors, the inconsistencies, the technical issues and if I’m pulled out of the story enough, I take the stars away. Even for well-beloved authors. I don’t mean to be, I just can’t help it!”

“For me, a 5 star book is a book that affected me strongly. It doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect… because I think you’re right in asking, “Is there truly a perfect book?” (I’d say no, lol.) But it does have to mean something to me. I may not always want to go back and re-read it – because maybe it affected me in a way that made me cry my eyes out, – but it has to have some kind of influence in my life. :)”

“I definitely give out 5 star reviews, and rather regularly. 5 stars isn’t ‘perfect’, nothing in life ever is. If you look closely at works published by the major houses that have been through multiple editors, copy editors, and such you’ll find minor editing errors (one of such my sister called me about at 4 am one time, but that’s another story). It’s about how much I enjoyed the book as a whole. For me, if it’s a book that I couldn’t put down, can’t stop thinking about, and/or want to read again then it’s probably a 5 star. That said, if there are issues that detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.

To be honest, my blog/reviews are rather light on the 1 & 2 star end. I won’t review a book on my blog that I didn’t finish, and if I’m not enjoying the book then I probably will put it down and pick up something else instead. I’ve been told that this is a ‘bad habit’ but hey, I’d like to enjoy my spare time. I’m also very selective about the books I accept to review, focusing on the ones that interest me, so the times that I come across something that doesn’t capture my attention aren’t that common.

And to sum up my ramble… I definitely give out 5 star reviews whenever I feel that the book warrants it. And it basically comes down to that. What I think. My reviews are based solely on my opinions when I put down the book. I don’t go and count the ratings I’ve given out lately, but rather put down the book and say ‘this was a __ star book’”

 

Saving Tomorrow – Book Review

Saving Tomorrow by [Meggs, Remmy]

The time does not matter, that is a matter of your beliefs, however the temperature of the earth had risen to average of 59 degrees. The ice age as we know it, was over, and however man survived it, they did.

This is near the beginning of man himself. Pangaea or the “Garden Of Paradise” could have been around for millions if not billions of years. If you believe in the Tree of Knowledge, then you believe in the Tree of Life. If man and animals ate from the Tree of Life, then they too could have lived millions, if not billions of years.

If you believe in evolution, then the same applies.

Meet young Air, he was not a hunter or a warrior, but he had the talent to see what others could not see.

Saving Tomorrow is an epic tale of survival and coming of age adventure story written for young people, 13+.  Set after the second ice age, the story follows a group of friends who learn how to survive despite the harsh realities of their time.

Strong characters lead the way and one in particular stands out. A young boy called Air who doesn’t rise to the expectations of his tribe. Many heroes have started out differently from their peers, Air is no exception, he doesn’t fit in and is intriguing from the start.

Different tribes are drawn in as Air and his friend’s battle to survive against the odds presented by their challenging environment and greater challenges heading their way. Air’s friends also learn of his connections with all living creatures and must learn to accept him as he is. Not so simple for everybody they meet. Air isn’t affected by what people think, rather what is coming. Although, Remmy Meggs keeps us guessing at the specifics of that far into the story.

I enjoyed reading ‘Saving Tomorrow’ although the writer in me wanted to push it along occasionally. Some of the pitfalls of writing a long story came to light with the odd inconsistency but these don’t interfere with readability.

Regardless of technicalities, this was a great story from a young writer I sense will go far. He can certainly tell a great story. If I could award stars for writing and storytelling separately I give three and five respectively. I can’t do that on Amazon so I give a well-deserved four stars.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

It took three years to create this book and another year of editing before it went to a professional editor. I am an author that does not believe a book, or movie for that matter, needs vulgar words nor do I believe a book needs raw sex in it, to be good.

For that I get a young adult (YA) rating which means anyone over the age of thirteen should be able to read this book without trauma. This is not a children’s book although I would like those over ten years of age to read it. However it does have violence and death in it as well as sexual situations. Actually more like a good science fiction book written by the masters. That will be up to parents to decide.

From the Back Cover

In BCE the temperature of the earth had risen to an average of fifty-nine degrees.The second ice age, as we know it, was over and how ever man survived it, they did  We do not know what the birth and death rates were before and during the ice age, but man had come into his own.It had never rained in Pangaea at this time. There was no aging.

Our story begins with the medium-light skinned areas now known as the Middle East. A group of tribes who avoided war as best they could. This enabled them to use their knowledge to improve their way of life. In this area of the world, the night could get very cold, but many days, if the winds were just right, it would be like a modern blast furnace.

Meet young Air. He was not, and never would be, the hunter or a warrior that histribe wanted, but he had the talent to see what others could not see. The war is not with man; it is with the Earth, and the Earth will win at any cost.

About the Author

Remmy Meggs started writing at the age of twelve. His third book, Legacy Grapes of Rome was published first. His first book, Saving Tomorrow was published in 2016. The book he loves most he wrote in the middle of those two and it is called Changes.

Discover Remmy’s books on Amazon

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