reviews

Is Reciprocal Reviewing OK?

In our July Newsletter we encouraged our B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree authors to support, read and review each other's books. We were by no means encouraging our authors to collude to do something improper. One of our Honoree authors Jane Steen brought to our attention that she felt we were sending the wrong message, which was clearly not our intent.  However, we thought you might like to read her blog - Keep Going You Fool!She has given us permission to share it with you. I hope you will take the time to read it: Reciprocal reviewing is not OK, authors. Here's why. The above is an invitation from a self-published author on Goodreads. Nice of him, huh? I've received many such invitations from this guy, whom I'm not going to finger specifically because he's not the only author who uses back-scratching to make his book more visible, not by a long chalk. If you're thinking that maybe he's just being nice to other people, here's one of his latest asks: He sends these invitations to over 7,000 people, and I still get them even though I've unfriended AND blocked him. Is this kind of thing wrong? I say yes. OK, he's not…

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Gratitude- A Simple idea we all know about

grat•i•tude Noun the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff. Synonymsthanks, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. A simple idea we all know about I was contacted by a reviewer recently who mentioned how seldom he gets any gratitude for the time he takes reviewing a book or interviewing an author. Quite honestly, I was taken aback with this lack of simple politeness. I believe that whether a review is good or not, you as an author should thank the reader for taking the time and, in some cases, spending the money to consider your book. Although this will not necessarily change their minds about your writing, it might make them consider giving you another chance with your next book! When dealing with the "uglies" out there, one response is all you need to make. No need to get into a discussion with someone who does not like your work. Remember, they are entitled to their opinion even if it does not please you. Thanking a reviewer who gave your book a positive review will most likely encourage them to mention you more often, and word of mouth is what makes a book…

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# Authors, Reviews, Trolls and the fight goes on!- Part 2

Our previous blog on "Reviews" triggered a great conversation. In this, the second blog on the subject, we offer authors some thoughts on dealing with negative reviews. I hope you will join us again and share your thoughts and experiences- 1. Take negative reviews into consideration. The reviewer just may be right! Well-¬written and thoughtful critical reviews can be helpful – painful, but helpful. Be open-minded. Listen. Read. Be willing to consider the opinion of others. In the end, you may still disagree but you may also gain some valuable learning. 2. Respond to fair-minded reviews. It is always nice to thank someone who takes the time to read and critique your book. You should do this even if you disagree with the review but be gracious, and NEVER enter into an emotional, heated discourse. No-one benefits and more times than not, it turns personal and ugly. 3. Consider reviewing books for other authors. This is the best way to create the "word of mouth" buzz that all authors want. In turn, your reviews may encourage others to review your book. But always be objective and professional. Never gush or attack; both are equally amateurish.4. Ignore the "trolls". Unfortunately, there…

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Booker Prize shortlist turns its back on ‘readability’

Last year's head judge, Dame Stella Rimington, was pilloried for saying she prized books that "people would read and enjoy". Her fellow judge, the former Labour MP Chris Mullin, added that he liked a novel to "zip along". The chairman of the 2012 judging panel, Sir Peter Stothard, has loftier ideals. "I felt very, very strongly that I wanted to avoid that thing where people say, 'Wow, I loved it, it's terrific'," he said of the judging process. "I'm afraid quite a lot of what counts for criticism these days is of that sort: how many stars did it get? Did I have a good time? Would my children like it? It is opinion masquerading as literary criticism," said Sir Peter, who is editor of the Times Literary Supplement.  To read full article: Our Thoughts: Let me first state the obvious - we are not in competition with the Booker Prize! We also do not wish to suggest that what they do is invalid. The Booker Prize means that the winners will become best sellers and yet are often not very "readable". Although we only work with self-published books, we have developed a system just the opposite of what this esteemed group of critics aspire to. Self- published books are often looked down upon as unworthy of traditional publication which we have proven, I believe, to not always be the case. We have readers located around the globe who read books for us and give us one determination –is this a book you would recommend to your best friend? When all the readers have provide their decision, we honor the book with our B.R.A.G.Medallion only if it has received a unanimous "Yes". In this way we are finding books that "readers" feel are worth your time and money. After all, most of us read to be amused, thrilled, titillated and, yes, educated. We hope to encourage readers who want to find a great book to visit our website and support books that are good but probably will not reach the glorified heights that one with the title of Booker Prize Winner will inevitably reach. www.bragmedallion.com

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“Sock Puppeting”!

                                       Do you have any idea what "Sockpuppeting" is? Well, here it is: When a person creates email addresses in order to hide their identity and uses these email addresses to discuss themselves or their work on online discussion groups, comment on blogs or give very high ratings to their own work. Why does it matter? In the case of book reviews on many of the biggest online book seller sites and discussion boards, it matters a lot!  Many unscrupulous writers have created numerous email addresses which permit them to post glowing reviews on their works that are "fake" and, up until recently, we fell for them!  And even worse, they are using these addresses to malign the competition- and there is little you can do about it. In recent days several bestselling authors have been accused of this nefarious behavior and have been "outed" by authors who they have attempted to damage. It has not be a secret to those in the industry that many of the glowing reviews given to some books are posted by proud family and friends – some who also are sockpuppeting with numerous email addresses- making it hard to really evaluate a book through reviews. And then there is B.R.A.G.Medallion!  We do not post reviews. We ask our reading teams to unanimously decide if a book is one they would recommend to their best friend. The readers remain anonymous to the authors and they have no contact and no vested interest in the book they are reading. When posting on sites such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Goodreads, we give the book a 5 stars and announce the book is the recipient of our medallion. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money. No tricks and no gimmicks. Our reading teams are located in 10 countries and read only self-published books. We are hard at work finding books readers will enjoy and shining a light on ones that are well written, thoroughly edited and properly formatted. We offer great books in almost every genre and there is something for everyone. Chose your next book at www.bragmedallion.com and feel confident that it will be a good read!

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