Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Join the Street Team and Get Free Books!

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With some new projects coming down the pipeline, I wanted to open up the doors on my street team and invite all readers to join. What does a street team do? Well, they read an author’s newest works and post reviews of them at places like Amazon and Goodreads, or even on their personal blogs. The purpose is to help the author get the word out about their newest works, so if you enjoy a particular author’s work and want to encourage them to produce more of that work you love, one way you can help is by joining their street team. You get free books, often before they’re available to the general public, so that’s awesome, right?

Different authors have different requirements and expectations of street team members, but I’m going the no-commitment route at this point. You can chose what ARCs to receive based on your personal tastes and time availability, and whether or not you wish to review. I hope you will, but I won’t require it.

If you’re interested in joining, mosey on over here and join the mailing list.

On the Importance of Reviews for Authors

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You’ve probably seen writers asking their readers to leave reviews of their work at places like Amazon or Goodreads; if you read any self-published stuff, you’ve undoubtedly seen the call-to-action that is almost always at the end of any ebook: “Please take the time to leave a review of this book wherever you bought it.” It might seem annoying, all of this begging for extra attention from the reader, particularly if you’re not one to do reviews. It might even seem crass to ask at all.

But the brutal truth is that reviews are an absolutely necessary part of the business. Writing is a business, and as such, authors have to treat it as one. Reviews are especially important to new writers, who don’t have selling-power connected to their name yet, and thus can easily find themselves languishing in obscurity not because they’ve written a bad book but because few people take a chance on them because their book has few to zero reviews at the vendor. I know that I, for example, am much more likely to turn away from a book if it has zero or only one or two reviews, even if it’s free (and I’m particularly suspicious if all of the reviews are 5 star ones). A book that never gets read never gets reviewed, and so in turn continues to not get read; a vicious circle.

But this circle is even more never-ending. One of the best ways to reach a larger audience that just doesn’t yet know a specific book exists is for author to get a promotional ad with places like Bookbub. Some of you may be familiar with BB, but for those who aren’t, it’s a daily advertising burst, telling its tens of thousands of subscribers about books that are deeply discounted or free. Bookbub gets an author’s book in front of that many people each day, and while I’ve seen some authors who say their ad only got them to the break-even point of sales, I’ve never heard of anyone taking a substantial financial loss on an ad (the ads have to be paid for, and they aren’t cheap by any means). In fact most folks I’ve seen report profits on their ads, which means literally thousands of downloads in a single day. That’s a newer author’s dream-come-true (and even for some of us less-newer authors who are quite obscure). But here’s the deal: while BB will look at practically any book for consideration, they have limited space in their daily emails, and so the number of reviews a title has plays a really big part in whether or not they will seriously consider a given book. A title with only a dozen reviews stands practically no chance when it’s going up against a title with hundreds of reviews, or even fifty. BB’s audience is looking for good books, and BB relies on reviews and average rating at retailers to determine what will appeal to their audience. And competition is fierce (only 20% of submissions get accepted for promotion.). So those who could really benefit from a BB ad aren’t able to get it because of the lack of reviews, because of the lack of exposure. The circle continues.

So authors aren’t just asking you to leave reviews for ego reasons; there’s solid business reasons for asking for those reviews. As much as we’d all like to think that books are all about the art, they are also about the business; they cost not just time to produce, but money as well; cover artists and editors must be paid. And so does the author, regardless of whether they’re traditionally published or they are publishing themselves. Bills must be paid in order for the stories to be produced. The two things reader can do to help authors continue producing quality work is to first buy their work, and then also leave honest feedback (either positive or negative) at the point-of-sale. Even a negative review has its place and usefulness; personally, the first thing I look at on any product I haven’t already committed to buying is to look at the lowest ratings, to determine if there’s an actual problem (like poor editing or quality issues). Sometimes the low ranking are written by idiots who blame a completely unrelated issue on the product itself (“the seller sent me a copy with the cover bent, so one star!”), but sometimes low ratings have actually convinced me to buy a book, because the things that reader was ranting about are thinks I really like.

Help out the literary ecosystem by leaving reviews of the books you read. It can be as simple as a one or two sentence review stating why you liked or didn’t like a book, or it can be a long, detailed gush or rant. Just let folks know what you think. And always be honest. Authors and your fellow readers will thank you for it!

World Fantasy Awards

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bone flower throneThe World Fantasy Awards nominees were announced last night, and I’m so thrilled to see Zelda Devon nominated under the Best Artist category. Zelda did the fabulous cover art for The Bone Flower Throne, and I have loved her work with Kurt Huggins for years; they illustrated my Realms of Fantasy story “The Hearts of Men”, and they created the wonderful art for my website. Both Kurt and Zelda’s work speak to me on a personal level, so I’m really excited to see Zelda’s art getting the recognition it so richly deserves.

You can see more of Zelda’s work at her website. You can also see the process for the cover’s original watercolor here.

Congratulations, Zelda, and good luck!

Review of The Jade Bones

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My Google alerts appear not to be working, again, so I missed this when it first came out. Very brief, but nice, from SFRevu:

“”The Jade Bones” by T.L. Morganfield is an Aztec-oriented creation myth that involves a young god, Éhecatl, who wants to succeed at creating a viable human race where others have failed. Morganfield skillfully blends many elements, even a Descent into Hell, for a very good story.”

Another Review of Shock Totem 1

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Found another new review of the premier issue of Shock Totem, featuring my short story “The Music Box”. Nathaniel Katz had this to say about my piece:

T.L. Morganfield’s The Music Box, seems on first glance to be as odd a horror opener as imaginable. The story is told from the point of view of Snowflake, a sentient stuffed elephant who does his best to get his nemesis, the stuffed Boo Bear, to be eaten by the family’s dog instead of him. The first pages are more cute and amusing than scary – and then comes the part where Snowflake and the other animals display sickening cruelty in their competitions with one another.