Saturday 24 November 2012

A solution to the endless 'dodgy five star review' problem!

This isn't another moan about not-very-good books having five stars and the reviews all being from their mates, incidentally.

I've had my say before on this one I won't repeat myself.  I'd just like to say this - reviewers, please look at what the stars actually mean before you post a review.  If you hover over the stars on Amazon and on Goodreads, they show you what they indicate.

Anyway, whatever happened to the 3 star review?  That quiet little cheeky one twiddling its thumbs, minding its own business in an average kind of way, in between 'it was fab' and 'it was crap'?  Don't see many of these little fellas, do you?

Let's hear it for the 3 star review!  Let's hear it for, "it was very good in parts, but I skip-read some of it, it wasn't quite my thing, but someone who loves this particular genre might lap it up.  If it was given a professional edit I might have given it four stars.  It was okay, fine, something pleasant enough to read on the beach that afternoon."

There, that's okay, isn't it?  It doesn't mean the author will hunt you down and set fire to your house, or unfollow you on Twitter, does it?

Now, the solution!

I think this would be for Amazon to introduce more stars.  I finished a book last night.  I read every word, read it quickly, found it fascinating, but can't quite give it five stars, because that would put it up there with my favourite books, wouldn't it?  Wish I could give it four and a half. So, how about a seven star scale?  Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't it be good if you could give six stars on the seven star scale - equivalent to the four and a half star review?  Because that is what I think some five star reviews often are.  I would give four and a half stars to the book I finished last night.  So I'll give it five.  Because it was better than a book to which I would have given four.

Amazon's new scale should be:

7 - Amazing, loved it, didn't want it to end, right up there with my favourites
6 - Seriously good stuff, will recommend, but not quite up there with my favourites
5 - Good, I enjoyed it. 
4 - Good, a few dodgy bits, but on the whole it was pretty fair.
3 - Skip read it a bit.  Not too bad if you like that sort of thing
2 - Boring, not very well written, hardly managed to struggle through to the end
1 - Badly written shite, gave up without finishing.

There!  Wouldn't that be better?

Thursday 22 November 2012

My Top Four Independently Published Books This Year.....

What are yours?  

Now that we are eleven months into the year, I've been thinking about this.  So, in no particular order, here are my favourite four 'indie' books of this year.  

Drum roll.....


Time travel and rock 'n' roll - what's not to like?

1923: A MEMOIR by Harry Leslie Smith 

Struggling through the early years of this century in northern England - fascinating stuff

DUNGDA DE ISLAN' by Charles Dougherty

Charles and his wife's adventures around the Caribbean islands - wonderful!

THRIFT by Phil Church

Hilarious tale about a teacher losing the will to teach...

My reviews of all these are on the Amazon links :)

I am also very much looking forward to reading:

NORTHMAN by J D Hughes



not to mention.......

COMING HOME by Chris Gallagher 



a special mention, for anyone who loves more girly stuff...

THE DATING GAME by Susan Buchanan

or if you prefer the psychologically thrilling, you could try 

HAUNTED by Maria Savva

One day when I have a lot of time on my hands I really, really want to get stuck into the fantasy world of 


I hope you've found something to interest you there - and I'd love to hear what your favourite books of the year have been, and also the ones you recommend and are looking forward to reading.

There are so many more I am interested in reading or would like to mention, but I tried to just pick my favourites, ones I think may become favourites, or that might appeal to many others, too.

Thanks for reading this, too!

Monday 12 November 2012

A HUGE thank you.....

..... to everyone who's helped me out this weekend - list below!

I've just finished a 3 day free promotion for my book, Dream On - I am happy to announce that you will no longer see my tweets about it all over Twitter! :)

If you have downloaded the book, you might be interested in this interview that the delightful Clive Eaton did with me on his blog - amongst other things, I've talked a bit about 'Dream On' and where the idea came from, and the research for it.

Now!  Most importantly I had LOADS of help with the free promotion, without which I would not have been able to make a success of it.  I would like to thank EVERYONE who downloaded it, shared the link on Facebook, stuck it on other sites for me, and, most of all tweeted it and retweeted it on Twitter!  I've tried to keep up with reciprocating all the RTs as I was going along, and will continue to do so.

I'd like to give a special mention to some people who really 'went the extra mile', tweeting the book for me over and over and over again.  I am most touched by your help, and hope to be able to give similar help back to you in the future.  I apologise to anyone I've left out - I was frantically scribbling names down on lists all weekend!

Special thanks to (some will be with Twitter name, I'm afraid!): 

Susan Buchanan, Bev Spicer, Zoe Saadia, Charles Gonzo, Angela Fiendishly Fab, Ian Little, Dave Perlmutter, Electa Graham, Chantal Merlin, T W Luedke, K J Waters, Stephen Venables, Brian Menard, Geoffrey D West, K J Bennett, Gary R Walker, Maria Savva, Jane Sleuth 62, Carol Hedges, I C Camilleri, Proofreader Julia, Sonya Kemp, Vanessa Wester, Sherrie Lowe, Jennie Orbell, Emma Covill, Penelope Hellyer, Judee B, Andy Lucas, Lisa Corelli, Tony Huby, Kate Hanney, J D Hughes, E Lindley, Melodie Ramone, Neil Low, Patric Guntert, Richie Earl, Crystal Marcos, V T Vaughn, Laurie Breton, C S Sanders, Robbie Thomas, Bev Jones, David Leadbeater, Janice Ross, Kayla Stonor, Chris Gallagher, Peter Davey, Paul Shawcross, Lynn Gerrard, AreoMc, Roy Murry, Barbara Rumbarbar (!), Great One 04, Olivia M (Bunny lady), RM Duchene, Flick Merauld, Positive Jules, Bill Carson, Danny Kemp, Kerry Parkinson, Diane Major, L J Bush, Tim Prive, P J La Rue, Phillip Mayes, Tim Davis, Teresa Hamilton, Jonathan Grimm, Marie Fostino, Jeff Whelan, Wendy Potocki, Lisa Richardson, George Angus, Dan Chamberlain, Chris Petersen, Charity Parkerson, Josie Noonan, Emily Guido, I M Telling, Blue Harmonie, Dianna Bellerose, Ross Kitson, Mackenzie Brown, Clive Johnson,Roger Grubbs, Anita Philmar - and sorry if I've missed anyone out!

Thank you!  

Wednesday 7 November 2012

DREAM ON IS FREE!!! From 9th - 11th November!

As above!  I'm crossing fingers that Amazon doesn't muck it up - I felt absolutely gutted for a fellow writer friend who had that happen  - she'd publicised it all over the place, but Amazon failed to put it on for free - please cross fingers for me too :)

DREAM ON will be free from approximately 9.30 am on Friday in the UK (and various times everywhere else!) - when I've done free promotions in the past that's about when they start. I hope that anyone who is interested in reading this will download it, and spread the word on Twitter, etc - many thanks in advance!  Oh, and it has 17 reviews on Amazon UK - and they're all five stars... 

Here's the synopsis:

Dave Bentley was born to be a rock star.  He's a reincarnated Viking warrior, too...

When Dave forms his new band, Thor, there are  many sleepless nights for Janice, his on-off girlfriend and mother of his son. Not only must she deal with the thrills and spills of life as a hardworking single mum, but also the imminent return of singer-songwriter Ariel Swan, Dave's one true love.

Poor Janice. Dave is still the love of her life.

Ariel Swan returns to small town life - and Dave's heart.
She and her friend Melodie (whose ambition is to be "a celebrity") enter a TV talent competition, so Dave and the rest of Thor decide to make the most of the opportunity for possible fame and fortune, too. This adventure brings about big changes in the lives of all of them – none of which Dave could have anticipated.

One member of Thor even ends up on The Jeremy Kyle Show...

Here's the Amazon link, in case you would like to read the reviews - I've got some that have made me very proud indeed, including ones from book bloggers, other authors and a top Amazon reviewer :)

If you download it, I hope you enjoy it!