Monday, 25 January 2016

The review search reviewed.

Now ten weeks into the life of 'A Dog and His Boy' as a published novel I'm posting a progress report on its search for notice.

To say the self-publishing experience has been devoted largely to learning would be as accurate a statement possible at this point.  From the evils of repeating typographical errors through the joy of first paperback sales it's been a very public classroom I've inhabited since deciding to do it this way.  Despite the often painful ongoing lessons meted out upon the stubborn scribe I can now with a measure of assurance say the difficult job was worth doing.  I also expect my performance will improve in subsequent attempts.

Learning on the job though often painful reliably improves a vocational skill set.

A quick review of recent proceedings will better provide the background necessary to appreciate the somewhat questionable appeal of the entire practice.  I'll stay with the highlights and will identify few individuals aside from myself by name.  A few words devoted to the blog experience will conclude the post.

Respect for both personal privacy and digital copyright is maintained here.

I'll get the few negatives out of the way first.  Here's an example of the worst.  Despite limited legal sales in the digital universe of Amazon Kindle where the novel was exclusively published it has already been posted for illegal download on the internet.  I won't identify the locations but an internet search will deliver you there if injuring my financial prospects is your motivation.

My concern for the rights of others is apparently not reciprocated.

How this has taken place when digital copies of the novel are available only from Amazon is no mystery.  A more withering statement about the security of the literary universe inhabited by writers everywhere today would be difficult to postulate.  In spite of this I remain a fan of disabling the DRM software available to digital publishers.  No amount of threats will prevent those prone to thievery and wasting cycles in the false hope it can be prevented by technology appears pointless to the writer.  With any luck, those who share will enjoy the read and spread the word.  What goes around comes around is a saying I've heard and a man can only hope it turns out apt here.

I'm also content to let karmic justice prevail upon those dedicated to injuring their fellows.

I'll continue with a few facts related to the publicity and marketing efforts so far taken on behalf of 'A Dog and His Boy'.  As an independently published novel I felt it was appropriate to first seek review of it by fellow members of the independent literary community.  The effort of putting together a letter of inquiry was undertaken and a short while before publication a campaign begun.  My efforts were consistently applied and to date over one hundred review requests are now submitted to independent purveyors of no-cost literary review services.

With the last of them sent four weeks ago the requests have so far received ten responses.

Of these a half dozen were sufficiently intrigued to accept the novel for review while two thirds as many were kind enough to reply with exceptional politeness in the negative.  To each of them goes the sincerest of my thanks.  The earliest reviews for 'A Dog and His Boy' have as a result now appeared.  The limited numbers have allowed me to read most of them published so far.  To say the experience has been edifying would be a most significant understatement.  In spite of the myriad of warnings against it my great appreciation for the experience itself begs comment.

            I am as mysteriously enthralled as I am foolishly thrilled to read the opinion of others regarding this work.

            The limited response to the review inquiries is the aspect of the situation first commented on here.  Prior to beginning the practice I had no means of estimating the current level of overwhelming interest in securing the service.  I have since discovered many web-based and independent reviewers so backed up they've been forced to stop accepting requests.  Many are so overrun by demand for their attention as to be unable to even reply to those requesting it.  The situation betrays a market of previously unconsidered scale.  The unseen volume hinted at like literary dark matter leads to the inescapable conclusion a response of any kind should be what surprises.  Though untold numbers seek positions in the professional world of literature like most vocational activities today many more work independently.  The rise of Amazon and others serving the market speaks to this.  That an overabundance of self-published authors of all genres seek review of their work in the age of the internet is thus entirely predictable.

            With reluctance I have suspended requests to independent review outlets for the time being.

Without doubt the reviews so far received have been greatly satisfying.  To invest years of effort without benefit of reader feedback was a necessary if difficult choice made long ago and without regret.  The experience of having my prose now read is many things but above all nothing exceeds a simple joy.  That fiction I wrestled years to render on the page should be seen by eyes other than my own is for the writer a great pleasure.  The ability to share readers' evaluations of it has provided a rare and greatly appreciated insight.  My sincerest thanks go to each writer who graciously publishes a review and to each reader who generously provides a rating of 'A Dog and His Boy'.

In all instances your integrity is greatly respected and your commentary is highly valued.

An example of a review featuring what this writer considers the most insightful commentary yet offered is available at the link below provided.  I consider it inappropriate to comment on reviews of my work and have made a habit of not doing so.  The evaluation of the novel provided courtesy of Andrea Lundgren at 'Into The Writer Lea' however is exceedingly well written and a worthwhile read in its own right.

The appreciative response to 'A Dog and His Boy' has encouraged the promotion of it to the professional world of literary fiction.  As a result I plan future submissions of the novel to the limited number of such outlets accepting self-published works.  Those few publications offering no-cost review of independent literature will be contacted as they are discovered.  All requests to review the novel will continue to be honored.  As the release date recedes further into the past I also expect the difficulty encountered seeking wider notice for my first novel to increase.  I am most content that future readers can discover it in their choice of paperback or eBook as long as Amazon remains in the business of publishing.

I should also report I am, positively, thrilled by the reception so far granted to it.

The experience here on Blogger meanwhile has been unique in appeal and positive in results to date.  While the practice itself has declined from earlier heights the once and future blogosphere remains a worthy stage for individual expression.  It also provides a low-cost alternative marketing tool for a variety of cottage industry style individual artistic pursuits of which music and literature are personal examples.  A man not in search of either fortune or fame appreciates nothing more than pursuing the livelihood of his choice.  The platform abundantly supports that aim.

This one delivers a fair enough service for its price.

While differences between software environments extend beyond the cosmetic the functional reality of those used personally is little different.  No longer a coder I appreciate the simplicity and ease of use of both WordPress and Blogger.  The multi-media tools are a highlight of the former while the traffic information provided by the latter is a great strength.  A media player on the music site is thus extremely valuable while knowledge that a few people stop here for a weekly read encourages a fellow to write with reasonable care.  I'm grateful and enriched in both cases.

As usual I intend to continue with best effort on all fronts.
Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
January 25, 2016

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