Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

Writer, Reader and general Book Fan

Reviews: by and about Judith Rook

I have decided to put the reviews of “Planet Woman” onto a single page on my blog; the one called “Reviews of Books by Judith Rook”.

Most of these reviews I paid for, but the one by ‘Marjorie’ is unsolicited, and all the more precious for that reason.  I do not discount the other reviews for their commercial origin.  They were written by independent and articulate people obviously with very different reading experiences and points of view.  The general opinion is that “Planet Woman” is certainly worth reading, and that gives me the ‘warm fuzzies’ in spades.

I have also decided to post the reviews which I write about other books onto a separate page, the one called “Reviews written by Judith Rook”.

Sell the Book as you write it

I have put my just about completed novel “Man of Two Planets” onto both Smashwords and Kindle as “preorders”.   Preordering  is a nifty marketing strategy; the author offers the book for sale before it becomes available, at a price lower than what it will be at the time of publication and the readers put a red dot on the book, in the expectation of a good read on the happy day when they can finally download it.

Smashwords have even gone a step further than Kindle.  The enterprising Smashwords people have come up with the concept of the “Assetless Preorder” whereby a writer can declare a manuscript and offer it for sale with only the ‘blurb’ actually written.  This means that during the months of writing, orders for the incomplete novel can be building up . . . and up . . .

This is a fine idea, but I’m wondering if it might lead to a few crises in the future where writers may find that they have over-committed themselves and are unable to meet the preorder deadline.

It’s interesting to see that in such a situation Smashwords will just let the preorder arrangement gradually fade into disuse, whereas Kindle are more admonitory and a defaulting writer will not be allowed access to the preorder arrangement for a whole twelve months!   Goodness!  What are things coming to?

I am intending not to let myself become a sleepless victim of deadlines.  I had enough of that when I was writing professionally as a music reviewer. I’ll not put anything out as a preorder unless I have the MS three-quarters written and a solid lot of editing already completed.

We’ll see what happens.  Preorder success seems to depend rather heavily on the quality of the ‘blurb’, and of course what an author has already written will have a bearing on whether a reader will give a coming book a red dot – or not.

“Planet Woman” and the “Star Trek” World

I think that what I’m moving towards is the creation and exploration of a world and social contract which could generate something like the “Star Trek” saga.  During the four years of the intial  “Star Trek” television series the adventures occurred in the settings of deep space.  Very little was revealed about the condition of the Earth which provided the material support and generated the ethical and moral climate holding on the “SS Enterprise”.   My friends and I sometimes wondered if it might be a Utopia.

Now In the final stages of the second of my “Circe” novels I realise that I could be creating a world where humans have reached a state of greater development of the full human potential and are no longer a danger to the planets they live on, which means they can go exploring into the far reaches of multi-galactic space.

It’s a nice thought, but I’ll have to wait and see what happens in the third book.

“Planet Woman” – A Reader Review

A few weeks ago I came across the Indie Book Reviewers service.  I’ll say more about them later, but I have received six  reviews, and I’m thrilled!  The readers all like the book, and talk about it very well indeed.  I feel like a real author now.   Here is the text of one of the reviews.

  1. To say this novel is totally unlike anything I’ve ever read before would be an understatement! I’m not sure how to even describe this book as sooo much happens, and it seems to touch on so many elements, themes, and subjects. It is fantastical and creative, yet very intelligently so. I think that you need to take your time while reading it to really grasp everything the author is saying, as it will require some deeper thought and reasoning. I think that the pacing was done well, a nice mix with narrative and dialogue, and in my opinion, the supporting cast of characters were almost more dynamic than the main ones (almost, but not… a great balance). This is a longer book, as are most space operas, and when I reached the ending, although it wraps up satisfactorily, it seems the door could be open for a continuation of the storyline in the future. I for one hope it continues, I’d love to read it! Recommend for fans of sci-fi/fantasy/romance. (5 stars)

Readers are Kings (and Queens)

I have just read an article which tells me that 1 million new books are created each year.  It makes me wonder why I bother with my single book.  In fact, I find myself slightly embarrassed that I have had the effrontery to post it on line.  However, the sequel is almost finished – out probably in July, and I intend to post that on line too.

When ‘Planet Woman’  didn’t get past the agents (which it should have done) I could blame the print book industry.  However, there is nothing between an author and the appearance of an ebook except the preparation of the text for epublication (a very curious experience), and the moment comes when with one gentle touch of the “Enter” key you step over the threshold from safe anonymity into the world of reaction and opinion.

I used to write music reviews for newspapers and I didn’t mind if people did not always agree with my opinion.  I always had a solid basis for what I had written.  It’s a good thing that people have different views, I would think.  However, if  future readers tell me that my novel just does not engage their interest, I think I will probably find that a bit difficult to cope with.  I have more emotional capital invested in my novel than I had in my reviews.

According to the article I mentioned, the readers are the new kings of the publishing world, although publishers, editors and agents are still needed because they have the experience and expertise.

So please keep on reading, and please try to leave a comment about the book with the retailer you bought it from, also on the author’s blog or author page.

I have taken this on as a personal responsibility.  I have already posted three very simple comments and thankfully I could make them appreciative.  They were not reviews – just simple reader reactions and not hard to write.

Books and the Eurovision Song Contest

For a number of years I have followed the Eurovision Song Contest.  As a musician it fascinates me, as an observer of our society I find it hilarious and this year it has led me to a certain understanding.  And yes; this has got to do with reading, writing and communication in general.

Since I e-published my novel ‘Planet Woman’ I’ve embarked on membership of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’.   I read that the social media can provide very helpful, in fact enjoyable adjuncts to self-publishing.

The first thing that happened to me on Twitter was that I immediately collected a leech – a person whom I didn’t know but who indicated an interest in my Twitter identity.    I don’t think he/she is in the least interested in books and writing and I’ve been trying to get free of this presence.   I think I may have succeeded and then a few days later up it pops again; now I ignore it.

The point is that this person has made a contact with me and has been a nuisance.  At the same time I’ve enjoyed exchanges with other authors; brief and pleasant interludes.  I have been in contact with other people like myself through a social medium.

Very gratifying, I suppose; but my question is – and this returns me to the understanding I spoke of in the first paragraph – have I really connected with these other people in any effective sense?  The answer is no, I haven’t.  They’ve been little waves in each other’s direction, little smiles of acknowledgement.  Pleasant, transitory events, but nothing like what I experience when I watch the Eurovision Song Contest.

Sitting before my television receiver I know that all those rowdy, energetic, partisan, appreciative people in the audience are exactly the same as I am in their enjoyment of the genuinely artistic, ridiculous, beautiful, over-the-top expressions of human endeavour – yes, and of human cynicism too.

A deeply shared experience on a big scale of human emotion and striving is what we get from the Eurovision Song Contest and football matches, even if we’re not part of the actual audience.

On the small scale we might expect the same sense of real sharing to come out of Facebook and Twitter exchanges.  But it doesn’t.  Facebook and Twitter are generally arid, although pleasant, exchanges.

However, and this is a book fanatic speaking,  a  shared experience of human emotion and striving is what books bring to us – print published or e-published.  And they don’t have to offer the same explosively wonderful experience as the Eurovision Song Contest, but their impact on the mind and spirit can be exactly the same.

Interview with Judith Rook

On my ‘Smashwords’ author profile page there is an interview where I answer a few questions in a little depth.  I’d be very pleased if you feel you could comment about the interview on this blog, and if there are other questions you would like to ask, please post them here and I’ll reply.  The ‘Smashwords’ link is:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jodson


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