New Book Launch: Announcement!

Well, I promised an announcement today, and so here it is!

I have decided that the first person to purchase the Hardback edition of the new book will receive all the books in ebook format – free!  skoobebooks have agreed to provide me with the name and email address of this person, on this one occasion only.  The offer ends at midnight GMT on 30th September, 2013.  The hardback is marginally larger than the paperback and is professionally printed and bound, with a plain cover but wrapped in a dustjacket bearing the illustrated cover design like the paperback.

If you don’t wish to take up this offer, please let skoobebooks know when you place your order!

Please note that this is not a draw or any other kind of competition!  It is purely based on a “first come, first served” basis.  Equally, no obligation is placed on the recipient of the ebooks.  Obviously, if you are the lucky person, and you feel moved to read and review any or all of the books, I would be delighted!  If you do review any of my books, I would be very grateful if you could post such reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as any other site permitting it, as you see fit.

Just as a matter of interest, I’d love to know how many (if any) of you are interested in this offer!  It will help in planning future launch events.  To that end, there’s a poll below.

~ Steve

A Question of Reviews

Opening With Good News

First things first, naturally.  How can it be any other way, after all?  That phrase has always puzzled me.  Anyway, that’s a sidetrack I don’t intend to pursue right now.  The good news mentioned is my very first five star review for one of my books!  Yes, I like getting any feedback, but I confess to getting a touch excited when I discovered this one.  I found it on Goodreads, though it’s also on Amazon, and I repeat it below:

Christoph Fischer’s review May 31, 2013

“Shade of Evil” by Steve K Smy is a fairly short novel / novella about a simple man whose underprivileged existence seems to gnaw away at him. Living in a tiny flat with lots of other people in the same building across a former chemical plant, getting depressed and finally collapsing he is more than a little recipient for some shade of evil that approaches his soul and humanity.

After a breakdown he is helped by a generous benefactor but nightmares warn of a coming evil for which he will need professional help.In parts a psychologically intriguing fable on modern life, in others a great paranormal action story this book combines depth with gripping entertainment. I loved the way the author slowly shows us the terrible living conditions of Harry and the misery of his existence, then contrasts this with the great place of his recovery with Dr. Pattinson, yet, before it gets too dreary we get thrown into the action side of the book that brings the situation to a climax and a swift solution.

Steve Smy is a promising writer whose future work I will be watching out for.

I must point out that this is an entirely unsolicited review!  You can find the review at Goodreads or Amazon.

Lack of Notifications

The above story leads to this one.  Of all the sites that my books can be obtained from, only one sends notifications of sales: Smashwords.  That’s disappointing enough.  For reviews, however, it is distinctly frustrating!  Again, only Smashwords sends notifications for reviews received.  Why don’t the other sites if they allow customers to review purchases/downloads?  I can live with nobody notifying of new ratings, but surely reviews are rather significant?  It doesn’t take a huge effort to include it on the selectable settings for an author’s account, like any other optional email notification setting.  It is a lengthy process trawling through all the sites, checking for reviews, especially when you then have to visit each individual book’s page if it’s not clear on a ‘list’ screen!  Of all the reviews I’ve received on bookstore sites (and I include Goodreads here, for convenience), I have only discovered that I even have reviews by accident, followed by a check of all sites as a consequence of such a prompt.

What do you think?

Perhaps authors should campaign for the option to be offered?  I’d really like to know what you think!  Are you as frustrated by the situation as I am?  Do you have some trick I’m not aware of that allows you to track review activity easily – preferably by getting emails for them?  Am I simply a victim of my ego?  Does the problem extend to other sites, like book review blogs and such?  Have you ever been surprised to find that somebody has written a lengthy review of one of your books without your knowledge on one of these non-store sites?

~ Steve

The Question of Quality or Content…

Here’s a ticklish one!  Just which is most important to the average reader: the content of the story or the quality of the writing?  I know that I read certain works despite the fact that they are, in fact, not particularly well written, because I admire the breadth of imagination that has gone into them.  So, in those cases, it’s definitely substance over style.  Oddly, however, I still get immensely annoyed at printing errors!  Typographical errors are all too common, and then you get the split text, which is awful.  By split text, I mean where, say, a paragraph is suddenly, rudely interrupted by a later passage, only to be taken up again a while later.  I assume such things happen when something new is added but entirely the wrong location!

But to get back to the root question.  I can forgive a lot, if a story demonstrates an excellent vision.  The problem for me lies in discovering the good story before the poor quality of writing overwhelms me.  Most of the books that I re-read and suffer from poor writing, I originally read in my childhood or youth.  Obviously, my standards were lower then, with less knowledge of good style.  It irks me somewhat that I may be missing out on superb displays of imagination because I have now grown up and expect better writing.  Only if the story races along does it have a chance of getting beyond a few pages of reading, now.

I’d be very interested to hear from others what their views are.