Wrestling with the GARQ

The Great Amazon Review Quandary, that is

There are three facets to my confusion, a sort of Trinity of Interconnected Perplexities: the need to Market, blatant Review Inflation, and a reluctance to come off as ‘that guy’.

Of course I want to get my work in front of potential readers, but I’m just one special snowflake in a huge flipping blizzard, and I simply don’t have to the funds to hire a PR firm, or the time and inclination to incessantly pump the Social Media well.

Then, between sock puppets, paid-for-reviews, and shill-and-gush marketing, Amazon review numbers may have gone through the roof but their credibility has plummeted. I mean, how does John/Jane Doe’s 50 Shades of Western Zombie Romance Vampire Apocalypse get twice, thrice the reviews of masters like Gibson, King, Rothfuss, Tolkien, Peake, Cronin, et alia? It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that (authentic) swing.

(Side Note: I worry for western civilization when I hear people are cashing in on Dino Porn It’s rumored those two ladies paid their way through college with their writing. Good for them, I guess, but big ‘WTF?’.)

As an Indie author I get that marketing is in my hands, but the last thing I want is to be the turd in the pool in every room, chat, forum, thread, FB/Tumblr/Pintrest/Twitter feed always pimping my books.

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Not everyone is interested in genre fiction. Buying or reading one of my books doesn’t then obligate the reader to be my Publicity Squirrel. I want to contribute to any community I’m a part of, be it physical or online, not just take. Sure, I ask folks to read and review my stuff, but it’s rude to presume or guilt them. I figure what I really need to do is write things worth reviewing.

So there it is. I’m open to feed back, recommendations and suggestions.

P.S. Book Announcement coming tomorrow.

Take Care,
Patrick T.

“Sozo” release day

Cover2 The short story “Sozo” is now available at Amazon for Kindle, IPad, or whatever your flavor of eReader. Set in a fictional near-future, it is a redemptive story focused on a combat vet who faces hard choices instead of easy answers. A hair under 5K words, it’s only .99. All the proceeds for Dec/Jan will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project.

Amazon Link

Thank you and happy new year.

– p.a.t.

ps. if you enjoy it, please tell a friend and/or fire off a quick review. Much appreciated.

‘Sozo’ Release Notes

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First off, thanks to everyone who takes a chance on my books, wanders by the blog, takes time to comment or review. Your interest is inspiring, your feedback invaluable. I can’t express my appreciation enough.

So here’s ‘Sozo’, one final title for 2014.

I’m encouraged by this short story. I had a sense of breakthrough when I finished, as if I’d I’d some how, some way, transitioned to a different place in my writing. Now this particular piece uses a rather dark palette, but I gave myself permission to write it the way it needed (wanted?) and feel I found the story’s voice. There’s a renewed sense of confidence as I look toward next year’s projects. (More on them below)

As long as I’m being honest, ‘Sozo’ might be one of those I recommend some folks not read. I’ve always maintained ‘a story is not a sermon’, but the distinction is quite severe with this one. Set in a fictional near-future America, it centers on a combat-scarred vet who returns to a nation in turmoil and finds himself caught up in a human trafficking ring. Definitely not typical evangelical family-friendly fare.

I make no claims to definitive theological, political, or psychological truths here; ‘Sozo’ is simply a story about a broken character in a ugly situation, about hard choices, and a facet of redemption. Edmund Burke’s famous quote on how evil triumphs rang in my mind every phase. The story unfolded steadily from the initial image to it’s climax.

‘Sozo’ will be available for Kindle and e-readers on Saturday, Dec. 27th. You can order it HERE.

Given the protagonist, I’ve decided to donate the proceeds from the first month’s sales to The Wounded Warrior Project. I don’t know how much that will be, but I can’t do nothing. By all means, skip the story if you want and donate directly. The men and women of our Armed Forces deserve our support.

Upcoming releases and writing projects include the next installment of The Clar1ty Wars, “Under Strange Stars”. I just received the files for the cover from Michal Oracz, and they look great, as usual. After that it’s the Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy “The Grim Fall”, as well as a novel set in mythical ancient China, working title “The Proud Cloud Racer.” On the Eshu International front, I have outlined several short story, back stories; Tam and Jace during the failed invasion of Taiwan, Poet9’s childhood in the slums of Mexico City, and the Triplets during the first African Civil War. I’m debating releasing them separately for .99, or including them in a single volume “Shift Tense”. Up in the air, that one.

Again, thank you all. May you have a peaceful and prosperous holiday and an inspired, productive new year.

Best Regards,
Patrick Todoroff

Re-Post: Dear Writer…

In case you missed it, Chuck Wendig’s Dear Writer… is a great article. Read it. It’s crass, clever, and brutally honest. If you write, it’s totally worth your time. Caution – has bad words so beware.

I’m sure someone else has noted it, but ‘Wendig’ is just an ‘O’ (as in OMG!) away from the mythological, Native American, ravenous, demonic, flesh eating, demi-beast, (and uber-cool comic book villan) Wendigo. Just sayin’

Have a Happy Trick or Treat.

The Barrow Lover panel #2

12" x 12" with 18" chain for hanging.
12″ x 12″ with 18″ chain for hanging.
Managed to solder the second Celtic panel for The Barrow Lover Stained Glass Giveaway. Simple design with a Celtic knot negative-etched on antique gray glass in the center. The halo is a Kelly green antique glass with a secondary ring of clear double-chip. The arms are a very cool translucent white with an unusual gold fire when in the sun, while the corners are dark gray granite glass. The third piece for the giveaway will be similar. (Different center) I should finish it late this week.

Someone commented giving away stained glass was an unusual way to get reviews. I don’t like the Shenanigans and Review Inflation that goes on at Amazon/Goodreads, etc, but I’m convinced honest reviews are important. Of course I want them. But this is also a way to say ‘Thank you’ to readers. There are plenty of other books, plenty of other things you could be doing with your time and money. That you read my stuff is an honor. To then take the extra effort to post a review is remarkable. So while I can’t give everyone a panel or even buy you a cup of coffee, I want to express my gratitude for your interest and support. Thank you.

All the best.
Patrick Todoroff

Under Strange Stars Excerpts

Back when I was writing the first Clar1ty Wars collection – One Bad Apple – I’d post the stories here for free. Decided to get back into the habit. The first three in the next collection “Under Strange Stars” is now up. Pull down the Clar1ty Wars Excerpts tab up top. I’ll post more next week.

Thanks much and enjoy.