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Old 08-07-2010, 08:59 PM   #1
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My new blog pledge: one Smashwords review per week

I have been inspired by the recent upswing in both established authors taking the Smashwords plunge, and the quality and breadth of the discussion here on Mobile Read about them. I really think that it's important to support what Smashwords (and these authors) are doing because as a community we say we want affordable books without DRM and geographical restrictions, and this is where to to go and get them!

That said, there is a ton of absolute dreck on Smashwords and people have lamented how hard it is to find the good stuff and that there are so few blogs and websites offering honest, non-shill reviews. I respect that members here like Nick are helping to promote some of these indie books, but his is not a curated collection---he posts whatever people send him, without comment or review. I think it would be such a cool thing to get a list like his, but a more curated one, of books which have been personally read and reviewed.

To that end, I am reviving my at times quiet ebook blog, and making the following pledge: that I will personally read and review one Smashwords book every week for the next year. I'll likely post other content too---reviews of other ebooks, links to my Teleread articles, etc. But the backbone of the new, improved blog will be one Smashwords book per week, reviewed in full.

I hope that as I get underway and people have a chance to gauge my trustworthiness and see how my tastes may mesh with their own, the blog will grow and might fill a niche that will help guide people to the quality books.

Here is my blog post wherein I explain the project. I hope you will bookmark me, add me to your feeds etc. and join me on this exciting project. I didn't post this in author self-promotions as I am not doing this for attention or promotion or anything like that. I really am just trying to help people find the good stuff and start developing a list of quality Smashwords reads. If you are curious about my tastes, I maintain a click-able, filterable list (with summaries!) of every ebook I read here. And if you want to see just the Smashwords ones (only one so far, but sure to grow) then click here.

I am very excited. I think I always lost track of the blogging because I never had a clear purpose. Now, I do!
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:24 PM   #2
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Personally, I use Goodreads.com to get book reviews. I'm not sure how good the coverage is on Smashreads.com books though.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:36 PM   #3
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Allow me to commend you for rendering a valuable public service - I just added a post to another thread lamenting how difficult it is to tell good books on Smashwords apart from all the rest. Perhaps you can help the rest of us figure out where to start, too...
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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@ficbot -- I think you're doing a great service. Without the traditional gatekeepers -- agents and publishers -- more and more discerning readers have to take on the task. Just took a quick look at some of the non-smashwords e-books you've been reading, and it's good to see someone with eclectic tastes taking this on.

If I could recommend one book (that's not mine), I would refer you to Glimpses of a Floating World. I've reviewed it myself on my blog, and of all the self-published books I've seen, this is the most well realized and memorable.

@Hamster -- I've had a couple of problems with Goodreads -- like they don't email everyone on your mailing list or something obnoxious?
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #5
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Ficbot, will you also review the formatting of the Smashwords books too please?
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:01 PM   #6
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Thanks, Ficbot.

Reviews in themselves are good, but committing to reviewing regularly is what really helps the readers. Readers can then start predicting whether they agree with you or not. Even those who don't have tastes that exactly fit yours may be able to use your reviews to see if it's something they'll like.

Camille
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:06 PM   #7
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What about the formatting interests you, JSwolf? All the books I have checked so far look fine on the Kindle...
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:27 AM   #8
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Didn't intend to post the first review right away, but I finished Radium Halos tonight and I loved it. First review is up! Next on my list is the first Patricia Ryan novel.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:18 AM   #9
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I think this would be a good way of introducing some lesser-known authors to the world. I typically rely on reviews in the New York Times or The Guardian for selecting what to read. I've bookmarked your blog and am interested to see how our tastes match up.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:20 AM   #10
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Fantastic follow through on the idea, ficbot. I've already read your blog review and totally agree with comments.

I loved her book. I will look forward to reading more of your reviews.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:43 AM   #11
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If you read something that is garbage, please review it and say so. People need to be warned off the bad books just as much as recommended to read the good ones.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:00 AM   #12
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Thanks so much for the comments! I'll review everything I read, Harry---good and bad! I definitely am thinking of this project in the context of all those times I tried to spend my micropay balance at Fictionwise on indie multiformat books and had no information to go on. What would I have wanted to know? I will try to be as thorough as I can.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:27 AM   #13
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I've been hoping to find someplace that would do an in-depth review of my novel, or give me the chance to answer specific questions about it, rather than my answering from a set of pre-written questions given for each book. Lots of people have bought my book, but it's only got two reviews at amazon, and none yet at smashwords. Are you keeping a list of future books to review? I'd love to get on it.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:00 PM   #14
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Second review is up and it is not nearly as glowing I am being honest, as I promised I would!
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:27 PM   #15
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I'm not sure i understand this

you are doing reviews of "Smashwords" listed books on a blog?

why not on smashwords site itself where it would be more useful - or are you doing this too - i realize there are a lot of books and your reviews might be seen by very few if sone on their site only

it looks like you have to buy them from smashwords to review them on the site - is that the problem?

i myself have yet to see a reviewed book on smashwords - pity
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