Tag Archives: web strategy

Who is….?

Just in case anyone wants a short but pithy description of five of my lead characters, I’ve added an extra page under the ‘Stars Trilogy’ tab under the title “Who is….?” I did some silhouette artwork, which looks okay. so if anyone happens to be passing………..

I like the way the drop down menu works off the ‘Stars Trilogy’ tab.

Revised and cheaper versions of both ‘Sky’ and ‘Falling’ should be available shortly.

Spurious reviews and sock puppetry

They say all is fair in love and war. and the same rules seem increasingly to apply to publishing your own work. It appears some people think posting spurious negative reviews, under a spurious identity on Amazon and similar with authors in the same genre will boost their own popularity. Now it seems that what was only suspected is real, and more widespread even than previously suspected.

Anyone who publishes online, or puts their written work in the public domain is subject to criticism. Some justified, some plain mischievous, and also we find, downright malicious and dishonest. Reviews where the critical voice cannot possibly have read enough of the work in question to critique it properly, yet posts a one star or less review. Then posts a five star review on their own work under another user ID.

Personally, I rarely take notice of critics. Their world view is not often one that I share, and something that might wow them can leave me utterly cold and unimpressed. Some say the Brontes were literary classics. Like many others who trawled through their prose at high school, I would disagree. Most of Dickens leaves me quite unimpressed, but hand me Donne, Shakespeare, Kipling, or Chaucer and it’s a case of “I’m just slinking off for a quiet read – back next week.” I also prefer science fiction and fantasy authors like Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle Hamilton, Bear, Harrison, Barnes, Butcher, and Pratchett. They have an ease of reading that lets me immerse myself in their fictional worlds, almost too deeply to come up for air. Although even in that hallowed list there are some pieces of work I’m not too fond of.

Overall I’ve always tended to look at critics as a negative force, and now much less than trustworthy because anyone can be a critic, even competing authors. Online honesty in criticism, it would seem, is now at a premium. Cheap at that price too, as cheap as at $5 a time for ‘raves’. Apparently there is a modest buck to be made by freelance writers playing this deceitful game.

Such dishonesty often hides under the poisoned umbrella of ‘online relationship management’. Yet the problems demise, while not yet in sight, might be looking at a form of online Armageddon in the not too distant future. Software tools are becoming available to track and detect such spurious sock puppetry, and the battle against false reviewers, trolls and similar online pests will soon turn.

For my own part I find myself mostly flying under the radar of the fake reviewers. My sales are nothing to write home about; but then I do not write for critics. I write for myself.

Video content now online

Well, for better or worse both video’s will be up very shortly on the ‘Video’ tab. I’ve disabled comments over at YouTube because I want anyone who wants to say anything come here and do so. It also saves me messing around with yet another login just to argue when I should be writing.

The first video is a very uncomfortable me doing a little reading off a cheat sheet, trying to explain in under four minutes what a three volume trilogy of 450,000 words is about. The second is another four minute vid of me talking about some of the ideas I got to play around with. Not quite so uncomfortable, but not as smoothly as I’d hoped.

If the Stars trilogy were a sandwich, it would be a club sandwich with a whole steer and half a hectare of vegetables, smothered in fifty gallons of mustard and mayonnaise, and not too much bread. Not to everyone’s taste, but if we all liked the same thing, what a dull world it would be.

Video readings

I’m currently having a Henry Higgins “By George he’s got it” moment. My stammer is mostly absent, and I’m finally confident enough to sight read my own work to camera. The proof of the pudding came yesterday, when I settled down in front of my laptop camera and read the first eleven pages of ‘Sky full of stars’, hardly muffing a word. Well, apart from six occurrences that I noticed. Not bad for twenty-nine minutes without a break. I’m quite pleased.

Until I’ve sorted out some kind of video hosting, I think my best path is to post on Youtube and embed on this site on a specific page like on a Youtube channel. While I’m sure there will be some less than kind comments from the casually immature, I’m hoping that there will be more supportive responses. A couple of friends tell me that the best way to deal with negative people online is simply to delete their unpleasantness.

The current state of play with our local Weather is that we might get lucky with clearing skies to view a possible Aurora Borealis on Saturday night. SOHO has experienced considerable interference from heavy S1 level particle bombardment as reported on Spaceweather.com. I shall also be watching the CSSDP Real time Auroral data to see if anything in happening elsewhere.


Angie and I have been discussing an improved web presence for the blog and home site, with more content and better integration with a public Facebook and Twitter setup.  She says I need to be more ‘visible’.  More open.  More focussed and professional.

We’re talking a revamp of the site and a cleaner, more consistent overall look.  Free downloadable text samples in *.pdf format.  Better pictures.  Maybe a little on work in progress.  Video content (Readings and general thoughts on science and technology)  Maybe some simple flash apps.  Science and technology newsfeeds which complement work in progress.  

The only real issue facing me is which part first?  BTW; that’s a rhetorical question.