I decided to move my general notes to my daily posts here so they do not clutter up the post any more. It allows me to just link to it. And I can add to it as I go. These thoughts are in no particular order.
Last revision: 09-02-14
As of 09-01-14, I decided to make these posts to the AR15.com free book thread. Future posts will be there for the foreseeable future.
I don't make a post everyday. Some days I am too busy and some days I look through the list of top 100 free books and nothing trips my trigger.
Typically there are also several religious and recipe books on the list daily, along with the usual assortment of romance, porn and near porn. I don't call them out because they don't interest me. Click on the link provided and search through the Free List Tab if you are interested in such books.
Most of the books I post are in just a few genres.
Fiction: SciFi, thrillers, mysteries, vampires, zombies, PA. A lot of these type of stories tend to elements of more than one of these genres to be found in the story.
Non-Fiction: Outdoors, low carb, bios, history (especially military history).
For some reason, I also find natural and herbal remedy books to be interesting, however I would caution that I do not think most of the so called remedies actually work at healing one.
If I have previously read the book, I generally indicate this and try to post a link to a review I did of it if there is one. Sometimes I will note a book has been free previously. This usually means it is in my library but that I never got around to reading it.
PLEASE. Do everyone a favor and write an Amazon review if you end up reading a book (or trying to and giving up in disgust). It does not have to be much. Just tell what you think of the book. By the way, many times I have found the 1 and 2 star reviews on self published works to be far more revealing about the book than the more stellar reviews. Reviewers need gratification too, so if a review is helpful to you, please click on the voting button to indicate it was helpful.
It is not unusual for bad books to get a fair number of good reviews. Sometimes it is pretty obvious that these reviews are coming from the author, and his/her friends, relatives, and sock puppets. Other times less obvious. Some authors seem better at promoting their works than they are at authoring them. It also appears that despite Amazon banning them, authors are still forming review circles to give each other 5 star reviews. What this means is that the good reviews for a book with only a few good reviews just cannot be trusted. I have also run into some SP books that are just plain bad, but have a large number of good reviews. I can only assume there is a market for certain types of books I consider "bad".
For self published works, it is not unusual for a bad review to get one or more "not helpful" votes almost as soon as it appears, or for good reviews to get a "helpful" vote. I just do not think these kind of votes are really meaningful as they are almost certainly tied to the author in some way. People just do not hang around looking for new reviews to vote on.
Most times these books are only free for a day or two, so you have to grab them while you can. Worry about whether you really want to read it later if it seems interesting. And be careful, they can change from free to not free at any time.
I have decided to list books for no more than one day to avoid cluttering up the posts, unless there is some reason I think the book deserves extra attention.I have also decided to consolidate to a single post, instead of splitting them up by subject matter, as I originally had been doing.
There are some 5-star reviews that I consider of lesser value than others. They may not be out and out fakes, and in many cases are perfectly legit, but over time I have observed certain kinds of such reviews to often not accurately represent the quality of a book. A pattern of these kind of reviews for a book or an author is a big red flag to me. Some things I look at - Vine reviews, no Amazon Verified Purchase badge, reviewers who only or mostly reviewed this author, or just this book.
Glossary and abbreviations:
PA - Post apocalyptic. The book is about the aftermath when a major upset to the world has occurred. For instance, an asteroid strike.
SP - Self published. No publisher is involved so usually no editing, or very limited editor input. Often means there is a lot of writing errors such as spelling and typos. Some SP authors have invented publishing houses to "publish" their works. Some authors use vanity publishers that they pay to publish their works. Some small time publishers are more or less legit, but may only publish the works of a handful of authors. It appears to me that there are at least a few "publishers" that are close to being a cooperative of the authors it publishes. I tend to lump all of these together and refer to them as SP.
Some thoughts of mine on PA fiction in general. Taken from an 11-18-13 post I made on the AR15.com free book thread.
Unfortunately 2 or 3 stars is about typical for the genre, especially of the self published variety.
Part of the problem I think is that a lot of the authors have some kind of agenda (religious and political agendas are the most common) and that often gets in the way of a good story. Patriots is that way on both counts and it seriously hurts the book as a story. Patriots also has the problem of way too much advertising in it.
I also think some of these books target a specific audience, and sometimes has to be dumbed down for that audience. The Turner Diaries appears to me to be targeted toward adults with a 6th-8th grade level education. That is one scary book in some respects.
Another problem is the forum issue. I suspect many of these kind of books start out as forum fiction and the people on the forum take ownership and give the book rave reviews largely because they are familiar with the author. Sometimes you will see a pattern where there are a bunch of 5 star reviews but the reviews don't show the verified purchase badge, meaning the reviewer did not get the book from Amazon. You don't see that as much anymore, as savvy readers have figured out that trick.
The other thing that can happen is that some of these guys are just very good at promoting their works. As a self published author, that is probably more important if you want to make money from your work than spending the money on a professional editing job.
Some more thoughts of mine on PA fiction. Taken from an 11-20-13 post I made on the AR15.com free book thread.
There are no where near as many 5-star PA books as there are 5-star mysteries, thrillers, or SF books. So in some respects you are trapped into accepting lesser quality writing if you like that genre.
Zombie and vampire books are that way too. There are a lot of mediocre books in that genre too.
It is especially noticeable to me when dealing with free books.
The better authors seem to stay away from PA fiction for some reason. Maybe because it is not as popular a genre. It is tough to make a living on books that you can only sell a few thousand copies of. Most publishers seem to want to make a run of at least 10-15,000 books. That seems to be the minimum they can do and turn a profit.
Surprising to many, the difference is not all that much for ebooks. Ebook publishing still has virtually all of the expenses and overhead of traditional publishing, other than the actual printing, which is not as big of a cost as you might think for a run of 10 or 15 thousand paperbacks.