Obooko revamped

May 28, 2018



Free ebooks platform Obooko has just undergone a (much delayed) revamp, with a much cleaner look and some improvements to the way you can browse/filter titles.  My experience with Obooko has been good in terms of the upload process etc, but less so in terms of downloads (click here for more details, including tips on how to create different types of ebook files for uploading to Obooko).  I've been on there since 2013 but my downloads remain stuck in the low hundreds - although others have done quite well on there (the more successful books had downloads in four figures).  It'll be interesting to see if the revamp makes any difference.

Although the revamp is very welcome, I think they've missed a trick in the way they present their titles.  A longstanding complaint about Obooko - which they acknowledged in a recent blog post - was that it only displayed titles in the order they were published on the site.  As a result, there was an inbuilt bias towards books which had been on the site longer.  It has now gone for a default view of "Latest" titles (although I am slightly sceptical about this because I am pretty sure some of the titles which appear on the first page have been on there a while).  You can re-sort by "earliest books first" but oddly, you can't sort by ratings or number of downloads - two options which are available on Smashwords.  

Anyway, I'm just not sure that defaulting to latest books first is likely to make much difference.  I think Obooko would've been better off adopting an approach that I saw on a now defunct site called Bibliotastic, where their front page presented you with a variety of different views e.g. there was one row of latest books, another row of most popular books and another row of most highly rated books.  For the sake of fairness, I think there ought to be a fourth row of books which don't meet the criteria for the other 3 rows, so you just rotate your way through the rest of your inventory on a daily/weekly basis.  That way, everyone would stand a chance of making the front page at some point.

Also, the ratings functionality looks a bit suss to me - I clicked on the rating one of my books by mistake and managed to rate it without being logged in.  Tempting as it was to just keep clicking away on 5 stars, I manfully restrained myself.  That's definitely a bug that needs fixing.

Having said all that, it's good to see a free ebook platform putting some time and money into a revamp (Feedbooks - are you listening?) - and I hope that Obooko avoids the fate of Bibliotastic, where the site owners couldn't afford to upgrade to new software.  Unlike Bibliotastic, Obooko features advertising so hopefully there will be sufficient funds to keep it going. 

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Micro-reviews (May 2018)

May 14, 2018
Theory of Bastards, Munich and The People's House

I've tended to write longish reviews on this blog and I'll probably carry on with that for some books - especially self-published ones.  But I thought I'd have a go at doing some shorter reviews alongside these.  Let's see if I manage to keep it up.  At any rate, it's got to be better than just feeding star ratings into the hungry maw of Big Data (aka Goodreads/Amazon in this case).  Here goes:



Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman

Set a few year...

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Bad Faith by Jesse Tandler

April 30, 2018


We seem to be living through an age that puts an unhealthy premium on “authenticity”.  Politicians who are said to have this characteristic are excused any number of glaring faults - just look at Donald Trump or, closer to home, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and (at the opposite end of the spectrum) Jeremy Corbyn. They can say or do things that would be career-ending for other politicians – but they are tolerated, even praised for this, because they are regarded as being “true to themse...

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Me Blackberry Fool, You Apple Tart

March 12, 2018



"Me Blackberry Fool, You Apple Tart" by Amelia Slocombe is chick lit, which is not usually my genre of choice - but it caught my eye because one of the characters is a lawyer in a London law firm, which happens to be what I do for a living too.  I have also made a bit of a thing of trying to be a bit more open-minded when it comes to books which I have a tendency to dismiss as "not my thing", especially when it comes to free fiction by self-published authors (as in this case).

Having said that...
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To Kill the President: a (non) review

January 14, 2018



Just finished "To Kill the President" by Sam Bourne.  It wasn't bad - and although we never meet the President, I'm fairly sure I know who the author had in mind.  But who cares what I thought about it?  Here's what the Leader of the Free World made of it (allegedly), when it was drawn to his attention:

@realDonaldTrump tweeted:

Sam Bourne is a total loser and hater who made up a story to write this really boring and untruthful novel. More FAKE NEWS!

@realDonaldTrump tweeted:

Great reporting from...

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Jon Evans and the techno-travelogue thriller

December 4, 2017




UPDATE 5.2019 - irritatingly, all the links to Jon Evans' novels below were to copies available free of charge on Feedbooks, which has now shut down its self-publishing platform - so the links no longer work.  Happily though (as at the time of updating), you could still find all the novels listed below on Wattpad free of charge - the main disadvantage is that you can only read them through Wattpad's interface on a web-enabled device (unlike Feedbooks, there's no option to dow...


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Copyright registration: is it worth it?

September 2, 2017



On author sites like youwriteon.com (which I reviewed here), you sometimes see adverts for services like this one:
http://www.copyrightprotectionservice.com 

These companies typically charge a fee for "registering" your copyright for a period of years.  Some of the sites even look a bit like official agencies (they are not - they are businesses who are in it for a profit).

So is there any value in registering your copyright with them?  I dare say some authors are tempted to part with their hard ...
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All Out War

August 12, 2017


All Out War” by Tim Shipman seeks to answer the question “why did the UK vote to leave the EU?”  As you might expect, there were many reasons – but what the book conveys quite well is that there was no inevitability about the outcome (there were, after all, only about 700,000 votes in it, on a turnout of 33.5 million).  If even a relatively small number of things had played out differently, Brexit might not be happening.  Here are just a few examples:
  • 16 year olds:  Had 16 year olds...

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Moderators: engage brain before applying rules!

July 16, 2017


Just over a week ago I posted a comment on an interesting article in The Bookseller entitled "When does a writer become a professional?".  My aim was to provide some evidence to back up what the author of the article was suggesting about how you don't necessarily need to be earning a living from your writing in order to feel OK about taking it seriously - for me, it all depends what your criteria for success are.  

I explained that I had decided to offer my work for free (because getting reade...
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Fedorov's dust

April 30, 2017



Having written a novel which draws quite heavily on ideas about the "Technological Singularity", I thought I knew a fair amount about it already.  But a recent article in the The Guardian by Meghan O’Gieblyn entitled “God in the machine: my strange journey into transhumanism” exposed some gaps in my knowledge and encouraged me to revisit the subject – which I haven’t really been back to since I self-published the novel in 2012.

The Technological Singularity is an idea most closely as...

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About Me


Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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