Tag Archives: bookblogs

Amazon – Superman or Lex Luthor?

DEBATE QUESTION OF THE DAY:  When it comes to self-publishing, is Amazon Superman or Lex Luthor?

AMAZON IS SUPERMAN:  Once upon a time, if you had a story in your heart and wanted to tell the world, your only choice was to roll the dice, write it, submit it, and there was like a 10% chance maybe you’d find a publisher and a 90% chance that your manuscript would collect dust in your sock drawer.  To increase your odds, you could abandon your home, family, and everyone you know from the place you grew up and move to New York City or LA and try to hobnob with the beautiful people but in reality, the closest you’d get is a form reply from the assistant to the assistant of the book agent’s assistant.

Amazon has changed all that.  You are in control.  You build your platform.  You draw in your readers.  An entire self-publishing industry has been created to help writers like you.  You can find editors to help you polish your work, beta readers to give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t, formatters to put your book together in digital form and artists to create your book cover.

Roll up your sleeves, work hard, upload your book to Amazon, and you now have a foot in the door of the world of publishing.  If your book is as good as you think it is, people will read it, tell others and God willing, you become the next Hugh Howey or Amanda Hocking.

Does KDP Select lead to authors making their works exclusive to Amazon and push them to give their works away for free or on the cheap?  Yes.  But, come on.  We’re struggling no-names.  Readers only have so much expendable income.  If they have ten bucks to spend, will they buy my book or Steven King’s.  King has a proven track record.  You buy a Steven King book and you know you’ll be entertained.  Me?  I still have to earn that reputation.  So, take my work for pennies, world and if you like it, I hope you’ll come back for more and pay for the privilege because a steady flow of book sales income is what I need to justify writing as a full time career.

Thanks Amazon!  Like Superman, you’ve saved us all!

AMAZON IS LEX LUTHOR – Muah ha ha.  Yes.  Gather around my table at Legion of Doom Headquarters where I will now share my evil plans.  You had dreams of becoming a writer, did you?  We got you hooked on our service.  You uploaded your books, built your fan base, pushed them toward our site and thank you.  Your reward?  Pressure to give your books away for free and keep them only with us – we’ll get plenty of clicks on our site, you might get a little bit of pocket change for your trouble.  We’re driving down the cost of books all across the board, and even traditionally published writers are complaining about profit declines.  We don’t really care…we’re getting ours.  Muah ha ha.

DEBATE:  I lean toward the Superman argument but I can understand why some people might go with Lex Luthor.  What say you, self publishers?

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Romantic Quotes – The Notebook

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

– Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook

I already commented on poor Nicolas Sparks’ divorce so I won’t go into it again.  For those 3.5 regular readers who are paying attention – no, I never was able to confirm whether or not Michael Crichton actually made a real, live dinosaur.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t, but I just don’t have any hard evidence one way or the other.  I didn’t see him make a dinosaur.  But I didn’t NOT see him make a dinosaur either.

But anyway – going along with the theme from yesterday (the quote from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) – here is another man opining that love is the best experience of life.

Is it?

I will say this – the year was 2004 and the Bookshelf Battler was in a movie theater packed to the gills with women pulling out tissues and sniffing up a storm.  No joke.  No exaggeration.  Sparks’ sappiness made a theater full of women ball their eyes out, and I suppose that’s why he makes the big bucks.  That’s real talent.

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The site where artists give you several options to chose from when it comes to your self-published ebook cover.

Anyone out there use it?  Anyone want to discuss their experience with it?  If so, comment away!

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What Book Would You Like to See Turned Into a Movie?

For me, I’d have to say The Dresden Files.  I know there was an attempt at a TV show that didn’t take off, but with the right people behind it, I feel like a Dresden Files movie would be pretty spectacular.

How about you?  What book would you like to see turned into a movie?

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Life of Pi by Yann Martel – So, What About That Ending?


One could argue that Yann Martel’s Life of Pi has a choose-your-own ending.

Did Pi really travel across the ocean, learning to peacefully coexist with a ravenous man-eating tiger along the way, a clever allegory that opposites don’t necessarily have to cancel one each other out and people can learn to live their lives without destroying each other?

Did Pi lie to the authorities who questioned him because it was easier than it would have been to insist that his incredible story was true?

Was Pi’s claim of sailing with Richard Parker the Tiger a lie?  Did he, in fact, suffer a terrible fate in which his mother was killed and he made up the story about the animals to avoid thinking about it?

Personally, I thought the Richard Parker version of the story was very uplifting, and then to add in the possibility that it never happened was a little disappointing.  But the dual ending possibilities could be a litmus test.  Positive people probably gravitate to the Richard Parker version.  Negative people say “a boy and a tiger never could have survived on a raft together, the boy would have been eaten in 2 seconds.  The version where Pi’s mother is killed must be the true version.”

All I can say is the novel is a good read, very original, and the movie really brings it to life.

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Self Publishing and Libraries

Awhile ago, I discussed a recent NY Times article about self publishing.  If interested in the article itself, you can read it here.

I’d like to return to it for a moment, not for its content, but one quote in particular that got me thinking:

“Your rabid romance reader who was buying $100 worth of books a week and funneling $5,200 into Amazon per year is now generating less than $120 a year,” she said. “The revenue is just lost. That doesn’t work well for Amazon or the writers.”

– Quote from Author H.M. Ward, in NY Times Article by David Streitfeld, “Amazon Offers All You Can Eat Books, Dec. 27, 2014

Question – Are there really people spending upwards of $5,000 a year on ebooks?  If there are, well, I suppose that’s great for authors, whether they be self-published or traditional.  If a reader has that kind of money to spend and the books make them happy, then God bless them for their patronage.

Many readers don’t have that kind of money to burn.  Despite claims that libraries are becoming more and more obsolete and may be going the way of the Dodo (though I hope not, wouldn’t that be sad?), I like to borrow books from my local library and find that to be a cheap (heck, free!) way to supplement my reading habit.  And after I’ve discovered an author by getting his or her book from the library, if later I have a few bucks to spare, I might see they have a new title available for digital download and will say to myself, “Oh what the hell, why wait?  Just pay the few bucks and enjoy reading it now.”

What is the role of the library when it comes to the publishing industry?  In practice, libraries do lend out copies of copyrighted works for free and people who borrow free books aren’t sending any money the author’s way.  Yet, we literary lovers tend to also be library lovers.  Heck (I feel like I’ve used that word too much in this post), most of us probably first began our love affair with the English language in a library.  So, authors, publishers, literary nerds of all kinds – we support libraries, at least, I do – I think most of us do, don’t we?

Question – Are there ways for self publishing Indie authors to get their books to libraries?  Maybe an indie author, if he or she has the money, could produce several copies and donate them to libraries.  Although, that could be a problem in and of itself.  Often times, people bring books donations to libraries and are shocked to find that the library can’t use them – for whatever reason.  Sometimes the books are old and outdated, sometimes a library just won’t have the shelf space.  Indie Authors might try to donate their books only to receive polite responses from librarians of “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Still, I wonder if this isn’t an avenue that self-publishers should look at.  People who love books but don’t have $5,000 a year to spend on them might read a self-published book through a library, get hooked, and maybe then spend a respectable $50 bucks a year on books, which, ok, no one’s going to celebrate that until we think $50 X a large segment of the book reading population.

What say you, reader?  Are traditional lending libraries an option that self publishers should look into?

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Thank You! (Christmas Call to Action)

Hey Bookshelf Battlers,

Just a quick thank you to fellow book lovers out there for the help provided to me in just 24 hours.  Last night I was around 1900, maybe a little over, twitter followers.  After a push for 2000, I’m at 2035 as of tonight.  That wasn’t meant to be pushy.  It was meant to find more people to spread the joy of the written word to!  So thank you everyone, you’re all very cool.

Folks, I love the technologically advanced time we’re living in – a time where we’ve become the gatekeepers, a time where if you have something to say, your ability to say it does not depend on who you know.  You can just log on, blog on, and say it.  To ruin that sentiment with an Austin Powers quote, this is all “very groovy baby, yeah!”

This hopefully the beginning and the best is yet to come.  I don’t mean to brag, gloat, or show a lack of humility, because honestly, humble is my middle name.  I should just change the blog to “Bookshelf Humble Battle.”  I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if a) you all stick with me and tell your peeps to join the ride and b) I can kick my own butt to get into gear, then I think within a year to a year-and-a-half I’ll have produced some awesome reading material.  Blogging and Self-Publishing=the way of the future.

Well, heck, now that I wrote that, I have to do it, lest egg be on my face in a year to a year and a half. Someone call me out on the carpet if by mid-2016 I haven’t published something awesome please.  Thank you.

Finally, I try not to get too political on this blog because, well, come on, whoever we are, however we vote, can’t we all hold hands and come together in the spirit of promoting fantastic books?  But I have to say the whole debacle with The Interview irked me.  The idea that some tin pot dictator thinks he can tell our Hollywood Executives that they are not allowed to air their crappy movie is outrageous!  This is America!  Land of the Free and Home of the Brave Baby, where our Hollywood Executives have a god given right to produce their own crappy movies and distribute them on their own terms!

So that being said, if you have nothing better to do (and who are you kidding, you know you don’t because you’re reading this ) then do your patriotic duty and log on to You Tube to watch The Interview!  


In conclusion, apologies for all this philosophical babbling folks.  Bottomline:  You keep reading.  I’ll keep writing.

Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays.  Happy Hanukah.  Happy Kwanza.  Happy Whatever Holidays I Missed, and If You’re an Atheist, Have a Top Notch Thursday!

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Thoughts for the New Year

This year has been a building year – all about learning how to blog.  2015 I hope will be the year to where I’ll be more productive and turn out some quality work product.

Thoughts for 2015 include:

1)  Committing to at least 1 book review a month because, you know, this is a book blog, or so I keep hearing.

2)  Starting more discussions about writing for writers and those pesky situations we always find ourselves in.

3)  I’d love to interview some Indie Authors, for the selfish reason of picking their brains on self-publishing success, but also for the non-selfish reason of paying it forward and building cosmic karma (which, if you stand on your head, cross your eyes, and think about it really hard, is selfish!)

4)  Interview some other book bloggers about their favorite books, book blogging, and other booktastic issues of a booktabulous nature.

5)  Bring more organization to the site, set up some pages at the top of the site to funnel my posts into for easier access.

6)  I am starting to think maybe less is more and I’m hoping to have a standing appointment with you all on Sundays, using them to make at least one post a week.  More if inspiration strikes.

7)  The past few months I’ve really gotten into self-publishing – listening to podcasts, doing research, etc.  I do have a goal of getting a longstanding idea I’ve had written by the end of 2015, submitting to traditional agents and if no luck, self-publishing by the end of 2016.  So hard to think about things 2 years in advance but I suppose that is the name of the game.  Anyone with advice, tips, tricks, etc on that always feel free to share!

8)  I’d be interested in what social media platforms and/or other ways in which you have found success in promoting your blogs.  Thus far, the most success I’ve had is with Twitter (shameless plug if I can just get 80 followers by the end of Christmas Eve I will have reached my goal of 2000 followers by Christmas!)

I’m on Tumblr and Facebook, but unless I’m doing it wrong, I just don’t see them as being very useful.

YOUR THOUGHTS – If you have any thoughts on how I can make this site better, please feel free to share them!  Compliments are always welcome, but harsh and brutal criticism is actually preferred.  I have thick alligator-like skin so please have at it and rip me a new one!  If you’ve been thinking, “Look, Bookshelf Battler, you insufferable doofus, it makes me go crazy when you do X, Y, or Z” now is the time to share!   Criticism is how we grow, change, and get better!

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Literary War Quote – 1984 by George Orwell

Bookshelf Battler here, reporting live from the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare battlefront.  I have to hand it to this game.  Such ultimate realism – the sights, the sounds, the blasts, the getting shot twenty times and then hiding behind a corner until you get better – ok, so maybe the realism factor isn’t all that high but still it is an all around A+ game.

This week I’m celebrating this game with a tie-in to literary war quotes – mentions in literature about that most necessary (or unnecessary?) of all evils – war.  War.  Ungh.  Goo God yah huh – what’s it even good for?  Absolutely nothin.’

In 1984, (the book, not the year that happened thirty years ago – hey what do you know, Happy Anniversary 1984!) by George Orwell, a vivid portrait the ultimate police state is created, so much so that the novel gave rise to the phrase, “Big Brother is watching you.”

What did this book have to say about violence – as in organized violence ,or in other words, war?  Check it out:

“Those who abjure violence can only do so by others committing violence on their behalf.”  – George Orwell, 1984

Don’t be fooled by the catchy use of the word, “Battle” in the title of this blog.  I’m all for peace, happiness, and tranquility.  But George makes a good point.  Constant threats abound – both from criminal degenerates at home and terrorists abroad.  We are able to sit around and type on our blogs, drink our Mountain Dew, and play our video games because “rough men,” i.e. police and soldiers are taking up arms on our behalf and keeping the bad guys at bay.  Here’s what else George had to say on the subject:

“People sleep peacefully in their beds only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”  – George Orwell, 1984

My opinion, police and military types often get a bad rap.  They’re often portrayed in pop culture  as savages, jerks, people on a power trip who just enjoy committing acts of violence and while I suppose there will always be a few bad apples in any bunch, we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that we are able to live peaceful lives because the government employs “rough men” (and hey – even “rough women!” to fight on our behalf.

This concept was further immortalized in the 1992 military courtroom drama film, A Few Good Men.  Remember the character Col. Nathan Jessup played by Jack Nicholson?  Here’s the direct quote of his infamous “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” speech:

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.  Who’s gonna do it?  You?  You, Lt. Weinburg?  I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom.  You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know – that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives.  And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.  You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.  We use words like honor, code, loyalty.  We used these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something.  You use them as a punchline.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.  I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post.  Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”  – Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men

Well, maybe this is not the best example since Jessup was the bad guy in the film but overall, the main point – if you feel the need to criticize police and the military for being “rough men,” try to also keep in mind that their “roughness” is very much needed.

And don’t forget – my Call of Duty character will be exploded 50 times tonight by frag grenades, many of which I tossed accidentally at my own feet, so that you can play peaceful video games like Mario Kart and Minecraft.

Full disclosure – I have to give props to NBC’s The Blacklist because Raymond “Red” Reddington used Orwell’s quote in this week’s episode.  When I heard it, I was like, “Thank you, James Spader!  There’s a blog post!”

In conclusion – don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and follow @bookshelfbattle.com on Twitter.

And if you’re a Walking Dead fan – stop by Sunday night to discuss the latest episode!  What is Carol going to do as a patient at the evil hospital, anyway?

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Double Double Toil and Trouble – The Witches of MacBeth

Happy Halloween!

Have you ever wondered how witches obtained their witchy personality traits?

***Crickets chirp***

Ahem.  This is your cue.

“Hey!  Bookshelf Battle Guy!  How did witches obtain their witchy personality traits?”

Oh thank you, Reader.  I thought you’d never ask.

Well, the common conception of a witch is a nasty old hag throwing all kinds of weird ingredients (usually animals or parts of animals) into a boiling cauldron.

We could discuss all day witch-tastic imagery from all sorts of literature but to me, Act 4, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth stands out.

So park your broomstick and grab your eye of newt, because here are some excerpts and quotes:

SCENE 1 – A cavern – in the middle is a boiling cauldron.

Thunder.  Enter the three witches.


Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d


Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined

BOOKSHELFBATTLE – So, four then?  The pig in your hedges whined four times?  Why are you hags making this so difficult?


Harpier cries, ‘Tis time, ’tis time.


Round about the cauldron go;

In the poison’d entrails throw.

Toad, that under cold stone

Days and nights has thirty-one

Swelter’d venom, sleeping got,

Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot

BOOKSHELF BATTLE GUY: Pot of poisoned entrails?  That doesn’t sound charming at all.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble!


Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the cauldron boil and bake;

Eye of newt and toe of frog

Wool of bat and tongue of dog

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing

For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

BOOKSHELFBATTLE GUY – My condolences, amputated animals.  Apparently witches used to think your parts were magical.


Double, double toil and trouble


Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,

Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf

Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,

Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,

Liver of blaspheming Jew,

Gall of goat, and slips of yew

Silver’d in the moon’s eclips,

Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips

Finger of birth-strangled babe

Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,

Make the gruel thick and slab:

Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron

For the ingredients of our cauldron.

BOOKSHELF BATTLE GUY – OK, now they’re getting ridiculous.  I don’t even know where to begin.  First of all, allow me to apologize for the racial insensitivity.  What can I say?  This is an excerpt taking from a 1500’s era writer who was writing about ancient witches so it is not like you can really expect a lot of political correctness.  Also, how many babies were getting strangled in those days that their fingers were just apparently readily available to be tossed into witches’ brews?  Those were dark times, my friends, dark times indeed.


Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.


Cool it with a baboon’s blood,

Then the charm is firm and good.

BOOKSHELFBATTLE GUY: – This took place in Scotland, didn’t it?   Where would they have even found a baboon?

ENTER HECTATE to the other three Witches.


O well done!  I commend your pains;

And every one shall share i’ the gains;

And now about the cauldron sing,

Live elves and fairies in a ring,

Enchanting all that you put in.

MUSIC AND A SONG: Black spirits…

HECTATE retires


By the pricking of my thumbs,

Something wicked this way comes.

Open, locks,

Whoever knocks!



How now, you secret, black and midnight hags!

What is’t you do?

BOOKSHELF BATTLE GUY:  I have no comment, other than I think it is funny that MacBeth openly refers to them as hags.  “Hello, hags!”

Well folks, that concludes my discussion of MacBeth’s witches.  Grab your wolf teeth and dragon scales and toss them into the comment section.

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