Posted by: Sandy Graham | October 18, 2022

Great Reviews

Politic or Not May 17, 2022

While You Speak for Me Now has been praised as a story, some reviews have said its political message is too one-sided. My initial reaction was to suggest that the story can be read for its entertainment value disregarding the political mission. Upon more reflection, I think it important to explain why it is one-sided.

In America’s highly charged political environment, there’s a pronounced tendency to take offence the instant one detects a difference in political leaning. That’s what creates the chasm in the land and prevents us from thinking objectively about issues most of us face in common. Apparently it also causes some readers to miss the predominant political theme woven into the story.

The days of a Democrat/Republican government shifting the country a little in the liberal or conservative direction, depending on the vote, disappeared in America over twenty years ago. Two parties working out compromises yet always moving the country forward. The political intent of You Speak for Me Now is to cause readers to pause, consider, and perhaps even conclude that the conflict is now between a rich minority trying to combine political control with their economic dominance and the rest of the population. In that context, I am unabashedly one-sided.

Over the past 3,000 years, hundreds of nations have gone down the path to autocracy, many in just my life-time. It’s always the same; a small group getting excessively rich driving the rest into poverty and oppression until it leads to revolution. We tend to forget that the American Revolution was to overthrow the royal autocracy. We see it today in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet we condone the American oligarchs that make their Russian counterparts look like paupers. Too many communication channels are already in their hands and their propaganda machine has duped too many of us.

Describing the situation like this will have no real effect on people’s thinking. Weaving it into a compelling story stands a little better chance. That’s the goal in You Speak for Me Now. Yes, it’s one-sided, not in a party sense but rather in a national one. This would be clearer if the authoritarian forces were not hiding their efforts behind a Republican Party smoke screen. Renaming it the Autocratic Party would reveal the truth.


The $6,000 Book April 4, 2022

As you are probably aware by now, I decided to actively market my latest book, You Speak for Me Now. Hired a publicity agent and professional cover designer, ran two giveaway programs, made videos, etc. Obtained three very good reviews by industry leading reviewers (and one fairly good one). Did two radio interviews, one of which by John Busbee of The Culture Buzz, was extremely positive. The few ratings received to date on Goodreads average 4.3 out of 5 stars and the consensus of the reviewers seems to be that the book is both entertaining and informative – to a high degree. And I’ve made it available in paperback, hardcover and eBook formats.

Sounds wonderful, except that I haven’t sold a print book in the last three months. In fact, Amazon reported only three paperbacks have been purchased so far, and I purchased one of them. Until recently, I told myself to relax. It takes a while for customers to materialize. Over a month ago, I sent out an email to many of my friends announcing its release. Not wanting anyone to feel an obligation, I informed them that I have no way of knowing who buys a book. All I get is a count of sales. It never dawned on me that perhaps none of them would buy it. Hopefully, at least one will part with fourteen dollars so I can assume whoever I’m talking to must certainly be the one.

Even an optimist suffers a twinge of doubt eventually. Still, one never knows when some small segment of humanity will find the book, recognize it predates Biden’s concern regarding the battle between democracy and autocracy, buy it, and maybe even recommend it to their friends. Till then, it remains a $6,000 book project.


Best Book List March 21, 2022

Shepherd.com is a new rival to GoodReads that offers a novel approach for finding novels. It requires authors to create a list of five books which the author believes are the best dealing with the theme of the list, and then tell why they were chosen. The goal is to attract readers searching for books related to the list theme.

The focus is on helping authors reach an audience while giving readers an easier way to find books. It may be unfair, but my impression of GoodReads is that it has focused entirely on readers since acquired by Amazon. Happy to charge authors for giveaways but with no persuasion of winners to provide reviews or even ratings, unless the author pays an additional $500. Sound like the Amazon culture?

Instead of mining for money, Shepherd puts authors to work coming up with a theme appropriate for their latest book, compiling a list of the best supporting books, and explaining why they belong on the list. To see my list, go to https://shepherd.com/best-books/to-influence-human-society


Culture Buzz February 25, 2022

In an effort to market a book for a change, I hired a publicity agent, Javier Perez. It cost quite a few sheckles but it has generated some good reviews, email interviews, and two radio interview. There’s an art to participating in a radio interview, which I’m in the beginning stage of learning. With no advance knowledge of what will be asked, there’s a lot of on-the-spot fumbling. However, a pattern is becoming apparent which should help in future.

The latest interview was with John Busbee, who hosts The Culture Buzz using a format of eight fifteen-minute interviews each week on all aspects of the arts. You can find it on www.SandysPen.com by clicking on the book image and selecting Videos & Reviews.

Reviewers are supporting my belief that this book has real merit. Nevertheless, like all new books not written by or for celebrities, it’s very difficult to get it exposure even with those sheckles mentioned earlier. (Spell-checker wants to change “sheckles” to “shackles”, which might not be too far off base when applied to my book.) In the past, I’ve broadcasted a book announcement to most friends in my address book. So far, not this time. Why? Well, even though it’s a gripping read, it has political overtones which I’m reluctant to trust to the open-mindedness of my conservative friends. That’s ironic since the main goal of the book is to get everyone thinking about the issues that are keeping us apart in our fragmented society.

Maybe I’ll put my hands where my mouth is and rectify that.



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