Thursday, April 17, 2014

Goodbye Cruel World!!!!





This time, I mean it!
I must disappear from the internets for the next 3 weeks if I'm going to make my deadline for NEANDERTHAL MARRIES HUMAN. Therefore, I am leaving you all a parting gift (teaser picture) and instructions to throw rotten vegetable marrows at me if you see me trolling any of social media.

Wish me luck in the deep murkiness of my writing cave<3 Penny

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Forbidden Fruit Vol 2 is live on the internets!



Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JPHFK18/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JPHFK18&linkCode=as2&tag=livmoraut-20

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forbidden-fruit-vol-2-kasey-millstead-adriane-leigh/1119231219?ean=2940149201013


My story is the last one and I'm curious to read/learn your thoughts on my first attempt at erotica... spoiler alert: I found out I can't do raunchy :-\
Blurb for Wicked, Wicked, Wicked Witch: Maleficent Taylor has a problem, she’s a witch who is infatuated with a prince. She’s not a real witch, but she does play one at the largest theme park in the world. This prince, however, is strictly off limits and he has been since their families clashed eight years ago, ending with her parents divorced and her brother in jail. In life and in the movies, the beautiful princess always ends up with the handsome prince, and the witch always loses. But, much to Maleficent’s dismay and surprise, fate has thrown them together in a rainstorm, and everyone knows what happens when a witch gets wet.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

When is an author "Successful"?

Short story: Fill out this survey! FILL ME OUT BECAUSE I'M A BADASS FORM

Long story: Up front I should tell you that my level of happiness in my writing and/or my determination to improve as a writer has no relationship with the world's perception of my success.

That stated, I find the entire subject of "perceived success" completely fascinating.

Certainly, like any individual willing to be honest, I struggle with perceptions of success (as an author and, honestly, in general). I've been told that I'm considered "successful" as an author, but without comparison data or the ability to plot my place on the yellow brick road to Oz, I am forever doubting the veracity of these assertions.

Also, it bothers me. It bothers me when a person calls me successful because I don't know what "successful" means. Therefore, the label feels too big and too tight, false, and uncomfortable.

As I stated above, it doesn't actually matter if I'm considered successful as an author (whether or not this label is applicable to me). Rather, what is interesting to me is how we (we being the community of authors, readers, reviewers/blogger in the publishing industry) perceive Author Success. 

To that end, and accepting the limitations of sample bias, I've created a survey on the subject. Obviously, I haven't gone through the steps to ensure the survey is is reliable/valid. It is, however, an informal approach which I hope will allow us some insight into the baseline of perceived success.

So, please fill it out! It's for authors, readers, bloggers, EVERYONE!
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NmBqj4eaSJ9IDWkH9du8i4QKDXSl4lDUmlKbG6HpIt0/viewform
I'll publish the results in May <3

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Upcoming Release Dates

If you're interested, this is what the next 12 months looks like for me:
  1. April 15: eBook Forbidden Fruit Anthology release (my story is Wicked, Wicked, Wicked Witch)
  2. May 27: AudioBook‬ NEANDERTHAL SEEKS HUMAN (Amazon, Apple, Audible) *CONFIRMED*
  3. June 24: eBook/print NEANDERTHAL MARRIES HUMAN releases (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords) *CONFIRMED*
  4. August 19: ‪‎AudioBooks‬
    NEANDERTHAL MARRIES HUMAN
    FRIENDS WITHOUT BENEFITS
    LOVE HACKED

    (Amazon, Apple, Audible) *PROJECTED*
  5. September 9: eBook/print BEAUTY AND THE MUSTACHE releases (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords) *CONFIRMED*
  6. November 4: eBook/print Holiday Knitting in the City Novella (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords) *PROJECTED*
  7. November 18: AudioBook BEAUTY AND THE MUSTACHE (Amazon, Apple, Audible) *PROJECTED*
  8. February 3 (2015): eBook/print Continuation (to be titled) of BUNSEN BURNER BINGO *PROJECTED*
  9. March 14 (2015): eBook/print Book #5 Knitting in the City (to be titled)
    (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords) *PROJECTED*

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Have Tickets to the Cleveland Author Event... do you want them???


Do you live in or around Ohio?
Do you play euchre?
Do you enjoy a buckeye (the yummy dessert) or two? (or three?)

Then this giveaway is for you!!

I'm running two giveaways (one here, on my blog; and one on my facebook page) for 2 tickets (I have 4 total) to the sold-out Cleveland Author Event (Saturday, April 26) + 1 print copy of any one of my books when you get there.

Saturday, April 26, Cleveland Author Signing; Cleveland, OH 
FACEBOOK   *   TICKETS   *   WEBSITE

GO FORTH (BELOW) AND ENTER!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is Autism Awareness Month and 100% of NEANDERTHAL SEEKS HUMAN goes to Autism Charities


A few of my fellow authors are donating 100% of our royalties on April 2, 2014 to autism charities. Please share to spread the word about autism!

Helpful Links:
Autism Speaks
NIH Fact sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

Love Hacked - A case study response

This is one of those posts where I pretend like we're all faculty colleagues.

I stumbled over this blog post by author Liv Rancourt about my most recent release, Love Hacked: http://livrancourt.com/2014/04/a-review-of-love-hacked-by-penny-reid/

I spent about 1-hour pondering the questions she raises in her post and came to the conclusion she is asking the wrong questions. At first I was going to write a comment to her blog post, but then my comment just became too long. Therefore, I'm posting my response here and will link her to it. Feel free to read or not read. I enjoyed thinking about the issues she raises and coming to my own conclusions/offering alternate theories.

Dear Liv,
I do not believe your questions will provide you with the answers you seek (i.e. I believe you are asking the wrong questions). My background is in biostatistics and I have some experience focusing scientists, Ph.D/MD researchers on asking the right questions in order to obtain the most meaningful / generalizable results. Let me see if I can help.

These are the questions you ask in your post: 
1) Why does the book (Love Hacked) have so many 5-star reviews?
2) But when I sit down to make a list of my top ten reads for 2014, will this one be on it? (You answered this later with a 'No')
3) Is it (Love Hacked) really better than Pride & Prejudice? (you cite the ratings for Pride & Prejudice verses Love Hacked on Amazon and Goodreads)
4) Or does Ms. Reid really have more friends than anyone else on the planet?
5) Do you pay attention to the reviews you see on Amazon or Goodreads?
6) When you get ready to review/rate a book (and I know you do), what do you take into consideration?
7) Does it matter if you know the author or not?

Based on the questions above, my interpretation is that you really want the answer to the following: 
1) Why do books (that do not-- according to your opinion and judgement-- deserve 5 star ratings) receive a 5 star rating? (what factors are involved)
2) Can reviews on amazon/goodreads be trusted as an accurate quantitative measurement of a book's true merit?

Here are my theories:
Question 1: Why do books (that do not-- according to your opinion and judgement-- deserve 5 star ratings) receive a 5 star rating? (what factors are involved)

Response 1: My impression is that the following factors are taken into account and are weighted on a varying scale (of importance) based on each individual reader preference
1) Writing/composition quality
2) Characterization
3) Subject matter / genre
4) Plot / story engagement / pacing and flow
5) Author/subject bias - AKA external bias (as you note, if a reader knows the author, he/she may rate a book higher/lower; also, if a reader is intimately familiar with the subject matter, he/she may rate the book higher/lower).
6) Willingness/unwillingness to like any given book - AKA internal bias (some readers will indiscriminately love every book; some readers will indiscriminately despise every book)

Therefore, as you may have extrapolated from my list above, these factors are heavily based on qualitative (rather than quantitative) factors and therefore each individual result (rating) is imperfect.

Question 2: Can reviews on amazon/goodreads be trusted as an accurate quantitative measurement of a book's true merit?

Response 2: No and yes.
No- amazon/goodreads ratings are not necessarily an accurate quantitative measurement of a book's merit because the rating (number) is a numerical representation of qualitative data (i.e. an opinion) based on a subset of the population whose biases are unknown.

However, yes- because (one could argue) once a book reaches a certain number of measurements (i.e. ratings) the biased ratings (i.e. outliers) would cancel each other out.

Proposal for a more accurate rating system: If amazon/goodreads wanted to improved their rating systems, they could weight ratings based on a reviewers average rating within a particular genre (generation of a Z score). That is, designate "expert reviewers" for each genre. Then, the more the reviewer trends toward the center (on a 5 point scale, 3 is would be the ideal mean and median) the higher their review/rating would weight (as opposed to someone who typically only rates books with a 1 or a 5).

Additional discussion/answering your original questions:
1) Why does the book (Love Hacked) have so many 5-star reviews?
This is really a two part question-
A) WHY THE HIGH NUMBER OF REVIEWS?  I'm pretty good at getting the word out to my readers about the difference that reviews make. I've built loyal readership over the past year and interact with them on social media (facebook, twitter, via newsletters, etc.) both because I love to interact with my readers but also because it is an effective way to obtain reviews and spread the word about my books.
B) WHY THE HIGH (5 star) RATING?  Most of the readers have already read books 1&2 and are therefore a fan of the series/are willing to invest the time into future books. They are already primed/predisposed to like the content. Also... maybe, to them, the book merits 5 stars...?

2) But when I sit down to make a list of my top ten reads for 2014, will this one be on it? (You answered this later with a 'No')

3) Is it (Love Hacked) really better than Pride & Prejudice? (you cite the ratings for Pride & Prejudice verses Love Hacked on Amazon and Goodreads)
ANSWER: This question cannot be answered because Pride & Prejudice is not a contemporary romantic comedy. It would be like asking which is better: oranges or silk? Yes, they are both tangible goods, but they serve two different purposes. Or, which is better, Pride & Prejudice or the Iliad? Not possible to answer with any level of confidence definitely because it's based solely on personal preference (and, therefore, just as admissible as Love Hacked's higher rating on goodreads/amazon). That stated, P&P has a higher number of measurements (number of ratings) and therefore the two books' average rating are not statistically comparable.

4) Or does Ms. Reid really have more friends than anyone else on the planet?
ANSWER: Only 3 people "in real life" know about my writing and none of them have left reviews on amazon/goodreads for any of my books. All my reviews (for all three of my books) come from strangers.

5) Do you pay attention to the reviews you see on Amazon or Goodreads?
ANSWER: YES! But I try to weigh it against a person's average rating in the genre. It would do me no good to accept a review/rating of Pride & Prejudice from a person who only reads non-fiction or horror. As well, if a person gives every book 5 stars then I'll likely discount their review as internal bias.

6) When you get ready to review/rate a book (and I know you do), what do you take into consideration?
ANSWER: All the factors I listed above in response to my rephrasing of the first question.

7) Does it matter if you know the author or not?
ANSWER: Yes. Absolutely. I admit, I have bias toward authors I know and respect; therefore, I try not to rate/review books by authors I know.

I hope this is helpful!
Best, Penny