MAILING LIST: I just started a mailing list for my publishing company. Will mail out every 2 months and will include excerpts from my Robert’s Roundup columns and other random stuff. MASTADON: https://booktoot.club/@nagletx
Abbreviations: KU means Kindle Unlimited, and APUB means it was published under an Amazon imprint.NYP means “Name Your Price” (that’s an option on Smashwords and other booksellers). If you’d like to submit an ebook to me for review or mention in this column, see my instructions here.
Last month on a whim I changed my WordPress template. It still looks kind of crappy, but I’ll be gradually adding changes. That has led to a total rethink of this blog which I’ll be implementing over the next month or so. (Follow my progress here).
I wrote a really wonderful essay about fave childhood reads. Lots of book titles, nostalgia basking and ruminations about a writer’s development. A week ago I had the idea of encouraging other writers to add their own fave childhood reads, and so far, 4 have contributed. The ironic thing about this question is that it was the last question I asked Clay Reynolds before he died. Reynolds had already given voluminous answers to all my questions — and the interview was essentially finished. Then he shared his scary news about his pancreatic cancer– and at that point I realized that his days were numbered. I sent him this question anyway. He managed to write back a very short note where he agreed the question was great but he simply could not answer it in his current state. As disappointed as I was, I really appreciate his effort in letting me know this.
I recently contacted another distinguished writer about doing an interview, and sent him that question as an example of an interview question. A week later he wrote back saying he didn’t feel comfortable answering that question; he didn’t like to talk about his internal processes of writing and reading. Okay, that’s strange, but everyone is different. After that rejection, I started to write this essay — and it turned out to be a lot longer (and more interesting) than I ever could have imagined. Perhaps that unnamed writer was right; it is a fiendishly complicated question!
Finally, ever since I listed my blog on Booksirens, I’ve been contacted by authors seeking reviews. I almost never have time to read books or write reviews these days, but I really really really love doing so. If anything, I feel an obligation to explore titles from the indie world because I am really open to new kinds of stories. The problem with services like Booksirens is that they nag reviewers too much; you have 3 weeks (or 1 month or 2 months) to read and review something. I’m sorry. I do this whenever I have time for it, not when some website insists on it.
Kobo Deals and VIP
Kobo 90% off deal. I have started to buy things from Kobo instead of Amazon — more for consumer reasons than anything else (Kindle app is still better). What book did I pick for my 90% off coupon? I settled upon Garner’s Modern English Usage. ($20) Someone pointed out — and I agree — that even though I have the ebook, it might still be worth it to have the printed edition. The ebook is somewhat cumbersome to go through — though to its credit, the book has amazing indices and navigation aids.
I’ve been looking into the Kobo VIP membership for $10. That’s for one year membership only. I decided not to get it this time, but I probably will for my next purchase. $10 gives you 10% of your ebooks + points which you can redeem for more ebook purchases. Also, you get bonus points which you can redeem. Here’s what I calculated: To purchase $1 of store credit, you need to have 900 points. Spending $45 earns you an additional $1
Indie Author Spotlight
Under the Radar
Blink and It’s Gone
Library Purchases/Printed books
Literary Articles and Essays
Dalkey Archives publish a FREE book preview newsletter which consists of generous excerpts from current DA titles. Each issue is 25 pages or so and can be downloaded in PDF form (note: it requires registration). I love DA press, but its titles are too expensive and seem geared only to institutions.
Happy to discover that Pulitzer is hosting lots of previously paywalled articles which won people their prizes. To start, here’s some dazzling litcrit by Andrea Long Chu. (Hanya Yanagihara, Moshfegh, Octavia Butler, Asian fic, etc. )
Capsule Book Reviews
Personville Press Deals
I run Personville Press, a small literary book press where all the ebooks cost less than $4. Prices normally appear highest on Amazon, Apple, Kobo and BN, somewhat lower on Google Play Books and lower on the two DRM-free stores which are Smashwords and Payhip. Personville Press is committed to selling DRM-free ebooks and audio files directly from the Personville Press payhip store or from Smashwords. The prices listed here are the non-discounted price on Amazon. Check the links to see if they are discounted at the moment (it happens often).
- Existential Smut 1: Youthful Indiscretions by Hapax Legomenon. These artsy erotica stories are published on one of Personville Press’s imprints (Ripe Mango Take Two Press). You can buy it on Payhip | Eden Books | Kobo |Google
- My Heart For Hostage by Robert S. Hillyer. This tender love story between a young American lieutenant and a French girl in Paris after the first World War was published by poet (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Robert Hillyer in 1942. Out of print for several decades, this novel will be re-released for the first time as a low-cost ebook. A New York Times critic called it a “superbly written book, written perhaps as only a poet with and expert in the discipline of verse could write it.” Includes a critical essay by Robert Nagle. Free download from the publisher’s site, but also available at a nominal price from ebook stores: Payhip | Smashwords | Google Play | BN | Apple | Kobo | Amazon | Amazon UK. You can also read the whole thing online!
- Second Death of E.A. Poe and other Stories by Jack Matthews. $2.99. Did Edgar Allen Poe fake his death? That’s what a Baltimore doctor needs to figure out in the title tale for this 11th story collection. Payhip| Smashwords | Google Play |BN | Apple | Kobo | Amazon US | Amazon UK |
- Minor Sketches and Reveries by Alberto Balengo. ($2) Introspective tales involving animals, allegories and the melodrama of everyday life. Payhip | Amazon | Smashwords |Google | BN | Apple | Kobo.
- Interview with the Sphinx. By Jack Matthews. ($1.50). Hyperintellectual Tom Stoppard-like play which reads like a novel about a strange interview with the ancient Sphinx character. Freud and Florence Nightingale show up too. I loved this play and even produced an audio version of it which you can buy for $2 on payhip (mp3/m4a) but the script reads well too. The audio book is available from most audiobook streaming services like |Audible $6 | Apple $3 | Google Play $3 |
- A Worker’s Writebook by Jack Matthews . $2.25 Matthews distributed a photocopied version of this writing guide to his Ohio U. creative writing students over the decades.
- Soldier Boys: Tales of the Civil War by Jack Matthews. $1.50 Philosophical Stories Taking place during the US Civil War.
- Abruptions: 3 Minute Stories to Awaken the Mind by Jack Matthews. Flash Fiction. $2.25
- Hanger Stout, Awake (50th Anniversary Edition). by Jack Matthews. Coming of age novel. $3.00
- Three Times Time Story Sampler by Jack Matthews (Always Free!) US Amazon customers can sometimes get it for free, but to make things easier, you can down these files directly without having to register: Epub, Mobi.