Smashword #authors Warning

Just a heads up.

If you have a book on your author website that is linked to a book page on Smashwords, please check it and make sure it still works. They changed the file location of their books from view/ to books/view, but didn’t bother to add a redirect. So the old links to the book pages, just land on an error page with no option to even search for the book.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.


How to Avoid using Reviewers as Editors

I’ve noticed a trend where indie authors are asking me to review their books already published and asking for my opinion (i.e. editing advice). Right off the bat, I can tell it obviously hadn’t been professionally edited or badly edited, whichever the case.

I’m not sure why they would rushed to publish it when it wasn’t done. I wonder if they got in the trap where they had to publish. If you’re a writer, you knowing that feeling. You spent months or years writing the book . You’re sick and tired looking at it and want the damn book off your plate already. So you skip the editing stage and shove it out the door. Or maybe it has to do with money. Either you can’t afford to pay and editor or, in other cases, some authors start blogging, tweeting and posting on Facebook and quickly gain a large following. They start to feel the pressure to publish so they can bank on their new fame. Or maybe they thought it was ready. They had the book critiqued with one of those critique groups online or in town. A few people read the whole story and said they liked it. They may have even paid an editor to polish it. So they assume it’s ready to be published. But when the reviews start coming in, they aren’t what you expected at all.

I fell into that trap myself. I wanted to get the book off my plate and foolishly believed the critiquer’s and beta readers that my book was great. I paid an editor to polish it, skipping deeper story line edits that would’ve cost me thousands I didn’t have. When I published it, I had a rude awakening. I didn’t get the stellar reviews I expected. (Truth is no one does, unless paid for.) What some reviewers wrote made me realize the book wasn’t ready to publish as I thought. There were some serious story line issues I left out.

Lucky for me, I still had a strong story so my reviews weren’t too bad. The revisions my book needed didn’t require a new ISBN. But for the authors who publish a book that tanks badly, it’ll take a lot to build up their reputation with readers after that.

Even if the author decides to revise the book and republish it, they’ll have to get a new ISBN. I.e. no reviews, low ranking, etc… Pretty much starting over from scratch promoting the book, which may not be so bad if the book bombed, but it adds a lot of unnecessary work.

So you say, how do I avoid falling in this trap myself?

First of all, you can’t rely on a critique group review to spot story line issues when they only read a few pages at a time and days apart. They are good for line editing such as catching grammar and punctuation errors, POV issues and other minor editing issues, but nothing more.

Beta readers will give you a general sense of a book, but still not a true gauge, because of their skill level or time issue. Most beta readers are someone you arranged to swap reading stories with. They are focused on their book not yours. So they are going to do the bare minimum. (I had someone say, Oh your book seemed fast and nothing else after I gave them a 3 page manuscript critique.) Or they don’t have the experience to catch major issues.

So there are couple of steps you can take to get a true view of your book story line quality.

  1. After writing your first draft, have your book read by a professional “paid” editor who specialize in your genre. Make sure they provide you a detailed critique on your manuscript. They’ll be able to spot story line, characterization and other issues beta readers miss.
  2. Revise.
  3. Build a small beta reading group of writer’s in your same genre with writing skills that compliment yours. You can use them to verify you corrected the issues the editor noted in their critique.
  4. Have another professional editor read your second draft, preferably a different one so you get a fresh perspective.
  5. Edit and go back to your beta readers.
  6. Repeat until no one spots any serious issues.
  7. Then pay to have it polished.’

Even if you take all those steps, you can’t guarantee a bestseller, but you can at least ensure it’s well written and good story.

If you have any additional advice, please feel free to post a comment.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.



#Indiechat How to Tell If a Book Promoter is Legit

After receiving the below email from soliciting me to promote with them The Zeuorian Awakening (currently being offered FREE on Amazon as a Kindle book promotion). I decided to do a little research to see if their stats were legit.

Dear Cindy Zablockis,

I have recently come across your book The Zeuorian Awakening (Volume 1) on Amazon and due to both its quality and plot, it qualifies to be promoted in our community of readers.

The Books Machine is a website that connects authors and readers. It helps writers promote their work, gain in reputation and prestige, and reach a potential audience.

Our press team’s offer includes help promoting books to thousands of readers in our community, whether at reduced or regular prices. This is done through a deals promotion page on our website, a Facebook post with exclusive deals reaching over 25,000 readers, as well as a “Newsletter of the Day” that uses a unique and innovative marketing tool featuring an excerpt from your book within a unique customized layout.

The days currently available to feature your work in our newsletter are tomorrow and Friday. In the following link you can find more detailed information about who we are, get to know our community of authors and readers, and find out how this promotion can benefit you and your book:

Also you can find a powerful tool to promote your titles in an innovative way through a professional Video Book Trailer production, adding it on your Amazon book description, Author Central, Deal description, social networks, Youtube Channel, your own website, etc. You can see more information, prices and real works that we’ve made for our authors here:
Warm wishes,

Meryl Wright
Site Administrator

Copyright 2014


What I found about

(This is an average of multiple Traffic Reporting Sites Stats)

Website Statistics

  • Unique “New” (Never been to the website) Visitors: 625 – 852 (Daily) or 18,750 – 25,560 (monthly)
  • Daily “Web” Page views by New & Returning Visitors as well as webots: 1,704 – 4,062
  • Bounce Rate (% of visitors who visit 1 page for less than 60 seconds and then leave the site): 100%/100 %
  • Website Trust worthiness: Very poor (Web browsers and Virus software will warn visitors site not safe)
  • Website Privacy: Very poor (Your cookie information can be copied. i.e. ip address, email, etc…)
  • Website Child Safety: Very Poor (Adult content. Computers with child browsers will block the site)
  • Website Security:  None (They have no HTTPS Protocol needed to hide information entered in forms)


Facebook Statistics

  • Facebook page has 27,786 likes
  • 69 People talking about their post this week
  • 39 New page likes this week
  • Last post 4/13/16
  • # of post a day: 1 – 2
  • Post time: early morning around 7:30 am or evening around 5:30 pm


Twitter Statistics

  • Tweets 447
  • Following 1,173
  • Followers 3,990
  • Likes 109
  • Last Tweet September 2015


Google+ Statistics

  • Google+ followers 13
  • Last post June 2015


So What does all that mean?

If I ran my ad for 2 days on their site as the email suggested, I would have:

1,250 potential people may view my book ad on the web site for less than 60 seconds, depending if it is on the home page and above the fold (visible without scrolling) before they leave the website.

152 people may view the ad on Facebook (based on 8.24% average post reach x T # of likes “views” / 30 days * 2 days) and less than 4 people may share my book on Facebook (based on .21% engagement rate x Total # of likes / 30 days * 2 days).

Bottom Line

I wouldn’t pay them a penny. First of all, their website isn’t secure to receive payments or protect information entered in the registration forms. The numbers I discovered is considerably far less than the 25,000 they were touting. No wonder they don’t have an official advertising page with their web statistics posted like legitimate websites.


If you like to learn more about Web Analytics visit this website:


How you can look up a website advertising stats:

Free Services


Paid Services



How to Check Blog Stats

Blog Post Comments

Another way to gauge the popularity of a blog is to look at how many comments it gets per post.

With my sites, I’ve found that an average of 1 out of every 200 readers leaves a comment. So a post with 20 non-Nicholas comments was viewed about 4,000 times. This changes with every post and every blog, but again, it gives you a general idea.


Total Comment Counts

Immediately after you comment on a WordPress blog, your browser redirects you to where your comment will show up. If you look at the URL, you’ll see something that looks like this:

The second half of the URL tells you that you left the 108,656th comment on This number includes spam comments. Assume that 75-90% of the comments are spam and you can get an idea of how many comments a site has had since day one.

About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.