SELF DISRUPTION PUBLISHING, an e-book written and copyright by Richard McCartney.

This is another in a series of books by the author that offers greatly needed help to the struggling self-publisher. When one considers the competition from the vast numbers of new titles published (the last figure I remember seeing is in the neighborhood of a million/year) and the tremendous advantages in favor of the long established powerful old guard of publishers, it indeed is a wonder that the independent’s offering even surfaces. This is exactly the reason McCartney’s book, along with his former offerings, are so important to the newbie and to the struggling self-publishing author. He begins with a short recounting of the exact problems you already know you face followed by providing the theory of why “Disruptive Marketing” works and presents the step by step procedures the reader must employ to gain the recognition required to make your book more than just an ego elevating tool that allows you to proclaim yourself a ‘published author’. This, and the author’s other contributions, in this reader’s opinion, are a MUST READ for anyone wishing to have his/her book properly recognized. And I say this as one who has been much involved in the book world for quite a number of years. Appleton-Century-Crofts published my first textbook which was followed by more in those years when book publishing had a precise pattern. Publishers selected the titles, signed the authors to contracts, gave standard royalties, printed the books, turned them over to their marketing division, discounts were established and standardized, the books were placed with companies who distributed them to book stores who sold them to people and everybody made money. Suddenly, Print on Demand became available, avoiding more costly traditional publishing methods, and many new publishers and authors entered the picture. The evolving problems that ensued gradually were solved, e-books and e-book readers came next and now anyone can publish a book. During this later period of disruption, I had retired from scientific activity and had switched from writing textbooks to teaching a university level course in writing and publishing and personally writing novels. Most unfortunately, my old guard publisher suddenly went ‘belly-up’ and I found myself exactly in the position of the individuals for whom this present volume is intended – getting people to know one’s books. Fortunately, I had the advantage of a large base of readers, so general marketing was not a problem per se. But, as a problem for large numbers of writers, a means for establishing such a base was a main theme for discussion. Obviously, availability of McCartney’s book would have saved countless hours of discussion. A suggestion I provided at the time probably still is viable – those who really enjoy the writing itself should continue for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment and accept any monetary recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. Also to be remembered, the adage that has been around in writing for many years – ‘Don’t be in a hurry to give up your daytime job’. Now however, as a former teacher as well as from the position of a person once experiencing the exact problem faced by new and by struggling self-publishing authors, I should like to offer the simple, straightforward admonishment – McCartney’s book(s) are a MUST READ.

5* A MUST READ for any new and/or struggling self-publishing authors.

Amazon Echo Plus User Guide

Amazon Echo Plus User Guide, copyright and written by Tom Edwards & Jenna Edwards.

The authors state that in accord with the ballooning number of Smart Home appliances, the “Amazon Echo family of devices is still in their infancy” but already consist of Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Tap, Echo Spot, Echo Show and more. They explain that they have written this latest small volume ostensibly to provide a definitive guide for the user to become a “Newbie to Expert in 1 Hour”. The volume itself is stated to be “a comprehensive introduction and companion guide to the exciting possibilities that this all-new 2nd generation Echo Plus Bluetooth speaker and personal assistant has to offer.” And it does exactly that. It presents specifics of what it is, what it does and minute details from original set up to specifics of managing AND the multiple features that can be associated/added – huge numbers and varieties of music sources, radio stations, sports, news, home lighting, routines such as starting coffee and adjusting thermostats, shopping, alarms and reminders (time as well as activity), how to use both voice and manual commands and even how to control the “Smart Lights’. It also sets forth tips on what and how to investigate and decide if an available addition will be useful to you and how to delete additions. The authors freely admit that the material presented can be googled easily by anyone computer wise but that it is advanced principally to help anyone with lesser knowledge, although they suggest that those who are computer knowledgeable still will discover that the compilation will save a lot of time.

The authors add another most helpful feature. They cite the constantly changing atmosphere with appearance of new services, apps and media daily and admit that “staying on top of new developments is our job.” However, they offer a free monthly newsletter to “keep you abreast of the news” and additionally provide a list of Amazon Echo Plus customer support links.

Summary:  As a person who began using computers when they were called word processors but only added knowledge when personal usage needs demanded, this reviewer falls into the group of ‘not overly adept at employing numerous of the features offered by today’s electronic innovations’. For me and others in the same or similar predicament, the authors have provided material that is almost impossible to do without. And from this point of somewhat limited knowledge it would even seem that the aficionado might discover a few nuggets in this detailed presentation.

5* A must for the less computer wise; nuggets even for the aficionado.