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About Books on the Knob
This blog grew out of an effort to keep my family and friends up to date when books were on sale or free in the Kindle store or an author website. Since then, it's grown to encompass many ebook platforms and includes free or extremely good bargains on music downloads, games or any other item or promotion that catches my interest. In addition to sale books in the major bookstores, I alert readers as to special coupons available for free or nearly free books, but generally disregard any "free samples", "free excerpts", books with advertising or other gimmicks, including those that seem to be mostly intended to get email info for a mailing list (ie, internet only books created just to give away and drive traffic to a web site). I get more books to review than I can possibly read, but do mention them in conjunction with their release or a special pricing. I don't read all the books that get mentioned on my blog (I don't have the time, for one thing) and most I find on my own and purchase with my own money, a task eased by their being free, for the most part. Some books are sent to me by the author for review, either in electronic or physical form and I try to mention that when the book comes up in a post.
If you wish to leave a comment, please do so using the comment form found at the end of each post. To send a private message, send an email to me using the name of the blog, leaving out any spaces, at gmail.com.
Authors and Publishers
If you are an author or publisher and wish to get a review or mention of a special promotion or new release, drop me an email at the address above. I may or may not mention your promotion, depending on time and space considerations and may or may not finish a review in a timely manner (hey, I have to have time to read them all, not to mention the work around the house that never seems to get done), although I'll do my best to get at least a mention within a reasonable time period. I reserve the right to refuse to read any book sent to me (even if I requested it). I generally don't give firm time estimates on when I will read any particular book, as that will depend on what I have on hand and my mood when I sit down to read. If and when I do finish a book received for review, I will generally posthu it (perhaps with others in the same post) with a few comments. There are exceptions - I have received books that I simply could not finish (or get more than a few pages thru), due to the writing "style", formatting or content. If you fall into this category, I'll generally just drop you a note to explain. Reading and writing this blog are both hobbies, not jobs; even if it were, I don't accept paid advertisements for books or reviews and I no longer accept guest blogger articles. Your book may end up mentioned in a "roundup" post, without a review, or may get more than one mention (if I really, really liked it). I do not send reviews to authors prior to posting (although I might remember to drop you a note when a review gets posted). Any books sent in will be retained by me on my computer and backups and may be placed on one or more electronic readers in my possession. They may be read by any member of my household (or not), but won't be shared out otherwise. I may or may not delete all copies after reading (although for some, I want to continue farther and include an "erase from my brain" option).
I do accept hardcopy for review - email first to arrange details - however, I prefer to receive ebooks, in most cases. I do accept review copies of books via e-mail, but am more likely to pay attention to books where the author or publisher has asked first. I will also accept a Kindle book sent as a gift from Amazon, with the same stipulations as above - sending it doesn't guarantee that I'll mention or review it (so you might want to check with me first).
When sending a review request, please include a description of the book, the genre and a link to the page where it is for sale (including Amazon, if it is there, along with Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc). If your books is on Smashwords, you may send a coupon code instead. This is often easiest for all concerned, but may not work for some books whose mobi format there doesn't compare well to a hand-crafted version that has been posted to the Kindle store. I've never seen a problem with fiction, but if you have lots of pictures and/or tables or inset boxes, they generally get mangled at Smashwords.
If sending a book via email, you may send any of the following types of files, listed in order of preference: .mobi .prc .epub .azw .html .rtf .doc .txt .pdf (keep in mind, I'll convert them to mobi or epub for reading, so it's best if you do that instead and make sure the book looks ok at your end first).
What I'll read: pretty much anything, although I lean towards fantasy and science fiction, mystery and suspense, but not so much horror. I do read romance, but prefer the dark fantasy subgenre (and will seldom read a pure harlequin type romance anymore, although I make exceptions). If you send erotica, I might read it (but I'm also not as likely to mention it, especially if that's the only focus of the book; Laurell Hamilton gets a mention, but triple-X self-published works most likely won't). I generally don't read non-fiction, but do make exceptions (just don't ask me to wade thru your 800 page opus on derivative accounting), so don’t be offended if I decide not to read yours. Feel free to send it, though, as my tastes are rather eclectic (as are those of the additional readers in the household who may be "assigned" to glance thru your book). Also, if you are sending in info on a promotion, I don't let my reading tastes stand as my only guide - I've included many promotional books on the blog that were not ones I would read myself. However, make sure the description of your book is such that it doesn't require editing to remove explicit content and include a content warning if the average parent would not want their younger children to read it (check out some of the Samhain warnings for ideas, if necessary, although a few of them need warnings of their own: funny is better, I suspect, if you are wanting sales, but be honest if your book is adult only).
A special note for those making their books free via the Kindle KDP/KLL, Smashwords, PubIt at B&N, etc: Before asking me to mention your book, please have an editor (a real one, not a family member), whose native language is English (or, at least, works with it professionally), read thru your work. I've had requests for books with the first sentence containing not only grammatical errors (yes, there really was a purpose in learning about comma splices in grade school), but also multiple spelling errors or incorrect word substitutions (SpellCheck is NOT your friend). I don't mention such books (or buy them or even look at the sample past the first sentence). Once you've met this hurdle, do some giveaways on GoodReads or LibraryThing and get some reviews (good ones, but honest ones). I also will seldom mention a work with no reviews (unless your other titles are both well reviewed and have enough entries to indicate it isn't just family members posting) or with only one or two 5-star, lavishly written reviews (tell your family to quit gushing - it actually works against you). OK, if you've read this far and still want to submit your grand opus (or elegant short story), then fill out this form and click to submit. If you are a midlist (or toplist!), previously published author - mention it in your submission (it will drastically improve your odds of both a mention and read, as well as affect the success of your giveaway).
A note to all those asking for a mention or review: As you may have guessed, I get a lot of inquiries. I may or may not respond to acknowledge that I received your email; the only notice you might receive is if your book ends up on a post or you may get nothing at all. Please don't send multiple emails about the same book (or, at least not more than every month or two - it is possible I just missed the request in the flood of messages my inbox receives daily).
Affiliations and Sponsors
Ads are a fact of life (at least, with free content). Clicking on the ads on this blog may result in an advertising fee being paid to Books on the Knob, which helps to keep this blog going. Ads are provided by Google and are not hand-picked; Books on the Knob does not endorse any of the products in the ads (nor do I have much idea what is displayed, although I do try to limit some categories of content). Books on the Knob is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, endless.com, smallparts.com and/or myhabit.com. Books on the Knob is also an affiliate of Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Kobo, Harlequin, Audible.com and others.
What this means is that the links in blog posts will contain an ID that lets these companies track who referred you to their site and they may then share a portion of any revenue, depending on what you buy and when. No personal or identifying info about you is shared and let's face it, any share of revenue from a free book is still zero. It does mean, however, that if you want to help sponsor the blog (and help me pay for my own book addiction), you can use the links on this blog as a starting point before shopping. Clear any shopping cart at the destination store, log out, then click on a related book or item in one of my blog posts (or use the Amazon search box, if headed there) and simply go about shopping as usual. There is no extra cost to you and the store keeps track of where you started your shopping journey. Some stores require you to complete a purchase in the same session for credit, others simply to place an item in the cart and purchase within a specific number of days.
- Middle English knobbe; akin to Middle Low German knubbe knob
- 14th century
1 a: a rounded protuberance : lump b: a small rounded ornament or handle
2: a rounded usually isolated hill or mountain
Source: Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
I don't know when this place became The Knob - in the 50's, long before I was born, my grandfather bought a number of parcels on top of a ridge, some too steep to easily walk on, the others only flat by comparison (perhaps gently graded might suit - although a fair portion is somewhere in between). Some were old home sites (a cistern lasted until the late 80's), the rest possibly part of an old farm (the old barn sort of lasted that long - held up only by the vines that had ripped apart the corners, it fell to the same bulldozer that had to be called when that old cistern fell in). The only flat spot is on the very top of the ridge and was once used as the emergency water tower site by the local water utility.
But it was always, from as far back as I can remember, The Knob. A farm on a perhaps not so gently rounded hill. The pigs were long gone by the time I first remember visiting, but not the garden. And on the same road was an old chicken farmer, with a huge brick chicken house. They still candled eggs by hand (and let any kid that stopped by have try at it) ... and had grapes that they, with my grandfather, turned into wine (and yes, I'll never forget the truly awful taste, in my early teens, when they let me "try" some that was only about half fermented -- something that would cure most teens of even considering alcohol until long after turning a legal drinking age). A commercial apple orchard was next door and several others on this short, less than one mile road, raised cattle. All are now gone (although the apples trees remain, abandoned, it's just a matter of time, it appears, until they too, like the cattle farms, are sold off to become housing developments).
But when we moved in, all that was left were a very few fruit trees, all well past their prime, and a falling down mobile home (more colloquially known as a trailer, despite state law to the contrary) ... from the 50's, a single wide eyesore that we lived in for several years, while clearing that flat spot at the top of the ridge and then building the house we now call home. Since then we've cleared out the old orchard (covered with black locust from seedlings to full grown trees), removed all but one of the old trees as they died (one old apple simply refuses to die - this year it is once again completely covered in fruit, despite being at least 35 and more likely 50 years old) and replacing them with newer ones -- and with a larger selection. Instead of just peaches, apples and sweet cherries (which at 40' high, were unharvestable), there are now figs, nectarines, pluots, apriums, sweet and sour cherries, asian and european pears, several varieties of apples and even pawpaws (only 6 years from seedling to first harvest, these are NOT for the impatient). Grapes don't do so well in the field (no irrigation), but muscadines are an easy to care for substitute - even the kiwis have a harvest now and then and the organic vegetable garden (in it's second location for the last dozen years) always has something to harvest, even in a dry year. Closer to the house, strawberries (which never survive the wild predators if out of sight) and blueberries (currently under attack by both squirrels and birds) are planted, while in between there are several berries growing wherever nature has planted them: blackberries, red and black raspberries and japanese wineberries (an import gone wild in this area). Rather than compete with tame varieties, we just try to mow these into pickable patches and let them do their thing - in return, they need no fertilizer, spraying or other care, but yield several pints of sweetness every year. There are even a few elderberries here and there - but if you've ever tried to harvest these, you know you really need hundreds of them to make the effort worthwhile.
So, this is The Knob. An organic farm (or perhaps farmlet) on what is now the outskirts of town (and a fairly large one, at that, since it's one of the top 100 cities in the US, population-wise). On the top of a steep ridge, we have over 450 feet of elevation change from the top to the lowest point (obviously, this isn't Florida, since that entire state has only a 300' feet elevation change and they call that a mountain there). Our house sits right on top of one of the highest points in the county, but the county is in a valley between two mountain ranges - this is definitely only a ridge, not a mountain we live atop. It's also quite a bit louder than when we moved in: a major interstate passes by about 3 miles away as the crow flies and the truck traffic can be heard all night long, while the view away from town now includes numerous houses that light up the night, where at one time you could make believe no one else lived within miles. Compared to those in the city of even nearby subdivisions, it is still quite wild - 20+ acres of mature deciduous forest and the other ten a combination of fields, orchards, garden and homestead. You still can't see those surrounding houses in summer, during the day - but in winter or at night, they are clearly, now, close by. A small waterfall with tiny pond, home to our amorous bullfrog, whose family now numbers three, helps to cover the noise of nearby roads -- but it doesn't compare with the silence of a truly remote area (such as small town South Dakota, which we visit now and then). Then again, it's a lot less than 25 miles to the nearest store and it's never snowed up to the second story windowsills here, so the trade-offs seem to work in favor of the place I call home.