Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guest Post - Colby Marshall, Author of "Chain of Command"

I've got a special guest today--Colby Marshall. Her debut novel, Chain of Command, is an exciting political thriller. Here's Colby:
Have you ever noticed that sometimes, the people who love books the most and devour them faster than a cat can down a bowl of gravy…oh, wait.  That’s only my cat?  Sorry about that.  Backtracking.  Have you ever noticed that often those who can and will zip through several books a month or even a week are—gasp—the people who don’t want to buy books?
Yes, I’m talking about the new trend of cheap or free books.  These days, it’s a controversial issue.  While some authors claim they’ll never give away a book for free, many people both in the industry and out profess that you simply can’t afford not to give away free e-books today.  It’s hard to know what the answer to the dilemma is, however.  It’s understandable for writers to want to be paid for their work, and it’s vital to the book industry that money continue to flow into it for the books readers read.  After all, the bigger the free e-book industry booms, it seems, the further the brick and mortar stores and paper books fall.  I don’t think anyone wants to see paper books go away, and neither do they want to no longer be able to browse their favorite bookstore and smell the fresh pages of a print book.
That said, free and cheap e-books may be here to stay, so what is the answer to this conundrum?  While I can’t speak for the industry and what they should do to help bridge the gaps created by the new trends in publishing, what I can tell you is the best way to “pay” for a book you got free: review it.
Whether you loved it, hated it, or somewhere in between, if you don’t have the cash to shell out for a paper copy of a book to support authors, the single best thing you can do to help the industry stay objective, legitimate, and respected AS WELL AS to support the author you’ve read is to post a review to the website you downloaded the book from.  It can be as long as a page or as short as a sentence, but every review matters.  And if you think you won’t be supporting the author by reviewing it because you think it stunk, think again.  Every review a book garners helps boost its viewership on the website on which it’s listed.  Plus, many potential readers skip straight to the negative reviews to see the book’s pitfalls.  Often, pitfalls can be as intriguing to a consumer as brilliance!  
So, the next time you download that free book to your Kindle, remember to thank the author for the months or years they spent readying the book to entertain you by taking a couple of minutes to say you read their work and what you thought.  Believe me—they’ll be grateful.

The road to the Oval Office is paved in blood...

The simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President catapults the Speaker of the House into the White House as the first female President of the United States. Evidence points to a former Navy SEAL as one of the assassins.

Relegated to writing sidebar stories instead of headlines, journalist McKenzie McClendon composes a scathing story about the Navy training killers.

Former Navy SEAL Noah Hutchins doesn't believe his partner could have committed the heinous crime. They'd endured the horrors of Afghanistan together. His buddy was a hero, not a murderer.

No one who knows the truth is safe...

Thrown together in a search for the truth--and a career-making story--McKenzie and Noah must unravel a dangerous web of lies that includes a radical foreign faction, a violent ultra-feminist group, and corrupt politicians willing to kill to keep their secrets.
And an assassin who is still on the loose.

His next targets are already in his crosshairs...

Warning for those looking for a "clean" read--
this book has a little steam to the romance and lots of things blowing up.

BIO:  Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic.  In addition to her 9,502 regular jobs, she is also a contributing columnist for M Food and Culture magazine and is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.  She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer as well as sometimes indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress.  She lives in Georgia with her family, two mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status.  Her debut thriller, Chain of Command is about a reporter who discovers the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President may have been a plot to rocket the very first woman—the Speaker of the House—into the presidency.  Chain of Command is now available, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, is due for publication by Stairway Press June 11, 2013.


  1. It's important to let an authour know what you thought of their book. How can they improve otherwise. Chain of Command seems to be a thrilling read with lots of twists. Thanks Donna for having Colby over today.

  2. I don't buy print books anymore, but I rarely download free eBooks because I just don't have time for that many. I will purchase my author buddies' books (because that's what a supportive friend does) and do a review on Goodreads after reading them.

  3. Absolutely! I've always thought the least I can do for getting a free book is leave a review to help spread the word. It might not be immediate due to my teetering TBR pile, but I will get to it in the end!

  4. Free works as it can get you out there more and every time after I do it sales go up, so it's not a bad thing to do.

  5. Great post, Donna. You always have relevant/insightful things to say. And I loved seeing you briefly on Saturday! And I loved how everyone cheered for you!!!!

  6. I have such mixed feelings about the free e-book giveaway. I know it's a great marketing tool to gain new readers, and yet I can't help but feel it also contributes to that downward shift in perspective about a book's value. Sigh.

    But great post about how to give back when you've received a free book. I've got a few on my Kindle I've yet to read, but I vow to leave reviews when I finally get to them. :)

  7. Thank you, Sheeena-kay! And yes, knowing what readers love and hate definitely helps future books.

    Alex, I don't download free e-books myself unless it's something that just really interests me. I love to support authors with books out.

    Nick, those TBR piles get long, don't they? Mine is getting a bit excessive. I need to trim a few off the top.

    Pat, it's definitely not a bad thing to do, particularly if it works for you. I think everyone has their own path to success, I just worry about the process as a whole in the industry. Bottom line for all of is that books = good, though :-)

    Morgan, thanks for stopping by!

    L.G., you're exactly where I am. I see it's benefit, but I'm afraid I see a cost, too, and I just hope it'll even out.

  8. Very good advice on reviews. I couldn't agree with you more.


    Hugs and chocolate,

  9. Excellent post and something a little bit different to read, for a change.

    I have mixed feeling about the free e-books also, but I only download those free books that I intend to read and I try to leave a review, if I can post a generally favorable one. I believe you get what you pay for, so, I hate to leave a poor review about a book I downloaded for free.

  10. Thanks for tweeting, Shelly!

    Good point, farawayeyes, as far as the poor reviews for something for free. My general opinion is that even in a work you didn't like that much, there's usually something positive you can point out. I like the sandwich method- starting off with positive, sandwiching the constructive criticism in the middle, then finishing off with more positive. It leaves everyone feeling a little bit better than if it was all negative, since I try to be completely honest about my thoughts.

  11. Well, I guess the internet is a great way to sell books, but personally I like print books better.


  12. Excellent post. Whether a book is free or paid for, I almost always leave a review.

  13. I think that some books are ridiculously expensive and I don't know why that could be. But I do agree with you - a review is a good way to pay for a free book.


  14. I try to always leave reviews for every book which I read, regardless if it was free or paid for.


  15. Hi, Donna and Colby. I came to say thanks to Donna for visiting my guest post. And although I don't read thrillers, this post is very interesting. I do download free books with intent to review but didn't think it would help those I dislike. When I told one author I would give her book a three if I wrote a review, she said not to. So the number of reviews, positive or negative, is more important than I guessed. And I noted what Patt said about the free times boosting sales later. Sounds worthwhile.


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