Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?

After I released my grandfather’s books on the world, I started reading and then reviewing in earnest. It wasn’t long before I discovered BookBub, and I absolutely loved it, gleaned free books that for the most part turned out to be exceptional, fun, and compelling books. Shortly after came series–lots of them–and I proceeded to read books from one series or another, sometimes exhausting them and looking for more, which might be considered a “con.” The wait for the next in the series–sometimes up to a year–then will you have to get reacquainted?

When you pick up a new book, do you prefer to start a new series or a standalone?

And, if you are starting a series, do you absolutely have to start with #1?

(Yes, sometimes!)

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Continue reading “Series or Standalone? What Are You Reading?”

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#AuthorsTalkAboutIt – 2018 Book Award Contest

Authors Talk About It

Whether or not you are heavily embroiled in your NaNoWriMo quest at the moment, you will finish your manuscript. What will you do when that WIP is finished? What is your next step?

You worked hard and put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into writing your book. In fact, you may have already invested a good deal of money into an editor, cover designer, online marketing and more.

Remember those book award contests I wrote about last year? I wrote one in January about the ATAI 2017 Book Award Contest! I wrote again in February about a number of additional book award contests. There will be LOTS of them surfacing and each vying for your attention after the first of the year. Most will cost money. Every contest is different; therefore, it’s important to do some research and make sure that you’re entering a valid contest, especially if there’s an entry fee. (However, free contests may not benefit you as much as those with an entry fee. You get what you pay for–right?)

If your pulse quickens with a touch of excitement mixed with a hint of fear, you are not alone! It’s akin to laying your soul bare to put your work out there. What’s next in your journey to publish? What will it really do for you? Continue reading “#AuthorsTalkAboutIt – 2018 Book Award Contest”

How Review Swaps are Hurting Your Book

Richard Klu, a fellow author/blogger and book reviewer, wrote this piece I found to hit very close to home. I tried the review swap–it didn’t work for me. This is short, sweet, and to the point. From Richard’s About page: “My name is Richard Klu and I am from western Michigan. Always an artist at heart I write to explore. I grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan and still reside there with my 3 dogs, 3 cats, 23 fish, and 1 wife…I have been a Store Manager, a Cook, and various kinds of Salesmen as well as having owned my own business for a little over a year. All the while I’d neglected one of the few constants in my life, writing….On my blog I am sharing stories and what I’ve learned to better help other writer[s] and to keep myself motivated…I believe in giving back to the indie community. If there’s anything I can do to help you please let me know.”
Enjoy!

Richard Klu

I see this all the time. “Who wants to do a review swap?” on Facebook or Twitter or writing groups and it boils down to a waste of time for everyone.

Best scenario, you and someone else in the same genre with the same type of fans review each others books and each have 1 more review. That one review is biased based on the fact that you  can’t give them a bad review because they are giving you  a review and you wont want them to give you a bad review. If you do this 100 times you might be getting somewhere, but then what do your also reads look like? Probably decent. But that’s not how this is working.

More likely what happens is you and someone in another genre get together and swap books (hopefully at the same price or free) and then you both review each…

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Many Thanks for the Support!

Many Thanks!

This blog has now achieved 10,000 hits! The blog has been a labor of love, lots of work, and I’ve learned a LOT. I’ve appreciated each and every one who has tuned in, liked, and followed! Thank You, TY!

Okay, if I were honest with myself, I’d have to admit not all are human views (some perhaps attributable to bots?), however, maybe that’s not a bad thing. (I’m getting more referrals.) Still I’m pretty excited that this means two things:

  1. I’ve achieved my first goal
  2. I’ve stuck with it (and it’s taken awhile!)

I must admit that I began the blog as a way to connect via social media after I’d published my grandfather’s manuscripts. (Yes, I know that was actually backwards. I should have started the blog first–then published!) Like I said–I’ve learned–a lot.

As my “About Us” page notes, I discovered after a couple years of posting reviews for fellow authors (shout out to Idaho Authors Community and Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion that I was beginning to receive requests for read and reviews. Finally–a niche of my own!

The continued push on social media now has me posting on Instagram (and Bookstagram). I’ve gone back and linked my social media, so most posts will now hit Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn when I publish on this platform. (I’m not sure if that is a good idea or not, but I’m all linked up anyway. And I always need more followers there as well!)

Now confronting SEO and hash tags. Heaven only knows if I’m doing any of those right, but something must be happening. I have 10,000 hits.

Next goal–1,000 true subscribers, (or in my case, followers) since I’ve agreed with fellow blogger and author Joynell Schultz  all along. 1,000 true subscribers (followers) is a good goal. ©2017 Virginia Williams I Love Likes and Comments--Please Share!

#CoverLove – In With the New – Or Maybe Not

#Cover Love – we do love our colorful, eye-catching book covers! It’s the first, all-important impression of any book. A yea or nay. Pick up and investigate further or lay down and look for something else. Unfortunately, we are a “judge the book by the cover” sort of people. As with any artistic endeavor–we know what we like or don’t like.

And if you’ve been reading and reviewing for any length of time, you’ve seen the evolution of covers as they have progressed, usually denoting a new edition of the book. What sparked the change in cover? Colors? Fonts? That sense of “branding?” Continue reading “#CoverLove – In With the New – Or Maybe Not”

Are You a Kinetic or Digital-Driven Reader?

Is a generation growing up in a high-tech, electronic world, spelling the end of print books? Are we beating this horse long after it’s last breath? Maybe so, but we’ve tested this digital medium for years now, and print books are still the favorite and not likely to gallop into the sunset any time soon.

Ivana Kottasová of CNN Media revealed on April 27, 2017 that the Association of American Publishers reported a 20% drop in eBook sales whereas print books rose 7.5% during the first nine months of 2016. There are just some books that do not work as well digitally (and never will)–think the current fad of coloring books for adults. And print books have always been the go-to for children’s books.

Print books vs ebooks
Photo attribution from CNN Media article

Please participate in my Print or Digital Survey at the end of this post!

Continue reading “Are You a Kinetic or Digital-Driven Reader?”

Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? – a Book Review

Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? by Bill HeaveyTitle: Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? A Professional Amateur’s Guide to the Outdoors by Bill Heavey

Genre: Currently #171 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Spots & Outdoors, Miscellaneous, Essays, and

#1136 in Books, Humor & Entertainment, Humor, Essays

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Publication Date: To be published December 5, 2017

Source: Atlantic Monthly Press and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? – VERY neat cover in keeping with his brand.

I am not a reader of Field and Stream magazine where this author has been a featured writer for more than 20 years. Should the Tent Be Burning Like That by Bill Heavey is a compilation of columns or articles he has written for various publications during the last several decades. The book explores more than an erudite knowledge of his subject.

The amazing thing here is the manner of speaking, the sense of humor, and the down-home self-deprecating, ah shucks pattern in which he delivers his collection of little stories.

Continue reading “Should the Tent Be Burning Like That? – a Book Review”

2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?

Book Trailers!

I’ve written about them before, including those trailers I published for my grandfather’s books, as well as one I created for Jean Grainger, an Irish author. Ms. Grainger published “So Much Owed – An Irish World War 2 Story” on December 1, 2013. I enjoyed the book so much that I felt compelled to create a short book trailer, which I uploaded to YouTube on March 6, 2017.

Given that I’m a member of the Book Trailer Group on Goodreads, I keep bumping up against book trailers; fascinated with most. Some amateur trailers are amazing good, some professionally produced piss-poor. But everyone sees a trailer, whether movie or book, in their own eyes. So I got to wondering about the 2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards. How many winners had book trailers? Continue reading “2016 Goodreads Choice Book Awards-Did You See the Book Trailers?”

The True Nature of “I Can’t.”

I met Shanan Winters when I was a member of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup in Phoenix, Arizona where she was working on her first novel. She recently published her book, “Rising,” part of the Adept Cycle series and changed direction in her professional life to freelancing and content writing. She writes a blog she calls “Interpreter of Inspiration.” This particular article caught my eye the afternoon following a spirited discussion in the morning with my hubby regarding the direction my own blog was going. If you are in the market for an editor or copywriter, check out her website @ http://shananwinters.wordpress.com

Shanan Winters

Mindfulness, Day… I lost count. That’s okay though.

A few days ago, I posted a video called “The Complaint Free World” featuring Will Bowen, and I encouraged everyone to watch it. I’m going to reiterate: please, watch it. I know it’s an hour and 25 minutes long. And I know you think you don’t have time, but trust me… you will want to make time for this.

In just a few days since I watched Bowen’s video, my perspective on life has shifted dramatically. Bowen’s program challenges everyone to become complaint-free.

Now, before you say, “Oh great, another one of those fluffy ‘think positive’ bullshit pieces,” I’ll go ahead and remind you that I approach that type of advice with heavy amounts of side-eye. The only reason I watched “The Complaint Free World” is because I’m mid-30-day work/life balance challenge, and watching this video was my assignment for…

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Feeling All Of It

I’ve followed Nancy Roman’s blog for some time, “notquiteold” and tho she is younger than I see she is struggling with much the same questions at this age. Every now and then she posts a column that particularly touches me. This one did–perhaps it will you also.

notquiteold

This week a friend posted the following quote on her Facebook page:

bestforme#1

And I thought –

Yeah!  That’s Me!  That’s Totally Me!

And I started to reflect on all those decisions I made that were difficult, but were best for me. Like dropping out of school years ago (I did go back later), changing jobs, and most recently, retiring.

And looking over those decisions, I see that I might have to change that little epigram a bit:

bestforme#2Yeah!  That’s Me!  That’s Totally Me!

The sentence didn’t quite work with “I never feel bad”.

I always feel bad” – well, that’s probably a little closer to the truth.

Difficult decisions are difficult BECAUSE you are not just choosing to go on to something wonderful. You are also leaving something behind. Changing jobs means leaving friends, and leaving behind the known for the unknown. As much as you think the…

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Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site

Yes, it’s summer, spring just flew by. Perhaps you’ve bumped up against your media allowance and need some room, or your archives run longer than Interstate 80 and is always under construction–somewhere. So isn’t it time to clean house?

A clean house is a sign of a broken computer!As I’ve mentioned before, I have the free version of WordPress (that’s a dot com, not dot org) and while it presents some limitations (for instance, most plug-ins), my free blog is still a whale of a program for the money. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I’m not terribly technical, but I keep reading advice posts that say it’s time to clean up the ole website. Is it? Is this something you’ve tackled lately?

Here are five easy site maintenance procedures you can do on your own–just a bit of clean up: Continue reading “Tackle These Five Items of Maintenance to Clean Up Your WordPress Site”

How to Increase Your Impact on Goodreads Using Their Free Features

GoodreadsYES! Another social network! It isn’t new, but maybe you just haven’t succumbed yet. Here are the reasons to use the free features on Goodreads to increase your author platform or book reviewer cred. Continue reading “How to Increase Your Impact on Goodreads Using Their Free Features”