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Archive for January, 2012

Let me count the ways…

As a reader:

1)Great resource to find books.

Goodreads is teaming with honest, detailed, and thoughtful reviews. Just clicking on all these avid reader’s profiles and seeing all the highest-rated books makes my buy-it-now-clicking-finger trigger-happy. When you see a member loves the same books you do, you’re apt to love some of their recommended books as well. This is much better than just scanning the best seller shelves and paid-for-displays in the book stores.

2) Great lists.

There’s a whole part of the site dedicated to lists upon lists of books called listopia. Lists such as Best Books Ever, Best Books of the 21st Century, Best Books of the Decade, Best books of 2012, Best Books of January, 2012. Those are just the most popular lists, but there are so many interesting and surprising categories—and if you can’t find a category than you can make a new list! What a great way to hone in on your favorite genres.

3) Great Giveaways.

Not only can you find fantastic books at your fingertips, but you can get some of them for free! Print copies! Yes, there is usually a long list of entrants for each title, but it’s so easy to enter each drawing that odds are you’ll win a few time and again.

4) Great interaction with fellow readers.

If you want to become part of an expansive book club, Goodreads is for you. You can enjoy discussing books with others without even stepping out of your house: join book clubs, reach out to interesting members, follow hundreds of reviewers. It’s wonderful to find a site so devoted to expanding the reading experience.

5) Great connection to authors.

Many traditionally published and self-published authors have their own pages on the site. This is a great place to follow your favorite author, discuss with other fans, and even communicate with the author!

As a writer:

1) Great free exposure.

Yes, FREE! Even though there is an option to pay for advertisements on Goodreads, there are so many ways to take advantage of free promotion. No, I don’t mean spamming anyone and everyone with a pulse. I mean, get your book out there via some of the ways below and let your fans broadcast you to all of their friends. Word can get around very fast on this site through adding you to their to-read lists, and posting reviews and ratings. Anytime a member posts about your book it appears on all of their friends pages. Word can spread like wild-fire.

2) Great giveaways.

Unlike LibraryThing, that allows you to offer ebook copies for giveaway, Goodreads only allows print copies. I almost didn’t list with this giveaway since having to pay cost for each copy and shipping might eat away at my profits. But I realized that I could offer only one copy for as long as I wanted and narrow the offer to within the US to save on shipping. I gave it a try and had close to 500 entrants with my first giveaway, and gained 180 interested readers that added my book to their to-read lists. I can’t tell how many of these people actually purchased my book after the giveaway, but it at least got my book out there. Plus, the winner of my giveaway read my book immediately and posted a review. Yes, it was worth it, and I’m hosting another one right now on Goodreads here.

3) Great lists.

I would love to get my series on one of these lists! It would be a great way to advertise my book. I hope if I host enough giveaways than maybe, just maybe, a reader will nominate me for one (one of the positive lists that is, there are some pretty mean categories out there—i.e. “Books I Wish I Never Read” and “Disappointing Books”).

4) Great reader base.

There aren’t many sites devoted to just readers. Many forums I frequent are geared to writers, and even though those are invaluable for advice, they’re usually too busy peddling their own books to search for pleasure reading for themselves.

5) Great demographics.

So, after you host a giveaway, you get to see this wonderful list of entrants. You can click on these to see detailed profiles listing all sorts of personal information. This is a wonderful way to see who your book appeals to so that you can focus your promoting to the highest effectiveness.

6) Great reviews.

I’ve heard that reviews from Goodreads members are more discerning and critical that Amazon’s reviews, but that is all the more reason to try to get them! People know to trust other Goodreads members and that will go far for you if you can obtain some positive reviews. (I just got my first one: “5 of 5 stars~very interesting looking forward to the next book” *Yay!*)

7) Great book club features.

I would love to think of some thought-provoking questions that will get my readers to analyze my book further and ignite some intense discussions. I wrote this series with many layers in the hopes that readers of different analytic levels would enjoy rereading to find the details, repetitive threads, character growth, and foreshadowing I’ve hidden through-out the books. Once I can catch a breath, I’ll sit down and create a book club full of such questions that will serve as a literary treasure map for interested readers.

7) Great connection with readers.

Most importantly, this is an invaluable website to actually connect with your readers. This is the whole reason why I decided to write. I love, love, LOVE to hear about what my readers think about my book. If I could sit over each person’s shoulder as they’re reading it I would (it’s probably a good thing that I can’t). I want to hear every giggle, see every smile, and feel every teardrop fall. I’m probably even more curious to hear how I might have let down or confused my reader. It’s those comments that can improve my writing skills the most. All in all, I just love any feedback. I want to witness my reader’s experience and would love to talk with them about it.

So, if you haven’t joined up with Goodreads, you are missing out. Whether you use it as a reader, writer, or both, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy all things literary. I wish I had found this site before I started filling all my free time with writing. I wish I could read all day and jump into all the intriguing discussions. Once I get all my non-fiction reading done for the series I just might take a few months off to fill my desk with top-rated novels and dive in.

PS- And if you’re already enjoying Goodreads, please friend me!

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Spice of Life

*Sigh*, I need a break from my endless editing! The good news is my editors are SO meticulous; the bad news is that it takes so LONG! I completely understand what Oscar Wilde meant when he said, “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”

(As I was looking for this quote I saw these and just had to include them: “I am not young enough to know everything” and “A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her”.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, I need a distraction.

I started daydreaming about all the other ideas I have for future books (something I usually do while I’m hung up on my series). My other ideas are not in the same genre as my series (reincarnation fantasy), actually, they vary from YA paranormal, adult paranormal, historical fantasy, and a paranormal thriller–although I do see a connection here 🙂

Honestly, I can’t imagine staying within one genre. I’m sure it’s beneficial since a writer can hone their talents and perfect their skills. Plus, it’s wise from a promoting standpoint to keep a specified audience that will stick with you, but my ADD will not allow me to stay within the creative borders of one genre. I must dream of taking on new parameters and jump into the adventure of a new literary world.

This choice most likely reflects the fact that, as a reader, I’m all over the place. I’ve never looked for a book based on genre. I’ve always walked around the book store just looking for the cover that jumps out at me or peruse the best seller shelves. If something sounds good, I buy it, regardless of whether it’s fantasy, historical, paranormal, YA, and even non-fiction.

So I write like I read.

I need diversity and when a crazy idea jumps into my mind, I’m thrilled that it’s so different.

Which made me wonder, what genre are all your works in progress? Procrastinating minds want to know.

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Oh well, holidays are over and my sequel is out for final proofreading. I’m completing my citations and bibliography page now and I’m forcing myself to finish writing my next book in the series. I say forcing since I’ve a hard time changing hats from researcher-writer- revisor- queryer-editor-designer-publisher-promoter then back to writer. I tend to get stuck in the phases.

When I was writing, I just kept writing. I actually finished the first book, the second, 2/3’s of the third, and 1/3 of the last book all in one straight streak. I couldn’t stop creating. I worried that I would never want to stop writing to get any of the books out. I made myself stop and start to rework the first book. Then I got caught up in all the other stages.

Why do I have such a hard time transitioning?

So now, I really don’t want to start researching the next life I’m delving into. I keep trying to convince myself that it’s a better idea to start reworking the lives I’ve already completed in the third book. I think a part of me feels like I haven’t written in so long that I’m afraid I can’t do it anymore. I have this great momentum in the book up until this point and then I stopped to do all the other phases and I’m scared to pick it back up again.

What if the momentum is ruined?

I think a part of me is scared to see if I can still write this series. I feel so much more comfortable to do what I’ve been doing for a year now. Plus, I have to isolate myself so much more during the writing process. I can revise, edit, design, promote all while watching Thundercats, shaking a baby toy, or keeping an eye on my son’s ninja attempts. But when I write, I need to focus and fall into the world inside me. Once the words start pouring out, it’s torture to stick a cork in to do something else.

But I don’t have a choice. I’m a full-time mother and writer, so I must try to juggle as best as I can. I realize that I just have to quiet those fears and throw myself into the writing. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle. I hope the series will keep up it’s pace and intimacy I created previously.

Who knows? Maybe all this professional editing will rub off during the first draft!

Do you have a hard time changing between all the different phases? Which phase to you enjoy the most? Which one do you dread?

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Isn’t she beautiful?

Okay, I’m going to let all my blogging writing friends in on a little secret. My husband bought this amazing machine for me for Christmas and I love it! I used to bundle up my little baby in her snowsuit and drag her out to get a latte every morning at a local chain and since I live in back-country suburbia, this bad habit would take me up to 40 minutes a day, not to mention $4.

Many times, the latte wasn’t even worth it. Since I insist on decaf (I know, seems useless, but it does give me a little charge in the morning) and I deduct that with decaf’s morning popularity that it’s been sitting on a hot burner too long.

So I saw this advertisement on a commercial and begged for my husband to get it and it has exceeded my expectations. What makes this machine so great is that it actually froths and heats the milk within the coffee pot and then blends the espresso into the pot. It is such a simple process I can set it up half-awake and the clean-up is a breeze. The latte is better than I could get at even the pricy coffee chain (we all know who I’m talking about) and there’s a recipe booklet that tells you how to make all the annoying different lattes that make you stand in line while each syrupy, whipped creamed, and cinnamon-sprinkled latte is made before yours.

Well, you can tell I’ve spent a lot of time in these chains, but no more! I can make a smooth, comforting latte whenever I want (and it’s good for everyone at home that I stick to decaf with how much I consume).

So how does this improve my writing you ask? Well, I save so much time in the morning which I can devote to writing and nothing improves writing more in these cold northern winters, than a steaming cup of something yummy to sip while you conjure up scenery and drama.

You can find this beautiful machine here. Enjoy!

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It’s Been A Very Good Year

Happy 2012 to all my blog followers!

I’m so excited for what this new year will bring, but I have to admit I’m sad to see 2011 go.

This is the year I got some partial and full requests from agents, set out to publish my first book, created my own publishing company, started this blog, and most importantly, gave birth to my sweet little baby girl.

(I just want to eat her up!)

My debut novel had a wonderful response on my two-day free promotion and it’s been selling steadily ever since. It may be just a handful of copies a day, but I only needed an ebook a day to cover all my book start-up costs. So I’m so pleased that people are actually reading my book out there! I also got another nice review on Amazon that you can all read here.

But sometimes it’s not about what you gained in a year but what you kept. I’m happy to report that all who matter to me in this world are alive and strong and this may have been the first year in a while that I haven’t lost one of my furry little critters. I truly hope 2012 will be as great as 2011. I have my sequel to look forward to, my sister/best friend will be having her first child very soon, and I get to keep watching my five-year old and baby take in the wonders around them everyday.

Anyway, it’s important to notice when you had a fantastic year and to appreciate the year without tears, since life rarely gifts you those. I’m so appreciative to have all the blessings in my life right now and I hope 2012 brings you all as much peace and joy.

Thank you, 2011. Bring it on, 2012!

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