Friday, June 29, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Beach Bum Reads gave me a blog award! Thank you!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers and Liebster is a German word which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The Rules:
1. Each person must post 10 facts about themselves
2. Answer 10 questions the tagger has given you and give 10 questions for the people you’ve tagged.
3. Choose 10 people and link them in your post.
4. Tell them you’ve tagged them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

Ten Random Facts About Me:
1. I am the mother of twin girls who will be four in August.
2. My father lives on the Big Island, Hawaii.
3. I don't know my right from my left.
4. I go to Body Combat three times a week.
5. Most heels put me at or above six feet tall.
6. I'll turn 30 next week.
7. I used to be a television news producer.
8. My favorite Disney character is Triton.
9. I read Jane Eyre at 13, and it remains my favorite book.
10. In addition to writing romance novels, I edit them.

My Questions from Beach Bum Reads:
1. If you could slap one character out of a book who would it be? (sorry for the violence.. but I mean... there are some of those characters that just aaahhh aggravate you!)

Mr. Darcy. Come on, man! Make it happen!

2. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging as a writer / editor for just a few months. I have been blogging as a mommy blogger for two or three years.

3. If you could giveaway an entire series, what series would it be and why?

The Fletch series by Gregory MacDonald. They're so under-rated and buried under a pile of Chevy Chase movies! The first book was meant to be a stand alone, and it was so good, the author wrote a bunch more. And they all (okay, most of them) are amazing! Fletch is the reason I became a journalist. Best character ever.

4. What author would you like to spend a whole day with and why?

Probably Neil Gaiman. I like his take on life.

5. Make an estimate of how many books you've read throughout your entire life

I can't. Thousands upon thousands.

6. What was the book that got you into reading?

Pride and Prejudice.

7. Where is the best place for you to read?

I no longer have a best place. But the best time is nap time.

8. Who is your favorite character and why?

Jane Eyre. I always loved her grit, determination, and mix of confidence/insecurity. And her love.

9. What book could you reread over and over again without ever getting bored with it?

The Incredible Lightness of Being, or Lolita. The depth and intricacies of these novels require more than one reading and even after multiple times, I'm sure there are things I've missed.

10. What do you like most about blogging?

I like talking to people and seeing their points of view. I like making friends.

Blogs I Tagged: 
1.  A Bibliophile's Thoughts on Books
2.  Vicariously!
3.  Tea and Book
4.  The Galavanting Girl
5.  Reading Between Classes
6.  Rally the Readers
7.  Nerdette Reviews
8.  Musings on Fantasia
9.  Have You Heard My Book Review?
10.  Concise Book Reviews by Michelle

Here Are My Questions to You:
1. What is your favorite opening line of a book?

2. What is your favorite blog post of your own and why?

3. If you couldn't read for a week, what would you do with your time?

4. Who is your least favorite author?

5. What elements does a story need to have to keep you interested?

6. Have you ever not finished a book? Which ones?

7. What book do you consider your best kept secret (something you love, but no one else has heard of)?

8. You're at a dinner party with three book characters. Who are they?

9. You're at a dinner party with three authors. Who are they?

10. Has a book ever changed your life?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Feature and Follow 4

I wasn't going to do this hop this week, but I had to because of the question. So, here's the button!

The question is: What book would you unread.

I have two.

The Bridges of Madison County. Yech. I'm pretty sure it must have been that era's 50 Shades of Grey or something, and I can only hope our 50 Shades doesn't go down in history with a name as a great. What a waste of my time. That woman never appealed to me as a heroine. I never felt her side of the story even though it was written in her perspective. I could only think the whole time, you cowardly dolt. You...cowardly...dolt.


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Hundreds of pages of...shut UP! I think I fell asleep four different times to the lull of the pretentious bullshit I was getting line by line.

Here's the linky list! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Get Your Book Reviewed

Once your book is out, you need to spread the word as far and high as you can. You can reach your network, but unless the book goes viral through word of mouth, that network will run dry after a few hundred (or thousand, if you're really popular) mentions. And of those mentions, only a very few people will buy the book at first. It takes time, patience and perserverence to see the book to even moderate success.

One way to boost sales, and to at least remind people that your book exists, is to get reviews. Space them out. This way, when you get a new review, you can post it for your network to read, and they won't be spammed with 30 reviews in a day, then hear nothing about it again. You'll effectively remind your friends without bothering them. Amazon and Goodreads reviews can make or break a new author, so make sure to keep checking for them.

Search out review blogs. When someone who doesn't know you reviews the book, they open you up to their network, adding it to your own. This is so important.

There is a certain protocol when asking another person to take time out of their life to read your book and write about it. Remember, they're doing you a favor, whether they like the book or not.

Here's how to get reviews from book bloggers, and what to do when you get them.

1) Finding the blogs: Use twitter, and book hops to find book bloggers. They're everywhere, and they're popular. You could even do a google search to find them. Finding book blogs isn't the problem. Finding book blogs that will be interested in your particular book is a bit more challenging.

2) Once you have a list of blogs you think on first glance might give your piece a favorable review, read their review policy. I cannot stress this enough. You'll easily see if they're not taking your genre at the moment, or if they're only accepting free submissions from publishers. You'll see what format they prefer. They may have specific questions they want you to answer in your email. It will be clear if you don't read their policy. They took time writing it, they expect you to read it.

When you do, look for the pertinent information. Are they interested in your genre? Even if they accept it, if it is not one of their favored types of literature, you may want to look elsewhere. Why waste time for both of you? Do they have a long waiting list? How many followers do they have? These two questions go together because a following is not necessarily a good indicator of how popular a book blogger is. You'll want good, thorough reviews from people who have actually taken the time to read your work, not a mill that pumps out 20 reviews a day. Don't fret about a wait time, if there is one. You've got the rest of your life to sell this book.

If you contain all the qualities they ask for in their policy, send them an email or fill out the form they give you before you send the book. Give them a chance to accept it or say no before foisting it on them. It's only polite. Plus, you'll get the people who really might like the book replying to you because they've taken an interest.

When you send that email, don't form-feed it. Give each reviewer a personal note that shows you're familiar with their blog and the hard work they do. It will help you bridge a relationship early on. It will help both you and the reviewer form personalities beyond the impersonal messaging. Always remember, you're essentially asking a favor of a stranger.

3) Check to see where the review will be posted. Some reviewers only post to their blogs. Others will give you a Goodreads and Amazon review as well.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

FEATURED on Feature and Follow Friday!

It is my lucky day. I just happened to be on Twitter when Alison Can Read asked if someone wanted the feature spot tonight on FF! Of course I did!

This week's question celebrates Father's Day, and asks: What's your favorite father character in a book.

Honestly, probably Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman.

He's at the end of his rope, looking back on life, trying to make sense of it, trying to grab onto anything that will help him through. Despite his obvious mental state, he and his wife have managed to raise two boys with good heads on their shoulders. While I certainly don't condone parents killing themselves, it's written in such a way that it shows a common theme (although exagerrated) one finds when one is a parent. That you want your kids to do better. Moreso: that you want your kids to do better but you also want them to be like you. That's a tough order to fill. Willy tries, and that's what I see. He fails, sure. But he tried.

Parenting and parents aren't perfect, that's what Willy shows.

Use the linky below to sign up and meet some awesome bloggers! Just put your site name in, then make a post that answers the question and add the blog button.

Make sure you follow the hosts, Alison Can Read, and Parajunkee, and the featured bloggers! Leave a comment everywhere you follow so that those blogs can follow you back.

How to Push Your Book...Gently

Once you publish a book, it seems like it's time to sit back and celebrate, but nothing could be further from the truth. A published book becomes just one of a billion others on the shelf (or virtual shelf), unopened and unloved. With so many out there, why would someone give yours a chance?

Even if your book is brilliant, it will languish in the wasteland of undiscovered if you don't get it out there yourself. Now, this is not to say push it at every opportunity. That will grate on people's nerves and push them farther from you. And don't tell them how great it is. You'll come off as pretentious and self-congratulating. If it is great, the hope is they'll think so all on their own. And definitely stay away from review sites. Do not talk about your own work on them. There can be no good outcome, unless what you're saying is "thank you" for either a good or a bad review.

Try to take a step back. Your book isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's not your fault, and not their fault. They're there to review, or they read your book and had something to say. That's awesome. Think of 50 Shades of Grey. Are the bad reviews stopping E.L. James? Heck, no. It's a case of "keep talking, you're making me famous." What's important is that people are talking about your work. What's more important is that you come off as gracious and put-together.

So, start with your friends. Why? Because some of them will actually buy it and read it. Because they like you. Because you're lucky and you have friends. Facebook is good for this. Do not create an event telling them you wrote a book. I learned that the hard way. Not only will they get the invitation, but they'll be bothered every time someone else comments on the event or decides to go. Sure, they could turn off notifications, but that's annoying. They shouldn't have to change anything to make way for you. Just tell them in a few statuses or messages. It'll go through.

Then, your friends will help you with word of mouth. People that they know, who know of you, from high school, maybe or from other networks, will hear that so-and-so wrote a book. Even if they hardly knew you, they'll be intrigued. Maybe intrigued enough to buy something. And the people that don't know you at all, well, they might buy it too, just because their friend knows an author. (Sometimes people think that's a lot cooler than it is.)

And if you're lucky, and your book is good, those people will tell other people; you know the drill.

Other things:

- Have a blog. (waves) Write things in it that don't pertain to your book.

- Review other books. This will get you a network in literary circles, and if you're giving reviews, you're getting reviews.

- Ask book bloggers to review your book. (I'll expand on how to do this right next week.) Send them a free copy after you've asked them. Give them a chance to decide whether or not they want it first. This way you're asking, not pushing.

- Take part in book forums on Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, anywhere you can talk books, do it. But don't talk your book, unless it comes up. You'd be surprised how often and how naturally it does. You must be patient. Don't use flimsly transitions, or you'll look like "that guy." You know that guy. The one who thinks he's really smooth and fooling everyone by pretending to be interested, but who's really just there to talk about himself.

The biggest point is, if people don't know about your book, they won't read it. And if they know about your book because that's all you talk about to the exclusion of everything else, they won't read it.

You have to strike the balance.

Friday, June 8, 2012

18 and Over Book Blogger Follow

Check out a great blog hop hosted by Reading Between the Wines (best name ever). Find bloggers that share your sensibilities and read what you like to see.

How to join in:
-You should run a book blog that features and reviews mostly adult reads, some Y.A.’s are okay but 18 & over adult reads should be your majority.

-Make a separate post for the 18 & Over Book Blogger Follow on your blog.

-Copy the html for the button above and place it at the top of your post.

-List & answer the ‘Question of the Week.’

-Place your name and blog title in the linky below and the url for a direct link to your post

-Visit the other blogs on the list and say 'Hi!' Following each blog is not mandatory but I know it is always appreciated, and if someone comments saying they’re a new follower it’s polite to follow back. J It’s always nice to spread the 18 & Over Book Blogging love!

-Contact readingbetweenthewines10 at gmail dot com with any questions!
The question for this hop is:
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go for a 'readcation'?
My answer is the big island of Hawaii. My father lives there and it is beautiful and quiet with as many different climates and types of beaches you could ever want. Read on a secluded little beach or a big public one. Read in between snorkling and playing volleyball. Read after cave diving or hiking in the rain forest to find a waterfall.
I can't wait to get back to the Big Island.
Maybe once these darn kids grow up.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Choosing a Name That Sells Books

As you prepare to publish your works, you'll have to consider whether or not you want to use a pseudonym. If you decide that you do, which name you pick can have an impact on your sales. You'll want to use a name that you will not feel burdened by as you continue your career as well. Remember, when choosing your name, it's not just about likeability, but also about marketability.

1) Make sure it's easy to say and spell.

You'll want people to remember your name easily so that they can tell their friends about your work, should they like it. You'll want them to be able to spell it off the top of their heads, should they plug it into a google search. The nicer the name sounds rolling off the tongue, the more likely people are to say it, so choose something with a rhythmic ring to it.

Consider initials or short first names if the last name has two or more syllables. That will allow people to put emphasis on the name without their mouths stumbling over it. It will also stick in their brains longer.

Last names of only one syllable are preferable as you want people to remember the most important piece of your name, which would be the surname, so if the name is out of the ordinary, consider a sharp, one-syllable last name to counter it.

You'll want something that stands apart from the crowd, but that is common enough that people will easily recognize it.

2) Choose a name appropriate for your genre.

Unfortunately, male and female author names are still not considered equal these days, and in certain genres, men sell more books than women. In others (like romance) women sell more books than men. You can write as whichever gender you'd like, but know that there are limitations to each.

3) Choose a name you like.

This is important to marketing because if you don't like your name, it will show. People will be able to tell when they talk to you or when you make appearances. Disdain or embarrassment can even shine through in writing, and if your fans sense you are annoyed with something about your writing, it could turn them off.

4) Consider where your books will be shelved.

Author last names starting with A-G have a greater chance of being seen as they will normally be placed on the shelves at eye level. You might also want to choose a last name starting with the first few letters of a bestselling author in your genre so that the overspill interest comes to your book first.

5) Test it before you're stuck with it.

Try writing your chosen name out, both in handwriting and in type. Try saying it in different sentences to see if you like how it sounds. If you have access to Photoshop or a graphic program, make a few mock covers to see how the name fares when in different book-cover fonts.