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Monday, November 27, 2017

11 Book Promotion Ideas for Writers

This is a guest post by Heather Weidner.

Thank you so much for letting me stop by and share my thoughts on book marketing. Writers are always looking for ways to promote their books. You need ways to create a buzz about your book. Here's my list of some ideas.

1. Newsletter Swap 
Find another author who has a newsletter and readers similar to yours. You create a newsletter that she sends out, and then you do the same for her. Each group of readers get introduced to a new writer.

2. Guest Blog 
Find other authors/book bloggers who will let you do a guest post or an interview on their site. 

3. Twitter Party/Chat 
Host a Twitter Party or Chat. It's usually better if you can recruit several authors to help. Talk about your books and writing and have small giveaways.

4. Facebook Takeover 
Find an author who will let you take over her Facebook site for a promotion. Promote the event. Then on the day of the takeover, chat with readers and offer small giveaways. Usually, these are done for several hours. 

5. Facebook Party 
Host a Facebook Party on your author site. Talk about your writing projects, chat with readers, and do some contents/giveaways. It's usually better to start a new post for each different topic. 

6. Facebook Hop 
This is a scheduled event (usually over several days). When you organize one, you recruit authors who will participate and give away a prize. The organizer lines up all the participants, provides the promotional information, and the links. Each stop on the hop is linked to the next one. (All links have to work, or the hop stops.) It takes a little bit of time and energy (and patience) to organize one, but it's a way for all the authors to gain new readers and followers. 

7. Early Reader Groups 
Offer street team/early reader group membership to super-fans. You can create a private group on Facebook for notifications. You need to keep your team energized.

8. Your Email List 
You own your mailing list. Build your list. Take a clipboard for signups to EVERY event. Add a signup button to your Facebook page for your newsletter.

9. Write Your Next Book 
Your back catalog helps sell your current book and vice versa.

10. Author Pages 
Make sure you have an author page on Amazon and BookBub.

11. Look for Book Clubs 
Book clubs are the new book tour. Add a link to your web page for readers and book clubs. Let them know you'll visit or Skype with book clubs.

Author Biography:

Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, and James River Writers. The Tulip Shirt Murders is her second novel in her Delanie Fitzgerald series.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. 
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She blogs regularly with the Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.

Synopsis for The Tulip Shirt Murders:

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered. 
The Tulip Shirt Murders is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations such as larping and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens.

Contact Information:

Book Links:

Check out Heather's other guest post: 10 Things Writers Need to Know

Friday, November 10, 2017

El Deafo | Cece Bell

And being different? That turned out to the best part of all. I found that with a little creativity, and a lot of dedication, any difference can be turned into something amazing. Our differences are our superpowers.”

Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel/Memoir.
Number of Pages: 233.
Perspective: First.
Location: Virginia.

This graphic novel follows the author throughout her time as a young girl in the 1970s and her experiences losing her hearing from meningitis at the age of four. She learns how to make friends and accept herself. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This was a beautiful story about someone who copes with becoming deaf. I took an American Sign Language course in college and we talked a lot about the deaf culture; it was interesting to learn about some of the daily challenges that someone who is deaf faces. This book explains those challenges in a way that children can understand and relate to. We have come a long way with accessibility since the 70s, but we all could use a reminder about acceptance and how to be accommodating to people with disabilities. [Note: not all deaf people consider being deaf a disability]. 

The comics were colorful and lovely. I think this book would be perfect for someone in middle school, even though the main character is in elementary school. There are some cultural things from the 70s, such as teachers smoking cigarettes at school, that may be shocking for some parents to see in a children’s comic book. But I think all children will find something in the story that they can relate to. 

I think both children and adults will love this story. I think it would be a great book for a parent and child to read together and discuss. I even gave this book my Best Book Award! If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“Oh, why do I even care what other people think?”

Friday, November 3, 2017

Looking for Alaska | John Green

At some point, you just pull off the Band-Aid, and it hurts, but then it's over and you're relieved.”

Genre: Young Adult.
Number of Pages: 221.
Perspective: First.
Location: Alabama.

This book follows Miles as he starts high school at a boarding school. He makes a group of friends, including the mysterious Alaska. The book is separated into before Alaska and after. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This was a quick read and I did really enjoy it. I think I would have liked this a lot more if it was the first John Green book I read. However, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. To me, this one was not as original and exciting. It was a coming-of-age story and the boarding school format allowed for a lot of freedom for the teenagers to basically do whatever they wanted with little adult supervision (which of course leads to exciting storylines). 

It’s a fun friendship adventure with a little bit of mystery. I have to admit, the ending did not feel like 100% closure to me, and that always leaves me unsettled when finishing a book. However, I definitely recommend it to anyone. I think it is great when popular young adult fiction is written from a male perspective; it seems much harder to find. This review is getting me excited to read Green’s newest book: Turtles all the Way Down! I’ll have that review posted soon. If you are interested in buying Looking for Alaska, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

4/5 Stars

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Attic Box Book Subscription Box Review

I was generously given a free sample of the monthly book subscription  Attic Box by Blue Spider’s Attic! (In exchange for an honest review)

It was so exciting to receive a box in the mail full of surprise goodies—who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail?! It came wrapped up in pretty blue tissue paper and book themed newsprint. The awesome thing about this box is that it comes from a second-hand bookshop, so all of the books are customized to each subscriber based on preselected genre preferences (I requested Young Adult or Contemporary). Even though the books are used, they are all in like-new condition.

The Books

I received three secondhand books in this package (reviews to come):

  1. The Good Woman by Jane Porter
  2. Allure of the Game by Danielle Santiago
  3. Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer

The Goodies

This box also comes with a variety of goodies based on a monthly theme. This box’s theme was Poseidon’s Posse, so it was based on the god of the sea and other ocean-related fun! 

Here are the goodies I received:

  1. A lip balm called Mermaid Kiss, made by From the Page, an Etsy shop. It was made with coconut oil, candelilla wax, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and coconut flavor oil. It went on super smooth without feeling too oily! It was a very subtle taste. I enjoyed it!
  2. Butterscotch toffee coffee from Volunteer Coffee. It smelled delicious and had a very mild and tasty flavor!
  3. An ocean-themed coloring book The Enchanted Ocean and a set of six mini colored pencils! The artwork is very intricate and can provide many hours of coloring fun. 
  4. A bookmark made from thin wood. It has an image of Poseidon and a Jacques Cousteau quote: “The sea, once it casts its spells, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” It was designed by Blue Spider Press and printed by Cards of Wood
  5. A Keep Calm and Keep Reading bookmark and Pink Panther cutout. 


If you are interested in subscribing to this box, you can go here. You can order a single box or subscribe to receive one each month. They ship between the 6th and 10th of each month. Subscriptions renew the 15th of each month. 
They have two boxes. The one I reviewed was the Attic Box, which is $21.99 for a single month, $62.99 for three months, and $124.99 for six months. If you choose this box, you answer a series of questions about your preferences in genres, drinks (coffee, tea, or both), and what you are currently reading. They use this information to customize your box each month. 
The second box is the Basics. It is cheaper, but includes two books, coffee and tea. It is shipped in an envelope, rather than a box. It is $13.99 for one month, $39.99 for three months, and $79.50 for six months. If you choose this box, it just asks you about your genre preferences so they can customize your book choices for you.
I highly recommend this box! Have fun receiving your bookish surprises each month!! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's A Writer Thing -- On Plotters and Pantsers

This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss. 

Hello, Wonderful Writers!

It’s NaNoWriMo time! If you’re a writer and you’re reading this, you probably know what NaNoWriMo is. If not, here goes: November is National Novel Writers’ Month, and each year, all November long, writers all over the world commit to completing the first draft of a manuscript, usually 50-thousand words long, though some of us commit to longer works. The web community around NaNo is super fun, and if you’re a writer who isn’t familiar with it yet, definitely check it out.

I’ve been doing NaNo for a few years now, and I spent the last couple weeks of October getting my next WIP all plotted and set up in Scrivener so I was able to jump in and start writing on November 1st. This process, which is something I do for all new MSs, got me thinking about plotting versus pantsing.

I know this is one of the hottest debates writers can have, and I’m not here to try to lure anyone over to the side of the Jedis (*cough plotter cough*). Seriously, though, as a die-hard plotter, I wanted to share a perspective that has been on my mind for some time. Plotters are pantsers who do their pantsing before they sit down to start a draft.

Yes, you read me right: plotters are pantsers.

How can this be? Pantsers understand the beauty of choosing a starting point and maybe a mile marker and then letting the glorious muse lead them there by paths unknown and, sometimes, never before charted; while plotters are rigid, soul-crushed individuals who need order and structure and want to know the end before the beginning is even on the page yet. But seriously, plotters are pantsers.

What do you think us plotters are doing when we’re coming up with our plots?

When I’m thinking through my next WIP, I spend a ton of time playing out the story in my head, or in conversation with my hubby who is the BEST plotting partner EVER, letting different ideas emerge and shift and grow and evolve. Before there is a final version all ready to go into my Scrivener file as an outline or a synopsis, there is an unformed story-swirl cavorting in my head. It starts as a tangled knot which I somehow manage to tame into something linear and ordered and lovely—the Virgo in me is cheering right now—but even my order-craving Virgo heart loves the process of untangling that knot. 

I love the thrill of not knowing what will happen. I love how pieces come together, sometimes one decision being the all-important key to some other plot-point a little further down the road. I love the moment when the final piece clicks into place. As I write this, I’m still waiting for that to happen for my current WIP. Yes, I’m a plotter, and I don’t yet know exactly how my book will end, but that’s okay. I’ll figure it out as I go, as any good pantser does. 

So, for my plotting friends out there, next time someone asks you the dreaded question, just tell them you’re both. Because plotters are just pantsers who do the pantsing before they sit down in front of that blank page.

Good luck to all of you doing NaNoWriMo 2017. I hope you all “win!” See you on the other side.

And, as always, I will end with the motto spoken to me by my dear friend, who has been gone for over four years now (which I actually can’t believe): You can do it! You can write!

Jessica Bayliss is an author of commercial fiction who loves nothing better than getting lost in a good story, whether in print or on film. When not busy with her latest fiction project, she can be found loving her friends and family—especially her husband, Eric—playing with one pesky Havanese, or trying to appease an ornery cockatiel, typically with a cup of coffee near at hand. 

Check out Jessica's other posts: