Okay, This Is Awesome!

I’m not normally a note taker when I’m reading. Mostly because stopping to take notes tends to pull me out of a story. Also because I’ve never found a truly convenient method of doing so where I didn’t have to shuffle my reader with either my laptop or a notepad (which also usually meant trying to find a decent pen or pencil and those are NEVER where I left them). I’m also kind of lazy and all of that is just too much work. I’d rather read.

Sometimes, though, I do need to make a note of something so I don’t forget. This was the case for the current ARC I’m reading. Then I remembered my tablet doing some weird split screen thing when I first got it. This prompted me to play around a bit and found I can split my reading window with a notes window! I can either type my notes or use the handy pen to write them. I have a feeling I’ll be doing this more in the future because it is such an easy way to take notes which makes it totally awesome.

Yes, I’m easily amused by things that make my life easier.

Situational And Emotional Representation In Books

It seems as though I’ve read a lot of books recently that I’ve hit me in a lot of personal ways. Most of the time, I can pinpoint exactly what soft spot it hit and why I reacted the way I did. Other times, it seems so much more complex. This is something that has been rattling around in my brain for a few weeks now and I’ve been trying to figure out why I seem to react so strongly.

I have also seemed to struggle to really find what I want to read the most. Something like a reading slump, but not so much that I have disliked a lot of what I’ve read. Just, I’ve wanted to find something more than what I actually found.

I finally figured out at least a part of it. I’m a deeply emotional reader. I need to have emotional connections to the story and the characters, at least to some extent, for me to really enjoy it. Those are the stories I’ve been craving, but I haven’t quite been able to say I’m looking for this very specific kind of book because I wasn’t even certain what I’d been looking for. It has occurred to me that, at least on one front, I’m looking for emotional or situational representations that reflect on me and my life experiences. I want to see more pieces of my own reality in the books I read.

The problem with that is the times I’ve run across those, more times than not, I really end up disliking the book. These are the ones I’ve had the hardest time trying to really pinpoint the why. I’m beginning to think that a big part of that is the way I want to see those emotions and situations handled. I either want to see them handled in the way I did as some sort of validation of my experiences, or in a way that I see as better and with more positive results than what I experienced allowing that character to avoid some of my own personal chaos. Rarely do I get the one I need for that specific situation or emotion and end up disappointed with the story in front of me.

If a character does something that is counter to what I need in that situation emotionally, I find it taints how I feel about that character. That isn’t to say I’m looking for perfect characters, because perfect isn’t interesting at all. It is boring. I’m looking for human flaws, but I apparently need them flawed in just the right way, if that makes any sense at all.

I’m not certain if this is just a me thing or if others have similar feelings about this. I know I have a whole lot of peeves when it comes to books, but I wasn’t aware that some of these emotional situations and how they are handled was one of them. Everyone is going to bring personal experience and bias into a book they read, but I wasn’t aware of quite how much I drag along with me when I open a book.

I adore stories about families, but those also tend to be the ones that push my buttons hard. Issues like toxic relationships, mental abuse, rejection, forgiveness for those kinds of issues and family obligations all tend to be some really hot spots for me and I almost never react well to them even though those are the very things you tend to see most often in those types of books.

Do other people have these kinds of issues with what they read, maybe with other specific topics or am I just as weird as I think I am?

Sorry if this was a bit of a rambly mess. I think I’m still working through it all and I don’t think I’ve manged to dig it all out yet.

Indie Author: Thoughts on Kindle Unlimited

When I first published my book, I spent a lot of time researching and debating with myself what would be the best place to publish. I initially thought going wide would be the best choice for me because nearly every site I ran across that talked about Kindle Unlimited made it sound like it was really only beneficial to authors with multiple books. One of the things I never really saw mentioned was the fact that if you don’t go Kindle Unlimited with Amazon, you can’t take advantage of their advertising.

When I wasn’t getting any sales on any platform besides Amazon, I decided to just try going the Unlimited route and see what happened because I wanted to be able to at least see what having access to that kind of advertising would do for me, if anything. It definitely wasn’t going to harm sales that weren’t happening.

I have now been running a very low budget ad on Amazon for about a week now and in that time, I’ve nearly doubled the total number of sales I’d gotten since I released my book. In the grand scheme of things, those are still some pretty small numbers, but my sales are paying for my ad which make this test run more than worth it. It is also ridiculously exciting to see my book selling.

I had planned on only running this ad for about a week and a half because I had a specific amount I wanted to spend on this test run. Seeing how well it is doing so far, I’m going to extend it until the end of September. The really cool thing about how these ads work is that you can pick where you want to be placed, I’m going with a targeted ad in my specific genre, as well as how much you want to spend per day. You can also make adjustments on the fly if you see something isn’t working for you, including changing the end date.

So far, I’m extremely pleased with this option. Especially the fact that I can do a really inexpensive ad (initial budget for this test run was $60) that looks like it will pay for itself if the current trend continues. A lot of other advertising options I’ve looked into are hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars. For someone with a book in a tiny genre and only one, those options just aren’t feasible for me.

With the results I’ve seen so far, this is something I would highly recommend for any indie author looking to get their book seen and improve their rankings on Amazon.

Oh… it also helps that you get paid for those KU reads as well. It looks like I’ve only gotten a couple so far, but considering I’ve JUST started this, I’d say that isn’t doing too bad.

Help! Book Club Discussion Topics and Questions

I received a lovely email from a reader today and I’m looking to help her out. For those of you that have read my book, or even anyone that has ever participated in a book club, can you help me put together a list of questions or topics for discussion for a book club? I have never been in a book club and I haven’t a clue how or where to even start to help. I think if I can get a list of questions, I’ll also be posting these on my book page for anyone that would be interested.

Thank you to anyone that can help!

On My TBR – September 2019 Edition

When I did the first one of these a few months ago, I thought for sure I wouldn’t end up being a fan and dropping it. Mostly because I am very much a mood reader and I didn’t think I’d ever really get through all the books on a TBR list. Oh, I’d read that number of books and then some, but not necessarily those specific books.

Now that I’m getting ARCs and requests from indie authors, this has actually been kind of helpful in keeping me focused a bit to ensure I meet my obligations. That and it has been kind of fun. So, I’m sticking with it.

There was only one book on last month’s TBR that I didn’t end up reading beyond the first couple of pages (really was not a fan of the writing and dropped it), otherwise, I had no problem getting to them all. I also only really put the books on this list that I currently have available to read or I’m expecting to release and pick up in that month, so it isn’t an excessively long list.

 

Anna
Anna

Anna
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evvie Drake Starts Over
Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over
Genre: Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

September’s Anxiously Awaiting Release:

Archangel's War
Archangel’s War

Archangel’s War – Guild Hunter Book #12
Genre: Romance, Urban, Fantasy
Release Date: September 24, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

On Hold At The Library (should be in for this month’s TBR):

Brave the Tempest
Brave the Tempest

Brave the Tempest – Cassandra Palmer Book #9
Genre: Urban, Fantasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

NetGalley ARCs:

Good Girls
Good Girls

Good Girls
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Life
Release Date: October 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traces of Her
Traces of Her

Traces of Her
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Release Date: October 25, 2019
*Putting this on the list because I have it approved, but may wait until closer to the release date to actually read.

Reading Peeves: Blurb to Book Difference and Problems

The entire purpose of a blurb is to get a reader’s attention and convince them to pick up that book and read it. Writing them is an art form in itself and requires a delicate balance between being intriguing with just enough information to draw a reader in while staying accurate and not giving too much away. I can say from experience, it was one of the harder aspects of writing a book, so I get that they aren’t always going to be perfect. But, problematic blurbs tend to be a pretty big peeve of mine in reading.

The first part, giving just enough information without being too much, is really hard. I’ve seen books with only a handful of very short sentences that give almost no feel for what the book is actually about. These can be intriguing, but more times than not, they just aren’t enough to get me to pick up a book. I need just a little more than that.

The flip side of that is the blurb that is so long it encompasses nearly 2 pages worth of story summary or just an overload of information and details. The point is to get the reader to want to pick the book up to learn more, not to hand every detail to them in summarized form. I really don’t want to spend more than a minute or two reading a blurb to figure out if I want to spend more of my time to read the book. If I see a really long blurb, I will often just not even bother.

This may be small, but… that blurb really shouldn’t have any errors in it. If the blurb has grammatical or spelling errors, it doesn’t give me a whole lot of hope that the book is going to have been cleanly edited. This doesn’t just apply to spelling and grammar, but to plot and story and character development. Typos and mistakes happen, but first impressions make a huge impact on readers.

I also cannot stand when the blurb contains a spoiler or includes something that the reader doesn’t even see until the very end of the book. For me, these tend to create a certain level of expectation for those parts and I’ll spend the whole book looking for it and not just enjoying the piece of the story that is in front of me at the time.

For me, I think the worst offense a blurb can commit is to not actually represent the book it is attached to. I have now read 2 different ARCs in a row that I requested because the blurbs looked amazing only to find out that the blurb and the book really didn’t match.

The blurb is the second point of advertising for a book right after the cover. Like any other kind of advertising, a blurb can fall into the “false advertising” category. It doesn’t seem to happen often, but it does happen and I really don’t get why. I feel like if you do that, it makes you look bad as an author. If I read a book with a gross level of disparity between the blurb and the book, I’m a whole lot less likely to ever pick up another book by that author, so doing this seems really counter intuitive.

I also feel like the issues with length and too much information are a lot more minor in comparison to a blurb that doesn’t match a book. At least those are being honest even if it doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot balance on just enough but not too much. There is also a difference between being coy with surprises along the way and being an outright misrepresentation of what a book is about. When a blurb doesn’t match a book it feels kind of like a lie and a breach of trust between author and reader, which is a surprisingly important part of that relationship.

 

What Do You Look For In A Book Review?

When I first started writing book reviews, they were mostly for myself in an effort to get the whirlwind of thoughts out of my head after reading a book, whether they were good or bad. Since I’ve expanded why I’m doing them, though the base reason is still mostly the same, I’m curious as to what others find are the critical pieces when they read a review. What are the parts you look for first?

I have a handful that I think are important, but I don’t see in every review. Granted, these pieces also vary depending on where that review is posted. I have certain things I expect to see from a blog review that aren’t going to be the same for reviews posted on places like Goodreads or Amazon. That is the reason I do my reviews in sections so that I can just post parts in other places.

For me, blog reviews need to have more information because that information isn’t already there, like blurb and genre. When you are on most other sites those pieces are right there up front, so having them again in every single review tends to be annoying for me. I don’t want to weed through 100 reviews all posting the blurb or a reworded summary of it when it is already there in front of you. When it is on a blog, I think this is so much more important to include.

Genre is another one I really need to see on a blog. You simply can’t always tell just from a blurb or from someone’s opinion what genre a book falls into. For me, I’m more likely to choose to skip that review if I know the book isn’t even in a genre I read. Like the blurb, this isn’t necessary in most other locations because those are just as easily found, though it isn’t nearly as annoying to have listed as a revamp of the blurb over and over again (didn’t I say this annoys me?).

I’ve seen a lot of other things that people tend to post that I could take or leave, though some have been more interesting than others. Something like a page count really doesn’t matter to me in most situations because I do nearly all of my reading digitally and those don’t always have page numbers. I can see how this would be really helpful to some readers. I do like to know if the book is really just a short story as opposed to a full length novel or even some massive tomb that is going to take days for me to read, but a specific page count isn’t that important to me.

Listing the publisher is another one that really doesn’t make a difference to me. I used to feel the same about release dates, but now that I’m reviewing ARCs I’ve started including it to make it clear that the book may not even be available just yet.

Something that kind of bothers me is when, at least in blog posts, there isn’t a link to the book. This can be a link back to the book on an author’s website, to Goodreads or any of the places it can be purchased, but I like to be able to find a book without having to go hunt it down. It isn’t all that common an event, but I’ve actually ran into some problems finding a few books I wanted to look into more because there wasn’t a link provided and a simple search didn’t bring it up without digging deeper (thank you algorithms that tell us what we want to look at rather than giving us what we asked for).

I REALLY need to see the cover of the book. It doesn’t even have to be huge or overly prominent. It just needs to be there. Book covers are nearly as important as having a blurb and leaving that out tends to make me want to skip over a review. Again, this is only a blog thing, but I do think it is hugely important. Kind of like the link to the book.

Then there is the obvious, your opinion. I wouldn’t think this would be necessary to point out, but I’ve actually seen reviews that never really get to this point. They only consist of a slightly expanded revamp of the blurb and that is all you get out of it. When I read a review, I really want to know what someone thought of it. What they liked. What they didn’t like. Did it make them laugh or cry? Where the characters dull and lifeless or did you want to become best friends with them? I’m not talking just a simple star rating either. I do think those are important as well, but it doesn’t tell you much if you don’t have the words to go with it and to back it up. I’ve never really understood the point in summarizing a book and not giving your opinion on it in a book review.

Everyone is different and look for different things in a book review. Some really like a much shorter review, some like really detailed, in depth reviews. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle and tip either direction on occasion, both in how I write and what I want to see. Is there anything in particular you need to see in a review? Are there certain tendencies that you sometimes see that bug you and wish people would just stop doing? (I’m refraining from showing my grumpy old hag mode and avoiding the topic of .gifs here) Do you have different expectations depending on where the review is posted?

Making Changes

I am in the process of delisting my book from all ebook platforms with the exception of Kindle so that I can move over to KDP select and be on Kindle Unlimited. I absolutely hated to do this because it takes away my ability to be in libraries, but I wasn’t getting even that, so I’m going to have to go where I might get more traction.

I’ve never really wanted this project to be about sales, but sales have to play a part to some extent. I’ve always been more concerned about getting it read, getting it in front of the kinds of people that would get something out of it and trying to find a comfortable balance between those things. I honestly thought that being available on more platforms would be the better option for me, but it doesn’t seem to be, so I’m making changes.

There is no guarantee that those changes will make a bit of difference, especially since Amazon has now dropped me out of even showing up in results if you search for just my title (at least for a couple of pages anyway), which absolutely blows my mind. There are some seriously random and totally unrelated things that show up above me in the results and only because they have “unexpected” buried somewhere in connection to that item. Yay for algorithms telling us what we should be looking at instead of what we are actually looking for.

I am not giving up. I am trying to not be disheartened by this whole process. I just commented on a previous post and it applies to how I feel about it all at the moment.

“As a massive introvert, this is like facing a mountain with a roll of dental floss and a toothpick to help me climb and I’m standing at the bottom wearing a dress and heals.”

I’m just going to keep sending out my requests and copies of my book and hope that people follow through (thank you to the moon and back to those that have). I’m going to make whatever changes I think need to be changed when the way I’m doing things is no longer working. I am not giving up, just changing course a little bit, even if I feel like throwing in the towel.

So… That Was A Flop

I’m a little done with attempting new ideas with regards to getting book bloggers and indie authors together for now as there seems to be little to no interest. I will post anything interesting that I find in my own search on the off chance that it helps someone else out, but for now, there will not be a listing of participating bloggers. Sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up in that regard.

Hanging My Head In Shame…

…or it could be banging my head on the desk. Right now, the two look very similar. After nearly 14 hours of non-stop data entry and tweaking what I thought I’d had in place before I lost everything with the Windows update, I had managed to get to a point where I thought I had nearly every base entry recovered. I did realize that there was a chance that my previous database wasn’t pulling my DNF numbers out of my overall books read count, so I couldn’t tell for certain what all I was missing. I had lost a lot of the smaller genre tags that I’ve created for my books and any notes I’d made, but I mostly had any new books added, give or take a few. I’d somehow lost some of my reread and DNF numbers, but for the most part I’d felt pretty good at what I’d been able to recreate.

I went to shut down the app and saw that it was somehow STILL tied to that Onedrive folder and I did not want that. I go to hunt down how to break that tie and see the folder has 4 instances of my database. All with different names and versions. Guess which version was in there? Guess what I learned about the search feature in Microsoft? It doesn’t search the Onedrive folder. Guess who was livid to have wasted nearly 14 hours of work? I was nearly in tears for the second time.

Yes, I’m thrilled to death I found my original database. I haven’t lost anything (that I can see so far), so that is a massive positive. I’m still pissed as hell because that version in the Onedrive folder had a different name entirely from the database I was using. The database I was using didn’t actually exist on my hard drive anymore because it had been replaced by that older version. This is something that should never, ever happen. Even if this had been an Office update rather than a Windows update, it should have never happened. Those files never should have been touched in any way, shape or form.

I’ve moved my active database to a different folder, hoping to prevent something like this happening again. It is in the same location I keep my photos as that is on an auto backup for my external drive, so hopefully that will mitigate any future problems.

I’m trying really hard to be grateful that I didn’t actually end up losing anything and going with the “lesson learned” mindset, but it is hard to do after the work I put into trying to fix it all. Yes, I probably (REALLY) should have found that Onedrive folder before I went to all that effort, but I had no clue that it didn’t show in search results when looking for files. I never even considered that would be the case. I do appreciate this process has pointed out a potential error in my numbers and forced me to remember my database needs to be backed up on a regular basis. None of that changes how pissed off I am at the whole damn mess.

I also need to go through all my Goodreads entries again, because I could have sworn my numbers were a little higher in my database before I lost it, so I still think the version I got was at least a few days behind, if not a couple of weeks. That means that even though I’ve recovered my data, I’m still not done having to go through it all and trying to find problems. *sigh* I just want to sit down and read!!

 

Feel Like Crying and Screaming – Technical Difficulties

I have lost a year and a half of book data from my personal database. I went to enter my latest read and something looked off when I opened the app. When I realized my dashboard didn’t have all of my latest changes I was really confused. Then I went to look at the latest entry and it was from early in March 2018.

How could I have somehow reverted to an extremely old version of said database you ask? Why Microsoft, of course! My computer demanded I update my version of Windows the other day or I would no longer be on a supported version. Multiple hours later and me giving up to get sleep instead, I log in and everything seems to have upgraded with no problem. Until I opened MS Access.

Apparently, the idiots missed a glitch that pulled information from their useless Onedrive folder (which I had disconnected from almost immediately after testing it out as it was glitchy as all hell and only useful for my grocery list, so I’m still baffled at the version I got), and OVERWROTE the database stored on my computer. You do NOT code upgrade software that at anytime EVER overwrites personal data files on a computer!!! Dipshits in QA need to have some conversations with my Hubby to learn how that shit is supposed to be tested.

I was absolutely devastated. I have been keeping track of my books for YEARS in this database. Constantly making tweaks and changes to make it better, easier to use and pull the kinds of information I’m looking for. I do also keep track of my books on Goodreads, thank goodness, but I keep so much more information in my database that I can’t keep track of in Goodreads (personal notes and where I reviewed it for example) and is why I kept using it after I found Goodreads. It doesn’t help one tiny bit that I’m a bit of a flake sometimes and forget to enter a book in both locations. Yes, I can probably recreate what I’ve lost, but it is going to take me hours if not days and I’m most likely not going to be able to get it all.

I’d also made some significant changes in the last year. New reports and summaries I was keeping track of. All of it is gone. I could absolutely kick my own ass about the whole thing as well because I JUST got a new external hard drive to back up all my important stuff, like my photos, and somehow I managed to overlook backing up my database, otherwise I would have only lost maybe a week or two of books. Believe me, I have dug and searched all through my computer and my version no longer exists in any form.

I’ve slept on my grief over the loss and I’m still infuriated and frustrated, but the only thing I can do is whatever I can to rebuild it. I’m trying to see the positive side of this in that I didn’t get a version that was years older than the one I got, but it’s incredibly hard to see any loss as positive. I’ll be getting my review  written and posted, but then I’ll be buried in my Goodreads and Amazon records working to get it all back. I can only hope it doesn’t piss me off any more than I already am or my computer may grow wings and fly out the window. Whether that window will be open first remains to be seen.

 

On My TBR – August 2019 Edition

The bare bones of my August TBR list, as always, I’ll probably read way more than this, but this is what is waiting to be read:

Shadow's Bane
Shadow’s Bane

Shadow’s Bane – Dorna Basarab #4 (yes, this one is a hold over from last month)

Genre: Fantasy/Urban

 

 

 

 

Fated
Fated

Fated – Book #1 Alex Verus

Genre: Fantasy/Uban/Paranormal

 

 

 

 

 

The Scribe
The Scribe

The Scribe

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Crime

 

 

 

 

 

 

August’s Anxiously Awaiting Release:

The Blacksmith Queen
The Blacksmith Queen

The Blacksmith Queen – Book #1 in The Scarred Earth Saga

Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Comes out August 27th
Requested via NetGalley

 

 

 

 

On Hold At The Library (should be in for this month’s TBR):

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

 

 

 

 

 

Caged
Caged

Caged

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Book Bloggers and Supporting Indie Authors

Since publishing my book and attempting to get more involved in supporting other indie authors, I’ve noticed there are several issues that indie authors face. One of the biggest issues is getting exposure and reviews.

How many readers will actually pick up a book that has zero or only a handful of reviews or even just ratings? How many of you have the bias assumption that if there are only a handful and they are all good that they are reviews written by friends of the author so not legitimate? I’ll admit, I struggle to overcome this bias myself because this does happen sometimes. Not all the time, but I have seen it. This is a hurdle that a lot of indie authors struggle to overcome.

Getting book bloggers to review your book is also a huge struggle. Not all bloggers take indie review requests. Then you have to find a blogger that is interested in your genre. Then, and this seems to be a big issue with some book bloggers, is actually getting a response. I’m talking at all. Not just an agreement to read. This leaves the person requesting the review sitting in limbo wondering if their contact request got lost in the ether or at the bottom of someone’s spam folder. The second part of the blogger review struggle is sometimes actually getting that review once the reviewer agreed to do so. This is again problematic if that reviewer doesn’t notify the author they won’t be reviewing the book after all.

I’m seeing this from both the indie author perspective and the blogger perspective, so I can see how this is problematic on both sides. As a blogger, I want to read quality books in the genres I prefer to read in. Yet there is still an unfortunate number of indie authors that feel very strongly that the DIY method is perfectly fine when it comes to editing, formatting and cover design. I respectfully disagree with this stance because I do not believe that you can be objective enough to do those things for your own book. It is because of this that I can see why so many book bloggers shy away from reading indie books. As an author, even if I don’t fit that mold, I have to overcome those biases to get a blogger to read and agree to review my book. It is an interesting place to sit, that’s for sure.

I have run across a few places that are working towards creating databases of resources for indie authors, including bloggers. It is still incredibly difficult because you still have some of the above issues. So, here is a little bit of advice, from both sides of the indie author/blogger support perspective:

If you are a blogger that doesn’t want to review indie books, please make that clear on your blog so we can pass you by. We don’t actually want to waste your time or ours contacting bloggers that aren’t interested on an even basic level.

If you are a blogger that wants to support indie authors, please:

  • Have a review policy on your blog that states you are open to indie requests.
  • Make it clear how you want to be contacted and what things need to be in that contact, like blurb or a link to the book.
  • List the genres you are willing to read.
  • If you have other requirements, like the book formats you accept or anything else that may impact your decision to read or not read, add that to your review policy.
  • Please note that print copies are expensive for authors to provide. If you really don’t have a preference, please be willing to consider an ebook.
  • Double please here – respond one way or another to all requests! Yes, this can be overwhelming and a lot of work, but things do end up in junk and we never know that you actually got the request.
  • Give a rough time frame that requests will be responded to, again, because junk happens. Authors don’t want to feel like spammers for resending a request.
  • If you agree to read a book, please give a rough estimate on when you will be able to get to it. As a mood reader, I can completely understand how this is not always an easy thing to do, but even a broad time frame is better than “I’ll get to it eventually.”
  • If you agree to read a book for a review, please let the author know if for whatever reason you’ve changed your mind and can’t do so or if your estimated time frame has changed. I can’t speak for all authors, but that kind of communication is a huge stress relief because it means you are going to do what you said and not ghost us.
  • Posting on the major sites (this may vary by country) like Amazon and Goodreads in addition to your blog are massive things for indie authors, so do as many of these as you can.

As an indie author, I totally understand readers being picky. I am a picky reader myself. I can’t speak for all indie authors, but I do think that most would understand you specifying your requirements as a reader and being okay with saying no if something doesn’t work for you because we really want readers that are, hopefully, going to enjoy our work. Even if you only read one or two indie books a year because that is all you find that interest you, it is better than zero.

 

If you are an indie author looking for book reviewers, please:

  • Don’t spam every single book blogger out there on every platform they exist on.
  • Don’t expect reviewers to purchase your book. They are doing you a favor, the least you can do is provide a copy of your book.
  • Don’t send your book unless a reviewer has agreed to read for you.
  • Read the review policies of the reviewers you are considering requesting from and don’t request from them if your book doesn’t fit in their requirements. It’s okay if you aren’t certain, but take the time to see what they’ve read if their policy isn’t clear to see if you are even close.
  • If they have instructions about contacting them, follow those instructions.

 

Having a relationship between book bloggers and indie authors is really critical to an indie author’s success. This also gives readers and bloggers more books to chose from, which is always a plus. Being courteous to each other and respecting what part each of you play is just as important.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Book World

I’m not typically one for favorites. Not really. Most of the time if someone asks me what my favorite of anything is, I can’t answer because it is always subjective. Color? Depends on what we are talking about. If it is flowers, then I’m limited in choices. Clothing? I like what looks good on me. You ask about food, forget it. I’m a mood eater, just like I’m a mood reader. So if you ask me what’s my favorite book, I’m not going to be able to answer. I can give you a list of books I love, but I couldn’t pick only one. Or even 5.

I was thinking about book worlds and it seems that is a different ball of wax for me because it doesn’t cover just one book or one thing. It is a much bigger concept with lots of little pieces tied into it. It is because of those complexities that I can say I have a favorite. When I realized I actually had one, I sat and thought about why. What makes it a favorite?

When it comes to book worlds, I immediately go to fantasy because those tend to require a level of creativity and detail that realistic fiction doesn’t require because the larger aspects of that world already exist. All those different parts and pieces need to work together and they need to work in a way that sells the reader on that world. That it makes them believe in it. At least that is the way the best ones work for me. I’m sure other genres could work, but something contemporary that exists in the real world probably would never even come close for me.

One of the things that makes a book world truly compelling is that I can’t get the world and how it works out of my mind even when my nose isn’t in the book. It is something that consumes my thoughts, invades even my dreams, and sticks with me long after I’m done reading. So much so, I’m heartbroken every time I finish a book and have to wait for the next release.

While I have several series/worlds that come so close to hitting that coveted favorite spot, only one truly stands out. It’s kind of funny, but all of those series are written by the same author, Anne Bishop. I have other authors and book series I adore (guess what? I don’t actually have a favorite!), but when it comes to worlds, she takes top billing.

The runner up for me has got to be her Black Jewels world. This was probably the first book world that invaded my dreams. I remember the first time I read through the series, I had dreams throughout the entire time I was reading the series. This isn’t entirely uncommon for me as my brain doesn’t like to let me sleep anyway, but it shocked me at how much this world influenced those dreams. I still love this series, but it has to take second place.

Tied for that second place has got to be her Ephemera series. I think part of why this world was so fascinating is because it truly exists on the foundation of this singular concept of “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” It is a world that forces you to look a little deeper into yourself and I was at a point in my life where this had a huge impact on me. This didn’t invade my dreams or daily life so much as just really forced me to stop and think, to be a bit more mindful, to see the larger impact of my words and actions.

First place goes to all the books in the Others world. The biggest reason this gets the top spot is because I keep seeing things from that world tie into issues in today’s real world. There are so many deeper concepts in this outside of just an entertaining fantasy. Mostly from the very broad and generalized concepts of humanity, its arrogance, willful ignorance, and finding a balance with the natural world. I cannot tell you how many times I’ll be talking about current events with Hubby and I end up bringing up something from one of the books in this world. I find it utterly fascinating.

While it does have a lot of elements from reality, it is also so very not. I think it is that balance, combined with the level of detail that I really fell in love with. I also feel like it is really unique. Sure, there are certain elements that you see a lot of, but they are presented in such a different way that it makes them feel like brand new concepts that have zero ties to any of those other representations.

Anne Bishop is one of those authors that I’d love to spend at least a couple of minutes inside their head just to see some of the crazy that has to exist to be able to create the stunning worlds she does. I think she is one of those authors that most ideas start out with a “what if?” and it just explodes from there with a ton more of those “what if’s” along the way. You can almost see the path she takes from that question into the worlds she’s created. It is probably why the worlds she creates hold all the top spots for favorite book worlds for me.

Looking at all of these things I’ve brought up with regards to worlds, I think the things that I like the most and what really intrigues me is when they make me think, if it can bring in connections to real life even if the world is completely fantastical. They are all also extremely well thought out, highly detailed and feel utterly unique.

Do you have a favorite book world(s)? What about those worlds stick with you?

*Yes, I am aware that the image I used for this post doesn’t actually picture any of the books from my favorite world. That is because I only have those in ebook form, something I need to rectify. And soon!

 

On My TBR – July 2019 Edition

I normally don’t have a set TBR as I tend to pick up and read what I’m in the mood for at the time. I do have several lists in various different genres that I’ll use to pick from when I’m in the mood for that particular genre or I just go dig through new releases or new additions to my local library.

Now that I’m getting ARCs and picking up more books based on what I’m seeing other bloggers reading, I’ve decided to try and keep an actual TBR. These are the books I’m looking to read in the near future. Knowing me and my reading habits, this list is likely to change drastically within a week or two, but we will see how it goes if I shoot for a full month. I seriously doubt these will be the only books I read this month and there is a chance one or two get the procrastination shove to the bottom of the list, but it is a place to start.

So, what is currently on my shelf:

A Stranger On The Beach
A Stranger On The Beach

A Stranger on the Beach

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

*This is an ARC

 

 

 

The Need
The Need

The Need

Genre: Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

 

 

 

 

 

The Place On Dalhousie
The Place On Dalhousie

The Place on Dalhousie

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Family Life

 

 

 

 

 

The Road She Left Behind
The Road She Left Behind

The Road She Left Behind

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Family Life

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow's Bane
Shadow’s Bane

Shadow’s Bane – Dorna Basarab #4

Genre: Fantasy/Urban

 

 

 

 

 

Winds of Fate
Winds of Fate

Winds of Fate – Valdemar: Mage Winds #1

Genre: Fantasy

Getting Into The ARC Swing & Questions

Since the whole ARC book thing is still so new to me, I’m still learning what to expect. I kind of thought I’d understood it with the first 3. One was an already released book (by a couple of days when I got it). One was a couple of days ahead of release and another was a little over a month out from its release date.

The one I just started reading isn’t due out until October. I started reading expecting a similar experience to the first 3 books. Uh… nope. This one is actually still pretty raw, at least with regards to formatting. I’m talking RAW.

It was bad enough that I struggled
to
get through that f irst couple of
chap
ters. I’m talking it was nearly impossible to f igureout what went
where. Where a
para
graph ended and where one began. Where one speaker started and another one stopped.

See that lovely mess above? Yeah, that is what I’m talking about. Every word that started with an F had a space after the F making it stand out from the rest of the word. Some words were split and on different lines. There were lines with only a single word. Basically, it was extremely difficult to read. I had to constantly stop and reread lines because it wasn’t flowing easily and my mind kept wanting to stop at those obvious breaks.

I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t want to not finish it. I loved the premise or I wouldn’t have requested it in the first place. That and not finishing a book can really ding you on requests (at least that’s what I’ve seen). But I also wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up for the entire book in the state it was in. I went and looked to see what others had written about their feedback and I didn’t see a single comment about formatting, so I didn’t know if this was just a thing that ARC readers have to be able to see past or what. It was never an issue with the other books I read.

I did manage to plow through and it looks like the following chapters are 1000% better. There are still a few things that are bugging me, but they are things I’m not entirely sure are a stylistic thing or an editing/formatting thing. Since this is something that can potentially change, how does that impact a review? This is something that has been kind of wiggling around in the back of my mind since I figured out a bit more about ARCs.

If what I’m seeing in this book is common for an ARC that is that far out, how can a reader provide an honest review if they are forced to overlook problems that could potentially still exist in the published copy? Like I said, I didn’t not have a problem with the first 3 books I read, but this one has been a struggle and I’m only about 20% in.