Henry Miller on Writing

So I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.

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What I’m Reading This Weekend

So, I’m reading this book by Dan Blank called “Be the Gateway.” Sounds a little scifi/fantasy, right? Actually it’s about reaching out to real readers and sharing your work. I don’t really want to say marketing because that word has such a stigma attached to it.

I have to say it is not the usual stuff you see on this topic. It’s pretty unique. And a helluva lot of work from the looks of it. I think I’m up for the challenge though.

I never thought that gaming rankings, offering endless freebies or other standard tricks of the trade were the way to go. I don’t really want to trick readers. I just want to give them a story that will do something for them, right?

Anyway – do check it out. Be The Gateway is available on Amazon in print and Kindle.

Have a great holiday and don’t eat too many hotdogs, those things will kill you.  😉

Annie

If I give you a book, do you owe me a review?

This was a discussion that started in my Facebook feed last week and I’ve been thinking about it, ever since. Not surprisingly, I suppose, there were many varying views on this question.

The original post went something like this, “If you are given a free book, you are obligated to post a review.”

As an author, I certainly agree with the spirit of the statement. All writers hope to get reviews, positive ones, but even negative reviews are helpful. And it is a difficult task to get reviews. I don’t know if there are any statistics on it but it seems that a very small percentage of readers actually post reviews on anything they read.

However, the question for me is if I give away one of my books freely is the receiver obligated to write a review?

In my case, no. I make no assumption that giving away one of my books will result in a review. I would certainly be happy if that were the case, but it isn’t something I expect. Just as I wouldn’t expect my buddy Zelda to buy me a latte this week because I treated her to one last week.

Why do authors give away books anyway?

There are many reasons authors give away books, certainly the hope of getting reviews would be one of them. Probably because they’ve been told by a marketing ‘expert’ that giving away books results in getting reviews, will skyrocket them to the top 100 list, make them super visible to potential readers, somehow make them a best-selling author, etc. I know plenty of authors who would disagree with that ‘conventional wisdom.’

But an author may also give away a book to:

  • Entice you to sign up for their mailing list
  • Get you acquainted with their writing and become a fan
  • Increase their rankings in various bookstores within Amazon and on other online book retailers
  • Encourage you to buy and read their other books
  • Otherwise increase their sales stats
  • And probably some reasons that none of us would think of

However, regardless of the reason that an author may give you a free book, does that obligate you to give them something in return?

I don’t think it does. And if it does, perhaps it should be called a trade rather than a freebie?

What about you? Do you believe that if an author gives you a free book that you are obligated to review it? Do you typically review the books you read? If not, how come? Is the offer of a free book intriguing to you or a sign of desperation? What do you think about free books? Feel free to share your views in the comments below.

Indie Author Spotlight – S.J. Hermann

As an indie author I like to pay it forward with other indies and give them a little love. This week, I wanted to introduce you to S.J. Hermann. Steve’s an all around great guy, an anti-bullying advocate and has a razor sharp wit.

His Morium Trilogy is a gripping YA Supernatural Thriller series. I’ll let Steve tell you about his inspiration for writing the series:

After I finished writing final book of the Morium Trilogy, I paused and reflected back as to why I wrote these books. It was more than releasing the one scene that played out in my head; the foundation in which Morium was built upon. I wanted to tackle tough subjects that teenagers may face on a daily basis. The emotional pain that lay buried deep in the conscious of their fragile minds as a result of relentless mental torture. How it might mold them into someone they never desired to be. To do unimaginable things to others, or to themselves.

I dig into sensitive topics that readers may have a hard time reading. Even though these books are YA, I don’t sugar coat. My goal was to provide an entertaining read while bringing forth serious problems; bullying, self-harm, addiction, loneliness, dealing with loss, sexual abuse and hiding your true self for fear of what others may think. Since it was integral to the story line, my writing had to be raw and to the point, for doing otherwise, would have lessened the impact.

Is this a dark series? Very. Is this a series for those younger than fifteen? Probably not. Give any teenager that has bottled up anger and give them the gift of supernatural powers, they will lash out any way they can.

None of this could’ve been possible if not for strong and developed characters. Alexandria (Lexi), Nathan, Stacy, and further in the trilogy, Renee, have their morals tested; fueled by abilities that two of them believe are an entitlement. I want readers to ask themselves how they’d react if they were walking in the shoes of the main characters. As I laid the groundwork for the trilogy, my personal demons from the past had me questioning my own morality. What would’ve I done?

(You can check out his books by clicking on the thumbnail of each one)

His Books

MORIUM (Book One of the Morium Trilogy)

Books Go Social Runner-up for Best Self-Published Book of 2015

morium-book-1If you had the powers to avenge yourself… would you? Bullied… Years of shame… Lexi and Nathan knew pain.

A GRIPPING YA SUPERNATURAL THRILLER

MORIUM is the story of Alexandria and Nathan… and Stacy. Three teenagers who were victims of bullying all through high school. They kept their torment a secret from their family and tried to cope in their own way. They only had each other. Their friendship saw them through the seemingly endless years of suffering.

But hope was in sight… they will be graduating soon. The vision of a new life away from the bullies and the constant humiliation, gave them something to look forward to. If only that day came sooner.

One night, Lexi and Nathan saw an object fall from the sky and went to investigate. As they touched the rock, a strange power entered their bodies. Suddenly, they’re not helpless anymore. They can get revenge for all the suffering and pain they had to endure.

How will they use these powers?

MORIUM discusses the moral dilemma of doing what’s right against getting revenge. When your dignity has been shattered and your life has been a living hell… what is RIGHT?

MORIUM: Dark Horizons (Book Two of the Morium Trilogy)

morium-book-2When the Light of Hope fades….
All that’s left are Dark Horizons…

A POWERFUL and INTENSE SUPERNATURAL THRILLER

In Book 2 of the MORIUM Trilogy, Alexandria and Nathan’s struggle with their supernatural powers continue.

When a new person enters her life, Alexandria or Lexi discovers that she doesn’t need supernatural powers to have a brighter future. She can leave her bullied past behind and rebuild her life. Meanwhile, “The Gift” takes deeper hold of Nathan and his hunger for revenge grows. But he fights his need to absorb souls to regain Lexi’s trust and save their friendship.

Stacy finds herself caught in the conflict between her closest friends, even as she battles her own demons. Whose side should she take? Will she choose love over friendship… or will she fail them both?

An opportunity to get back at Lexi’s assaulter pushes Nathan back into the path of darkness. One final act of bullying sets him over the edge, and he decides to put an end to the never ending pain and humiliation he and his friends suffered over the years.

Can Lexi save Nathan from completely giving in to the dark influence of The Gift?
Will their friendship survive?

DARK HORIZONS will immerse the reader into the intricate psyches of the bullied characters we rooted for in MORIUM. Morals aside, can we really blame Nathan for his anger and his need for revenge? Through indifference, did we not have a hand in creating the monster he has become?

MORIUM: Terminus (Book Three of the Morium Trilogy)

Coming in May 2017 Special Pre-Release price of $0.99

morium-book-3IT ALL ENDS HERE.

One final confrontation between friends… One final outcome.

In the finale of the highly rated supernatural thriller series, The Morium Trilogy, Lexi must not only fight the evil that resides within her, but also struggle to keep her relationship with Kyle from falling apart. Unknown to Lexi, Nathan is planning to exterminate not only the remaining bullies, but the entire town as well.

In the end, what will Lexi and Nathan choose… FRIENDSHIP or REVENGE?

Can they fight their inner demons and preserve what matters most?

steve

S.J. Hermann is a writer of paranormal, science fiction, horror, and romance novels. His books have moral basis hidden within them, and he brings some of his experiences into his characters. Hermann is an anti-bullying advocate and his struggles with self-harm can be read on his website.

Hermann currently resides in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where after a break, he hopes to return to college to earn a certificate in graphic or web design.  When he is not thinking of stories to write, he is an award winning artist.

Hermann is an avid roller coaster fan who has ridden over forty different coasters throughout his life. Though he is terrified of heights, there is not a ride he won’t conquer. If there is a hockey game on television, you can bet that he will be watching, especially his favorite team the Chicago Blackhawks.

He is an avid Walking Dead fan and will read or watch anything about zombies. Max Brooks and Stephen King are his authors of choice. He is a strong supporter of indies.

If you’d like to know more about Steve you can visit his website, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and/or GoodReads.

Life Hacks for Readers

life hacks for readers

I love to read. I came out of the womb wanting books. I can’t even remember a time when I couldn’t read. Anyway, if you’re like me, you’re in constant pursuit of the next book (or twelve) that you want to read. So, I thought I’d share a few little tips on getting more books and other reader-ish things you might enjoy.

Used bookstore at your local library. When I discovered that my local library also has a used bookstore I thought I’d died and gone to reader heaven. Most hardbacks at 50 cents and paperback are four for a dollar. Really not or recent hardbacks can be as expensive as two or three bucks. But I’ve been known to take five bucks to the library used bookstore and walk out with 10 books. Check and see if your local library has a used bookstore.

Friend book swap. If you have other friends who are readers you could set up a book swap. You could each buy a book that all of you want to read and then pass them around. Have your own little lending library.

Online lending library. The Open Library  is an online lending library that allows you to borrow eBooks from a growing collection of mainly 20th Century titles available now. Each title can be borrowed by one patron at once, and you can read it in a web browser or in Adobe Digital Editions as a PDF or ePub. I did check their website and did a search on a favorite author – they had every title of his. So this is a real find.

Project Gutenberg. The Project Gutenberg  site offers mostly classics (public domain) books which you can download for free. They offer over 45,000 free ebooks in pdf, epub and kindle formats. No fee or registration is required.

Free audio books. There are several sites that offer a one-month free trial during which you can get free audio books. However, Books Should Be Free  offers free books – period. Like Project Gutenberg the books are classics and in the public domain.

Kindle apps. A lot of people may think that in order to read a Kindle book they must have a Kindle. However, Amazon offers free apps  for phone, tablet, laptop and pc which you can download and read your Kindle books with.

Keep a running list of the books you’ve read. The reader tracker is an app that you can download for your iPhone, iPod or iPad. Apparently it’s free right now for a limited time. You can also set up lists at Goodreads that will keep track of all the books you’ve read, want to read and do reviews as well.

Other Stuff

Hard time keeping your paperback open to the right page? Use a bullclip to tame those pages. readers life hacks

 

Want a laptop reading desk? See if you can find an old breakfast tray at the local thrift store. This one is a lot like the one I found for a couple bucks and it even has a drink holder.

life hacks for readers

Offer to become beta reader. If you happen to know any authors, or frequent author websites you can volunteer to become a beta reader. Beta readers agree to read one or more drafts of a novel and then give feedback. The cool thing about this is that you can help an author polish and refine her work, and also be privy to the book before publication. With the exception of the really famous authors out there, most writers would be thrilled to have people volunteer to be a beta.

What about you – have any tricks or tips for readers? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Writer Chick

copyright 2014

It's Raining Books

I love books and can’t get enough of them. I have books everywhere, in baskets, on shelves, under the bed, in the bathroom, livingroom and kitchen and don’t have room for one more – yet, whenever I see a book I want, I get it and worry about storage later. One of the things I love to do with books is to pass them on. Though, I always retain copies of the books I love more than life, typically, when I’ve finished a book, I either give it to a friend, take it to the library used book store or donate it to a church, thrift store or other outlet that can use or wants books. To me, there is no greater gift than a book, they impart knowledge, experience, adventure, entertainment, and introduce whole new worlds to the reader. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Imagine my delight when my friend Curious C over at Idea Jump sent me to Hey Lady, Whatcha Reading to check out this a book give away.

The blog mistress, Trish, had this to say:

Dude, I’m not even kidding. Hachette Book Group USA is doing a Summer Reads Giveaway and wants to give away 14 books. For up to FIVE people. Doing the math…five times four is twenty, carry the two….that’s SEVENTY books they’re willing to part with. And send to you. For free. And all you have to do is comment here. More on your entry possibilities below.

There’s true crime, fiction, historical fiction, memoirs, romance, thrillers…click on the link to the book to get a synopsis.

Naturally, I didn’t even hesitate to put my hand up because, jeez, 14 brand new books, with 1 chance out of 50 is pretty darn good. So if you love books like I love books, get on over there and put your hand up too. It can’t hoit and cripes maybe you’ll win some groovy books.

PS: Happy birthday, dad.