Review: Be the Gateway by Dan Blank

This book changed me

When I first heard about Be the Gateway I was immediately interested. I have always believed that promoting your books or artistic work should be more organic than I had seen others doing. And many of the ‘best practices’ in book promotion turned me off. It seemed too cold and distant to me. And counter intuitive to what we’re all trying to do, which is share our art with the world.

And yet this book is so hard to describe. It’s part philosophy, part advice, part brain-stormer. The basic concept is that when you make connections with individuals, one on one, and one by one (rather than some nebulous generality known as audience) that you will bring people through the gateway of your artistic work. And that generosity, empathy, and real connections trump all.

Frankly, I agree.

Dan has many steps that he suggests you take in achieving this and frankly there were times in reading them, I was completely overwhelmed just wondering how I would do these things. But I kept reading feeling that if I got one or two things that I could do to get my work into the hands of those it was meant for, that it would be worth it.  I’m glad I did.

Something wonderfully strange happened as I kept reading the book. New opportunities just magically appeared. New peers, colleagues, friendships – so many things. Very subtle in some ways and very big in others. It was almost like magic. Then it dawned on me that those opportunities were actually always there – but until I read Dan’s book I didn’t see them. And I realized that I had slowly shifted my view from what it was before to Dan’s gateway view, without even realizing it.

I honestly don’t know if I could possibly do everything that he suggests in the book but I do know that I understand more about myself, my artistic work, and those I want to share it with so much more than I did before the book.

I know there are bagillions of books telling us the best way to promote (and I think I’ve read about a million of them) our work – but I think you would be changed in a good way if you read this book. I highly recommend it, if only to find a deeper connection with yourself and your work.

Annie

 

 

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Review: Lowcountry Bribe, Carolina Slade Mystery – Book One

review lowcountry bribe

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. My bad, I should have gotten to it right away because I denied myself a good read for too long.

C Hope Clark’s break out novel, Lowcountry Bribe delivers

Clark is adept at creating a great sense of place and culture and does it with ease in Lowcountry Bribe. She provides us with spunky, quirky characters that are immediately likeable and recognizable. The reality of small town living is depicted well – everybody knows everybody and their business, wagging tongues ceaselessly work behind the scenes wreaking havoc, while local politicians manipulate circumstances to their own benefit.  And our spunky kick-ass heroine quickly learns how terribly wrong things can go in her idyllic small town life.

Carolina Slade who goes by the handle ‘Slade’ manages a local Department of Agriculture office in a small southern town. She’s smart, ambitious and can spot horse pucky a mile away. When out of the blue she is offered a bribe by one of her farmer loan customers, she ruminates over whether to report it (as is the policy) or let sleeping dogs lie. Because she has a conscience and personal integrity she does the right thing and reports it – having no idea the can of worms she has opened.

Who knew that working in the local agricultural office could be so dangerous?

Instead of just reporting the bribe to the investigator who is sent to interview her, doing the paperwork and being done with it, Slade is pulled deeper and deeper into a web of deceit and lies.  The investigator sent in to take the report convinces Slade to become part of a sting, implying there are bigger things at play than the bribe. Already distressed about her rocky marriage and office politics, Slade reluctantly goes along with the plan, despite misgivings.  She is rewarded for doing the right thing by being punished severely from expected and unexpected sources. No good deed goes unpunished should be this gal’s mantra. The more she tries to get things wrapped up, the more they unravel and affect both her professional and personal life negatively. And her blossoming attraction to the investigator on the case, who has secrets of his own, only further confuses and complicates her life.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’ll leave it at this:

Slade is the kind of character you care about and would call a friend if she lived next door or down the street. Every step of the way you’re pulling for her and hoping she’s going to get out of the mess she’s gotten herself into. Lowcountry is a good read and I stayed up past my bedtime to finish it. Definitely made me want to read the next one. I recommend it to mystery fans looking for a good solid mystery. Available at Amazon and other book outlets.

The above is my opinion and I was neither paid, nor asked to write this review.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Are You a Shy Writer? Book Review – The Shy Writer Reborn

shy writer reborn book reviewI don’t know about you but I am a shy writer.  Despite my apparent gregarious nature online – in real life, I’m the one sitting in the corner sipping a glass of wine while everybody else is working the room.

I’ve always been shy and since childhood, have been chastised for it in one way or another.  Which of course, only succeeded in causing me to burrow deeper into my internal world.

Though through lots of effort, some happy accidents, and being in the right place at the right time, I’ve managed to make a living as a writer and even published a novel.

For any shy writer, the idea of self-promotion, marketing, getting the word out or sometimes just asking someone to read our work, makes us cringe and is the source of many a nightmare that sends us into convulsions of trembles.

Good news, there is a book for us – the shy writers of the world

Speaking of happy accidents – I had the opportunity to read a book called, The Shy Writer Reborn, by C. Hope Clark.

Many of you may be familiar with Hope through her Funds for Writers newsletter, her blog, or her new Carolina Slade Mystery series.  I have been a fan of this cheerful and tireless writer for many years and often it has been her cheerful and practical advice that has kept me going during times when I doubted my own writing abilities.

What I was surprised to learn was that Hope too, is a shy writer and in reading her book I discovered how she managed to overcome her shyness and succeed as a writer, while never compromising her own integrity and true self.

Here is the review:

Hope Clark’s The Shy Writer Reborn is funny, charming, and real.  As writers, we read an awful lot of books on what we should do, how we should approach our careers, and the best way to promote our businesses and books.  However, I’ve personally found many of these books to be a disappointment – lacking in real, practical information that can be used to achieve my writing goals.

Clark’s book is jam-packed with useful, practical tips and exercises that any writer could use to further their career.  Through the use of personal experience and anecdotes, Hope seems to cover every possible situation a writer could find herself (or hope to find herself) in and how to handle it.

She covers social media, writer’s conferences, public speaking, marketing and promotion and everything in between.  I can honestly say that I could use this one book alone as a guide to further my career as a writer beyond what I thought was even possible.

But more than anything, what stands out about this book for me is that Hope has a true and abiding empathy for other writers and helping other writers is a profound mission for her.

Hope’s own words serves as the best description of her own driving force as a writer:

“That force to become better and dig down deep to find the tools and power to do it with, shows in a person and his product.”

If you’re a shy writer, or any kind of writer who wants practical guidance on how to achieve your goals as a professional, this book should be tops on your list.

My thoughts beyond the review

One of the interesting things that happened as I read Hope’s book was that out of nowhere I would have ideas.  Not even about the topic I was currently reading in the book, but things to do with the current novel I’m working on, how I might change the focus of my freelance business, shifting the theme of my blog.  Everything and anything.  Maybe it was just because the book is just that damn good or maybe because it’s the old, if she can do it, than so can I, reaction.  But in the end it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that a shy writer can succeed as well as an un-shy writer – and using C. Hope Clark’s The Shy Writer Reborn, as a guidepost, you will probably increase your chance of success a hundred fold.

Highly recommend this book.  Check it out.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013