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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reader Statistics


 
I was looking for statistics on how readers choose books and I ran across this article on A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013. Okay, it’s a little dated but I found it interesting and thought you might, too. Since this report sales of -e-books and audiobooks have increased by a fair percentage. This is from several of the workshops I took at my conference.
As of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audiobook.

Reading snapshot

On an average, the typical reader read five books last year. Print books arer still popular but e-books are catching up.

As tablet ownership grows, more use them for e-books
To read the whole article you can go to  http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/ (The Pew Research Center)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks


I’m not sure what it is, but I lost another guest blogger. Maybe it’s summer and they’re all away. I just got back from New York City and the Romance Writers of America conference. So I have a writing tip for you.
And New York was fabulous by the way. We stayed on Times Square, toured the Cloisters, attended a couple of plays (Matilda and Jersey Boys) and hung out with friends and other writers.

Okay, back to that tip. I also attended about a dozen workshops. There were approximately 120 workshops available. They covered everything from craft, to self publishing, foreign markets, audio books, spotlights on each traditional publisher, where they tell you what they’re looking for, their guidelines and often give you a tip on how and who to submit, and more. I could go on and on, but my tip is this, if you get a chance attend a conference any conference – go. It doesn’t have to be one this big. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It may need to be close so you don’t have travel expenses, but if you’re serious about writing go to at least one. Even the connections you make might be worth it.

Writing can be a solitary life. Other people don’t understand the people in our heads and why we write, but other writers do. There’s an energy anytime you’re with a group of writers. Everyone shares information and even without the workshops you make connections and learn something. You usually learn at least one thing in a workshop, unless that person is just there to sell you something. Hopefully that won’t happen.
Out of all those available workshops I only managed to attend about a dozen. Some of those covered Blogging better, audio books, including the costs, foreign rights, foreign translations, breaking into foreign markets, analyzing data and doing a business plan, plus a few more. I arrived home exhausted but excited. Now I need to review my notes and put them into action.

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear them.
And we will have a guest author for the next two weeks because they’ve already sent me everything.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pets in Your Book

Have you used pets or other animals in your stories? What function do they perform in the story? Do they need to have a function? Can they be a character?


Rhobin, you’ve picked another interesting topic. I’m a writer who likes to have a pet in the story. I’ve used a Scottish terrier; wolfhound; Australian sheepdog and a mutt in my books. They don't usually play a major role in the story, except for my wolfhound in Death Awaits. But I like the feel of adding an animal as a pet. It often helps develop the character and can show some of their positive attributes. (as in show - not tell). And they're fun to write into a scene. 
In my books they aren’t a character, but I see no reason why they couldn’t be one. They don’t have a specific function, although they may have. I’ve had a pet all my life. I had a hamster; goldfish (who always die); cats and dogs. Because I like animals and feel they add a lot of love and caring to our lives and to a story I include them in my novels.


And I love books where the animal is a character. Maybe in my next book. Do you like pets or animal in the books you read?

Check out what our other authors thinks about pets in their stories.

Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Connie Vines
http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland
http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Rachael Kosinski
http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Kay Sisk
http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Judith Copek
http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun 
http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator
http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Anne Stenhouse 
http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin Courtright
http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How Do You Choose the Next Book to Read?


You put down the book, or close your e-reader and sigh, or maybe go wow – whatever.
It was a good book and you thoroughly enjoyed it, but now you have to find another book to red. Will it be as good? What should you choose?

There are so many ways people choose books, favorite author; publisher; recommendation, cover, reviews, print or e-book, blurb, etc.
There’s an interesting site http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/isbn/0778316815 What You Should Read Next. You put in the author or title of a book you like, or just finished, and it will come up with a list of recommendations for you to buy. Click on it and it takes you to Amazon to purchase the book.

Or you can take a quiz to get a recommendation for your next book at http://justtherightbook.com/quiz
Book Riot  http://bookriot.com/2014/09/30/four-methods-choosing-read-next/ offers these four suggestions. You can read more about them at their link above.

The Charlotte “Double-Booking” Method
We read two or three (or, God help me, four) books at a time, reading a few chapters of one book before reapplying lipstick and diving into another.

The Goldilocks Method
We gather a collection of possible books, determine an arbitrary sample size – one page? first chapter? first lines? – and give them each a shot to find which one is just right.

The Bran Flakes Method
The Bran Flakes Method, therefore, is the method of seeking out a book that’s not just good; it’s also good for you. Maybe that “required reading” pick you didn’t get around to in high school; maybe that big book of philosophy you bought on an impulse at a used bookstore; maybe that hulking classic that you swear you’ll get around to one of these days. (Anna Karenina. She’s always just there, on my bookshelf, asking me when. When?)

The Summer Lovin’ Method
The Summer Lovin’ Method is your walk on the wild side. It’s the book that’s the opposite of Bran Flakes. It’s whatever you don’t usually read

How do you chose your books? Whatever way you chose – enjoy your next book.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New York, New York...

I'm in New York this week on a writing conference. Our guest author did a no show, so I'm going to blog about  New York today. I'm off on a tour, so I'll be blogging in pieces.
Sunday we say the plsy, Matilda. Really great and fun. Today I'm off to a presentation by the FBI and other special police. That's why you attend conferences. That and the networking. I'll be back after the FBI.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Won't Read That


Is there anything you won’t read?  Would you quit reading a book because of some line the author crossed? I’m not talking about genre, because if you pick erotica or any of the glbt genres you know what you will be getting. Although there may still be the same lines you won’t read.

I once read that you can’t kill a cat. Readers will quit reading. So are there other things that might stop you cold and go – No Way. You can’t do that. And put the book down. There are some authors I've never read because I've heard about some of their books and thought - nope, I couldn't read that. It's too gory for me.
Can an author kill an animal? Can it be a dog, cat, bird or even a horse? Does size have anything to do with your response?

What about children? Can you kill a child? Does it matter how old the child/teen? What age would you find acceptable?
Sexual abuse – adult or child?

Me, I don’t want to see an animal killed or abuse. I think I would stop reading at that point. Maybe I could accept a rat or a snake but no pets, of any kind. I have problem with a child being injured or killed and the author better set it up so I can accept it.
It also depends on how descriptive it is. Did it happen behind the scene and is only just mentioned? Or are you there as a reader watching it unfold?
I’d love to hear what your line in the sand is. Would you stop reading at some point if the author crossed that line?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks - Vicki B

This week author Vicki Batman joins us with her tip. Vicki is an avid Jazzerciser, handbag lover, mah-jong player, Yoga practitioner, movie fan, book devourer, cat fancier, Best Mom ever And adores Handsome Hubby.

Vicki’s Tip on Creating a media page for your book
Once your book is published, you will want to talk about it...a lot! And over and over. That’s where a media page comes in handy. Here’s what my blank one looks like:
Note: all margins are .5 x .5 x .5 x .5. Text in Verdana font size 12, aligned on the left.

Book Title:

Release Date:

Author:

Publisher:

Word Count:

Page Count:

ISBN:      / paperback

ISBN:      / digital

Book Cover: attached separately

Long Blurb:
Short Blurb:

Excerpt: limit to one page

Author name

Author photo: attached separately

Author bio:

Find Author at:
Website:
Facebook:
Twitter:
Pinterest:
Goodreads:
Author Central:
Google+:
Other web/blog sites:
Email:

Buy links for Book title:
Amazon ebook:
Amazon paperback:
Publisher ebook:
Publisher paperback:

I fill in the blanks and save the file as: name of book media kit Ex: 080614 VBatman Temporarily Employed Media Kit
I open a folder and entitle it: book title media kit Ex: TE media folder
Inside the folder is the media kit file; covers in various sizes, author photo. Another short excerpt. That’s it!

I have used this method for almost a year now and no one I’ve shared with has complained. If anything, they have used too much! It’s a go-to place you’ll visit often.  Many times, I’ve copied from the kit. No more scrambling around to find stuff. If you would like to see the one I created for Temporarily Employed, email me at: vlmbatman@hotmail.com .

And now, direct from my Temporarily Employed media kit, an excerpt to tickle your fancy:

Excerpt from “Temporarily Employed”
    “Yuck.”

    Pretty much covered the whole freakin’ day.  

    A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police. I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like I'd commented this a.m. to my roommate, Jenny, “Today, anything’s possible.”

    My Bad Day checklist included:

- Crappy job interview, one which might have provided desperately needed     income.

- Wore gut-busting panty hose on a hot day which had now worked past my     waist     and strangled my diaphragm.

- A barely blowing air conditioner indicated something had malfunctioned in     my new, fun car.

    I stole another glance in the mirror, and with great reluctance, flipped the right turn indicator. My vehicle coasted to a stop on the shoulder of Boston Avenue in my hometown of Sommerville, a nice suburb located between two large cities. Four lanes of cars and trucks zipped by as I sat there where every single one of my family, friends, friends’ friends, and their friends—including Rat Fink Suzanne—would see a police vehicle positioned right behind mine. Gleefully, drivers would chant the “Ha-ha, got you, not me” ditty.

    How embarrassing.

    After killing the engine, I flopped back in the seat. Shooting the morons the finger was an idea. Nah. I'm too exhausted to care.

    A litany of:  "No, not hiring." "Just filled the position." "You're over qualified." "You're under qualified…" tornadoed through my head. Coupled with the intense job search through various outlets like the internet and completing numerous online employment applications, no wonder my body had been depleted of all life force.

    Not even a breeze blew to take the edge off the unbearable summertime heat. Tangled wild trees and dry scrubby bushes banked the roadside. The grass had taken on a scorched look. Rolling down the driver’s window, I surveyed my surroundings. Nothing great. Nothing new.  

    I stole a glance in the side mirror at the policeman who strode purposefully along the shoulder. The gravel crunched under his boots. He looked huge, probably because his uniform, which appeared to be bulked with a bullet-proof vest, made him resemble a buffed-up superhero in size. Exceedingly intimidating.

    Sigh. When things went wrong, they were really wrong.

Buy Links:
Amazon ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Temporarily-Employed-Vicki-Batman-ebook/dp/B00N4J5FDQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410893535&sr=1-1&keywords=temporarily+employed
Amazon paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Temporarily-Employed-Vicki-Batman/dp/1628304979/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412359358&sr=1-2&keywords=temporarily+employed
The Wild Rose Press ebook: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=5829

You can find Vicki at:
Website: http://vickibatman.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1ipdLkv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VickiBatman
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vickibatman
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4814608.Vicki_Batman
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/vickibatman
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=116288777&trk=hb_tab_pro_top
Google+: bit.ly/1zUggDF
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/vickibatman
Plotting Princesses: http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/o1515093723
Email: vlmbatman@hotmail.com

Thanks Vicki, for dropping by and sharing that great marketing tip.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another tip or tweak.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What Kind of Book Reader Are you?


I was looking for information about what you as a reader look for when you decide to buy a book. I found this interesting, fun article on types of book readers in The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog. (See link at the bottom of the page) I thought I’d share it with you. Do you see yourself in any of them?

The Hate Reader: you complain the author can't put two sentences together properly or that the book is dragging hopelessly in the middle and what kind of plot twist is that, even? An elephant in Act 3? These characters are so poorly drawn as to be comical! You call that a conclusion? you will finish each hate read down to its very last word, and you may well close the covers and toss the volume across the room, but you will do it with a great, secret frisson of satisfaction
The Chronological Reader: You buy a book, you read it. You buy another, you read it. Perhaps you borrow a book at the library. You read it, and then you return it, and you get another, which you will read.

The Book Buster: Is your home strewn with books scattered about, this way and that, their pages turned, their covers folded over, their backs broken and their limbs splayed out on either side? You are a destroyer of books, but you love them so.
Delayed Onset Reader #1: You are without a doubt a book lover, and when you walk into a bookstore or any place books are available, you can't help yourself, you buy one or many. When you get home you put them aside, often reverently, as if they were art, displaying them on a bookshelf or propping them up on your bedside table, pages ready to meet your eyes as soon as you have the moment, maybe months later.

Delayed Onset Reader #2: You are not a book lover. You buy books so you can show them off. If you are wealthy, you may have a mahogany-paneled library for expressly this purpose.

The Bookophile: More than reading, you just love books. Old ones, the way they smell, the crinkles and yellowing of the pages; new ones, the way they smell, too, the crispness, running your hands over a stack of them at the bookstore.
The Anti-Reader: You never read books, because you find them too long.

The Cross-Under:  You are a grown-up who reads Y.A. or kids books, or a kid who reads adult books.
The Sleepy Bedtime Reader: You tote your book into bed with you and it's so very comfortable and the book is so deliciously good, but you cannot keep your eyes open and end up waking up with a book on your face and your light still on at 3 a.m.?
The Book Snob: You are hard to impress, Little Miss or Mister. You only read books that are well reviewed by critics that you have determined to be of the highest caliber.

The Hopelessly Devoted: You stick to the authors you like, and you read them, pretty much exclusively, whatever they write, good or bad, regardless of reviews or the opinions of your friends or family.

The Book Swagger: You're the one wandering around book conventions with that acquisitive gleam in your eye and a pile of ARCs in your tote bag. If it's free, you'll take it, and even if it's not, you'll try to get it for free. Whether you read all this swag or not is really of little consequence.
The Re-Reader: You know what you like, and instead of branching out and possibly finding something new that you don't like, you focus on what you do. You read the same books over and over again, returning to them as if they're old friends, which, pretty much, they are.

The Cat: You creep around the house all day and sneak peeks at all those large, paper things that your owner leaves lying about. Sometimes, if you're lucky, your owner has left one open, and you lie on top of it and let its smooth pages touch your whiskers. It is oddly comfortable, and deeply satisfying, particularly if it's in a spot in the sun, where you enjoy whiling away a whimsical afternoon. Your owner fancies that you're actually reading the pages, but you're not. You're just lying on them. Humans are so weird.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks with Jami

This week author Jami Gray joins us with her tip. Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams.
Jami’s Tip on Writing - SHOW ME THE STORY
As writers we face numerous challenges when we’re sharing our story. There is the hurdle of keeping track of body parts, the maze of active versus passive verbs, and the one I find myself facing down with a worn tip of ink, the treacherous world of show-don't-tell. You all know this pit of despairing darkness, it's the one where someone reads your work then says, "Why are you telling me this, why can't you just show me?"  Every writer faces this harsh enemy armed only with a small writing instrument and sheer guts.  Some carry a broader defense in the form of a laptop, but still the enemy is fierce and determined to leave you shuddering in its wake.

There are thousands (seriously Google it) of articles out there on how to work through the challenges of showing versus telling, but I'm an orbitally fixated person so I’ll share an example of enlightenment seared into my brain by ever helpful editors. The beast of Show-Don’t-Tell requires stronger, more active verbs, closer points of view, and vivid descriptions, which will trap your readers in your story.
We’ll use a passage that won’t land me on a hit list, as the author and I share mental headroom.  This is from my first book, SHADOW’S EDGE from 2011.
The original read:
Raine moved like lightening to catch the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden gave a frustrated shriek and went after Ryder's face with her long nails, scoring three long scratches before her could stop her.
Ryder cursed, yanking the doctor's arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward.  Raine didn't spare Eden a glance, but moved in to the cell. She could feel Cheveyo coming up behind her. Using her magic, Raine called up a small illuminating ball of light to chase back the darkness from the cell.
Huddled in the corner was a naked Gavin. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood mixed with sweat-drenched, tangled hair made macabre abstracts over the shaking arms, wrapped around drawn up legs. Seeing him like this broke something inside her. Furious tears burned the back of her eyes. Ignoring them, she motioned for Cheveyo to stay out.

The enlightened minds of my editors pointed out the following issues with this small passage. For example, in the very first line, saying she moved like lightening is telling, not showing.  Let’s move on to the usage of verbs. Picking the right verb makes a world of difference. Action scenes demand strong verbs, use them but don't -ing them. 

With the light of knowledge searing my brain, here is the re-write:
Raine sprang forward and caught the little black remote before it hit the ground. Eden shrieked and raked Ryder’s face with her long nails, scoring three long gashes before he could stop her.
He cursed and yanked her arms behind her back, forcing her to face forward. Without sparing her a glance, Raine dashed into the cell with Cheveyo right behind her. She summoned a small ball of light to chase back the darkness.
Gavin huddled in the corner, naked. Fresh cuts, seeping burns, and trickles of blood, threw macabre abstracts over his shaking arms, which were wrapped around his drawn-up legs. His sweat-drenched, tangled hair curtained his face. Seeing him like this broke something inside her. Furious tears burned the back of her eyes. Ignoring them, she motioned for Cheveyo to stay out.

Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Want to turn the page and see what happens next? This is the beauty of showing versus telling. It's worth every drop of blood you sweat as you transfer those voices in your head to paper.

Excerpt from “Shadow’s Edge”
Feeling his presence behind her she stepped through the doors and reached for her jacket. Putting it on, she turned around only to come up short. He stood inches away.

“You can run and hide, Raine.” His eyes were dark. “But, I’m a damn good hunter.”

His challenge sparked her pride. She shocked them both by reaching up and threading her fingers through his thick hair. Running her nails against his scalp, visible chills cascaded down his arms. Using the velvet strands as a handle she brought his head down for a kiss. Not some wimpy kiss either. If she was doing this, she was doing it right. It may be her only chance.

Using the tip of her tongue she traced his lips, startled at how soft they were. When he parted them for her, she took advantage of the opportunity, sliding her tongue inside. Closing her eyes, she felt her body respond, arching closer to his heat. It was like moving into the warm sunshine after standing in the cool shadows. Desire moved under her skin, warming places she hadn’t known existed.

His taste, like warm sherry and dark spices, invaded her, making her breath catch. She lost herself in the moment, with this man.

And she wanted to stay lost.

The unfamiliar thought jerked her eyes open, and she found his green ones focused solely on her, dark with arousal. Seeing such a totally male expression on his face brought an unexpected flare of pride.

With her body fully pressed against his, there was no escaping how in the moment he was. Slowly, she ended the kiss. Her fingers relaxed, releasing his hair, letting the strands slide over her skin before moving her hands to his shoulders. He truly was a beautiful man.

Then, because it was almost too serious, she leaned up and dropped a light kiss on the tip of his nose. Catching his startled grin, she pulled out of his arms.

Her voice was unsteady, almost husky, “I wouldn’t call it running, Gavin.” Turning on watery legs, she walked down the hall to the front door, while every hormone screamed for her to stay.

He followed, reaching above her to hold the door open as she stepped onto his front porch. “Then what would you call it?”

She turned and met his eyes, her gaze as serious as her voice, “Trying to decide if you’re worth the risk.”

His eyes flared briefly, but he said nothing. She strode down the steps and into her SUV. As she drove away, she couldn’t help biting her trembling lips as the unique taste that was Gavin swarmed through her bloodstream.

Looking back, she could still see him, in her rearview mirror, framed in the open doorway.

If you want to nab your copy of SHADOW’S EDGE, it’s FREE for a limited time at any of the following booksellers:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0061CAXJ4
Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Shadows-Edge-The-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-1/Jami-Gray/e/2940013239838
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shadow039sedgethekynkroniclesbook1-625433-139.html
Black Opal Books: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/shop-our-store/authors/jami-gray
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/101023
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shadows-edge-kyn-kronicles/id482595056?mt=11
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-s-edge-the-kyn-kronicles-book-1
Scribd.: https://www.scribd.com/book/235371403/Shadow-s-Edge-The-Kyn-Kronicles-Book-1

If you look for her, you could find her at one of these locations:
Website:   www.JamiGray.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter
Twitter:   https://twitter.com/JamiGrayAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/JamiGray
Google+:  https://google.com/+JamiGray
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B006HU3HJI
 
Thanks Jami, for dropping by and sharing that great marketing tip.
Don’t forget to check back next week for another tip or tweak.