How to Get More Blog Followers

Qaudruple re-blog! Well worth it!

Nicholas C. Rossis

My dear friend MMJaye published this awesome blog post today, titled 13 Strategy-Altering Blogging Stats, that was based on a post by Mitt Ray of Social Marketing Writing.  Mitt has taken all blog-related statistics he could lay his hands on and created a superb infographic that is an excellent resource for all us bloggers.

Along with the blogging stats, Mitt has provided some tips on how they can be used to create a better blog.  He also lists his original sources, which is a great idea for anyone looking for some extra reading into this. I have converted these to easy-to-follow links, for your convenience. I suggest you take a look whenever you have some free time to spare; they make for a fascinating read. On the other hand, the most important lessons are already included in Mitt’s infographic, so even if you’re pressed for time (and who isn’t?), you can just look at…

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Alternate Visions: On Diversity in Science Fiction

LOVE this! Thanks, Antariksh Yatra!!

Antariksh Yatra

I was recently in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow for an academic project.  Barrow is profoundly different from any place I have been: at 71.3 N latitude, it perches at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.  During April, when I visited, the ocean is frozen as far as you can see.  The tundra is white and flat, and there is no vegetation.  Most of the people who live there are Inupiat Eskimos.  It is as far removed as you can imagine from Delhi, where I grew up, or for that matter, Boston, near which city I now reside.

I was wandering through the bright hallways of Ilisagvik college in Barrow, looking for someone with whom I hoped to speak, when I found an efficient young administrative assistant.  She assured me she would find the person I was seeking, and took my name down.  As is usual in…

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Strange! It’s a Mystery Why a 50 foot Maple Tree Fell in Downtown Vancouver Trapping Two Men

The trees are ATTACKING! I told you so!

This and That

The tree just started shaking then fell. They said the roots don’t appear to be rotten. Weird!!
To read the article go to
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/tree-falls-on-car-and-truck-trapping-2-men-in-vancouver-1.2656211

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Book Marketing: Twitter vs. Facebook

Interesting research and helpful recommendations for #authors, #musicians, #poets, more. Thanks, @Nicholas!ARossis

Nicholas C. Rossis

As you know, there is research being done about pretty much everything nowadays.  I recently came across an interesting research by Michelle Bertino on Klout, that studies the reactions on Twitter and Facebook according to different subjects.  Nice guy that I am, and since a large part of it has fascinating repercussions for our book marketing efforts, I thought I’d share. So, let the battle begin: Twitter vs. Facebook!

Twitter-vs-Facebook, Photo: articlemarketingco.com Photo: articlemarketingco.com

Top 10 Subjects

The research categorized the subjects that get a noteworthy reaction on Twitter or Facebook.  As you can see, music, television, holidays and celebrities have the greatest engagement.  Amazingly enough, religion is in the top 10 of engagement in Facebook – something I did not expect, since the contrast with the previous subjects is quite amazing.  Apparently Facebook attracts many different people!

Research by Michelle Bertino, Klout Research by Michelle Bertino, Klout

I carefully glance through the list, expecting and hoping to see books…

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16 Ways I Use #Goodreads

I’m wondering how you, as a reader, use Goodreads? What about if you are an author: do you visit often and use it? How do you use #Goodreads?

Goodreads logo

At first, I just visited, as a #reader. I noticed what books are being featured or recommended (paid ads or in groups’ discussions), what types of groups there are, what groups are active, and what lists exist on Listopia. I marked books I had read and ranked a few, but didn’t write any reviews or read any.

As a reader, I now have: 905 ratings | 102 reviews | avg rating:4.10

When I began to come closer to launching my first book as an #author, I re-established myself on Goodreads with an author page. I added the nonfiction book I had co-authored many years ago, then I added my first science-fiction/romance ebook to my page.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember

As a reader/author, my use of Goodreads changed a lot after that. I began not only to list books I had already read, but I started to use Goodreads as a kind of readers’ journal, and I:

1) put books on my “want to read” shelf. This means Goodreads posts and could email me (but I shut that down) “Recommendations” based on what I read and ranked highly.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/15085128?shelf=read

https://www.goodreads.com/recommendations

2) put books on my “currently reading” shelf and kept up the status of where I was in reading each one (I usually read several books simultaneously, one or two nonfiction, one or two fiction.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/15085128-sally-ember?shelf=currently-reading

3) began to acquire friends/fans and to respond to “friends” requests moer promptly.

I now have 1005 “Friends” and dozens of “followers”: I have 83 “fans”; follow almost 288 GR members (mostly authors or reviewers) myself
https://www.goodreads.com/friend

https://www.goodreads.com/user/15085128-sally-ember/followers

https://www.goodreads.com/author/fans/7237845.Sally_Ember

https://www.goodreads.com/user/15085128-sally-ember/following
(GR has an algorithm, like Facebook, that limits how many new “friends” a person can add per day, so sometimes I added an author or reviewer as a “fan” or “follower” instead. It seems arbitrary and silly, to me, but that is the deal. This policy means I seem to have 295 “favorite authors,” but that just means I had to become a “fan” rather than a friend, so this list includes authors I support but haven’t read anything from, yet.)

4) joined several groups as a reader, several more as an author, and started one of my own, as an author.

https://www.goodreads.com/group

5) made an effort to keep up with “notifications” from these groups, responding when I felt inspired, commenting or asking questions occasionally. I also get some notification sent directly to my email, but I don’t read them in both places.

6) posted about my own ebook(s), including their launches, pre-orders, sales, becoming permafree, reviews (needing and getting). I also posted each of the related videos (author readings, Q & A, Book trailers) on my Author’s Page and my own Videos page. I also created and will create launch “events” on GR for each ebook’s sales launch date. If I had print books, I would/could do “giveaways,” but GR doesn’t provide avenues for ebooks giveaways (yet).

https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/7237845.Sally_Ember

https://www.goodreads.com/videos/list_author/7237845.Sally_Ember

7) linked my Goodreads page to my blog so that the feed appears on it and put a Goodreads widget on my blog that shows what I’m reading.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember/blog

8) linked my Goodreads reviews to my blog and Facebook pages so that my reviews and activities appear on those.

9) voted on and added my ebooks to lists and voted on others’ books on Listopia; also became more aware of and using Shelves more and putting books I’m reading/want to read on Shelves.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18772075-this-changes-everything

This Changes Everything cover

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21841757-this-changes-my-family-and-my-life-forever

final cover - digital and web

I have also listed my Series as a Series on GR, which means it can appear on those pages/groups that seeks series books.

Scroll all the way down on any book’s page to see its first lists and then click on “more” to see pages and pages of lists my ebooks are on. VOTE on them, please!

10) added more books to my ‘want to read” lists to support other authors, especially those who became my friends/fans.

11) noticed what books others in my groups, friends/fans communities had read/were reading and put some of those on my “want to read” lists.

12) began to write an ongoing status/review and final review of every book I was reading, which then posted on my blog and on Facebook. These comments and activity appear on my author’s page as recent “updates.”

13) recently began pasting those reviews from Goodreads onto Amazon for those books, with the rating and slight editing (when necessary). I have a way to go to “catch up,” but it’s a good way to remember what I’ve read these last 12 months or so.

14) developed a new interest in and respect for book reviewers, prolific authors, new authors, and readers who populate Goodreads, reading more of the posts to groups and noticing their authors’ pages and blogs. I

15) followed a few of the blogs I saw excerpted on Goodreads due to what I read on these authors’ pages.

16. added “metadata” to my books and plan to add more. This is a tricky maneuver I needed help from a GR “Librarian” to accomplish and don’t know much about accessing on my own, but apparently this data helps my ebooks appear in more searches.

Please comment on how YOU use Goodreads and what you think of its usefulness to the readers/authors communities! Thanks.

Happy reading, reviewing, writing, commenting, ranking, voting, and shelving!

Making Connections

Great for #writers, #authors, #speakers! Thanks, Jamie and Nicholas!

Nicholas C. Rossis

I happened across this brilliant map by Jamie Clark, and I had to share! It shows the different words one can use to make connections, whether to compare, contrast, emphasise etc.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to visit his blog for more awesome stuff!

Making Connections, map by Jamie Lee Clark Making Connections, map by Jamie Lee Clark

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Social Media and Readers’ Advisory: Tumblr

I’m one of those bloggers who resides on #Wordpress and just re-posts to #Tumblr: I now know I’ve been missing out. Plan to do more right on it next month! Thanks for the suggestions and info!

wrapped up in books

Today I’m in Kansas City at a MALA workshop talking about my favorite things: cats, books, libraries, and tumblr. You can find the slides and additional information from the half day workshop at Kaite Stover’s wiki, but here’s the outline and lots of links to accompany my talk. You can also view my slides in googledocs (the gifs animated there, but don’t in slideshare or a downloaded powerpoint).

What’s tumblr?

The boring answer: a microblogging platform and social media site that supports multimedia content that:

  • Allows you to share text, video, images
  • Blends traditional blog with twitter and a plus a little instagram thrown in

But what is tumblr *really?*

Tumblr is…

cat gifs

fandom

books, reading, and libraries

your favorite authors and publishers

your community

conversations

and yes, you have to be careful to avoid NSFW content.

Tumblr is…

184 million blogs!

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#AUTHORS: #Plot Spice, or the 5 Worst Places to Wake Up Unexpectedly

#AUTHORS: In case your plots need some spice, just thought I’d remind you of the 5 Worst Places to Wake Up Unexpectedly. I put them in reverse order, according to my preferences, with One being the worst-case scenario.

If you disagree about my rankings or have your own to add, please put them in the comments at http://www.sallyember.com/blog

  • 5. Wearing your clothes but no shoes, restrained, on a cushioned table, several thousand light-years away from Earth, surrounded by aliens.

    alien abduction
    image from http://www.educatinghumanity.com

  • 4. Without your outerwear, stiff, cold, without ID, keys, money or facts, in the middle of a place you don’t recognize.

    lost woman
    image from http://www.alternet.org

  • 3. Wearing a johnnie, intubated, foggy, in pain, at least one limb in traction, in the ICU.

    ICU man
    image from helifreak.com

  • 2. Naked, hung-over, ashamed and chagrined, having had regrettable sex with someone inappropriate several hours ago.

    morning after drunk
    image from thealcoholenthusiast.com

  • 1. Dressed in your best clothes, surrounded by satin, in a closed coffin.

2011, COFFIN
image from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

#AUTHORS: #Plot Spice, or the 5 Worst Places to Wake Up Unexpectedly

#AUTHORS: In case your plots need some spice, just thought I’d remind you of the 5 Worst Places to Wake Up Unexpectedly. I put them in reverse order, according to my preferences, with One being the worst-case scenario.

If you disagree about my rankings or have your own to add, please put them in the comments at http://www.sallyember.com/blog

  • 5. Wearing your clothes but no shoes, restrained, on a cushioned table, several thousand light-years away from Earth, surrounded by aliens.

    alien abduction
    image from http://www.educatinghumanity.com

  • 4. Without your outerwear, stiff, cold, without ID, keys, money or facts, in the middle of a place you don’t recognize.

    lost woman
    image from http://www.alternet.org

  • 3. Wearing a johnnie, intubated, foggy, in pain, at least one limb in traction, in the ICU.

    ICU man
    image from helifreak.com

  • 2. Naked, hung-over, ashamed and chagrined, having had regrettable sex with someone inappropriate several hours ago.

    morning after drunk
    image from thealcoholenthusiast.com

  • 1. Dressed in your best clothes, surrounded by satin, in a closed coffin.

2011, COFFIN
image from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Submission Call!

Another short story writing opportunity for special topics: “LGBTQ Youth and Adults/Community” is the theme.

Vampires, Crime and Angels...Eclectic Me

Submission Call!

Hope & Love, a Charity Anthology Charity Anthology
Submission Call

THEME: LGBTQ Youth and Adults / Community
Short story submissions must be centered on LGBTQ youth and adults. The goal is to make a place where they can fully identify & express themselves without fear of ridicule & harassment. Stories should feature happy or promising endings.
*All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to MKE LGBT Community Center*
Short Stories: 3k – 10k words. Manuscripts shorter or longer will be considered but will have to be extraordinary.
Deadline: August 1st, 2014.
Heat Level: YA, NA, Adult (must have plot, no explicit content).
Genres: Any
Pairings: GLBTQ (couples & poly) No previously published work, from new and established authors. Send all submissions to Áine at apmassie@gmail.com. List the anthology title in the subject line of your e-mail. Ex: LGBT Anthology submission. While there is no guarantee that your work…

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Guilty is Guilty: Step up and Take Your Punishments

Dear Chris Brown, George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, O.J. Simpson, James “Whitey” Bulger, Enrico Ponzo, Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, Mary K. Letourneau and countless others, and now, the latest famous guilty abuser of people and laws, Columbus Short: You’re guilty and you know it, everyone knows it! How DARE you plead “not guilty”?

You waste our time, our money, our resources and our courts’ juries’ and staff time with your arrogance, selfishness, and hubris.

Worse, because of loopholes and incompentencies in our legal system, you might not get punished.

These are unacceptable circumstances.

Columbus Short
image from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com

Believe me, I am a fan of “innocent until proven guilty.” But, when someone is caught, on camera or by more than one witness, or there is a preponderance of evidence and prior bad acts similar to this, how can anyone doubt their guilt? What’s worse, why don’t they just admit it?

Sure, sure: narcissism, other serious mental illnesses, delusions of grandeur and rampant hypocrisy come with these people’s territories. I know that.

Can we all just be more than a little bit disgusted, at least?

That’s my rant.

Guilty
image from finkorswim.com

#Writing Opp/#Publication Opp for #Women #Writers: Deadline June 1, 2014

Dear Friends of Women Writers, Women Books,

Warm spring greetings from North Carolina to all of you who have commented on our online magazine at http://www.booksbywomen.org Your participation is what makes the difference on our site.

WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Our Site Sponsor, Diane DeBella, author of a powerful and disclosing memoir, I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves, is inviting submissions of your stories for an anthology she will edit, and we will publish.

You don’t have to call yourself a writer. You don’t have to be previously published. You don’t have to have a blog.
All you need for this opportunity is the desire to share a powerful moment in your life when you claimed, or reclaimed your self.

Women writer upholding book

image from writersrelief.com

DETAILS

Under 1250 words.
Written specifically for this project, the #iamsubject project.
Email: diane@iamsubject.com or anora@booksbywomen.org with any questions.
Deadline June 1, 2014. (Email us if you need a little more time.)

Submit by email to diane@iamsubject.com OR Read more about the #iamsubject project:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=5f0ec05277&e=777d21d198

The Call for Submissions information:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=be30d2dac6&e=777d21d198

Read submissions here: http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=269003237f&e=777d21d198

We will select a collection from the essays submitted for an anthology, which will give you a publishing credit, important if you’re just starting out, and fun to be part of no matter what your writing experience is.

NEWS: DIANE DEBELLA’S MEMOIR

Diane DeBella teaches writing and women’s studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has just published an analytical memoir that draws from the lives of important women writers. It is a powerful book, and through May 31 is available internationally as an ebook for our readers at the equivalent of $2.99 US.
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=7519bc9987&e=777d21d198

We would be thrilled to hear that you would like to submit an essay!

Anora McGaha
Founder and Co-Editor of Women Writers, Women Books
anora@booksbywomen.org

#Writing Opp/#Publication Opp for #Women #Writers: Deadline June 1, 2014

Dear Friends of Women Writers, Women Books,

Warm spring greetings from North Carolina to all of you who have commented on our online magazine at http://www.booksbywomen.org Your participation is what makes the difference on our site.

WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Our Site Sponsor, Diane DeBella, author of a powerful and disclosing memoir, I Am Subject: Sharing Our Truths to Reclaim Our Selves, is inviting submissions of your stories for an anthology she will edit, and we will publish.

You don’t have to call yourself a writer. You don’t have to be previously published. You don’t have to have a blog.
All you need for this opportunity is the desire to share a powerful moment in your life when you claimed, or reclaimed your self.

Women writer upholding book

image from writersrelief.com

DETAILS

Under 1250 words.
Written specifically for this project, the #iamsubject project.
Email: diane@iamsubject.com or anora@booksbywomen.org with any questions.
Deadline June 1, 2014. (Email us if you need a little more time.)

Submit by email to diane@iamsubject.com OR Read more about the #iamsubject project:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=5f0ec05277&e=777d21d198

The Call for Submissions information:
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=be30d2dac6&e=777d21d198

Read submissions here: http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=269003237f&e=777d21d198

We will select a collection from the essays submitted for an anthology, which will give you a publishing credit, important if you’re just starting out, and fun to be part of no matter what your writing experience is.

NEWS: DIANE DEBELLA’S MEMOIR

Diane DeBella teaches writing and women’s studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and has just published an analytical memoir that draws from the lives of important women writers. It is a powerful book, and through May 31 is available internationally as an ebook for our readers at the equivalent of $2.99 US.
http://booksbywomen.us8.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=40251f201df2e2c799764d2d5&id=7519bc9987&e=777d21d198

We would be thrilled to hear that you would like to submit an essay!

Anora McGaha
Founder and Co-Editor of Women Writers, Women Books
anora@booksbywomen.org

A ‘Sunken Cathedral’: Bora Yoon’s new album builds musical architecture out of sound, sight and theatrical experience

Hauntingly beautiful and extremely creative.

TED Blog

Blog_FF-BoraYoon

Bora Yoon builds soundscapes out of instruments and found objects from assorted centuries and cultures, weaving an unlikely and undulating web of immersive sound. As a live performer, the Korean-American composer, vocalist and sound architect often seeks interesting spaces in which to work, creating music specifically for each site. Now she’s created Sunken Cathedral, a multimedia album that lets listeners take the experience of sound and space with them. Here, Yoon tells the TED Blog about the ideas behind this dynamic work, which will culminate in a live performance in January 2015.

You’ve launched an IndieGoGo campaign for Sunken Cathedral, but the record is done, right?

Yes. It’s an enormous beast of a multi-tentacled project that I have been working on for seven years, and it’s all unveiling now in a four-part, year-long rollout—a transformation from record to the theatrical stage. The Sunken Cathedral album—which Innova Recordings released online and on CD in late April—is essentially a musical…

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Support an Author: Show Your Appreciation to Someone Who Inspires You ~ #saam14

How to do this? Comment on their blog, rank/rate/review one of their books, vote it up on Listmania (Amazon) or Listopia (Goodreads), mention it in your personal posts on social media (Instagram its cover!), ask local bookstores to carry their books, thank them, thank reviewers, thank writers, thank EVERYONE who helps writers! Thanks, from ME, a writer, to all who help me!

Important Perspectives on #Book #Reviews for #Authors

Let me say first how grateful I am to each of the mostly self-selected, unsolicited and all UNPAID reviewers, most of whom I never met or heard of prior to their reviewing my book. Each of them gave a lot of their time and consideration and most read (or said they read) the whole book. THANK YOU, Book Reviewers!

I especially thank those who review indie, first-time, ebook authors of sci-fi (hardly any do!).

bookreviews_logo

I am a newly self-published, indie author of mixed genre ebooks. Right there, that puts my book into five categories that disfavor me in the reviews department.

Then, add that my genres are

science-fiction/romance/paranormal/multiverse/utopian/speculative fiction

and that my audience is also mixed:

adults, new and young adults

and we begin to understand how my first ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, could get a variety of responses and reviews.

To date (about 6 months after publication), TCE has 13 reviews on Amazon and a few elsewhere. These reviews break down roughly like this:

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

5-Stars: 25%

4-Stars: 25%

3-Stars: 25%

2-Stars: 0%

1-Star: 25%
Did Not Finish (also gave it 1-star or 3-stars, by the way): 2%, which adds up to 102%, since these are duplicates

My summary: About one-quarter of these reviewers loved my book (5 Stars); about one-quarter hated it (1 Star). Most reviewers were mixed, with the predominant attitude’s being positive (50% gave it 3 or 4 Stars) rather than negative (no 2-Stars and 25% 1 Star).

What could any author conclude from this? NOT MUCH!

Just to get some perspective, check out some well-known authors’ book review stats, for first volumes or breakout books, on Amazon: Robert Heinlein, J.K. Rowling, and Hugh Howey.

Robert Heinlein‘s Stranger in A Strange Land (his “breakout” and most popular full-length, sci-fi novel, and one of my all-time favorites/inspirations), has about 870 reviews on Amazon for this book.

Stranger cover

5 Stars: 57%

4 Stars: 14%

3 Stars: 13%

2 Stars: 9%

1 Star: 8%

My summary: More than half loved it (5 Stars). About half were less than enthusiastic, with about one-quarter liking it (3 and 4 Stars), and almost one-fifth disliking it (2 and 1 Stars).

What did one of Heinlein’s 1-Star reviewers have to say about this much-revered book? “I know it’s one of the classics, and supposedly one of the best sci-fi novels of all time, but I actually got so bored at parts of this book that I started skimming somewhere in the middle it.

How about J.K. Rowling‘s first volume of the renowned Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer’s Stone? How is this book doing? It has about 8500 reviews. Unsurprisingly, this book has garnered about 10 times the number of reviews as Heinlein’s (published in 1968).

Harry Potter vol I

5 Stars: 85%

4 Stars: 10%

3 Stars: 3%

2 Stars: 1%

1 Star: 1%

My summary: Overwhelmingly adored (95% gave it 4 or 5 Stars), this book still has detractors. Even J.K. Rowling, one of the most successful and beloved authors of all time, can’t please about 3% – 5% of these reviewers (1, 2 and 3 Stars).

One of Rowling’s first volume’s 1-Star reviewers who actually reviewed the book after seeing the movies (and was not caught up in slamming its purchase, which apparently was a problem with the Kindle and print versions), wrote: “How did this *ever* become such a phenomenon? I mean, if I think it through I can see why it became what it became but it was definitely not for the writing! The writing was soooooooo pedestrian I found myself embarrassed while reading it!

What about an Amazon’s “top 10 Best-Selling Author,” Hugh Howey‘s Wool? It has about 1750 reviews.

Wool part 1

5 Stars: 64%

4 Stars: 21%

3 Stars: 8%

2 Stars: 4%

1 Star: 3%

My summary:Well, these stats start to look more like a mid-way place between my first ebook’s review stats and Robert Heinlein’s, above, don’t they? Howey’s first volume garnered almost two-thirds of adoring (5 Stars) reviewers, but still has about 15% who disliked or are lukewarm about it (1, 2 and 3 Stars), with about one-fifth liking it but not loving it (4 Stars).

One of Howey’s 1-Star reviewers echoed my sentiments about his book (which I couldn’t even finish because I disliked it so much): “Another depressing ‘humans living underground following apocalypse / collapse of society / alien invasion / zombie epidemic, but with a really cruel. nasty plot twist right at the end.’ I had to eat a lot of chocolate to get over it.

Moral of my post? Appreciate ALL reviews, thank the reviewers, post your own reviews and don’t take any of them too seriously.

Best to you all, authors and reviewers!

Weak Sisters

Thanks, Janice Wilberg! I was very disturbed by the FLOTUS’ viral photo holding the sign, but you articuated WHY I was disturbed. I love an intelligent, long-overdue, excellent, feminist RANT! You ROCK!

Red's Wrap

I’ve so had it with all this oppressive sexist bullshit. It is never ending. The men whose sole mission in life is to rule the world from the high end of every woman’s uterus, the criminals who steal girls to taunt the world so everyone from the First Lady on down holds up a stupid hashtag sign as if the Boko Haram gives a flying fuck about hashtags or public opinion, the editor of the New York Times getting canned because she had a beef about salary equity are all just more junk and debris in a crammed, filthy river that has been running through civilization from the beginning of fucking time.

And we are so used to all of this that we can’t fire up the juice to get mad anymore. And by mad, I mean red rage, unreasonable rage, indescribable rage, indignation, resentment, and fury.

Like frogs in…

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Jumping Ship, by Janice Ross

One of my ebooks’ ‘author/reviewers, interviewed here: Congrats, Janice G Ross!

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember Janice Ross as the author of Loving Nate.  She has kindly agreed to be interviewed here as part of her blog tour for her new book, Jumping Ship; an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series.

About Jumping Ship

Jumping Ship by Janice RossThe year was nineteen seventy-five. Barren couple, Pearl and Edward Riley stumbled upon a newborn baby girl. Her cries could only be heard by a true mother, which Pearl immediately became. Bundled up with their new child, they discovered a parcel of artifacts and a scribbled note that read: Sakkara.

Pregnant seamstress, Petrina Dugal, became a runaway at the age of twenty-six. She ran away from a brutish husband, Roger, and a well-loved South American home in Georgetown, Guyana; at the heart of her rebellion – an enigmatic lover named Michael Chen. Pet and Mikey, as they became affectionately known, allowed love to blossom in front of…

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The Anguish of Posting a 2-Star Review of a Colleague’s Book

As an #Indie #Author, I am keenly sensitive to the ways we are each other’s main support. We have no publishing house, no “team” dedicated to our book unless we gather that team ourselves and pay them individually. Because of this, I have made it a point to join groups on Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere in the blogosphere of fellow indie authors, bloggers and reviewers in order to support one another and be part of a “team.”

Some of these teams are better than others, and I have left a couple of them already (in less than a few months of membership) due to a lack of the very support I joined to acquire. However, some are excellent. #RaveReviewsBookClub is one of those. Its founder, president and fellow author, Nonnie Jules, and the team she has gathered to moderate and administrate the site and its activities (which are many!) are top-notch.

RRBC GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS:

President – @nonniejules

V. President & Mentor Program Director – @bruceaborders

Secretary & Blog Tour Host Co-Ordinator – @mlh42812

Membership Director – @kathrynctreat

PR/Marketing Director – @DanicaCornell

Newsletter Co-Ordinator – @sharrislaughter

Reviews Co-Ordinator – @voiceofindie

“SPOTLIGHT” Author Consultant – @TeriGarringer

I highly recommend joining this FREE group if you are an indie author wanting to get and provide reviews and other types of support: Nonnie’s own site (which leads to the RRBC site) is: http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/

I belong to several other great Facebook groups: Clean Indie Reads, Amazon Author Support, Female Writers, Science-Fiction Romance Brigade, Gutsy Indie Publishers, eNovel Authors at Work, and more. Many have their own blog or websites and activities beyond Facebook cross-postings and support.

On Google+, I have recently joined several groups that I appreciate. Except for #BookMarketingTools, which provides biweekly Google On Air tools and info shows called “The Author Hangout,” hosted by Shawn Manahar (@ShawnManaher), I am not yet “known” or know many members since I’m not very active, yet.

I am “in” many groups on Goodreads and LinkedIn, but mostly as a reader or sometimes visiting poster/”liker”. Not active, often, as an author, yet. Very much appreciate the tips, tools, ideas and support these offer, regardless of how often I visit, comment or post.

All this is by way of saying: I am anguished to have to post a low rating and poor review of a fellow club member’s indie book. But, I just did. I had to. I do not do many reviews mostly because I am usually writing, marketing and job hunting or working as a consultant: in short, too busy. But,a requirement of joining some groups is to do reviews occasionally.

So, I recently chose a book from the options provided that I thought I’d like and began to read. You can see the results, below.

BTW: When I knew I wasn’t going to be able to give the book a positive review, I reached out to the club moderator, who was very helpful and supportive of my honesty and professional opinions. I also reached out directly to the author. I told her my dilemma and offered her some minimal feedback and also to provide more. She responded and thanked me, but declined.

Since we couldn’t communicate privately, I put my feedback into this review. I sincerely hope my comments and questions inform the author so that, when she is ready to hire an editor and a proofreader for her next book, some new team members could be hired who are better than this book had.

Review of C.E. Wolff‘s Common Denominator

Disappointing: unrealistic and 2-D characters, horrible story arc, unbelievable plot points, poorly proofread /unevenly edited

Common Denominator cover
http://www.amazon.com/Common-Denominator-C-E-Wolff-ebook/dp/B00G8SE5RC

I rarely give bad reviews and hesitate to post this one. I wanted to like this book. I was pulled in, at first. Somewhat interesting story, main characters, situations. Despite some proofreading errors, I continued. Wanted to give a new author the benefit of the doubt.

Then, the number of mistakes became ridiculous. Simple things, but signs of amateurish teamwork that are very frustrating and give indie pubs a bad name. Examples: confusions between “their” and “they’re,” “your” and “you’re,” other spelling and grammar mistakes and overall sentence structure. These all fell short of good publishing standards by a lot. Whatever this author paid the proofreader, it was too much. She should get a refund.

Not wanting to give up because I had made a commitment to review this book, I continued. Parts of the story line and the two main characters showed some promise. However, every one of the secondary characters was a stereotype, without exception. They were 2-dimensionally and boringly depicted or came across as numbingly inconsistent. Each character was an insult to some group: women, men, British citizens, gays, mothers and criminals of all kinds. “Bimbo”? Really? Calling her own sister a “wench”? Harping on age differences between lovers, then going along with it: which is it?

Why are the criminals all “sinister” with zero back stories? Why does the main antagonist have no obvious motivation? We learn more about her taste in clothes and plastic surgery than we ever do about what makes her do what she does.

The main plot, a supposed thirty-year “love” story, is flat-out ridiculous.Maybe if these characters were in their mid-twenties, we could believe they didn’t yet acknowledge/know their true feelings for each other, having been childhood friends, blah blah blah. But, they’re hovering around and over 40, have stayed “best friends” all their lives, and work together every day. Meanwhile, they continually trash each others’ dates/lovers. Unless they have recurring amnesia or personality disorders, the concept is absurd.

The female main character’s obsession with her appearance, physical attributes, clothing and underwear, even in the middle of public places, might have been funny if it weren’t so dysfunctional and unbelievable. What 39-year-old professional, educated woman, the VP of a large corporation, doesn’t know how to dress and conduct herself in public?

And, what 42-year-old male behaves sexually as if he’s seventeen? i could just be out of touch, I suppose. A president of a successful corporation who has remained unmarried and not become a parent obviously has issues.

This begs the question: what do these two see in each other? They’re each a mess. Are they supposed to be anti-heroes? Success.

Whatever she paid the editor: also too much. There is a horrible amount of repetition: I swear, the main character and her sister have the exact same conversations, about two basic topics, more than three times. So do the two main characters. Why? Does this book’s editor not know how to tell an author to CUT and when to insert new material?

The subplots are so thin as to be pulled directly from someone else’s novels and plopped into this one. Not even worth recounting. Cliche after cliche abounds without even one redeeming original moment. Could have phoned it all in.

I stuck it out to the end, hoping she would redeem it, and then POOF: it just stops. No actual ending, no resolution worth discussing.

Up until the non-ending, i was willing to give it three stars for effort and blame most of the problems on her “helpers,” but I just can’t. Two stars. Readers: not worth your time.

I was not paid to review nor did I get the book for free.

P.S. I posted the review on Goodreads and Amazon about two days prior to posting this entry on my blog. On the night of the second day the review appeared, I received this notice: “Fred liked your review of Common Denominator on Goodreads!” This book is also receiving a lot of 5-Star reviews. So it goes!

Weekend Edition – Thanks, Mom + Writing Tips and Good Reads

I thank MY mom, also: @Carole Harris you ROCK with the books and reading and encouraging writing! LOVE!

Live to Write - Write to Live

Thanks, Mom.

Me and Mom Me and Mom

I am not certain whether nature or nurture has more influence in the development of literary tendencies. I am positive, however, that my mother played a pivotal role in my own emergence as both a bibliophile and a writer. By sharing her own love of the written word, she inspired me to explore the world of stories and the stories in the world from a very young age. And that, as they say, has made all the difference.

My mother read to me and my sister not just when we were little, but even as we were beginning to tread the dark and tangled edges of the teen years. As we grew older, bedtime stories evolved into dinnertime stories. My dad worked as a VP at a bank a few towns away and was often stuck late at the office. My mom would give my…

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4 Questions To Stop Asking Yourself

Do you agree? Comment!

Inspired Journeys

I recently read this article written by Deepak Chopra and was inspired. In it he talks about the importance of developing our mind to become our ally, and to not let it overwhelm us as our enemy.  In everyday life almost all our suffering is related to our thoughts.  So many of us obsess and worry needlessly. A mentor of mine once told me that worrying is praying for what you don’t want to happen – I like that idea, it’s very true.

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3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree

Before I put my first sci-fi/romance/multiverse/paranormal/speculative fiction ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, up for sale, I attended free webinars, read guidebooks and blog posts and did a lot of research to find out how other fiction ebooks authors managed this journey. I discovered many techniques, procedures and tips which I employed, including what price to use for sales, how to use a pre-order period, and when to offer a book for free (and why).

I have blogged about some of these topics already, but I haven’t written, yet, about why I decided to make Volume I “permafree” last month. I just did it. Now for the explanation, which is then going to be further explained and augmented by the article I’m including a link to, below.

As a new fiction author, I do not yet have a significantly sized “following” or “fan base.” So, I spent a lot of time finding out how one acquires readers and keeps them coming back for subsequent books, since I planned a 10-Volume series. I read others’ stories of their journeys, articles about successes and failures, and took extensive notes I still refer to, from the many webinars I attended.

    Here are the 3 reasons that This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is permafree:

  1. Well-timed permafree works. Pricing is variable year to year, but market research has shown that series authors have been doing well to make the FIRST volume free, forever (permafree) AFTER later volumes come out. This brings in new readers consistently.

    logoAuthorsDen
    cover art for all covers by Aidana Willowraven.

  2. Permafree brings in the curious and good content keeps them coming back. If the first volume in a series is good enough evidenced by its having a sufficient number of UNPAID and UNFAKED reviews showing that the book is well-written and worth reading, more and more readers will come to download it. This creates the beginning of the author’s fanbase and followers. There will also be those readers who just download anything free, which is also great (but works best if they actually read the ebook after downloading it, like it, and decide to look for and purchase subsequent volumes.

    This Changes Everything cover

  3. Diversified authors attract new fans constantly; permafree gives them as easy way “in” to a series. If the author continues to offer good content BETWEEN books (via a blog, postings on social media sites, email newsletters, author interviews on others’ sites and/or Blog Talk Radio and the like, podcasts, Google On Air Hangouts, and perhaps short stories or other genre fiction) and continues to come out with good writing for each subsequent volume, by Volume III or IV, that author will have a solid following, loyal fans and great sales, all still being “fed” by the permafree Volume I.

final cover - digital and web

So, The Spanners Series now has Volume I, This Changes Everything, in permafree status everywhere ebooks are sold because Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, entered its pre-order period @$1.99 on April 1 and goes on sale June 9 at $3.99.

Since Volume I went free, the number of potential readers (reckoned by the number of downloaded volumes) has gone up 4000%. I am not joking.

I can’t see how well the pre-orders are going for Volume II, yet, or know what the sales figures will be. Reviews for it are due any day, now, and will keep coming in over the next several weeks, if all goes as planned.

I plan to post Volume I on more freebie sites and keep doing interviews, blogging, “creating and posting good content” as I work on Volume III, This Is/Is Not The Way I Thought Things Would Change, which is due out late in the fall of 2014.

I will check in periodically here to let you know how sales and downloads are going and what else happens.

Until/unless I become a gazillllllionaire author who doesn’t need to “bring in new readers” (when does that happen?), Volume I will remain free.

All downloading and purchase links for The Spanners Series as well as links to bloggers’ reviews, interviews and my archived blog posts are at http://www.sallyember.com on the right side panel.

If you want to learn more about Book Marketing, #authors, http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/access/aff/go/sallyember It starts this week/weekend!
Silver passes are FREE. Gold passes cost money, but I’m on Silver and it’s great! Lots of blog posts, interviews, videos, and more to help us do better with marketing wherever we are in our process. Check it out! Here’a a list of what’s offered just via the blog, just week one!

Sharon Williams: Developing Your Author Platform and Social Media Presence
Deborah Bateman: Building Your Online Platform as an Author
Eric Van Der Hope: 5 Steps to Developing an Effective Author Platform
Gina Akao: Marketing Your Book with a WordPress Blog
David Wogahn: SEO for Books: Optimizing Your Amazon Book Listing
D’vorah Lansky: Harness the Power of Your Amazon Author Central Page
Ellen Violette: How to Market Your Print Book or eBook in Just Minutes a Day
Penny Sansevieri: Harnessing the Power of Goodreads
Leeza Robertson: Quote Yourself on Goodreads
Amy Harrop: Leveraging the Author Tools of Goodreads to Promote Your Books
Michael Bloom: Promoting Your Book on Your Facebook Author Page
Bryan Cohen: Sixteen Heads Are Better Than One, on Facebook

Want to know more about making books permafree and see if these principles apply to YOUR books? Check out this article, linked to below.

Best to you all!

Why Free Is Your Best Marketing Tool And How To Harness It from The Future of Ink by PENNY SANSEVIERI

Great ideas, examples, and info as well as links to other helpful articles for authors like me who are doing our own marketing:
http://thefutureofink.com/free-is-best-marketing-tool/

3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree

Before I put my first sci-fi/romance/multiverse/paranormal/speculative fiction ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, up for sale, I attended free webinars, read guidebooks and blog posts and did a lot of research to find out how other fiction ebooks authors managed this journey. I discovered many techniques, procedures and tips which I employed, including what price to use for sales, how to use a pre-order period, and when to offer a book for free (and why).

I have blogged about some of these topics already, but I haven’t written, yet, about why I decided to make Volume I “permafree” last month. I just did it. Now for the explanation, which is then going to be further explained and augmented by the article I’m including a link to, below.

As a new fiction author, I do not yet have a significantly sized “following” or “fan base.” So, I spent a lot of time finding out how one acquires readers and keeps them coming back for subsequent books, since I planned a 10-Volume series. I read others’ stories of their journeys, articles about successes and failures, and took extensive notes I still refer to, from the many webinars I attended.

    Here are the 3 reasons that This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is permafree:

  1. Well-timed permafree works. Pricing is variable year to year, but market research has shown that series authors have been doing well to make the FIRST volume free, forever (permafree) AFTER later volumes come out. This brings in new readers consistently.

    logoAuthorsDen
    cover art for all covers by Aidana Willowraven.

  2. Permafree brings in the curious and good content keeps them coming back. If the first volume in a series is good enough evidenced by its having a sufficient number of UNPAID and UNFAKED reviews showing that the book is well-written and worth reading, more and more readers will come to download it. This creates the beginning of the author’s fanbase and followers. There will also be those readers who just download anything free, which is also great (but works best if they actually read the ebook after downloading it, like it, and decide to look for and purchase subsequent volumes.

    This Changes Everything cover

  3. Diversified authors attract new fans constantly; permafree gives them as easy way “in” to a series. If the author continues to offer good content BETWEEN books (via a blog, postings on social media sites, email newsletters, author interviews on others’ sites and/or Blog Talk Radio and the like, podcasts, Google On Air Hangouts, and perhaps short stories or other genre fiction) and continues to come out with good writing for each subsequent volume, by Volume III or IV, that author will have a solid following, loyal fans and great sales, all still being “fed” by the permafree Volume I.

final cover - digital and web

So, The Spanners Series now has Volume I, This Changes Everything, in permafree status everywhere ebooks are sold because Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, entered its pre-order period @$1.99 on April 1 and goes on sale June 9 at $3.99.

Since Volume I went free, the number of potential readers (reckoned by the number of downloaded volumes) has gone up 4000%. I am not joking.

I can’t see how well the pre-orders are going for Volume II, yet, or know what the sales figures will be. Reviews for it are due any day, now, and will keep coming in over the next several weeks, if all goes as planned.

I plan to post Volume I on more freebie sites and keep doing interviews, blogging, “creating and posting good content” as I work on Volume III, This Is/Is Not The Way I Thought Things Would Change, which is due out late in the fall of 2014.

I will check in periodically here to let you know how sales and downloads are going and what else happens.

Until/unless I become a gazillllllionaire author who doesn’t need to “bring in new readers” (when does that happen?), Volume I will remain free.

All downloading and purchase links for The Spanners Series as well as links to bloggers’ reviews, interviews and my archived blog posts are at http://www.sallyember.com on the right side panel.

If you want to learn more about Book Marketing, #authors, http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/access/aff/go/sallyember It starts this week/weekend!
Silver passes are FREE. Gold passes cost money, but I’m on Silver and it’s great! Lots of blog posts, interviews, videos, and more to help us do better with marketing wherever we are in our process. Check it out! Here’a a list of what’s offered just via the blog, just week one!

Sharon Williams: Developing Your Author Platform and Social Media Presence
Deborah Bateman: Building Your Online Platform as an Author
Eric Van Der Hope: 5 Steps to Developing an Effective Author Platform
Gina Akao: Marketing Your Book with a WordPress Blog
David Wogahn: SEO for Books: Optimizing Your Amazon Book Listing
D’vorah Lansky: Harness the Power of Your Amazon Author Central Page
Ellen Violette: How to Market Your Print Book or eBook in Just Minutes a Day
Penny Sansevieri: Harnessing the Power of Goodreads
Leeza Robertson: Quote Yourself on Goodreads
Amy Harrop: Leveraging the Author Tools of Goodreads to Promote Your Books
Michael Bloom: Promoting Your Book on Your Facebook Author Page
Bryan Cohen: Sixteen Heads Are Better Than One, on Facebook

Want to know more about making books permafree and see if these principles apply to YOUR books? Check out this article, linked to below.

Best to you all!

Why Free Is Your Best Marketing Tool And How To Harness It from The Future of Ink by PENNY SANSEVIERI

Great ideas, examples, and info as well as links to other helpful articles for authors like me who are doing our own marketing:
http://thefutureofink.com/free-is-best-marketing-tool/

Support #Authors this Month: Join Your Local #Writers’ Club!

Any writers' club

Are you a #writer/#author? Do you find yourself alone a lot or looking for other writers? You can belong to a local group almost anywhere in the USA and around the world, now, or start your own! Use the example of California, which has such a long-standing and active network of writers’ clubs, workshops, groups.

california-writers-club-redwood-writers-

I am lucky to live in California, home of a large network of excellent Writers’ Clubs, each with its own niche and geographic location. Each CWC has its own way of doing things, but there are some similarities and a set of by-laws.

CA writers club logo

The NorCal coalition of these clubs had an excellent annual meeting of leaders and newbies this past Saturday right in Newark. I was invited to attend by our club’s President, Carol Hall (Thanks, Carol!) and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Learned a lot, networked, shared. Exactly what a writers’ clubs’ coalition meeting SHOULD be!

My “home” club, since I live closest to it, is the Fremont Area Writers’ Club. Great people, excellent organization. Monthly meetings with guest speakers, activities, genre support critique sessions, as well as public open mike and book-signing/selling opportunities throughout the year. Thanks, FAW!

FAW logo

Every month at BookSmart bookstore in the Newark Park Mall, Newark, CA, we have an Open Mic at 7 PM on the 4th Monday. Come!

FAW other logo

There are writers’ clubs, reading groups, book clubs, writers’ critique groups/circles, and many more variations on these themes for writers and readers. For inspiration, information, support, ideas, networking, critiques and more: JOIN!

Do a web search, ask at your local library or bookstore (SUPPORT BOTH!).

Check for “writers” groups in your geographic area on http://www.MeetUp.com OR http://www.writers.com/groups.html

PLEASE support and join a group or attend an event as a guest this month. Volunteer, attend, participate! Keep books, writing, reading and sharing ALIVE!

Thanks!

Artist’s Brains Have More ‘Grey Matter’ Than The Rest of Ours, Study Finds

What about writers’, musicians, and scientists’ brains? This is a VERY small study.

Inspired Journeys

The rather small study, published in NeuroImage, is based on the brain scans and drawing performances of 21 art students (graduates and undergraduates attending art and design courses in London at Camberwell College of Art and The Royal College of Art) and 23 non-artists. The scan findings also showed that those who identified as artists — as well as those who performed better on the drawing tests — tended to have more grey matter in the parietal lobe, a region involved with spatial orientation and cognition.

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Yoga in Schools

For Lauri Stern and other yoga teachers and parents who do yoga!

Inspired Journeys

With yoga, comes teachings on breathing and meditation. All wonderful foundational tools for kids.

Research shows that yoga and other contemplative practices can help kids better regulate their emotions and behaviors in healthy ways. Findings from the Kripalu Yoga in the Schools (KYIS) initiative show that students who have been exposed to these techniques are less reactive, more optimistic, and better able to focus, concentrate, and interact with their peers.

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Please Support #Indie Authors, Especially This Month!

Great way to do that is to vote on your favorite indie published book in each category. If yours isn’t there, submit it! You can vote up to 5 times!

Share! Please Vote for YOUR favorite (could it be THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING?) on the “50 Self-Published Sci-Fi Books Worth Reading” in Indie Author Land!

http://www.indieauthorland.com/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-201314-science-fiction/

This Changes Everything cover

There are also other lists. Submit/vote up to 5 times! Leave comments, too.
http://www.indieauthorland.com/vote-early-vote-often/

SUPPORT-INDIE-ART

30 Twitter Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago

C+ for me, so far. #Learningtotweet

Nicholas C. Rossis

twitter tips Photo by thesocialskinny.com

Diana Urban posted 50 Tweetable Twitter Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago on Hubspot. Here is a smaller selection of 30, for your convenience:

Optimizing Your Twitter Profile

1) Make yourself easy to recognize by using a close-up headshot of yourself as your profile picture.

2) Make the most of your Twitter bio. Show off your skills and uniqueness without over-hashtagging.

3) Twitter’s new profile design dimensions: header photo = 1500 x 500 px | profile pic = 400 x 400 px.

What You Should Tweet

5) Structure your tweets like this to increase clicks: KEY MESSAGE – LINK #HASHTAG AFTERTHOUGHT

6) Don’t be self-promotional on Twitter. Mix up your content and interact with your followers.

7) Curate content you tweet from a wide variety of sources to keep your followers interested.

8) Share images in your tweets to increase engagement, since images now appear inline on…

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Time-lapse reveals planet as it was rocked by record-breaking earthquakes in April 2014

Very cool science visuals of earthquake activity for April, 2014.

This and That

The earth was rockin last last month! Earthquakes from January 1 to April 30, 2014. Article link below the video.

Articlehttp://www.sott.net/article/278400-Time-lapse-reveals-planet-as-it-was-rocked-by-record-breaking-earthquakes-in-April-2014

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