“Actualists” vs. “Realists”: The Evolution of Modern #Fiction thanks to #Quantum #Physics

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book, FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE, being reviewed in the blog post I am quoting, written by Marti. I probably won’t.

quantum-fiction cover

But, I’m fascinated by the topic, which relates directly to my own writing and choices in The Spanners Series ebooks and appreciate her review and snippets enormously.

logoAuthorsDen

I’m sharing some of Marti’s review, linking to her blog (below) and commenting here on mine.

Of course, I encourage anyone interested to read the full review AND read Susan Strehle’s book. Some day, I will.

FICTION IN THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE by Susan Strehle

Reviewed by Marti on What has Been Read Cannot Be Unread book blog

9/15/14

Marti characterizes this as an “interesting but academic book” which is hard to argue with, for sure. Her summary of Strehle’s premise is: “a new fiction has developed from the influence of modern physics.”

I LOVE this idea! As a new-ish speculative fiction writer (This Changes Everything, Volume I, and This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, published as ebooks, so far) who would definitely fit into this category, I’m glad to have these choices honored and recognized as parts of a trend.

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

final cover print

Strehle calls this new fiction actualism, which I like as a term. However, I don’t like her positioning realism as its opposite, since Buddhists and quantum physicists all realize that NOTHING is “REAL” in the sense of the word as we currently know it.

Marti writes that Strehle claims we actualists are writing the way we do “in order to reflect more accurately what we now understand as real.”

This I do agree with. For example, I am choosing to write my novels in the present tense (which aggravates and confounds many readers and reviewers; too bad) to emphasize the simultaneity of time and the “nowness” of everything. I also write about the existence of multiple timelines and some people’s abilities to know facts, events, circumstances, etc., across these timelines in the multiverse. How would I and and other sci-fi writers be doing this without the influences of quantum physics?

I adore these quotes from Marti’s review, some of which are double quoted, since they’re from the book:

[Strehle] says that in the new physical or quantum universe, reality is discontinuous, energetic, relative, statistical, subjectively seen, and uncertainly known — all terms taken from new physics, and that rather than choosing between art and actuality, contemporary novelists pursue both in fiction.

“Contemporary fiction departs from realism without losing interest in reality. Reality is no longer realistic; it has more energy and mystery, rendering the observer’s position more uncertain and more involved.”

Actualist fiction is characterized by incompletions, indeterminacy, and “open” endings unsatisfying to the readerly wish for fulfilled promises and completed patterns. Gravity’s Rainbow [by Thomas Pynchon], for example, ends not with a period but with a dash. Strehle argues that such innovations in narrative reflect on twentieth-century history, politics, science, and discourse.

Read Marti’s full review by following the link, here, and read Strehle’s book by following her links to it or getting it from your local library. Enjoy!

http://whathasbeenread.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/fiction-in-the-quantum-universe-by-susan-strehle/

How I Benefit from the Celebrities I Grew Up /Worked with and Still Do

How many famous and important people do you actually know (besides yourself, of course)? How does this benefit you?

Do I know more than you, or more than most? I’m in the mood to brag, by association, about having such amazing friends and former associates and colleagues. I also want to share how knowing these extraordinary people benefits me.

Some definitions seem helpful, here.

By “grew up/worked with” I mean: I KNOW/KNEW these people. We ate together, went to school or camp together, swam or canoed together, were friends/colleagues for more than a few minutes (some I’m still connected to strongly; several were lovers). Not only would I claim them, but they all know and remember me well.

By “celebrities,” I mean that these are people who have:

  • been on the covers of national magazines and/or featured speakers/presenters at national/international events/conferences;
  • won national or international awards or positions of great importance;
  • invented/started something significant;
  • wrote/starred in/produced something significant in the way of art/music/books/movies/plays;
  • achieved a high level of renown in their chosen field;
  • are known by many others as “great” in their field;
  • been stars of series TV shows and/or featured on popular talk shows;
  • are known by and hang out with other celebrities.

(in no particular order)
From Ladue Schools in St. Louis, MO (apparently, a disproportionate number of important contributors to society, culture, science and justice are graduates from my well-known and -regarded Horton Watkins Ladue High School, not just the ones I list, below):

Dr. Jonathan D. Fleischmann, M.D. My older brother is a urological oncologist who has patented surgical techniques, medications and other treatments as well has being the mentor/teacher for many other surgeons/researchers in these areas. Our mother lost a kidney to cancer in the 1960s and is fortunately still alive today.

Jon

D. Scott Bassinson, J.D., one of my first serious boyfriends and long-time friend, is an Attorney who has argued at the USA Supreme Court, now a Judge and always, a Musician/Composer. It is due to Scott and his brother, Kevin (also a celebrity)’s resignations that I became Ladue High School’s rehearsal and performance accompanist and a professional accompanist for musicals, choruses and performances.

scottbassinson

Karen S. Raskin Kleiman, MSW, author of several books, founder of the Postpartum Stress Center, and leading researcher in Postpartum Depression and its treatments (featured on many TV talk shows, including OPRAH, in magazines and websites).

Karen Kleiman

Rich Rubin, journalist, playwright, Founder/Producing/Artistic Director, Quince Productions and GayFest! (Philadelphia), was my first piano-playing duet partner under Deborah Rosenblum in the early 1960s, and we graduated from Ladue together in 1972.

R Rubin

Craig Pomranz, singer, recording artist, live cabaret performer, children’s book author, was another one of my high school “more than friends” that I’m still in touch with and regard highly.

Raffi cover

Dr. Alice Conway, J.D., Ph.D., attorney and philanthropist, blind since aged three, first blind Board Chair of the The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Alice and I had many classes together in junior and senior high school.

Alice Conway

Dr. Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at UMASS Medical Center in Gene Function and Expression, the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Award and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Michael was my second serious high school boyfriend and I went to the first college I attended partly because he was there (sorry, feminists). I knew his little brother, Eric, as well (see below).

Green

Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, recipient of numerous awards and author of many scholarly articles.

Eric Green

Joel Meyers, longtime sports broadcaster (currently play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association). Joel and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school, but we weren’t exactly friends.

Joel Meyers

Frances Ginsberg, Opera Singer (deceased) with the New York City and Spanish operas before her death several years ago sang in our high school’s Chorale and musicals. I accompanied her solos.

Fran ginsberg

Want to see more about some of these Ladue alums and more? In 2012 (the year of my 40th high school reunion), Ladue held its 60th “Distinguished Alumni” Awards Ceremony and it is on YouTube: http://bit.ly/10vTEaP

From Camp Hawthorn (the St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association’s Missouri Ozarks overnight camp, until 1969):

Sheldon Mirowitz (also from Ladue Schools), soloist musician, producer/arranger and sideman, professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, film and TV composer, winner of awards at the Sundance Film Festival and other accolades for his music,including three Emmy nominations and one Peabody Award. I met Sheldon in 8th grade at camp and then we we re-met in high school and have been friends ever since.

Sheldon

Chuck Blitz, became independently wealthy in the first dot.com boom and turned that to opportunities to be a philanthropist, environmentalist, social/environmental activist, particularly in the Santa Barbara, CA, area, and with Ram Dass and the White Lotus Foundation (ecological, social community and world service (SEVA) programs and yoga teacher training). I went to camp with Chuck; his sister, Judy (“Jay”) was my first counselor, but he and Glenn Savan were/are my brother, Jon’s, age, so we weren’t really friends.

Glenn Savan, (deceased in 2002), author of White Palace, a semi-autobiographical novel turned into the film in 1987, starring James Spader in Glenn’s role and Susan Sarandon as the love interest, using the local “White Castle” hamburger joints as the setting. I knew Glenn from camp, but we weren’t exactly friends.

White Palace

Colleges and New England living (University of Wisconsin/Madison and University of Bridgeport/Connecticut (undergrad) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (graduate)

Dr. Hans van der Giessen, Ph.D., Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs for and Political Science Professor at the Univ. of Bridgeport, Hans was a close personal friend for many years. We aren’t still in touch, though.

Dr. Rahima Wade, Ph.D. (deceased, 2012), almost single-handedly brought “service learning” into public schools in the 1990’s. She also introduced me to the idea of returning to school as a parent of young children and we both attended UMASS/Amherst at the same time. I first met her in Keene, NH, since we belonged to several of the same community groups.

Rahima

Dr. Mary Kalanzis, Ph.D., and Dr. Bill Cope, Ph.D., Professors, authors/researchers in Multicultural Education and Workplace Diversity globally. I met them when Mary came to Keene State College in New Hampshire as a Fulbright Scholar from Australia in 1990-91 with her husband and colleague/co-writer, Bill, and son, Philip. I then traveled with my partner to visit them in Australia in 1996. Mary and Bill are now at the University of Illinois/Champagne, where she is the Dean of the College of Education.

Mary and Bill

Dr. Sonia Nieto, Ed.D., Dr. Jerri Willett, Ph.D., Dr. Peter Elbow, Ph.D., Dr. Masha Rudman, Ed.D., Dr. Barbara Love, Ed.D., Dr. Maurianne Adams, Ed.D., Dr. Pat Griffin, Ed.D., among others at UMASS/Amherst, when I studied there in the early to mid-1990s. These particular professors taught/advised me and are authors/ researchers/ activists of great renown in their respective fields (Teacher Education, Curriculum Development, Multicultural Education, Second Language Acquisition, Social Justice Education, Writing Education, Lesbian/Gay Studies, Literacy/Children’s Literature). Because of them, I have held positions as an instructor/trainer in various subjects at various colleges/universities and several nonprofits around the USA.

Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, medical clairvoyant, teacher. I met Caroline in 1983 in New Hampshire and we became close friends, seeing each other almost weekly until she moved to back to Chicago in 1992. Since then, we stayed in touch, sporadically, but she travels internationally and is unusually busy even when she “lands” somewhere. She mentions me and our friendship in several of her books’ dedications/acknowledgements.

caroline_sitting

Other notables from the Antioch/New England Graduate School in Keene, NH: Faculty members/authors/ researchers, David Sobel, Rick (Youst) van der Poll, and Mario Cossa (who is also a longtime good friend and colleague). Mario, two of our students and I co-authored one book about the program he started that I helped fun for many years in Keene, ACTING OUT,

Acting Out book

and I edited Mario’s second book.

Rebels

Recently, Mario was introduced to some colleagues in Israel as “the most prominent psychodramatist in California.” How exciting!

From Camp Med-O-Lark (in Washington, ME)

Bari K. Willerford, actor in the National Deaf Theatre and star of MathNet children’s TV show on PBS as well as continuing to appear in many other TV series, movies (American Gangster) and TV episodes.

Bari

From Community Matters in Sebastopol, CA:

Rick Phillips, M.S. Ed., co-author and co-creator of the Safe School Ambassadors anti-bullying program and book, which I helped edit, write and edit. I worked at CM for almost five years, up to 2010.

SSA book

From Northern California:

David “Gus” Garelick, musician, composer, conductor, teacher, author/researcher, D.J., founder/artistic director of “The Hot Frittatas,” “The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble” (both of these groups have CDs available) and “The Wild Catahoulas,” also plays/has played in many other duos and bands and on many recordings, including with Queen Ida.

David and I are friends (meshpucha, Yiddish for extended family [by blood and not by blood]) who also play music together (he rather well, I rather badly). I posted our last California duets on my YouTube Channel! Have a listen/look when you’re in the mood!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/feed

David has planned a series of three volumes about mandolin music, including his own and others’ tunes. Here is Volume I:

Mando book cover 1

Allegra Broughton and Sam Page, singers/songwriters, musicians, founders of “Solid Air,” members of “The Wild Catahoulas,” also play/have played in many other duos and bands. Author of a series of books about and original tunes for mandolins, David also writes a column for Fiddler Magazine and is a national, state and regional fiddle champion and often, judge of fiddle contests. Solid Air has many great CDs available.

Solid Air

Don Coffin, singer/songwriter, musician, teacher, former husband and member of Kate Wolf’s band, member of the “The Hot Frittatas,” Don also plays/has played in many other duos and bands. Don taught well-known guitarist, Nina Gerber, when she was first learning guitar.

Don C

Dennis Hadley, musician, singer, member of “The Hot Frittatas,” “The Wild Catahoulas,” also plays/has played in many other duos and bands. Legally blind since birth, Dennis is one of the best accordion players and enthusiastic vocalists in northern California.

Dennis

From Chagdud Gonpa, my Buddhist Community (Sangha):

Our main teacher, deceased in 2002, His Eminence, Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, was a meditation master, teacher, author and Buddhist scholar. A contemporary of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Rinpoche studied with him under many of the same teachers and escaped Tibet to India at about the same time as the Dalai Lama. His books are well-known and -regarded, and the Western students he taught and groomed to become teachers before his death are well-known and -regarded as Buddhist meditation masters and teachers in their own rights. Among them are my teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars.

CTR

Rinpoche’s books are well-known and -regarded, and the Western students he taught and groomed to become teachers before his death are well-known and -regarded as Buddhist meditation masters and teachers in their own rights. Among them are my teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars.

Change of heart

Among our sangha members whom I know personally are two authors: Barbara Gates, who wrote a thinly fictionalized novel about her early years at Chagdud Gonpa’s main residential meditation center, Rigdzin Ling, with these and other teachers and sangha members, In the Buddha’s Kitchen; and, photographer/teacher, Cary Groner.

Exiles-210

Now, all of these (still living) celebs can brag that they know ME!

Book Sales are like PotLucks: You Don’t Know Who Appreciates Your Creation

Authors and potluck cooks have a lot in common. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, especially since I set Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as permanently free.

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

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 

How does any author know who actually reads our ebooks, much less appreciates them, as opposed to going by assessments based on the raw numbers of how many people now have it on their ereaders? Do sales figures really equal popularity and does popularity actually correlate to appreciation? How could we possibly know that?

potluck dishes

image from: http://1000awesomethings.com

I, as a cook, would bring a homemade dish to a potluck feeling a mixture of pride, anxiety and hope, my mind brimming with questions as I lay my dish on the table: Will anyone take any? Is it pretty enough? Does it taste good enough? Who will like it? What if there are others similar to mine, but theirs are taken while mine is left mostly untouched?

casserole with small portion taken

image from: http://www.allfreecasserolerecipes.com

This Changes Everything now has about 2000 combined sales and free downloads since its release in December, 2013. However, it only has a dozen or so reviews (mostly positive, especially by those who actually read the entire book!). Unfortunately, sales/downloads and positive reviews of Volume I do not seem to be leading to sales or reviews of Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, which released for $3.99 in early June (after selling in pre-orders for half-price for two months).

final cover print

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

People at a potluck line up to look at the food offered in casserole dishes, baskets, pans and plates. Rarely does anyone list ingredients or even names of the food/dish, so it’s all a guessing game. Hungry, we ask: What is it? What is in it? Will I like this? Will it taste good along with the other things I’m taking?

Furthermore, knowing that the cook will rarely, if ever, know what I think of his/her contribution, I can safely leave it on my plate after one taste if I do not like it. Likewise, readers who download ebooks never have to report to anyone, much less an author, whether or not they even looked at the ebook, much less offer their opinions after reading an entire book.

The remains of potluck dishes’ portions taken and not eaten are not evaluated: they are invisibly trashed. Similarly, ebooks on ereaders can be stories that the owner never reads or only glances at, but the author will never know. Readers may like the ebook, even love it—eat it all up (I’m liking this metaphor) and even share it, rave about it to friends—if we’re lucky, they’ll review it. Or, readers, like potluck eaters, may feel any of a dozen ways about what they take in but never say a word to anyone about their reactions.

Yes: I’d very much like to sell a lot more books, but even more importantly, I’d like to have a lot more reviews, enjoy the positive comments, interactions and feedback from happy readers, be certain that at least some owners of my ebooks are glad to be in possession of my creations.

I “cooked” for you: I want to know if you tasted my concoction. How much of it did you ingest? Tell me what you think of it. Will you come back for more “food” from this “cook”?

Cooking-up-a-Tasty-Story

image from: http://www.towriteastory.com

A plea to readers
If you like a book, PLEASE respond to what you read. Put comments on Goodreads, rate/rank the books, post reviews on book sales sites (Amazon, nook, iBooks, Kobo) or Shelfari, BookLikes, etc. We authors (cooks) will be forever grateful to hear your opinions, even if you don’t like what we create. You help us become better “cooks.”
THANKS!

My Blogaversary and 1st year of Book Marketing: Report Card

First of all, thanks for financial and technical support to my niece, Sarah Miranda, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann, and my son, Merlyn Ember. Thanks, also, to WordPress.com techhies and Q & A and fora participants.

Second, but equally important, I am grateful to all of my readers, responders, rebloggers, guest bloggers and/or followers for your interest, suggestions, support and interactions. My site would be dead air without you!

On my one-year Anniversary of my Blog, what many call a “Blogaversary,” I am summarizing and analyzing my accomplishments and progress, to date. Let me know what you think!

My Blog Stats

I ended my first full year of blogging with 243 Followers. 208 followers are on WordPress; 35 are on Tumblr.
THANKS, all!

I started with a site that was new and unknown so it wasn’t even rated by ALEXA. I had zero “backlinks.”
Today (8/9/14), I have 128 Backlinks. My ALEXA international rating is 419,061 out of over 4 millions sites.
For the USA, sallyember.com is rated 68,034 out of over 2 million sites.

If you want to check your site’s rankings on ALEXA, get the free extension to your toolbar and check about once every few days by going to your main page/splash page, then clicking on that icon on your toolbar.

I aspire to have a Google Page Ranking: yet to be earned.

followed-blog-200-1x

Total Number of Visitors/Views: 8326

I figured out early on how to cross-post each of my blog entries to my personal/author’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although I mysteriously have to “refresh” this connection periodically, according to prompts from WordPress).

Later, I added Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, BookLikes, and Google+ as well as my Spanners Series page on Facebook as automatic recipient posting sites.

About twice a month, I utilize one of the images in each of my original content entries and put those posts on my Pinterest “My Blog Posts” board, which then automatically cross-posts to Twitter and Facebook, again.

Mostly due to these cross-posting, my Followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads have all increased dramatically. When I started my Blog, I was brand-new to Pinterest, Author Central, and my series’ pages, and mostly inactive on LinkedIn and Goodreads; and had only 7 Twitter Followers. Here are the Blogaversary comparison stats.

FOLLOWERS/LIKES/CIRCLES TALLIES, August 10, 2013 – August 10, 2014
(all links are on the right sidebar of my website)
Twitter 7 to 3441
Pinterest 0 to 208
LinkedIn 200 to 500+ (LI maxes out the count at 500)
Facebook personal 232 to 1438
Facebook Series page 0 to 937
Google+ personal 0 to 1301
Google+ Series page 0 to 29 (not much action, here; can’t get blog to cross-post)
Goodreads author page 110 to 1113
Amazon Author Central page 0 to 142

PAGE/POST VIEWS

My highest-ever number of views in one day was 197, spread around several posts and pages.

Month-by-month Views/Visitors:
Aug, 2013 = 114 (first day was August 10)
Sept. 200
Oct. 307
Nov. 528
Dec. 535
Jan., 2014 = 999
Feb. 1,144
Mar. 740
Apr. 580
(concussion/accident 4/6/14; offline a lot April – June)
May 830
June 872
Jul. 1,161
Aug.(to date) 326

Highest single-day Views = 197

Average Views/Day
for 2013 (5 months): 13
for 2014 (7 months): 30

Blog Posts
200 of my 357 posts (about 40 are reblogs) had 10 or fewer views. These include ALL of the Serialized Excerpts of my sci-fi series, Volumes I and II, most of the reports of these books’ reviews, and many others that I thought were more popular than that.

Freshly Pressed

One of my posts was featured on “Freshly Pressed,” the elite selection gleaned from among all daily blog posts, highlighted for that day in WordPress’ Blog Reader!

Views by Country
Views by visitors from 111 countries
Highest = USA, with 5,909
2nd = UK, with 484
3rd = Canada, with 354
4th = Australia, with 155
5th = Germany, with 128
6th = India, with 125
The rest are 60 or fewer; many are just 1 or 2, so far.

Highest page views were for my site’s main pages:
–ABOUT (my blog’s splash page), with 2,001
–the Home page’s Archives, with 1,703
The Spanners Series page, with 492

For individual posts, the highest number of views were for:
#Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices , with 232
My #Literary #Meh List 2014: 15 Plots, Devices, Characters I’m BORED with, with 205
Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists, with 185
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 160
Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups, with 112
When #Spiritual #Teachers Respond with #Countertransference, with 110

Total number of comments (and half or more are my replies): 202

Setting aside the two posts with the most comments that were part of Blog Hops, the next-most commented-upon post was
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 12

BLOGGING and BOOK MARKETING ASSESSMENTS

I learned a lot about how to assess my book marketing efforts from many people. I excerpt from PROMOTING MY BOOK , by Lee Gale Gruen, with my commentaries as to my progress/use of these ideas and link to Lee and her sites at the end of this section.
(I first saw this article posted in “Funds for Writers,” compiled weekly by the wonderful Hope Clark: http://www.chopeclark.com Thanks, Hope!)

I am therefore scoring myself on Book Marketing for my first two self-published ebooks according to Lee’s great list, below, of marketing tips and ideas. Let’s see what I learned!

Lee recommends these activities, below, and I agree:

  • 1. Read websites and books such as APE by Guy Kawasaki and Michael Kremer’s books. I also join and watch many free webinars, teleseminars, and Google+ Hangouts On Air regularly for more tips.
  • 2. Join writer’s organizations. Learn from your peers. I joined several here in California with great successes. I will be looking for writers’ groups/clubs in St. Louis in September. Any recommendations?
  • 3. Network at writers’ groups, conferences, online forums, etc. I’ve only been to one conference, so far, but may go to more. How are they worthwhile?
  • 4. Check writers’ websites, materials, author talk/book signings. Learn from their examples. I need to more of this but I do follow quite a few writers’ blogs and learn from their posts.

Lee also talks about “creating” one’s own marketing “tools,” and I get an A+, here! I’ve done them all and I hadn’t even seen this list prior to doing them!

  • 1. Have a website to refer interested people. I have that via my blog, http://www.sallyember.com
  • 2. Purchase your website name (domain) immediately. Thanks to my niece, Sarah Miranda, I did this right off! sallyember.com is MINE!
  • 3. Print flyers with your book cover, synopsis, photo, and bio to hand out at events. I have done this and gotten some new readers from it by handing them out at my writers’ groups.
  • 4. Get business cards. I got free ones from KLOUT, at first, then ordered almost-free ones from Vistaprint.com.
  • 5. Compose a cover letter to email to prospects. I have done this for, in my case, book reviewers.
  • 6. Post a video of yourself discussing your book on http://www.YouTube.com. I did this by accident: the Q & A for my Book Launch talk didn’t work, so there is a 2-hour monologue of me on my youtube channel. Also, 2 more vids of me reading chapters from each of my ebooks and book trailers are on that channel. Starting August 6, almost-weekly episodes from CHANGES, my Google+ HOA, are also there.
  • 7. Add an electronic signature to your emails with links to your website and video. I had done this, but then my son said a signature with many links after it is viewed as “spam” and “shouting” at email recipients, so I removed them. What do you think?

Lee’s advice for how to “Promote Yourself” caused me to realize how much I still have to accomplish here. The BOLD ones are TO BE DONE.

  • 1. Sell yourself as well as your book. Develop a useful message other than just “buy my book.” I mostly do this by curating interesting content and creating it on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. I also repost on some sites like Suvudu, StumpleUpon, Reddit, etc. I’ve also joined and interact with folks in a lot of Groups on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn and Communities on Google+
  • 2. Give author talk/book signings.
  • 3. Volunteer to speak at book clubs, speakers’ bureaus, panels, etc. I have volunteered to some book clubs, but no invitations have arrived, yet.
  • 4. Mention your book in conversations using your “elevator speech:” a one-minute synopsis of your book with a hook to grab the listener. I don’t do this as often as I should, but I do it.
  • 5. Ask readers to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If I could find my readers, I would do this more! I wish readers could “opt in” to “author can find me” lists.
  • 6. Submit articles. I’ve been published in my local newspaper and my retirement newsletter. I want to do this.
  • 7. Join HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com) to submit yourself as an interview subject for writers and journalists. I’ve had 6 interviews and will be in an upcoming book. I’ve started my own Google+ Hangout On Air, submitted responses as an Expert on Quora and Ask an Expert, and am considering joining this org, next.
  • 8. Write a blog of interest to your target audience. http://www.sallyember.com is mine. Is it of interest?
  • 9. Look online for similar blogs. Submit guest blogs. Links to my guest posts are on my site. Look to the right and scroll down.

    guest-blogging-image

  • 10. Build an email address list. Email a notice of each appearance, blog, etc. I’ve been slowly building this list, but many commenters or followers don’t provide and I can’t find their email addresses, only Twitter handles or website URLs. How do I get email addresses without paying to get them via a service?
  • 11. Host a book giveaway on http://www.Goodreads.com. Goodreads still doesn’t allow ebook giveaways. SNOBS.
  • 12. Network or search online for professional reviewers. I submitted my book to http://www.midwestbookreview.com for small press publishers. I only do this when there is no fee. I refuse to pay for book reviews.

BIO: Lee Gale Gruen is an actress, author, speaker, and blogger. Her book website is: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com. Her blog, “Reinventing Myself in My Senior Years” is at: http://LeeGaleGruen.Wordpress.com

My Overall Grade/Score for Year One in Blogging and Book Marketing

Well, I give myself an A+ for effort
I earned about a B- for effectiveness, I think (but it’s difficult to make comparisons since I don’t have others’ stats nor know their efforts).

If I’m going by the numbers of books sold (Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, just went on sale June 9) or sold and downloaded since Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, went permafree on April 1 and went on sale December 19, 2013, the dates don’t jibe and the numbers won’t be impressive (to me, anyway). We all have Hugh Howey to thank for that, right?

Plus, even though I can get rankings or paid sales stats from some sites, I can’t get sales or free download numbers from all sites. So, the numbers below are not all-inclusive; they’re just what I can get. Here are the stats for book sales and downloads:

12/19/13 – 3/31/14 Sales and 4/1/14 –> Free downloads for
Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything
66 books sold
2296 free downloads
(about 40 for reviewers)

6/9/14 –> Sales for
Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever
4 sales
4 free downloads
(all for reviewers)

I look forward to becoming more “visible” via this and other parts of my “author platform” in my second year blogging and being a fiction author.

Please comment and share your experiences! Best to you all!

Supporting gender and sexual orientation diversity is important: It’s sometimes a matter of life and death

Children’s Book Review

Made By Raffi by Craig Pomranz

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

July, 2014

It’s not often that two people who knew each other as teenagers both become authors around the same time, but here we are, Craig Pomranz and I, both from Olivette, MO (a suburb of St. Louis), finding this new outlet for our creativity!

Craig is one year younger but was two grades behind me in our high school due to district entrance deadlines. It was quite “scandalous” at the time that I chose him to be my among my good friends, because I was a popular, powerful senior and he was a lowly sophomore in our three-year, Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1971.

Why did I pick Craig out of and lift him from the kiddie pool? Because he was amazingly talented, charismatic, charming, intelligent, fun and earnest, even then. At our almost-clueless ages of 15 and 16, we bonded over musical and dramatic theater, party games, sex, jokes and movies.

We were also both not exactly cis-gender or completely heterosexual. In those ways, we kind of “met in the middle” and found a lot of common ground. We are still doing that, over forty years later. Craig and I both have wanted our experiences to be utilized so that we could be helpful to younger people in our professional work (as I have) and our writing.

This spring, Craig authored and this month published s wonderful, unique children’s book, Made by Raffi, that I’ll let him tell you about from an email he recently sent to me:

“I wrote the book to support young boys and girls who are perceived as ‘different’ because of their appearance or hobbies. It is a funny, colorful book with a serious message and will interest those who care about promoting diversity and embracing our differences, as well as all children seeking to fit in. This is an important topic for today…”

Craig went on to explain: “I have really become interested in the idea of how we tell our kids what is ‘appropriate’ activity based on gender. Most of the parents of young kids I know are trying, on the one hand, to let them follow their own interests, but on the other are concerned about their kid’s fitting in and not being teased. As a result, atypical hobbies and behaviors are only encouraged so far.”

He knows I AGREE with him completely, so he asked me to review and help promote his great book. Here I am, doing just that.

Buy this book. Share it with younger readers and even younger pre-readers. Talk about it. Allow Raffi’s story to raise questions and stimulate important conversations. Donate it to schools, libraries, homeless shelters, runaway hostels, children’s hospitals, youth mental wards, rehab centers.

I mean it. Made by Raffi should be everywhere so that gender disphoric and gender diverse youth can find it. It doesn’t matter that it’s a “children’s book.” That just makes it an easy read, brief but pithy. Also, the brevity and easy language mean that a young person who still has trouble with reading or whose English isn’t great could understand and benefit from it.

Why do I do this when I’m not a professional book reviewer? Because supporting gender and sexual orientation diversity is important: it’s sometimes a matter of life and death.

Craig wrote to me to share “some shocking stories”:

  • “A principal told a boy he could not bring his ‘My Little Pony’ lunchbox to school because it was a ‘trigger’ for teasing and bullying.

  • “The same week, a girl was expelled from a Christian school because of her short hair, perceived masculine look and interest in sports.

  • “A woman in Portland killed her child of four because she thought he ‘acted, walked and spoke like a gay person.'”

Craig continued in his email to me: “I would love to help those raising children—-and that includes parents, teachers, friends and relatives (the wide range of ‘families’ out there)—-who have had to deal with the issues of teasing and bullying and the difficulty we all have in defining who we are.”

From the book’s description:

Raffi is a shy boy who doesn’t like noisy games and is often teased at school. But when he gets the idea of making a scarf for his dad’s birthday, he is full of enthusiasm even though the other children think it is ‘girly’ to knit. Then the day draws near for the school pageant, and there is one big problem: no costume for the prince. And that’s when Raffi has his most brilliant idea of all — to make a prince’s cape. On the day of the pageant, Raffi’s cape is the star of the show.

Raffi cover

Age Range: 5 – 9 years

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (July 29, 2014)

Illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Made-Raffi-Craig-Pomranz/dp/1847804330

If you read the book, let Craig and others know on Twitter @MadeByRaffi

LIKE and comment on the book’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadeByRaffi

I am so proud of my dear, longtime friend, Craig Pomranz! Spread the word! Visit his new blog!
http://craigpomranz.com/made-by-raffi/

Bonuses!

Craig sent me some snippets from readers all over the globe who have already shared and appreciated Made by Raffi. Here are a couple of those.

From a man in Istanbul:
Today I enjoyed to preorder your beautiful and meaningful children book for my cousin. Especially here in Turkey we need to learn respect to the one who is different than us. Thanks for your effort to make the world a better place to live.

Another fan wrote and sent Craig a photo:
I just wanted to send you this lovely picture of Isak, 7 years old, who has been inspired by Made by Raffi (Norwegian edition) to knit a scarf for his younger cousin (maybe as a Christmas gift). His mother tells me that they have been reading the book several times now, and that he’s trying to read it by himself, too. Greetings from Norway!

Isak

Good #Writing DOES Require #Talent, Not just Hard Work

I really got inspired last week (frustrated, actually), by a post written by a colleague about supporting ALL writers. I contributed this comment, below, on her blog.

In my recap (I waited a week to make sure I wanted to post this), below, I update you on the online “conversation.” First, I quote from her blog, link to it, and post my original comment in its entirety. Images added for fun.

Comments

from blog.performics.com

In response to “You Don’t Have to Be Good (at Writing)” by Jordan Rosenfeld

Good #Writing DOES Require #Talent, Not just Hard Work by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

original post on http://jordanrosenfeld.net/you-dont-have-to-be-good-at-writing/

posted on 7/9/14

quotes from Jordan’s post:
“…’good’ is arbitrary; you’ll be good enough for some, while others will reject you. It’s a standard you’ll never live up to because it’s subjective and always changing.

“Beating yourself up over being ‘not good enough’ is a form of stopping up the free flow of creative energy. It can even be a form of self-sabotage. In the worst case scenario, it’s an excuse to not have to get any better at it; a statement of ‘This is just the way I write.'”

“False! This is how you write at this time, in this moment, with whatever resources are at your disposal. Every time you read a fantastic book, your writing has a chance to crack open. Every time you hear a lecture, attend a class, or pick up a writing guide, you can learn or see something in a new light, and your writing changes. Time and distance also change how you see your writing.”

“What you can be is committed to continually probing the depths of your work, or taking time to learn something you struggle with, or just stepping back completely and reading when your own work feels too unwieldy.”

“These voices of doubt and uncertainty are gremlins sent to test our creative mettle, to strengthen us up. The more we fend them off by patching the leaks they tear open inside us with further work, the more power we have to overcome them. Like the ‘dark side’ that calls to us with its illusion of power, its promise of the familiar, which is cozy in a bleak sort of way.”

“Shine some serious, badass light on those demons when they come, instead. Write them into a new narrative.”

“Don’t worry about being good. Be enough. Be committed.”

My comment:
Hi, Jordan,

I have to disagree. I am not of the opinion (as many are; seemingly, you) that anyone who wants to “share” should be honored for doing so regardless of the quality of their content and writing. There are a lot of inadequate writers who self-publish and some who get published by trad publishers who never should have had their writing seen by others.

Some people can’t write. What they do write is unclear, repetitious, uninteresting, banal, riddled with cliches and lapses in logic or sense. I’m not just talking about too many typos or grammatical problems. I’m talking about bad writing. It exists. It needs to be called out.

bad writing meme

from http://www.memecenter.com

About thirty years ago, in an effort to combat overly critical adults’ impact on children and imitating the Special Olympics’ methods, most parents, recreation and education people began to make huge mistakes: participation became the same as surpassing. Everyone in the Pre-K “graduated” to Kindergarten. Everyone at a camp or club got a ribbon for attending.

Result? People who are now 45 and younger have the mistaken belief that everyone is “great”; it’s other people who make them “feel bad.” Self-esteem-building was taken to such an extreme as to make actual achievement or superiority meaningless. An overly developed sense of entitlement goes hand-in-hand with an inability to discern good from bad. I’m sorry to point it out, but your post is a prime example of this faulty thinking.

Real life: not everyone wins, nor should they. Ask Brazil this morning! Poor performance should NOT get a medal, and not all performances are equal.

Not everyone is talented, skilled, or worthwhile in every area. It’s fine to acknowledge this and not in any way demeaning. In fact, applauding mediocrity makes it indistinguishable from excellence, or worse, allows everyone who can put words on paper to call themselves a “writer.” That makes excellent or even passably good writing impossible for most people to recognize or value.

Not everyone should be encouraged to be a writer. Really. You did that person a serious disservice by not evaluating his work objectively.

We have no trouble saying that people who are “tone-deaf” or clumsy shouldn’t be professional singers or dancers. Sing in the shower; dance in a club or at home. But, we don’t encourage them to call themselves artists. Why can’t we use the same discernment about untalented authors?

What does “be enough” mean when we should be talking about quality, not quantity? It’s fine to be “committed” to self-expression; commitment doesn’t make a person a good writer.

Some people really AREN’T “any good” and should not be encouraged to write for the public. Tell them: journal all you want. Or, get a ghostwriter, if your story is compelling and you can’t write it well.

Please stop encouraging everyone equally. You aren’t being an editor, then; you’re being a cheerleader for the entire world.

Don’t encourage inadequate writers that no amount of coaching can improve to share their drivel. Not every story should be told by every storyteller.

monkey-typing

from multicultclassics.blogspot.com

Some people really can’t tell jokes, either, and should not. I’m one of those.

Best to you,

Sally

Since that day, I thought a lot more and want to add these components:

1) Most people are perfectly willing to assign the label of “bad” to other art. Why is that so much easier to do than to label someone’s short story, novel or article as poorly written?

2)I’m not looking for perfection. I want high standards to be understood and upheld (but not at the expense of heritage or gender differences). I want people who are in positions of authority in publishing, editing and education to help explain and maintain standards. Give writers something obvious to aspire to (with a healthy range of “good” within many genres and types of excellence).

3) Paying for awards and buying one’s accolades have to stop. We as readers and authors shouldn’t allow any authors to buy “positive” reviews, “win” a prize they’ve paid for, stuff the review “box,” or otherwise corrupt our understanding of what is excellent. We must speak out about these corrupt practices and not be sucked into them ourselves, however tempting.

UPDATE: Many people have commented in the last week on Jordan’s post about how awful I am to have shared these opinions. Some say that any typos I ever made negate all of my opinions’ value (!?!). Some say that I don’t have the right to disagree on this blogger’s site with her posts (Jordan herself actually invited me to stop visiting since she thinks I don’t read her posts carefully enough).

The comments from some of the others highlight the unfairness and absurdity of insisting that everyone who wants to express themselves on paper/online is equally valuable as a professional writer. Just because everyone can publish anything doesn’t mean they should. Who disagrees?

I’m not demeaning the validity of self-expression. But, everyone who bangs on a piano is not a professional pianist. Everyone who jumps around is not a professional dancer. Does anyone dispute this? Why is it so difficult (and, obviously, painful) for amateurs and those whose words are best kept private to be told the truth?

There is “good” writing, albeit subjectively assessed, and I agree that the standards are constantly changing and open for dispute. Don’t I have the right to state my own standards?

Yes, some writers improve with practice, and everyone who writes might improve. What if they don’t?

Are all writers to be considered “professionals” and deserving of praise just because, at this point in time, anyone can publish? Yes, completing an entire book is an accomplishment. But, are all accomplishments equal? Prize-givers and reviewers don’t believe that is true.

Why am I being lambasted for pointing out my reasons for wanting “writing coaches” to be able to be professionally helpful in assessing them and then be honest with their clients, while personally being as encouraging as they choose? Wouldn’t you want an editor you are paying to edit to–oh, I don’t know–edit? Why are these distinctions so dreaded?

Worst are responders to this “conversation” who are petty and mean, calling me names, disparaging me and my writing, because I dared to disagree with the blogger and provided reasons these commenters didn’t like. Really? That is the way discourse operates on these sites, now? More trolls than writers, there.

I made a professional comment. There should have only been professional replies. I was NOT being a troll. I respect and admire Jordan, usually, and enjoy her posts. I wouldn’t allow that kind of personal, disrespectful disparagement to be approved as comments on my site.

Guess my comments struck a nerve. Looking forward to your opinions! Go read the other comments, if you want.

I did get one bonus, though: someone found a typo on my site’s ABOUT page, which I then fixed. Thanks!

BTW: I was sent several private messages, from people who didn’t want to “join the fun” and then get blasted, I guess. They encouraged and thanked me, agreeing with my opinions and adding their own. Too bad they’re too scared of the blow-back to go public with their opinions.

P.S. to Jordan: I was not disparaging you by labeling your supportive actions “cheerleading,” merely being descriptive. I WAS an actual cheerleader, an achievement earned by having talent, being committed, acquiring and honing skills, and (unfortunate and unfair, but pertinent) being “popular.”

Similarly, as hard as it is for some to acknowledge, professional writers must also fulfill all of these to succeed. Everyone “in the stands” can and is encouraged to cheer. However, at my school in 1968, only eight of over one hundred girls each year were selected to be cheerleaders.

How many journal writers and home bloggers are going to make the “cut” to become professional writers? What is required? I hope you help them determine their eligibility and assess their chances, not just keep cheering.

RT and SHARE! TODAY! July 14 = “Digital Book Day”

From CJ Lyons of No Rules, Just WRITE!, http://www.norulesjustwrite.com/:

“If you’re as sick of hearing about the industry woes as I am, then here’s a chance to celebrate our readers (and maybe get some new ones!)

DBDsquare-300x300

“I’m declaring Monday, July 14th Digital Book Day!”
(that’s also Bastille Day, btw!)

[I included This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, ’cause it’s PERMAFREE!–Sally Ember]

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

cover art by Aidana Willowraven.

Come to http://www.digitalbookday.com TODAY, July 14th to grab your book and others.

“CJ Lyons”

“PS: please, please share this with any review site/blog/book club/writers group that you know!”

Today is the day! http://www.digitalbookday.com
Go get some new *free ebooks*! Find some new #ebook #authors! Start with me/mine: be patient and keep trying! Site is very busy!

Guest Post: “The Politics of Speculative/ Science-Fiction”

Research, quotes, opinions, infographics, questions for readers/authors, and more. Read my Guest Post on Heather Jacobs’ site: “The Politics of Speculative/Science-Fiction”

Here are the first two paragraphs, to warm you up and inspire you to go read the rest:

The Politics of Speculative/Science-Fiction

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

No author can leave politics, religion or culture out of our writing. It’s not possible. We are gendered, classed, raced/heritaged, abled/differently-abled, language-based, value-laden, belief-ridden individuals. We are products of our culture and political systems, even if we resist the indoctrination.

A writer may not realize the impact of his/her experiences arising from culture but these permeate every idea, word, sentence. The author who builds worlds may not see the veiled political structure undergirding their dystopian or utopian societies. Nevertheless, Speculative-Fiction, of which Science-Fiction is a subgenre, arises from politics, religion and culture.

Spec Fic and subgenres

Visit, comment, share, follow! Thanks!

http://www.hmjacobs.com/blog/guest-post-politics-of-speculativescience-fiction

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!

#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

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!

Forget your “#authorplatform” and BE NICE! Write better, make connections

Building Platform: What Most Writers are Getting Wrong
Mar 23, 2014 EXCELLENT POST by Anne R. Allen

Thank you Anne! Your blog is the BEST!

Best part?

“But guess what is the #1 thing an agent, editor or reviewer wants to find out when they Google you?

“Whether you’re a pain in the butt.

“Seriously.”

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/03/building-platform-what-most-writers-are.html

Part I to this topic, also from Anne: “7 Ways Authors Waste Time ‘Building Platform’ on Social Media”

“The best way to sell books is to write more books. Good ones.”
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2013/06/7-ways-authors-waste-time-building.html

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14!

swlogo

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14! Please consider including MORE #EBOOKS in your library!

RAEW 2 girlreading

KS67Q is the coupon code for 50% off through March 9, 2014, for my first ebook, a sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian series, Volume I, This Changes Everything, usually $3.99. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes Everything cover

is from The Spanners Series, which is for adults, NA and YA,

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and prepares you for the more YA/NA Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, coming out in June! Thanks!

Many other deals for free or very discounted ebooks all week. https://www.smashwords.com/ebookweek

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http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists

Thanks to Mark Coker, Founder/CEO of #Smashwords, #indie #authors have lots of information in FREE slide shows and several webinars to help indie ebook authors succeed in self-publishing.

Mark provided excellent instructions, tips and support for my first ebook’s publication last fall, the sci-fi/romance which has been getting great reviews, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, including persuading me to engage in a “Pre-order” period prior to full sales release.

In his post (link to full post, below), Mark defines Pre-orders:
preorder defn

Mark gives great info on how to schedule a Pre-Order, here:
preorder timing

Furthermore, he details the benefits of Pre-Orders for Authors and Readers:
preorders 5 benefits 1

A great realist, Mark also provided great info as to what to expect, a “Reality Check”:
preorder reality check

So, how did my first experience with pre-orders go?
Not so well.

Let’s review the Tips Mark provided and my own experiences:

Tip One: Plan and implement AGGRESSIVE, multi-week marketing campaign
This was my first time as any kind of book marketer, but luckily (?), I was laid off in August, 2013, which gave me family support (thanks, Ellen Fleischmann, Merlyn Ember, Sarah Miranda, Lauri Stern and Carole Harris) to move my unpublished book forward into self-publication. I began immediately to learn, via Mark Coker’s and others’ Google Hangouts, free webinars, blog posts, groups’ posts and articles, all about the publication and marketing processes for indie authors.

I did it ALL, except pay for PR (no extra funds): I started a new website and blog; I became active on Goodreads and Twitter; I opened Pinterest Boards; I became more active on Facebook, both on my personal and Series pages; I became more active on LinkedIn; I joined Google+ and began to use it more. I joined many Groups/Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as Goodreads. I engaged a professional cover artist (thanks, Willowraven!) and started tracking my KLOUT, SNAP and ALEXA scores.

I had OUTSTANDING results (I thought) in the first few months, bringing my KLOUT score from 31 to 61 by release day (12/19/13) and my website went from no ranking at all to being in the top 3.5 million via ALEXA. I gave up on Snap. My Twitter #FF went from 7 to over 1600; my blog gained almost 40 #FF (NOT my family, either!). I had almost 300 LIKES on my FB Series page and over 300 contacts personally there and on LinkedIn and Goodreads. 60 were #FF on Pinterest. Seemed good, to me.

I also worked hard networking on Wattpad, Goodreads, and Authonomy as well as the above groups and individuals’ websites to garner several very positive pre-sales day reviews which were posted on/into my front matter, my website, Goodreads and all other social media.

I joined Shelfari and BookLikes, Authors’ Database and other sites with author and then book pages. I created and updated my Author’s book page on Amazon (which doesn’t do Pre-orders, but I already had a nonfiction book authorship, so I could do this prior to uploading my ebook). I provided copy for and linked to postings of several author interviews on several websites and BlogTalkRadio’s IndieBooks show. I gave public readings and then videoed myself doing them and posted these on youtube, to start my Series’ Channel.

Using the Cover, I printed up 50 flyers (second time I spent money on this endeavor, first being the cover) and gave them out everywhere I went (which wasn’t many places, but I tried!).

This Changes Everything cover
cover and logo art by Willowraven

I talked it up everywhere I went, also. I sent out FB and GR reminders of the release date and planned an Author Q & A on Google Hangout and Goodreads for release day as an “EVENT,” which I extensively promoted, along with the pre-orders themselves, for weeks prior to sales date.

I believe I did everything I could to create a strong “Author Platform.” But, being a new author to sci-fi/romance and to ebooks, and an indie, self-published author in a very crowded field, the “splash” I was making, despite KLOUT’s encouraging stats, was not feeling large.

Social media icons
from http://www.bakerviewconsulting.com

Furthermore, I had no way to gauge the success of either my Pre-order marketing via the numbers of Pre-orders, because Smashwords, iBooks, KOBO and nook do not provide ANY kind of info as to the numbers of Pre-orders accumulating to authors, EVER. This is very frustrating and I wish this would change.

It is now two months since TCE’s release date, and I still have no figures, other than ranks on nook and KOBO, to tell me how many actual sales TCE has had.

Smashwords does provide “sales” numbers, but mixes “free” or coupon-use downloads with cash sales. This is mixing apples and oranges since my ebook is only free to reviewers and a select few others. Even with a cash total, this is a net profit figure, not a gross sales total: I have to do the math myself to estimate actual cash sales numbers, something else I wish would change.

iBooks sets up threshold before it puts out even a ranking that my ebook hasn’t met up to now (and neither the gate nor my sales number is known, which is frustrating; also needs to change).

As a regular Kindle (KDP), not Kindle Select, author, I did not have the option to do Pre-orders on Amazon, but at least I can check in on any day, any hour and get not only several different sales and author relative ranks, but go look at my actual sales figures online, including total sales, gross cash intake and net royalties. Yeah, Amazon!

Going solely by Amazon’s and Smashwords’ sales figures (the only ones I have), my Pre-Order and regular sales periods have not yet been huge successes, to say the least. I just got my first royalty checks, from Amazon (since Smashwords only pays quarterly and includes all the other vendors in one check). The total would not even pay for one tank of gas.

BUT, I am now a professional, paid ebook author, nonetheless! Woohoo!

My Recommendations: Every book sales site should provide real-time and accumulated stats to authors during Pre-orders as well as regular sales updates if not hourly, then daily, with no “qualifying” threshold to become eligible to see stats. AND, please do not mix free downloads with paid sales in the figures.

Tip Two: Mobilize fans
I tried to first gather fans (see above) and then mobilize them. However, as a first-time ebook author with no other fiction sales before this, my “fan base” is minimal even now, two months later, and nonexistent prior to Pre-orders. So, great tip, but I couldn’t use it for TCE.

I plan to use my growing fan base extensively for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, however, which goes into Pre-Orders in April 15-18 (because of policies and schedules not in Smashwords’ control, other ebook vendor sites do not open Pre-orders on the same days as each other) and on sale June 9, 2014.

Tip Three: Special pricing
I took Mark’s advice about pricing all the way. He suggested lower prices or free for Pre-orders, but strongly suggested NOT offering it free if the ebook has no others before it in the Series.

Mark also suggested, based on his extensive research, the “sweet spot” balancing sales with profits for ebooks, currently is set at $3.99.

So, I set TCE’s Pre-Order price at $1.99.
The sales price for TCE has been $3.99 and will stay that way until Volume II goes into Pre-orders, 4/15/14, at which point Volumes I and II will both be set at $1.99.

On Volume II’s release date, 6/9/14, TCMF&MLF will go up to $3.99 and Volume I will become FREE forever more, to all, as recommended for series authors.

When The Spanners Series ebooks start selling well and my fan base has grown even more, I will bump up Volume II’s price to $5.99 during Volume III’s Pre-order period, November – December, 2014, making This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change, Volume III’s Pre-order price $2.99.

Volume III’s sales price, starting in mid-December, 2014, will then probably be $5.99.

If sales aren’t great (YET), I’ll follow my previous pricing plan for a while longer for upcoming Volumes (the series has 10, total).

I do not believe the exact pricing made that much difference, but I really can’t tell. I also don’t know about the switch from Pre-order’s lower price to the higher sales price regarding sales impact. See Tip One: I don’t know, yet, about any sales figures, except on Smashwords, for Pre-orders, and those were not strong the first time, an understatement.

Tip Four: Use your other books to help
Wish I could. Will do for Volumes II onward. Good tip!

Tip Five: (MY TIP): Do it better each time
Yes, I plan to do it all better, as mentioned above.

CHANGES and IMPROVEMENTS:
1) I’m doing more about getting Beta readers for Volume II.

2) I’m turning reviewers for Volume I into reviewers for Volume II. I have more fans, I am involved in several networks of authors and others that help with promoting each others’ social media sites.

3) I now have 3 Book Trailers ( which I created myself, free, via Animoto) so that my youtube Spanners Series Channel GROWS. Each time I released a Book Trailer, my sales went UP on Amazon. Don’t know about the other sites, but my ranks did go up slightly.

4) I now have 50 more flyers and first, via KLOUT, free business cards via MOO, and when those ran out, got inexpensive ones via Vistaprint which I designed. They have my links, TCE book cover and Series logo on them. I give them out EVERYWHERE.

5) I joined and attend workshops with several local writers’ groups.

6) I comment on and re-blog/re-post others’ blog posts instead of always writing my own

7) I use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Quora, AllExperts.com and other sites to raise the visibility of my “brand” and drive traffic to my website (via WordPress.com). My website now has over 120 #FF, which I know is still small, but it’s a 300% increase since launch date 2 months ago!

8) I set up cross-posting and opened a Tumblr website that receives all posts from my WordPress blog, so my blog posts are re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes and Amazon.

9) I use JustUnfollow to keep my Twitter #FF useful, active and not ‘bots. Now up over 2300!

10) I continue to use author networks to share and collaborate for increasing each other’s visibility, rankings and comments. All of my numbers are fairly high and staying there on the book and author sites mostly due to these efforts.

So, with all the above, I am READY for the next Pre-order period much more than I was before. I hope this one ROCKS!

Links to TCE’s Reviews, Author Interviews, Book Trailers and more on http://www.sallyember.com

Link to Mark Coker’s full Pre-order Slide Show post here, which is well worth viewing: take notes! Please share, tweet, USE!
http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/hit-the-ebook-bestseller-lists-with-preorders-a-guide-to-preorder-strategy

Thanks, Mark. Next time, I’m ALL OVER IT!

#Female #ebook #Authors: Getting Checked Out More at #Libraries

#Libraries’ Top Circulating Print #Books and #Ebooks in Jan, 2014: How Ebooks are Leveling the #Gender Playing Field

library facade

FICTION (PRINT) = 11:4
NONFICTION (PRINT) = 11:4
TOTAL (PRINT) = 22:8, male #authors to female authors (about 3:1)

Female Authors in both print nonfiction and print fiction are outnumbered by male authors almost 3:1. In 2014. This does not bode well for 2014.

How about these figures: Fiction = 15:0. That is the ratio of already published and known authors on the Print Fiction list to unknown/previously unpublished authors.
Fifteen to NONE.

ZERO new authors are among the top circulating Print Fiction in libraries (nationwide, USA) for the first month of 2014. (Link and full list, below, from Library Journal.)

We can’t view a comparable list of ebooks because 1) not all publishers or authors of ebooks provide them to libraries and 2) not all ebooks available are purchased by libraries.

I realize the same could be said for print books, particularly #2, but the vast majority of print books published by major publishers ARE purchased by libraries, whereas there is no such comparable circumstance for the mostly independently published/uploaded ebooks regarding ebooks’ presence in library collections.

Just for thinking purposes, look at what authors’ ebooks are on the “front page” of the lists of 2013’s top circulating e-books that are available to borrow from the Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s public libraries (six or seven, total, on each “page”):
FICTION (EBOOKS) = Kate Atkinson, Sophie Kinsella, Eleanor Cattin, Robert Galbraith and J.K. Rowling, Linwood Barclay, Herman Koch, Dan Brown. 4:3
NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = Kristine Barnett, Kelly Oxford, Shelley Sandberg, Sonali Deraniyagala, Reza Aslan, Michael Moss. 2:4
TOTAL (EBOOKS) = 6:7, males to females.

http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/news_releases/2013/12/2013s-most-popular-ebooks-available-for-borrowing.html

For all of 2013, the authors who wrote the top 30 ebooks (still in Toronto) are:
Mixed, FICTION and NONFICTION (EBOOKS) = 21:9 = 7:3, males to females

http://toronto.lib.overdrive.com/B90B1104-76FA-4C84-B329-CC1A56561D25/10/50/en/SearchResults.htm?SearchID=33874100

You might think: Oh, that is just in Canada, or just Toronto. All right.

Here are Sacramento, California’s figures for 2013, Top 20 physical (print), which are all Fiction, and Top 20 Virtual (ebooks and audiobooks), which are mixed Fiction and Nonfiction, most-circulated titles.
FICTION (PRINT) = 12:10 (three have joint authors), = 6:5
MIXED FICTION/NONFICTION (EBOOKS & AUDIOBOOKS) = 12:10 (two have joint authors) = 6:5
a TIE!

What about the people in “middle America”? Let’s check Marion County, Indiana, which published a list of its 15 most popular (top circulation) ebooks for 2013.
FICTION (EBOOKS): 8:7, male to female authors.
Almost a tie!

Let’s check the New York (City) Public Library, or NYPL top 10 circulating print books’ authors for 2013.
FICTION (PRINT): 3:7
NONFICTION (PRINT): 6:4
TOTAL (PRINT): 10:11, males to females

I requested the top ebooks from NYPL; waiting for that.

http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/miriam-tuliao

My tentative conclusions are these:
1) ebooks are “leveling” the playing field for female authors since, for the first time in publishing history, authors do not have to wait for the largesse or permission from publishers to get our books into the hands of readers, and traditional publishing has always favored males (to date).
2) once more ebooks are available in libraries (still to come), even more ebooks authored by women will be in the hands of readers.
3) since public library patrons are skewed, economically, to the less affluent among us, ebooks and particularly female authored ebooks may not get into everyone’s hands until ebook tech (ereaders) will be borrowable.
4) Because of Indy publications for both print and ebook formats, more female authors are getting published and therefore getting purchased by libraries and into the hands of readers.
5) Don’t have exact numbers, but general stats show that there are more females than males borrowing both print and ebooks from USA libraries. If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say the ratio of readers in the entire USA, using libraries or not, is about 1:2 or 1:3, males to females.

PREDICTION:
More female than male authors are going to be on best-seller and top circulating lists of both print and ebooks in future months and years.

Meanwhile, please donate money, give your used print books and sponsor the purchase of ebooks for your local public libraries so that ALL authors’ work becomes available to more readers! Thanks!

donate to library

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/01/best-sellers/best-sellers-books-most-borrowed-january-2014/

FICTION
RANK
1 Sycamore Row. John Grisham.
2 The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt.
3 Never Go Back. Lee Child.
4 Gone. James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge.
5 Identical. Scott Turow.
6 Takedown Twenty. Janet Evanovich.
7 Doctor Sleep. Stephen King.
8 W Is for Wasted. Sue Grafton.
9 The Longest Ride. Nicholas Sparks.
10 Storm Front. John Sandford.
11 And the Mountains Echoed. Khaled Hosseini.
12 Doing Hard Time. Stuart Woods.
13 The Cuckoo’s Calling. Robert Galbraith.
14 The Valley of Amazement. Amy Tan.
15 The Gods of Guilt. Michael Connelly.

NONFICTION
RANK
1 David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Malcolm Gladwell.
2 Killing Jesus: A History. Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard.
3 I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb.
4 Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Reza Aslan.
5 Still Foolin’ ’Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Billy Crystal.
6 Johnny Carson. Henry Bushkin.
7 Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Piper Kerman.
8 The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. Naoki Higashida.
9 The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Doris Kearns Goodwin.
10 Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics. Charles Krauthammer.
11 One Summer: America, 1927. Bill Bryson.
12 Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead. Sheryl Sandberg.
13 My Story. Elizabeth Smart & Chris Stewart.
14 Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers. David Perlmutter & Kristin Loberg.
15 This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!—in America’s Gilded Capital. Mark Leibovich.

#SciFi and #Fantasy #Books into #Films Upcoming

READ THEM NOW, WATCH THEM LATER: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY AND HORROR ADAPTATION WATCH by John DeNardo on January 15, 2014 | Posted in Science Fiction and Fantasy

John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo Award-winning group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. You can follow him on Twitter as @sfsignal.

Read these books, then go see this year’s film adaptations:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Wool by Hugh Howey
Beta by Rachel Cohn

More about each here, including DeNardo’s summaries, opinions and links:
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/features/read-them-now-watch-them-later-science-fiction-2/

Opps for Guest Blogging/Posting

Authors/Writers and others are often looking for ways to become more visible, become associated with “better” (and more well-known) bloggers, and reach a new audience. Guest blogging/posting is a great way to do this. Here are some opportunities and ways to find opps that I’ve come across. Check them out! [FYI: I am not endorsing, merely curating others’ content, here.]

First, be careful! Your writing, including all comments and blogs you post, comprises a key part of your professional/ personal brand. Anything online is public and stays around forever. Make your visible, online presence the one you want to have. Protect it, use it well, be intentional!

Belinda Summers provides some warnings: “5 Things to Consider Before Guest Blogging.” Belinda “works as a Business Development Consultant for CallboxInc. She helps businesses improve and maximize their marketing campaigns by providing expert advice on lead generation and appointment setting. She provides tips and trainings on telemarketing, email, social media, and other marketing strategies.”

5-Things-to-Consider-before-Guest-Blogging2

The Word is looking for guest posters/bloggers (400 wds) on the topic of writing. Andre Cruz is the owner of this site.

Ways to find guest blogging opps are laid out well by Rae Hoffman, “(AKA “Sugarrae”) is a veteran in the affiliate marketing space and the CEO of PushFire, a digital marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC management services.”

Mackenzie Fogelsen has “5 Steps to finding the right guest blogging opps,” given with examples and details, a different approach (largely good for nonfiction writers, but easily adapted for fiction authors) from Rae’s to finding guest blogging opps. “Mack is the Founder, CEO, and full-on Evangelist for Mack Web Solutions. She is a Moz Fan and honored to be an Associate. Mack is a firm and passionate believer in user experience and the building of community.”

On my site, since it’s only a few months old, I’ve been the only blogger (although I reblog and link to others’ content regularly). I’ve now finished my first quarter of having my own blog and am ready to open it up to guest bloggers.

guest-blogging-image

Become a follower so you don’t miss the announcement! http://www.sallyember.com

That’s more than enough to get you started! Blog away!

Twitter This and Twitter That: Tips, Tricks, and Basics to Get You Off the Ground and Running

Twitter for Newbies: BEST explanation and instructions/tips for for authors EVER! Read and use! Thanks, Anmarea (Melodie Ramone, #ASMSG leader)!

Anmarea Writes

Twitter. It’s reminds me of the Tardis. Only because it’s so little on the outside and so HUGE on the inside. And, depending on who’s managing the thing, there might be a mad doctor at the helm. Ah, Twitter. It’s like a little home away from home. 

People don’t like Twitter. “It’s too hard to say what I want under 140 characters!” They say. I say, “Oh, come on now! Are we not writers? Have we never mastered the art of using just a few words to express many?” I also say, “HAIKU, People! HAIKU!” but that’s beside the point. 

140 character limit messages or not, Twitter is a platform that, undeniably, can be more than massive effective if you use it right. Sure, it’s just another social media trap to get stuck in and not be able to pull yourself away from to finish your writing, but…wait. No. No…

View original post 5,573 more words