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Posts Tagged ‘readers’

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: A novel can be anything it wants to be…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “No one says a novel has to be one thing. It can be anything it wants to be: a vaudeville show, the six o’clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.”

novel can be anything quote

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Easy reading is damn hard writing…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

GS - book with flowers

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Writing’s about enriching the lives of those who will read you…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

reading - king

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Book review BS: When reviews are bought (or coerced), the unaware reader suffers

the_emperors_new_clothes

This is a true story.

A couple years ago, a colleague referred a businessman to me as a prospective client. I met with the man, we chatted, he seemed interested in what I had to say, but he did not hire me for my editing or self-publishing consultative services. It happens. Frankly, I didn’t think much more about the project.

A year … 18 months … go by. I start a Meetup group for authors, and this man joins. He’s finished his book and is in the process of marketing it. He invites me to an early launch/book signing event. Many of his friends are there. All speak very highly of the book. He gives me a copy, which I graciously accept. I take it home, anticipating a fantastic read after all the glowing reviews.

Disappointment does not begin to convey my response to the book. Two words summarize my review: unreadably bad.

From the first 3 paragraphs of the preface, as it is printed in the book:

A legend, lived and believed, if you have clarity and confidence with unwavering focus and determination, anything is possible and achievable in life… (ellipsis by the author).

This writing is a collation of life long events, incidents, and anecdotes driven by passion and focus, irrespective of lack of resources, and numerous distractions that created obstacles along the path to his goals of undeterred integrity and humility for service.

And it never improves.

I would not be mentioning this — the book would simply have continued to gather dust on my bookshelf until it made its way into a yard sale or the donation bin for the VNSA book sale — had I not received the following “request” from its author: “I hope to read your fantastic testimonial of my book soon on Amazon.”

Initially, I did not know how to respond. So I went to Amazon to see what others had to say about the book. Of the 15 reviews listed, 14 of them were 5-star reviews; the last offered a miserly 4 stars. WTF??? I must have read a different book — or been having a really bad day when I stopped reading after the first 17 pages in my first go at this story. So I pulled it off the bookshelf and picked up where I’d left off, hopeful that maybe I’d been mistaken. No — I had not been imagining things. It was still a terrible book. But there they were, 15 glowing Amazon reviews.

And then I got angry. Because these are not honest reviews — they are reviews from people who, in all likelihood, were similarly coerced by the author with comments like the one he made to me in his email. This is a smart man who spent years in sales and knows how to get what he wants. But those reviews are either (a) flat-out dishonest, (b) repayment for some perceived debt, (c) written by friends who, while they may be doing the author “a favor,” are doing prospective buyers a grave disservice, or (d) written by people with absolutely no common sense or appreciation of the English language.

It occurs to me that maybe this poor guy really believes his own hype and thinks he’s written a magnificent book. But how could no one who’s read it (including the professional editor he allegedly hired) have pointed out that his first sentence in the book is not even a sentence?! I was truly reminded of the Hans Christian Anderson tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” And still I didn’t know what to do.

Finally, I decided to reply to the email:

I’m a little taken aback … by your assumption that I would write a fantastic testimonial for your book. I haven’t written a review for it because, honestly, I don’t think you’d like what I would have to say. If you truly want my opinion, I will offer it privately, but please don’t ask if you don’t really want to know what I think. I respect you and will not sugar-coat things just to avoid telling you what no one else, apparently, has been willing to say.

A friend suggested to me today that it might appear as if I am upset that this person did not hire me. That is simply not the case. Some hire me; some don’t. Some make great books; some make awful ones. If I lost sleep or sought revenge on every author who went with someone else, I’d be living a pretty miserable life. I am aggravated by the attempt to winnow from me something wholly unearned.

As a rule, I don’t offer unsolicited advice. Friends and acquaintances often give me books, or I buy them to support the author. If I don’t tell them how good the book is or offer praise, that’s probably because it isn’t a great book. But unless they ask, I keep my mouth shut. They know what I do for a living; if they want my opinion, they can ask — or hire me. I’ve received pushback more than once for offering my honest opinion, when asked. Here’s what I tell people: “Don’t ask me what I think if you don’t really want to know.”

If you’re an author, and you’ve got a good book on your hands, I will tell you so. If you’ve written a mediocre book that, with some work, might have promise, I’ll tell you that. I recently had a client  to whom I could not be more philosophically opposed. I edited his book, but told him I was not the one to help him market it. I referred him to someone I think will do a good job for him, in terms of getting his book into the hands of readers. I think this author would tell you I was fair in my editing, only questioning him once where I felt he was deliberately misleading the reader. And even though I personally disagree with about 75 percent of his premise, I think his book has a potential audience, and I’ll be interested to see what he winds up doing with it.

Most books have at least some promise; even the above-mentioned bad book probably has a decent story buried under the dreck.

Here’s what I recommend to authors and aspiring authors who are (or will be) looking for reviews: Don’t attempt to stack the deck. Earn your good reviews honestly. Have the common sense to get some honest feedback before you send your book to the printer. And if someone gives you a bit of a harsh critique, be realistic enough with yourself to explore their comments, provided the critic is not just a crank with an axe to grind. If their suggestions could make for a better book, don’t take offense — just fix it! That’s the beauty of self-publishing. There’s always a do-over.

Here’s what I recommend to readers/prospective book buyers who are relying on reviews for guidance: Beware ANY book that offers only gold-star reviews. If there is not a single dissenter about the wonders of a given title, it’s a pretty good bet you’re not reading actual reviews, but “reviews” from friends who will say whatever the author wants them to. Think about the best movie you’ve ever seen. Now, go look it up on RottenTomatoes.com. I almost guarantee there are at least a couple reviewers who didn’t like it. Why? Because no matter how good it is, people’s tastes are diverse, and there’s almost always at least one person who doesn’t swim with the rest of the fish.

Here’s to great writing … and good, well-earned reviews!

 

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below."Practical Philanthropy" book cover

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Check out Laura’s newest book, Practical Philanthropy: How ‘Giving Back’ Helps You, Your Business, and the World Around You. A percentage of all book sales is donated to Art4TheHomeless.org and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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27 ways to tell your readers you love them

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers. It’s the perfect opportunity to tell your readers you love them. If  your book’s still in progresslove my reader and you don’t have readers yet, perhaps these suggestions will get your creative book marketing juices flowing for ways to connect with you readers once you publish your book or eBook.

As always, we love your feedback, so if you’ve got other ideas or suggestions, please share them in the comments section below!

  1. Share their fan mail on your Facebook page.
  2. Hold a Tweet Chat so you can get to know them better.
  3. Make a video to tell them what you’re working on next.
  4. Write blog posts they’ll love – even if they’re not necessarily things you love writing about.
  5. Find a promo product tie-in and give them away wherever you go.
  6. Use Rafflecopter to give books away.
  7. Do readings at your local bookstore and library – even if it’s a pain in the ass to arrange them.
  8. Share photos of your writing space/process on Pinterest.
  9. Create discounts so they can share your books with their friends.
  10. Reply to every comment on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  11. Find out the causes they value – and get involved.
  12. You know who they are, so go where they are – street fairs, quilt shows, NASCAR, university quads, airports, dog shows…
  13. Ask them their favorite parts of your book – and create a Tumblr account to share them.
  14. Make a video of yourself doing a reading.
  15. Use Rafflecopter to give eBooks away.
  16. Share single chapters of your book on CDs or Minibüks.
  17. Hold a teleconference where your fans can ask you questions.
  18. Write thank you notes to those whose addresses you have.
  19. Use Authorgraph or Autography to sign eBooks.
  20. Do a Q&A with your readers via your Facebook page.
  21. Ask their input on your next book.
  22. Attend book fairs and speak or sign books.
  23. Host a webinar featuring fellow authors or guests on your topic.
  24. Share daily quotes on LinkedIn.
  25. Ask your readers/fans to name themselves (a la Parrotheads, Dittoheads, Cheeseheads, TroubleMakers, Trekkies).
  26. Create a forum for your readers/fans on your website.
  27. Offer to pay the shipping on your books for a week.

To a love of reading  and readers!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Lists for all you taphophiles: lots of books about cemeteries

I remember a trip through New England where I made a point to stop at virtually every cemetery I passed on a single day. I don’t have a morbid bent but if you’ve ever seen a New England cemetery, you know how beautiful they can be. The sense of history is awe-inspiring. Of course my visits were during the daytime.

In one of those incidents that could be construed as nothing other than perfect timing, I came across this blog post from Publishers Weekly just as my sister an I are planning the funeral for our mom, who passed away on Wednesday. This post is dedicated to my mom, Betty P. Orsini, 1/8/1929-8/31/2011.

Literature Graveyard: Which Cemetery is the Most Literary?

Last month, we posted an article detailing some very strange ways that authors have met their end. The morbid side of literature got us thinking about the final resting places of authors, so we did some research and uncovered the cemeteries that can boast the most about the literary quality of their residents. Read on for more gloom.

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About a month ago, I did a post featuring a list of lists of kinds of books. Books about nurses, hermits, grandmothers, beekeeper, pirates, US presidents, and more. Since this post is about cemeteries in literature, I thought I’d give you a few lists of books about cemeteries.

  • This first list, at shroudeater.com, is a thorough list, albeit a fairly esoteric collection of largely European titles. According to the site:

Unlike the type of vampire that we meet in novels and films, traditional vampires hardly ever live in a castle. The kind of undead that we are interested in, are said to “live” in their graves. Sufficient reason for us to also have a strong interest in churchyards, crypts, ossuaries, cemeteries, funeral customs, burial methods, etc., etc. This section concentrates on books about churchyards and cemeteries. Titles related to funeral customs and burial methods can be found in our DEATH section.

  • Next up was Authonomy.com, with a list of “books tagged with ‘cemetery.'”
  • After that, we have Potifos.com, with a list of “books about cemeteries (in association with Amazon.com).”
  • Lastly, there’s the blog post “For Love of Cemeteries,” posted at MurderBlog: “In honor of the release of Melissa Marr’s book Graveminder, here are some of my favorite books featuring cemeteries…”

If you have any interest in cemeteries or books about them these lists should give you a good starting point.

Happy haunting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We invite you to do two things next:

(1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it.

(2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Authors, your readers would love to know what YOU’RE READING! A list of lists…

The other night, I came across a wonderful list of books about dragons. The list maker, obviously a huge fantasy fiction fan, had painstakingly drawn up an extensive list of dragon books, including cover shots. Now I loved the movie Dragonslayer and even thought the lady dragon in Shrek was cute, but I’m not much of a fantasy fiction fan. Nevertheless, I found this list compelling enough to share on my Facebook page.

It also got me to thinking about who creates such a list and what the value might be in doing so. I’ve been subscribed to GoodReads.com almost since its inception, but beyond the first dozen or so books I listed, I’ve never added a title nor paid much attention to it. I suppose I read what I want, whatever strikes my fancy (or need) at the time, but I seldom seem to consult others for ideas.

I worked with a guy a few years back, though, who read only thrillers. Not only that, he read only thrillers by authors he already knew. Seriously. I couldn’t believe someone would be so limited in their reading choices, but the only way this guy would try a new author was if they were strongly recommended by someone he trusted, and even then, he did so with great skepticism.

The fact is, some people just prefer to have someone recommend titles to them, perhaps because it’s easier than staring at the millions of books on Amazon or the gazillion titles in a book store or library and trying to choose one.

I think this can benefit authors, because one thing your readers always want is to know more about you. And what better way to do that than by sharing your own reading list? If you don’t have one, maybe you could compile one around a topic of interest to you.

The dragons list compelled me to look for other lists. Not all are as well done as the dragons, but some are much more exhaustive. Perhaps my list of lists will give you a jumping off point for creating your own list.

Books about NURSES

Books about HERMITS

Books about GRANDMOTHERS

Books about BEEKEEPERS

Books about PIRATES

Books about PLAYWRIGHTS

Books about U.S. PRESIDENTS

Books about DOGS

Books about the CIRCUS

Books about GHOSTS

Books not about, but by SCIENTISTS

Books by DEAD AUTHORS

Writers writing on the topic of WRITING (not necessarily books)

Happy reading and list-making!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We invite you to do two things next:

(1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it.

(2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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