(even more) abridged classics

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Source: (even more) abridged classics

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Reading Deals Book Reviews: An Update

Back in April I wrote about Reading Deals book review program. I’ve now received all 10 of my reviews on Amazon for Goddess so I can give other authors who need more Amazon reviews an honest review of their services. Here’s my take:

  1. The reviews take a long time to come in. I placed my order for 10 reviews on February 16. I received an email today that my 10th review has finally been posted. Six months sounds like a long time and was more than I expected, but in retrospect, I don’t think it was unreasonable. The reviewers aren’t paid (which is a good thing), so their only incentive to finish a review is so they can get another free book.
  2. The reviews varied a great deal in quality. I never expected NY Times quality reviews. A few of mine were thoughtful, others were barely more than a sentence. It would be good if Reading Deals required reviewers to write a minimum number of words.
  3. The reviews were almost all positive. I don’t necessarily see this as a plus for the service. I’d prefer a thoughtful negative review to a slapdash positive one. The people who didn’t like the book were turned off by the adultery theme. But they still admired the writing, which is just fine by me. I knew the book would be controversial.
  4. They keep you apprised of the reviews coming in. Each week I received an automated email telling me how many reviewers had downloaded the book and how many reviews I’d received. I really appreciated this.
  5. The price seems reasonable. I don’t remember what I paid but the current price is $79. The $129 for premium placement might speed up how fast the reviews come in. Frankly, I’ve spent more and got back less advertising Goddess, so I thought it was worth it.

The bottom line is, if you need more reviews for your book, I think Reading Deals is worth it. It’s certainly more ethical than paying for positive reviews, and I think it’s also more honest than getting your friends and family to review your book.

If you’re considering this service and want to do more research, here are links to all my Reading Deal reviews:

https://www.amazon.com/review/R6824R97NTNEE/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2NYAVSJWZTH32/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B015JVAF54

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3GGMJUWASAUQN/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B015JVAF54

https://www.amazon.com/review/REKD0MGHHLX3K/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

https://www.amazon.com/review/R103U1Z0RQG4SA/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1Z8AR8DPTR10N/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B015JVAF54

https://www.amazon.com/review/R1HICLJJZ7R2CY/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

https://www.amazon.com/review/R1BOMBCN672018/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B015JVAF54

https://www.amazon.com/review/R2LFOYWO9PS696/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

https://www.amazon.com/review/R158GIRCS30I6R/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Happy writing!

Kelee

Transitions

I grew up in the midwest, however I lived in San Francisco for awhile. It’s a beautiful city and I enjoyed my time there. But one of my most vivid memories is when I returned to Chicago. I stepped off the train and was immediately overwhelmed by the rich smell decaying leaves, the cool, crisp air, and the cornucopia of fall colors. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I missed the change of seasons we experience here.

At the moment, it’s still hot and humid, but there’s already a subtle shift in the air as summer wanes and gives way to fall. The night air is a little cooler, and soon the first leaves will begin to change. This transition made me think about changes in my writing and reading life. It’s easy to fall into a pattern, writing in the same genre, following the same schedule, returning to the same characters and themes. Yes, it’s important to find our writing niche, but it’s also good to shake things up once in awhile. I did that when I switched from writing screenplays to writing romance novels. Now I feel it may soon be time to change course again, though perhaps not so radically.

transition

I think we need to shake things up as readers as well. If we tend to read romance, we need to pick up science fiction, a mystery, a literary novel, or perhaps a biography. It keeps our minds fresh and full of wonder, like the change of seasons.

What kind of transitions do you enjoy in your life? I’d love to hear.

Best wishes,

Kelee

How to Fake it Till You Make it as a Writer

I was listening to an interesting story on NPR not long ago. In it, a schlubby nobody wanted to find out what it feels like to be famous. He got some friends and strangers to pose as bodyguards, an assistant, and paparazzi. They walked through midtown Manhattan, treating him like the star he wasn’t, and guess what? People believed it. Gawkers gawked, girls swarmed. They imagined he was someone famous they had seen on TV or in a movie. For a short time, he faked his way into celebrity.

Most writers suffer from self-doubt. Voices scream in our heads, You’re a fake, a loser, a hack. You’ll never be a success, and if you are, the next book will bomb. I firmly believe that’s why Harper Lee never wrote a second book and why many writers turn to drink.

But we can change those negative messages and turn our writing, and our lives around.

I was recently struggling through a period when everything I wrote was terrible. The story, the characters, and the dialogue in my new book felt like bile I was throwing up on the page. I started avoiding writing, distracting myself with unpleasant household chores.

But after hearing the NPR story, I decided that if I couldn’t be a good writer, I could at least pretend to be one. Every morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and repeated a phrase I had learned from author Julia Cameron: “You are a brilliant and prolific writer.”

It was so simple, but it worked. After giving myself a positive message, I more eager to sit down at my laptop, and the pages started to flow. I felt like Popeye after gulping down a can of spinach. The negative voices were subdued, and I became a “brilliant and prolific writer,” at least for the day.

Faking it till you make it can work in social situations too. Suppose you heard that an agent you thought would be perfect to represent you was going to be at a writing conference. You sign up. Now imagine two scenarios:

Scenario 1: You spot the agent across the room, surrounded by other wannabe authors. You tell yourself, Why would she be interested in me? My stuff isn’t good. I’ve already been rejected by 50 agents. Even if she agreed to read my manuscript, it would probably end up in the trash.

I’m sure you can imagine what you might do after all those negative messages. You’d probably end up at the cash bar, hiding your face in shame.

But what if, instead, you decided to fake it.

Scenario 2: You spot the agent across the room, surrounded by wannabe authors. But that’s not you. You’re already successful. You’ve had 10 books on the best seller list. You already have an agent, but perhaps would be in the market for a new one if she was right for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you to lie to the agent. You’d be found out pretty quickly. I’m telling you to lie to yourself. Play the role of the successful author. Approach the agent with confidence. Introduce yourself and make firm eye contact. Invite her to read your latest manuscript. You might just end up at the cash bar sharing a drink with her.

I know this sounds fake. It is. You’re playing a part for yourself. Remember the guy who pretended to be a celebrity? He never told anyone he was famous. He just played the part and they came to their own conclusions.

Many years ago, I read about another way to fake it till you make. I don’t recall the title of the self-help book, but its premise was, Act like it was impossible to fail.

We all know failure is a fact of life for writers. I have the rejection letters to prove it. Again, this isn’t about telling yourself that you can’t fail. You’ll know you’re lying. It means to act like you can’t fail. What would you do if you acted like the novel you were planning couldn’t fail? What if you acted like it was destined to be a Harry Potter-like hit and buy you a French chateau? Would you put it off, or would  you get down to some serious writing?

Try this for a day, a week, a month. Try it the next time you write a query letter or go to a conference. Try it the next time you meet a hot guy at a party.

“What do you do?” he asks.

“I’m a writer,” you reply without apology or hesitation.

Best wishes,

Kelee

 

The Liebster Award

The Liebster award is an online award given to new bloggers or those with less than 200 followers by other bloggers- it’s all about providing support and encouragement and increasing exposure.

‘Liebster’ in German apparently means ‘sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome’ and is the ideal name for an award that allows baby bloggers to share the love.

I have to admit, I’ve been a bit dubious of these blog awards in the past because there are so many of them. But it does seem like a good way to pay it forward and help other bloggers, so here I go.

I was nominated for the Liebster by writer, juggler and “occasional lion tamer” Ellie Holmes (ellieholmesauthor.wordpress.com).  Ellie writers commercial women’s fiction and romantic suspense. Her novel The Flower Seller was chosen as an August Monthly Deal on Amazon UK. Ellie gets her inspiration from “the beautiful Essex countryside and the sublime Cornish coast”, a landscape that has inspired me too.

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Ellie also has a powerful personal narrative that has shaped her writing. “I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma some years ago,” she writes. “The day after I received the news my Dad died (he didn’t know about my diagnosis. We had kept it from him). Life as I had known it imploded. Cancer batters you emotionally, physically and mentally. On the good days it’s one of those things, on the bad days it’s all three. Cancer also forces you to re-evaluate. I carried out a life audit and as a result I am a different person today than I was then.”

The Liebster Award has been going since 2011 and the rules have evolved over time. The official rules of The Liebster Award 2016, if your blog has been nominated and you have chosen to accept it, are below:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.  Images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award can be found at http://theglobalaussie.com/the-official-rules-of-the-liebster-award-2016/ .
  • List these rules in your post.
  • Answer your nominator’s questions.
  • Give 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  • Create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer.
  • Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Here are my answers to Ellie’s questions:

1. Why did you decide to start your blog?

I originally started it to promote my books, but it’s become an enjoyable task in its own right. I especially like offering tips to other writers, and promoting books and authors I love.

2.What is the hardest thing about maintaining a blog?

Just finding the time. I try to publish once per week, but it’s not easy when there are so many other things going on in my life. Sometimes I feel like the heroine in part two of my trilogy Goddess, trying to juggle children, graduate school, and a lover. I guess the blog is my lover.

3. What’s the best thing about blogging?

Connecting with other writers. Writing can be very isolating. It’s great to share with like-minded people.

4. What are your top tips for someone just starting a blog?

Keep at it. Try to post often and read and comment on other blogs. That’s how you build community and get followers.

5. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given and did you follow it?

Uh, don’t play Pokemon Go while driving? Seriously, I should have moved to LA when I first became a screenwriter. On the other hand, if I had I might be plying a very different trade on Sunset Strip now.

6. What are you passionate about?

My children, cycling, the outdoors, environmental causes, coffee, politics (unfortunately), alt country music.

7. How would you spend a ‘perfect’ day?

A delicious cup of coffee followed by a really great day of writing, then accepting the Nobel Prize for literature that evening.

8. Do you ever suffer with writer’s block and if you do, how do you get over it?

Not really, but I often do a lot of bad writing. But I get over it by continuing until the writing becomes good again.

9. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Dead: Thomas Hardy, the most romantic writer I know.

Living: Karen Russell. I love her skill with language and her imaginative stories and characters.

10. Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?

Right here with 1000’s of followers and a lot more book sales.

11. What’s your favourite waste of time?

Watching trashy 80s TV. My favorite these days is The A Team.

Ten Random Facts About Myself

  1. I take my coffee with milk.
  2. I have great legs.
  3. I love summer.
  4. I have two beautiful daughters.
  5. I wanted to be a rock star but can’t sing.
  6. I have a greyhound.
  7. I grew up in Indiana.
  8. Vermont is my favorite state.
  9. I love thunderstorms.
  10. I make a lot of to-do lists.

My Nominations

C.L Hodgson (clhodgson.wordpress.com)

Naylene Rondon (naylenerondon.wordpress.com)

Melanie Moxon (melaniemoxon.wordpress.com)

Mercedes Fox (mercedesfoxbooks.com)

Questions for my nominees

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
  3. Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter?
  4. What are you passionate about?
  5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  6. Who are your favorite authors?
  7. What advice would  you give to aspiring writers?
  8. Cats or dogs?
  9. If you could go back in time and mentor your sixteen-year-old self, what would you tell her?
  10. Where would you like to be five years from now?
  11. What’s under your bed?

And don’t forget the 10 random facts about yourself!