Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Book Review: Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

Smashwords Book Marketing GuideSmashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

This free marketing primer provides authors actionable advice on how to market their books on Smashwords. It starts with an overview of how Smashwords helps promote your book, and then provides a series simple do-it-yourself marketing tips. The book is useful to all authors, even those who don't yet publish on Smashwords. Updated October 23, 2009.

My Thoughts:
This is a great free and easy to read book about marketing your book written by Smashwords founder, Mark Coker. I have yet to publish my book, but am doing so soon, so am doing research to help with the marketing. Coker's book has lots of great tips, all of them free, about how to market your book.

The first half of the book gives a bit of a history of self publishing and outlines what Smashwords does, how books are distributed. I have seen a lot of complaints that this book is just a big advertizement for Smashwords, but I enjoyed learning more about what they do -- and it is a free book put out by Smashwords. Also, don't read that part of the book if you don't like it.

Next, Coker explains about book marketing and social media, how hyperlinks work, building a platform, and how authors can help each other. This was a useful overview, especially for someone like me who is diving right in and trying to understand how it all works.

Finally, there are 41 free marketing tips. You can pick and choose what to do and what will work for you. Some are easy, like updating your email signature, and some are more involved like, publish more than one book. This is a great check list of things to do, compiled in an easy list with clear instructions on how to do them and why they are a good idea.

Overall, I got a lot out of this book -- and it gets the juices going for how to market, something I'm not familiar with at all. I appreciate Coker putting this book out and especially that it is free. I didn't always agree with his advice, but it gave me a place to start and lots to think about.

If you are interested in downloading a copy of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, click on the link.

For those of you who have self published or are in the process, what books and resources have been helpful for you? Which would you recommend?

Monday, 22 September 2014

I'm Getting There...

In the spring, I was so determined to blog regularly again, to finish editing my book, and to get it published by the middle of October. Well, here we are, the middle of September, and I am struggling with all of those things.

There has been a lot going on. Stress levels have been high because my husband is a school teacher and he went on strike in June and only went back on Friday, which amounts to over 5 weeks of being on the picket line (if you don't count the summer). The kids, of course, have also been off school this whole time. It has certainly changed the dynamics around the house -- everyone off for 3 1/2 months. Then there are the financial worries that come with being on strike.

I am grateful that the strike is over now. However, there was a lot of stress during this time and it has triggered some nasty mental health issue for me. I have been in full fledged self sabotage mode. I have done some editing, but it has been difficult. I have done some research on self publishing, but not as much as I wanted. I have hired someone to design my book cover, but we have hit some snags.
One of the things that makes reading forums, blogs, and other people's stories is that they are both inspiring and frustrating. I see so many people who are able, successfully, to put out a book every 3 to 4 months. Wow. I've been working on my Antigone series for 3 to 4 years. I love to read about people making a living publishing their books and are having a great time doing it. However, I am also intimidated by them and their productivity.

I find I need to stand back and look at the bigger picture and give myself some credit. I have, for the most part, written what will become a young adult trilogy and just need to finish editing it. Over the last few months, under very stressful circumstances and with mental health problems, I have done some editing, researching, and have taken concrete steps to get my book published.

I need to realize that the way I write is the best way for me. It would seem that sometimes I need these lulls in productivity. I like to call them time to percolate. I am one of those people who needs time to take things in and sort them out in my head, and that's okay. I need to realize that the speed at which I publish my book is perfect for me, to learn from other people's experiences, but to stop comparing myself to them.

And I need to remember that baby steps rock. They really do. Doing something every day (or most days, or some days), no matter how small, towards finishing my book is a step in the right direction. Doing anything with 3 kids at home, a husband on strike, and while dealing with major health issues is amazing. It's important to remember the value of those teeny, tiny baby steps.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Book Review: The Breaker's Code by Conner Kressley

The Breaker's Code (Fixed Points #1) by Conner Kressley

Where were you when the world ended?

Three weeks shy of her seventeenth birthday, Cresta Karr wakes to find her world is falling apart. The necklace her father left her is mysteriously missing, a black sedan is stalking her and her friends, and her house is minutes away from exploding. To top it off, she finds out that Owen, the enigmatic, if slightly off-kilter guy of her dreams, is both not interested in going out with her and a superspy sent by a clandestine organization to keep tabs on her.

Turns out Cresta is the subject of a 500 year old prophecy, and if Owen and the other “Breakers” can't find a way to circumvent the future before the sun comes up on her birthday, Cresta is destined to bring about the end of the world -- something she'd rather not have on her college applications. That is, of course, if the gun-toting cult members piling onto her front porch don't get to her first.

The countdown is on. Secrets will be revealed, relationships will be tested, prophecies will be fulfilled, and fate will fight free will in a battle so intense that it won't end until the world itself does.

Happy birthday, Cresta.

I bought this book as part of a larger box set collection, but am reviewing each book individually.

Cresta lives in a small town and is frustrated from having to move there from Chicago after her father died. She has two friends, Casper and Owen. As it turns out, Cresta is part of a larger prophesy, as well as an ancient and paranormal sect in society.

I had some issues with this book, the first of which was the editing. There were many typing mistakes, and while I don't want to sound picky, these pull the reader out of the story and really are a big deal. I can forgive a few, but this book was riddled with them.

The concept of the book was fun and I like the themes about fate versus free will, and it was this that kept me reading. However, I wanted Cresta to be a bit stronger in the end. Maybe she will get there in the next books. I felt like she was floundering around and being fed a lot of solutions at times. The romance between her and Owen was fine, if forced at times.

Simon, her non paranormal friend, was probably my favourite character. I liked how goofy and loyal he was, kind of like a big puppy.

I am always sensitive when there are adoption issues in a book, and the one's in Breaker's Code were actually handled fairly well. It showed people being insensitive, which they can be, but ultimately, Cresta's parents are her parents, the one's who raised her. I hope that doesn't change in the next book.

This could be the beginning of an interesting series, but I hope the author gets some help with the editing. The book is pretty fast paced and I like how it began, talking about it being two days before Cresta's house blew up, then the day before, then the day of.