A plea for reviewers – can we open up a dialogue about self-published books?

Nail Your Novel

So I find a lovely-looking review blog. The posts are thoughtful, fair and seriously considered. I look up the review policy and … it says ‘no self-published books’.

Today I want to open a dialogue with reviewers. If you have that policy, might you be persuaded to change it? Or to approach the problem in a different way?

I used the word ‘problem’. Because I appreciate – very well – that in making this policy you are trying to tackle a major problem. Your time as a reviewer is precious – and let me say your efforts are enormously appreciated by readers and authors alike. You get pitches for many more books than you can read and you need a way to fillet out the ones that are seriously worth your reading hours. A blanket ban is a way to fend off a lot of substandard material and save you…

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My new Twitter ad for Red Flags

With the conclusion of the World Team Trophy competition in Japan, it’s curtains down for the 2016-17 figure skating season. To mark the occasion, I made a new Twitter ad for Red Flags. This one has a more fun, lighthearted tone than the straightforward ads I’ve used so far.

Meet Shirelle and Becky…

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These illustrations came from Canva; I just changed the color scheme so the skaters would show up against the rink background (which I made myself). I don’t know why Shirelle carries a purse on the ice, but I hope she puts it down when she practices her scratch spins. What if she lets go of that thing and it becomes airborne?

23 Tips from Famous Writers for New and Emerging Authors (5 min read)

Great advice! There’s even a small figure skating reference. 🙂

Millionaire's Digest

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Amber M.

Founder & Owner of:A Not So Jaded Life

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living and Writing Writer


1. “I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”―Madeleine L’Engle

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3 Habits of Prolific Writers

I’ve gone through prolific periods as well as dry spells where I didn’t get anything done. I’m at an in-between phase now.

Writers After Dark

Prolific writer is one of those terms that is difficult to nail down. The word prolific just means: productive, abundant, or creative. In other words, we may “know it when we see it,” but the meaning is subjective. It’s a quality that requires comparison. And by comparison, history has delivered some very prolific authors. Interestingly, a review the top forty prolific writers, reveals many names you might not recognize.

Sometimes the reason may be as in the case of the German author, Rolf Kalmuczak who wrote over 2,900 novels but did so under over one hundred pen names. In other cases, such as Barbara Cartland’s 772 novels, the unfamiliarity may be because you’ve never endeavored to read romance. But there are other names, such as Isaac Asimov and his 506 books, you may know even if you’ve only experienced his stories in movies (Bicentennial Man and iRobot). The numbers, however…

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For Those of You Writing a Book that You’re Scared No One Else Will Understand

As someone whose novel doesn’t fit into a distinct category, I can relate to this…

A Writer's Path

by Lauren Sapala

Why doesn’t my book look like the other popular books in my genre?

I get this question, in various forms, from my clients all the time.

Sometimes it’s an issue of genre-blending. For instance, up until a few years ago most of the sci-fi/western writers out there felt like freaks, because this was a very small genre with a select audience and there was not yet a level of cultural acceptance that came with it. If you were writing sci-fi/western stories in the year 2003 you might have just given up altogether when you got back rejection after rejection from agents who didn’t really understand what you were writing or how it might sell.

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Amazon Unveils First East Coast Bricks and Mortar

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I would like to see Amazon open one of these stores in my area. I miss going to the bookstore! Nearly all of the ones I used to frequent are gone now.

A Writer's Path

by Alex Green at Publishers Weekly

Amazon opened the doors to its first East Coast bricks and mortar bookstore on Tuesday. The 5,800 sq. ft. store, in Dedham, Mass., which is the first of the e-tailer’s physical stores featuring a cafe, is located at Legacy Place, a large commercial retail center ten miles from downtown Boston. The opening is part of Amazon’s nationwide push to open six physical bookstores by the spring. Once all six bricks and mortar locations are open, Amazon will have a total of nine stores across the country.

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Happy Paczki Day!

It’s that time of the year again!

Jens Lyon

HappyPaczkiDay

In other parts of the world, the day before Lent is called Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. But in metro Detroit, today is Paczki Day.

“What is a paczki?” you ask.

First of all, it is pronounced poonch-key. A paczki is a Polish pastry. It looks and tastes like a jelly-filled doughnut, except it is denser and heavier. The fillings come in numerous flavors– raspberry, blueberry, lemon, apple, strawberry, prune, buttercream. Some have powdered sugar on top, some don’t. One bar in Hamtramck even fills theirs with vodka!

When I was a kid, Paczki Day was only celebrated in Hamtramck and other Polish immigrant enclaves. Now you can find these yummy treats at pretty much every major bakery or grocery store in metro Detroit. Just as the non-Irish as well as the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, those (like myself) who are not Polish…

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Number Seven!

redflags7

Red Flags is currently at Number Seven on Amazon’s list of figure skating/ice skating ebooks. Officially, this category is supposed to be for non-fiction books, but I see other novels on this list in addition to my own.

Sunday is the last day to buy the ebook version of Red Flags at the 50% off sale price. The sale ends when the Four Continents Cup is over.

For Amazon Kindle: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01MXMF3P9

For other e-readers: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQZG27

Added on 2/19/17: Red Flags is up to #2 now! There are still a few hours left to buy it at the sale price.

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Feeling grateful!