Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self-Publishing Part 1 (For Readers)

Why Self-Published Books are Worth Reading, and How to Find a Good one:

Three Self-Publishing Myths:
Self-publishing has a stigma attached to it that I think is slowly starting to fall away. The first part of this stigma is that those who self-publish don’t have anything worth reading as they haven’t been picked up by a traditional publisher. I disagree – traditional publishers want to make money. They pick books that they think will sell. (This is how celebrities get book deals – they’re already famous, and most likely not for their writing. Why we should assume that because someone is a good actor, or reality TV star, that they’re a good writer as well I will never understand?) The truth is that there are many wonderful books out there that weren’t picked up by a traditional publisher for no other reason than because they didn’t want to take a risk on something that wasn’t a sure thing. (Check out these famous author rejections - Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times!)
Second, (and I think this is the biggest stigma self-publishing has right now) because self-publishing is so easy everyone is doing it and there’s too much crap out there. I’ve heard way too many times that people think it’s not worth their time to sift through terrible self-published books in order to find one good one. Again, I disagree. There will always be some that are “crap”, and I feel like there were more in the beginning. But, authors are learning that to have a successful self-published book that it takes time and effort. (Moreself-published books are getting to the top of the charts) It takes good writing, and a good editor. More self-published authors are doing their homework and putting the work in. And, as for the “bad books” that are already out there, ratings and reviews will help weed them out. The books that are going to be the easiest to find are going to be the ones where the author put the work in to write them, and then in turn put the work in to promote them.
Third, some think that self-published is equal to amateur, and traditionally published is equal to professional. I feel like we need to stop thinking in these terms. A self-published book can be done professionally. The only truth to the above statement is that traditional publishers have more experience being professional, where as a self-published author needs to learn how to be professional. Yes, a self-published author is an amateur publisher, but that doesn’t mean in the end that they will produce an amateur book. There are some aspects of publishing a book which require expert help, but that doesn’t mean you need a publisher to hire a professional editor, or cover artist. You can find your own experts to hire or help with your project. When self-published authors do it right, they can have books just as professional as any other. And, they are learning to do it right. Even traditionally published “professional” books still have the occasional typo or mistake, no book is perfect no matter how it’s published.


Carlos Porto
 
How to Find a Self-Published Book you’ll enjoy: (Helpful steps in selecting any book)
1.       Rate books by their covers. Yes, the old adage tells you to avoid this; however a book that has a professional looking cover can often say that the author cares about their book enough to spend a little extra time and/or money on it to make it perfect. These authors may also have wanted to spend a little extra time and/or money on things such as editing, and in turn may very likely have better books because of it.

2.       Read reviews. Read a good review, 5 stars, to give you an idea of what the story is about beyond what you know from the back blurb. Then read at least one 1 or 2 star review to give you an idea of what some of the problems with this book might be. Often low starred reviews are the best way to know if a book is right for you.

3.       Download a sample chapter, and if you don’t have a kindle or e-reader then at least read through the first few pages online. Practically every book on Amazon has this feature, and it allows you to read sometimes up to a few chapters of the book you’re interested in before purchasing.

4.       Most of all though, just search for the books you like to read. You don’t need to go out and purposefully look for self-published books to read. Just look for the kinds of books you enjoy, and if you come across one that happens to be self-published, keep an open mind.
 

Self-Published Suggestions:
My Self-Published Favorites:
Samantha Young’s Fire Spirits Series: I have loved every one of these books from the very beginning and I look forward to her next installment in the series, Darkness Kindled.
                Smokeless Fire: Read my Review on Amazon
                Scorched Skies: Readmy Review on Amazon
                Borrowed Ember: Readmy Review on Amazon
That Scoundrel Emile Dubois by Lucinda Elliot: I am currently reading this book and find it fascinating. One thing I love about self-published books is that I find many of them to be very original, this one does not disappoint. Read my Notes on Goodreads

Other Recommendations:

So, take a chance on Self-Published books. You may find some wonderful stories out there. After all Harry Potter was rejected 9 times, once because it was thought that “children's books did not make money”. It makes you wonder, how many authors with wonderful stories decided after that 8th rejection to say screw it and self-publish? Or, how many have decided that Traditional publishing may be on its way out and, just possibly, Self-publishing will be the way to go in the future.

Read Self-Publishing Part 2 (For Writers)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confessions of a Young Adult

young adult

noun
1. a teenager (used especially by publishers and librarians).
2. a person in the early years of adulthood.

This is how the dictionary defines the phrase “Young Adult”. Personally I find this definition inadequate. Your young adult years are years of transition. They’re the years in which you discover who you are, where you grow, and fight, and change. They’re the years when you rebel and when you learn to accept, years where you make mistakes and make accomplishments. Being a young adult is more than just being a teenager or a person in the early years of adulthood. It’s about the things you do, and the things you learn.

Dyanna Hyde
Young Adult, or YA, has become a term in literature that to some is nothing more than an age group. People between 12 and 18, or 12 to 21, or maybe 15 to 25, but I think “Young Adult” is more than just an age range. “Young Adult” is about growing up, it’s about still being a little immature, it’s about not wanting to completely let go of your childhood. Readers who enjoy YA fiction are those who like stories about characters who still have some growing up to do. And as for that age range, I think you can be a “Young Adult” even late into your “adulthood”; after all being young is really just about how young you feel right?
For me, I’m a young adult now at the age of 23, but I wouldn’t be surprised if even ten years from now I still feel like a young adult. After all, I very well may still have things to learn at 33, things to rebel against, things to accept, things that change who I am.
When it comes to who YA literature is written for I would consider YA literature for people 15 and up. I only say 15 because I like when YA delves into coming of age issues that may not be suitable for a younger crowd. Are there reader’s at the age of say 14 that are mature enough to handle and enjoy a YA novel, absolutely, and to some degree this varies by novel. However, I think Middle Grade Fiction is a more suitable term for those between the ages of 10 and 14. And, I say “and up” because I think even “adults” can enjoy “Young Adult” fiction.
While I don’t think the term “Young Adult” is something that’s all that easy to define, I do have some things that define what it means for me to be a young adult right now, and I thought I’d share them with you.

1. Donuts are still a valid option for breakfast, as is cold pizza
     

2. When I’m upset with my downstairs neighbor I will purposely use all the hot water

3. I still go to my pediatrician, when I’m forced to go to the doctor that is

4. I have a checking, and savings account, debit and credit cards, but I still put away money in my piggy bank for a rainy day

5. I like to cook, but there are still nights when Mac N Cheese or McDonalds is a valid option for dinner

6. My mom still pays my car insurance, I do pay all my other bills, I’m just not ready to be cut off completely yet

7. Gummy vitamins are the only vitamins I’ll take, because they taste good

8. I still like cartoons and animated movies

9. I haven’t yet committed to getting a ‘big girl job’

10. My boyfriend still likes to play videogames

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review for Delirium by Lauren Oliver

A Deep and Fascinating Love Story in a wonderfully constructed Dystopia

5 Stars. Lauren Oliver has a wonderful way with words. Her characters in Delirium were deep and well developed and I enjoyed watching them, particularly Lena, grow and learn and change. She creates a deep and fascinating world that looks at how different people would be without love. I also really enjoyed how she pulls you into her story by using beautiful, lyrical prose.
One of the things I really liked about this book was that it had an interesting way of combining religion and science and portraying elements from both of these to explain why the people in this story think the way they think. Oliver took parts of religion and science and showed how people in this society twisted them in order to believe that love was a disease. She does it so well that you can really understand why they believe this.
Oliver did a wonderful job of scene building and providing examples to explain the world she created. She makes it believable that it could exist, that it could be the world we live in some day. Part of what helped me believe in this world was the quotes at the beginning of the chapters and little phrases that Oliver created. They added a lot to the story and I greatly enjoyed them.
I also loved how Oliver not only looked at romantic love but love between parents and their children and love between friends, and how these relationships change and even fall apart without love.
The main character, Lena, goes on a journey of discovery in Delirium. She has to grow as a person to be able to see through to the truth. I enjoyed reading about her journey which started with her fully believing in the ways of her society and government. She accepted that people were cured of love when they turned 18 and the fact that your spouse was essentially chosen for you, she even appreciated these things. Then she started to learn about things that she never knew existed. She started to open her eyes up to all the things she was never supposed to know about. Watching her discover things like music, and love were wonderful and I believed every one of her reactions.
All of the characters in this story were well written. I loved Alex and his relationship with Lena. I loved the way they grew together and that he had a reason for being drawn to her. Alex and Lena truly fell in love, this is not a ‘we love each other for no reason’ kind of story and I really appreciated that. I also loved Hana. At first I thought she was going to be somewhat stereotypical of a character, she’s beautiful and popular and perfect, but there was so much more to Hana.
Every part of this book was well done and I look forward to reading more of this series and more from Lauren Oliver.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Into the Deep e-book edition now available!

Kindle edition now available on Amazon! I know I set my release date as this Friday, but I was able to get the e-book version of Into the Deep ready by today. I'm very excited to be able to share this with all of you! You can buy your copy HERE.

For those of you who want to buy the paperback edition it will be available this Friday, August 10th. I will post a link to that when it is ready.

I also have an interview up on the blog
I'm Awake and I love... Books It is in Romanian, but there is a button to translate it into any language. Finally, here's one last teaser for all of you.

"I wasn’t engrossed in fashion and the latest styles like Christy. I didn’t throw myself into a rigorous work out regiment to stay competitive in sports like Ti or Eliza. Sometimes I felt like I didn’t really do anything, like I was just coasting along. I’d like to think I was just trying to find who I was, but looking back I think maybe I was just stuck in the in-between. I wasn’t trying to find anything. I was waiting for something to feel right." - Ivy Daniels, Into the Deep

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Release Date for Into the Deep: August 10th

In that moment I felt like an outcast. I felt pushed away and exiled and the loneliness of it was a boundless crater that I’d fallen into to be swallowed up by the darkness. I couldn’t go back there, not then. - Into the Deep

I'm setting a tentative release date of August 10th for Into the Deep, with hope that I can have it available sooner. Since this is only about a week away I thought I'd release a few more snippets to tease you with. I also have an interview coming out soon at I'm Awake and I Love...Books so, keep your eyes out for that. Thank you to everyone that's been following this blog or interested in my book, I hope you all enjoy the teasers below.


 Teaser 1:

We were all on edge, nervously glancing over our shoulders and huddling close together. I heard every whisper of a sound, from the rustling of leaves and shuffling of feet to the quiet chirping of crickets. We were keeping watch while Eliza unlocked the door. I stared off into the dark moonlit green of the golf course. The clean smell of grass and pine invaded my senses as I tried to see if anyone was coming, but the only movement I caught was of shadows dancing in the darkness. Then I heard the click of the door as she twisted the handle and we all hurried inside.

Teaser 2:

My chest heaved as I tried to find air but only came up with water. I remember feeling hands on my chest, and lips hovering above mine. I remember murmured voices that sounded like I was hearing them from the end of a long tunnel. Someone said something about blood, someone wondered if I was dead. I heard it all clearly but the words were distant and had a strange ring to them. I wheezed and jolted upward finally finding my breath and my eyes popped open.

Teaser 3:

Before I went to bed that night, however, the sense of worry returned. For the first time, I considered the possibility… that we would all fail... It was possible that tomorrow we would all die. Thinking about it was surreal. It isn’t often that one has the ability to contemplate the real possibility of their death. All I knew was that this was something I needed to do. That thought was the only thing that kept the fear from capturing my mind.