Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Friday, July 29

Weekend Reading: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

I've been falling behind on my reading and thought I'd try something new. Weeks (months?!) ago I swore I would read "The Girl on the Train," by Paula Hawkins. From everything I've heard it's a delightful, provoking, read.

But, really, it was what Stephen King tweeted that sealed the deal for me:
So this weekend I'm going to do it, I'm going to read "The Girl on the Train," and by posting this here I'm making myself accountable to you!

What book are you reading this weekend? I would love to hear from you!

Talk to you again on Monday.

Thursday, March 5

What Are You Reading?

I've often stressed the importance of reading so, today, let's talk about what books we're reading. (And, yes, I got this idea from Chuck Wendig!)

At the moment I'm polishing off Brimstone , the fifth book in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s fabulous mystery-thriller series featuring their quirky yet indomitable sleuth Aloysius Pendergast. Preston and Child know how to generate suspense. Their books keep me up until indecent hours!

I'm also reading—and, yes, this book has been on my to-be-read list for a while—The Secret History by Donna Tartt. For some reason I thought the book would be dry and academic, but when I picked it up at the bookstore it hooked me immediately. 

I like having two books cued up, ready to go, so my third book is J.D. Robb's (/Nora Roberts) futuristic mystery-romance Holiday in Death .

If I had to pick one book out as a favorite, one I've read fairly recently, I'd have to go with Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects,” but “Gone Girl” is fabulous as well. I highly recommend the audiobook since those particular narrators helped bring the characters to life.

What are you reading? What's your favorite genre? Please share!

Thursday, March 28

Amazon Is Acquiring Goodreads

Amazon Is Acquiring Goodreads
Amazon is acquiring Goodreads.

This news shocked me. I hope the wonderful book culture that has developed over at Goodreads doesn't change.

Why Goodreads Wants To Join Amazon

Otis Chandler, Co-founder of Goodreads, says he is excited about the development. He writes:
1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members.

2. Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we're looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the most popular e-reader in the world, Kindle, and further reinventing what reading can be.

3. Amazon supports us continuing to grow our vision as an independent entity, under the Goodreads brand and with our unique culture. (Exciting News About Goodreads: We're Joining the Amazon Family!)
The folks over at The Verge point out that ...
Amazon already owns Shelfari, a social and information network described as a "community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers." Together with Goodreads (as well as its own lightweight / somewhat anemic social notes network) Amazon will soon own the major online recommendation and commentary engines for new and old books. (Amazon to acquire Goodreads, a social network for book recommendations)
I guess, also, Goodreads represents a wealth of data on readers preferences and reading habits.

This story is still developing so stay tuned for further news.

(Thanks to +Andy Goldman for mentioning Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads.)
Question: What do you think about this merger? Will it be good or bad for readers and writers?

Other articles you might like:

- Janice Hardy Teaches Writers How To Be Their Own Book Doctor
- How To Write Description
- Mark Coker, Founder Of Smashwords: Six Ways To Increase Book Sales

Photo credit: "The dawn of freedom - digital-art" by balt-arts under Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs 2.0.

Thursday, October 11

Jim Butcher Begins Another Series, The Cinder Spires: It's Steampunk!

Jim Butcher Begins Another Series: It's Steampunk!

Jim Butcher is starting a new series, and it's steampunk!

On August 16, 2012 Jim Butcher wrote:
Once the revision of COLD DAYS is done, I will be writing the first book of my Steampunk series, which is called The Cinder Spires at the moment. The first book, (working title of 'The Aeronaut's Windlass') should be around the length of the first Alera book, and I'm planning to get it done by year's end, AT WHICH POINT I will then begin the next Dresden novel. :)
For one heart-rending moment I thought writing The Cinder Spires might mean he was discontinuing work on the Dresden Files. Whew! It will be a sad day when that happens.

I'm looking forward to reading the new series! :)

Thanks to Bastard Books for posting about The Cinder Spires.

Other articles you might like:
- Jim Butcher On Writing
- What Is Writing? Telepathy, Of Course!
- NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips On How To Get Ready
- How To Write Every Day: Jerry Seinfeld And The Chain Method

Photo credit: Siriuswerks

Monday, October 8

Can Wattpad Help You Sell Books?

Can Wattpad Help You Sell Your Books?

What is Wattpad? 
For writers, Wattpad is a creative, welcoming and completely free community to connect with readers from around the world. Writers can build an engaged fan base, share their work with a huge audience and receive instant feedback on their stories.

There are millions of ways to make an impact on Wattpad! We see writers serializing their content, collaborating with readers over plot twists, interacting with fans on cover art and working together to create video trailers. (Wattpad, About)
Interesting. The question is: Can Wattpad help you sell books?

It did for Brittany Geragotelis. 13 million Wattpad users read Brittany's book, Life's a Witch, a contemorary retelling of the Salem witch trials. Bolstered by the positive feedback Brittany published her book on Amazon thorugh createspace.

Interestingly, Brittany Geragotelis was nearly published with Harper a few years before.
About six years ago [Brittany] she had an agent and came close to being published in the conventional manner. “My agent came close to a deal with Harper Children’s,” said Geragotellis ... “but it didn’t happen and my agent eventually dropped me.” (YA Author with Huge Wattpad Fan Base Tries Self-Publishing)
That is a familiar story! Fortunately for Brittany, Life's a Witch sold well and opened up a number of options for her. Ultimately she chose to enlist the help of an agent--Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency--and eventually sold her book at auction to "Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in a three-book, six-figure deal that features an e-book prequel series to be released in 2012" (S&S Acquires Self-Pubbed 'Life's a Witch' in Three-Book Deal).

Not bad!

Of course that's just one story and Brittany Geragotelis's book was one of the most popular books on Wattpad, if not the most popular, but it has worked for other writers as well, writers such as David Gaughran. David writes:
Wattpad approached me just before Christmas [2011] to see if I would be interested in making some of my work available there (for free), and this seemed like a natural fit. I agreed to post some short stories, and to serialize A Storm Hits Valparaiso over five weeks. In return, Wattpad have pledged to promote my work to their community [...]. (What’s Up With Wattpad?)
It turns out David's book did very well, garnering over 2 million reads on Wattpad. Although David has taken his story down, you can still see his profile: David Gaughran over at Wattpad.

There's a great discussion on whether Wattpad can help authors sell books over on Lindsay Buroker's blog (Can Posting Stories on Wattpad Help You Sell Books?). The discussion in the comment section is especially good.

It's worth noting that Wattpad isn't only for writers:
During the summer of 2012, Wattpad in collaboration with Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet/novelist/literary critic, held the "Attys"; the first major poetry contest offering a chance to poets on Wattpad to compete against each other in one of two categories, either as an "Enthusiast" or a "Competitor" [emphasis mine]. (Wattpad, Wikipedia)
Have you tried Wattpad? If so, what did you think of the experience?

Other articles you might be interested in:
- Perfection Is The Death Of Creativity
- Jim Butcher On Writing
- NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips On How To Get Ready

Thursday, August 30

Stephen King's Latest Book: A Face In The Crowd

Stephen King Lastest Book Is An Ebook: A Face In The Crowd

I'm late to the party! Hodders released Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan's ebook, A Face in the Crowd, August 21st. A Face in the Crowd is also available as an audiobook in MP3 and CD form. For more information on purchasing options, read Stephen O'Nan's blog post.

Here's a link to an excerpt from the audiobook version: A Face in the Crowd.
A New Story Coming August  21, 2012

We are delighted to announce a chilling new story entitled A FACE IN THE CROWD. Set for release on August 21st, the original eBook and simultaneous audio digital download marks a second collaboration between Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan (Faithful).

What if you were watching your favourite sport on television and the camera swung to a familiar face in the crowd?  Someone who couldn't possibly be there?
Dean Evers, an elderly widower, sits in front of the television with nothing better to do than waste his leftover evenings watching baseball. His adopted Florida baseball team, the Rays, are going strong. Suddenly, in a seat a few rows up beyond the batter, Evers sees the face of someone he knows from decades past, someone who shouldn’t be at the ballgame, shouldn’t even be on the planet. And so begins a parade of people from Evers’s past, people he has wronged, all of them occupying that seat behind home plate. Until one day, he sees someone even closer to home…

A FACE IN THE CROWD is a beautifully written story about grief, loneliness and revenge.
To read the rest of the announcement, click here:  A New Story Coming August  21, 2012 from Stephen King & Steward O'Nan.

The publication of this book came as a complete surprise to me--I try to keep up on all things King. Looks like a good story, I'm anxious to read it.

It's nice to have something to tide us over until the release of Joyland and Doctor Sleep next year. You'll recall that the announcement of Joyland caused a stir because King wasn't releasing an ebook version. With A Face in the Crowd he's releasing an ebook but no print version. I think this confirms what I've long thought: King's an innovator. He's trying out new things. 

I hadn't read any of Steward O'Nan's work before but after looking over his bio I'm wondering why that is. I love it when I find a new authors (well, new to me, he has been writing for some time).

Happy reading!

(I was about to hit the "publish" button when I remembered the last post I did. Ed Robertson opined that $3.99 was the best price for an ebook. King and O'Nan are selling this book in the UK for 2.99 which comes to $3.48 in the US Amazon store. Seems like Stephen King agrees!)

Other articles on Stephen King you might enjoy:
- Stephen King: 15 tips on how to become a better writer
- Neil Gaiman Interviews Stephen King, King talks about Dr. Sleep
- Stephen King Reads An Excerpt From The Dark Tower

Monday, July 9

His Wish Granted: WIlliam Faulkner's, "The Sound And The Fury", Color Coded

I read William Faulkner's The Sound And The Fury as part of an English course taught by one of the most fabulous people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting: Sue Anne Johnson. I took the course in my second semester of college and it turned into one of the best experiences of my life.

I'd heard Faulkner's book was difficult, I'd heard it was written as a flow-of-consciousness narrative, but I was still unprepared. As I read the words on the first page I couldn't make them form a narrative. For me it was, as Shakespeare wrote, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

The next day Ms. Johnson asked us to raise our hand if we finished our reading assignment. One person had.

It got much easier after that first introduction and largely because Sue Anne explained a few things about the viewpoint Faulkner was using in the first part of his book. I won't go into that, but an excellent summary can be found in the Wikipedia entry on The Sound And The Fury. I remember Sue Anne telling us that Falkner wanted shifts in time indicated by a change of ink color but that the cost was prohibitive.

It thrilled me to read that now, for the first time, Faulkner's book has been printed as he first envisioned it. The following is from the Los Angeles Times:
In a special edition, the Folio Society is publishing "The Sound and the Fury" in 14 colors. It's a fine press edition, quarter-bound in leather, with a slipcase and an additional volume of commentary. It also includes a color-coded bookmark that reveals which time period is designated by each color.

The Folio Society worked with two Faulkner scholars, Stephen Ross and Noel Polk, to figure out how to divide the text. Only the Benjy section is rendered in the 14 colors of ink.

"With the Benjy section the different threads are sufficiently clear that I don't feel we are distorting or compromising the novel," Folio's commissioning editor for limited editions Neil Titman told the Guardian. "I found the book tremendously confusing the first time I read it, so I think that overall you have a net gain here, rather than feeling over-guided."

The color edition of Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" is being published July 6 in a limited edition of 1,480 and is priced at $345. One thousand preordered copies have been sold.
To read the entire article, click here:  'The Sound and the Fury' as William Faulkner imagined, in color.

If the colored copy of The Sound And The Fury retails at $345 today I cringe to think what it would have cost a publisher to produce back in 1929!

I would love to own one of these versions. Perhaps one day it will be released as an ebook.


Other reading:
- WorldCat: Find Books In A Library Near You
- How Important Is It To Promote Your Books?
- Query Tracker: Keep Track Of Your Stories

Saturday, July 7

WorldCat: Find Books In A Library Near You

This is a fantastic idea! Ever wondered if a certain book was in a library near you? I know I have. Here's a page that takes the pain out of your search, and it doesn't just work for books, you can use it to locate things such as CDs, DVDs and Articles. (If you'd like to try it out for yourself, go here: WorldCat: The World's Largest Library Catalog.)

To try it out I entered the city I live in and typed in the title of one of my favorite books, Lord Of The Flies, by William Golding. After hitting the enter key I was given a list of links to various editions and formats. I clicked the first link and was presented with a list of libraries in my area that have the book, what format the book is in, the distance to the library, and a list of links to information and services the library provides.

As if that weren't enough I was also presented with links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Better World Books in case I wanted to purchase the book.

At the very bottom of the page I was presented with a smattering of reviews Lord Of The Flies has received and which rate it on a scale of 1 to 5. Which brings up the issue of how useful reviews are.
One reviewer on gave Lord Of The Flies one star out of five and, which may be worse, 102 people agreed with that rating! Let me quote from this review:

See, I would have cared a bit more about the little island society of prepubescent boys and their descent into barbarism if you know, any of the characters had been developed AT ALL
As I say, the mileage you get from the reviews will vary. By the way, I can't give you a direct link to the review I quoted, but you can read it here, it's the last one on the page.

WorldCat: The Site For Mobile devises
WorldCat also has a site for mobile devises (WorldCat: Mobile Web Beta) so I thought I'd try it out on my iPad. This is terrific! It works just the same as the standard website but it seems more streamlined and user friendly.

WorldCat on Facebook
WorldCat also has a Facebook app, to learn more about that go here, WorldCat search plug-ins, or head straight over to Facebook's WorldCat application page.


Sunday, July 1

10 Female Science Fiction Writers Who Changed Our Lives

madeleine l'engle, a wrinkle in time
Madeleine L'Engle

This is from
In honor of the occasion of Butler’s birth (and because lady sci-fi authors never get enough love) we’ve put together a list of the greatest lady authors of science fiction and fantasy in this or any time — in our own humble estimation of course. ...
Madeleine L’Engle 
We don’t know about you, but Madeleine L’Engle penned what was probably our first interaction with science fiction of any kind, the phenomenal Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels, starring independent Meg Murray and her delightfully advanced little brother. Her writing is forthright and timeless, her ideas original and utterly captivating, and we don’t know where we’d be without her.

Connie Willis
Funny, fantastic Connie Willis has, among other things, won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards, to which we can only say: wow. But the lady deserves it — her science fiction is witty and weird, filled with strange, meticulously researched trivia and slapstick humor pressed up against skillfully handled portrayals of love and loss.
These are just two of the 10 authors profiled by Flavorwire. If you're looking for a good book to read, this list will present you with an embarrassment of riches. You may read the rest of Flavorwire's article here: The Greatest Female Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors of All Time.

Madeleine L'Engle's book, The Wrinkle in Time, was my introduction to science fiction and it changed my life. I read the book for grade four and from the first few pages realized I'd better not let my parents know what I was reading. I read the book in massive gulps and finished it in a couple of days. I spent so much time in my room my parents thought I was ill! I suppose I had caught a bug of sorts, and I'm very grateful.

Madeleine L'Engle was one of the writers who made me want to be a writer, I wanted to be able to construct stories like that, worlds like that. I, and many, many others, owe her a great dept.

Thanks to the Passive Voice Blog for posting a link to Flavorwire's article.

Other reading:
Henry Miller's 11 Writing Commandments
- How To Become A Full Time Indie Author
- Ursula K. Le Guin On Literature Versus Genre

Saturday, June 9

5 Book Review Blogs

When my book, Until Death, first came out I went on a hunt for book blogs. I'd read about Amanda Hocking's incredible success and knew that she attributed much of the early popularity of her books to the many book bloggers who reviewed her work.

Funny thing, when I searched for book review blogs a few months ago I couldn't find more than a dozen and, of those, only two or three would accept self published work.


As luck would have it, I recently came across a few book review blogs and thought I'd tell you folks about them. (This also gives me a nice convenient list for when I need it next!)

You'll notice that most of the book review sites I mention below don't have a stated policy on whether they accept self-published work. Since many book review sites do explicitly (and emphatically!) state they do not accept self-published work, I'd say that those without a policy are willing to treat a self-published book as a book like any other and you're free to query them like the author/publisher you are.

I've found each site has different policies regarding whether to send a query first, what form the query should be in, and so forth, so I've provided a link to the site's review policy in the title.

1. JJ Ireads: Book reviews and more from an e-book lover

Kind of books: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Mysteries, Nonfiction memoirs (humor)

Book formats: Ebooks (mobi, epub, PDF). Electronic formats preferred but will also accept paperback or hardcover.

Self-published work: This reviewer did not state whether they accept self-published work.

Notes: May also do author interviews and giveaways. Contact the site fore details.

2. Reading Teen

Kind of books: Anything teen or young adult.

Book formats: Hardback or paperback please.

Self-published work: This reviewer did not state whether they accept self-published work.

3. Mundie Moms

Kind of books: Only young adult books, please.

Book formats: "At this time we only accept paperback or hardcopies of books, ARCs and manuscripts. We only accept books that follow our blog's genres."

Self-published work: I found no explicit mention of whether Mundie Moms accepts self-published work.

Notes: Mundie Moms also does author interviews and giveaways.

4. Novel Thoughts

Kind of books: "I usually am drawn to read Young Adult novels, but I read the occasional Adult or Middle Grade books. I do not accept ebook requests. If you think I would be interested in reviewing your books, please contact me at: contact [at] novelthoughtsblog [dot] com."

Book formats: No ebooks.

Self-published work: No stated policy.

Notes: "I would love to read and review your books, host giveaways, or hold interviews here on my blog, Novel Thoughts."

5. The Book Smugglers

ARCs: "Ana Grilo and Thea James, The Book Smugglers, are currently open to receiving solicited Advance Reading Copies and Review Copies of books."

Kind of books: "Our preferred genres are Speculative Fiction (Horror, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction), Young Adult (Speculative Fiction/Paranormal and Contemporary), with the occasional Romance novel (Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary). This does not, however, mean that we will not consider books from other genres! We love graphic novels, manga, mysteries, historical fiction, and will consider any book with a great synopsis."

Book formats: "Our review copy preference is for ebooks, followed by print copies. As such, digital ARCs/review copies will be given precedence over print copies. Our preferred format is EPUB."

 Self-published work: Yes! They write:
While the bulk of the books that we review are from large publishing houses in the United States and the United Kingdom, we also love to hear from small press and independently published authors (i.e. Joel A. Sutherland’s Frozen Blood or Michael Hicks’s In Her Name).
Notes: Contact The Book Smuggers here:

I'm going to start keeping a list of book review blogs, especially those that accept self published work. This is something of an experiment, but if you review books, please use the contact page (see the top of this blog) or email me at karen [at] karenwoodward [dot] org and send me your site address as well as your review policy and I'll be sure to include you.

Keep writing!

Saturday, April 30

eBooks promote reading

Carolyn Kellogg, writing for the Los Angeles Times, notes that:
... getting an ereader can lead to more reading. Thirty-four percent of Californians surveyed said that with an ereader, they read more books than they did before.

That's good news for authors. :)

On a completely unrelated note, when I read this next article I had to read the first paragraph twice, it seemed incredible. Here it is:

Wildlife is thriving in lakes contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster, with both overall numbers and species diversity holding up well. Any harmful effects from the radiation appear to be dwarfed by the benefits of having no humans in the area.

As Michael Marshall, writing for New Scientist, explains,

The area around Chernobyl was evacuated after the disaster ... this has been a boon to the local wildlife. Endangered European bison and Przewalski's horses have been introduced successfully.

Here is a link to the article.