Book Reviews, Books, Read, Reader, Reading

Are you a Goodreader?

I suppose I heard about Goodreads for a year before I ever viewed it. And when I did, I only used it to see what other readers said about particular books. Not until several months later did I decide to use it to keep track of the books I had read, was reading, or wanted to read.

It astounds me that I can look up a book I rate at 5 stars and find at least a few have given it 1 star! It works the other way around too. Nothing else has better drilled into my mind that reading tastes are subjective. No matter how well I wrote a novel, someone somewhere would review it saying they wish they could give it 0 stars.

Despite those variances, I find Goodreads an excellent place to find suggestions of books to read. Unlike the Amazon or Barnes & Noble sites, Goodreads is oriented to the reader not the consumer. Because of that, I think the reviews and ratings may be more honest.

I haven’t written many reviews; I’m still working through my real bookshelves, listing the books I’ve read and rating them. If you’ve never visited the Goodreads site, I suggest you do. If you are, or become, a Goodreader, feel free to add me as a friend.

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

Blog Stuff, Books, Excerpt, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Read, Writing

A taste of Brevity

The Margaret Merrill rose appears both literally and figuratively in my novel, The Brevity of Roses.

When we had a Costco membership, my husband loved to shop there on the days they gave out free samples in the grocery aisles. Sometimes he took samples of things he doubted he would like because “Hey, it’s free.” Well, today I don’t have any food, but I do have a free sample of The Brevity of Roses for you.

But first, some other business:

If you read my last post, you might have expected a new look to my blog today. It’s coming, but real life intervened and I wasn’t able to finish my new blog header, so stay tuned for the redecorating.

I’m going to tell you why you might want to sign-up for my newsletter. I won’t flood your inbox with chain spam, or get-rich-quick schemes, or sell your email address to marketers. In fact, I won’t flood you with anything, but I will tell you first about upcoming contests or other promotions, and keep you in the loop about my scheduled interviews or guest blog appearances. You’ll also learn how you might get a free copy of Brevity. So read the sample first, and then, if you think you’d like to be a Brevity insider, please sign-up on the Contact page.

Now, for that taste of Brevity. I hope you’ll enjoy Chapter One. (Warning: a sprinkling of strong language.)

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

Marketing, Opinion, Polls, Publish, Read, Reader, Writing

And what did we learn?

The main thing I learned from last week’s polls was I need to hone my poll-creator skills. I could have added a few more options. Probably a survey would have better severed my objective. Live and learn. The results also provided a private lesson, somewhat sobering, which I’ll address in a future post.

One of the factors not considered in the polls is the age of the responders, which could definitely skew the results. If all the responders had been under the age of twenty-five, the results would have weighed more heavily in the favor of e-readers and books. Still, as it is, e-readers win.

If we add voters who want an e-reader to those who already have one, plus half of those still weighing the pros and cons, electronic readers received 64% of the vote. And the Kindle is the leader of the readers.

Because of my ineptness, the other polls are not so clear-cut. Did some of those who have readers also vote in the reader app poll? Did some of those who voted they don’t use any reader apps, do so because they have a dedicated e-reader? Or are they so opposed to electronic books they won’t even use a free app to read some of the free e-books?

I was most interested to see that, apparently, even some of you who own readers would still buy books in print format at triple the price. Three of you even said you’d buy both versions. I’m curious which print books you’d prefer over their e-format. Reference books with color photos would be a good choice for me. I would also buy my favorite authors’ books in print format.

To me, it’s obvious electronic readers are here to stay. I’m not convinced they are more ecological. I’m not convinced that visually it looks “just like paper.” I am convinced, for traveling readers, they’re a fantastic convenience. I am convinced they are far superior to reading a book on a monitor, especially outdoors (except on maybe the iPad or other back-lit readers.)

Love them or hate them, I think ebooks are here to stay, and possibly be the only format for some books in the future. And I think, eventually, nearly all those who voted NEVER, will change their minds.

Books, Family, Fiction, Humor, Life, Memory, Read, Reading, Real Life

Classically Ignorant

Do you need a laugh today? Have one on me. The other day, for no reason I could discern, I thought of a book I read long ago. I couldn’t remember the title or names of any characters. I couldn’t even remember many details of the story. I could picture the entry hall and main staircase, and a room or two on the upper floors. I saw a young woman in 19th-century dress. The book was not illustrated; these images were only what I imagined.

I had no exact recall how I felt reading the book, but I thought maybe I enjoyed it. Not remembering anything more, I pushed it out of mind. A few days later, during a conversation with my son Daniel, who will soon defend his dissertation for a PhD in literature (Victorian emphasis), it occurred to me he might recognize the book. I told him what I remembered: a young woman is hired as governess by a man who keeps his insane wife secretly locked in his home … and I think a fire figures into it.

Are you laughing now?

My son’s initial reaction was silence. I’m sure he hoped I was joking. After a moment, he said, “Uh … Mom … that’s Jane Eyre.”

Oh, my yes. I am ignorant of the classics. Or possibly, just ignorant of having read them. Maybe I’ve read all the classics, but don’t remember.

Be kind, please. Look away. I’m going to go slink back into my cave, but I’ll understand if you want to pretend you don’t know such a lowbrow.

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]

Advice, Critique, Feedback, Fiction, Group, Novel, Opinion, Questions, Read, Reader, Reader, Tips, Writing

Who do you trust?

Because I have a surplus of questions, but a dearth of answers, I’d like to trade a few of the first for more of the second. The big question today is: who do you trust to read your writing? But that’s too simple, so I’m going to complicate things with qualifiers.

I’m curious about how other writers get feedback on their work.

  1. Do you let anyone read your work in progress (first or second draft) or only when you feel it’s nearly polished?
  2. Do you have a spouse, or other family member, who reads and discusses your writing with you and if so, is this person a writer?
  3. Do you have a close friend who read for you—and if so, is this friend a writer? (Revised)
  4. Do you have a mentor?
  5. Do you submit your work to a critique group—and if so, is this a face-to-face or online group?
  6. Do you submit only in a workshop/class situation?
  7. Do you think writers should rely on their own skills and listen only to feedback from a professional (agent or editor)?

I’ll start first by saying that none of my family members read my work … or maybe I should say, not anymore. And I have only two non-writer friends who read my last novel—one in progress, the other read the short version. Other than that, I must depend on the kindness of strangers. Actually, that would be my critique group members and two writer friends who read my complete novel, and a couple more writer friends who gave me feedback on a story or two. Presently, I’m in a small face-to-face critique group, just four of us, and these other three have read my novel, some short stories, and a few versions of my agent query letter. This group is most familiar with my style—and also my faults—which makes them my valuable front line. And though I bug one or more of them by email between our monthly meetings, essentially it’s a rather “formal” arrangement. I’ve often wondered if I should seek feedback from real strangers in an online group (I used to do that ten years ago) or what it would be like to have a true mentor.

Okay, I gave you some of my questions; will you give me some of your answers?

[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]