Screwed up my book giveaway!

AIT_widgetOkay, so I sent you to my Goodreads giveaway yesterday, right? But then I did a stupid thing and my giveaway disappeared off the face of the Internet. I don’t know how many people tried to enter by clicking one of the links from yesterday’s blog post, Facebook status and shares, or Tweets and retweets, but they all tried in vain.

The good news is, the giveaway is live again and the following link works. I promise. Enter to win an autographed copy of An Illusion of Trust.

I’ll just go stand in the corner now.

elle

Big news week!

My author activity this past week was about as opposite of my usual as possible. First I announced the publication of my new novel An Illusion of Trust in ebook and then in print. I also announced a two-day giveaway of The Brevity of Roses ebook. So my first full week of not writing still had a lot of writing-related activity.

I also made the pair of earrings pictured, went to a concert, brushed up on my knitting skill, and read two books that have been on my Kindle forever. Maybe this week I’ll get to some of that much-needed blue_earhousework. And I need to weed the flower beds. I’ll definitely continue my reading spurt. And if I could get some drawing done this month, it would be a perfect hiatus.

Speaking of reading, if you’re a member of Goodreads, I’m sure you received notice that it’s “joined the Amazon family.” The social media world went crazy with that news. I’ve read a lot of pros and cons on this now, but I don’t understand the merger implications enough to take sides. Though, since my books are sold at Amazon and I own a Kindle, I think whatever changes might occur at Goodreads will be in my favor.

Since I’m not writing, but can’t help thinking about writing, I’ve been asking myself why I want to write and then why I want to write specific stories and ultimately why I want to publish what I write. I know the simple answers to those questions, but I’m hoping to reach a deeper level of understanding. If I succeed, I’ll share my reasons in a future post.

elle

How to Be a Better Goodreads User

Actually, the title of this post is a little ambitious because I’m still learning how to use Goodreads. For a couple of years, I’ve used Goodreads to catalogue the books I read. Of course, my shelves don’t include all the books I’ve read in my lifetime. Wouldn’t that be fantastic if I had such a list? My shelves show many of the books on my home shelves, plus books I don’t own, but remember reading in the last few years.

I haven’t caught up on rating all my books, and I don’t list books I couldn’t give at least three stars or didn’t finish. I haven’t reviewed most of the books on my shelves. It’s something I never gave much thought to until I became a published author. I thought reviewing should be left to professionals. Now, I realize I value more the opinions of readers like me.

Sometimes I’m incredibly slow to catch on. Personalized shelving is one thing I just caught on to at Goodreads. By default, your account has three bookshelves: Read, Currently-Reading, and To-Read. Until recently, I shelved my books only under these choices, but I noticed that readers had placed my book on other shelves. Finally, it dawned on me I could do the same thing with all the books I’d read.

When you look at your list of all books (My Books) you’ll see a list of your default bookshelves and below that the words add shelf. Duh! So now I have twenty-six specialized shelves and I’ll add more if needed. I’m in the process of sorting my books on these more descriptive shelves. You can place a book on several shelves. For instance, I shelved Anne Tyler’s latest, The Beginner’s Goodbye, as Read, Contemporary, and Literary.

If you haven’t done this, and would like to, just add appropriate shelves, then click on the book title. In the section labeled My Review, you’ll see where you’ve shelved the book already (probably read or to read) and you’ll also see the option to edit shelves. Click that and a drop down menu will show you all the shelves you’ve created. Select as many as appropriate.

There are other fun things to do on Goodreads. Befriend or become a “fan” of your favorite authors, attend author Q&A’s, enter book giveaways, join groups, vote for your favorite books on Listopia lists, compare your book lists with others, etc. Someday, maybe I’ll discover it all and be an excellent Goodreads user.

Does what you bring to a book matter?

If you give a group of writers a prompt, you might be amazed at the variety of tales that result. The same photo of a rose might inspire one to write about a first love, another to write about his mother’s funeral, and still another to write of a serial killer who leaves one in the hand of each victim. Your life experience influences what you write. In the same way, it influences how you read a book.

If you give a group of writers a prompt, you might be amazed at the variety of tales that result. The same photo of a rose might inspire one to write about a first love, another to write about his mother’s funeral, and still another to write of a serial killer who leaves one in the hand of each victim. Your life experience influences what you write. In the same way, it influences how you read a book.

My novel The Brevity of Roses has received a number of reviews, mostly at Amazon and Goodreads, and I’ve read them all. I didn’t think I would. I said I wouldn’t. I should have known I’d be too curious not to. I know reviews are meant for other readers, not the author, but the varied responses to the book I wrote interests me.

The latest reviewer wrote:

For the record, I am a 100% male reader. I am not a love story genre fan but I found this love story to be compelling.

The Brevity of Roses is NOT a romance novel. It is a thought provoking story of the love between people of different age groups and social backgrounds.

The writing is very well crafted. The characters are developed carefully and seem to spring to life. I felt like they were staring back at me from the page.

This fine debut novel is a story of complex relationships. The complexity level is dependent on the amount of thought given by the reader.

The emphasis on NOT was his. I assume he was disagreeing with the previous reviewer (on Amazon) who titled his review “A good romance novel”. I didn’t set out to write a romance novel, so I don’t view Brevity as one, but if some readers do, I understand that. And maybe it’s only a contradiction of terms; what one calls a love story, another calls a romance novel.

One thing I love about reading is the individuality of the transaction between the author and myself. I ask for a story, and the author gives me one, but I might not be able to drink every drop of the story the author tells. The author can only fill the glass I bring to it. To some extent, the size and shape of that glass determines the story I imbibe.

As a reader, I suspect that sometimes part of a story ran over the side of my glass and dribbled off my chin. What can I do? I drank what I could. As an author, certainly, I’m thankful for all my readers, dribblers or not, but I admit that the deeper they drink, the more gratifying that is.

Do you know the LibraryThing?

I’d read reference to LibraryThing several times before I finally checked it out. I had imagined it as a hangout for professional librarians, but it’s actually a place to catalogue your library and connect with other readers and authors, similar to Goodreads. Though not quite as intuitive, in my opinion.

I’d read reference to LibraryThing several times before I finally checked it out. I had imagined it as a hangout for professional librarians, but it’s actually a place to catalogue your library and connect with other readers and authors, similar to Goodreads. Though not quite as intuitive, in my opinion.

Accounts are free, but have a limit of adding 200 books to your shelf. A paid account is $10 a year or $25 lifetime, with no book limit. I set up a free account and imported my book list from Goodreads, but I’m still learning my way around. I’ve considering doing a giveaway there.

If you have a published book, it’s probably listed at LibraryThing, so you might want to check out your book and author pages. I haven’t added much to mine other than a photo, but evidently, any member can fill in information on your author page, so I check occasionally to make sure someone hasn’t entered wrong information about me. 🙂

The Brevity of Roses page is rather sparse with only two reviews, so I’m asking for your help. If you’ve reviewed my novel somewhere else, I’d be grateful if you’d copy and paste it to my book’s page at LibraryThing.

And while you’re at LibraryThing, please add me as a friend!