Time-Saving Tip for Book Bloggers (and the Authors Who Find Them)

Time of Essence

Thank God for book bloggers, and additional thanks for bloggers who can and do accept book review requests from authors. Readers and authors all over appreciate you and your efforts!

Of course, book bloggers have lives outside of reading and blogging, and sometimes even bloggers who wish they could accept more requests have to take breaks.

Now, I’m sure I’m not the only author around who carefully reads bloggers’ review policies before sending requests. Bloggers who have too much on their plates can cut down on emails or submissions from authors like me by a simple edit to their review policy pages: adding a statement saying that they are not currently taking review requests. Many bloggers do it, and I think more bloggers should.

I’m not an expert on blogging platforms, but from my experience on WordPress, I know it takes just a couple minutes to make a quick edit on a page at my site. internet-mdIt’s also possible to hide forms on some pages. Bloggers who take requests through submission forms may be able to hide the forms while submissions are closed, saying something on the page like, “If the submission form does not appear below, I am not currently taking requests.” The form can be made visible again when submissions reopen.

This may not seem like a huge time saver if you’re a blogger who doesn’t yet receive many review requests, but managing the amount of emails coming to your inbox will become more important as you post more reviews, your blog readership increases, and more authors begin to find you.

Also, as a help to authors, bloggers should indicate their closed submissions at the top of their review policy pages, as opposed to at the end or in the middle somewhere.

An author–especially a new one or one who’s trying to build a list of reviewers for the first time–will likely need to make, or may have already made, requests to (literally) hundreds of different bloggers for a single book. Such a search takes months, a great amount of hours, and a measure of mental and visual fatigue can set in. It eats into an author’s time to read through a policy, especially one on the lengthier side, just to find a little note at the bottom saying that that particular blogger isn’t accepting any requests.

I’m not sure what to say about authors who skip or disregard review policies before sending requests to bloggers (besides saying that their doing so is a bad idea!) But for authors and bloggers who respect each other’s time, this tip can save some for all of us.

 

The Beauty of My Shadow by S.D. Michael

Solid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frame

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book on Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

The Beauty of My ShadowThe Beauty of my Shadow: A Story of Strength by S.D. Michael

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The Beauty of My Shadow shows us what a process making lemonade out of life’s lemons can be: sometimes a lengthy process, yes, but a worthy one. S.D. Michael is determined not to be a victim of a serious, life-changing accident but a survivor of it—yet, her story makes no attempt to sound like it’s being written by some perfect angel who instantly learns every noble lesson possible from her traumatic experiences as they come. No, Michael fesses up to her humanness, and the primary tense of her memoir allows us to see her grow through the progression of her story. To me, the most poignant line comes when Michael, speaking of Doris, says, “I miss her and always have,” and I literally applauded while reading the author’s discoveries in the last chapter. Plus, I’m a big proponent of books including pictures.

I can only imagine things like having pieces of glass locked into my skin for years, or needing to tell myself, “Yes, you really are crying” because I’ve lost the ability to produce tears of emotion to accompany my weeping, only a sampling of what Michael goes through as a result of her head injury. It’s interesting reading about all of the “parallels” she notices over the course of her journey and how she does not chalk them up to coincidence but to destiny. I know what name, or several names, I would give to the “director” who seems to be leading the author forward as she’s making decisions regarding her purpose.

There are moments in the memoir when the telling of some details seems repetitive, but this could be a result of the course of Michael’s journey, how the steps had to build upon each other, and it’s likely that if one particular detail hadn’t been repeated as much, I probably wouldn’t have been applauding by the end. Michael’s goal of pursuing prevention over punishment and making the best she can for others out of the hand she’s been dealt can serve as an inspiration for many.

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Note for my blog readers: this memoir contains a minimal amount of profanity.

 

More Than Paper, Ink, or a Quick Digital Download

Books Are ArtI. Love. Books. And I realize the value I place on literature. It’s such delectable art!

I’m not old. Perhaps, though, I might be old school when it comes to books. As far as formats go, hardbacks are my all-time favorite to have and are rather a luxury for me. I mostly read paperbacks (often engaging in page-sniffing page-flipping), and I’ll read an ebook here or there. During my book shopping days from adolescence to adulthood, I’ve never viewed my book purchases only as money dished out for paper, ink, printing costs, etc. When I’m buying books, I’m investing currency in return for the literature other human beings have written, not for the mere paper and ink from printing machines.

After all, if I just wanted a stack of paper and some ink, I could get it from Staples, or from Dunder Mifflin Sabre. [Insert laughter here.]

Old schoolish as I may be, and the fervent believer in hard copies that I am, I don’t see the ebooks I download as inherently less valuable than print books, since it’s the literature–the words, the ideas, the questions, the stories–that I’m after. That’s not to say I’m an expert on book pricing, though of course I’m aware that varied production costs do play a factor in the business of setting prices on books. I also know there’s absolutely no such thing as a good book or ebook that’s written, polished, and published for free. In whatever format it’s produced in, it costs somebody (and teams of somebodies) worthy hours, dollars, lifeblood, and life to get a piece of literature out there for humanity to consume, and I’m just one reader who thinks if I or other folks in my little neck of the woods and beyond can pay 3-5 bucks for one cup of Starbucks, or $5-$10 for one fast food meal or a single movie ticket, then surely I can invest that much for literature, for all that it does to enhance and impact my experience on earth.

Goodness, classes at my university required a pretty penny (quite a pret-ty penny) for books I didn’t even want sometimes. 😀 So imagine my gratefulness for access to books I actually look forward to reading on my own.

Gee. If I spent less time on social media and more time with my nose back in my books, I might not have any notion of my being old school, here. I’ve got the notion, nonetheless. C’est la vie.

 

Why Write (Let Alone Publish)?

Computer_keyboardHey. This whole “author” bit is no joke.

I’m not only self-published but also traditionally published, which for me (and, I hear tell, for many authors) has turned out to be much of the same work as self-publishing but with less control over important details like book pricing. I recently read a writer’s blog post on which one commenter was venting her understandable frustration over the publishing process, as she wanted to get her work out there but was short on funds and resources for editing, cover design, and the like. It sounded as if she was on the verge of throwing in the towel, and I know she’s not the only writer around who has faced similar issues.

“How many rejections should I take from traditional publishing houses before I find and pull together other resources to go a different route?”

“How many years should it take to determine whether my writing career is successful, not-so-successful but still promising, or if it’s pretty much a waste of time?”

“There’s an ever-increasing number of how-to’s for publishing popping up all over the place, and some of them contradict each other on key points. How long will it take to determine if the plan I’m going with just needs more time to kick in, or if I’ve gone with the wrong plan?”

I can see why an untold number of authors have stuffed their manuscripts into drawers and have gone on about their businessother business, besides writing.

I know what it feels like to have your work rejected by acquisitions editors. I know what it feels like to have issues with your publisher. I know what it feels like to be low on publishing funds. And it only takes a little look through history and a quick search on Google to see that many an author has been through all of this.

Yet, I determined early on specifically why it is that I write, and it’s important for every writer to do the same.

I am of the firm belief that I wouldn’t have any words to share if no one else in the world would need them. There is a demand somewhere, in space and time, for my supply. Other authors’ literature has done so much for me, and my literature will in turn do much for the individuals who need it. As long as I have vital words to share, there must be a way for my words to get out there.

So, I write books. Somebody’s going to need them.book-textbook

No Pulitzer Prizes, Nobel Prizes, or New York Times bestsellers as of yet, here. No tours of fame or colossal fortunes made. I’m not counting myself out for any of those things, to be sure, but prizes, fame, and fortune have never been my supreme goals, where my writing is concerned. I write because I honestly believe that’s what I’m in this universe to do, and my aspiration is for my words to help people: bringing hope, changing minds, expanding imagination, providing entertainment, and saving lives, all of which other authors’ books have done for me.

It used to bother me to get “hurrahs” and pats on the back from people for the way I’ve diligently pursued writing when those people don’t accordingly procure any of my books, or others procure them with little to no intention of actually reading them. It was upsetting because I don’t write to be pat on the back. I don’t write to merely sell books. I write to be read. So, of course, I had to remind myself that things take time, and people’s minds and finances are in different places. Some folks will get or read my books when they can, and other folks, as much as I may love them and they may love me, may never be all that interested in my books because those individuals are simply not my audience, and they don’t have to be. In one way or another, my words do and will get to my true audience: the people who are meant to read or hear and be helped by what I have to say. That’s that.

Moreover, as I aspire to help people, if I’m honest with myself, I realize that I’ve already been doing that. Whenever someone reads a book or two of mine and lets me know what it’s done for them, I can check that off: “Mission accomplished.” Added to that, I’ve experienced so much in my literature for myself: pure joy and utter ecstasy that some people never find in life. In doing what I’m designed to do, I have already lived more intensely, more beautifully, and more incredibly than a number of people ever do from the time they’re born to the time they die. No one can ever take that away from me.

So, if you’re experiencing discouragement anywhere in your writing, publishing, and book business process, feel free to revisit the specific reason, or reasons, why you (the individual) write, and think twice or thrice before you throw in that towel. Somebody, somewhere, is going to need what you’ve written.