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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

March 22, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Tag It

by Donna Huber

Today's tip was suggested to me by an author. I have mentioned it in passing a few times, but it is important so I wanted to devote a whole post to it. By doing this one thing you can increase traffic to your site, build relationships with authors/publishers, and better promote a title.

What is this mystery tip? It is simply contacting the author/publisher with the link to a post where you mention their book. Often the easiest way to do this is through Twitter or Facebook. Every time I write a review I tag the publisher and/or author on the tweet. If for some reason I cannot find a Twitter account or don't think they are active tweeters, I will post the link on their Facebook page. Most times my tweet is retweeted by the publisher and/or author and I see an increase in traffic from Facebook. I tagged @PenguinUSA when I posted about The Kama Sutra and that tweet was spread not only by Penguin but also many of their followers.

Now most publishers and authors are using something like Google Alerts to track mentions of themselves on the web. But Google Alerts does not capture everything or it can be a week or more behind. Contacting the author about their books appearing on my site has led to continued relationships. They will follow me on Twitter or Like my fan page on Facebook. Several have stopped by the blog to leave a comment. And I often show up on the list to review their next book.

It's not only your reviews that you should be tagging the author or publisher, but any time you mention them on your blog. I occasionally do favorite lists and I will send it to authors. If I mention the author in a video post, they may never know unless I let them know as the keywords are not there for the Google crawler to find.

Some authors I know well enough to exchange emails with and I will sometimes notify them in advance (when I know myself) they are being mentioned. I have noticed that a few of them will then do a blog post of their own and link to my blog. If you use NetGalley to receive review copies then including a link to the post is required and presumably the publisher has it, but still it's a good idea to tag it when you tweet or Facebook (it lets them know how active you are in promoting your blog and their book).

I've recently started something new when I email links to authors/publishers, I also include positive data about the post (number of comments, page views, etc.). I've only done it a couple of times (it's new so I haven't developed the habit yet), but the feedback is positive - they want to know this information.

In today's information saturation it is easy to find Twitter and Facebook accounts of authors and publishers. Most will have links on their websites or blogs or just type the authors name + Twitter into a search engine and it should pop right up.

Thank you, J. B. Lynn (author of Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman and The First Victim) for the Tip suggestion. If anyone else would like to suggest a topic for Tips on Thursday all you have to do is leave a comment (leave your twitter handle and I'll tag you when your topic is posted).

March 20, 2012

Hmmm: Doing Max Vinyl

Doing Max Vinyl (Annie Ogden Mystery #1) by Frederick Lee Brooke
Published April 2011
Read: March 2012

I was really looking forward to reading this book. After reading Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn, I wanted another fun, bit sassy, kick butt heroine in a gripping story of right and wrong and unearthing truths. Doing Max Vinyl sounded like it fit the bill. Annie Ogden just returned from several tours in Iraq. I pictured "shoot now, ask questions later" attitude with hints of vulnerability. Then there was the slick businessman hiding the criminal activities of his recycling business - I thought organized crime rumblings must be afoot in the environmental business.

What I got was a character who never fully became three dimensional to me and seemed to be regulated to secondary character more often than not (though the series is named after her). Max turned out to be a sniveling creep. I have no idea how he had brains enough to run a successful business with underhanded dealings. Though probably in his 30s he often acted much like a hormonal high school teenager.

You know how a person's habits may really grate on your nerves and it is usually habits you yourself have that you don't really like? Well, I think that was some of my problem with Doing Max Vinyl. I don't know who told me this about my writing but at some time during my school days I was told "why use 3 words when 1 will do" This became a mantra while reading this book. In all honesty, I think a good third of the book could have been edited out and you would have a much tighter, more sophisticated book.

The story did have great potential. When the story focused on the main plot and Annie it was great and I could almost forget the frustration I had with the story. But then the story would go off on a tangent. I'm all for plot lines that seem to be unrelated but in the end all come together. But that didn't happen. I know this is a series, but I thought it would be focused on the adventures of Annie Ogden a la Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Now I'm not sure how the series will play out. One plot thread seems concluded though it was an abrupt ending and I'm not sure I got enough resolution, but I also can't see it playing out further in another book.

Overall, Doing Max Vinyl left me shrugging my shoulders.

Add to Goodreads Shelf:
Doing Max Vinyl by Frederick Lee Brooke

Powell's Books
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March 19, 2012

Video Blog #8: Reading Ramblings



 You Are What You Wear by Jennifer Baumgartner
Most every woman has found herself with a closet full of too many clothes or surrounded by brand-new items that somehow never get worn. Instead she gets stuck wearing the same few familiar pieces from a wardrobe that just doesn Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner argues that all those things are actually manifestations of deeper life issues. What if you could understand your appearance as a representation of your inner unresolved conflicts and then assemble a wardrobe to match the way you wish to be perceived? In this fashion guide that is like no other, Dr. Baumgartner helps readers identify the psychology behind their choices, so they can not only develop a personal style that suits their identity but also make positive changes in all areas of life. From

Fire Mage by John Forrester
For centuries, mages perfected magic at the Order of the Dawn. Mastery over fire, wind, and storm. They live in the last free city in a world plagued by dark sorcerers.

Talis Storm and friend Mara discover a terrible secret. The Jiserian Empire has targeted their city for attack. An army of undead soldiers. Flying necromancers. None have ever survived.

When a surprise aerial invasion hits the Order’s temple, Talis casts fire magic for the first time. But his spell is wild and does more harm than good. Sorcerers try to capture Talis and Mara. They flee into the temple crypts. Awoken from an ancient rest, a fallen champion slays the sorcerers and gives Talis a legendary map. The map leads them on a quest to discover the lost temple of the sun.

To save his city, Talis must discover the power of magic locked away inside the ancient temple. And become a true fire mage. From
In My Mailbox:

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll

Simple rules for a successful, intentional life approached in a no-nonsense manner with a solid, scriptural foundation.
Luci Swindoll, a beloved Women of Faith speaker for sixteen years and a distinctive Christian voice in writing and speaking for thirty years, gives readers common-sense rules to live by. These are rules we may know but don't often use-because we don't think about them.
Luci's book places these practical rules in one small, well-organized, fun-to-read compendium that can be referred to again and again.
The 50 simple "secrets" are in five parts:

  • Beginning with the Basics
  • Developing Your Style
  • Achieving Balance
  • Living a Good Life
  • Staying Connected
 "Simple Secrets to a Happy Life" is sure to delight readers-from young people needing advice from a friendly voice to older readers who realize they still don't have it all right.

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