A Good Home, Books

Buy Indie, Borrow the Big Bestsellers

A few Christmases ago, when my loved ones asked what I “really” wanted for Christmas, I gave them a list of book titles.  All were by Indie authors, or published by Indie/small presses. Some had multiple reviews, some only one or two. 

blog photo - what we hold in our hands by kim aubrey
What We Hold in Our Hands
blog photo - book cover teresa madeleno
“Girl Power” by Teresa Madeleno
blog photo - book cover valerie wint- the longer run
The Longer Run by Valerie Wint

And when I chose gifts for special occasions, it was either a potted bulb or a book by an Indie author, or both. (Sometimes, a bottle of wine replaced the plant.)

I’ve continued that pattern.

blog photo - crossing limbo by shane josephs
Crossing Limbo by Shane Joseph

Where suitable, I also read excerpts to the Memoir-writing group that I coach. It’s important to celebrate strong, but lesser-known writers.

Oh, I read the big bestsellers by the famous authors. But I’m not part of that club and they won’t miss my purchase. I have limited funds; I choose to support authors whose books are published by tiny presses, or by themselves.

blog photo - fortunate isle book cover
Fortunate Isle by Ronald MacKay

The way I see it, the bigtime authors will still get my support, via the public library.  Local libraries are among my favourite places on earth and librarians are stars. I borrow the famous books there.

But Indie authors and presses need my money. 

blog photo - book cover shirley harris slaughter

blog photo - shirley harris slaughter
Shirley Harris- Slaughter

I don’t buy any-and-all Indie books, of course. I pass over badly-written books, ones with too many typos, or whose subject or plot doesn’t appeal to my taste. 

But I buy books by bloggers whose writing I admire, books by members of my authors’ group, or ones whose reviews (often by other bloggers or word-of-mouth) make them worth the money.

blog photo - dog bone soup by bette stevens
Dog Bone Soup by Bette A Stevens

I need to do more reviews, though. One night recently, I remembered: I hadn’t reviewed some of the Indie books I had read earlier. So I reread them and posted the first reviews online. (More later.)

As I write, I’ve just finished reading two books, one borrowed from the library (Julian Barnes’ prize-winning The Sense of an Ending) and Laurie Graves’ Indie-published Library Lost, which I bought. Both compelled my attention; both were superbly written.

blog photo - library lost by laurie graves
Library Lost by Laurie Graves

Library Lost is the second in the Maya and the Book of Everything series. Brilliantly plotted with well-drawn characters, both books have delightful twists and turns. 

I love a well-written book, and I know how difficult it is to produce one. When a good book is also produced by an independent author or small press, I appreciate it even more.

 

 

 

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A Good Home, Authors, Books

When an Author Has a New Book

In Canada, autumn is when a lot of new books are released.

But completing a book, and publishing it, can take an author years. It’s a huge achievement.

Blog Photo - Lee Gowan Book cover

Blog Photo - Yvonne Blackwood book cover

So you can imagine that when a writer releases a new book, messages of support and encouragement matter – a lot.

“Congrats! How may I find out more about it?”

“Wow! I’m happy for you!”

“Where can I buy it?”

“What can I do to help you spread the word?”

“I’ll recommend it to my local library.”

Blog Photo - Laurie's book covers

It’s the way to an author’s heart.

Writing is a lonely act. And when it’s done, you hope the book is great, but you secretly fear others will think it’s awful.  So when others deem my book worthy of buying?  Wow.  I’m honoured.

Book Cover - An Honest House

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By the way:  If you’ve bought and read someone’s book (and especially if you liked it), a short review on Amazon — or a blog, or social media — helps. 

Blog Photo - Robbie Cheadle new book

Blog Photo - Bette Stevens Book Cover

Explain why you like the book and why you are recommending it to others.  And if there’s something you didn’t like, say so as well. That’s really all you have to do!

~~

There are some responses that will disappoint an author with a brand-new book:

1: “You know, I’ve always wanted to write a book on that same topic. Maybe I still should.”

2: Start talking about the book you’ve already written that’s so similar, then ask: “Can you help me get my book published?” 

3: “I wrote a book just like that and I didn’t sell many copies. But I wish you luck.”

It’s not that you shouldn’t say any of the above. (Most authors are happy to help others.) But not as a first response. Take the time to acknowledge their achievement first.

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Please join me in congratulating three more authors who have written new books in recent months:

Jill Weatherholt, author of Second Chance Romance, has published “A Father for Bella”. Jill describes her books as “stories of love, faith and happy endings”.

Blog Photo - Jill Weatherholt Second Chance Romance - CoverBlog Photo - Jill Weatherholt A-Father-For-Bella - Cover

Annika Perry has published The Storyteller Speaks, a compelling mix of short stories, poetry and flash fiction. Annika says the one common thread that binds them all is“the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Blog Photo - Annika Perry The Storyteller Speaks - Cover

And, coming soon from Toronto author Nadia Hohn, is Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter.  Written for young readers, this illustrated book follows the much-praised Malaika stories.

Blog Photo - Nadia Hohn Harriet Tubman book cover

Congrats, authors! I’m happy for you!

Cynthia.

A Good Home, Books, Children's Books, Young readers

A Trio of Thanks!

Thank you:

To sweet Lukas and his parents for this photo.

Isn’t that a great reaction to Myrtle?

Blog Photo - Lukas reacts to Myrtle

To blogger Solo Mom Takes Flight (Sarah Pittard) for this lovely photo of her daughter, the kind review, and her mention of my wonderful older daughter   here.

Blog Photo - Daughter of Sarah P with Myrtle

And to Chip Barkel, writer and realtor, for including Myrtle in his blog post about the colour of the year. Though it’s my first time seeing purple coconut macaroons, what a delightful idea!

Blog Photo - Purple coconut macaroons

Thank you all.

#loveyourshell

A Good Home, Book Honours, Book Readers, Books, Must-read books of the year

Myrtle Makes “The List”

The news today is that Myrtle has made “The List” — CQI Magazine’s list of must-read books. This is thrilling news indeed and we are very grateful.

At the end of the year, I also want to warmly acknowledge:

  • Reviewers and journalists who’ve shone a spotlight on Myrtle the Purple Turtle and helped make it a bestseller
  • Book-buyers who purchased a copy for their family, friends, local schools, libraries and charities — and some who sent me such delightful photos
  • Teachers who are using Myrtle to instil in their students the value of compassion, respect, self-acceptance and friendship 
  • Librarians who have bought copies of the book for their members
  • All of you who have supported my family and illustrator Jo Robinson along our unusual journey to publishing the story of Myrtle. That includes you — my blogging, Facebook and Twitter friends, who have cheered us on.

THANK YOU!

I wish you a healthy and rewarding new year.