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!

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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.

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A Good Home, Blogger Friends, Blogging Community, Blogging Considerately, Book Reviews, Children's Books, New Books, Newly Released Books, Prize-winning Books, Tips for Blogging, Young Adult Books

Bloggers Helping Bloggers

It’s one of the big surprises of my writing life.

Discovering that becoming a blogger meant I was joining a worldwide community.  A community that cares, and helps.

I became a blogger because my daughters thought I needed to “get myself out there”. I was struggling with the effects of a head injury and damage to my body; I’d become ashamed of myself and extremely reclusive.

Blog Photo - Pink Phlox and Butterfly

Blogging helped pull me out of hiding by giving me pen-pals all over the world.  As I read their stories — or their comments on mine — we started getting to know and care about each other’s projects and well-being.  They inspired and uplifted me.

Bloggers also help each other in practical ways:

Tweeting: Some bloggers often/routinely retweet my (and others’) posts. Take a bow, Wendy MacDonald, Sally Cronin, Sarah Vernon, Tina Frisco, Annika Perry, D.G. Kaye and all of you who do this!

Reblogging: It’s a great compliment when followers reblog a post. Props to Sally Cronin; Chris (The StoryReadingApe); Marcia Meara;  Bernadette; and many others who do this routinely.

Blog Photo - Sally Cronin2
Sally Cronin

Helpful insights: Bloggers such as Gallivanta, Clare Pooley and Lavinia are likely to share a helpful insight, fact or contact in their comments. I always take note!

Writing Tips: Bloggers share tips to improve our writing — blogs or books. Props to Michael Dellert, Sue Uttendorfsky, and many others.

Connections: The best story I know is my own. Chris Graham connected me with Jo Robinson to illustrate Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A great partnership was born. I’ve been recommending Jo as an illustrator and editor ever since.

Author Services:  Jo, Kev Cooper,  Jeanne Balsam and others offer one or a range of services at affordable rates:  editing, design, illustration, publishing, promotions and promotional materials such as bookmarks and posters.

Recognition:  Blogger-reviewer-author Kev Cooper reads many books and started the Diamond Book Awards. Other bloggers give book/blog awards too.

Blog Photo - Diamond Book Award 2017

Promotions: Sally and Chris are the best I know, generously promoting what seems like hundreds of authors each year. How they find the time, I don’t know, but  — take a bow, you two!

Featuring other Bloggers: I do this on my blog, as do many others.

Blog Photo - Yvonne at Desk
Yvonne Blackwood

Blog Photo - Gift of memoir front cover

Blog Photo - Diane Taylor1
Diane Taylor

Deliberately Buying each other’s Books:   All my purchases/requested Christmas gifts from family are books from small presses and especially by indie authors who blog.  I borrow books by the big-name authors from the library.

Blog Photo - Sally Cronin book

Blog Photo - Maya and the book of everything

Blog Photo - Donna K Mind Book

Blog Photo - PS I forgive you.jpg

Giving feedback on Manuscripts: When the draft is done but you’re still not sure and a blogger gives feedback, that’s a major gift.

Reading and Reviewing each other’s books: When a blogger reads my book then reviews it on Goodreads, Amazon or even better – their own blog — that’s a gift! Take a bow, everyone who does this! Thanks to bloggers who’ve done this for me.

Blog Photo - Lavinia Album cover

Spreading the Word:  We spread the word about each other’s books in circles beyond blogging. Lavinia Ross and Gallivanta: Thank you for spreading the word about Myrtle in your own circles and beyond.

Praying/holding faith for each other: We celebrate other bloggers’ “wins”. Invariably, we also learn about their life struggles. When my husband was critically ill, bloggers around the world expressed concern. Many were praying. And when my blogger friends or loved ones face troubles, I do the same.

Been helped by bloggers or helped? Please share!

 

A Good Home, Arabella, Authors, Books, Famous people, Great books, Inspiration, Thanks

A Salute to These Kind, Fabulous Authors

A few weeks ago, I thanked all of you who’ve read my book,  A Good Home,  so far. (Many of you also take the time to send me letters and cards, which I love.)

But did I ever tell you about the authors who have also graced my journey? What a gift that’s been!

First, Louise Penny. This Canadian author is known for her Inspector Gamache/Three Pines mysteries.  Her lyrical, emotional, insightful writing has won several big awards and put her books on the New York Times bestseller list.

The day I discovered my first Louise Penny book was shortly after I’d turned in my latest feature story to Arabella Magazine. That feature story – written several years before – was titled Possession. It was about the deeply rooted hunger to possess precious things. Louise’s book, The Brutal Telling, was about a deeply-rooted hunger to possess precious things. I was amazed by the serendipity.

Blog - The Brutal Telling

Louise bravely explores that borderland place where the unexplained and the divine intersect with the here and now, the temporal. It’s something I try to do in some of my own writing.

But it was Louise’s own back story – and the similarities between her life and mine — that most surprised me.

We are, I discovered, both Ryerson graduates, both former CBC journalists. But that’s just the stuff that goes into resumes. As I read about her, I realized that we’d both also known what it was like to hit rock-bottom. I was still going through a harrowing fight against painful injuries from a car accident and the very painkillers that were meant to help me cope. Louise had fought a lengthy battle against alcoholism.

I took all these similarities as a sign from above – one of those borderland moments where the divine intersects with the temporal.  It was time, I decided, to get serious about the book I’d started writing a long time ago. But first, I wrote to Louise herself.

Blog - Louise Penny

“The publisher sent me the story layout for my final sign-off just one day before I started your book”, I wrote, referring to the Arabella story, “and as I read your novel, I thought – with a shiver – ‘this is another of my life’s unexplained coincidences’.”

She wrote me back right away: “We seem like sisters,” she said. “I’m glad you’ve discovered my books – and suspect you are a gifted, fabulous writer.”

Such kind encouragement. Louise’s next email contained advice for me as a would-be author. Before you send your manuscript to a publisher or agent, she urged, polish, polish, polish. It’s your one chance, so make it the best it can be.

As I neared the completion of the manuscript, other authors helped.

Blog - Yvonne Blackwood

Yvonne Blackwood, author of Into Africa: The Return, repeatedly helped me polish. She suggested small improvements throughout the text.

Lee Gowan, creative writing professor at the University of Toronto and author of Confession, paid me a precious compliment: he read the manuscript to his mother.

“It was a very moving experience, I can tell you,” Lee wrote.  “Often had a tear or two in my eyes and a hitch in my voice as I was trying to read through.” Lee also stopped me from editing out a whole section of the book that, it turns out, readers love.

Blog - Lee Gowan

When the book was completed, and in the hands of the publisher, I wanted to find out from an author what this next period would be like. Given my need to pace myself, and still attend therapy for long-term injuries, I wanted to make the best of limited resources. Enter Ann Preston, author of The No-Grainer Baker cookbook.

Blog - No Grainer Baker

She was introduced to me by a friend. Ann became a guardian angel, telling me what to expect, and, with her own book on its way to becoming a bestseller, sharing tips by the week.

Blog - Ann Preston

Jan Wong (who self-published her most recent book, Out of the Blue) had experienced both traditional and self publishing. She openly shared her experience with promoting and distributing her books, while I made notes of everything from postage rates for books to dealing with invitations for book readings.

Blog - Jan Wong

Authors Merilyn Simonds, Olive Senior and Donna Kakonge also encouraged me.

With wise words of support, small notes of caution, and precious bits of common-sense, these authors helped me to make A Good Home a success. Bravo and Thanks to them all.