Monthly Archives: September 2014

5 Ways that Indie Authors Have Successfully Wooed This Book Blogger

When I first started reading books and blogging about them I was terribly naïve about the difference between a traditionally published book and a self-published book.  I just read what I thought appealed to me through descriptions of the book and reviews on Goodreads.  The same thing happened when I requested a book through NetGalley, Edelweiss or agreed to participate in a blog tour.  I just chose what I thought I might like without looking at who the publisher was or, for that matter, without even really reading anything about the author.  For once my naivete actually paid off, because with this method I have stumbled upon some fabulous Indie and small press authors and their fantastic books.

So I have compiled 5 ways that self-published and small press authors have wooed me into reviewing their books:

1. Email:

It’s a very simple thing, but all of the Indie authors I have agreed to review books for have sent me anemail email.  And not just any email, but a nice one, that uses my name.  I am a narcissist like that, I like to see my name in print.  But seriously, the Indie authors I have chosen to work with have sent along an email that was addressed to me, acknowledged my review policy and actually gave me some details that showed they had looked around my site. I recently heard a comment from an Indie author in which he stated that he needed to figure out what makes a blogger “tick.”  Quite frankly, it doesn’t take much.  All bloggers like to get personalized emails and not generic mass messages that feel more like spam than a review request.

2. Paperback or Hardcover:

The Indie authors that have successfully wooed me have waved a physical book in front of my face.  I don’t want to be disparaging to authors who only publish e-books, but as “The Book Binder’s Daughter” I really do open_bookprefer an actual book.  It lets me know that the author is serious about his or her craft and takes pride in his or her creation.  I recognize that an Indie author will go through a great deal of trouble and expense to pay for and have a book printed.  Many of the Indie books I have received also have gorgeous covers to go along with the book.  I understand that having the right artwork created for a book can also be a very pricey and lengthy process.

3. Editing:

pen-hiThe Indie authors that I have recently swooned over have gone through a lot of trouble having their books professionally edited.  A poorly edited book is every reader’s nightmare.  The last two Indie books I read were some of the most professionally edited books I have read from any source.  Not only were the usual typos and grammatical errors absent, but the writing was mellifluous and the storylines interesting.  Since Indie authors are probably paying an editor per word, I am not surprised that they make every word count.

4. Social Media:

The Indie authors I have had the greatest connection with have a presence on social media.  This may seem like another simple thing, but I am still very surprised when an author does not have a Twitter or Facebook.  I recently saw a conversation between two bloggers who were complaining that a particular author they admired did not have a Twitter.  It’s not that bloggers are author groupies or stalkers, but we would like to connectFollowMe-Logo-lrg with those whose works we are taking the time to review.  I have found that Indie authors not only engage me on social media, but will also retweet, share, like and favorite my content that I put out there into cyber space.  It’s a small gesture, but by “liking” a post or “sharing” it with their own followers, authors show me that they value the time and effort I put in to reading and blogging.

5. The Ending:

The Indie books that I have raved about lately all have a fantastic ending.  I do not mean that the endings were necessarily epic or mind-blowing.  But all of the major themes in the books were tied up and the ending The Endmade me wanting more from these authors.  This shows me they didn’t rush it and that, once again, there was a lot of meticulous and painstaking editing that went into the process.  Indie authors and those working with a small press do not have a team of experts at their disposal.  As a result of my recent experiences, I believe that Indie and small press authors are some of the most hardworking, brave and gracious people I have ever met.

So there you have it, my two cents about Indie authors.  I know that many book bloggers will not even consider reviewing self-published books.  Authors, do you have a hard time getting bloggers to review your books?  Readers, do you decide to read a book based on how it’s published?  I would love hear everyone’s thoughts.

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Review: Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Juliet's NurseI enjoy stories that are retellings of classics, so I was delighted when I had the chance to review a book that narrated the Romeo and Juliet story from the nurse’s point of view.  This story begins with Angelica and her husband Pietro who are peasants living in 14th century Verona.  Although they are poor, they love each other dearly and have had a wonderful life raising 6 boys.  When the plague claims the lives of all of their children, they think they will never have the chance to rear another.  One night Angelica experiences sudden abdominal pains and she discovers that she is in labor but never realized she was pregnant.  After days of grueling labor Angelica gives birth to a baby girl, whom she is told is stillborn.

Pietro, in order to give Angelica some physical and emotional comfort, finds her employment as a wet-nurse for an upper class family who had a daughter born on the same day as Angelica’s. Angelica immediately falls in love with little Juliet and cares for her like she is her own.  The entire first part of the story describes the first three years of Juliet’s life, and develops the strong bond that nurse and child share.  I was a little disappointed that Romeo does not make an appearance until about two-thirds into the novel.

I also thought that the diction and word choice in the novel was strange.  The book is written in modern, not Shakespearean, English but the author inserts some Shakespearean language randomly into the text.  It was distracting to read phrases like “by my troth” or  words like “perchance.”   The last third of the novel, when the traditional story of Romeo and Juliet emerges, is particularly full of such Shakespearean language.

The strength of this novel lies in the details it provides about 14th century Italy.  Loveen describes the Cappelletti palace, the clothes of the upper class and the rich banquets that lords use to entertain.  We are also given a glimpse of what it would have looked like to walk around the city and visit its markets and its Duomo.  Juliet’s Nurse helped me to image better the setting of Shakespeare’s Verona.

This book also fills in the story of two characters, Tybalt and the Friar, who linger in the background of Romeo and Juliet.  Tybalt is a caring and sensitive boy who craves parental attention since his own are absent.  He also has a raging temper and fiercely wants to defend his family’s honor.  The Friar is a funny character who tries to do his priestly duties, but also looks out for his own greedy interests.

If you want another, unique perspective of the Romeo and Juliet story, then JULIET’S NURSE is definitely worth giving a try.  Do you like to read retellings of classic stories?  Let me know in the comments!

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Review, Giveaway and Author Q&A: The Poet’s Wife by Rebecca Stonehill

I received an advanced review copy of The Poet’s Wife from the publisher through NetGalley.  Please read my review, enter to win your own copy (open internationally) and read my Q&A with the author Rebecca Stonehill.

My Review:

The Poet's WifeThe Poet’s Wife is the narrative of one family’s struggle during the tumultuous years of the Spanish Civil War and the time following.  The book alternates between 3 different points of view.  The first character to speak is Luisa, who grows up in a wealthy, upper-class home in Spain.  She is expected to marry and have a family and really not do anything else with her life.  Her parents have almost given up on her to spinsterhood, when a dashing young poet named Eduardo takes a fancy to her.  Luisa’s parents are not thrilled with the prospect of their daughter marrying a man who claims he is a poet, but his family is wealthy and so they capitulate.

The part of Luisa’s narrative describes her marriage to Eduardo, the large family they have, and their interaction with two women who are considered gypsies and live on the outskirts of society.  The  book highlights a lot of social issues that Spain faces in the 20th century.  Gypsies are considered outcasts and it is dangerous for Eduardo and Luisa to befriend gypsies, but they do it anyway.

The next part of the narrative is from the point of view of Eduardo and Luisa’s daughter, Isabel.  This part of the story covers the period of Civil War in Spain and a great deal of the text is spent on explaining the political factions that are warring with each other.   Eduardo and Luisa are hopeful that Spain with end up with a republican government, but when the Facists take over the country the family struggles to keep out of danger.  Isabel has some freedoms that are not allowed to her mother, such as her occupation of nursing.  When she is working at a hospital, Isabel falls in love with and marries an Englishman named Henry.

The final piece of the book is told through the eyes of Isabel and Henry’s daughter, Paloma.  Out of all of the women in the book, Paloma has the most liberty and rights and the author makes it a point to trace the freedom of Spain and the freedom of women throughout the narrative.  Paloma attends university and travels, both of which her mother and grandmother never would have dreamed.

THE POET’S WIFE is full of details about Spanish history, culture, and traditions.  I have not seen very many historical novels that deal with this time period in Spanish history.  If you want something that is a little different and rich with political deals of the era then give THE POET’S WIFE a try.

Giveaway:
The author and publisher are giving away an ebook copy of The Poet’s Wife.  This giveaway is open Internationally.  Please leave a comment below and just let me know you want to win!  It’s that easy!  The giveaway ends on 10/9.  Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond.
The Winner of this giveaway is: Sarah H.  Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

 

About The Author:
Rebecca-Stonehill-author-photoI’m Rebecca Stonehill, author of The Poet’s Wife and creative writing teacher.

I’m from London but currently live in Nairobi with my husband and three children where I teach creative writing to school children. Many years ago, I spent eighteen months living in Granada, completely falling in love with it and being inspired to write The Poet’s Wife. I have also had many short stories published, including in Vintage Script, What The Dickens magazine and Ariadne’s Thread.

The Poet’s Wife is my debut novel and I am currently working on my second book, set in Kenya.

Author Q&A:
 1. In the story, Eduardo so desperately wants to be a poet and earn his living this way. But he spends more of his time working as a lawyer to pay the bills. Why did you use the title “The Poet’s Wife”? Were there other working titles you had in mind?

Before being signed up by Bookouture, the novel was called ‘In the shade of the orange tree.’ It was decided that ‘The Poet’s Wife’ had more of an emotional hook to draw readers in whereas the significance of the orange tree only becomes apparent upon reading the book.

Although Eduardo never received the recognition he would have liked with his poetry, along with his family and Federico García Lorca, it was the great passion and joy of his life and he identified far closer with this than with his career as a lawyer.

2. Historical fiction that is set in Spain does not seem to be as popular as historical fiction set in other parts of the world. What made you choose Spain and, in particular, this period of history in Spain?

I have loved Spain for many years. When I was in my early twenties, my father moved there and I longed to be able to speak the language which I found incredibly beautiful and lyrical to listen to. So I packed up my belongings and headed out to Andalucia, spending time with my father in Malaga then going to Seville where I did a CELTA course (learning how to teach English). I finally settled in Granada for a year and a half. I completely fell in love with this city and the more I became immersed in the language and the culture, I also started to hear fragments of information about the civil war that ravaged the country before the Second World War. It was very clear that although it had ended so long ago, it was still a taboo and there’s nothing like a taboo for a nosey aspiring writer to start asking questions! The more I found out about it, the more I knew there was a story there, particularly as it’s a fascinating slice of modern European history that I don’t feel people from my native UK in particular know much about, despite more Brits visiting Spain on holiday than any other nation.

3. All of the female characters in this book are strong women who maintain a positive outlook even under dire circumstance. Why did you choose to tell the story through the eyes of Eduardo’s wife, daughter and granddaughter?

My first few drafts of the novel were divided between Isabel’s first person narrative and a third-person narrative. I knew it wasn’t there yet and eventually sought the advice of an authors’ advisory service. The first thing that was suggested to me was that I try to re-write it in three first-person voices. This was a huge undertaking but definitely worth it – suddenly the characters became more authentic, owning their voices and experiences and the novel as a whole benefitted hugely from this shake-up.

4. When you are not writing, what types of books do you like to read? Is there a favorite book that you have read in the past year that has really stuck with you?

I live in Nairobi and good, reasonably priced books are not all that easy to come by here, so I tend to read novels that people lend me or that I find in the local mitumba’s (flea markets), rather than going with the current fiction trends. That being said, I do also haul lots of books back from the UK when I visit in the summer. I enjoy reading widely and out of my comfort zone as well as for sheer pleasure. A few books that I have loved this past year and really stand out are Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie which I’m sure will be remembered as one of the finest novels of the decade, The Stolen Girl by Renita D’Silva (also published by Bookouture) which insightfully and sensitively potrays exile, deception and bulimia and Ghostwritten by David Mitchell which I found nothing short of astonishing.

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Filed under Author Interviews, Giveaways, Historical Fiction

Review and Giveaway: Behind You by Carly Duncan

I am so pleased to welcome Pump Up Your Books to The Book Binder’s Daughter with a fantastic suspense novel by Carly Duncan.  Please read my review of Behind You, enter to win your own copy, learn a bit more about the author and look at the other stops on Carly’s tour.

My Review:

Behind You by Carly DuncanI admit that I jumped on the Gone Girl bandwagon and read the book when my book club picked it to discuss last year.  Quite honestly I thought it was a terrible book, with vapid and morally bankrupt characters, uninteresting writing and a disappointing ending.  BEHIND YOU is a MUCH better book than Gone Girl in the mystery/suspense genre and if you have the choice forgot about Gone Girl and read BEHIND YOU instead.

When the book opens, Heather is in the shower and thinks she hears someone in her apartment.  Is she being paranoid, or is there an intruder in her midst?  She wakes up later in the hospital hooked up to all sorts of machines as her family visits her one by one.  The story is told from alternating points of view that include Heather, her husband, mother, father, aunt and sister.

The way that Carly Duncan slowly unravels this tale is brilliant as each chapter left me gasping and wanting more.  One by one, the family member’s secrets are revealed as they relate to Heather and her “accident.”  Which one of them might be  guilty of hurting Heather?

The characters that Carly Duncan develops in this book are all deeply flawed in some way and have a hard time forging strong relationships with one another.  Heather’s mother has spent time in a mental institution after she tried to kill herself, Heather’s husband never seems to be as much enamored of Heather as he is for her sister Elizabeth, and Heather’s sister seems to drink a bit too much.  This family barely tolerates each other and they put up with one another’s annoying flaws simply because they are blood relatives, but there is no love lost among them.

No matter which genres you prefer to read, I highly recommend that you put BEHIND YOU on your “must-read” list.  The flawless prose and the  page-turning story line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

About the Author:
Carly M. DuncanCarly M. Duncan is a television producer by day and a writer whenever there is time. Her first short story was published when she was in high school after a writing group prompted her to begin blogging before it was cool. Carly’s debut novel, Marcie, was released in 2013. Though she’ll forever be a California girl at heart, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two children and beloved Westie. Connect with her on her website: http://www.carlyduncan.com/

Giveaway:
As far as I am concerned, everyone should have his or her own copy of this book. I am giving away MY OWN paperback copy of the book. Leave a comment for me that you want to WIN. That’s it! I could not make it easier! This giveaway is open to everyone in the US and Canada and will run until 10/3. I will notify the winner via email and he or she will have 48 hours to respond.

The winner of this giveaway is Janey S.  Thanks for everyone who entered!

Behind You Blog Tour:
Tuesday, September 2
Interview by Blogcritics

Wednesday, September 3
First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Thursday, September 4
Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Friday, September 5
Interview at As the Page Turns

Monday, September 8
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, September 11
Interview at CBY Book Club

Friday, September 12
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, September 15
Guest Blogging at Authors and Appetizers

Wednesday, September 17
Book Review at Fundinmental

Thursday, September 18
Guest Blogging at My Book Addiction and More
Book Review at My Book Addiction Reviews

Friday, September 19
Book Review at Not Everyone’s Mama

Monday, September 22
Book Review at Bound 4 Escape
Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Tuesday, September 23
Book Feature at Booklover Sue

Wednesday, September 24
Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Book Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Review at Doing Some Reading

Thursday, September 25
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Friday, September 26
Book Review at Book by Book

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Stuck In A Good Book Blog Hop

StuckinaGoodBook Hop

I am happy to be participating in the latest blog hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Val at Stuck in Books.  I am offering a $25 Amazon Gift Card so that you can buy either your own hardcover, a couple of paper back books, or several e-books.

Amazon $25

I love it when I am reading a book that is so good that I lose all track of time and forget what’s going on around me.  I’ve even burned dinner a few times because I’ve been stuck in a good book.  I will give you suggestions of some of my favorite books that I have gotten “stuck” in lately.  Then I invite you to scroll down and enter the giveaway.

1. Literary Fiction: The Naïve Guys by Harry Patz

I just finished this book a few weeks ago and it was funny and poignant at the same time. I would classify THE NAIVE GUYS not just as literary fiction, but also as historical fiction because of its accurate depiction of life in the early 90’s in New York.  Mark, the main character, is trying to figure out his life and career now that the easy days of college are behind him.  Click here for my full review

 

2. Historical Fiction: Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Ever since I read this book I have been fascinated with the works of Picasso.  This book is told from the point of view of one of his lovers, Eva Gouel.  This book is about love, inspiration, history and art.  If you like a Parisian setting in the early 20th century this is a must read.  Click here for my full review.

 

3. Classics: Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb

Journey by MoonlightThis is a book that I have actually gotten “stuck” in on more than one occasion.  The main character is sick of doing what his family, friends and society expect of him.  When he goes to Italy on a honeymoon with his wife he gets “lost” in many different ways.  This book kept me guessing the fate of the main character until the very end.  Click here for my full review.

Please click on this Entry-Form to enter to win the $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Giveaway ends on 9/25 and the winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond.  Thanks so much for stopping by my site.  If you like what you see please follow The Book Binder’s Daughter via e-mail so you don’t miss a review or giveaway!

 

Click here to see the other blogs participating in this hop!

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Filed under Classics, Giveaways, Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction