Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sparkle Abbey: You Can Quote Us

We’re thrilled that Cheryl is letting us stop by to chat today. Our stop is part of a blog tour which, in some ways, is even more fun than a regular tour. For instance: we don’t have to leave home, we can visit so many more places in a short time, and we can travel in our yoga pants. Other than those details, it’s a lot like a regular tour in that we get the opportunity to meet and chat with great people who love books!

Those of us who love books appreciate the power of the written word. We know words can connect us, make us think, and even inspire us. With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media it seems like memes and inspiring quotations are everywhere. It often seems to us that they show up just when you need them.

Of course, since we write a mystery series featuring a pet therapist and a pet boutique owner, the pet-themed ones always get our attention. “Try to be the person your dog thinks you are.” is one of our favorites. “Live everyday like someone left the gate open.” is another and, though we don’t know the source of the quote, it seems like great advice. Get out there and enjoy the day!

We can across these words recently on a car parked in our library parking lot. We stopped to take a picture of the window sticker. Wouldn’t life be improved all around us if everyone wagged more and barked less?

Some quotes are from famous people. Business icons like Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Or music legends like John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Their words carry weight. They have street cred. They were successful in what they set out to accomplish.

Love this quote from Danny Kaye, “Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint you can on it.” A little bit different take on, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” But it says it well, doesn’t it? Live “all in.” Whatever you choose to do, throw your heart into it!

Other quotations serve as reminders. We know certain things but sometimes we need to be reminded. One of our favorites is: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” and is attributed to Thomas Edison. We know our opportunities improve the harder we work, but this colorful and to the point saying is a memorable reminder.

This quote from Jim Rohn was spotted as a post to competition dancers, but it applies just as easily to writers or really any of us with a specific goal we are trying to accomplish. It’s great to have a goal, but what we need to achieve it is discipline. What a great reminder!

How about you? Do you have a favorite quote? One that inspires you, makes you laugh, or encourages you when you need it? Please share it with us! We’ll draw from all those who comment for a free gift of any Sparkle Abbey book in the series.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They’ve chosen to use Sparkle Abbey as their pen name on this series because they liked the idea of combining the names of their two rescue pets – Sparkle (ML’s cat) and Abbey (Anita’s dog). The authors co-write the bestselling Pampered Pets Mystery Series which focuses on the wacky world of precious pedigrees, pampered pooches, and secrets in posh Laguna Beach, California. The main characters and amateur sleuths are Texas cousins, Carolina Lamont, a pet therapist, and Melinda Langston, a pet boutique owner. The first books in the series, Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Yip/Tuck, Fifty Shades of Greyhound, and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo have received rave reviews. Midwest Book Review calls the series “A sassy and fun mystery!”

Currently the Kindle versions of Sparkle Abbey’s backlist titles: Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and Yip/Tuck are on sale at the discounted price of $1.99. And the most recent titles, Fifty Shades of Greyhound and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo are on sale for $2.99.

The next installment, coming in June, Downton Tabby, is currently available on pre-order.

They love to hear from readers so stop by their website www.sparkleabbey.com or visit them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/sparkleabbey to check out their latest news.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Shanna Hatfield's Petticoat Ball


Welcome to the

PB TitleBlog Tour!

A celebration of two new sweet historical romances by Shanna Hatfield
Today, anyone driving through Eastern Oregon on the freeway will travel right past a small city nestled in a beautiful valley. Many may not know that the town of Baker City, Oregon, was once referred to as the "Denver of Oregon." Back in the day, you could reach Baker City by wagon or train. The region saw a rush for gold in the 1860s then again in the 1890s. In fact, the population was 2,600 in 1890, then boomed to 6,600 by 1900. During that time, buildings constructed of brick and native tuff stone quarried at Pleasant Valley to the south replaced all the downtown frame buildings. BC Geyser GrandThe most impressive brick building still standing on Main Street is the elegant Geiser Grand Hotel, which the Warshauer brothers, Jake and Harry, constructed in 1889. It went by the name Hotel Warshauer until purchased by the Geiser family about 1900. The hotel offered a "fine" restaurant and featured a stained glass ceiling on the second floor that continues to be a showpiece of the building even today. You can read a little about the hotel and life in 1890 Baker City in Crumpets and Cowpies, the first book in the Baker City Brides series. Crumpets CoverIn the story, rancher Thane Jordan reluctantly travels to England to settle his brother’s estate. He quickly discovers he's inherited much more than he could possibly have imagined, including a niece and nephew he didn't know existed. The children's aunt, Lady Jemma Bryan has no desire to spend a single minute in Thane Jordan’s insufferable presence much less live under the same roof with the handsome, arrogant American. Forced to choose between poverty or marriage to the man, she travels across an ocean and America to reach his ranch in Oregon. While I was researching history for the book (and series), I discovered a wonderful online resource with the Baker County Library. There are thousands of historic photos available for viewing on their website. Here are a few of my favorites: Baker City 1900 block 1890s
The town of Baker City, sometime around 1900. The building on the far left has "Paints, Oils, Glass, Cameras" painted on the side. The next sign down the street says "Groceries, Hay & Grain." Wonder if they sold groceries and feed in one store? Also, notice the width of the street. Baker Street Sprinkler
 This is a sprinkler wagon that drove up and down the streets, dripping out water to settle the dust.
Saddle Shop
And this was the saddle and harness shop. They carried a line of sewing machines as well as tack. You can see one in the far left side of the photo in front of the display case. It seemed like such an odd combination of wares to me. bakery
The bakery featured a number of display cases full of delicious treats. (Yum!) crystal palace
The Crystal Palace carried lamps, dishes, clocks, along with many other interesting items. Find out more about Baker City (at least through my fictional lens) in the Baker City Brides series ...
Aundy CoverThimbles and Thistles Cover

The second book in the Baker City Brides series releases Thursday, April 9! Thimbles and Thistles takes readers back to Baker City as spring arrives and love is in the air. You can reserve your Kindle copy here: http://amzn.com/B00TCV6BFG Maggie Dalton has no need for a man in her life. Widowed more than ten years, she’s built a successful business and managed quite well on her own in the bustling town of Baker City, Oregon. Aggravated by her inability to block thoughts of the handsome lumber mill owner from her mind, she renews her determination to resist his attempts at friendship. Full of Scottish charm and mischief, Ian MacGregor could claim any available woman in Baker City as his own, except the enchanting dress shop owner who continues to ignore him. Not one to give up on what he wants, Ian vows to win Maggie’s heart or leave the town he’s come to love.

 Lacy, Book 5 in the Pendleton Petticoats series, will be available for pre-orders April 9. Be among the first to order the long-awaited story of Grant Hill. Talk about losing at love... eligible banker bachelor Grant needs to find the right girl. Those attending the party will also get a first look at the cover! "Will the bonds of love be stronger than the bonds of tradition..."   It just wouldn't be a party if there wasn't a book available for free!

Aundy, Book 1 in the Pendleton Petticoats series, will be available for free Kindle downloads April 9. Make sure you grab your copy! If you've already read it, tell your friends to download it. If you haven't met the characters from Pendleton Petticoats, here's a brief intro: Aundy (Book 1) - One stubborn mail-order bride finds the courage to carry on when she's widowed before ever truly becoming a wife, but opening her heart to love again may be more than she can bear.

Caterina (Book 2) - Frantic to escape a man intent on marrying her, Caterina starts a new life in Pendleton, completely unprepared for the passionate feelings stirred by the town's deputy sheriff.

Ilsa (Book 3) - Tired of relying on others to guide and protect her, Ilsa finally finds the strength and courage to take control of her life. Unfortunately, her independence drives a wedge between her and the man she's come to love.

Marnie (Book 4) - After giving up on her dreams for a future, Marnie finds her hope rekindled by one caring,compassionate man and the orphans who need her.  PB-Party
 Dust off your dancing shoes and choose your formal attire for the Petticoat Ball Party on Facebook April 9, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Giveaways and games will make for a splendid event as we celebrate the release of Thimbles and Thistles and the debut of Lacy! The talented and fabulous guest authors joining in the shenanigans include:
10 a.m. - Julie Lence
10:30 - Kathleen Ball
12:30 - Kristin Holt
1 p.m. - Karen Witemeyer
1:30 - Kayla Thomas
Invite your friends to the party, and you could win a $25 Amazon Gift card. Go to the Facebook Party Page, click on the "invite" button, invite your friends, then post how many you invited. One randomly drawn person will win, but you get additional entries for every 25 people you invite! Also, ask your friends when they join the party to share that you invited them on the party wall. Each friend who mentions your name, earns you another entry in the contest! The winner will be announced prior to the start of the party April 9th.
 PB-Prizes Prizes to the
To enter the drawing for a $50 American Express gift card, autographed books, digital books, chocolates, and original western artwork, fill out this form. http://tinyurl.com/petticoatballprizes

  PB-Author-Bio Shanna Hatfield 2
A hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a bestselling author of sweet romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.

Find Shanna’s books at: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online: ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Secondary characters must be credible too

Story people should portray someone who could be your grandmother, the old man next door, an old teacher or a neighbor, in other words, real people, people you would like to know or personalities that remind you of someone.

This goes for physical attributes, too. If the heroine thinks of herself as exquisite and beautiful, she’s probably not someone we’d like to be friends with. Besides, those are usually point of view issues. A person doesn’t look in the mirror and think of her own feet as tiny or that her lips are shaped like rosebuds. More likely, like Stephanie Plum, she looks in the mirror and thinks her hair looks like a Brillo pad. Let the other characters do the observations while you’re in their heads.

The most efficient way to write a walk-on character is to use stereotypes, because the reader already has an impression. This, of course, depends on the length of your story and the importance of the character.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Judging a Book by Its Cover

So what type of cover attracts you?

I’ve had varied reactions at seeing the new cover of one of my upcoming books for the first time. A couple of times I went, “Hmmm.” Other times I thought, “Whaaaa?” And occasionally I’ve experienced a moment of pure cover elation. Cover love. Cover adoration.

When I fill out my cover suggestions for the art department and marketing team, I select two or three key scenes from the book and describe the characters’ clothing and the weather and the time of day. And then I hold my breath. Sometimes the resulting image is nothing like I imagined, and other times it’s even better.

Sometimes I buy a book just for the cover. Have you done that? What was it that caught your eye? Something about that cover made you reach for the book. Maybe something about the back cover lured you in. The price probably didn’t faze you. On the other hand, I’ve passed by some terrific stories because the covers turned me off. I can think of one in particular. I got the book in my stack of entries to judge for the RITA awards. I even put it off until the last, only to discover it was an incredible story that hooked me from the get go and never let up. I liked the author’s voice and style so much that I hunted her backlist and read as many as I could get my hands on. So what was it I didn’t like about that cover, you ask? It was a cartoon cover. I have never purchased a book with a cartoon cover—well except the others by that same author.

I think most of us have auto-buy authors – an author you buy simply because you know they’re going to deliver a story you will enjoy, no matter the subject or the cover. I have several of those. The cover is only the sprinkles on the icing on the cake, because the cake and the chocolate filling are the book, and I never pass up chocolate cake.

I’ve purchased books based on reviews – like movie reviews that draw me to see a movie. Not because the review was glowing, but because the synopsis told me the book was about a subject or character I knew I would like. I’ve bought books because someone recommended them to me. I have purchased a book because of an ad. That could have been because of the cover or the blurb. I’ve never bought one because of a quote on the front or because I saw the book trailer. I recently bought a book on the recommendation of a reviewer I trust and the comparison she made to an author I like. I loved loved loved the book.

I confess I’m an online shopper. Amazon has their suggestion feature that shows what they think you’d like based on your previous purchases, and they also send a recommendation newsletter if you subscribe. And you can subscribe to any number of newsletters by your favorite authors to be prepared for their new releases. There are Twitterers and reviewers to follow and Facebook groups. There are books recommended everywhere.

Covers are enticing. If it has a western or an Americana look, I’m a sucker. There was a day when many readers would buy any book with Fabio on the cover. I’m probably in the minority of romance readers who aren’t impressed by cover models. In fact, if I recognize the guy on the front, it’s a complete turnoff for me. He has become a model in my eyes, not the fantasy hero I want to meet and fall in love with. 

I guess that’s it – a recognizable face spoils the fantasy. I’m impressed by colors and textures, like hair and fabrics. Harlequin Historicals does some of the most beautiful covers around.

I also prefer cover people with heads. I don’t like to stare and stare, trying to figure out where the story peoples’ faces are. I’m a bigger fan of bare backs with laces falling away than of legs and high heels, but that’s probably my historical preferences coming out. I will always buy a cowboy or a cowboy hat. I read more on my Kindle than I ever did before, but I confess I do miss holding that book and gazing at the cover.


Have you ever bought a book just for the cover?

Do you buy books for the author’s name, no matter what the cover looks like?

What are your criteria for spending your cash on a new author’s book?

Have you ever bought a book because you’d met the author and liked him or her?

What are the top three elements that entice you to buy a book?

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

A Bride For the Sheriff: Jewell Tweed

After four years of waiting for her fiance Cal Davidson to return from the Civil War Claire Secord moves to  the wild Nebraska Frontier to start over. Managing the family mercantile keeps her days busy but her nights are filled with dreams of her missing soldier.

Handsome sheriff Tom Maxwell befriends Claire and they begin a casual romance. When she is kidnapped Tom realizes  his love for her and Claire must use her wit and skills to survive until he can find her. When he finally brings her back to Omaha Cal is there waiting. Now Claire must decide between her first love and her true love.

Jewell Tweedt divides her time between teaching American History and writing historical fiction. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the setting for her Nebraska Brides series. In her spare time she reads, watches too many westerns, and attempts to finish at least one cross stitch project. You can read more about Jewell at tweedtjewell.blogspot.com.

Visit her at tweedtjewell.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Understanding Goodreads for Authors With Julie Whitely, Goodreads Librarian

Understanding Goodreads for Authors

Goodreads has been a mystery to many authors who would like to make better use of the site without making etiquette mistakes. It was my good fortune to meet Goodreads librarian, Julie Whitely, who has come to our rescue. I collected a list of the biggest concerns to authors and Julie has graciously addressed them in this informative and helpful blog. She is sharing a lot good information and tips. I appreciate that Julie is, above all, a lover of books, as are all the participants on Goodreads.

Now, from Julie:

First of all, I would like to thank Cheryl for inviting me to be a guest on her blog.

As a reader, I never really gave much thought to Goodreads from the author's perspective. Well, I am thinking about it now that I have put my foot in it. I mentioned on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that authors and publishers were not using the site to their advantage. It seemed that authors were assuming their books were being added by little fairies. Of course that wasn’t the case, so many books are missing. I stop several times a day to add a book I want to put on my own Goodreads shelf. This had me thinking that someone somewhere was sleeping on the job, and that authors were missing out on valuable free exposure.

I got more responses than I could ever have imagined. I learned that most authors have shouldered the responsibility of promotion, but many don't know how to use Goodreads. So when Cheryl saw the thread on Facebook, she asked me to write an article for her blog, explaining how things work.

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Julie Whiteley. I am a freelance book reviewer and blogger. I also do promotional posts on my blog and on my Facebook page. I spend five to six hours per day working on books in one way or another. So it goes without saying that I love books, reading and, yes I love you too, dear authors. I am a Goodreads librarian, and I rank in the top 50 book reviewers on the site. I am the moderator for two groups and a member of many others. I still do not tap into all Goodreads has to offer.

Many authors raised concerns about the climate on Goodreads. The atmosphere scares some authors silly. The site gives me the shivers too, but in a different way. There are 25 million members on Goodreads. The diversity, the countries represented, all gathered with the commonality of loving books and of reading. It literally sends chills down my spine when I see all these people gathered in one place, sharing their favorite books with each other, debating and discussing characters, series, and anything else that goes with books. Any site that encourages readers to read more and get involved can't be all bad.

How To Help
I was pleased with the questions Cheryl sent. Many of these are “how to” questions. With all the time constraints, I feel the easiest thing to do in order to answer your questions is to provide you with a link which will take you to Goodreads’ “How to use the Author Program.”

This page answers nearly all the “how to” questions posed. There are videos, tutorials, and a FAQ page that covers topics ranging from advertising to giveaways.
Another helpful article about Goodreads was written by indie author Melinda Clayton. This article will help newbies and indie authors just starting out on Goodreads, but traditionally-published authors will also find useful information pertaining to reasons why being a Goodreads author is important.

The link to this article is here:

Goodreads is a Reader Site
Many of you expressed concerns about the sentiment that authors are just flat out unwelcome on Goodreads. This question was one of the best and I thought it was the most telling:
“I would love to switch more of my attention from Facebook to Goodreads since Goodreads members self-select for their book interest, and that would make my life so much easier. However, right now I spend little time on Goodreads because of the reputation the site has for not being author friendly. It's billed as a reader site, which is fab, but means I don't feel like I have a place there. I don't see it as author friendly, so I default back to Facebook, where a ‘Hey my new book is out’ post isn't going to be nailed for drive-by spamming.”

This author is spot on when they say Goodreads is a site for READERS. This is correct in spades. But how is it that a site so dedicated to books and readers would rather the author just go away? After all, these books would not be here for us to read if not for authors.

That is a difficult concept for many authors to accept. For years authors and readers only had contact with one another through book signings and little else. Readers formed book clubs, met in person, and discussed books over coffee and pastries. Authors might have been invited for a Q&A from time to time, but mostly it was just readers, and they felt free to argue, debate, and offer up opinions without fear of hurting someone's feelings. Reviews were posted in journals and newspapers by librarians and journalists with degrees, and were paid to write reviews.

Now the average reader chimes in. These are the same people who fork over their hard-earned cash for books. Goodreads is simply an online version of a book club. Authors can become members too and, believe it or not, you are more than welcome. However, a line in the sand is often drawn, and at times it's best to stay on your side.

“So, how do you manage the perilous waters between author and reader?”
From this author's question and comment I can tell the approach they used was all wrong.

Read the Guidelines
First of all, Goodreads is NOT a promotional site for authors. It does not work like Facebook or Twitter. It was not designed for that at all. You should not attempt to use the site in the same way you would approach other social media platforms. Jumping into a book group and flooding the site with your latest book release promotions is fine for most Facebook formats. (Although some Facebook groups are just as ticky tacky as Goodreads groups and I have had my hand slapped over on Facebook more than once.) There are hundreds of Facebook groups that allow authors to blatantly and shamelessly promote their books. However, Goodreads groups are a whole other animal.

For example: I am having a lively discussion with my Goodreads friends in the historical romance group about Jane Austen. Suddenly, in the middle of our conversation an author pops in and informs us they have a new book out and posts an enormous picture of the book cover, provides all the details we would ever need about the book, etc.. This book has zip, nada, squat to do with Jane Austen or our discussion. Now really, don't you agree that is a tad rude?

Initially authors had a tendency to think the site was there for them to use—or  in the readers' opinions—abuse for their professional needs. They did not stop to consider the site was a book club, not a bookstore. Yes, it is a social media site, since readers are social, but those authors didn't take the time to learn the ins and outs of the site. The readers became sick of having authors poke their heads into their discussion threads and tout their latest releases. Even something as benign as, “Hey, my new book is out,” is inappropriate if you post it in the wrong place. (Or repeatedly.) Due to the far-worse situation of “authors behaving badly,” moderators had to take a strong stand against spam. Some authors handled this poorly by arguing or complaining to the Goodreads team. They seemed to have forgotten for whom Goodreads was created. So readers got mad and rebelled against what they thought was an attempt by authors to take over or control their site.

So, now how does an author tell people their new book is out?
Each Goodreads group has a set of guidelines. Remember each group was created by a fan, a reader. It is their group and they have the right to decide the rules. So, read the rules. As an author you are not afforded any special privileges. You have to follow the same rules everyone else does. Nearly every single genre specific or discussion group has a folder for book promotions. Find that folder and use it to tell readers about a sale, a promotion, a new release or whatever else you want to share. Post in that folder only. Usually moderators allow one post per day, while some have more specific rules. All you have to is read each group's request and follow the rules. It's as simple as that.

Authors are readers too.
If you join a group feel free to join in the discussion! Do so as a fellow book lover and not as an author. Refrain from bringing up your book while in a discussion group, and you will find this community is really, for the most part, a wonderful group of people.
In my personal opinion I would not substitute one social media platform for another. Each one is unique and will need to be used to its full potential for you to get the best results.

Get Noticed Without Spamming
Goodreads groups may seem like walking through a mine field, but there are ways to get yourself and your book noticed.

·       You can link your Goodreads author page to your Facebook account.

Off site: Encourage readers to become a fan on Goodreads
Off site: Ask readers to add your book to their Goodreads shelf
Off site: Ask readers to please leave a Goodreads reviewplease leave a review-
Do this on Facebook, in your newsletter, on Twitter or your blog.

·       Before a new release start your own Goodreads Q&A group. A group like this is normally active for 24 to 48 hours, and you may send all your friends and fans an invitation to join.

·       Add the “ask an author” option to your Goodreads page so readers can approach you on their own terms.

·       Create events that link back to your personal blog. This is a win-win for you. The link will take the reader away from Goodreads and into your territory. From there you can ask them to follow you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter, and all the rest of it.

·       Giveaways via rafflecopter can be done on your blog and prizes don’t have to be books. This way you don’t spam anyone and you can see how many people accept the invitation. You learn what works and what doesn't.

·       Blogs: Do you have a blog? If so, you may add your blog to Goodreads and build a following from there. This is a perk for authors only.

·       Add the Goodreads author widget to your blog.

·       There are Goodreads groups for authors only, and the discussions are centered around the issues authors face. Tips, tricks, and other advice can be found within these groups.

·       Listopia: This is a tool available to you and some have found it to be very useful. I've seen some oddball things take place on these list and I have personally been solicited for votes. However, this is a tool some authors are very keen on.

If you’ve tried some author tools and your success has been a little disappointing, don't give up. The longer you maintain a presence on Goodreads the more likely you will gain a following. It might be slow going at first. If one thing doesn't work so well, try another.
Giveaways are one HUGE tool authors use but not everyone has great luck with it. Some books do not get a nibble in the vast sea of other books listed.

Experiment with various tools and continue to stay involved.

Other important tips:
By becoming a Goodreads author you will have control over your book. You can add your book when you want, and you can combine editions, make one book the primary, being sure all your links are correct and that the reader is seeing the current book cover. Goodreads employees can, of course, do anything within the site, but besides that, you are the only one with the power to make these changes to your book.

Each book has a link to an online store, mainly Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If your ISBN number and ASIN are matched, a reader can go straight to your book from Goodreads and purchase. Cool right? So, make sure your links are working. If they are not, you could lose a sale.

Ask a librarian
Goodreads librarians are more than happy to help you with anything within their power. These folks are pretty darned tech savvy, and if you ask nicely they might add your book for you if the little fairies haven't.

Group Moderators
If you are in doubt about group rules contact the moderator for clarifications before posting.

One of the most important ways for you to get the most out of Goodreads is to get reviews posted on your book. If you have a book coming out add it to Goodreads early. From time to time you may encounter a one-star rating on a book that has not been released or isn’t even finished. This rating is not a rating in the usual sense. Since we have already ascertained that Goodreads is a reader site, this is one of the ways readers mark a book for future consideration. Many authors have been upset by this. Don't worry! Most members know what this means, and it does not have a negative effect on your book.

Why add a book before it's released? First of all, you may have handed out ARC copies or your book might be up on Netgalley for review. You can start creating a buzz about your book by having reviews in place before the actual release date. Amazon does not allow early reviews unless you are a vine member, and those guys mostly review products like appliances. Goodreads members are all about the books. If your book is up early, you can get a head start on reviews, which creates more interest.

Remember that while you benefit greatly from reviews most of the time, reviews posted on Goodreads are for readers, not for you. The review is their intellectual property and is intended to share their thoughts with other readers. Never challenge a review or contact a reviewer who leaves a negative review. If you really think the reviewer went outside the bounds of a book review and got super nasty, then contact the Goodreads team and state your case. It is rare for a book review to be taken down, but in severe cases of author bashing it has been done.

You may contact a reviewer and thank them for taking the time to read and review your book. The more positive you, are the better. Call attention to the good things and less attention to the negative.

Please do not complain about Goodreads on other social media platforms. I have seen authors do this a lot lately, and most of the time they either have their facts wrong or have been given a negative review. Don't call more attention to it. Instead post a positive review you received.

If you need to vent, do so with a friend or fellow author. Do it in a private message format so other people can't see what you are saying. If you have a real beef , ask for help. The Goodreads team receives untold amounts of emails and questions each day, however, the team will eventually get back to you with an answer to your concern or question.

Yes, Goodreads has its fair share of trolls. As I mentioned earlier, there are 25 million members on Goodreads. It would be impossible to screen every single post or action. Trolls exist on other similar book club sites, on Amazon and Facebook. Social media platforms are notorious for being nasty, and a troll can do untold damage to your book. It is scary. You are unable to control all the negative aspects of any social site. I wish these people did not exist, and if I had a pat answer for the problem, I would tell you how to handle it. Remember that not all negative reviews are posted by trolls. Most readers are not full time reviewers and they use language or terms that make sense to them, but that sound more like a rant. Still, these are not trolls, and not everything can be blamed on intentionally nasty people.

I did find a link that might be helpful.

I don't necessarily drink the Goodreads Koolaid. I recognize that the site has grown very rapidly and is constantly evolving. Not all readers are crazy about the site either and prefer to use alternate book club sites. I have been told this on many occasions, and that's fine with me. I don't work for Goodreads, and I have nothing invested in the site except my time. It works out wonderfully for me for the most part, but that doesn't mean it works for everyone. The site needs a facelift and is overdue for some major changes. There are some areas that need vast improvement and hopefully we will see some things get better in the future. All social media has its problems. Some people loath Twitter but love Facebook. It's all about what works best for you--and about what you feel comfortable with. However, in today's climate, you can't afford to miss a single chance to promote yourself. Goodreads tools are free for authors, except ads of course. The exposure is free and, even though the site doesn't provide massive in-your-face publicity, it is still an area you can benefit from. Good old fashioned word of mouth is powerful.

The basics
The best advice I can offer you is to use the tools provided by the site, check in at least once in a while to see that your books are listed, that they are correct, that the links work, and keep your author profile up-to-date. Answer questions readers have asked, follow the group rules for promotions, and do not respond to negative reviews or trash the site publicly. Accept friend requests until you have topped out your quota, and be available for readers. Used correctly Goodreads is an awesome and powerful tool for authors.

I hope this will clear up a few things about Goodreads. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to ask. I may not know the answer, but I will try to find out for you.

Thanks again for having me here today! You can find me in these location:

Thank you, Julie! Your generosity in sharing your views as a Goodreads librarian and a reader are invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to research these links, provide answers and make yourself available to questions.

Please check out the Goodreads informational links available before asking Julie questions that may already be answered. Thanks!