Discussion: Why I Still Love Twilight

twilightsagaIntro:

Hating on Twilight is pretty popular – more popular these days than liking it. A lot of book bloggers have written about how they used to love Twilight but have since learned better or grown out of it. And that’s fine – your tastes change throughout your life. But while I may not be as obsessed as I was when I was younger, Twilight will always have a place in my heart – I still love it.


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The Problem With Twilight:

People hate on Twilight these days for a multitude of reasons.

Because it started a vampires and werewolf trend, because it got more popular than “more worthy” books, because its objectively not wonderfully written, because teenage girls liked it and people like hating on the things teenage girls like. Because it started the YA movie fad.

Pick your poison – I think people just like being crabby.

Twilight isn’t the objectively best written. There are cringe-y moments (Jacob’s imprint, Bella’s “helpless girl who needs a boy” portrayal etc.) but its hardly the worst written or most problematic book to reach this popularity, let alone one existence.


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My History with Twilight:

I read Twilight in the fourth grade – when I was 9 or 10 years old. I read the entire saga that year. My grandma bought me the first book for Christmas because my cousin, a year older than me, loved it. My grandma thought I might like it to.

(My grandma already had an established history of buying me books for Christmas. She bought me the full Harry Potter series when I was 7 (second grade) 0 I trusted her judgement. She bought me the full Ms. Peregrine’s trilogy for Christmas this past year.)

So because she bought me Twilight, I read it. I had no idea what it was about, but I loved it. Made me mom buy me the rest of the books. Read those too.

I got sent to the guidance counselor’s office at one point because they were concerned about a 9 year old reading such mature content, they called my mom and everything. But since my mom was cool with it they had to let me continue reading – even if I got my book taken away a few times for reading during class.

I made my dad rent the movies that were out so far – and made him watch them with me. He hated them – but watched all five. I had all the shirts, posters, and necklaces. I made all my friends read the books and started a shipping war among the fourth graders.


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The moment where I am Bella and Bella is me.

Twilight and Me – Now:

I’d thought my obsession had calmed down. I reread the books in 7th grade – in full for the first time since in 4th grade I skipped all the “weird” (read “sex”) parts – no matter how mild Twilight really is, I was 9 the first time through. The second time around I was firmly Team Edward – the first time I’m pretty sure my loyalty to Jacob was entirely based on the fact that Taylor Lautner was Sharkboy.

But cue the release of Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined and I had it in my hands and read within the week.

I haven’t read the whole series in years – but Twilight itself remains a comfort read for me. The movies are “I’m sick and want to be entertained without thinking” movies.


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Final Thoughts:

I don’t have it in me to hate on Twilight. Flaws and all.

Part of it might be history and rose-tinted glasses rather than objectiveness – but who cares? Enjoying things is nice, reading is meant to be fun. Something doesn’t have to be objectively good to be enjoyed or liked – why do you think people love lifetime movies?

I just don’t see the appeal of critiquing the flaws in every detail of something I once loved – so I just won’t.

Allow yourself the rose tinted glasses sometimes.


What do you think?

Did you like Twilight?

Do you still like it?

Why or why not?

Let me know!

Guest Post: Writing A Pitch by AM Blaushild

Guest post by AM Blaushild (https://amblaushild.wordpress.com), a book reviewer (https://crowdefeatsbooks.wordpress.com), and author of Angel Radio (https://amblaushild.wordpress.com/books)


Many readers are aspiring writers themselves, and it feels like nearly everyone I’ve met has mentioned they one day dream of publishing a book. I’ve been lately surprised by how little anyone seems to know about the publishing industry, even those who want to get in on it, and wanted to share some quick suggestions on writing a good query letter. Or more specifically, the pitching aspect of it.

Queries are pitches, both for you and your book. And they need to be good. Agents and publishers get too many to count, and only have so much room.

For agents, taking on an author is a large commitment, and they often can only handle so many. A small-press publisher can only afford to sign a few books a year. It is a tight, tight race, made suffocatingly so because you’ll never quite know what you’re up against.

Sometimes books aren’t taken because of trends in the market, or coming changes- your great book about dragon warfare in egypt might be given up on because a mediocre dragon warfare in rome book is currently in the pipeline. A dragon book you’ve never heard of which had a lot of money put in it may have recently flopped, and publishers are nervous to take on anything similar. Maybe the dragon genre is dying out, or too niche. Maybe they just signed a book about dragons, and you have bad timing.
It’s rough, but that’s how these things work.
A good pitch:
-Is selling your book, not talking about it
-Highlights what matters, leaves what doesn’t
-Immediately to the point
-Short
-Thoroughly proof-read
One thing to highlight: A query is the whole ordeal, a query letter, while the pitch is specifically the part about the book. Will cover later on.
Here’s the thing. Publishing is a business. Agents are funny little go-betweens in the business, taking advantage of the breathing room. Both are in it to make money. They will not publish something out of goodwill, or because you seem to really care about it. They will publish what they think will sell, or have lasting appeal, or perhaps simply because it’s the kind of thing that wins awards.
So you need to embrace this, a little bit. You need to make your book sound like something that will sell. Consider your book: what makes it unique? What makes it appealing? X meets Y, my eternal enemy, is a popular format for pitches because of this. Romeo & Juliet meets Die HardShadow and Bone meets Battlestar Galactica. I don’t know, I’m making these up as examples. Publishers eat them up because they sell your book in two tiny, recognizable chunks. I have two manuscripts I’d sum up as ‘Fangirl meets Supernatural‘ and ‘Catcher in the Rye meets Shadowhunters‘. Is that really true? Ish. But it’s close enough.
What matters to you doesn’t always matter to publishers, or even readers. I might really like that my egyptian dragon novel (yes, we’re sticking with that example) features an asexual MC, and want to gush about how important that is. Even a line about this would be too long, and honestly, a direct mention too much for a query.
Why? A line about diversity could work, but romance is the biggest genre of fiction by far, asexuality is a rarely discussed sexuality (they might not know what it means!), and you simply don’t have the space for it. If you’re applying to an lgbt press, you would want to mention it- they would know and care (you probably shouldn’t gush, though). If you’re trying to land in the mainstream, don’t mention it. If it comes up in the manuscript, they will learn about it then. Unless the story is directly about being asexual, it’s not a relevant detail.
It’s important to highlight what matters, and leave what doesn’t, but that can be hard to figure out sometimes. My Egypt Dragon Asexual book: let’s say it has a lot going on. A gay subplot! A lost princess! Magical powers! Ten types of dragon! War! Aliens! A big reveal that it takes place in the future, not the past! What the hell do you highlight when the plot is complex?
Well, you have to leave some things out. Even big things. Even if it feels like a lie. You’re selling the story in a very small place, and bending the truth a bit doesn’t hurt. Using hypotheticals makes this hard, so we’ll jump to something real, and almost as insane sounding-
The Ascension is a manuscript of mine, about a girl who goes on a quest to awaken her country’s patron god with her best friend, and later a thief they meet on the way. But at the mountain, the thief runs off to awaken the god himself (fulfilling his own local quest), and the god actually turns out to be a monster. And everyone dies, but they’ve been immortal since setting out (linked to the sky god’s life force), and then the MC is saved by an alien god of another planet, and chosen to become a god herself. And she starts to lose emotion as she gains strength. And the monster is still running around destroying the world, too. And her BFF/her both have a crush on the thief.
Sounds bonkers, right? There is a LOT going on. Here’s my pitch:
A teenage girl is sent on a quest to awaken her patron god in a deadly local tradition, but in doing so catches the eye of someone grander: The sky god, actually an alien, who wishes to turn her into a god. However, before her powers can properly develop, her two friends accidentally awaken an ancient monster bent on destroying the world, and it’s up to the increasingly inhuman Aster to stop it.
I did just throw that together, so it isn’t perfect, but it’s a good example of what I mean. Technically, the sky god doesn’t notice her because of the quest, and the thief is not one of her best friends, nor do both her friends awaken it, nor is the timeline quite true to canon. But the essence is there, and it frames the story in a cleaner, more appealing narrative than it actually is.
Pitching basics should include the genre (fantasy, but with aliens!), the main character (A teenage girl, her two friends), what they want (traditional quest/be a god), what’s in the way (giant monster/’increasingly inhuman’ implies this will be a future conflict), what are they going to do about it (stop it). A few fun details, too: ‘deadly local tradition’ isn’t very exciting in canon, but does sound like it might be interesting. ‘catches the eye of’ could imply some fun romance, even if it doesn’t. Neither are lies, but they make it sound a lot more intriguing, and step one of landing a contract is getting your contact to read your manuscript.
Most pitches are like this. I usually write full book-blurb style pitches and work down from there, and some (often publishers as opposed to agents) prefer this method. There still should be little excess detail.
Hey, here’s another example- the pitch I used for my book, Angel Radio:
Erika is the last human alive. It’s been weeks since the angels- strange creatures of eyes and wings- arrived and brought with them the death of everyone she ever knew. leaving her to wander her desolate hometown. But the angels have something sinister planned for the world they have emptied, and when a strange radio broadcast sends Erika into the world, she’ll need all the strength she can muster just to survive.
Looking back, I’m fairly embarrassed by my query, but it worked. You ever see mainstream books that are startlingly bad? Yeah. Unless you’re on the inside, you never really know what is going on in the book business (but usually, yeah, it’s about the market, and money).
Oh, and a last point: of course, make sure you avoid any and all errors spelling and grammar wise. These people are hoping you’re a competent writer, and if there’s one mistake, a particularly overloaded agent may have no problem passing on the rest of your query.
 
That about covers a really rough guide. Pitches should be about a paragraph in length. Check with agency sites/publishers before, but my rough guide to pitches is
1. Hello hi
2. Here’s my book right off the bat
3. More info, like wordcount, listed genre, whatever. expanded deets.
4. About me
5. thank you very much
It should be short, about a page. Don’t list anything about yourself that isn’t relevant, but if you have nothing relevant, still try to say something. Otherwise it just looks like you forgot. If you’ve been writing for a while, that works. If you’re doing a book about science and are a scientist, bring that up, or maybe if it’s about mental illness, mention your own struggles. Don’t spend too long here, or get too personal. Business, unfortunately, is business.
Publishers will generally take more than agents. I’ve had many that directly want a full summary of the book, a longer bio (smaller ones especially enjoy if you have good social media/means to advertise, as they have lesser budgets/reach). These things are specified.
A good conclusion to this? I’d scroll up and read my short list again. Here’s what not to do, I suppose:
-Have too much detail (often loses focus of what the main ‘plot’ pitch is)
-Have not enough (makes it sound bland)
-Too personally involved (‘this book means everything to me’)
-Too self confident (‘fantastic, amazing’ just about any adjective you put on character stuff, world, pitch. Use more open ones. You might call a world ‘vast’ instead of ‘incredible’)
When you have a lot of unseen competitors, you can’t assume anyone will want to put up with you. In theory, being passionate about your work is fantastic! In practice, you may come off as a dolt. And it helps to remember: there will always be more besides you, hoping for the same thing.
So turn in your best work!

A M Blaushild is a writerreviewer, and enigma.

Discussion: When Do You Post Reviews

Book reviews are the main feature of most book blogs. Book reviews can make or break a book. And everyone has a different system for reviews and ratings.

The discussion today isn’t on what you review or how you review, but when.

 

By this I mean, do you review books as soon as you read them?
Do you wait a bit?
If you review arcs, do you wait until the book is released or review right away.
If it’s an older book, do you review it when the author has a new book coming out or just when ever?
Does it matter when reviews are posted, so long as they are?
My personal preference, you may have noticed, is to schedule arc reviews for release date unless otherwise asked. That way, anyone who decides they want to read the book has the option to buy it immediately.
Older books tend to be reviewed whenever I get the review written, then scheduled to where I think it fits best.
I personally am fine with reviewing books a while after I read them, in fact, unless I have a deadline, I am nearly patently incapable of reviewing a book as soon as I’m done. It’s a pipe dream for me.
But what do you think? Do your reviews have a set day of the week/month? When do you post arc reviews? Why do you do things that way?
Let me know what you think!

Q & A From Icebreaker694

I asked around for guest posts in February, and one idea I got from lovely blogger Icebreaker694 was to interview each other.

We asked each other 11 questions are are answering them Q&A style.

Here are the 11 she asked me with my answers, and you can check out her’s over at her blog!


What was the earliest book you’ve ever read (childhood books included)?

My dad read me The Princess Bride. If you meant read on my own…I loved the Biscuit the puppy books.

Did your view of reading books change as you got older?

I guess? I didn’t really love the idea of reading when I was 5/6, it felt like school. But I feel in love with reading young, at 7/8 when I read Harry Potter.

What was the earliest Young Adult book you’ve read?

Harry Potter, that counts as YA right? I read Twilight and A Series of Unfortunate Events around that time too, age 8/9.

Are there any books you don’t get tired of rereading?

You could really just look at the above answers. And include Rick Riordan.

When you write, what kind of genre do you tend to write about?

I write YA, since its my demographic, and my only serious idea right now is a Science-fiction book.

Have you ever done a reading challenge?

I do the Goodreads challenge every year!

If so, then what was it?

See above….

What is your favorite adult book you’ve read?

I loved My Sister’s Keeper and The Time Traveller’s Wife. This is Where I Leave You was also pretty good.

What kinds of posts do you enjoy writing the most?

I like discussions, and recommendation lists. I liked writing my study guide posts too. But I don;t write anything I don’t enjoy.

What is your favorite book cover?

This is not a question I am capable of answering.

But Illuminae and Gemina are SUPER GORGEOUS.

Do you have any future plans for your blog?

I want to make new graphics and schedule posts to post on a consistent basis, those are the main ones, though I’m open to any ideas!


 

That was a lot of fun!

If you guys like the Q&A posts, and want to ask me your own questions, feel free! I’d be glad to do another!

 

 

Guest Post: 5 Benefits of Writing for Mental Health by Talasi Guerra

5 Benefits of Writing for Mental Health

My name is Talasi Guerra and I am a mental health blogger. Let me clarify that—I am not a mental health professional. Rather, I am an average, every day person who is navigating the ins and outs of life with mental illness.

I have struggled with mental illness for most of my life. Obsessions started at a very young age, and by the time I was fourteen, I had developed an eating disorder. For the next number of years, I was tormented by depression, anxiety, and addictions, until finally, at age 21, I started to make some genuine progress towards recovery.

Since that time, nearly ten years ago, it has been an uphill battle. Fortunately, I have experienced many great successes along the way. Writing has been an essential part of my mental health recovery at every stage. And while I am so thankful for all of the professionals and treatment programs that have helped me over the years, I truly believe that writing has been the main catalyst for positive change in my life. So today I would like to share with you five reasons that I believe writing to be extremely beneficial for mental health.

  1. Writing encourages self-reflection.

Dealing with mental illness can be a very isolating and numbing experience. It can be hard to talk about, or even think about, the emotions that mental illness produces in your life. Writing through these struggles is such a healthy option because it causes you to reflect on what is really going on in your heart and mind at any given moment. Using writing as an outlet of self-reflection can help you pinpoint the root of your challenges so that you can later address them.

  1. Writing promotes rational thought.

If you struggle with mental illness, chances are you are plagued by a bevy of irrational thoughts on a daily basis. But the good news is that writing literally promotes rational thinking. While your irrational thoughts reside in your amygdala (the part of your brain that powers your “fight or flight” response in stressful situations), writing requires you to use a different part of your brain—the part that promotes calm, logical thinking! So you can think of writing as a weapon that actually combats your mental illness for you!

  1. Writing alleviates anxiety.

The result of using writing to promote rational thinking is simple: it alleviates anxiety! Because writing forces your thoughts into the logical portion of your brain, it allows you to see more clearly so that you can identify the source(s) of your anxiety. When you recognize your triggers, symptoms, and emotions, you can evaluate your experience by looking at the facts. Writing these things down this will help you to realize that you are not in life-threatening danger, as your amygdala would have you believe. It will allow you to breath a sigh of relief, reducing your anxiety!

  1. Writing generates revelation.

The easiest things to write about are the things in life that you have experienced personally. And as you write about your experience, it opens up the bigger picture that you were not able to see in the heat of the moment. Writing through your mental health journey allows for amazing moments of personal revelation that may never happen otherwise!

  1. Writing kindles a sense of accomplishment.

Mental illness causes you to constantly question your own value and worth. Chances are, if you are in the middle of a mental health battle, you probably deal with feelings of failure every single day. It’s important to include some activities in your life that can give you a sense of accomplishment. Writing is a great way to do so. To write anything—a journal entry, a poem, a blog post, a prayer, a memoir, etc.—is a great accomplishment. Completing it will remind you that you can achieve great things when you don’t give up.

Have you ever used writing to improve your mental health? Have you found it effective? If so, what would you add to this list?

 


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Talasi Guerra is a mental health blogger at braverthanbefore.com. She is also the Director of Children and Family Ministries and Graphic Designer at First Baptist Church in Lloydminster, Canada. She loves to travel, play strategy board games, and create! Follow Talasi on twitter @talasiguerra

March 2017 Wrap Up

 

Finished Books:

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – 5 Stars

New Americans by Geoffrey C. Scott Harrison – 4 Stars

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…But You Could Have Done It Better – 3 Stars

I didn’t finish many books this month, life has been hectic. School and everything is hard now that the AP tests are only a month away, and I have ACT next week.

I’ve read 19/80 books for my Goodreads challenge, putting me at 24% and “right on track”. No need to panic…yet.

(Reviews for all of the above are written and scheduled.)


Started Reading:

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde

These are the books I stared but didn’t get to finish. They’ll be finished for April.


Posts:

NetGalley Review: Waking In Time

Netgalley Review: Superman Science

Published Poetry Spotlight: The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock by TS Elliot

Quote of the Week: #6

Poem: Sagan’s Apple Pie

NetGalley Review: Strong Is The New Pretty

General Study Tips and Tools

Throwback Thursday: V for Vendetta Final Five Page Essay

Quote Of The Week: #7

Study Guide: SAT / ACT / Subject Tests

The Who Am I Tag

St. Patrick’s Day Tag

Book Review: How To Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast – Live Action

Study Guide: AP Calculus AB

The Cringeworthy Book Tag

Study Guide: AP English Language and Composition

Book Review: The Princess Saves Herself In This One

2016 Year In Review Tag

5 Fidget Toys I Want To Try

Study Guide: AP Chemistry

The Nintendo Book Tag

Songs I’m Listening To This Month #1

Discussion: Reviewing Long After You Read The Book

I published 23 posts this month…that seems a little ridiculous, but alright.

Including 6 reviews and 5 tags done from my seemingly-never-ending backlog of reviews and rags.

I say thats pretty solid.


Life:

I have an absolutely INSANE amount of posts, from reviews to guests posts etc. scheduled for April. I won’t be around much – between AP crunch time, my cousin’s birthday, the fact that I need to sleep…Well, you’ll get me back in midMay. Though I still try and have time to comment/respond etc.

I have mock exams every Saturday of April except the 8th when I am taking the ACT.

I am going to the Panic! concert April 15th. Woo!

I’ll try and keep up with wrap ups, I’ve never really done them before, I think they’re a good idea…

My plans for the blog, after all the school craziness, is so make new graphics, maybe improve the theme/layout, and get on a consistent schedule as well as catch up on all the review copy TBR reviews and my tags. But those are summer goals.

Discussion: Reviewing Long After You Read The Book

One discussion I’ve seen around recently is one whether book bloggers should review books they read a while back – rather than more recent reads.
 –
Personally, I’ve read a lot over the years.
A lot.
I also read faster than I can review usually, and I read a lot of books before I started reviewing them.
 –
So the question is, you can still review books long after you’ve read them, months or even years later? Should you?
 –
I think it comes down to the person, based on your memory and your personal review writing style, how detailed you are if you think you can review a book upwards of a year later.
 –
But I don’t see anything wrong with it, though maybe it should a a disclaimer like “I read this over a year ago, some details are a bit foggy”.
 –
I talking about it, because I want to start backlogged reviews, books I read in the last year or so that I never got around to reviewing, books I read before I started my blog, etc.

What do you think?
 
Is that something we should be able to do, especially when you’re in a reading slump and have no new books to review?
 
Or do you think it’s kind of deceiving to review a book that’s had its flaws dulled by time?

Maybe This Time It’ll Work: New Blogging Schedule, Memes, and Features

A little while ago I wrote: Trying To Be Better…

Where I talked about finding time to blog more regularly, how I never seem to be able to stick to a schedule and how I want to start up some of my old features/the memes I was a part of again.

I’ve had some ideas for a while of features I want to start implementing/writing on this blog, some weekly, some writing, and I figured I’d make an announcement/list type post to talk about each, and see which ones people are more interested in.

It’ll probably take me a while to get things started, as I have to figure out idea lists, when things’ll be posted, and to get some written/backlogged/scheduled etc.

Posts won’t likely be regular until the summer when I can schedule a bunch of posts, and even then, with my track record its…questionable.

But maybe this public commitment will encourage me to get my life together!


 

Weekly Memes:

Memes are weekly/monthly etc. type posts that follow a theme, done by many bloggers on a specified day, and then linked up to the creator’s post. These are immensely common in book blogging.
Book Blogging Meme Masterlist

(Titles have links to creator site if you want to know more or join!)

Soundtrack Saturday – Basically, make a mini soundtrack for a book.

Top Ten Tuesday – Respond to a Top 10 prompt.

Top Five Wednesday – Respond to a Top 5 prompt.

Waiting On Wednesday – Spotlight a release you’re waiting for!

 


 

Features:

Features are regular category of posts, like memes, unique or specific to a certain blog. Rather than everyone doing it and linking up, the creator is the only one who does it and thus it is a “feature” of that blog. Sometimes features BECOME memes. Features are not always identified as features, bloggers just write the posts. Bloggers sometimes have similar features, but this is not generally intentional. 

Quarterly:

My Poetry – Fairly obvious. I like writing and posting my poetry. This just makes it seem legit. (1st Monday March, June, September, December)

Original Book Tags – I love doing book tags, they are a staple of book blogging. I have so many original tag ideas in my drafts, I want to put them out there! Might be more frequent then quarterly, might not, depends on idea flow and how many other tags I have backlogged (currently – A LOT). (1st Monday January, April, July, October)

Monthly:

Discussions (Bookish/Bloggish) – I love writing discussions, and there are a lot of bookish discussions that go around that I haven’t chimed in on because I haven’t had time to do the posts justice. I want to start doing more of these, meta discussions on books, YA, and book blogging. Feel free to give me some topics! (Last Friday of the month)

Nonfiction Book Spotlight – Pretty self-explanatory… I like nonfiction, and I want to talk about it more. Ones I’ve read, ones I want to read, etc. (1st Friday of the month)

Throwback Thursday – This is an old feature I want to bring back. I actually scheduled maybe 12 of these already. We’ll see how long I can keep it up, as eventually I’m going to run out of old writing samples, even using essays from this year and next year. Maybe I’ll expand it to include more things…like photography I’ve done over the years, old drawings or things if I can find it. I’m a pack rat okay… (2nd Thursday of the month)

Scars and Stories – Where I write personal stories, discussions of my childhood (usually me being stupid and injuring myself) and talking about my life now. Funny stories of my life, etc. (3rd Sunday of the month)

Premed Preparation – Where I’ll write about current events in science/medicine, rant about things, and talk about why I want to study medicine and things pertaining to that.
(2nd Monday of the month)

College Corner – Chronicling my journey finishing high school, applying to college and scholarships and if all goes well, college as well. I think it’ll be a cathartic way to vent and relieve stress, and maybe help others. Also: study tips. (3rd Thursday of the month)

TBR Shame – Once a month I’ll pull a book (or a few) from my shelf that has been there for 2+ years and talk about why it hasn’t been read yet, if I still plan on reading it, why I picked it up, etc. (1st Sunday of the month)

Diverse Books Spotlight – Basically, once a week I want to talk about a diverse book I’be read or want to read. Fairly self-explanatory. (2nd Sunday)

Weekly:

Quote of the Week – Pretty self-explanatory… (Mondays)

Published Poetry Spotlight – Pretty self-explanatory…Again. (Thursdays)

TV Show Spotlight – Once a week, I’ll talk about one of my favorite shows (focusing mostly on completed shows) to give a little love to older shows, and to see who else shares my love. (Fridays)


If I can accomplish this, it means DAILY BLOGGING as all these plus reviews/tags would mean 1-3 posts a day. Even with scheduling, I don’t think I’ll be able to manage, but its a nice goal to strive towards, and it’ll give me ideas/motivation for when I have time, but don’t know what to write because I’m just not in the mood for a review or tag.

Let me know what you think of the schedule, if there are any you are particularly excited for, if there is a prompt to topic you’d like me to address in any specific feature, or if you want to join one! Just let me know!

Discussion: Review Copies/ARCs

Review copies are the holy grail of book blogging.

And while I might not be the best source of information on how to get them, as I’m rejected more often then not, I have received a fair amount of them, so I thought I’d give my two cents.


First things first: Before you go requesting books, make sure you can handle it.

Have a system in place to keep track of everything, or you are going to lose your mind.

  • My preferred way of keeping track is a word document.
  • Every book sent to be is written in, along with who sent it/where I got it from, the format, the release date, the date the review is needed by, the title and author, and any requests by the person who sent it to me for the review.
  • Then, anything due in the next month is highlighted for urgency.
  • Physical copies do not leave my desk if I’m not reading them to make sure they stay in my mind.
  • Review copies take precedence over my own books.

Its how I do things.

Find something that works for you.


Before Requesting:

Before requesting books, make sure your blog is running smoothly. You don’t blog to get free books, you get books because you blog well. Remember that.

If you barely post, no one will send you anything. If your content/reviews or terrible (I don’t mean negative, I mean terribly written), you won’t get anything.

  • Post consistently (once a day, once a week, doesn’t matter).
  • Post good content.
  • Make sure your blog is easy to navigate.
  • Have a contact page/email somewhere it can be found. If, like me, you don’t want your personal email online, make an email just for blog contacts like I did.
  • HAVE A REVIEW POLICY. You can see mine here.

 


Where To Get Review Copies:

There are a couple different ways to get review copies.

You can:

  • Go to book fairs and conventions.
  • Wait for a publisher/author to contact you.
  • Email a publisher with a request.
  • Join a blog tour.
  • Join an ARC site like Netgalley, Blogging for Books or Edelweiss.

Book fairs and conventions are great, but if your like me, you have no means to get to them because they are far way/expensive.

Next option: wait. I have been contacted by a few authors (generally self published) to review their books, so it does happen. This is why its important to have contact information and a review policy page. But if this is the only thing you do, your not going to get many books.

Emailing:
The next section is all about this.

Blog tours:
Blog tours are GREAT. You get your blog acknowledged by other bloggers, and you all get to share in the excitement over the same book. I’ve joined two blog tour sites:

I like them both, and have joined blog tours and book blitzes on both. You can always do some research to find tour sites that fit your tastes. But if you want in on the big name book tours (which I have no experience in), I’d say your going to need some groveling and patience.

ARC Sites:
I don’t know what else to call these, but you know what I’m talking about.

This is where I get most of my review copies.

My personal favorite is Netgalley.

Netgalley is a site where any book blogger can sign up. They have both READ NOW and Requestable titles, most prerelease, some old, of all genres. The better your review ratio, the more likely you are to be approved by a publisher, so you are encouraged to actually post your reviews. All books are e-books though, so you either need an Ebook reader or a computer with Adobe Digital Editions installed.

Blogging For Books is also good. This site has both print and ebooks, but you can’t request another book until the review of the last one is posted. Selection is pretty limited, but they have some good ones every once in a while.

The other one I mentioned is Edelweiss, which a lot of people like but I don’t really enjoy using. Its frustrating and not easy to navigate, but go try it out if you’d like.

 


Emailing Publishers:

If you have the guts, you can always email a publisher asking for an ARC. I’ve done this twice. Once, I was ignored. The second time, I got the book. Really, it depends on the publisher, the book you’re requesting, and whether you have enough followers to make it worth the money to ship you the ARC. Don’t get discouraged, your not going to get every book, but try, eventually, you’ll get one (or a lot!).

Just make sure to thank the publisher when you do get a book, post your review on time, send them links, and NEVER be rude about not getting approved. You want to build relationships, not end them.

You are never entitled to an ARC. Don’t act like it.

Here’s a sample email of what I use when emailing publishers. If it helps you., let me know!

Sample Email:

Hello,
My name is Sam, I’m a book blogger and I’d like to request a review copy of:
Book Title
ISBN:
Expected Publication Date:

You can see my blog here: Link
My blog has X followers, and that number seems to be increasing steadily.
I get, on average, between X views a month, and an average of about X unique visitors a month.
I also share my reviews on Goodreads, Tumblr (where I have X followers), and Twitter.
(Info about me/my blog/why I blog)
I want to review BOOK TITLE because ………..
If you want to see some of my other reviews, here are some that I am quite proud of:
  • Links
I also have a review policy page: Link 
This page will give you more in depth information for what you can expect of my reviews.
I also have a directory of my reviews, if needed: Link
I understand you get many requests for Arcs, and that all cannot be answered. But, if you are interested here is my information:
Name 
Shipping Address
My email is X and if it is more convenient for you, I also accept e-arcs.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding my request.
I thank you for your time and your consideration.
Best,
Sam

Other Helpful Resources:

 


So, thats all I have for you today.

If there’s anything I didn’t cover you’d like me to cover, let me know!

Any discussions or topics you’d like me to talk about, any questions you have, shoot them over to me, I’m happy to help/answer in any way I can!

Did this help you? Do you have any thing to add/share? Let me know!

Discussion: On Discussion Posts

So…I haven’t done a discussion post in a long time. I haven’t done much of anything that wasn’t a quick scheduled review or tag in a long time. Though, to be fair, school is hard, I love this blog too much to just let it keep failing by the wayside (which is why I’ve writing this instead of doing AP Calculus homework because I hate derivatives).

Logical conclusion?

Tell you guys what I’ve been up to, why my posting has been sporadic at best, and my plans for the (near) future.

Then, were having a little meta-talk on discussion posts, their role in book blogs, the good, the bad, and the arguably too many ideas in my drafts folder. If you only came for the discussion and don’t care about my personal ramblings, scroll until you hit the pink header.

 


What I’ve Been Up To:

Really? Just school. 4 AP classes, 2 honors courses, 5 honor societies/clubs, an officer position, and the general stress of junior year makes it hard to find time to write, because when I do have time, my brain feels like mush and all I want to do is watch tv and sleep. I haven’t even been reading. Which brings me to…

Why My Posting Has Been Sporadic At Best:

Aside from the school/time factor, I’ve also been in the BIGGEST READING SLUMP to hit me since maybe middle school. A combination of stress, and perpetually fried brain has made me, well, not really ant to read a lot.

Yesterday, I started Not If I See You First, and hopefully, unlike the multitude of books I’ve started and put down in the last few months, I get through it. I’m loving it, but, especially with AP Lang, reading feels like a colossal amount of effort, especially since i’m about 50 books behind on my reading challenge (yes, thats how bad my reading slump is).

Plans For The (Near) Future:

In no particular order:

  • Find some time to schedule posts, so when THIS happens, I have something to fall back on.
  • Actually plan my birthday, which is in A WEEK and I still haven’t invited my friends over because of a-fore mentioned poor time management.
  • Not die of stress.

Really, I’m trying here. I also signed up to be a blogger for some different blog tour sites recently, so be on the lookout for some stuff with that!


On Discussion Posts

Now, I LOVE reading discussion posts, and I love writing them. I like sharing my opinion and reading the opinions of others. That is, after all, what blogging is about. Recently, the bookish-blog discussions floating around are about the role of YA as literature, and on diversity and representation in fiction. Both of which I’ll be sharing my own thoughts of in the coming weeks.

Love them or hate them, discussions are a part of the book blogging community. Some people are all about them, some people post sporadically, and some people are practically allergic to them, but there are here to stay.

Now, the discussion posts I hate are the ones that feel like the author didn’t care, where they felt they HAD to give their opinion, even if they didn’t particularly want to do so. I also hate the animosity of it sometimes, with people jumping at each other’s throats for posting “unoriginal” discussion, or even just for having a different opinion. I hate that is stops people from writing what they want, for sharing the opinions they have.

I started writing this a while back, and lost my steam. But I feel quite strongly about this. I love discussion posts, I wish more people wrote them.

On the subject of discussion posts, I have a bunch of them in my drafts/ideas folder. Which ones would you guys most like to see?

  • On Reading Nonfiction
  • Branching Out From YA
  • The “Right Age” For YA
  • Best and Worst of Book Covers
  • Age Appropriate Books
  • Diversity In Books
  • New Release vs. Back-Log Books
  • Reading Slumps
  • Bookshelf Organization
  • On Book Tags
  • Objectivity In Book Reviews
  • Reading Multiple Books At Once
  • Series vs. Standalone

These are the discussions in my ideas folder. Tell me which ones you’d like to see! And if they is any topic you’d like to see my thoughts on, a discussion you want me to jion, or any other idea for me, leave me a comment done below telling me, I’d be happy to write about it!!

 

What do you think? Join in the discussion! What do you think of discussion posts!