Book Review: Lycopolis by Ali Luke

Set (mostly) in England, the contrast of a current, high tech world and ancient, primeval powers provides a thrilling and thought-provoking journey. The story plays out in parallel, with a group of role-playing gamers who find themselves in a story thread that becomes horrifyingly, real. Seth, the creator of the game Lycopolis, has a dark secret and he uses the game to draw people into his mad experiment. His assistant, Kay, becomes aware that something is off and must work within the game and in real life to defeat Seth’s plan and save her friends. It is not a simple tale of good versus evil, or even “real life” versus role playing. The author explores themes of depression, family, and deceit while taking the reader on a page-turning ride. Aside from the intriguing premise, I bought this book because: 1. Ali Luke writes great blog posts. Thus, she had already established trust. Yes, fiction is different than non-fiction, but I still knew she could write. 2. I am passionate about supporting indie authors, particularly those that write any form of fantasy. Indie authors face an uphill battle. While they may be turning out books that are as good or better than those traditionally published, the expectations are that traditional=quality and indie=crap-shoot. Fantasy is my favorite genre, and if I could find a way to just read fantasy all the time, I would. Now that authors can get their work out there sans “gatekeepers” I will never hurt for fantasy tales. As a reader, writer, and editor, I feel a responsibility to help the good stuff rise to the top....

Book Review: “Yesterday’s Gone: Seasone One”

Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt and David W. Wright $4.99 for entire season, first episode is free, $2.99 per episode thereafter. I read all about “Yesterday’s Gone” during its launch phase. I considered buying it. After all, I could read the first episode for free and the six-episode series was only $4.99. What stopped me was the subject matter: I’m not generally into post-apocalyptic or science fiction. Then I listened to an interview of Sean Platt on The Creative Penn  and became so intrigued by the concept I had to buy the first season for research purposes. I live to serve indie authors, from aspiring to established, so I do my best to stay abreast of the indie writing world. You may be asking why I’m talking about a book like it’s a TV show. It is rather disorienting. Basically what happened is the authors wanted to bring the great things about their favorite TV shows, like “Lost,” to the world of indie publishing. So instead of Book One of a series, you get Season One. Instead of major sections, you get Episodes. At first I questioned how this could be different from releasing a book one chapter at a time. After reading Season One, I have come up with a few answers. The Episodes are longer than chapters. Depending on your reading speed, it takes a good 30-60 minutes to read an episode, much like watching a TV show. The idea is that you read one episode a week, but as I purchased the whole season I could not keep myself from reading everything over a couple of...

What Makes a Book Review Rock?

Something I’m going to start offering on Lady Myers’ Wordsmithing is book reviews of independent authors. My goal is to offer one a week, with the intention of shining a light on indie authors who are putting out good stuff and warning readers about what to stay away from. There will be reviews of fiction and non-fiction books, and I will share reviewing duties with a new team member (introduction coming soon!). A select few genres will be represented, as I want to focus on what I like to read and develop strong skills for consulting with indie authors in those genres. Fiction Fantasy, including Steampunk, Epic, Paranormal, Sword & Sorcery, and more. Historical Fiction Mystery/Thriller Non-fiction Memoirs/Biographies Personal growth Business growth I have been thinking about what makes for a quality review, and thought that before exercising my research muscles, I would give it a go on my own and solicit feedback from readers. Ranking I am inclined to develop some kind of ranking system, whether it be letter grade or star based. This will let me go with my gut and give readers a quick feel for the book. What do you think about this? Do you put much stock in the ranking of a book? Which kind of system appeals to you? Plot Synopsis Obviously the trick is to reveal enough without spoiling anything for the reader. I don’t want to sound “blurby” either. I find that when I read reviews with lengthy synopses my reaction is that if I just wanted to know what the book was about, I would look at the description on...

Review: Virtual Book Tour Magic

Dana Lynn Smith, Savvy Book Marketer $17 Who it’s for Anyone who has a book to promote and wants to do it themselves but isn’t sure how. Why the you should listen to the author She has 16 years of experience in the publishing industry, a degree in marketing, and personal experience with VBTs. She has written several guides to help authors and independent publishers. What I liked most The Table of Contents is linked to the text, so it’s easy to “flip” back and forth between sections. Links to examples were helpful, as was the trouble shooting section at the end. Dana gives a concise, clear definition of what a Virtual Book Tour (VBT) is. Mainly, it’s appearances on blogs/podcasts/social media scheduled to maximize sales of your book. She defines four types of tours: A Traditional Tour lasts one to three weeks with about one stop a day. An Extended Tour lasts several months, and the author maintains an extended presence on each stop (such as weekly guest posts for two months). A Blastoff Tour is used to raise Amazon sales in a short time period; the author’s content is more standard for multiple appearances. A Social Media Tour involves using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more to have chats, contests, etc. Keep in mind that VBTs are win-win-win as hosts, authors, and readers all benefit in numerous ways. Another plus is that while there is a fair level of work required, overall VBTs are less time consuming than traditional tours. The bonuses provide a detailed checklist and in-depth advice on writing content for your VBT. A few of...

Book Review: Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

Title: Your Big Beautiful Book Plan: how to create a book proposal that will make you a visionary writer, a stronger business person–and land you a publishing deal Authors: Danielle LaPorte + Linda Sivertsen Price: $150 ($5 of every sale is given to Write Girl, which I will match if purchased through my affie* link.) Danielle LaPorte, of White Hot Truth fame, and Linda Sivertsen, The Book Mama, paired up to create this must-have resource for authors. Not only is there a PDF full of details, explanations, and examples, there are audio recordings and supplemental information resources that give you everything you need to know about crafting your own book proposal. Who it’s for Anyone and everyone who wants their words published. Even authors who choose to self-publish would benefit immensely from reading this book and writing a proposal. Especially if you’re fairly new to the publishing game, this book will help you find your footing and establish a professional presence to give you the best chance at success. Why you should listen to the authors Danielle LaPorte is the creator of the site that’s been deemed, “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality” – WhiteHotTruth.com – where over a million visitors have gone for her straight up advice. An inspirational speaker and former think tank exec, she is the author of The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs*. Her forthcoming book, The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown Archetype) will be emblazing a bookshelf near you, in April 2012. Linda Sivertsen is a book proposal doctor, author whisperer, agent connector, idea-fairy, and huge-hearted cheerleader of creativity for writers...

Book Review: How to Market and Sell Your eBook

The Deets Title: How to Market and Sell Your eBook: Everything You Need to Know to Make Money with ePublishing* Author: Sarah Mae Purchasing info.: $4.99; available as a PDF, Kindle, or Nook download.   That is one enticing title, with an even more enticing price. Just two of the practices Sarah Mae preaches in this book and does well herself. Who it’s for Fledgling authors with passion for a topic that want to see their work published without needing a traditional publishing house. The content is mostly geared towards nonfiction authors, but much of it applies to fiction writers as well. Why you should listen to the author She sold over 11,000 copies of her eBook 31 Days to Clean* in the first two months of release. She has also written Core Lies*. What I liked most An eBook starts as an idea and (hopefully) ends as a profitable product. All of the whys and wherefores are covered here. She emphasizes the importance of professional editing, formatting, and design. Yes, you can do these things yourself, but you risk missing things and what you don’t spend in money you will more than spend in time. Focus on what you do best: writing. Leave the delivery of that writing to the pros. Links to additional resources on specific points are included. She spells out what you need to know about earnings, from royalties to PayPal to tax forms. A few of my favorite tips Two keys to successful content: Passion and need. Look for a sponsor: If you have a book that can showcase a brand in an authentic...