Facebook Etiquette for Authors


Terrific blog post from Tricia Drammeh on the common sense of Facebook Etiquette. Very good information and advice in this!

Originally posted on Tricia Drammeh:

Facebook. It can be a fun social tool, an addictive time-sucker, or both. It can also be a useful part of your author platform. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t come into the world of social media knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. And I’ll bet you didn’t learn Facebook in school. (Actually, Facebook didn’t even exist when I was in school. Neither did the internet.)

A lot of social media experts recommend promoting your book on Facebook. Some give good advice on how to do this. Some give bad advice. Over the past three years, I’ve learned a few things about using Facebook as a social and promotional tool, and I’d like to share them with you:

  1. DO set up a Facebook account if you haven’t already. It really is an important (and expected) part of your author platform. If you’re new to social media, it…

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2014 – The best books I read this year!

I don’t normally do this – recap what I’ve read during the year and choose which have been the best books, but I was tired of scanning the Best of 2014 lists that media and book sites produce, seldom seeing anything at all I’ve read. So I decided to come up with my own list.

If an author has been featured on my blog, Reading Recommendations, I have linked to their promotion. And the benefit of writing this promotion blog is I have discovered and met so many great authors this past year! As well, I’ve heard from a friend, a reader, who has been following my recommendations – and reading many of them! Here’s what Violet has to say: I love to read. I read for pleasure but if I learn something, it’s a bonus. With thousands of books to choose from, it can be a challenge finding a good read. I used to refer to “top ten” reviews and other media but I now use Sue’s Reading Recommendations for my source of reading selection. She has introduced me to new writers. There are writers who made me cry, others who kept me awake at night trying to figure out what happens next. There have been times I read one book by an author and loved the writing so much I subsequently bought other titles. Sue’s recommendations have not disappointed me. I have in turn recommended books to friends and family.

With a testimonial like that, how can I not continue recommending great books and the authors who write them!

First, in no particular order, are individual books I’ve enjoyed reading:

It goes without saying … Richard Ford’s Let Me Be Frank With You is at the top of my list, because I have long considered this man to be my Favourite Living Author. He’s writing at the height of his game with this latest collection of long-form short stories.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan – As with Ford, I will buy and read anything Ian McEwan writes as soon as it is published. Another excellent writer.

Nickolas Butler – Shotgun Lovesongs I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and loved, loved, loved reading it! This is a debut novel for Butler. I certainly hope it won’t be his only book. Such a gifted writer!

Second Chance by Dylan Hearn

Brian Brennan‘s memoir, Leaving Dublin

Every Blade of Grass by Thomas Wharton

Counting Teeth, a travel memoir by Peter Midgley

Lori Hahnel‘s novel, After You’ve Gone

A new novel by Fred Stenson, Who By Fire

A first novel, Waiting for the Man, by Arjun Basu

Steve Boone‘s memoir, Hotter Than a Match Head

Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970 by David Browne

Spellbound by Tricia Drammeh

Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Emma Healey – Elizabeth is Missing

Tan Twan Eng – The Garden of Evening Mists

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Ann Patchett’s This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

And here’s a list of Authors who wrote a number of books I read this year – in a couple of cases, I read everything they’ve written!

Tim Baker – I have now read everything written by Tim Baker (except the two zombie books he contributed to) and some of this was in manuscript form as a beta-reader and editor. Tim’s writing just keeps getting better, in my opinion!

Kevin Brennan – I’ve read all but one book that Kevin has published (and that copy is on its way to me, so I will soon have read all his books) and one was a beta-read. Kevin continues to surprise me with his versatility as a writer. He also has a great sense of humo(u)r that I appreciate. I look forward to reading many more books by this accomplished author.

Robert Chazz Chute – Robert is another author who is prolific and talented. I read several of his publications this year, two as a beta-reader.

Seumas Gallacher – I’ve read two of Seumas’s books and plan to buy and read the other two titles in his Jack Calder series. In fact, Shhh! Don’t say anything as those books will be Dennis’s Christmas present since he also enjoyed reading Savage Payback!

Rebecca Heishmaan – Rebecca is one of the most kind-hearted and supportive authors I’ve had the pleasure to meet, and with her two books she’s deservedly gathered a legion of fans who enjoy reading about her dog, Millie, and The Misty Neighbourhood. She also donates all her royalties to animal rescue agencies. A very generous author!

And another author who I met through my blog is S.K. Nicholls. I’ve only had the opportunity to beta-read one novel that has not yet been published, but I want to read everything she’s written or plans to write – she’s that good! Definitely an author to watch!

Jussi Adler-Olsen – A prolific Danish author whose Department Q series of crime novels is just now being translated into English. I have read the first four and am waiting for the fifth. Very, very good writer and, if you like the other Scandinavian mystery/crime writers, you will definitely enjoy Adler-Olsen.

Benjamin Black – This author was recommended to me by a friend who I consider to be a great Reader. Black is the pen name for the acclaimed literary author, John Banville. So far, I have read The Lemur and the first of the Quirke Series, Christine Falls.

Did you read an outstanding book this year or discover a new-to-you author? Please leave a comment below.

How Amanda Hocking sold 1.5 million on Amazon: I’m revealing the secret!


Here’s a great blog post outlining the hard work and years it took for Amanda Hocking to become an overnight success in the publishing world. If you’re reading this article hoping to find the magic bullet for your own similar success then here’s a hint – there is no magic bullet! Just a lot of hard work, years, ingenuity and acting like a nice, supportive human being!

Originally posted on Leona's Blog of Shadows:

You might have heard of Amanda Hocking, the indie superstar who sold 1.5 million on Amazon and got picked up by a big house and signed a movie deal for her Trylle Trilogy.

This is the exact quote from her explaining how her sales exploded after the book bloggers spread the word:

Then in June, something truly magical happened. I discovered book bloggers. I had no idea such people existed. They just read books and write about them. And I don’t mean “just.” These people take times out of their busy lives to talk about books and have contests and connect with followers and writers and other readers.

These guys are honestly my heroes. I’m a little in love with all of them.

I asked several if they would be interested in reviewing my books, and most of them said yes, even if they didn’t generally review self-published work.

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Top reading tips for writers


Reblogging from Dylan Hearn who is not only a great writer (I highly recommend his books!), but also very supportive of the writing community all the time by offering handy-dandy tips and advice … like this post here! Thanks, Dylan!

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:


It’s coming up to that special time of the year all writers love: Bookmas. Yes, if you’re anything like me then the Christmas holidays are a book bonanza, either because you receive books as presents or – my particular favourite – you receive gift tokens so you can buy the books you’ve been wanting to read all year.

But for writers, reading isn’t just a chance to relax and enjoy ourselves, it’s also an ideal opportunity to brush up on your craft, so here are my top reading tips for authors.

1 Read often

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard writers say they don’t have time to read. I just don’t understand the sentiment. As Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Reading regularly is one of the best ways to improve your craft…

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Show, Don’t Tell, on Twitter


An excellent guest post by MM Jaye on Nicholas Rossis’s site about using a traditional writing rule to your best advantage when writing promotion copy, especially on Twitter. For any author wanting to become more effective on Twitter, just read this!

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

From blackberryczech.cz

I have often mentioned the “show, don’t tell” rule in my blog. MMJaye, a regular around here and a great supporter of Indies in her own blog, kindly wrote this guest post for me, tackling the rule from a novel perspective: how to use it when tweeting. Enjoy her excellent post, which, I admit, was an eye-opener for me.

“Show not Tell” on Twitter: a guide to “clickable” tweets

The “show don’t tell” rule has been drummed into every writer’s head. Traditional publishers and editors swear by it. Some Indie authors are less than enthusiastic about it, but, no matter how much you use or respect the rule, you have to admit that it does invest your writing with one major attribute: it becomes evocative.

What surprises me, however, is the fact that although writers accept that “show don’t tell” leads to evocative writing and…

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HOW to get promotion for yourself and your book …

Two days ago I wrote a blog post that proved to be the most popular, in terms of reach and reaction, of any I’ve ever written! Thanks to everyone who read, liked, shared, reblogged, followed my blog, and commented on it. I guess I hit a nerve with the topic of authors behaving badly and how to avoid becoming one. It seems this kind of behaviour is definitely prevalent and a problem on social media, because so many of you agreed with me and my guests who also offered quotes on experiences they’d had dealing with these self-centred authors.

I took a negative tact on that last post, because it’s a fun angle to come from with this kind of list, and I’ve had success with that approach in the past. It also allows me to write in a humorous and sarcastic voice – which I hope was the voice that came through in that piece. People, authors especially I find, take themselves far too seriously and lose sight of the fact that, if they’d just lighten up and look at their work – and life – in a more positive manner, they might actually succeed rather than fail all the time. (That’s my little lecture for today. Just don’t be so earnest, okay?)

So, in an effort to help you become more positive about the promotion process in this business of writing and publishing books, and for those who took my negative slant too seriously and got the impression I was bashing all authors for behaving badly, I thought I’d offer 10 ways to promote yourself and your book. Note here that I’m suggesting YOU do the work of promoting, because ultimately it should be your responsibility, as difficult as it may seem to be to you right now. Unless of course you have deep pockets and can afford to pay someone else to do all that work for you. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret … If you do all the work of promoting your own book, you will gain far more than just sales and new readers. Have a look at my list and you’ll understand what I mean …

1. Realize that you are not the only author to have ever written a book by becoming part of a writing group or community who will eventually become a big support through shared experience and knowledge, not to mention connections.

2. Publish the best book you can by using professional assistance in editing, cover design and formatting (whether eBook or print).

3. Use social media in such a way that you’re providing value in every tweet and status update, with information that friends and followers will want to share, retweet and comment upon. Mention your own book sparingly.

4. Develop a fan base. Engage with those fans. Answer their questions, keep them updated about your new releases, ask them to share your work with their friends. Recommend reading suggestions from among your other author friends’ books. (Friends you will meet by following #s 1, 3, 5 and 7.)

5. Take part in writing communities to meet other authors, find new books to read, promote as a group, and share information as to where you can connect with book promoters.

6. Offer value when engaging in social media. Follow bookstores, libraries, writing groups and organizations, and retweet their news of book promotions and reviews (even if these groups aren’t in your area). Link to news articles about books, publishing and authors, let your followers know about writing contests, awards, and anything else that might be of interest. Retweet promotion for other authors’ books.

7. Read blogs – as many as you can – reblogging and/or commenting on their content. Add value to your comments. Become a known and appreciated member of those bloggers’ followers. (You should start small in the number of blogs you follow, because it can quickly become overwhelming. And if you do find you’re following too many, just cut back to a more manageable number that you can easily comment upon every once in a while. Bloggers like nothing better than knowing they have a few fans reading whatever they have to say and are enjoying their blog enough to make comments.)

8. Write your own blog and add value to the blogging community. I guarantee that, once you begin writing something of value and you’ve already developed a relationship with the blogging community, those other bloggers will be reblogging what you write and your reach and audience will expand.

9. When seeking promotion and reviews for your book from bloggers, read their blog first, engage with the blogger, show interest in their work if they themselves have published, ask how you may help promote their blog or book, read their submission instructions. Remember that many bloggers who promote and review books likely already have a backlog of applicants, so be patient. If you engage with that blogger in some way, either through commenting on their blog or by offering to promote them, you will be that much closer to getting your foot in the door.**

10. We are not all individual snowflakes and you are not unique. The rules DO pertain to you. If you follow those rules you will likely get ahead, further and faster. There really are no shortcuts to success.

And for this blog post, I’m giving you one more way to get promotion for yourself and your book …

11. Write a great book. It’s as simple, and as difficult, as that.

**I have been discovering so many great books and authors lately – on Goodreads, Facebook and through comments made on my blogs – to be promoted on my Reading Recommendations blog that I may change my submission policy. I definitely have no trouble at all finding authors to promote. So, if you want to be noticed by me, seriously consider what I’ve suggested in #9.

… see what I did there, Tim?

How NOT to get promotion for yourself and your book …

So, you’ve written and published a book. Congratulations! Good for you!

And welcome to the club … I have some sobering news, though. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to write and publish a book – TODAY! So far this year, 2,396,061 books have been published, worldwide. How do you expect its possible for any one book to compete with numbers like that when searching for interested readers, not to mention buyers with money to spend? And how can any one author ever suppose their newly published book is better or more important than those other 2 million+ books, so much better that one author can expect readers, bloggers and reviewers to fall all over themselves in an attempt to help promote and publicize said book?

Many of these delusional, self-centred authors do exist, unfortunately … so many, in fact, that I feel the need, once again, to point out to them that their “activities” on social media and in seeking promotion are definitely not gaining them any champions – certainly not me nor a few other bloggers/reviewers I know. A couple of blogging friends have written about this same topic previously, and I’ve asked them to return now with a few more wise words to add to this blog of mine in the hope that – collectively – we may have some effect at getting through to these authors who continue to behave badly.

Tricia Drammeh, a published author who writes a couple of blogs promoting writing and authors, discusses in a post, The Death of a Book Blog, the problems she’s had to face dealing with difficult authors. (It was through this blog post that I came to “meet” Tricia online when I threw my support behind what she had to say.) Tricia also wished to add to my current post: Bloggers are overwhelmed by the number of requests and demands for reviews and promotional features. It’s impossible for them to feature every author who queries. so many have begun to delete emails from rude authors, or to ignore requests that do not follow their submission guidelines. Your best chance at earning a spot on a blog is to be courteous. Be respectful of the blogger’s time by following their submission guidelines. And, if you are featured, do your part to promote – not just yourself, but other authors featured on the blog. Authors really do need some guidelines, and those who are misbehaving are hurting not only themselves, but the community as a whole.

As well, The Story Reading Ape has recently found it necessary to thump his chest and rant about the problem of authors approaching him for promotion on his blog. Here’s what he has to say: As someone who makes online contact with authors on a daily basis, with the aim of seeing if I can help promote them (and their books) on my Author Promotions Enterprise Blog, there are a few issues that constantly IRK me. To read about these Irks in more detail, go to, Authors, Don’t Be Twits When Tweeting. Basically, it boils down to AUTOMATIC SELF-CENTRED REPLIES! These abominations exist in almost all media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads, Shelfari, Librarything, et al. I rarely find an author who thinks about a follower/friend request for a few moments and asks themselves WHY did this person start Following/Liking/Send me a Friend/Connection Request? A simple matter of looking at the person’s profile (in whatever media they contacted you) BEFORE you return their approach, will enable you to PERSONALISE your response and make them GLAD to have contacted you. Did I just hear you say something like “Bah Humbug – I don’t have time/I’ve got BETTER things to do/What do I care, they’re only a means to boost MY Follower numbers/Book Sales stats/etc.”? NEWSFLASH: You have just LOST yourself a Potential Book Sale/Reader/Fan/Follower/Friend! In my case, you’ve just lost a Ready Made (and FREE) Authors’ Platform with possibly with more reach than your own! DON’T EVER FORGET – A Stranger is just a Friend you haven’t met or got to know yet! So GET RID of those ‘easy to set up once’ Automatic Replies and GREET WISELY and PERSONALLY. (Phew! The last thing we want is an irate Ape, so better do as he says, authors!!)

Since so many authors continue to do the same annoying (to us) things in an attempt to promote themselves, I decided they might actually see themselves in this following list, identify, and STOP DOING WHAT THEY’RE DOING!!! Let’s hope they’re all still reading …

How NOT to get promotion for yourself and your book:

1. Believe you’re the only person to have written and published a book. (See explanation above)

2. Publish without professional assistance in editing, cover design and formatting (whether eBook or print).

3. Spam social media about your book. Spam-a-lot, in fact, if you really want to irritate potential readers.

4. Don’t develop a fan base.

5. Don’t take part in any writing/reading communities – other than to exhort them to buy your book.

6. Don’t offer anything of value when engaging in social media. Don’t become engaged in social media at all.

7. Don’t read blogs and don’t comment on blogs.

8. Don’t write your own blog or offer value to the blogging community at large.

9. When seeking promotion and reviews for your book from bloggers, DON’T read their blog first, or engage with the blogger, or show any interest in their work if they themselves have published, or ask how you may help promote their blog, or read their submission instructions, or think that perhaps there are many more-worthy books ahead of yours already being considered for promotion or review. (Because, like, we’re all so impressed with you and your one book that we’ll immediately drop everything in order to help you get the word out about it … Yeah, In your dreams, maybe.)

10. DON’T think the rules pertain to you. (They’re meant for the other 2,396,060 books that have been published this year.)

And, to finish off, if you don’t believe me and the other bloggers, perhaps you’ll listen to Anne Enright …


Bequia This Week advertising for the tourist season!

Once again this year, I’m happy to advertise my novel, Island in the Clouds, locally every week in the informational flyer, Bequia This Week, created these past 15 years by Nicola and Wilfred!

Here’s a link to the large ad I’ll be running 4 times throughout the next 5 months:
Bequia This Week ad for Island in the Clouds

This ad has been redesigned with a new reader quote and information on how to obtain signed copies! The advertising I’ve done with BTW over these past two years has proved itself to be the best for me for the money I’ve spent on it. I’m a very satisfied customer, you might say! So I look forward to working with Nicola and Wilfred once again this year.

Supporting Your Author Friend


Some wise advice on how anyone can help their author friends. #5 is oft-overlooked, and I would add to #3 – don’t just attend book launches … offer to host one and introduce your friends or book club to the author, or host a literary salon in your home.

Originally posted on Laura Best:

This post could have been written by my family and friends. It’s all about how to support your authorly friends out there, and since my friends and family have been awesome enough to support me through the publication of two books I wanted to let others in on their tips for supporting an author friend. (I bet most of them didn’t even know they had such tips!) Through the years my friends and family have come up with some ingenious ways to put the word about my books “out there.” I thought I would share these with everyone else out there who would like to know ways to support a certain author but are a bit uncertain about how to do that. Believe me there are plenty of ways, and my friends have done a super, stupendous job.

1. Buy the book-– A lot of my friends bought the…

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27 Author Recommendations for Holiday Gift-Giving …

No, wait! I didn’t mean you should wrap up an Author and give THEM to your friends, although I’m sure any of us mentioned below are flattered for having been considered gift-worthy … Let’s start over.

What could be better than giving or receiving A BOOK (or several) – at any time of the year and for any occasion? If you’re stumped as to what to give people on your list, or if you’re looking for something new for your own reading pleasure, please allow me to make a few suggestions …

I highly recommend the writing and books published by the following six Authors who have previously been featured on my other blog, Reading Recommendations:

Tim Baker and another book (featuring contributions from 6 Reading Recommendations Authors, including ME!)
Kevin Brennan and another book
Seumas Gallacher
Dylan Hearn and another book
Rebecca Heishman
S.K. Nicholls

But wait! There’s more … I asked each of the Authors listed above to also give me their recommendations of other Authors whose writing they enjoy, and here’s what they each had to say:

Tim Baker: Steve Boone, Robert Chazz Chute (and another book) and Linton Robinson (Steve and Robert have been featured on Reading Recommendations)

Kevin Brennan:
Zero, by J.S. Collyer — I’m no sci-fi nut, but this was a ripping story set in a strangely familiar future.
Memoirs of a Dilettante – Volume 1, by Helena Hann-Basquiat — An unclassifiable collection of anecdotes. Fact or fiction? Who knows? Who cares?
Dolls Behaving Badly, by Cinthia Ritchie — This novel was beat up pretty badly by the Amazon/Hachette conflict, and it’d be great if Cinthia could get a second wind now.
Shaping Destiny, by Destiny Allison — A poignant memoir of a woman’s evolution as an artist.

Seumas Gallacher: Chaos is Come Again by John Dolan and Fiona Quinn, Outsourced by Eric J. Gates, Subtraction by Andrew Peters (Andrew has previously been featured on Reading Recommendations)

Dylan Hearn:
The Me You See by Shay Ray Stevens – a fantastic mystery, cleverly written, which has a brilliant ending that I just didn’t see coming.
Othella by Therin Knite – a hard-edged and uncompromising dystopian thriller, as if Raymond Chandler decided to have a go at re-imagining Hunger Games. (Therin was previously featured on Reading Recommendations)
Duck by Stephen Parolini – a wonderfully warm coming-of-age novella about a boy and a bomb.

Rebecca Heishman:
Haven Kimmel: A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana
This author is one of Indiana’s hidden gems. I have been a fan of her writing for many years. Her intimate and tender style of writing has influenced my own. This gal has never gotten the credit that her lovely writing deserves.
Silas House: Eli the Good
Silas House is an award-winning Kentucky author whose beautifully-crafted prose touches many hearts. Eli the Good is a novel written for young adults, but the message is so strong and so beautiful that it resonates with me and many other adult readers. It would make a lovely Christmas gift for young or old.
Bill Bryson: A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Part travelogue, part memoir, and full of humor, this book takes you along on Bryson’s trudge through one of America’s most rustic, brutal, beautiful, and storied trails. The book is filled with colorful characters that he meets along the way, giving us a portrait of what makes us proud to be American, despite our steady force-fed diet of negative media.

S.K. Nicholls:
Misha Burnett has a sci-fi/urban fantasy series that is absolute genius. Here is his author page and he also has a blog.
Carrie Rubin has a great medical thriller, The Seneca Scourge. She also has a blog.
Patrick O’Bryon is one of my most favorite authors. His historical spy thrillers set in Germany and France during WWII are based on his own father’s life as a journalist/spy during that time. He is a self-proclaimed Europhile and has lived and visited abroad frequently. His two books have done very well and a third, Fulcrum of Malice is due out next year. Corridor of Darkness is the first, and Beacon of Vengeance is the second. He is one of the most successful indie authors I know and his work is impeccable. He’s one of my beta readers. He also has a blog.
Luccia Gray has an awesome sequel to Jane Eyre. All Hallows at Eyre Hall: The Breathtaking Sequel to Jane Eyre (The Eyre Hall Trilogy Book 1) new on the market, and I loved it. She lives in Spain and has a blog.

And please indulge my being so bold as to recommend myself, Susan M. Toy, and my books for giving as gifts. While I have never been featured on Reading Recommendations, I did create the blog in the first place and continue to present you with great Authors to discover. Besides, this is my blog post, so I may recommend whomever I want to … to paraphrase a song. :)

So, there you go! 27 Authors recommended and umpteen possibilities for books to give to anyone who is on your list. Plus, books are much easier to wrap than an Author, and – Bonus! – eBooks and audio books don’t have to be wrapped at all!

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