Jumping Through Time

A story can include one of two things: flashbacks or skipping to the future. We don’t think recommending the two is a great idea but if executed cohesively…sure! Why not! Let’s discuss.

Sometimes, writing flashbacks can help a story flesh itself out. Readers understand the plot better, the character better, ANYTHING! But what happens when a flashback becomes more than a flash back? Meaning, what happens when a brief moment takes up a whole chapter? Is that acceptable? There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable – other than not being written properly. Make sure flashbacks are quick and easy. They’re meant to be memories triggered by people or items or occurrences surrounding the character or plot. Here’s an idea: it doesn’t necessarily have to be written in the perspective where the character is brought back to a moment in time…but rather, induces a feeling, an image flashed in the character’s thoughts. Something like that.

Skipping ahead in time is also a way to get the story moving along. Readers don’t need all filler details and a story doesn’t deserve that either! A few months can pass in the story in a matter of words, as long as the reader is caught up with the characters and ongoings in their world, what else is needed? Questions should never be left unanswered, too. If they are, there better be good reason for it. Did something happen prior to the time hop that wasn’t resolved during the time not mentioned? Well, it better come full circle because then the reader will not be happy (they’ll scream, “PLOT HOLE, PLOT HOLE!” and write a whole review about how the plot hole ruined the story for them.)

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So, now that we’ve lectured about time and the relationship it has with your story – let’s build a time machine and have some fun!

Is It A Bird? A Plane? WHAT IS IT?

It’s Memoir Monday – a self-proclaimed hashtag that isn’t a hashtag, to be honest. In the last two years, I decided to open my mind to memoirs, biographies, and other books by celebrities. To think that they already make a lot of money by appearing in our favorite movies and TV shows, now they write books to bring in more of an income! I wanted to see how much of their lives they actually want to share with their readers.

Now, I haven’t made a dent in the collection of celebrity novels. I’ve only come across three that peaked my interest: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer (RIP to that beautiful woman), and Yes Please! by Amy Poehler.

Now the reason why you’re looking at Amy Poehler’s face here is because I have this undying love for her but heard mixed reviews on her book. I’m a sucker for needing to know every detail about a person’s life as well as every detail about their book (i.e. who published it, where was it produced, what is the ISBN number). This one definitely threw me for a look when I saw it didn’t have a genre.

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Originally, I found this beautifully crafted book (if you own it or have at least picked it up in your hands, you know what I mean) in the “Humor” section of Barnes and Noble and I was pretty confused because I read that it was a recollection and reflection on Poehler’s life…I understand she’s a funny woman but was the joke on me for looking in the “Biography” section?

I’m a little over halfway done with it and I’m all over the place, but still enjoying, the life of Amy Poehler – both past and present. She’s made me reflect on my own choices in life without actually sitting down and telling me to do so, or maybe there was a chapter in the book that told me to do that…WHO KNOWS! Ultimately, I do enjoy it as a read where I can pick it up even after I finish to revisit some pick-me-up chapters. It’s also really interesting to know the backstory and introduction of comedy changed Poehler’s path (spoiler alert, ha!)

I do want to ask though, has anyone ever picked up a book and had been previously misled to think the book was something else than what it actually was? If so, sound off in the comments, because I need a bit of forewarning before I buy others!

P.S. I have heard the audiobook to this is much better than reading the actual book but I like physical books so do what you will with this information, hehe!

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The Bedtime Book Club

blog reading in bed.jpgThe only free time I get to transport myself to another world within the pages of a book is in bed. Reading the right bedtime book is sometimes hard to do. I enjoy lighthearted reads before bed, but some people enjoy a good thriller to fuel their nightmarish dreams. Some prefer to read an action-packed chapter to tire themselves out. Everyone deserves a bedtime read – and now we have a way to get that book in our hands before resting our eyes at night.

As of 2018, HarperCollins UK has teamed up with the Heart radio station and Dreams, a bed retailer, to begin what will be known as the Bedtime Book Club. With the radio station broadcasting to listeners, the hosts will discuss a variety of HarperCollins novels, different themes, and genres to encourage reading. But just because the station is only broadcasting in the UK, doesn’t mean you can’t find your own nighttime reads.

If having a Bedtime Book Club isn’t reason enough to read before bed, maybe I should tell you why it can be important to get your nose in a book while under the sheets. It’s simple – if you want better sleep, read. You read me right. Sleep better. It’ll help reduce stress by distracting your brain from the life stresses that can get the best of you. I’m guilty of blaring my TV to help me fall asleep but it’s actually a good idea to read rather than watch. It’ll reassure your brain that you are at peace. And if you’re also like me, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (whatever social media platform you choose), reading can help you concentrate better. In the long run, reading before bed can improve two other things: your empathy and your creativity. In a good way!

Reading is a powerful tool, so why not start your own Bedtime Book Club and start curling up with a good book to help rest your eyes and your brain.

B&N Has Something Up Their Sleeve…

BLOG bookstore.jpgAs an avid reader, receiving books as a gift for the holidays will always put a huge smile on my face. If you or someone you know feels the same way, I’ve got some news for you –  Barnes & Noble has revealed some great holiday gifts and ideas.

Barnes & Noble recently advertised how they are going to make book shopping easier. There will be a new Nook hitting the displays this holiday season. This updated device will have an automatic brightness adjustment which will sense the area surrounding the reader to make the screen more comfortable to read. Small features like this will help Barnes & Noble stay in the race of a very dominated industry. This would be a great gift for someone who enjoys technology or for the avid reader who might want to have a hand in helping to save a few trees.

 

The company has developed two new apps to make discovering new books and gift-giving easier: BookGraph and SmartGift.

The first app is BookGraph. It is only available as a desktop app. It is described as an “interactive discovery tool,” essentially showing shoppers a list of books that might interest them. It is meant to increase discoverability for both readers and authors.

The second app is called SmartGift. This app is available on both desktop and mobile devices. Users can send a gift to someone, who can either accept the gift or exchange it for something else of the same price.

The Barnes & Noble gift guide has been updated as well. If you’re feeling extra charitable this season, they are renewing their holiday book drive program in partnership with the Instagram brand, “Hot Dudes Reading.”

Keep in touch on social media with Barnes & Noble with the hashtag, #AllIWant.

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Revelation

Michael Moorcock:

“My first rule was given to me by TH White, author of The Sword in the Stone and other Arthurian fantasies anmoorcock.jpgd was: Read. Read everything you can lay hands on. I always advise people who want to write a fantasy or science fiction or romance to stop reading everything in those genres and start reading everything else from Bunyan to Byatt.”

 

HRM’s School Survival Guide

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Old or young, going back to school can always be hard. High school can be vicious and college or graduate school can be intimidating enough to keep you cooped up in your dorm or off-campus apartment/house. But, here at HRM we want to alleviate some of the pain of back-to-school shopping and the hefty price tag of purchasing textbooks from your university store. It’s easier said than done, but sometimes you need to find an outlet for all this stress in order to survive the year. The perfect book could just be your perfect escape when the real world has you down.

For high schoolers, there is a book for everyone in your local or school library or bookstore- whether you’re a wallflower (I’m looking at you, Perks of Being a Wallflower), a heavy gamer (pick up The Feed). If you are dealing with a particular issue at school or have a unique interest that no one else seems to have, there’s likely a book about it. Check out this diverse list of books from Brightly for young readers; there’s a book for everyone on this list!

For the ones going off to college for the first time or returning for another year, there will be many challenges you will face throughout the year: professors being dull during lectures, exams starting just one week into the semester before you even had time to settle down, or having nothing to do during the weekends if the nightlife scene is not your cup of tea. Again, books make the perfect survival tool because there’s a book for everything. Since there were so many options to choose from, I chose to highlight this long list of book essentials for every college student to indulge in.

So hang around by your locker, study hall, university quad, dorm room, or coffee shop with your newest book and let us know how it helps you cope with the school year!

I Know What You Read Last Summer

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It’s the middle of August and the summer season is almost over. Goodbye to having your toes in the sand; goodbye to having your hands on the beach bar ordering a fishbowl from the bronze bartender; goodbye playing volleyball on the beach; goodbye to the summer sun making sure your skin isn’t pale. This is a tough time of year, but enjoy it while it lasts.

Before you move back to school or start staying in on the weekends, enjoy the rest of the summertime on the beach (or in your backyard) with a last minute summer read to keep you dreaming of the sun!

  • Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
    Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence,
    Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian Jetset; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
  • The Island, by Victoria Hislop
    A richly enchanting novel of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Mediterranean during World War II, The Island is an enthralling story of dreams and desires, of secrets desperately hidden, and or leprosy’s touch on an unforgettable family.
  • Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty
    In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations [of] our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.
  • The Girls, by Emma Cline
    Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.
  • The Strings of Murder, by Oscar de Muriel
    1888: a violinist is brutally murdered in his Edinburgh home. Fearing a national panic over a copycat Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey. Frey reports to Detective “Nine-Nails” McGray, local legend and exact opposite of the foppish English inspector. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond belief…
  • The Fireman, by Joe Hill
    In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

A Reader’s Dream Fulfilled

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Imagine a world where you, the reader, don’t have to browse bookshelves pondering if you’ll enjoy the book you’ve selected. Oh, wait… there is a world like that.

Book of the Month has been in effect for 90 years. “90 years of literary heritage,” is how they like to put it. It is a monthly subscription service built to your liking. There are a handful of different packages you could pay for, varying from receiving only a month’s subscription up to a year – meaning up to 12 new books to jump into. What better life could there be?

Every month you are given five books to choose from – some are popular best sellers and others are debut books from rising authors. You get the opportunity to pick the book you wish to read with the help from the judges. Judges range from publishing professionals to popular writers. Typically there are five judges each month. Each judge picks a book and writes a brief reaction to the book of their choosing. They explain why they picked the book and why the member should read it, along with some of their favorite scenes or characters. A synopsis and preview of the book is also provided through the BotM website. Members can vote on whether they enjoyed the book as well. The website rates the books like Rotten Tomatoes, minus the green vomit image next to the percentage. What’s also fun about BotM is the exclusive branded items they have for members. If a certain amount of money is put towards the membership, a free tote is included with the package!

BotM is a great option for avid readers who try to maximize their reading options. Or to the new reader who just isn’t sure how to find their next read. \ The benefits of the service make it enticing- you read the books you want to read, you pay a lot less for a hardcover, and you can skip a month if none of the options are appealing. The power in your hands is used to create more pleasurable reading for yourself and it’s likely that you will discover a book you never would have else wise. A reader’s dream is bound to come true with access to BotM endless possibilities.

Read on.

Audiobooks Making International Waves

Audiobooks are a great source of extra income for many authors, an extra revenue stream that otherwise wouldn’t be there. The audiobook market within the United States is a booming industry, increasing each and every year. Putting their success here in America aside, the possibilities for the future of audiobooks is still endless. According to an article in The Japan Times, audiobooks in the U.S. account for 10% of book sales- amounting to a $160 billion industry. But, this isn’t the case internationally. For example, in Japan the audiobook industry caps off at $5 billion. On the international scene, audiobooks have so much left to do and leave so much to be excited for in the future.

Audio publishers, like Audible, are just beginning to figure out how to be successful overseas. Recently, Audible launched an international initiative in countries just like Japan. In these countries they offer unlimited audiobooks for a monthly fee. The pay per book model that we have in the United States and the United Kingdom just doesn’t work in most other countries. There just isn’t enough awareness or accessibility to audiobooks that are needed for such a model. So, publishers are starting to get creative.

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The use of smartphones and their apps are greatly changing the audiobook landscape in countries like Japan. These apps offer easy access to audiobooks that once wasn’t there. In Japan, many people use public transportation and are looking for things to entertain them on their long commutes that don’t pack a lot of weight- downloadable audiobooks are the perfect answer. Febe, a downloading site, was launched in 2007. The site offers over 19,000 books on a variety of topics and genres. Since it’s launch, the number of users has increased from 2,000 to about 180,000- proving that if the content is there and accessible, people will use it.

There is still a long way to go with cultivating a real audiobook culture overseas, but the future is very promising. Audio publishers have found that the key to stimulating interest in audiobooks abroad is to use famous people, poets, or authors as readers. Since it’s a relatively new market, there needs to be something that pulls the listener in to giving the whole audio thing a try. This poses a slight problem because production costs of making an audiobook are already pretty high, let alone needing to commission a celebrity to do the reading. High costs along with low recognition of audiobooks are audio publishers two biggest obstacles when thinking of expanding abroad. But if the audio trend does catch on, the risk will be well worth the reward.

10 Publishing Trends for 2017

Another year is upon us. We all have a new “to-do” list, a new set of goals, and new adventures awaiting our arrival. Thanks to our friends at Written Word Media, they are making this year a little bit easier on us already. They have compiled a Top 10 publishing trend list for 2017 and I have to say, they are spot on. Take a look at the list below for things you should be looking out for to make this year your most successful yet.

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  1. Fiction sales are driven by e-books. The large majority of adult book sales are digital, especially for fiction. So, if that’s the genre you write in you will want to focus most of your marketing power there.
  2. Indie authors and small presses will keep growing. It’s no secret that the “Big 5″‘s market share continues to drop year after year. But, it’s encouraging to know that over 50% of the market share is made up of small presses, indie authors, and Amazon imprints. The good news is that you can drive your own success this year. The bad news is that simply pricing your e-books low won’t alone garner yourself a readership. With all indie authors and small presses pricing their books low nowadays, marketing and visibility is really going to be key this year.
  3. Amazon imprints are dominating. I am getting more and more requests from my authors to submit their work to Amazon imprints. In fact, for many of them it’s the only publisher they would be willing to sign with and I don’t necessarily blame them. In 2016, 7 out of the 10 Kindle bestsellers were from Amazon imprints. If you can’t actually be published by them, Written Word makes a good suggestion- market your books with theirs since they give their own books preferential marketing spots.
  4. Kindle Unlimited will keep expanding. More and more readers are seeing the benefit of the Kindle Unlimited program and Amazon markets the program tirelessly. This will likely affect single unit e-book sales and force more authors to become a part of the program.
  5. Crowding is changing the game. One of the benefits of digital publishing and digital bookstores is that there is endless bookshelf space. Your book can sit up on that “shelf” as long as you want it to. Now, new books not only need to compete with other new books, but with older ones as well. If you have successful backlist books, don’t neglect them- redesign the covers, write new summaries/blurbs, get new reviews, and focus some new marketing dollars/strategies on them too. The more books you have available and easily accessible, the most chances you have at succeeding in a vast e-book world.
  6. Audiobooks will only get more popular. If I haven’t told you this enough already, I will say it again- the audiobook market is continually growing every year. You should always try to make your books available in as many formats as possible.
  7. Marketing will determine success. If you don’t market, then you can’t expect to succeed. The digital age is making it easier than ever for the average person to effectively market their own books. E-mail marketing has always been a popular and effective marketing tool. Also, websites such as BookBub, Freebooksy, and Bargain Booksy are excellent tools as well.
  8. Facebook ads will decline. Facebook ads have become extremely popular in 2016. Their popularity and higher demand has led to higher costs for these ads, which in turn hurts your return on investment. Don’t be afraid to try other advertisement tools this year as well, like Amazon ads.
  9. International audiences are a great place to focus for growth. A great way to expand your audience this year is to reach out to international markets as we are seeing an increased involvement in their readers year after year. International rights can be scary waters to navigate, but the potential is well worth it. There are so many readers outside the US and UK, it would be a shame to not tap into those resources.
  10. Authors will continue to help each other. There is very little in life that can done alone. We are seeing more and more authors banding together and that won’t slow down in 2017. Many authors are starting to co-write books or create box sets together. It also warms my heart to see an author blasting their own social media sites for another author friend. Work on expanding and creating an author support system for yourself this year. After all, we are all in this together.

Here’s to another crazy, but successful, year. Write on!