Self-Published Book Review: “TARA: The Goldilocks Planet”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

tara j g possum the goldilocks planet

2016 reader views reviewers choice award

TARA: The Goldilocks Planet

by J. G. Possum

ISBN: 9781478798842

 

Synopsis*:

Earth is on the brink of self-destruction. The fate of an entire planet rests on the shoulders of 212 people chosen to establish a colony on a recently discovered Goldilocks planet. Tests revealed the planet could sustain life…but they didn’t show that life already existed there. The crew from Earth is met by many hostile creatures, but it’s way too late to turn back. They must find a way to establish a colony…without making the same mistakes that destroyed Earth.

Drawing from thirty-five years as an engineer, J. G. Possum has written a believable science-fiction novel steeped in fact that is also a thrilling page-turner. Tara: The Goldilocks Planet will enthrall casual and lifelong sci-fi readers alike.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Tara” by J.G. Possum is a sci-fi novel following a group of men and women who have fled the planet Earth in the midst of an atomic war between nations. After traveling for fourteen months on their spaceship Aquarius, they reach a new planet they name Tara. Finding a new planet is not the end of their journey together though. Now they must build a new civilization and navigate new relationships with Tara’s current population.

Of Tara’s two continents, one is already spoken for upon the arrival of the Aquarius. The more hospitable Southern Continent, eventually named Erona, is inhabited by the Eron, an alien species that fled their own planet long ago. They allow the humans to attempt settling on the dangerous Northern Continent, which they name Earthland. One of the most interesting parts of this novel is watching the two nations navigate a tentative alliance. The Eron are cautious, having been taken advantage of before, but the humans are desperate to rebuild their civilization on Tara and must find a way to live in peace with their new neighbors. Watching the new diplomatic ties being formed and negotiated is thrilling.

The real story begins after the Aquarius has landed on Earthland. Building a new country is no easy task, and readers are taken through the process step by step. From forming a new government, to creating a monetary system, to actually building Earthland’s first city, the audience gets to witness a new society being born.

As readers follow Earthland’s birth and watch the new country’s leaders attempt to cement their people’s place on Tara, they will perhaps notice a flaw within the story; there is a lack of conflict. Earthland’s leaders never disagree with each other and their constituents are willing to go along with every decision they make. Lack of conflict is a problem that permeates other areas of “Tara” as well but is most prevalent in scenes between members of Earthland’s first designated governing body. Disagreements and tension between the government leaders would add another layer to the novel’s plot as well as add a more realistic element. Every government has some faction of the constituency it represents that stands against it, no matter how popular it is with the majority. In “Tara,” resolution comes far too easily to the protagonists in every circumstance.

“Tara” by J.G. Possum is an interesting case. While it is presented as a science fiction story, more emphasis is placed on building civilizations and creating a history for a new society. I greatly enjoyed those aspects of the novel. I could definitely see it becoming favorite of nonfiction/culture buffs looking to get into the fiction scene.

– reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Great story…and a must read.

– reviewed on Amazon by jf

Entertaining and Uplifting With a Powerful Message
[T]ARA is thought provoking, believable and holds more than a few surprises. Grab this book, settle into a comfy chair and dig right in to experience mankind at its finest! You won’t be sorry!

– reviewed on Amazon by Stephanie Dil

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 4.16.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Some of the best literature comes from places that the average American reader might not know about, and we write about these places frequently here on Self Publishing Advisor: India, Britain, and this week, Australia. In this week’s West Australian, Jackson Lavell-Lee writes to promote an upcoming event at Barefoot Books Busselton, which according to Lavell-Lee “will host a book self-publishing event on Sunday at 2pm in conjunction with independent publishing company Book Reality.” Lavell-Lee goes on to interview Book Reality’s director and a number of authors who have self-published through Book Reality, giving this article an especially personal touch.

In other fascinating self-publishing news for the week, UK bookselling juggernaut Waterstones is dealing with a landmark case after a petition featuring over 9000 signatures was delivered asking the bookstore to give its employees a living wage. How does this relate to self-publishing? According to the article from Books + Publishing, “Campaign organisers also planned to present Daunt with a self-published book called Working at Waterstones, which includes anonymous testimonies from staff about their experiences of living on a low wage.” It says a lot about at least specific value of self-publishing that is has provided a platform for necessary anonymous publications and therefore the voices of those whose jobs are on the line, whether or not their names are attached to this petition. If they don’t file a petition, their jobs may prove unsustainable in paying basic bills. If they do file a petition and get called out for it, they may be let go on any number of technicalities. Thank goodness for self-publishing, eh? Speaking truth to power is one of its strong suits.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

icon logo self publishing advisor

In Your Corner: Spring into Self-Publishing (Part II)

spring writing laptop

It has been some weeks since I last checked in about resetting for spring, and much has changed. Where I live, the snow has turned to rain, and every time it rains the worms show up on sidewalks and in gutters and on lawns, roaming just a bit astray from their primary work tunneling through the thawing, loosening soil. The birds are in the midst of their spring migration, and the ice is breaking up, even in the lake bays. The grass is greening under the last of the winter detritus, and even though the wind sometimes still blows cold, I am often tempted to take myself and my laptop out of doors to work in the warming sunlight.

Last time I wrote, I provided some thoughts on constructive ways to take advantage of the spring to reset our writing. This week, I want to spend some time thinking about why spring is so important to us as writers and writing professionals—as opposed to any other season of the year. Summer is lush with golden afternoons full of freedom and adventure. Fall is lovely and full of pumpkin spice lattes (as I think I’ve mentioned a hundred times each year). Winter is packed with special days of great emotional importance, and is a season of returns. But spring? Spring is special. And here’s why.

  • Symbolism.

    I’ve already mentioned that the world feels like it’s coming back to life in the spring, and it’s hard not to feel inspired by natural cycles on a symbolic level (not to mention physical—increasing sunlight levels and exposure in spring do some serious magic within the human brain). Rather than resisting this natural and symbolic rhythm, it’s worth attempting to channel it into forms that are useful to you. Feeling restless? Try out a bunch of new writing and marketing styles, and see what works well and what doesn’t. Spring is a laboratory of opportunities, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to let loose and be disorganized every now and again! Feeling energized and focused? Plan out a new schedule which makes more time for the things that you know will bring you peace and joy later in the year, when these habits are etched into your routine.

  • Publishing practicalities.

    While the rhythm of self-publishing is far more flexible than that of traditional publishing, there remain some practical reasons why spring is the best time to both a) begin the self-publication process, and b) get to work on your next project. The first reason is that spring is normally a quieter season in publishing and self-publishing both, with awards season more than half of a calendar year away and nominee announcements in advance of that. The busiest period is still a few months out, with the submission deadlines for the National Book Awards (arguably the biggest event in traditional publishing) at the end of June and the CIPA EVVY Awards (one of the most important awards in indie and self-publishing) in mid-May. Another busy period of the year starts in Fall, after submission deadlines are over and authors feel free to focus on marketing. As Anthony Wessel wrote in 2012:

The book industry has sales trend lines that have been consistent for the past forty years. Sales are relatively flat on a week-to-week basis for forty-six weeks out of the year. Slight sales increases are seen on the minor sales holidays. This means approximately the same number of books is being read in any given week compared to the previous year. […] Indie authors should expect flat sales in 2012 from May till December and nothing close to what they had at the beginning of the year. I would suggest authors spend this time period writing and putting marketing plans together to capitalize on the upcoming holiday season.

  • Personal meaning.

    What does spring mean to you? I think this is an important question to ask each year. When I was younger, it was easiest to seize upon the optimistic and joyful aspects of spring; now that I’m older, I’m conscious of spring as a connection point between cycles of loss and life—a reality which heightens the joy in some ways but also renders it bittersweet. I have a lot of feelings to navigate in spring that I didn’t before, and these feelings translate directly into what projects I move forward with and which ones I let percolate a little while longer. I think it’s wise to listen to your body as well as your intuition about things like writing, and spring brings new dimensions to both.

How will you move your writing and marketing projects forward this spring? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments section, below, or reach out to us online (we’re on Twitter at @SelfPubAdvisor)!

spring writing mug coffee tea books

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Self-Publishing News: 4.9.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

One of the most rewarding trends to emerge from recent years is that of collaborations and partnerships, specifically those between libraries and self-publishing authors and companies. A recent panel at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (#AWP19) conference by the Multnomah County Library covered their Library Writers Project, whereby local (to the Portland area) authors are able to submit their ebooks for availability to library patrons. The Library Writers Project has proven so popular indeed that these authors have seen the readership of their books skyrocket, and three have even been selected for print publication by a local press working in partnership with the library to ensure that the process benefited everyone, authors and library and press alike. In that same spirit, Kelsey Oldham covers booksellers in Australia and New Zealand stocking self-published books. The article is hidden behind a paywall, so only Books + Publishing subscribers will be able to access all of the juicy details. But watch for more of these fruitful partnerships to form in the future!

As a part of its ongoing “Read Harder” campaign, Book Riot contributor Sarah Nicolas recently put together a list of nine self-published books that “encompass romance, mystery, young adult, nonfiction, women’s fiction, steampunk, fantasy, and more” and shared them with this major book reviewing and recommendation platform’s followers. They are each wildly unique, and reached their current place by way of unique publishing methods and platforms, and in so doing they exemplify the best of self-publishing overall: that it is a uniquely democratic space, and a space that fosters truly unique and varied works that are maybe just doing something a bit too uniquely for mainstream publishers to bite—or provide a space for authors who aren’t and never have been interested in walking the traditional publishing path. It’s truly exciting to see Book Riot, a titan of the book world, embrace us so actively.

How the rise of the self-publishing industry contributed to the problems for Baltimore’s mayor

Look, everybody needs a dollop of realpolitik on their news website every now and then, and here’s your yearly dose for self-publishing realpolitik: even a good tool can be put to bad ends when deliberately misused. Writes Mary Carole McCauley of The Baltimore Sun: “It could be argued that the self-publishing phenomenon played a key role in the premature departure of Baltimore’s mayor.” Which is to say, while McCauley does not always paint a flattering picture of self-publishing, even she must admit that the real problem behind the premature resignation of Baltimore’s mayor was not the rise of self-publishing, but the rise of individuals who can find a way to turn even a beautiful thing into a power struggle.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

icon logo self publishing advisor

Self-Published Book Review: “What She Feels”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

what she feels chidozie osuwa

What She Feels

by Chidozie E. Osuwa

ISBN: 9781478754459

 

Synopsis*:

This is not just another poetry book filled with cliché quotes. What this is is every emotion a woman has ever felt when dealing with love, but could never put into words. This is looking at yourself in the mirror. This is finally being able to look at your situation from the outside looking in. This is a look into the too often scarred hearts of our women. This is inspiration. This is hope.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

This book, What She Feels, by Chidozie Osuwa is composed of a collection of poems. From the first couple of pages, I already immediately fell in love. Right off the bat, multiple poems were for the most part relateable; It was as if Osuwa was writing my thoughts onto paper and converting my feelings into words.

Each poem seemed to connect with the underlying topic of relationships—the dealing with difficulties and/or brokenness that comes during, or as a result of, being in a rather complicated relationship. The writer was consistent with this theme throughout the book.

Structurally, the book is split into about three parts. The first 95 pages are individual poems under the chapter, “SHE SAID-,” the following page covering a single poem, under, “HE SAID-,” and the rest of the pages are independent poems that aren’t technically categorized under any specific chapter.

In the first chapter, my personal favorite, “SHE SAID-“,” the pages are structured with a first-person point-of-view poem displayed on the top half of each page with a few lines of prose below, relating to the text above. I found this feature to be neat as one can get more context on the poem in addition to their own initial take on it.
On the other hand, the, “HE SAID,” section simply involved a single, two-lined poem. I honestly thought this section would feature content similar to, and as plentiful as its former.

Alternatively, the remaining set of poems was not placed under one classified section, but they do follow the same layouts. Each of these seems to display snippets of scenarios, in an omnipotent matter, and the last word or so of each line rhymed with the previous/following line. All of these poems were about a page and a half each, without a statement provided underneath for extra content.

For me, out of the whole collection, I thoroughly enjoyed the section, “SHE SAID-“—not that the other sections weren’t well written; Respectively, all of the poems had their own enjoyable qualities and stories behind them. Personally for me, however, I just related significantly more to the poems in the first half of the book.

As I mentioned earlier, I have thoroughly enjoyed the majority of this poetry book. Hypocritically, though, the only issue I had were typos I spotted on a couple of pages in the beginning. They don’t take away from the poem’s too much, but as I am very observant about small details like these, they were the slightest bit bothersome to me, as I would have expected someone to go over these before publishing the book—but then again, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s easy for small things like these to slip!

Despite the minor errors I found, I would recommend this to others (in fact, I actually already have done so to a friend, and she fell in love with it from just the first couple of pages, like I did) due to how relateable I found these poems to be, in addition to how nice each page and each chapter is structured.

Those I would recommend it to would be those who in the past have been, or even currently are, dealing with issues in their relationship, or especially even just those going through a breakup. Ideally, teens, young adults, and middle-age adults alike will find this to their forte.

– Courtesy of Haley on Goodreads

Other Reviews

SPEAKS TO MY SOUL !

– reviewed on Amazon by Tiny94

This book spoke to my soul. I went through and highlighted ones that spoke to my current situation and starred the ones that I’ve went through before. Makes me do a lot of thinking about what I want in the next man. And what I expect of him.

– reviewed on Amazon by Pooh

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 4.2.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

This week, we have two big how-to articles from two big media sources that normally don’t spend a lot of time thinking or publishing content related to self-publishing. The first comes from Barbara Krasnoff of The Verge, who writes to cover the “new technologies [which have] appeared and revolutionized the industry”—that is, this new industry that you and I find ourselves a part of: self-publishing, also often referred to as indie publishing. Krasnoff begins by tracing the history of self-publishing—something we have probably often already read about, if not on The Verge—before touching base with a number of authors who have pursued self-publication and delving into the how-to section. Krasnoff concludes:

In short, the process of publishing your own book can be both very simple and very complex. The actual mechanics of publishing an ebook, or even a print book, has become relatively easy, especially if you give yourself to the Amazon ecosystem. However, doing it well — and gaining a following of readers who will enjoy and buy your books — is not as easy. It takes trial and error, patience, and work. But if you’re a writer, and you want people to read your books, it’s certainly worth it.

Overall, Krasnoff’s approach is both nuanced and richly complex, drawing as it does on the real and lived experiences of authors with experience in the field. A worthy read!

Equally as unexpected—and equally as delightful—is this article from Kelley O’Brien of Women, whose article proves to be exactly what its title implies: a getting-started guide for authors looking to break into romance, including by way of self-publication. She opens her section on self-publishing by writing:

Every romance fan knows that Amazon is filled with self-published romance authors, some of whom are as popular, if not more popular, than traditionally published authors. It’s necessary to preface that self-publishing isn’t for everyone. It’s a ton of work. You’ll have to handle everything an agent or publisher would normally take care of, such as book promotion. You also won’t have the support of an agent or publisher.

It can also be very rewarding. Self-publishing, by far, gives you the most control over your work. You always retain the rights to your books. You get to set your own deadlines and won’t have to wait months or longer for your book to start bringing in money.

While she also touches on traditional publishing methods, O’Brien makes sure that authors interested in going indie have a solid foundation and a good place to start the process.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

icon logo self publishing advisor

Guest Post: Submitting Your Own Manuscript? Here Are 5 Tips

Nowadays there are four main ways to get a book published.

A. Submitting it to a traditional publishing house. If they accept it, you’re golden. And while they’ll handle some of the marketing, you will still need to market it.

B. Independently publishing it yourself by working independently with editors, graphic designers, book formatters, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. And of course, you still need to market it.

C. Submitting it to one of those free online places.  Which presumably means you’ve already worked with editors, graphic designers, and book formatters. Fortunately, those free places do take care of distribution and sales for you. And of course, you still need to market it.

D. Submitting it one of those full-service self-publishing websites. They can handle all of the above, and maybe they’ll throw in a little marketing, depending upon who you choose. But you’ll still want to market it.

Regardless of which path you choose, there is one consistent component: your manuscript.  And it is in your best interest to make it the best it can be BEFORE you consider sending it (or uploading it) anywhere else.

rewriting

So, with that in mind, here are 5 things to keep in mind when it comes time to finalize your manuscript for submission.

1. Don’t insert hard paragraph breaks after every line. You can see where hard returns are in your Microsoft Word document by holding down CTRL-SHIFT-8. That bold “paragraph symbol” shows you where the hard returns are. They should be only at the ends of paragraphs. Traditional publishers probably won’t care, but it’ll wreak havoc with the other three, since in all likelihood, your book will be a different size than your 8.5×11 manuscript, and those hard returns will end up in the middle of lines instead of at the end of them.

2. Don’t manually insert hyphens.  Same problem as above. Your word processor should hyphenate words automatically, unless you have that function turned off. But even turning off auto-hyphenation is preferable to manually inserting a hyphen yourself. A manually inserted hyphen will cause all sorts of problems during interior book formatting, so be sure to remove them from your manuscript before submitting it.

3. Don’t use ALL CAPS. You may be tempted to capitalize words for emphasis, or for book titles. In both instances, italics are preferred. This doesn’t cause technical formatting problems so much as perception ones.

4. Spell check your work. All word processors have built-in spell checking. Even if you plan on having your manuscript professionally edited before publication (the traditional publisher will handle this, but for the other three options you’re on the hook, at least for paying for it), it is a good idea to run your spell check program on your manuscript prior to submitting it, just to fix all the “easy” mistakes.

5. Check your grammar. Most word processors also have built-in grammar checking, although they are admittedly poor. There are better (and free) alternatives on the Internet. One favorite is Online-SpellCheck.com. Simply cut and paste your manuscript, a chapter at a time, into the online form and Online-SpellCheck will not only identify spelling errors your word processor probably missed, but it will also catch other common grammatical errors such as contextual misspellings, commonly switched words, typographical errors, and more.

Additionally, there is a popular Chrome extension to consider: Grammarly (at Grammarly.com). This browser extension runs in the background on the Chrome Internet browser and checks spelling and grammar “on the fly” as you enter words into online forms. This is very useful for completing a publishing process error-free and is handy for other marketing endeavors after-the-fact, like writing on blogs, for instance.

Obviously, there is no substitute for a professional human editor, but complementing professional editing with Online-SpellCheck and Grammarly is the perfect hat trick to almost guarantee an error-free book.


brent sampson

In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.
In his capacity as the President and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including The Book Marketing COACH, Self-Publishing Questions Asked & Answered, and Sell Your Book on Amazon.