Tuesday Book Review: “The Avant Champion”

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:

the avant champion c b samet

The Avant Champion: Rising

by C.B. Samet

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478777366

 

Synopsis*:

All things considered, it was a good day to die . . When Marrington Castle is overtaken by a dark and ancient evil, Abigail Cross finds herself in the precarious situation of protecting Queen Rachel the Fourth. Her journey to safety quickly transforms into a quest to save Queen and country. Charged with finding the artifacts to raise The Champion to defeat the world’s most powerful enemy, Abigail finds herself traversing the perilous continent-from the roaring waterfalls of Aithos to the scorching heat of the Optato Desert to the freezing fog of Mount Karn…. Will Abigail succeed in uniting the kingdom and summoning the Avant Champion to save them all?

 

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review: “black starblack starblack starblack star

When her education fund runs out, student Abigail Cross temporarily works as Queen Rebekah’s servant to raise some money for her studies. One night, as she accompanies the Queen back to her quarters from a celebration party, they are attacked by terrifying creatures known as The Swallowers, and her brother Paul is killed instantly. Abigail finds herself tasked with protecting the Queen and a quest to summon the legendary Avant Champion to fight an ancient enemy. Roaming the continent to find the necessary means and items to do the summoning, Abigail learns more about the land’s dark history, and discovers love and new friends, as well as learning her family’s secret role in the kingdom.

I like the world-building of The Avant Champion: Rising by C.B. Samet. It’s not as complex and different as most fantasy writers tend to create, but it’s just as fascinating and detailed. There’s the Caballus Clans, people who bred the finest horses in the land and the holy tribe of Gunthi monks that secluded themselves in the remote canyon, and many more interesting communities. Samet used familiar aspects from both the real world and fantasy world, cleverly blending them together. I find the concept of how the evil beings came to be quite ingenious. The illustrations at the start of each chapter are eye-catching and complement the story well. The pace of the plot is moderate; fast enough to keep the plot flowing in an engaging manner, but appropriately slow enough to let readers get to know the characters, their antagonists, backstory, and the world-building. Overall, this is a solid fantasy from Samet.

–  Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite

What Other Reviewers Are Saying …

I received this arc book to review and enjoyed every minute of it. I was enthralled by the storyline and taken away by all the different creatures and places. It was amazing to read how a champion is selected and how to save their country. Abigail’s journey is a very dangerous one and there are many obstacle’s for her to overcome along the way. I loved the subtle romance that grows throughout the story. The banter between Abby and Joshua is so adorable and sexy. This story has love, loss, adventure, war and survival. Abigail goes through so much heartache, yet she stays true to herself and loyal to those she loves. She is a true warrior who is determine to win the battle over evil. I also love that there is a hint of more to come. You wont be disappointed.

– Amazon Reviewer Narcie Carrion

Great book – a friend recommended it and I read it in two days! Non-stop adventure and I loved the characters. The book also went beyond my expectations by moving beyond where I thought it would end and giving me more for my money! It ended in such a way I was happy with the result but it totally set us up for the sequel! I cant wait to see what comes up next and I will definitely check out more by this author!

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

Book Trailer:

 

Self-Publishing News: 11.6.2017 – The Company Files!

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And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically news from or regarding self-publishing companies!

Wait, what’s Sweek? It’s got a cute logo, that’s for sure:

sweek stories never end

The short answer, it turns out, is that Sweek is another self-publishing startup. This one isn’t necessarily in direct competition with indies and others who produce book-length works that are then distributed via bookstores and online sales, but that doesn’t mean that Sweek doesn’t have some serious competition–it just comes in the form of mobile platforms like Medium and Wattpad (and others, too). These platforms, which often consist of both a desktop-friendly website and a sleek (or sweek, I guess) app which allows users to both curate a collection of other peoples’ works for easy reading and write their own stories for publication. In this article from Molly Flatt on The Bookseller, one thing is very, very clear: our reading and writing habits are changing, and various industries–and platforms–are competing to be the next “normal.” Here’s to you, Sweek–we will check in with you in a couple of months to see how you’re doing!

Oh, and we all want to know what that ‘good part’ is, don’t we? Of course, for some of us it has nothing to do with a knight in shining armor and everything to do with a warm cup of tea on a cold winter’s night. Which is pretty much how my evening is going right now, come to think about it. Do I need a romance novel to round out my evening? Audible thinks so, which makes perfect sense, since romance books make up a big slice of the audio book giant’s core offerings and sales. So what’s the deal with this new service? Jacob Passy of MarketWatch writes that Audible (now an Amazon subsidiary) now offers an entirely separate package for subscribers who want to skip the other genres and dig into their romance. Says Passy:

The new “Take Me to the Good Part” function identifies major plot points — yes, including the sultrier moments — using algorithms and allows listeners to skip ahead in the story. And the “Steaminess Score” keys listeners in to the level of passion they can expect from a given title on a five-point scale from ‘Sweet’ to ‘O-O-OMG.’

Which … fair enough. What remains to be seen, of course, is how this will translate when it comes to boosting the careers of self-publishing authors. According to Passy, “self-publishing has allowed the romance genre community to address concerns related to inclusion,” concerns which Audible & Amazon haven’t always been willing to take on. One hopes that will change, and in the meantime, you can skip all the boring bits of your latest bodice-ripper.

I mean … one might argue that if one can foot a bill that large … one probably already has an extensive networking reach and the ability to build a business of any kind with greater success than, say, a recent college graduate who’s paying off loans by working with AmeriCorps or burning time in an entry-level position. But still, this is fascinating stuff! And what, exactly, do life coaches have to do with self-publishing? Quite a lot, actually, as Cathy Alter reveals in her article for the Washingtonian. Sure, the attendees of this particular book launch event all look overwhelmingly glamorous in their ball gowns and tuxedos (around a table fit for the Capitol in The Hunger Games), but I’d totally sit down with any one of them to hear what they have to say. That’s the power of glamor–of good branding–for you. And as Alter puts it, “self-help books are less about racking up sales than about building a personal brand that pays off in other ways”–and all of these self-published self-help authors have a lot riding on the line, and on their reputations, and on their brands. The author at the center of this article, the author behind the authors, could easily be framed as an object of derision–but it would have been a mistake to do so, and Alter avoids falling into the trap of taking an easy or simple portrait of the men and women profiled here. Well worth a read!


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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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Conversations: 11/3/2017

‘TIS THE SEASON TO READ and TASTE

By this time of year most published authors have set in motion the marketing they plan to do during the Holidays. The computer keyboards are given a rest. However, reading must continue so that we can continue to develop our writing skills and make ourselves aware of the genres, styles, and voices the reading public is placing on their bookshelves. For the month of November, I will highlight four genres that continue to hold strong positions in local and online bookstores. Even though they may not be your favorites, I recommend that you at least take a look at them, turn the “look inside” pages, and consider what is to be learned from these authors that will benefit your writing.

November is a month filled with the preparations of “traditional” recipes for all to enjoy—which carries over into all the December holiday celebrations. The images of on each page of Recipe Books are sharp, illustrating the taste, smell and texture of each delicious item. And, often, there is a story of when, where, and why a specific recipe was created.

For the passionate cook (and writer) I am highlighting GRANDMA’S FAVORITES: A Compilation of Recipes from Margaret Sanders Buell. This collection has been loving put together by three of Margaret’s granddaughters and speaks to the legacy she has left in them and for them to pass forward. What they experienced as they walked into their Grandmother’s kitchen was the “twinkle in her eye” and the extra ingredient of love that went into every meal. Margaret’s home and hospitality was always open to family, friends and even total strangers.

This 383 page book has received 5-star ratings because of its excellent, easy-to-follow recipe directions, its Holiday “magic,” as well as its elements of humor and entertainment.

For those of us who are looking for a smaller collection of Holiday recipes, grab this little book: Mom’s Thanksgiving and Christmas Best by Robert Maxwell.

These ninety pages offer “top-secret” cooking tips for those of us who need/want to create something marvelous within a short span of time—especially when the unexpected invitation to a Holiday Pot-Luck is received.

I also like Mr. Maxwell’s subtitle: Bob’s in the Kitchen. It immediately speaks to his gentlemen audience while, at the same time, acknowledging Mom in the title resonates with both women and men. Knowing your audience is a key component for every writer and should be considered from the very moment we begin writing our next books.

So, you’re not into cooking? Why should you read any cookbook? Yes, I can hear you, and believe me, I said that, too, when I was told to “pick up a few recipe books at the used book store and read them.” This quote comes from my science fiction author and friend who explained that when he needed to create “meals” for his “other worldly” characters, he went hunting through his cookbook pages for the most exotic foods. Then he searched the internet for images of those various ingredients and eventually combined several (that in reality should never be combined), to create his aliens’ favorite foods. He also instructed me to “always save the story-recipes to a specific file, both on the computer and on a flash-drive.” Every detail used in one story can be re-purposed in the next one.

I’ve also come to learn that finding the right words to describe taste, smell, and texture of foods is not naturally intuitive for me. If I want the Readers of my books to experience what I’m writing, learning about the qualities of foods and ingredients is essential.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted saying, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” So it is my friends, that I encourage you to pick a delicious meal (book) and let it nourish you! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Our First Survey Results!

thank you for your feedback survey results

Every now and again, we are reminded of just how wonderful and amazing our readers are, and the last few weeks have definitely been packed with such reminders–in part thanks to your, yes, wonderful feedback via our online survey! We asked, you answered, and now it’s time for us to listen.

So, what can you look for in the coming weeks?

√ First off, you’ll be seeing more focused content.

Several of our reviewers pointed out (very nicely, as a matter of fact) that they preferred articles which focused specifically on self-publishing, and dealt less with irrelevant subjects to the self-publishing experience. We’re going to work very hard in the weeks to come to produce only the finest, most useful material possible, to better enable you to tackle the self-publishing experience yourself.

√ Secondly, you’ll be seeing changes to the ‘news’

That’s right, you voted, and it’s official: our most popular sections, by far, are our Wednesday “In Your Corner” posts and Royalene’s Friday “Conversations” posts. They’re going nowhere. But Mondays? Mondays could use some work. We’re going to brainstorm some ways to make the news more, yes, useful. So hang tight for a couple of weeks as we work our way down the list of possibilities, and you’ll see some updates happening soon.

√ Thirdly, we’re going to update our book reviews

Someone very kindly suggested–and we loved this idea–that we feature some award winners among our book reviews, and we intend to do so! We have a long and storied history with the CIPA EVVY Awards, but if you have any additional suggestions drop us a line in the comments box or go ahead and fill out the survey again.

√ Lastly, some other ideas we loved:

One reviewer suggested we pen some pieces on “where to advertise your book to get the most ‘bang for your buck,’ and we’re going to take this to heart both as we put together our “News” each week (if we spot anything new) and as Elizabeth works on her lineup for her “In Your Corner” posts (for tried and true strategies). Another survey respondent wrote in that we might center some work around the theme “Dig Into Marketing” … and we love that idea, too! In fact, there’s a whole world of possibilities there for us to explore, between these two ideas. They might just have achieved a perfect synthesis!

More soon!

Thank you to all of our readers who have already sent in your responses! If you have ideas which you did not see here, or would like to add additional suggestions, please go ahead and fill out the survey here! We’re only ever going to continue to update our wishlist for places to go and pieces to write, and your feedback really shapes where we go and how we get there. Thanks again!

 


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

Self Publishing Advisor

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Tuesday Book Review: “Dust to Dust”

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:

dust to dust john hudson

Dust to Dust

by John Hudson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478743347

 

Synopsis*:

The year is 1826 and Thomas Jefferson has just died. His beloved Monticello bustles with activity as funeral plans are swiftly organized for his burial in the family cemetery. Fast forward to 2026. A group of researchers specializing in regeneration technology have found success after years of work and significant investment. Dr. Pat Alexander, head researcher at BioGen, announces to the assembled group of board members/investors that the regeneration of a circus chimpanzee, which died in a runaway circus wagon accident in 1926, has met with success: The animal is alive and well.

Discussion turns to the final step in the researchers’ plan-to bring back a human being-and after careful elimination, the candidates are whittled down to one name: Thomas Jefferson. So begins this powerful debut novel-a book that examines human ambition gone wrong and chronicles the miraculous “rebirth” of the nation’s third president, his struggles to assimilate, and the world’s collective amazement at the science behind this feat. The American government swiftly becomes part of the oversight of the technology, and the 48th president personally introduces Jefferson to the 21st century. But with a lethal flaw in the researchers’ technology, the world’s unbridled excitement quickly erodes, leading to a destructive conclusion for all involved. Fortunes evaporate, beliefs are challenged, careers are ruined, and lives are lost in Dust to Dust.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review: “Once is Not Enough.”

Slow-starter for me, but I was kept in the novel by the well-written scene descriptions which made me feel like I was there, both in 1826 and in the Bio-Gen Labs of 2026. I was waiting for more character development until I met Thomas Jefferson and discovered the contrast between the “reconstituted” but lively and interested man who had been dead for 200 years and the flatness of the contemporary characters was evidently intentional. None of the “main” characters had relationships or any kind of life except for their jobs and the hope of making money or a name for themselves. The risk-takers weren’t really willing to risk anything for the sake of posterity or the greater good of the world. Their relationships with one another were shallow and they had lost touch with whatever could give them identity, including their religious and family roots. Thomas Jefferson’s vitality was refreshing, but did it change anything? This was a subtle novel that gave me a lot to think about even when the book was finished. Needs a second reading.

– Amazon Reviewer ArtWork

What Other Reviewers Are Saying …

Not your average science fiction novel! In these days of biomedical breakthroughs, this book is based on a breakthrough that hasn’t even been dreamed about yet, so far as I know. If you can buy into a newly developed technology that allows us to regenerate a human being from long-dead remains, this is a great story with a unique plot. The 2 main characters, the research scientist and Thomas Jefferson, behave in predictable ways, but with some good twists thrown in. For me, the ending was particularly thought provoking, on issues involving the characters, and in commentary on present day politics.

– Amazon Reviewer Diane P.S. Shipe

Quickly predictable but engaging until the surprise ending sneaks up on you. After the first couple chapters, you pretty much know where this story is headed, or at least you think you do. John does a good job of telling a believable story, and that keeps you turning the pages until, well, until the surprise ending sneaks up on you. The Jefferson character is believable and makes some cogent observations about America 200 years ago vs today. You’ll enjoy the book.

– Amazon Reviewer David

Thoroughly enjoyed this historical science fiction book. Thought provoking on many levels.

– Amazon Reviewer Amazon Customer

Book Trailer:


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

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Self-Publishing News: 8.30.2017 – October Round-Up

hello October word abstrtact in wood type

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, wrapping up what’s new for you and yours in October 2017.

Self-publishing can be a complicated process, as Desireé Duffy puts it in her latest article for the news blog Equities.com, but things are changing: “Self-publishing gives everyone the ability to unleash their opus to the masses,” says Duffy, launching into an interview with indie author, publisher, and radio host Gerald Everett Jones. Jones has been around long enough to attest to such changes, and the interview uncovers some genuine gems (including: “the noise level in the marketplace is higher than ever,” for example, due to the massive influx of new tools and texts). Jones and Duffy also work to hammer out a new definition of “success” which doesn’t conflate it with blockbuster publishing success, tackle misconceptions about self-publishing, compare the experience of going solo to that of sticking with traditional publishing, and list some tips and tricks for spotting the genuine article when it comes to self-publishing companies. They’re not all created equal, after all, and Jones knows. This lengthy interview is the perfect way to wrap up October!

If you haven’t been watching the news from Down Under, you’ve been missing out: the Australian literary scene has been rich and textured for many a decade, but the last five years have seen a veritable explosion of great works in a variety of genres and categories, from crime fiction to young adult to fantasy to romance, and self-publishing has played a part in this larger conversation. Here, in this article for the Australian book industry blog, Books+Publishing, Andrea Hanke writes that “With a number of traditionally published authors moving into self-publishing, there’s never been a greater demand for bricks-and-mortar bookstores to stock self-published titles.” Hanke turns to hybrid author Ellie Marney and to Kym Bagley and Angela Crocombe, both of whom are booksellers, for their insights into how the self-publishing industry has evolved internationally to make more room for authors to experiment with form and content. It’s refreshing to read multiple perspectives on the same issue, with both authors and booksellers present on the page. Read the full article at the link!

Yeah, yeah, this shouldn’t be news to those of us who are really plugged into the self-publishing landscape–but it’s always nice to hear our anecdotal observations confirmed by third party research and statistics, isn’t it? So we come to 


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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Conversations: 10/27/2017

CONNECT WITH THE MARKETING EXPERTS

Today’s blog must open with a confession from me. I have not followed all the marketing advice that I’ll be sharing in these paragraphs. I am one of those authors who avoids thinking about marketing—not because it is time consuming or challenging—but because it is so foreign to my nature. I’m an author, a writer who has WAY too many storylines racing through my head, and corralling just one at a time takes extreme effort and concentration. So…I make very little effort to “grab the bull by the horns” (very appropriate cliché here) and market my published books. Of course, I am constantly suggesting to my clients that they take every advantage of any and all marketing assistance available to them, and I’m making a commitment to myself that from this day forward I will do the same!

assistant

Whether published through a traditional house or self-published the responsibility to introduce book(s) to the world belongs to the author. However, when the big publishers cut their marketing budgets—and staff—those experts partnered with self-publishing companies or started their own PR/marketing firms.

Finding the best assistance is now another hoop authors must jump through and with just a little Internet searching I discovered that the Marketing Firms offered excellent help—with fees that were definitely not in my budget. Once again, I’m so thankful that I made the decision to self-publish with a company that offers a delightful variety of marketing assistance. The following points are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy when working with your own Personal Marketing Expert:

  • Relationship. Being introduced to a specialist in the field of marketing is the beginning of a friendship that enlightens and expands every author’s horizons. Authors don’t expect such an immediate and positive connection. However, it is one that will open new and continuing sales potential for our books, and build lasting relationships with Readers who will become “fans.”
  • Platform. The skill-set of the Personal Marketing Assistant (PMA) allows them to listen to our stories (the book concepts) and immediately begin devising a marketing “platform” for our “product” to stand on. This may include the traditional bookstore book-signings, extending to coffee-house-book-readings. But today’s PMA will also help authors construct and utilize a website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google and other Internet “media” sites to increase visibility and build author reputation. Their expertise in wordsmithing will connect with Readers on multiple levels!
  • Branding: The basic definition of “branding” is the creation of a name, term, symbol or design that gives a product a unique identity in the marketplace. As the PMA works with us they begin to visualize an element of our book(s) that will give it a distinctive presence in the book catalogs and platform arenas. Their perspective of our work may be different than ours; however, their suggestions are valuable tools to help us decide on a Brand that will follow us (as authors) and our books for a very long time.

Bottom line, every author needs a plan for the journey we’re taking into the mega-marketing-world. I used to think of it as entering Jurassic Park. Not anymore. I’m ready to learn everything I can from the expert Personal Marketing Assistant who will become my guide and partner in this adventure. I’m prepared to listen to their insights about the audience my book is meant to reach and “could” reach. And I’ll be building a file of everything I’m learning so that I can follow this path again with my new book(s)! I’m hoping you’ll join me in this marketing journey, and discover the excitement your Personal Marketing Assistant can bring into your writing life. ⚓︎

 


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.