Happy Thanksgiving! … & Your Weekly Self-Published Book Review: “Aurora of the Northern Lights”


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:

aurora of the northern lights holly hardin

mom's c

gelett burgess children's book award gold

Aurora of the Northern Lights

by Holly Hardin

ISBN: 9781432724399


Come along as author Holly Hardin conjures a mystical world of adventure, sprites, and magical charms. After losing her parents, little Aurora sets off on her own. Because she’s different, Aurora finds it difficult to find anyone who will listen to her story, even at Christmas time. As her story continues, Aurora receives special gifts to keep her safe and important clues to find her new home.

Follow the journey as Aurora encounters a host of creatures along the way–including one very famous bearded man. What follows in this beautifully illustrated and delightfully written book is a heartwarming story of a home lost and found–and a Christmas lesson for us all.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Reviewed by Grace (age 5) and Ella (age 4) Gleichner and Mom

“Aurora of the Northern Lights” is the story of a young girl named Aurora.  Aurora’s parents meet in the cold lands of the Northern Fey.

Grace: “It’s cold and snowy here, do you think this is where the Northern Fey live Mom?”

Ella: “Maybe they live in the North Cold (what Ella calls the North Pole).”

Aurora’s father, William, becomes sick in the cold so her mother, Mistletoe, agrees to move to a farm where the weather wasn’t so cold.

Ella: “We moved but it’s still cold here, just like in Manitowoc.”

Mistletoe and William are thrilled with the birth of their daughter Aurora, and for seven years everything is wonderful.  But, then all three of them get sick and Aurora’s parents don’t survive.

Grace: “That is so sad.  That’s why we get shots, so we don’t get sick, right Mom?  Are her Mom and Dad in Heaven now?”

Aurora feels lost, and when she wanders into town the people of the town shun her.  She doesn’t know what to do when suddenly a witch gives her a charm to protect her from harm, and tells her that this is not her true home, she needs to head to the forest.

Ella: “What a pretty necklace!”

She does head to the forest, where she does meet some Fey.  But, these are not her people and they too tell her to move on.  But, their queen provides her with a nice wool cloak and oak staff for her journey.

Grace: “At least she’ll be nice and warm.”

After traveling through the bitter cold, Aurora is about to give up when she comes upon a castle.  When she knocks, the door is opened by Santa Claus.

Grace: “Look Mom, Santa!  I can’t wait until he comes!”

Ella: “Don’t forget to put a cotton ball on my calendar so I know how many more days.”

Santa invites Aurora in where she is welcomed by all, but she then sees a woman who looks like her.  This woman is so happy to see her, because she is her Grandmother.

Overall I thought that “Aurora of the Northern Lights” by Holly Hardin was a well-written book; the only issue I had was that little Aurora was only seven when her parents died, and she was on her own and shunned by adults.  But, it does show children that life isn’t always easy, and even if you are different you can always find people who will love you no matter what.

– reviewed by Reviewed by Grace, Ella, and Mom on Reader View Kids

Other Reviews

“Named for the Northern Lights, Aurora faces a woeful plight. To many lands, she must roam, searching for her true home.”

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a delightful story, beautifully illustrated and told entirely in verse.

Aurora is the child of a beautiful and pale young Northern lady named Mistletoe and handsome William, a visitor from the South. William finds the Northern climate difficult, so they make their home in the temperate South.

When Aurora is orphaned, she is unable to stay in her old home. As she searches for her new home, those that she meets along the way are quick to chase her off. To some extent the story is one of intolerance. But fortunately, with perseverance and luck, Aurora finds a place where she is welcomed and loved.

I found the book a fun and engaging read. I imagine that the pictures and verse will go over very well with children. I highly recommend Aurora of the Northern Lights.

– reviewed by Gabi317 on Starting Fresh NYC

Aurora of the Northern Lights is a beautiful and touching story that is destined to become a Christmas favorite amongst young and old alike.

Mistletoe is an elfin living in the North, who falls in love with William, a human. When it becomes obvious that William is not built to live in such frigid conditions, Mistletoe leaves home to live with William a little further South, in a little town.

After a few years, they welcome a darling baby girl, whom they name Aurora, after the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) under which they were married. When tragedy strikes, Aurora is left to fend for herself. She doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, and commences upon a journey to find a place she belongs.

Throughout her adventures, she meets several people who shun her from their communities, yet bestow upon her gifts to help her along her way.

After trekking through ice and snow for days on end, Aurora finally comes full circle, finding the place she truly belongs.

The story is written completely in verse that flows on paper, as well as when read aloud. You cannot help but be filled with a variety of emotions as the story ebbs and flows through the happiness and the heartache.

Illustrations by Donald Vanderbeek add to the beauty and poetry of Holly Hardin’s words. They are beautiful and elicit as much emotion as the story itself.

Children will be held captive by the words and the pictures when this book is read aloud to them. It inspires visions of families cuddled together on the couch, wrapped up in blankets on a cold December night, sipping hot chocolate, as they share the story. It could even inspire young authors and artists to create their own story.

I received a copy of this book when I was a reviewer for BookPleasures.

– reviewed by Andrea Coventry on Amazon


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


In Your Corner: A Soulful Christmas

happy holidays

This is the time of the year when there’s snow on the roads in my part of the world, the days are short and dark by five in the evening, and everyone’s going a bit stir crazy.  Tensions are at a fever pitch, but so too is that special brand of optimistic cheerfulness which washes over and around the people I care about.  Some people may not celebrate the religious aspect of the Christmas holidays, but you can’t help but love some of the perks they bring with them: hot cocoa and cider to drink, quilts and kittens and friendships to keep us warm, generosity to celebrate in giving and receiving.

It seems almost callow, perhaps, to talk about marketing in the midst of all this good-feeling.  What does the commercial machine have to do with empathy and generosity?

Here’s the thing: What’s good for you as an author and what’s good for your relationships is also good for business.  

I’m not just talking about the “family-friendly” or “family-owned” propaganda issued by big businesses like Starbucks or Chipotle or REI; I’m talking about your relationships on a personal level, and starting from the ground up.  The real revolution in how we do business has to start with actual human connection rather than the cold and soulless opportunism that we’ve been taught is the marker of successful companies and their high-level officials.

So this Christmas, I’m not going to encourage you to break out a couple of new strategies for self-promotion success for several reasons–including the fact that we’ve already done so in past Christmases: here, here, and here––but rather to refocus on what you consider the most valuable and worthwhile aspects of your relationships.  I guarantee you this: if you put your friendships and your loved ones first, the rest will fall into place.  Friends want to hear about what each other do and love and are working on, and when your relationships are in tune you’ll know instinctively when it’s a good and natural and 100% organic moment to do so.

Who you are as a writer fits within a broader framework of who you are in connection to the other people in your life.  Authenticity isn’t just nice; it’s imperative.  It just makes sense that what’s good for your relationships would be good for spreading the word about your book, and the ingredients for a joyful and happy holiday season would also be the perfect recipe for a productive time for you as a self-publishing author!

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

In Your Corner: No Gimmicks, No Exaggeration…We Are Thankful For You!

It’s almost Christmas! Which is to say, quite a few feast days and religious holidays are fast approaching. What will you be doing this holiday season? How will you spend the day?

Among other things, we here at Self Publishing Advisor will be spending Christmas celebrating you. Because you’re awesome, and you have been so incredibly kind to us as readers and supporters of all things self-published and self-publishing. We couldn’t have asked for more generous-hearted, more wise, more curious and inquiring minds than than you. You keep us young, you keep us honest, and you keep us on-point in collating, generating, and celebrating the advances made in self-publishing over the last decade.

I’m new to SPA, but the blog itself has been around for quite a while. We had our eight-year blogiversary just a couple of months ago. In the age of the Internet, eight years is a massive accomplishment! So thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for being the massively accomplished and wonderful people that you are.

thank you

We hope you get a moment today and every day through the holidays to pause, catch your breath, and find yourself some headspace. It’s a frenetic time as we close out the year, but we’re here for you, and we’ll be here every weekday and Saturday with more quality content to keep feeding that hungry heart and mind of yours. If you have any suggestions as to content and themes as we move into a new year, we’d love to hear those too! We want to deliver material that you actually want to read, so burn up our comments section a little, okay? Or drop us a line in private–that’s fine too.

Thank you, dear readers, for another wonderful year.

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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.

In Your Corner: Making sense––of the holiday drop-in.

How do we prepare for the holidays?

Oh, look, I get it–after weeks and weeks of holiday-themed newsletters, emails, blog posts, and tinned Christmas music piped over the mall speakers, it’s easy for the season to lose its luster. And it’s true, after so many days and weeks harping on the same note (angelically, we hope) the holidays can begin to feel a bit … stale.

But that’s why we keep trying to come at it from different angles! Appropriately, too, since that’s what today’s post is all about: brainstorming new and fresh ways to prepare yourself as an author and your book too for this festive season. How do we best make use of the holidays and market our books to visiting friends and family, co-workers, neighbors, as well as the general community…without coming off as opportunistic…or worse, stale?

Here’s my suggestion:

Do what you love to do during the holidays, only find a way to be an author as well as an ordinary shopper, gift-giver, and so on. You don’t have to sacrifice anything, least of all that all-too-precious authenticity, in order to be both and do both.

Maybe you like baking cookies. I’m a traditionalist–gingerbread, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, and sandies for me! But my family? Their roots go way back, to date-filled oatmeal cookies, cappuccino flats, Scandinavian almond bars, pfeffernüsse, orange and ginger shortbread, and all sorts of delicacies I’m not much good at putting together. (Dipping stuff in melted chocolate?? Only if it’s a spoon or my hand, thanks. Otherwise, the entire house gets decorated in splatter.)  Here’s the thing, though: no matter what you like to bake, it’s a great excuse to make the rounds at your neighbors’ as well as pretty much any social gathering you can think of–potluck, luncheon, shower, office party, etc–and to spread the word about your book at the same time. Tuck a bookmark with a picture of your book on it into the basket of goodies, and voila! Word is spread, and without great expense while keeping you doing the thing you love best at the holidays.

Or maybe you’re a nice version of the Grinch, in that you want to do anything other than another holiday-themed thing. In that case, you can lift a page from REI’s #OptOutside campaign (only perhaps we should call this #GoodGrinch-ing? I’m sure you can come up with a better hashtag). Throw a party, any other kind of party that is, or maybe launch a little crowdsourcing campaign of your own where you ask others to partner with you in doing something bigger and greater than just buying your book. Like REI, can you transform a single consumer behavior–abstaining from shopping for a day, in their case–into a statement? Maybe you decide to start a matching strategy, where for a limited time, for every copy of your book that is purchased, you’ll gift a copy to local libraries? Or perhaps, for every three copies of your book that are purchased, you donate a shoebox to Operation Christmas Child? The possibilities are endless. The key is to remember that you yourself have to believe in the mission you’re setting out to accomplish, and that mission is more than just making bank. The great thing about this idea is, too, that it can be adapted to other times of year! (But you have to admit, it’s really well-suited to the holidays.)

There are so many ways to branch out during the holidays, bringing fresh air to the age-old necessity of marketing your book effectively while also maintaining your sanity (and integrity!) at a busy time of year.


christmas visit holiday

Have you found a way to market your book around the holidays that doesn’t feel stale or opportunistic? I’d love to hear about your experience. Please drop me a line in the comments section, and I’ll include the best ideas in next week’s “In Your Corner” post!

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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.

From the Archives: “5 Reasons to Self-Publish in December”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: December 4th, 2013 ]

With so much going on in December, you may be wondering if now is the right time to self-publish your book. Here are five reasons why December is a great month to start the self-publishingprocess.


Many self-publishing companies are getting in the holiday spirit by offering great deals on publishing packages and marketing options. This can save you money and provide you with services that will enhance the success of your book.

A Gift to Yourself

Publishing a book is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. The sense of accomplishment and pride is better than any box of chocolates or new sweater. Celebrate the holiday season by giving yourself the memorable gift of self-publishing.

Plenty of Time to Market

By starting the self-publishing process in December, you will have your printed book early in 2014. This gives you the rest of the year to market your book and plenty of time to accomplish your yearly marketing and sales goals.

A Jump Start on Your To-Do List

If you are reading this, “publishing a book” is probably on your 2014 to-do list. Start the year off right by checking it off the list before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

Be a Part of a Great Trend

According to Bowker, the self-publishing market is up 59% compared to last year.You can be a part of that amazing statistic and be a part of the changing publishing industry.

Happy Holidays!

– by Kelly Schuknecht

2016 is not 2013, it’s true, but some things hold true–including these five reasons to self-publish in December which I originally posted waaaaay back when. But look, it’s all well and good to pat myself on the back for being accurate three years ago. What about now? What’s new in terms of arguments in favor of self-publishing in December?

I have one big contribution, a stellar sixth reason:

Holiday Marketing Bundles

The market and industry have both come a long way in three years, and one of the things an increasing number of self-publishing companies offer is a holiday marketing bundle geared towards providing both discounts (and attendant big savings) as well as specific services geared towards boosting sales during this generosity-inducing time.

Now, Christmas might seem like the absolute worst time to lay out a big chunk of change on your book when it could be going to so many other good things. And it’s true that there are other good things well worth investing in during the winter holiday season–friends, family, needy strangers, coffee kiosks–but I would argue, gently, that this is the perfect time. After all, you’ve been working hard all year to get your book out–and typically, a well-marketed book will move the greatest bulk of its copies during the months between October and January.

I of course have a slight vested interest in holiday marketing bundles–my employer, Outskirts Press, offers a stellar example. I don’t shy away from mentioning this because I truly believe in the quality of services that Outskirts offers, and have had the pleasure of working alongside the staff who put this deal (and others) together. But no matter where you choose to pick up your bundle–while the details may differ a little–the core principle remains the same: bundling services allows for great discounts, and for very refined targeting of your consumer base.

Now, if you miss out on the holiday marketing bundle this time around, don’t panic! There’s always next year. And you won’t even have to wait a full twelve months for such an opportunity; there is always a small bump in sales around late spring and early summer as well, due to the “beach reads” trend, and this gives you plenty of time to recoup those unavoidable (and, let’s face it, sometimes inexplicable) holiday expenses!

winter christmas holiday decorations

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.