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

thanksgiving

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

Synopsis*:

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

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The Alchemy of Holiday Marketing (Part III)

fall autumn book

Several weeks back, we began this series by introducing the idea that marketing—specifically marketing as regards self-published books—is a kind of alchemy. Alchemy, we discovered, has a lot of meanings or connotations, but we continue to run semi-officially with the Merriam-Webster definition of alchemy as “a power or process that changes or transforms something in a mysterious or impressive way.” We spent some time during the next post examining this definition further, as well as its historic inflections and how that translates into focusing on what makes your writing and method special. Last time, we looked into the guiding question of “what’s next?” Which, as it turns out, is taking your existing habits and tweaking them to better serve your marketing goals–in a sustainable fashion that won’t undercut your existing routines and interests.

What comes after “what’s next?”

Next comes the holiday-specific part! Now that you’ve eked out some additional sustainable habits (that will continue working in your favor year-round, of course!) it’s time to think about what little bits of “extra” you can fit in around the holidays that support your ongoing marketing strategy and also take advantage of all those little things you can only do around the holidays.

Thanksgiving

To hit upon some high points we keep returning to year after year on this blog:

Thanksgiving is a time for doing, every bit as much as it is about giving and receiving. After all, the whole “giving and receiving” thing gets a real workout around Christmas. And in a smaller sense, at Halloween and even Veteran’s Day, when we give thanks to our servicemen and women—very important in its own way, but not the only mode of being to inhabit as a self-publishing author.

Thanksgiving is a time for activity, for wrapping up all the things that have been left unfinished at other times of year—a time for completion, for stepping back and looking at the whole and then by golly sitting down and filling in the holes. The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving isn’t just to give and receive thanks; the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to get ‘er done. To see yourself and your book and your marketing campaign and your social media strategy through the rough patches that inevitably accumulate on the leading edge of the end of the year. It’s not, contrary to legend, a time to sit around and kick up your feet and wait for good things to happen (or, more appropriately, to pop out of the oven and onto your dinner plate). Delicious as a fresh-baked cobbler is, it’s not quite the point.

If we wanted to look all the way back to the Quakers and the First Thanksgiving—and let’s face it, like it or not Thanksgiving is a time rife with nostalgia and historic musings—we should be honest about what it was like for them. They only celebrated because the gifted foods and skills given them by the local tribes kept them from starvation—and then, only just. The Quakers almost starved. Many of them did starve. It was not a time of plenty; it was a time for surviving, and for acknowledging those who helped them to survive. The time for celebration isn’t after everything is done and the harvest is in; the time for celebration is now, when the struggle and the busy-ness and the insanity is at its height. Tap into that spirit and, in the spirit too of the diagramming and recording we’ve done since our previous post, start brainstorming the ways you can merge celebration with marketing. Will throwing an event at the local library do that for you? Will putting up posters around town? Hosting a discount or giveaway on your blog and book sale page? Think of those strategies which you can put together quickly, easily, and without adding undue stress at a busy time. We’ll be back next week with more thoughts on specific events, tips, and tricks you can use that fit the bill for simple and stress-free!

These holidays, I hope you know that we here at Self Publishing Advisor are a part of your network, a resource to enable your resilience. We’re here for you this Thanksgiving season, to help you get it done–and to help you celebrate your wonderful book!

fall autumn book blanket coffee

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!

You are not alone. ♣︎


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.

 

In Your Corner: Putting the “Thanks!” in Thanksgiving

give thanks

This year, as you settle down for the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s worth considering all the ways we can and ought to say “thanks” to our readers, especially during the holiday season. Giving thanks is a fantastic way to connect with people and show them you care and that they matter to you—just as you matter to us here at Self Publishing Advisor!

  1. Social Media. There are always good ways of making use of social media for establishing that personal touch and intimacy with your readers—especially in responding to comments with personalized tweets, Instagram comments, or Facebook posts—but in the week of Thanksgiving, it’s worth going all-out. Put together a small (or big) post making direct reference to those early reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, and other websites so crucial to your book’s sales and success. It doesn’t have to be some massively big deal (although it certainly can be if you want!), just a quick: “Dear Julie K., Seth M., and Erica G., thank you so much for being willing to read and review my book on Goodreads! Your comments meant so much and had a profound impact on me.” Or something along those lines … make it your own! And if you can include photos of the readers with your book, all the better!
  2. Actually give them something! There are lots of ways to actually give your readers something tangible. You can do this by A) giving them a discount, B) distributing freebies, or C) throwing a giveaway. Some artists do this by creating graphics that their readers can use for free. Some offer special freebies when readers either sign up for a newsletter or purchase a copy of their book; simply ask them for proof of purchase and a mailing address, and you’re on your way! You don’t really need to give away expensive items but readers often appreciate something and useful. Alternatively, you can host a giveaway of your actual book on Goodreads or Amazon (we’ve written a how-to for Goodreads here). These giveaways are a great way both to say “thanks!” to your readers and raise awareness about your book’s publication.
  3. Throw a party! We’ve talked about the benefits of book readings and signings in countless (COUNTLESS) other posts on this website (we really can’t love on them enough!) … but have you ever considered throwing a Thank You! Party? Consider this: turn a book reading or signing event into a party for those who have read your book, supported you along the way, and helped you throughout the publishing process. It’s still an event which will raise awareness of and the profile of your book, but it has a much more human touch (and in our experience, people are much more likely to come!). This serves as a bit of a parallel or substitute for those customer appreciation parties that local businesses often throw for their guests, or a library’s annual volunteer breakfast and so forth. Put together some light refreshments, and maybe even turn it into a potluck with a bonus reading & signing at the end! You can generate a lot of excitement around the idea of saying “thanks!” to your readers (past, present, and future) by having this kind of party. But as always, remember to promote it! Contact your local newspapers and publish press releases in all the right places, including newsletters and on social media.

No matter how you say “thanks!”  … whether you use one of our ideas here or come up with your own … there are so many reasons to just “go for it” and make sure that your readers know you care!

And while we’re on the subject ….

thank you

Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear readers. I usually end my posts by saying “You are not alone” … but this week, I want to thank you. Because with you out there in the world, doing good things and self-publishing along the way, I always know …

I am not alone. ♣︎

happy thanksgiving


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.

In Your Corner: The Spice of Life

Last week, dear readers, I wrote at length about how Thanksgiving isn’t just a holiday for giving and receiving things–if it were, then it would be no different from Halloween and Christmas, save for the stitching and embroidery–but I have to be the first person to own up to the fact that what I wrote wasn’t the whole picture. Yes, Thanksgiving is about doing things and not just about a fantastic dinner spread. Yes, Thanksgiving was borne as a tradition out of a time of real need and desperation–of near starvation, to be specific.

Everything I wrote last week remains true. But it’s not everything that ought to be said about Thanksgiving. And today, the final Thursday of November and Thanksgiving Day itself, I wanted to leave room for reflection. For gratitude. For joy unmixed with lingering doubts or fears over what’s to come, if that’s possible in today’s hectic world. (Oh, let’s face it: It’s always been a hectic world. Maybe once it was safe to eat those candied apples in our Halloween buckets, but by and large life has always delivered challenges in equal measure to its happinesses.)

Ugh–let me start over.

thanksgiving spice

I want to leave the door cracked for thankfulness untouched by everything else that’s happening or going to happen. For you, dear reader. For sticking with us for so many years, for your likes and your comments and your feedback and, occasionally, for calling us out on what we need calling out on. Thank you for being loyal, for being so smart, for recommending us to your friends (or at least, we’re assuming our newer followers are here because they heard about us from someone). For being writers. For bearing the torch and mustering the determination to slog forward through thick and thin. For being ours, and for being yourselves. I know I speak for everyone else here at Self Publishing Advisor when I say thank you, dear reader, for joining us as we all walk down this road together–a road that leads to new challenges, new joys, and a new year.

You are the spice of life.

~ Thank you. ~

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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: Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

It’s hard, sometimes, to gage the tangible benefits to holidays—the quantifiable results, the data—that everyone seems to feel is required to justify holiday-centric marketing strategies. The qualifiable results are, however, incredibly easy to chart: good feeling, open pockets, generosity of spirit, and a hopeful attitude go a long way not just towards selling books, but towards building a resilient and flexible social media presence (see last week’s Thursday post) and a support network that will tide you over through the non-holiday seasons, when we don’t have pumpkin pie spice and green bean casserole to console us.

If we want to talk about “making use” of Thanksgiving—and any other holiday—-it’s well worth taking the time to consider what, exactly, it is that Thanksgiving means to you. I mean, we all know the legend of Thanksgiving, replete with kindness and hospitality amongst bygone peoples of the Eastern United States during a tenuous time, but we don’t all have a reason to celebrate in November, period—Fall is a time when stretched budgets sometimes stretch a little too far, and snap, and threadbare bank accounts become well and truly rough. So what, if anything, does Thanksgiving mean in a time of short tempers and emptied reserves? Looking at other peoples’ beautiful table settings on Pinterest will only get you so far.

thanksgiving table

Here’s my theory:

Thanksgiving is a time for doing, every bit as much as it is about giving and receiving. After all, the whole “giving and receiving” thing gets a real workout around Christmas. And in a smaller sense, at Halloween and even Veteran’s Day, when we give thanks to our servicemen and women—very important in its own way, but not the only mode of being to inhabit as a self-publishing author.

Thanksgiving is a time for activity, for wrapping up all the things that have been left unfinished at other times of year—a time for completion, for stepping back and looking at the whole and then by golly sitting down and filling in the holes. The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving isn’t just to give and receive thanks; the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to get ‘er done. To see yourself and your book and your marketing campaign and your social media strategy through the rough patches that inevitably accumulate on the leading edge of the end of the year. It’s not, contrary to legend, a time to sit around and kick up your feet and wait for good things to happen (or, more appropriately, to pop out of the oven and onto your dinner plate). Delicious as a fresh-baked cobbler is, it’s not quite the point.

If we wanted to look all the way back to the Quakers and the First Thanksgiving—and let’s face it, like it or not Thanksgiving is a time rife with nostalgia and historic musings—we should be honest about what it was like for them. They only celebrated because the gifted foods and skills given them by the local tribes kept them from starvation—and then, only just. The Quakers almost starved. Many of them did starve. It was not a time of plenty; it was a time for surviving, and for acknowledging those who helped them to survive. The time for celebration isn’t after everything is done and the harvest is in; the time for celebration is now, when the struggle and the busy-ness and the insanity is at its height.

If that seems like a hard concept to make good on, that’s because true gratitude is actually a hard thing to express—and so too is true need. I hope you know that we here at Self Publishing Advisor are a part of your network, a resource to enable your resilience. We’re here for you this Thanksgiving, to help you get it done.

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

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.