Book Lovers Info, Book Review, Interviews, Writers & Authors Advice

The highs and lows of a ginger book blogger (and the lessons she learned) – GUEST POST Meggy Roussel

The highs and lows of a ginger book blogger (and the lessons she learned)

I am one in a million. Two million? Three?! Let’s settle it by saying the community is huge and always active! Three years ago, I did not know what ‘book blogging’ was. I didn’t know it existed. What a dull life I had!

542 published posts later, I am still here. This itself is a miracle. Because there are things you should know before jumping into the world of book blogging. Good things, bad things, ‘Oh my God I had no idea!!!’ things that will forge your path in this wonderfully bookish world. Today, I have decided to share some of the highs and lows I have experienced since I gave birth to Chocolate’n’Waffles!

Pressing the ‘Publish’ button for the first time

What an exciting and scary day! I remember I was awfully nervous but determined to go through with my idea to talk all things bookish. I needed a hobby, I wanted to rekindle my love life with books, and I had a laptop. The basics were covered. Still, I had read so many fabulous reviews filled with clever words and deep analyses of novels that I dreaded I would never live up to the standards.

Don’t go look up for my first review, it is awful. I’m not being modest, I’m being realistic here! But I was, and I still am, proud to have made the jump and dared share my thoughts, my ideas, and my crazy words with others. I felt accomplished, happy, and… totally exhausted!!!

Discovering NetGalley, ARCs, and blog tours

January 2016. I was innocent, unaware of the behind-the-scenes of the book industry, having no idea what an uncorrected proof was, and totally clueless about reviews and their power! Shadowing my favourite bloggers, I remember gingerly checking publishers’ Twitter and websites, searching for book news, and fate should have it, I stumbled across NetGalley. ARCs??? Books that were not out yet… Ready for bloggers? PARADISE!

I will always remember the first publisher who approved my request. I remember the review. I remember the thrill of posting on NG about a book which hadn’t hit the shelves yet. I remember the feeling of discovering a new author.

The Sister, Louise Jensen. Bookouture. Review sent on 12 May 2016.

My eyes had been opened. I realized that apart from rambling about books I loved, I could promote upcoming releases, help authors get the word out on their novels, and create a particular relation with publishers. I believe this is the day I figured out I wanted in. I needed to be part of this big machine expanding horizons, filling the world with stories, fictional or not, exploring cultures, giving readers the chills.

My toxic relationship with NetGalley started the same day my reader’s life changed. Then came blog tours. To this day, I still have issues saying no… Which leads me to my next high…

The TBR high…

I was a ‘casual reader’ in another lifetime. I would get a book, read it, and then get the next one. But one of the many joys of a book blogger is this lesson: you can’t have too many books (especially at the same time!) I mean, when you read posts about books every single day, when you Twitter feed is flooded with beautiful covers, ebook deals, and recommendations, how can you expect a human being to resist the Power of the Books? I get high when I see my TBR high and proud! There is something so soothing about knowing you will not run out of material to read. I love checking my TBR shelves (yes, I stroke the books and talk to them too) and its promises. I am never alone! Then I panic…

…The TBR Pressure.

There’s a downside to getting lots of books to read. I swear! Bear with me, keep reading!

When you need more than one shelf to put away your unread books, you might not think anything of it, but this is the Beginning.

The more books I have, the guiltier I feel about not reading them! And not just about proofs or ARCs! Books I’ve chosen, paid for, and lovingly brought home look at me in the dark and casting spells for me to choose them next! Books are my best friends, but they don’t like dust, nor being kept waiting for too long!

My first auto-approval

I wish I had a gif of myself doing a happy dance while making waffles (with Rum in them, of course) because no word can explain how happy I was when I got approved on NetGalley (that website, AGAIN! Me, obsessed much???) by a publisher I loved to read any of their book without having to request. I felt like a proper blogger. This was a recognition of my work, of my dedication to shout as loud as possible about book. And down went my ratio!!! (if you’re a NG user, you know what I mean!)

Stats: The Blogger’s worst enemy

When I started blogging, I kept in mind I was writing for myself first. I wanted to practice English and have fun. I was ecstatic whenever WordPress informed me I had a new follower or I’d reached a peak in views. So, I kept an eye on my stats, watching them grow, stabilize, go down, rise from the ashes… It’s an evil circle. For some people, being a successful blogger means having big numbers. Well, I disagree. Being a successful blogger means being happy with what I post.

Yet… I am guilty of checking numbers every week. I have to stop myself from doing it every day. Yes, it’s fantastic to see a review or a discussion post get amazing views, but it can be crushing to see your favourite post, something you’ve worked hard on, not get the attention you think it deserves. It can lead to blogging for the wrong reasons…

My advice: A weekly checkup is more than enough. Focus on the books!

Finding my tribe

Remember when you were young and people would spot you with a book? ‘Oh, you should go up and play with the others. You must be lonely!’ What? I’ve never felt lonely! I have more friends than popular people on Facebooks thanks to all the characters I have met through the years!

The cliché of people choosing to read because they are alone, not because they choose it, is still here, and I want to kick its bottom.

Actually, the book community is doing a great job at proving that books and a social life are not incompatible! I have met the most amazing people online thanks to our shared love for books. Take my friend Abbie. Oh my. We have so much in common. She makes me laugh, she supports me, she is the reason why I added many books to my wish list.

The numbers of book bloggers on social media is another perfect example of how many of us are around, and how we want to create something, interact, share, and just enjoy our hobby. I began blogging when I was in a bad place in my life, and I found people just like me, ready to discuss plots for hours, happy to chat about bookish pet peeves, always around to have a laugh or drool over a cover. My biggest reward is that I never feel alone in the book blogging sphere. Bloggers, authors, publishers, all our voices can be heard, and we matter!

Books and me, the first break-up

A low many of us have been through. July 2017. My first reading slump. After months of reading and reviewing every week, giving it my best, staying on top of date releases, new and old names publishing books to feed my brain, and having the best time devouring words as if they were Haribo sweets, it came to an abrupt stop. I would look at a book and frown. No, I don’t want to read you. I’d rather watch telly instead. I felt I was cheating on my baby books, but there was no more joy in my heart at the sight of a title, no star in my eye when I thought about a new adventure to have.

I went with the flow. I waited. I kept busy. And you know what? I came back. One day, I woke up, I stumbled on a book (literally, as I had piles around my bed) and I felt the urge to open it. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. The right book at the right time.

If you find yourself in a reading slump. Take some me-time. It’s okay. You’ll get back when you are ready. If you force it, you’ll lose it forever.

My first Book Festival

Or how it dawned on me that authors were real people, as were social media friends I’d been talking to, and the best way to check book people are the best! I think my book blogging journey’s highest high will forever be Bloody Scotland 2018. Food, book talks, selfies, laughs. I learned how to smuggle more books than I was allowed back to my country (very handy). No, you don’t need to attend every event to be a book blogger. But if you feel like it, you can experience something extraordinary just dancing with Katerina Diamond and Angela Clark (I will never stop mentioning this moment!!!) or waiting in line to meet Chris Brookmyre. I even walked up to Mark Billingham to say ‘hi!’. Me! Adrenaline ran in my veins for three days and I hope every blogger can live this at least once. There’s nothing more special than a fangirling moment in the hall of a hotel because you’ve just met Helen Fields or Will Dean and his fabulous hair. When life meet books…

What is time and why is it disappearing?

My biggest issue with book blogging… As Coldplay would sing, nobody said it would be easy, nobody said it would be so hard… AND TIME-CONSUMING! I had a terrible time dealing with the hours needed to write blog posts, schedule social media posts, blog-hop, keep track of book news, and keep breathing. With tme (haha!) I found a rhythm, but I still get anxious once in a while when a month is over-filled with book commitments. Take it easy, they say… But book bloggers go big, they don’t go home!

Those are only a few of the things that make my journey on the book blogging back amazing and crazy. Can you relate?

Thank you to Meggy for this AMAZING blog. Meggy is the owner and founder of Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles a phenomenal book blogging site that will give you insight into all the books you just must have on your shelf.

She reads and reviews all genres except Romance, Erotica and Horror.

She is French and oh so hilarious, and has become my Twitter friend ever since we had our very first Twitter pity party session.

You can find out more about Meggy and her blog here :

Twitter: @choconwaffles

Website: https://chocolatenwaffles.com/

Email: chocolatenwaffles@gmail.com

Instagram: chocolatenwaffles

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/chocolatenwaffles

Go on and check it out!

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Love,

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from Amazon,Waterstones, Barnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

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Writers & Authors Advice

5 Ways to write even when you feel uninspired

We all have those days, even months when no inspiration comes to write.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to help you kick start your writing again.

1. Read more books

Might sound strange to some, but reading is a great way to inspire you to write. It can spark an idea in your mind and trigger a story.

Also seeing what another Author does can give you the push you need to create your own masterpiece.

2. Do something you love

Sometimes all you need is time out of your writing den, and norm of life. Go do something you enjoy. Even if it’s a massage, weekend away or coffee with an old friend.

Your brain needs downtime by changing activities. It’s like a natural kickstart.

3. Celebrate small wins

Don’t be hard on yourself if you only manage to write a few hundred words a day or if you come up with an idea for the next chapter only. Celebrate those small wins. Every step forward is a step to completing your novel.

4. Ignore criticism

There will always be people who read something you write and have a negative comment. Don’t take the criticism to heart. Judge it objectively.

Ask yourself : Is there something I can learn from it to improve or should I ignore it all together?

Whatever you do, don’t let criticism stop you from writing and being great at it.

5. Don’t wait for inspiration

If you’re going to wait until you feel 100% inspired to write, then you will never write. Just start writing and see how the story starts to guide you. Writing steers inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t steer your writing.

Remember Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this article with friends and family

Like my Page on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Connect with me on my Website www.tarynleighauthor.com

Love,

Taryn Leigh

taryn

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

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Book Lovers Info, Writers & Authors Advice

Why not to become an Author – insider’s guide

So this may seem like a strange article to write, since I am a published Author, but the purpose is to show you the cons of writing, so that you can let those dreamy notions go BEFORE you send your work out to be published.

I am by no means discouraging you to write your dream novel. In fact, I wholeheartedly encourage it! But know why you’re doing it, and know the truth that’s out there. If you do it for the wrong reasons you will be sorely disappointed.

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  1. It’s not as glamourous as it seems

Now you might be a reader, scrolling through social media, and you see all these tweets from JK Rowling and Stephen King, and you think that if their lives are glitz and glamour that yours will be too? That’s not necessarily true. Firstly, their careers went through a long process to get where they are, and they are the elect few living that life.

 

  1. It can get lonely

Imagine all the hours you spend in your head, just you and the characters you write, in a room all day alone. No colleagues, no lunches with friends. You have deadlines to meet for your publishers, so you have to sacrifice and lock yourself away. If you don’t like your own company, and if you aren’t happy living in your own thoughts for weeks on end, then it might not be the career for you.

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  1. You probably won’t become a millionaire from it

Yes there are millionaire Authors, but think how few they are in comparison to the more than eight million books registered on Amazon. Not every Author will make millions. We all dream of it, but if that’s your only goal for writing, then you need to re-think it. Most Authors sell only a handful of books a month. That handful isn’t even enough for them to quit their day job and write full time. So if it’s not a passion, rather do something that is.

 

  1. People aren’t as supportive as you may think

Do you imagine your five hundred friends on Facebook are all going to purchase your book as soon as its release? Well think again, they won’t. Or perhaps your aunts and uncles and closest friends? Nope, not them too! For me I got the least support from the people closest to me. Yes there are those amazing few that fully supported me and still do. But they are about 1% of everyone I know. You will be amazed who won’t support you, for reasons you might never understand. If your book is great however, you have the whole of earth’s population at your fingertips!

 

  1. It’s a lot of hard work

The work begins after you are published, and not before. Unless you are published with the top three publishers in the world, you will be doing all your own branding, marketing and events. Its daily work, a daily effort to get your book out there and into people’s hands who will read it. It doesn’t just magically appear on shelf, its work all the way. Be prepared for it.

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light bl

  1. Book signings aren’t what they seem

I haven’t personally done a book signing, but I’ve chatted to other Authors who have. Some of them sit there all day with not even one person coming up to them asking for an autograph. Some only have one or two. Those photos you may see on social media can be very misleading, and with that comes feelings of rejection, because it’s your heart and soul on display.

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  1. Not everyone will love you

Yes you will get the trolls and the haters, but the hate can even be closer to home. Some people can be so miserable about your success that they will find every opportunity to dig at your work, your talent and your efforts. You need to have thick skin. Shrug off the nay sayers, and focus on the love and support you get from those priceless people you meet along the way. You will even find one publisher tell you your work is rubbish, and the next tell you that you’re amazing. Just keep applying that thick skin principle wherever needed.

 

So now that you’ve heard all the bad, get your mind into gear for what is to come, and go ahead and get that masterpiece published! I know you can do it!

 

Remember Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this article with friends and family

Like my Page on Facebook

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Connect with me on my Website www.tarynleighauthor.com

Love,

Taryn Leigh

taryn

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&NobleExclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

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Book Lovers Info, Interviews, Writers & Authors Advice

Author Interview: Marlene Wagman-Geller

Today we are joined by the phenomenal Author Marlene Wagman-Geller, who has published to date six books that are taking the world by storm.

Marlene is a true inspiration to me and she feels like a friend I’ve known for years, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to have interviewed her.

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Q: I’ve just read Woman Who Launch, and you have written another phenomenal book! What inspired you to write this book?

A: The inspirational spark for Women Who Launch was the Women’s March on Washington where the capital was transformed into a moving mass of Barbie’s own hue. I investigated the back story of the pussy-eared hats, launched by Krista Suh. This led to the investigation of other iconic enterprises initiated by women and the book was born.

 

Q: Where and how do you conduct your research for your books?

A: While diamonds were Marilyn’s best friends, the internet is a writer’s. Most of my research was done online; however, when this did not suffice I relied on primary source materials such as autobiographies and biographies.

 

Q: What have been your favourite moments of being a published author?

A:  The pinnacle was when my first book received a review in The New York Times. Other magic moments was speaking at Yale University and my interview with The Chicago Tribune.

 

Q: What motivates you to keep writing?

A: Whatever wind there is beneath my wings comes from my books; ergo, the inspiration…….

 

Q: What made you decide to go into this genre of writing?

A: My bucket list was to publish a novel; however, despite copious efforts this never came to fruition. Publishers have bought my nonfiction and I am thrilled and thankful for that. I love the unknown back stories and uncovering that information is a labour of love.

Q: You have written incredible books about some amazing people. Who would you say is the one stand out person in all your books?

A: Ah, hard to answer: a good mother loves all her children……

 

Q: If you could choose to have an exclusive book club with three authors, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would be your ideal discussion to have with them?

A: The first would be Dorothy Parker, queen of the quip. I would love to hear her trademark humour on a conversational level. The second would be Oscar Wilde whose artistry with words is nonpareil. I would ask him if he had his life to live over, what other road he would have trod. The third would be Emily Bronte. I would ask her how, never having been involved in a romantic relationship, she could have written so passionately about Heathcliffe.

 

Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?

A: My kindle has many enticing reads but with a full-time teaching job, a looming deadline for my next book-coupled with the fact my husband has to be the messiest person in California-I have precious little time to read. I have downloaded The Forgotten Ones: A Novel by Steena Holmes

 

Q: What’s the one ‘secret’ you’ve learnt since becoming a published Author that has increased your success?

A: I have learned the necessity of marketing; the legwork begins after typing THE END.

 

Q: Lastly, something fun that our readers might not know about you?

A: I’m not really that fun-or so my students say………

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Feel free to connect with Marlene on Social Media to see what is next for her.

Find her on Facebook, on her Website, or connect with her on Amazon 

 

About Woman who launch:

Empowering stories of game-changing women

Dorothy Parker observed, “It’s a man’s world;” the lady entrepreneurs and game-changers profiled in Women Who Launch would beg to differ. Unlike the matrons of the 1950s-the women who lunched-these kick-ass females left their DNA in the annals of time.

A history of women in business and beyond: Julia Ward-Howe showed what’s good for the goose is good for the gander when she created the Girl Scouts of America. Sara Joseph Hale-authoress of Mary had a Little Lamb– convinced Lincoln to launch a national day of thanks while Anna Jarvis persuaded President Wilson to initiate a day in tribute of mothers. Estee Lauder revolutionized the cosmetics industry. The tradition of these Mothers of Invention continued when, compliments of knitter Krista Suh, the heads of millions were adorned with pink, pussy-cat ears in the largest women’s march in history. These women who launched prove-in the words of Rosie the Riveter, “We can do it!”

Biographies of women creators, innovators, and leaders: Women Who Launch is filled with inspiring true stories of women activists, artists, entrepreneurs who launched some of the most famous companies, brands, and organizations today and changed the world. It is at once a collection of biographies and a testament of female empowerment.

Readers will find:

  • The stories behind renowned companies, brands, and organizations and the diverse women who launched them.
  • empowering quotes from strong women and those who refused to be kept down.
  • motivation to all women who want to succeed in their careers, launch companies, and change the world.

Find motivation in your career and life with the amazing history of women entrepreneurship, activism, and leadership.

Remember Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this article with friends and family

Like my Page on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Connect with me on my Website www.tarynleighauthor.com

Love,

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&NobleExclusive Books and where all good books are sold.

Book Lovers Info, Interviews, Writers & Authors Advice

Secrets I’ve learnt being a published Author

I celebrate one year being published with my novel Perfect Imperfections and in the past year I’ve come to learn many things about the publishing world as well as the world of being an Author.

 

So to celebrate, I thought I would share some things with you about my journey to become a published author

 

Rejection is normal

My first lesson learnt was that rejection is part of the cycle of becoming published. You will submit your manuscript to countless people and they will send you letters of rejection. The trick is to never give up. Rejection does not mean your work isn’t good, it just means you might not be with right fit for that particular publisher or agent. Soon enough, you will come across the right publisher who will make your work shine.

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Being published is only the tip if the iceberg

So now you’re a published Author. What’s next? Do you get to sit back, sip Champaign and celebrate? Absolutely not! Its work, work and more work ahead of you.

You need to discover your target market, find ways to promote to them, meet them, and develop fan clubs. People take recommendations from people, so you need a network of people to recommend your book, it won’t just sell itself! There is only so much your publisher can do, but you need to do the rest. You know your work better than anyone, so you need to develop the course of how your book is marketed.

 

Social media is a great tool to success

Familiarise yourself with social media. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, are great tools to get exposure. Join book groups on Facebook, be a part of the community, and soon people will want to know more about your work. Host live video chats, open a Facebook fan page, be relevant, be interesting and be seen!

social media

Not everyone will support your work

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learnt is that not everyone closest to your will support your work. Your closest family and friends might be the ones who just refuse to buy your book and read it. That’s okay! Actually I’ve learnt, it’s better than okay, because there are thousands of other people who are more than willing to read your book and tell you their honest opinion about your work. They will be your greatest and most loyal supporters, and they are so valuable. Some will even become friends!

 

Influencers are essential

Don’t underestimate people with influence. These are book bloggers, journalists, people who own book clubs. The masses follow their recommendations, so get your book in their hand, get them to write reviews, and allow their followers to be exposed to your work.

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Judgement will come

There will be people who have the cruellest things to say about your novel that your spent blood sweat and tears developing. The key is to separate constructive criticism from jealous rants, and people who are just plain mean spirited trolls. Take the constructive criticism for your next book, and leave the mean trolls to grovel in their misery!

 

Keep writing

The biggest lesson for me is to keep writing! Sales will come, your book will get seen, but in the interim, keep writing. Follow your passion, the reward will eventually come! You have a talent, keep going, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an Author. Your writing style will improve, and with more books, you get more readers and more sales. So put those fingers on that keyboard and type away

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Taryn Leigh is the Author of Perfect Imperfections, which is currently available from AmazonWaterstonesBarnes&Noble, Exclusive Books and where all good books are sold

Like her Page on Facebook

Follow her on Twitter

Connect with her on my Website www.tarynleighauthor.com

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Blurb of Perfect Imperfections

Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa. Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach. Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence. Perfect Imperfections is an intriguing tale which hints at wrongdoings and deceit without giving too much away. The author cleverly weaves a tale around fragile yet strong Sarah as she tries to reconcile her past with her future, engaging the reader to the point where we simply want the best for her and for happiness finally to come her way.