7 Sites where authors can list books FREE

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So your book is published, but you’re in charge of marketing it. It’s listed on the retail sites you or your publisher chose and on the reader review site Goodreads. Where else can you list it for readers and reviewers to find without spending your advance (if you received one) or your royalties before any are earned?

Here are some sites that allow you to list free at least one book, and some allow as many as you have published! Do check out their particulars thoroughly on your own, including any book-deal email subscriptions as well as requirements and rates for advertising on those. For some of these sites, it’s been a while since I listed my first—or first two—books. Their criteria or features may have changed.

Readers Gazette is for Kindle authors only and requires you wait to be accepted after you apply. Books must be at least 20,000 words and 80 pages. Novels, children’s books, books of poetry, and cookbooks are acceptable. No erotica. The great thing about Readers Gazette is that they Tweet my books’ listings regularly each week. Then other authors RT those tweets, and I RT theirs.

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest allowed me to list both my books, and the first book was reviewed at no cost. When I did not pay for a review of the second book, that listing was eventually removed. Although the site lists some celebrities as award contest winners, I’ve read mixed opinions about the contest’s overall validity. The 2016 contest claims 650+ winners and finalists in 120+ categories. The contest is not free but boasts cash prizes and “chances” at other recognition. I’m going to keep my eye on Readers’ Favorite until I’m more sure about it.

YA Books Central describes itself as “one of the largest professional book recommendation sites targeted towards tween and teen readers.” List your books free, and then hope that one of the many teen reviewers on the site will want to read and review your book. If you would like to review a book, you must join the YABC Community to do so. I plan to email YABC and pitch one of my books for a review. An author can also request an ad kit containing advertising information and rates.

Clean Indie Reads does not take non-fiction except narrative non-fiction that reads like a novel and only takes clean novels for middle grades and up.  Take a look at their listing for my Bird Face series to see what’s included in a listing. The site states, “As long as your FB identity shows something to do with being an author (and it’s “clean”), expect to be approved within about 24 hours.” Information about submissions is there and on their group Facebook page, which also has cross-promotions info. Clean Indie Reads has members who are active Tweeters and RT other members’ tweets.

You can also get free listings on BookGorilla, UndergroundBookReviews, and Ripley’s Booklist, which offer reasonable prices for spots on their email lists and other advertising, last I looked. Ripley’s Booklist is rather new and specializes in Young Adult and New Adult, which I appreciate.

This is certainly not a complete list of all the sites where I’ve listed my books free, but these are sites that I will likely continue to use and may even be willing to spend money with.

Note: If you happen to be a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), look into adding your books to their Fiction Finder. Criteria for indie authors and for authors whose publishers are not on the recognized publishers list have recently changed.

If you’re an author, which are you favorite sites for listing your books? If you’re a reader, where besides the retail sites do you go to search for books and read reviews?

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A Late-Blooming Author’s Column

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You may notice that each of the Scriblerians is developing a  distinct and focused column on this site, complete with a lovely meme expressing the theme of the column.

We decided it was time that each of us took a more focused approach to our posts, so we searched our past work for patterns that could point us in specific directions.

For those of you who don’t know me as well as the Scriblerians do, I thought I’d explain the meaning of my meme (and thus my column) before I start writing its theme-driven posts. Just so you’ll know what to expect.

“Better Late Than Never Written” refers to the fact that I got a very late start writing fiction. My age was, well, let’s just say middle-aged.

My first novel was published (the first time) in 2014, over a decade after it was begun. To my thinking at the time, that book took so long to write and get published that I might not have enough decades left to write a second one and get it published before … you know.

It seemed like every fiction writer I knew had started writing at a much younger age than I, and if not yet published, had at least two or three manuscripts completed. The published authors my age had several novels to their credit. How would I ever catch up?

The writing, and then finding the right publisher, made up only half the problem. There was so much to learn regarding the marketing of books. A lot of tools for book marketing are free or of little cost, but finding them and choosing the right ones are not easy.

So that’s what my column will be about. I plan to share with you some of the things I had to rush to discover, to learn, and to accumulate. About writing. About publishing. About marketing. Stuff I’ve compiled that I hope will save you time, especially if you got a late start in life like I did.

So please stay tuned. And remember, it’s better to have written late than never to have written at all. Wait—should that have been the title of my meme?

How to Come Down from a Conference High

Tim, Lisa, Kathrese, & I just returned from Realm Makers. Next month a couple of others will be attending the ACFW conference. ‘Tis the (conference) season. So what do you do when you get home to come down from the conference high?

If you’re lucky, your firstborn will start football and junior high while your second born starts the “big kids'” elementary school. Bonus if it’s the junction of first of the month (status reports) and critical project milestones. Nothing like the outside world to pierce your enthusiasm like an arrow through a hot air balloon.

Even if your week is a bit nuts and especially if you have time to ease back in, do a few things to keep the spirit alive.

1. Post pictures on social media

You get to see the conference all over again. Also it allows you to tag people while your memory is fresh. This helps keep you in the loop.

2. Post highlights on social media

Same reason and purpose as above. If time is limited, set specific times or do this when you have down time.

3. Blog about it

Yes, everyone and their mascots will be writing them too. You may not get many views but then again you might. If nothing else, you have a record of your time there.

4. Make a to do list

Did you have appointments? If so, follow up with the materials each person requested. If the person you met with wasn’t interested, send a thank you anyway. They took their time to meet with you. It never hurts to be gracious.

Gather the business cards you received and enter them into your contacts list. Correspond with anyone who might not have your information. Organize your class notes.

You’re all rejuvenated and ready to write. Set goals and get to work. That’s why you spent the money to go.

Now I’m off to fill out permission slips and emergency contact forms.

Healthy Alternatives to Torture

“I suggest surgery, but I have to warn you, the success rate of this procedure is not…perfect. And there could be complications.”

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I blinked at the doctor sitting across from me with a pasted-on smile that said “I’m trying to be polite, but let’s hurry this decision. I have to make up time today.”

“I think I’ll discuss this with my husband, and let you know asap,” I muttered. My heart thumped a crazy beat.

What did I expect from a surgeon? I exited and never went back.

I’d been through many doctors, massage therapists, and physios with little or no relief to my back issues. I was desperate. Let’s face it, what does a writer or an illustrator do when sitting is out of the question for longer than ½ hour? Longer would have been torture, and it’s hard to concentrate on being creative in that state.

I know, I know, you’ve heard me expound upon my glorious stand-up chair.

3 in 1 chair

But the picture of relief isn’t quite complete without the full treatment regime.

For all of you who are determined to relieve (or avoid) back issues due to constant sitting, here’s what I’ve found after years of constant pain in my lower back and investigations into avoiding said pain. Every back is different but this is for lower back pain, around the sacroiliac region.

Enter a different physio. What surprised me the most was the vast difference between physios (and chiropractors for that matter). You have to go through a few, unfortunately, before you find one that works.

This fellow took me past my instinctive guarding in my movements and insisted that I was too young to have this lack in range of motion. I of course argued that he needed to know my history a bit better. However, I thought I’d humour him just this once. His approach was logical enough, to strengthen the tissues around the area to take the strain off the bones, while increasing my range of motion.

But here’s the kicker. If you are as determined as I am to not feel like an eighty-year-old yet, you have to put in the effort. Not much, but there it is. Or you can face the pasted-on smile doctor I mentioned above.

Here are some exercises and stretches that work for me. I couldn’t find the exercises on the internet to show you, before I had to remind myself that I CAN draw. So please refer to the below, rather unprofessional sketches for visual reference. (Especially if you are anything like me – totally visually oriented) Before you start, exercise to warm up the muscles. I go to the gyn and hop on the elliptical or go for a vigorous walk.

Strengthening exercises for lower back:

Lie on your tummy. Stretching your arms ahead of you and legs straight, raise your left arm and right leg for a second or two. Then the other side. Do about 30 to begin and work up. This is really good to strengthen all those itty bitty muscles around the spine.

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Do a plank. On your tummy again, raise up on your elbows and toes holding your body straight. Hold for 30 seconds to begin with. Then work up.

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The horrible clam exercise! Lie on your side with an elastic around your lower thighs. Open your knees against the restriction. Do fifteen at first and work up.

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Stretching exercises for lower back:

Knees folded under you on mat, bow down arms in front reaching. Go into cat stretch. Hold for about 10 seconds. Repeat about 10 times. (I use this many times a day while writing/illustrating. Go into crouching position illustrated below, and feel the stretch on your lower back.

exercises 1

On a mat, fold right leg in front of you, foot under left hip (or pointing that way at least) Lean over your leg. Don’t push it, just feel the stretch on your butt. Hold for about 15 seconds. Work on the other leg the same.

exercises 2

Lie on your back with legs up, bent at knee. Swing them from side to side holding the stretch for about 10 seconds.

exercises 3

 

And there you have it! Not too hard right? It takes me about 10 minutes after I’ve warmed up. I do it 3 times a week or so. (The cat stretch I do many times a day because it feels good!)

 

So, do you have any exercises or stretches that enable you to sit for hours in front of a screen?

 

 

 

Confessions of a Social Addict

 

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“… It is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others” Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama)

I feel like I’m raising my hand in front of people, having to admit I am addicted to being social. And that is a problem when my job, whether it be writing or illustrating, requires me to be completely solitary for at least 5 hours a day. I’m sure, back when I was a young mom, the very thought of being by myself for long periods of time someday would have been second only to heaven. However, I realize as a social creature my mind goes stir-crazy without the constant interaction. (Think Tom Hanks in Castaway – “Wilson!!!”)

A friend of mine recently just returned from her winter away in southern climates. The weather was, as you would expect, gorgeous, and sunny. Palm trees and beaches galore. But she told me about having to wrestle with depression from being away from her normal friends. I can totally relate!

A few weeks back, I was sitting with my 97-year-old mom watching one of BBC’s nature series. A clan of chimpanzees was being spotlighted, and it showed how complicated their social system is, with it’s hierarchy and security in packs. It was entertaining, but startling at how similar we are in so many ways: the same need for friendship and acceptance, the same resourcefulness to gain the latter, and the same desperation when separated or rejected from their clan.

So much of our daily routines involve others, whether it is from direct interaction or contact on a myriad of social networks. That is why the social networks have literally taken hold of us; it is just another way of being with friends. Indeed, we are addicted to them, and most quite simply can’t be without their phones, or their computers. A lot could be said about being addicted to screens, however that is another blog post. 🙂

I find reality shows on tv are another example of how we need to watch others in various ‘real’ situations, so we can get close to their plight and empathize with them. It isn’t enough that we have many around us to watch and get involved with, we need more!

So what do I do when I’m trying to get through the solitary hours? I need to take a break, physically, mentally and socially. I will check on my FB friends, so a couple of texts, exercise, and give my eyes and mind a rest from the concentration. My social break is just as important as my physical and mental breaks.

And I need many different groups of friends. Other than my immediate family, I have walking buddies, coffee buddies, internet contacts, writing and illustrating colleagues and past school friends that I can’t do without. Now, looking at that list, you might think that I’m meeting them all the time. Not at all, certainly not as much as I’d like. But we all support and need each other at some point.

So I’m quite happy to admit to being a social addict. That’s the way God made me, and most days I start with meeting Him, then get to my day.

I will leave you with another quote…

“There are two questions that we have to ask ourselves. The first is ‘where am I going?’ and the second is ‘Who will go with me?’” Howard Thurman.

(Thanks Scriblerians for your support and friendship!!)

So I have a couple of questions:

  • Is there such a thing as too much social interaction?
  • What are your social vices?
  • Do you have a basketball named Wilson that you are particularly fond of?

 

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Learning this book-publishing business

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Image courtesy of Morguefile free photos

Saturday I once again had the privilege of attending the monthly Writers on the Storm meeting in The Woodlands, Texas. I’ve been a member for about six months, after moving to the state last spring.

This recent meeting was particularly sweet because author, editor, and fellow member Linda Yezak posted an interview of me on the W.O.T.S. blog that very morning.

But a blog feature is only one fragment of the benefits I’ve gained by belonging to this group. And that’s the reason I push encourage new writers I meet to join real and online groups–and not to struggle alone! In a group of writers, you’ll meet others like yourself as well as established authors who’ve learned the ropes and are more than happy to share their knowledge with you.

At our meeting, a panel composed of several members of our group spoke about changes in the book publishing business. As our W.O.T.S. president, Janice, explained–you know longer have to become published by a big publishing house, Christian or otherwise, to become a successful book author. You might go with a small press, go it alone, or become a hybrid author like Janice who has some books traditionally published and others designed and produced herself.

The panel spoke on everything from using Amazon as an author to the best places for advertising your books to where to look online for the best free professional advice. We learned it’s a good idea to use MailChimp, a free newsletter subscribe service, when you want to start a newsletter and have visitors to your website subscribe to it. (I needed that affirmation to take the first step toward a newsletter myself.) We also learned that all the blogging in the world won’t sell books if you don’t establish relationships with your readers. (Again–newsletter!)

Of course it was mentioned that a great place to join a critique group, attend free webinars, and find a writing group like W.O.T.S. is American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which W.O.T.S. is a local chapter. If you’d like to join a local chapter of ACFW, expect to be required to join ACFW first and to pay the reasonable dues for both. If you don’t have a local chapter and would like to start one, contact ACFW.

Next month, W.O.T.S. will talk to its members about the ways to make money from our books. I can’t wait!

profile_pic  Cynthia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re This Close: 14 Signs of Future Publication

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The community of fiction writers has been one of the most supportive groups I’ve ever belonged to. Its members are quick to reassure others that yes, we’ll get our best work published. It’s only a matter of time.

And it’s true. It’s happening within our Scriblerians group.

I’ve read a number of blogs and articles describing the signs that an author is close to landing a book contract with a publisher. But there’s nothing like having those indicators right here at home among the Scriblerians. They bolster the confidence of all our members, and if you’ve experienced any of the following, know that your time for seeing your book in print will likely come too.

(Any or several of these signs might apply to any of our members.)

  1. You find your niche and a following grows rapidly for your blog, Twitter account, Facebook author page, etc.
  2. You are approached to speak about a topic you blog about or cover in your fiction.
  3. You are asked to write about it for another’s blog or periodical.
  4. You are hired to edit a published author’s work.
  5. You win one or more fiction-writing contests.
  6. You are sought as a judge for writing contests.
  7. Your short story is selected for an anthology or for publication in a magazine.
  8. You are selected by a publisher as an “influencer” for its books, reading and reviewing regularly.
  9. You are hired for any reason by a publisher that knows you aspire to be published.
  10. You become involved in the production of others’ books as an illustrator, editor, or consultant.
  11. Your rejection letters become more personalized, offering suggestions for changes to your manuscript.
  12. You are asked to resubmit to an agent or editor after changes to your manuscript.
  13. You are referred by a published author to his or her agent.
  14. You sign with an agent.

Of course, none of the above may happen. We’ve heard of authors who send out a few queries, full manuscripts are requested immediately, and they sign a contract with a publisher within weeks.

But most of us need some bolstering along the road before we reach our destination. If you seek publication of your book—fiction or nonfiction— I hope an item or two on our list encourages you.

What other signs can you cite and add to these?

Cynthia

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