February – Goodreads Challenge

I cannot believe February is already coming to an end! This month, I had to read (1) a book I owned but never read, (2) a book that someone I love loves.

Like last month, I’m going to post 1-2 of my favorite quotes from each book instead of writing a review.

1. A book you own but you never read: Unclaimed by Laurie Wetz. I can’t recall actually purchasing this title and I have absolutely no idea how I even heard about it. Maybe it was from a Cyber Monday sale on Amazon? Here are my two favorite lines:

I’d forgotten how complicated it is to be human.

One day is not enough, but if it’s all I’ve got, I’m going to grab it with both hands and never look back.

2. A book that someone you love loves: All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Everyone seems to love this book! I chose it because my mom recently read it and said it was great. The writing is really beautiful and I recommend reading it! My favorite quotes:

Walk the paths of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every lock its key.

Open your eyes and see what you can before they close forever.

Next month’s topics: A book that’s a collection of novels, and a book type you don’t usually buy (e-book, paper or audiobook)!

How are you all doing on your Goodreads Reading Challenge? Any favorite books so far?

eBook? Paperback? Both?

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When it comes to topics of writing and publishing, I find that I have more questions than answers. Being new to the publishing world, I suppose that comes with the territory!
Today I’m wondering about eBooks vs. Print when it comes to self-publishing.
For now, I’m only selling my novel as an eBook. I may sell copies in paperback down the road but I’m just not sold on it yet.
As a librarian, I totally understand the love of having a physical book in your hands. If one of my favorite authors publishes a new title, I definitely buy a hard copy. But…I also love my Kindle! I like that I can just push a button and the book appears. I like that it’s (usually) cheaper to buy. And it’s a lot easier to cart a thin Kindle around with me.
I guess I’m wondering about the advantages of publishing your title as both an eBook and a paperback.
If you have self-published a book, did you sell both eBook and paperback copies of your title? If so, was it worth the time, effort, and cost?
If you’ve sold your novel as only an eBook – would you do it again?
Any other thoughts?

Critique Partners, Beta Readers, and #PairMe

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I’m re-posting this from the Loomis Park Press blog! This is a great way to find a beta reader and/or critique partner.

Here is the link to sign up, for those interested! http://www.loomisparkpress.com/2016/02/11/critique-partners-beta-readers-and-pairme/

Original Post:

We’ve got big news! Loomis Park Press is hosting a Critique Partner matching event this month called Pair Me! More about that later, though. First, let’s talk about critique partners, beta readers, and why both are absolutely critical to the writing process.

No matter where you are in your writing project, you’re going to need some feedback. That’s where beta readers and critique partners come into play. There’s often a lot of confusion when it comes to CP’s and Betas. What’s the difference between the two? Which one do I need? What makes a good beta reader/critique partner? Where do I find one?

The difference between a critique partner and a beta reader is simple. Beta readers usually offer a final opinion on a well-polished finished draft. A critique partner, on the other hand, is with you from chapter one of your first draft, giving you feedback every step of the way. Since it’s a partnership, you are, in turn, reading their work-in-progress and offering you own feedback.

Every writer needs beta readers. If you intend to make your work available to the public in some form, you definitely need to get an array of opinions before you put it out there to help you understand who your work appeals to, which areas are working and which areas need more work. Most of the time, asking close friends and family members to read over your work will result in soft, unhelpful feedback because they’re afraid to be honest. Finding strangers to give your work a once over is usually much more helpful. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t let your friends and family read your work. Just know that their opinions may be a bit more reserved than someone who doesn’t know you.

The same way that everyone needs beta readers, everyone needs at least one solid critique partner that they can trust to be brutally honest and help shape the story from the get-go. Having a critique partner can save you hours of editing and proofreading time, as well as help you solve development/plot/pacing issues long before you even get to the second draft.

The truth is, in order to achieve your best work, you’ll need both; a few beta readers and at least one critique partner.

Good beta readers can be hard to come by. Many times someone will agree to read your work, only to never be heard from again. That’s why it’s good practice to offer a swap of services. You agree to read their work in exchange for them looking over yours. 90% of the time, you’ll get your feedback and in a more timely manner than if the reader doesn’t have anything to gain from beta reading for you. It can also be helpful to give your beta readers some guidelines as to what kind of feedback you’re looking for. Otherwise you may end up with broad, unhelpful comments like, “it was a little boring at times.” Sure, it’s helpful to know if you have a boring part in your story, but without knowing where that is, the comment is useless. Remember to take all opinions with a grain of salt UNLESS all your beta readers make the same comment/suggestion.

Good critique partners can be just as difficult to find, if not more elusive. CPing is a long term commitment and finding someone to match your particular needs and level of commitment isn’t easy. Plus there’s that whole “getting along” thing. With beta readers, you don’t have to get to know the person really. It’s a “one and done” thing most of the time. With CPing, if your personalities don’t mesh, the partnership is doomed. And finding someone who gives consistently helpful feedback can be a challenge. You don’t have to be on the same “writing level” to be partners. Many times someone who is a less experienced writer can pair with a veteran and really up their game and grow in their ability. At the same time, the veteran writer may find themselves getting a unique perspective from someone who critiques more from a reader’s point of view than a writer’s.

Finding a good critique partner means being a good critique partner. You have to keep each other motivated to stick with a story, build each other up on days that you or your partner thinks their writing is crap, and deliver thoughtful, honest critique and suggestions in a timely manner. You also have to be as excited about your partner’s story as they are. You have to be as into the characters and vested in the outcome. Understanding your partner’s vision for their characters will help you identify areas where things are out of character or deviate too far from the plot. In turn, your partner should love and understand your characters as well. You should work together as a sounding board for each other, bouncing ideas back and forth, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Critique partnerships will end up as incredible friendships if done correctly. After all, writing is like baring your soul and sharing a part of yourself with the world. A critique partner sees that unpolished, messy, nightmare of a work-in-progress and helps you clean it up so when it comes time to share it with everyone, it’s not nearly as scary as it would be otherwise.

Now that you know what they are and how they work, where in the world do you find such people?
Here! We are pleased to announce our very first Pair Me event! Pair Me will appeal to anyone who has ever participated in #CPMatch or any other matching event hosted on other popular writing blogs. It should help you find a much needed critique partner. Between now and February 29th you can sign up below to offer your services as a critique partner. On April 1st, Loomis Park Press will send out an email with your perfect matches! Okay, no guarantees they’ll be a perfect match, but you’ll have the option to review entry forms and choose to contact them to partner up or swap works as beta readers if a long-term partnership just isn’t working out.

Sign up today using the form below and then spread the word using #PairMe! The more entries received, the better the odds of finding your perfect match!

 

The Oscars? Meh.

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Oscars. They are kind of my Super Bowl (unless the Broncos are playing, then the actual Super Bowl is my Super Bowl.)

 
I print out nomination sheets and make my friends and family fill them out – winner gets bragging rights for a year. I text my out-of-state friends all night long, commenting on the crazy dresses, the best (and awful) performances, the people that should have won, etc.

 
But this year? This year, I’m just not feeling it.

 
I’ve watched two of the best picture nominees – The Martian and Mad Max, which I both highly recommend. I’d love to watch some of the other nominated films like The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, and The Revenant. I’ve never even heard of Spotlight and I had no clue they turned Room into a movie (but I can recommend the book!) I’m sure I’ll watch them eventually. Maybe.

 
At the very least I plan on watching the animated and live shorts, which usually pop up On Demand a few weeks before the ceremony.

 
I hope my love of all things Oscars isn’t fading and it’s just an off year. I guess time will tell. Are you planning on watching? Who are you rooting for?