Book Love Blog Hop

Book Love Blog Hop

Book Love Blog Hop
Cathy tagged me to join in the Book Love Blog Hop.
Carrie Finison created A Book Love Blog Hop. It’s a wonderful idea and a great reminder to show books some extra love.
BOOK LOVE Blog Hop Instructions
1. Pick some books you love (any genre) that you think deserve more attention than they are getting. (As much as I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle does not need my help to sell more copies! I’ve tried to choose books I thought needed a little boost, or ones I love that no one else seems to have heard of.)
2. Post reviews for the books you chose on Amazon/social media. The reviews can be brief – even a short review on Amazon helps. Posting on Goodreads or Shelfari is great, too, or Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. The more places you can publicly proclaim your love, the better!
3. If you want, you can also post the reviews on your own blog, or link your blog back to your reviews on social media.
4. Feel free to display the BOOK LOVE badge on your blog – and if you want, link it back to this post so your visitors know what it’s all about.
5. Tag some friends to do the same! Tag friends through their blogs, or on Facebook. (I won’t tag anyone. Can you tell I’m the kid, who broke a chain letter? I do encourage you to consider adding a review when you love a book, especially one by a new author.)
Here are three picture books I plan to promote for the Book Love Blog Hop:
The Sock Thief
The Sock Thief by Ana Crespo  and Illustrated by Nana Gonzales
From author’s website: Felipe doesn’t have a soccer ball. So, when it’s his turn to take one to school, he uses a little bit of creativity…and a few socks. Felipe is the sock thief, but finding socks is not that easy and the neighborhood pets make it even harder. “Au, au, au!” a dog barks in Portuguese. Along the way, Felipe leaves delicious mangoes in exchange for the socks he steals. After he swipes each pair, he twists and turns them into an ever-growing soccer ball.
This is a delightful book. I like naughty characters, so Felipe and I get along just grand! The book is also a great introduction to another culture. Felipe is in Brazil and the author’s note page includes Portuguese.
Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford and Illustrated by Jamey Christoph
I read this book after Ana Crespo recommended it as a mentor text for a story I am revising. My manuscript is a completely different subject, but I fell in love with Gordon Parks’ story. (I read the book the day I wrote this post. I’ve read it three times already.)
Here’s the book description from Amazon: “Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed.”
Augie to Zebra
Augie to Zebra: An Alphabet Book! by Caspar Babypants and Illustrator Kate Endle
I shared  Augie to Zebra via a Perfect Picture Book Friday post, but I don’t think I did more to promote it. I found this book during my last February research of dozens of ABC books. In my post, I said: “This one stood out for its simple text and lovely collage illustrations.” Augie to Zebra remains one of my favorite ABC books, so why not shout it to the world. The book jacket says it “illustrates the diversity of people and names.”
I hope you all see a lot of book love in February.

Reader University: Give

This is the twelfth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.

This can be another form of “buying,” but I see it as a little different.
Consider giving a book:

  • to all ages.
  • books for all occasions.
  • books as love notes.

As a parent to a toddler, I get invited to birthday parties. If I know about them in advance, I’ll buy books at writer’s conferences and get them signed by the author as a personal gift for the birthday boy or girl. I’ve noticed these gifts aren’t a favorite. They don’t make noise or have parts to be lost. One can hope they bring joy at a quieter time after the birthday cake and decorations are long gone.  My son isn’t old enough to mind at the moment. So, until he protests — books will be our gift of choice.
Books make a nice hostess gift too. They can drink up the words later while relaxing.
Books make nice  holiday gifts whether they have a religious theme or not. My son received a nice Easter Story book last year in a basket from his grandmother.
Books as love notes? You may have provided a book love note without realizing it. You give a book that touched you in some way. I enjoy sharing The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. While sad, to me, it’s a book about living and worth giving to others.
Giving books obviously helps authors with sales, but the act also helps writers, who share a love for a book that touched her, moved her, or made her laugh out loud.
How do you give books?
Reading: I read the Queen of Reciprocity author and illustrator Katie Davis’ updated How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. I bought the first edition back in 2012. A while back, she asked people to join her launch team … you know the drill read an advance copy and give an honest review. The book offers a ton of information for authors about to launch a book or for those of us not-yet-published. There are dozens of tips on how to get involved in the kid lit world, how to give back, and how to streamline some of your social media time. I say streamline social media time, because she shares information on how to use different sites like Twitter and Pinterest. This second edition is available March 25 on Amazon. There are tips on how to do things on your own and resources to find professionals to help you. There are a ton of links, so you may want to go easy with those. I’m a bit of a “squirrel” type personality, so I clicked through to a lot of them. One could easily take one or two chapters a day to study and complete the action items in preparation for a book release.
Thanks for following along with the Reader University 12-part series. This wasn’t intended as a reading challenge, but the series kept me focused on reading and helping authors. I’ve read more novels and nonfiction books over the last 12 weeks than I’ve read in the last two years. I participated in the adult reading program at my library by reading eight books. I have an official volunteer, “reading” project and a volunteer job at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April that will keep me busy. I anticipate reading will continue to be a focus of 2014!

If you missed any of the Reader University posts,

Reader University: Buy

This is the eleventh post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.

And, here is where we spend money. 
Consider buying: 

  • a print book
  • a digital version
  • as many as you can

Buying books is essential to your writing career. If you don’t buy books (when you can), who will? If you don’t buy books, how can you expect others to buy your books?

I utilize many of the free ways to read books — the library, a loan, a review copy, and free promotions. But, I also strategically use my extra cash for the books I really enjoy and want to own. If I see an author at a conference, I will buy books and get them signed.

If you can’t get the physical book, consider digital versions of your favorite books. If I can’t find a picture book at the library, I will buy the discounted ebook. {I recommend you review picture books immediately after purchase, because the format quality is not always ideal. I’ve asked Amazon for a refund for some picture book ebooks due to the poor quality. So, always check your picture books. If you aren’t happy, return it.}

The digital market has reduced the cost of many books, especially series. You can often buy the first book at a reduced rate (or even free), because the publisher knows you’ll get hooked and buy the other books in the series. Divergent by Veronica Roth is less expensive than Insurgent or Allegiant.

The fact you can begin reading ebooks immediately is priceless.

If you don’t have money for books, don’t buy them! But, remember, if you don’t make buying books a priority, don’t be offended when a publisher says the market isn’t ready for your book, because {insert your type of book} doesn’t sell well.
For writers, buying books is important to keep the publishing industry open for business, to authors who want to make a living, and to bookstores and online retailers.

What’s your favorite method for buying books?

Reading: I’m still working my way through the  The Death Class: A True Story About Life by Erika Hayasaki.

If you missed any of the Reader University posts,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I don’t have anything green for you, but I did make this video for a contest our Pikes Peak Library District is holding. I’m taking the Video Idiot Boot Camp with Katie Davis. I’m not finished with the class, so I’m sure the remaining lessons will help me clear up a few problems I know I have. I shot this video with my iPhone and an 8mm app. I used graphics instead of audio, because I haven’t had that lesson yet.

Reader University: Travel

This is the tenth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.

When we travel, books are always on our packing list. 
Travel frees up reading time. My family travels:

  • with print books.
  • with an ereader — Kindle or iPad.
  • ready to chat about books.

We always find time in the car for an audio book or a paperback in the airport. I have the Kindle app on my phone and tablets. I have a collection of picture books and novels on the Kindle. Yes, kiddo uses tablets. Let’s ignore studies on the impact of my parenting decision for a moment, as I tell you that at 10,000 feet on a plane I’ve never received a complaint about my son’s behavior. I have heard comments like “I wish I had one of those when my kid was little.”

I love to talk to people at airports or on a plane about their reading choices. Word of mouth book recommendations equal priceless marketing for an author you enjoy. I love getting random parenting advice from fellow travelers too.

 Of course, we can travel and explore new worlds without an airplane ticket or filling up the gas tank just by picking up a book. I miss the pre-9/11 days of people watching at the airport, as you waited at the gate for family members to arrive.
What’s your book format of choice when you travel?

Reading: I’m back to non-fiction this week with  The Death Class: A True Story About Life by Erika Hayasaki. 

If you missed any of the Reader University posts,

Reader University: Connect

This is the ninth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.

Making connections can be an easy task in this digital landscape.
For starters, connect with authors:

  • online
  • at signings
  • on topic

I really enjoy connecting with authors via social media and blogs. If you love an author’s book, social media is a quick and easy way to share an “I love your book” comment with both the digital universe and the author.

Book signings are another way to connect. I read a post the other day where an author reported only a handful of attendees. While plane tickets aren’t always feasible to help an author out, I can keep an eye for local (or within an hour or two drive) events I can attend.

If an author has a book about a topic near and dear to your heart, let her know. Maybe your book club or your classroom has a question about a story, perhaps Tweet or email him your question. You may receive an answer.

I remember I tweeted about my son’s first birthday and tagged Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. We chose to name our son Enzo, after the main character and narrator — a dog. Garth Stein tweeted me back.

Authors use social media differently. Some will friend you on Facebook while others won’t respond to emails. Writing is a time consuming task, so I understand those who don’t use social media channels to interact with fans. If you write, you know how writing your stories and living outside of the voices inside of your head (i.e. family, the day job, hobbies, etc.) is often a balancing act. Of course, I really LOVE the ones, who embrace social media and add to my experience as a reader.
I’ve mentioned before that my reading list this year is so 2012, but John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, shows a character’s quest to learn more about a book and an author’s reluctance to communicate with fans. This added a lot of tension to the overall story.

How do you connect with authors (and other writers)?

Reading: I’m still reading A Season of Love by Amy Clipston, an Amish romance. I read an interesting essay How Much My Novel Cost Me by author Emily Gould, which was a little depressing and eye opening at the same time. If you like the link at The Passive Voice, you should click through and read the full essay.

If you missed any of the Reader University posts,

Reader University: Request

Reader University: Request

This is the eighth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
Reader University Request
We make requests for all types of things — special food at the supermarket or a song on the radio (OK, maybe that’s showing my age a bit) — so why not do the same with books?
Where can you make a request for a book:

  • at the library
  • at bookstores
  • for classrooms

I have little contact with librarians, but I’m guessing when people ask for a title they take it seriously. You may even find out the book is on order.
In recent weeks, I’ve discovered a few books via NPR weekend radio programs. When I checked my library, I was pleased to see the books were on order. So, I put my name in the hopper to be one of the first readers.
In general, I am of the “what do you have to lose by asking” mindset. If you ask and they tell you no, then nothing’s really lost. If you ask and they tell you yes, well you can get your hands on the book.
I know you get can most titles via Amazon, but if you find a bookstore doesn’t carry your favorite author — ask the bookstore about stocking the book. If the seed is planted, perhaps the buyer will consider the author’s next book.

If you have a relationship with your child’s teacher, recommend books (especially, if your child doesn’t like the selections). I’m not at this stage yet and I’m sure there are processes to approve books — subject matter, reading levels, etc. If you know of an appropriate book by a local (lives in your state may be local) recommend it for classroom reading lists or speak with the school librarian about adding it to the school’s selection.
Have you requested a book recently? Was it an easy process? Were you successful?
Reading: Let’s call this random week. I saw a book on sale in my Facebook newsfeed and purchased it on my Kindle. After I read blushed my way through the novella, I realized it wasn’t a recommendation of a friend, but a sponsored add on Facebook. Anywhoo, I’ve had my vampire, erotica fix for the year. I ended the week on a little less blush-worthy note. I read two novella-sized instruction manuals for a software I want to learn and began A Season of Love by Amy Clipston, an Amish romance, so much different than my earlier choice.
Reader University
If you missed any of the Reader University posts,