Reader University: Share

Reader University: Share

This is the seventh post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
RU_7_SHAREI don’t share chocolate very well, but I love sharing books.
We support our favorite writers when we share his or her work.
You can help when you share:

  • a book with a friend
  • via word of mouth
  • on your blog

Print books are great for this. You have a book. You have a conversation about a book. You let a friend borrow it. Your enthusiasm may have created a new fan.
I became the recipient of several books this week, because a friend shared her love for Amish romance books. So, when I thought an aspect of Amish life would be good for a future manuscript, I contacted my friend. She graciously shared several books with me. Now, I just need to pick one to read.
Ebooks have complicated sharing a little bit. After reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I thought I could share my copy with my sister. I missed the memo that not all books are loanable. Sigh. Many of the self-published (or indie-published authors) allow this option!
Thankfully, we can share books via word of mouth — no matter what format. This year, I continue to follow my name them rule and list the title and the author’s name when I mention these books in conversations or social media. 
Our blogs are a great place to share books too. I enjoy reading reviews. I continue to add books to my library list I missed in 2013, but found through year-in-review blogs.
What’s your favorite way to share books?
Reading: The past week included several small, random reading projects and a number of meetings. I also spent a lot of time studying ABC concept books — picture books sharing the alphabet. I typed out 49 books to study the words used to tell the story of the alphabet. I read books with a string of letters, with beautiful artwork and photographs, and with fun twists. My ABC apocalypse, as I called it for a few reasons, is almost over, so I can return to more “adult” oriented reading this week.

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Reader University: Learn

Reader University: Learn

This is the sixth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
Learn
This is a fun one.
Who doesn’t love learning?
This is a great way to work on your writing and support your favorite authors.
You can learn when you:

  • enroll in a workshop
  • read a craft book
  • listen at the library

In the last year, I’ve been able to do all three and have improved my writing with these opportunities. Many authors share their writing techniques in workshops at conferences or via online classes. If you admire an author consider taking a class from him or her. Last year, I took the Making Picture Book Magic Class with author Susanna Leonard Hill. To date, this was the best class I’ve taken online. I refer to the material often.
Several years ago, I attended a retreat taught by author Linda Ashman. She released a craft book last year The Nuts and Bolts Guid to Writing Picture Books. I scooped up this book, because I love Linda’s books and loved her workshop. I wasn’t disappointed when I read the book. It helped me during my work on ReviMo in January.
Well, it wasn’t a library, but I attended a reading and signing with author and illustrator Peter Brown. It was fun to see him draw the tiger from Mr. Tiger Goes Wild and to see an author presentation to a room filled with children and adults (and my wandering toddler). 
These are easy ways to learn from your favorite authors. What’s your favorite way to learn from authors (including reading their books)?
Reading: I finished Lines of Defense Poems by Stephen Dunn. It took longer to read the less than 100-page book of poetry than I expected, as I read, reflected, and re-read poems in the book. Hmm. I’m not sure what I’ll pick up next.
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Reader University: Follow

Reader University: Follow

This is the fifth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
Reader University FollowWith so much focus on author platform, you’ll find most of your favorite writers on social media. Here are three ways to follow an author:

  • blogs
  • social media
  • in person

It’s fun to study how published authors use their blog or social media presence.
Are they reaching out to readers, other writers, or book buyers? Do they use a specific social media site like Twitter or Facebook, or do they have a Pinterest board that draws you in for hours?
Some authors share unique details about their books and their characters on their blogs. Some will tweet lines from their books. A Pinterest board may be created to share the inspiration for a book’s setting or a character’s backstory.
Kid lit authors often will share educational materials — how to use their book in a classroom or home setting.
Other writers will share writing tips — how to break through writer’s block, how to deal with bad reviews, or how the rejection never ends.
Some authors are absent from social media, but that’s rare. This is where the in person idea comes into play. Why not attend a book signing or a conference where your favorite author is presenting? This is a good way to learn about the writer’s process and work. Most of these events have a question and answer session, why not support them and a question in person.
Years ago when readers wanted to contact an author, they mailed letters to the author’s publisher. With social media, contact can be instant. It’s a good way to show your support and learn a little more about the books and writing you enjoy. 
Reading: I continue to read the Lines of Defense Poems by Stephen Dunn. I had to take a fiction break after the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.
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Reader University: Review

Reader University: Review

This is the fourth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
Review
 
I’ve heard self-published authors mention before that one of the most valuable ways to support them is to write a review. An honest review can help an author sell more books. 
There are many ways to share a review. An easy place to begin:

  • online
  • at a book club
  • in person

I mostly think about online reviews after a book purchase from an online retailer. If you have a blog, you can write up a review too. I do this every Friday through the Perfect Picture Book Fridays list.
Book clubs are a great place to share reviews. When I lived in Texas, the local library hosted a monthly book review. Trust me, it wasn’t like a book report either. A couple of times, I was grilled about the books I shared. It kept me on my toes and really tested my affection for a book.
Word of mouth or “in person” recommendations are always good. I find the kid lit community is wonderful about sharing titles.
Reviews are a great place to learn about writing too. While some reviews can be nasty, there are often little nuggets of information writers can glean about the craft — characters, story development, and even genre.
Reviews often teach us that some readers will never be pleased with our stories. A little proof of this (and maybe a laugh too) can be found on Marc Tyler Nobleman’s site. Take a few minutes to watch children’s authors reading reviews.
How do you review books?
Reading: I finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and went straight into Insurgent and Allegiant. I could NOT put it down. After the Divergent series, I may take a break this week from fiction. I’m leafing through the pages of the Lines of Defense Poems by Stephen Dunn. I still have The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on my Kindle. I read the picture book Stick! by Andy Pritchett a very cute story at around 15 words.
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Reader University: Name

Reader University: Name

This is the third post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading. Reader University Name
 
I know most authors aren’t rich and famous. Heck, most people don’t even mention an author by name. I’m guilty of this too.
You’ve overheard this or been a party to that conversation about a book, right?
“You know the book about the sheep quitting?” {Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill} or “That book where the kids are put in an arena to kill.” {The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins} Most comments are followed by “It’s on the tip of my tongue” or snapping fingers. The speaker can’t remember the title or the author’s name.
I’m sure many authors don’t mind that their name {or title} is forgotten. She simply appreciate the reader remembers the story.
Not naming an author won’t break the universe, but it doesn’t help an author trying to get established. When I hear a title or an author mentioned, I often look up other work. One mention and suddenly, I’m checking out multiple books. There’s value to naming an author to a potential reader.
This is one thing I will do this year — I will name authors and the titles of their books. For picture books, I’m trying to add the illustrators too. To accomplish this, I will use Google or Amazon or my library’s catalog to complete a quick search. If I can’t remember the title and author or find it, I will bow out of a conversation in person or on social media. It’s early in the year, but so far I am on track.
Do you name an author when you talk about book titles?
Reading: I continue to read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I fear I may have a difficult time skipping over Roth’s next novel Insurgent, but I have The Book Thief by Markus Zusak next on my list. I know my list is so 2012 or 2013, but this is why I’m trying to read more. I’m behind!
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My first post is being published on the Pikes Peak Writers Blog — Writing from the Peak today. Nothing like repurposing our work to feel like real writers.
 

Reader University: Read

Reader University: Read

This is the second post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.  
Reader University Read
Last week, in the first in the Reader University series, we talked about Try — new authors, new genres, and new formats.
My second way to help authors and your own writing is to READ:

  • a book
  • a novella
  • a short story

Or read an essay or a long magazine or newspaper feature story.
It’s so easy to get trapped in the “I don’t have time whirlwind” of life. Even when we say this, we are still reading.
I DO read a lot each day. I read a few blog posts, a few Internet news stories, and a ton of emails. Throw in some social media and I’ve read a short story or novella in one “session” on the computer. While much of this is entertaining or educational, I still find myself missing a good story by the end of the week.
Between my library card and my Kindle, I have access to a steady stream of books. This week, I’m making time to read another book in my virtual (Kindle) “to be read” stack — Divergent by Veronica Roth.
I read these books last week (mostly due to be sick and stuck on the couch):
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)
How to Query an Agent or Editor [A Children’s  Writer Inside Guide from Mentors for Rent] by Lisa Bullard and Laura Purdie Salas (2012)
As usual, I read through a dozen picture books. I was able to get my hands on Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle (2013). It’s a wordless picture book — sweet and lightly pink. This book does have flaps, so I’m not sure how the kindle version of this will work.
Have fun reading this week!
Here’s the first post about the Reader University project.
Reader University