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.

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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.

Say Yes, visit me at Petite ReviMo

This year, writer and artist Meg Miller created a unique challenge — ReviMo, a week in January to revise our picture books. I did it!

I won.
Then, Meg decided to nurture us some more and created a Petite ReviMo. The March Petite ReviMo begins today — March 12. She asked me to write a post. Please visit and tell me what you think about saying YES to your writing or maybe just something random. I like random.

See you over at Meg’s.

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. 

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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
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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.

Reader University

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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.
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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