Bookworm Quirks: Why I Try Not to Work with Self-Promoting Authors

Like many book bloggers, I got into the blogging game for the community. Of course, an added perk of blogging is that sometimes you get ARCs or free books in the hope of word-of-mouth turning into more sales. Often, this road starts by working with indie and self-published authors. I’ve worked with a few of these, and in the start I asked for an interview any time I could. Then I learned my lesson when the author cared less about answering the questions thoughtfully and more about promoting themselves.

Bitch Please Harry

To be clear, I understand the struggle of being a debut author. You’re trying to get your book out there and noticed in a sea of books being released all the time, many of them by big name publishers that have a huge following and a giant advertising budget. I get it. But there’s a difference between promoting your book and promoting yourself. And it’s a big one.

This topic came to mind when I got a book in the mail from an author. She contacted me through facebook and asked if I would read and review her book. It sounded like something my best friend would enjoy, so I said yes and considered asking my friend to do a guest review. Then I got the book.

First off, the package included three things: the book, a letter, and a notecard. As a lover of all things mail, I was excited! Then I read the letter. It started off well: “I want to say THANK YOU for wanting to read my book.” Then the rest of the page long letter JUST talked about herself. Nothing about the book, except that it’s based on true events. Cool. The notecard? “Thanks for reading my book! Please keep in mind this is based on true incidents.” Yeah, got it, thanks.

Then, one of my biggest pet peeves happened. I didn’t remember the details of the plot since our conversation was months ago. So I turned the paperback book over to read the synopsis. Only there WASN’T ONE. It was just MORE TEXT ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

Seriously, I will never understand this. You as a person are not what people are spending money on. The book is. Why would you go through all the effort of writing and publishing a book and then NOT put what it’s about anywhere?! I was floored. I had been burned by self-promoting authors before, and I wasn’t going to do it again.

Forcing myself to think of my bestie, I opened the book to a random page. Weird, it was all in italic script. I thought maybe I’d opened to a letter or something. Next page, still script. Turn to another random page, and it was in BOLD COMIC SANS. THE ENTIRE BOOK IS IN EITHER BOLD COMIC SANS OR ITALIC SCRIPT.

I cannot even begin to describe how I felt. Only that I am no longer working with a self-published author again. My mental health cannot take it. I will not waste valuable reading time on something I would never pick up in a bookstore, especially for the cover price of $16.00, which is what this book has. I’m done.

Do you ever feel this way, fellow bloggers? Have you ever been floored by the choices made to advertise a book or how it was designed/printed? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors

Top Ten Tuesday

As always, T10T is hosted by the phenomenal femmes over at The Broke and The Bookish!

This was so hard, y’all. And again, this would be totally different on another day. Like after finishing these cards, I remembered Erin Morgenstern!! But I was sick of laying out pictures and called it quits. Haha. So here are my current choices for top ten favorite authors in no particular order:

Anna Godberson Ellen Hopkins Gail Carson Levine J.K. Rowling Jennifer E. Smith Kiera Cass Laura Anderson Rainbow Rowell Stephanie Perkins Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Do we have any in common? Who are your favorite authors? Let me know!

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Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

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Info: Hardback, 448 pages, Young Adult/Historical Fiction, published January 23, 2014

Synopsis: Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

Why I Chose This Book: I’ve been in a reading rut for a while, and while I was going to read some of the easy contemporary romances on my TBR, this book kept drawing my eye. Finally, I picked it up and read it. I got it for Christmas this last year, and I could have sworn it’s been out forever. But only a little over a year!

First Impressions: I love this cover! Gorgeous. Doesn’t really have to do much with the story, though. Since Vicky’s an artist, I think the cover could have really drawn (ha!) from that to make something other than a Girl in a Big Dress cover. But I’m still a sucker for those, and I’m loving yellow right now.

What I Liked: Um. Everything? This was amazing! Strong feminist message out of its time, a romance, and a girl that won’t give up on her dreams for anything. Yes, please! Plus, I loved that Will not only supported her, but encouraged her. That’s how you date an independent woman, people!

What I Didn’t Like: At first, I didn’t like the love triangle. I thought it was unnecessary. But then I realized the point of it and I was a lot happier.

Ratings and Recommendations: For fans of The Luxe series, The Jewel, historical fiction set in the early 1900’s.

1. New Favorite Alert

Final Thoughts: This is definitely a book that belongs on those ‘books for your daughter to read before she reads Twilight’ lists. It’s so strong, and Vicky really shows how to go after what you want when everything is pitted against you.

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What’s Up Wednesday 4.08.15

Hey y’all! I hope you’re having a great week after the holiday weekend! Mine’s been pretty nice, I must say!

Recently I started learning how to do hand lettering, and I’ve really been enjoying it! It combines my love of fonts, quotes, and doodling. I’ve done at least one piece a day since I started, and I’m seeing improvement in every step. Soon I’ll have some more pens to use so I’ll have a wider variety of colors (if Amazon ever ships my order). Here’s a couple of things I’ve done:

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I’m so excited to keep progressing and improving my skills!

I’ve also been wanting to return to being pen pals. I told some of my long-distance friends that we’re reinstating our pen pal relationship, and I’ll be sending them mail with these GORGEOUS vintage stamps I got yesterday from the Verde Studio etsy shop:

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Guys, this girl is AMAZING. She let me pick and choose which stamps I got AND worked with my budget! Plus, I needed some 3 cent stamps to fill out the order and she picked out Texas ones for me, which I didn’t even ask for! The stamps came so quickly (faster than my Amazon AND Ebay orders) and were packaged with so much care. Seriously, SHOP WITH HER. I cannot endorse that shop enough.

Recently, I got out of my reading slump with A Mad, Wicked Folly. It’s a book that’s been on my TBR forever and I’ve been eyeing it since I unwrapped it on Christmas. It was amazing, and now I need to figure out what my next read will be. I’m thinking it’s time to reread The Language of Flowers since it’s finally spring. Any thoughts?

Last night, I finally watched the series finale of Parks and Rec. It was a pitch perfect send off, and I wish HIMYM could have had the same kind of ending. But now I’m on to catching up on Once Upon a Time. Y’all, I don’t know how I let myself go SO LONG without a good strong dose of Killian Jones. Seriously, he’s all I need in my life.

What I’m Reading:

TELL ME!!! I DON’T KNOW!

What I’m Watching:

What I’m Making:

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What are y’all up to this week? Sound off in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I’d Like to Catch Up With

Top Ten Tuesday

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the marvelous maids at The Broke and The Bookish!

This week’s topic honors those characters that you wish you would see how they’re doing. If only you could meet up for coffee and see what they’re up to, how the family is doing, how they’re feeling. These are the characters that you can’t get enough of, the ones that you didn’t get closure on, or you just plain love reading about them. It was so hard to narrow down this list, and I’m sure if this was asked again, half of the list would be different.

Draco Malfoy

Is anyone really surprised? I love Draco so much, and I want to know everything about him and his life. I want to know if I’m correct in thinking his actual favorite color is either a light blue or deep navy. I want to know if he chose to marry Astoria, if she’s good for him, how much he loves his son, and if he’s been the father he’s always wanted. I just need more Draco in my life.

Allyson and Willem

At the end of Just One Night, Allyson and Willem have a happy, if not vague, ending. I want to see what other adventures they go on, what friends they meet in new lands. I want to see Willem meeting Allyson’s parents and see how they react to him. I want to see Willem successful at a single theatre, and how long it takes for him to feel the need to get lost in a new place again. I just need everything from these two!

Cather Avery

Ah, Cath. I will never not be upset that Fangirl is a standalone book. Every aspect of this book is so strong, from the complicated dynamic characters to the inserts of imagined books and the fanfiction they inspire. I want Cath, with her unforgettable voice, to tell me how things are going with Levi, if she’s written any more original work or fic, to rant about how her sister keeps trying to trick Levi into thinking they’ve switched places!!

Lola Nolan

When I first finished Anna and the French Kiss, I was so excited to read the teaser of Lola and the Boy Next Door that followed the acknowledgements. But immediately, I hated Lola. I thought she was one of those people that try to be different for the sake of being different instead of just being themselves. She seemed whiny, attention-seeking, and immature. But after I gave her a second chance and finished the series, I loved her. Hers is my favorite book of the trilogy because she’s just SO true to herself! She tries to change and realizes that she just can’t be someone she’s not and I think that’s such an important role model to have. I want to see the clothes she’s made since the ending, and I want to see if she’s started designing men’s clothes so she can make even cooler pants for Cricket to wear. I just love her, and I want to make sure she’s living her life to her amazing extremes.

Samantha Reed

If ever there was a book that made me swoon, it was My Life Next Door. Augh! These characters are so vivid and fun, I want to reread it every time I glance past its spine on my shelves. I would love to see how Samantha balances her life as it continues, and how she keeps growing into herself instead of the perfect daughter her parents want.

Neville Longbottom

Neville Longbottom is a lot like Draco in that I want to see how he’s adjusted to life after the war. But I want to see if he’s gotten the recognition he deserves, I want to see him visiting his parents and if they are ever healed. I want to see him falling in love and courting his wife. I want to see how excited he gets when he finds out he’ll be teaching at Hogwarts. I want to see him start a family and name his children better than flippin’ Harry Potter did. I want to see Neville as he deserves to be: completely and utterly happy.

Poppet and Widget

Poppet and Widget belong to one of the most gorgeous books I have ever had the privilege to read: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The ending of the book takes some thinking to understand, and I need to see how the world around the circus is affected by it. I don’t want to say too much because it’s a book everyone needs to read without knowing too much about, but these two are high on my list of ‘GIVE ME MORE NARRATIVE PLEASE’.

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy

Has there ever been a more swoon-worthy couple than Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy? I don’t think so. (But if there is, let me know ASAP!!) These two have inspired tons of books and stories continuing their stories, but I’d like to know what truly happens. As soon as long-gone authors figure out how to write more, I’d like to request Pride and Prejudice 2: Swoons and Sarcasm. Thanks, JA!

Victoria Jones

This book is seriously required reading for anyone that loves spring, flowers, or being happy at all. I will never have enough of this amazing protagonist that shows how amazing things come from every walk of life. Victoria, you’re my hero. ❤

Ella of Frell

Ella of Ella Enchanted is seriously the coolest middle grade lit protagonist ever. She loves animals, she speaks all of the languages in the realm, she doesn’t change who she is for anyone, and she doesn’t let a curse bring her down or control her, even though that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. Ella is the most BA chick to have ever BA’ed, and I will make sure every child I ever babysit/raise reads this book. #SorryNotSorry

So those are my picks for this week! Let me know: do we have any of the same characters? Do you have any headcanons you need to share? What are your characters to catch up with one day?

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Book Review: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth A. Bunce

Curse Dark as Gold

Info: 396 pages, paperback, Middle Grade Fantasy/fairy tale retelling, published March 1, 2008

Synopsis: Charlotte Miller has always scoffed at talk of a curse on her family’s woolen mill, which holds her beloved small town together. But after her father’s death, the bad luck piles up: departing workers, impossible debts, an overbearing uncle. Then a stranger named Jack Spinner offers a tempting proposition: He can turn straw into gold thread, for the small price of her mother’s ring. As Charlotte is drawn deeper into her bargains with Spinner-and a romance with the local banker-she must unravel the truth of the curse on the mill and save the community she’s always called home.

First Impressions: Nothing amazing. Definitely matched content, though. Better than most middle grade covers.

Why I Chose This Book: For my reading challenge, I needed a book with a color in the title. Enter ‘Gold’. But it also sounded pretty good. I’m a historical fiction girl, so I had this on my TBR long before this challenge came up.

What I Liked: Very cool retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It felt very authentic. I LOVED Charlotte as the no-nonsense manager of the mill, and her spunk was so fun to read. Also, her romance was SO CUTE and I swooned all over the place. Great example of a strong female protagonist and her supportive guy. Good book to read before Twilight. Almost every twist was unexpected. It was just good. 

What I Didn’t Like: Not enough of the romance. I wanted more! But it definitely wasn’t as important as the plot, so I guess I understand.

Rating and Recommendations: To fans of retellings, stories from a new perspective (This book was written because the author found it surprising that in a fairy tale about the importance of names, we only know Rumplestiltskin’s), historical fiction.

3. Really Enjoyed It

Final Thoughts: Good, easy read. I don’t know if it’s one I’ll reread very often, but I’m definitely keeping a copy on hand for my future kids to read.

Sound off in the comments: Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you going to see if this Rumple matches up to Mr. Gold?

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