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Where the readers are!

True or false: Goodreads is only useful for sorting books into “to-read,” “currently reading” and “read” categories.

Two weeks ago, I’d have said “true.” And then, then one blogger’s review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower led me not only to devour that book (purely with my eyes and mind, mind you; actually eating my iPad would’ve been painful and ill advised) but to search out similar books to read. Sure, I have a hundred unread books on my bookshelf, but none of them was just right for my mood.

I perused Goodreads for recommendations, which the site offers based on your personal catalogue of books. It also allows your friends to directly recommend you books they think you’ll enjoy.

As I explored, I found that there are a multitude of book groups. I joined a couple of general groups, one YA group, a horror group, and an author’s group. I quickly discovered there are “books of the month,” in which a group is invited to experience the same book and discuss it as they go during a given month, and “buddy reads,” which allow smaller groups of people to read and discuss a book together over several weeks.

I immediately signed up for a few book of the month reads (Thirteen Reasons WhyBeautiful CreaturesSaving CeeCee Honeycutt) and a few buddy reads (AfraidThe End of Your Life Book Club). In two weeks, I’ve read some to all of each of these books. I’ve engaged in conversations about them, and delighted to know that no matter what book I’m reading, someone somewhere there will be able to discuss it with me.

It is, in a word, glorious.

I’ve moved from slowly meandering through one book at a time to reading five books at a time, selecting the particular one fit to any given mood and reading from it as long as it suits my mood.

I also decided to try out an author giveaway. My second novel should be out later this year, and I want to be prepared to do that release right straight out of the gate.

If you’ve been here a while, you’ve seen me do giveaways here before. I promoted them largely on Facebook, which, as I once wrote, made me “feel like I was selling same-day ballet tickets outside a football game.”

This time, I wanted to try a giveaway where the readers are–and, more particularly, where YA paranormal readers might be better equipped to find it. And wouldn’t you know, over the course of the 2.5 days of the giveaway so far, more than 300 people have entered to win a copy of The Monster’s Daughter. Bunches of folks have marked it “to-read” apart from that, gaining it much greater exposure within its target audience.

If you’re a reader looking for likeminded readers for book discussion, from a single question to philosophical inquiry, or an indie author trying to find readers for your book, Goodreads is an excellent place for you. Heck, they even provide handy author widgets like the one below!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Monster's Daughter by Deborah Bryan

The Monster’s Daughter

by Deborah Bryan

Giveaway ends March 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

As for my starting question? Goodreads is only useful for sorting books into “to-read,” “currently reading” and “read” categories.

False. It’s for sharing good reads with good folks.

And halfway-decent ones. Like me.

Nudge, nudge.

** E.L. Farris is also doing a Goodreads giveaway! See bottom of this post for details.

What’s in a genre?

Labels can be useful.

Is this parsley? Or is it thyme?

Is this a middle school? Or is it a high school?

Labels can also be useless or, worse, counterproductive.

Is he a nerd? A geek? A poser?

Is he a future success story? Or a failure waiting to happen?

As a writer, I’m struggling with labels right now. Is my first novel, The Monster’s Daughter, YA? Or is it horror? I’d put it squarely into the category “YA horror,” no matter how I envision it as a coming of age tale, but the categories available don’t allow me this designation.

tmd one year collage

I’m left to choose between “Teen: monsters” or “Horror.” I personally feel the latter fits somewhat better, but it also makes my novel virtually invisible in searches. The former doesn’t fit quite as well but opens my book to a much wider audience. Read more…

Another YA author’s take on the indie-traditional debate

I stopped reading debates about the merits of indie publishing versus traditional publishing a long time ago. I don’t think in straight black and white whether the subject is publishing or what’s for lunch, so I was turned off by how many writers sat squarely in one camp and totally decried the other. I needed a little more nuance and a little less outrage from my readings, but I was hard pressed to find it.

When YA author Annie Cardi pointed toward a blog she said “gives credence to both sides,” my curiosity was piqued. I trust Annie, and welcomed the thought of a balanced assessment vetted by her. I followed the link to Livia Blackburne’s post and was indeed delighted by what I found. I was so delighted, I typed out a long, thoughtful comment . . . which my iPad then devoured. Sigh.

Instead of typing another comment there, I opted to link up here and share the gist of my thoughts: Read more…

A WIP blog chain, or: “I am not a fish!”

Chain letters usually go straight to my spam filter, but when I received an invitation to participate in a chain blog, my curiosity was piqued. Its sender was Sara Burr, a writer and blogger who  captivates me with her eloquence and thoughtfulness. I haven’t had a chance to read her first novel yet, but you can bet I’m looking forward to it!

With two days of editing my newest book under my belt, this chain blog was perfectly timed to get me thinking both about what it is and what I want it to be. It’s also got me wondering. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites with our children, but is it OK to favor certain of our books over others? Because it’s possible–not certain, mind you, just possible–that I enjoy this one a heck of a lot more than the ones that preceded it. Maybe. A little.

What is the working title of your book?

Elelu. It’s not the most descriptive working title, granted, but I’m still early in the process!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came from my idea box from younger years. I had a night dream that jarred that old idea loose and got to daydreaming up what the story would look like if I wrote it today. Then, without too much delay, I got to writing.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy. I’d also classify it as Young Adult, but my fiancee, Ba.D., is fighting me on that one: “Everything is YA right now! It’s a meaningless classification. Just go with what it really is.”

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m way too early in the process to start playing that game! Right now, I want to stay true to my characters as they are instead of envisioning who else they might be.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When the sole survivor of mermaid genocide lands in her lap, loner Abigail must decide not only what she believes in but how far she’s willing to go to save someone else.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Independently published. Although there are pros and cons to each, I’m much more interested in creative control than traditional publishing at this point.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About four months, excluding the month I took off.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This question had me stumped until I started reading Necromancing the Stone last night. So far, it’s similar to that book’s predecessor (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer) in tone and pacing.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My fiancee inspired me. When I had the dream that got me thinking about writing my old story, I described that dream in depth to Ba.D., who told me that sounded like a book he’d love to read. Over the next couple of weeks, I told Ba.D. what I was thinking and asked for his input when I encountered any logic or plot hurdle I couldn’t seem to jump by myself. With his encouragement, I moved from thinking about the story to actually writing it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I grew up poor, but not so poor that my mom couldn’t cough up gas money to take one of her barely-running cars to the Oregon coast every year or two. Those coast trips brought me a sense of possibility. In  Elelu, I’ve captured the feelings of hope and home that imagining the ocean continue to evoke in me. I’ve done this within an exciting story full of characters you might not always agree with but whom I think you’d probably enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee.

Click here to learn a little more about Elelu. Otherwise, please mosey on over to visit the next link in the chain, my friend E.L. Farris. Her heartbreaking yet inspirating first novel, Ripple, will hopefully be out in time for Christmas.

Books for cheap & books in progress

Writing projects occupy much of my brain these days. That’s hardly surprising, what with:

  • Three already written YA novels awaiting edits;
  • One non-fiction work half-written; and
  • Another non-fiction work just begun.

And that’s only my current projects! I’m happy to be beta reading for a few dear writer friends right now. As for my projects already completed? Three will be half off on Smashwords, which offers ebooks in roughly a dozen formats, 7/1/12-7/15/12.

If you’re interested in checking any of these books out while they’re half off, click the title(s) below, add the book(s) to your cart, and enter the discount code SSW50. Here are the links:

I thank you for your patience with me while I work through the side effects of–finally!–embracing the fact I am, indeed, a writer.

FREE.

My new ebook, Memos from Your Closet Monster, is free for Kindle through Sunday evening. Download your own copy here.

Don’t have a Kindle? Don’t need one! You can read with your browser or download a free Kindle app to another device. More on that here.

The Monster’s Daughter, free for the next two days!

ETA: It looks like the coupon is good through 23:59:59 Thursday, so download away!

I meant to give away one book today, but I can’t seem to find the words for that post.

Instead I offer up free copies of my first novel, The Monster’s Daughter. Like the book I meant to give away today, it involves some hard choices for its protagonist. Unlike the book I meant to give away today, it involves monsters:

Ginny Connors doesn’t believe in vampires. There’s totally a rational reason her dad is a lot more bloodthirsty and a lot less interested in food than he used to be.

Still, she hangs a cross on her bedroom door. Just in case.

When Ginny discovers people aren’t the guests but the main course at her father’s New Year party, she wishes she could save the day with garlic pancakes. Instead, she must face the limits of her daydreams, and attempt to stop the monster her father has become.

If you’re looking for a vampire novel, I’m gonna be frank with you: this might not be your thing. Like the novel’s protagonist, I believe most vampires are improved by a stake through the heart.

If what you’re looking for is strength in hard times, you might just find something useful in this book. As reviewer E. L. Faris wrote:

If The Monster’s Daughter is read as simply a coming of age story for
a heroic young woman (and you will have to read the book to see just how
heroic she acts  for I refuse to spoil it for you), you will love it. If, however, you
read it as an allegory for the life of an abused child and young woman, then
you will find great satisfaction and perhaps even catharsis as you read the
this amazing first novel by author Deborah Bryan.

Curious? Click here to begin the free download process. If you don’t already have a Smashwords account, you’ll need to create one. Once you have an account, simply add the book to your cart and enter the discount code WW68H. This will enable you to download it free of charge in your favored e-book format before May 3, 2012 (Pacific Time).

Stay tuned for the giveaway I’d actually planned!

© 2012 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.

The Monster’s Daughter, 2nd edition

After two more rounds of copy editing, one of which was (pleasingly!) a little more content than copy, TMD’s first edition will soon be replaced by a more sparkly second edition. FYI, that’s not Edward-style “sparkly.” You’ll find none of that in any edition of any book involving Ginny!

The second edition will be printed on cream paper. Digitally, it’s already formatted for Smashwords and was uploaded this morning. It was roughly 1,458,892,058th in queue for uploading at 6 a.m. I imagine a few digits have been knocked off of that since! I’ll update my TMD page to include that link after it’s available. A few weeks after that, it’ll be available on the iStore and elsewhere.

On a totally unrelated note, I feel really good this morning. Up until I paid off my car last Monday, I’ve been prone to vegan fails. (Mmmm, cheese.) Those vegan fails left my mouth satisfied but my conscience very much dissatisfied.

When I paid off my car, I decided that was a perfect opportunity to live in better accord with my convictions. That payoff, after all, was made possible by my mom’s final gift to me. Her life was rough. Her choices made me able to take a much smoother path. Given all the choices I have, I feel like it’s important to honor my mom by making–not just contemplating–the right choices for me. This means eating vegan unless there’s an absolutely compelling reason (such as imminent death) for my doing otherwise.

It feels really freakin’ good. My body feels good. My heart feels good. This was the right choice, absolutely, and I’m glad I now have the conviction to see it through.

I’m not preaching veganism here, although it’s true I do feel healthier when I’m eating vegan. I’m just saying it feels really good to live in accord with my beliefs. Who’d have thought instant gratification could be so fleeting by comparison to this more lasting gratification? Since I tend to be slow on the uptake, I’m guessing you beat me to the punch on this one, probably by a decade or two.

Was there a moment or an encounter that helped you to understand that instant gratification is as fleeting as it is instantaneous? If so, I’d love to hear about it! If you’re still struggling, I’d love to hear about that, too, either in comment or via email.

Smashwords

A Season in Korea and One Time, One Thing are both free on Smashwords through March 12, 2011. Many other titles–fiction and non-fiction alike–are also free or heavily discounted during this period. Smashwords has loads of different options for reading, even without an e-reader, so I’d recommend giving it a look no matter what your reading tastes are!

Speaking of reading, my friend Sarah needs to stop recommending such riveting YA books. The urge to devour them all, pronto, is making it hard for me to engage in non-reading activities. Like typing, which I’ve done quite enough of for this morning. I have more Will Grayson, Will Grayson to read!

2 & 5/8 days left!

Fewer than three days remain till I give away three copies of The Monster’s Daughter! Many folks have linked to the contest, but few have emailed me letting me know they did so. Remember, the email serves as your entry form!

If you have emailed me? Odds of your winning a book are pretty favorable right now!

In other news, Mack has provided a new cover for A Season in Korea:

Letters from South Korea

New cover courtesy Mack

Call me fickle, but I ditched the old cover like a hot potato.

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