Tried Goodreads Lists yet? Give it a shot!

Hey Stitch Trilogy fans!  I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to an awesome feature of Goodreads that you may not already know about – Goodreads Lists!

Stitch is #1 on a Goodreads List!What are Goodreads Lists?
Goodreads Lists are user-generated lists of books that anyone can vote on.  They’re often themed by genre or subject matter, and can range from broadly helpful and informative (“Best Young Adult Dystopian Novels“) to very specific (“Kick Ass Female Heroines in Paranormal Genre“) to a little out there (“Titles of Only One Syllable“).  You can view popular lists or search all the lists on Goodreads by going to Explore > Listopia from your Goodreads account homepage dashboard (or by clicking this link).

Why should I care about Goodreads Lists?
There are a few reasons.  First, I’m a big fan of Goodreads Lists as reader b/c they are *invaluable* in helping me find recommendations for new books (even with very specific criteria like “Speculative New Adult Fiction“).  Not sure what to read next?  Search the Goodreads Lists database for a genre you enjoy or check out the “Lists with This Book” section on any book’s Goodreads page, and within seconds you’ll have hundreds of options suggested by like-minded readers to choose from.

Secondly, as an author, I love Goodreads Lists even more b/c they help get my book in front of readers who probably otherwise would never have come across it.  As many of you know, I’m about to have a baby and will likely be scaling back my book promotion for the next few months, but I’m hoping that if Stitch and Shudder appear towards the top of some of some lists, new readers will find them even if I’m not shouting from the rooftops for a couple weeks.

So if you’re a reader, Goodreads Lists are an easy (and fun!) way to both find more great books and really help out the writers you love most – and believe me, us authors (especially independent ones!) need as MUCH help as we can get in the marketing department!  :-)

How do I vote on a Goodreads List?
It’s simple!  Here’s an example of how to vote for Stitch and/or Shudder, but you can of course enter a different search term to vote for any book:

  1. Navigate your web browser to the desired list (find one here or see some suggestions below *wink wink*)
  2. Click the Add Books to This List tab at the top of the page
  3. Type “stitch durante” into the search bar and click Search (note: you can search either your own bookshelves or the entire site – switch using the “Add books from: my books or a search” link on the left)
  4. When Stitch and Shudder come up, click Vote for This Book on one or both of them
  5. Search for other books or find another list, and repeat!

I strongly encourage all Goodreads users to take advantage of this feature to help you find new stuff to read, and also to help your favorite authors reach more loyal readers like you!  If you’d like to vote for Stitch and Shudder (I’d be honored!!), here are a handful of lists which could be good options (though a vote on *any* list is always appreciated!):

  1. If You Like The Hunger Games Then You Will Like…
  2. If You Loved The Hunger Games…
  3. Best Dystopian Books for Teens
  4. Best Young Adult Dystopian Novels
  5. Great Dystopian Reads
  6. YA Dystopias Since The Hunger Games
  7. Speculative New Adult Fiction
  8. Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
  9. Self Published Young Adult Books
  10. Best Indie YA/New Adult Books

Have fun browsing the lists and voting for your favorites!  I hope you find some *GREAT* new reads – and of course, I REALLY REALLY appreciate any votes you happen to throw towards the Stitch Trilogy while you’re at it.  :-)

Interview & Giveaway at Michael SciFan

Michael SciFanCheck out this great new interview up today at Michael SciFan!  Here’s a sneak peek:

Did the story or characters take any unexpected directions from your original plans?

I’m a big planner (especially when it comes to something like the Stitch Trilogy, which has a fairly complex backstory and very twisty storyline), so there hasn’t been too much divergence from my original plans, when it came to the main characters at least. But as the series has developed, I’ve found some of the side characters playing much bigger roles than I ever anticipated. Nikhil and Lizzie in particular just started as one-dimensional throwaway characters when I first set out to write Stitch, but over time – either through necessities of the plot or reader demand – these characters have taken on a life of their own and really impacted the story in major ways that I didn’t foresee at first. So that was definitely a surprise, but a good one! <continue reading>

While you’re there, you can also enter a giveaway for an e-book copy of Stitch or Shudder (winner’s choice!).  Don’t miss out!

Thanks so much to Michael for hosting me!!

Reminder – Grand Finale Giveaway Ends on Monday 9/16!

Please note the "Just Kidding" at the bottom!!!  Actual prizes listed at left.

Please note the “Just Kidding” at the bottom!!! Actual prizes listed at left.

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to post a quick reminder that the Shudder Blog Tour Grand Finale Giveaway is ending this Monday, September 16th!  That means you have 3 more days to rack up entries.  What could you win??

5 Winners. August 24 – September 16, 2013
  • Signed print copy of Stitch & Shudder for you and two friends (USA only)
  • Signed (via Authorgraph) e-book copies of Stitch & Shudder for you and two friends (Int’l)
  • Signed Stitch & Shudder bookmarks + e-book copies of Stitch & Shudder (Int’l)
  • $10 Amazon Gift Card (Int’l)
  • $5 Amazon Gift Card (Int’l)

Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!

Good luck!!!

DIY Editing Tips

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because typos are the bane of my existence!  (Sponsored post.)

You may think that soaring sales numbers or rave reviews are any writer’s crowning achievements, but in my case, one of the greatest satisfactions of my writing career to date has been something far less glamorous: protestations that my writing is well-edited.

After all, one of the main reasons self-published work gets a bad rap is because it’s often known to be riddled with typos, misspellings, and incorrect grammar.  When I first set out to publish Stitch, one of my biggest fears was that mechanical errors in the text would make me come off as unprofessional and, worse, amateur.  (Granted, I was – and probably still am – an amateur… but the reader didn’t need to know this!)

DIY Editing TipsDespite lacking an agent, publisher, and editor, I wanted desperately for my book to look and feel and read like a “real” book.  To that end, I hired a talented cover designer, I spent hours tweaking the print/e-book formatting, and most importantly, I put a LOT of effort into editing my writing.

And guess what?  It worked!  Many readers and reviewers have commented on the quality of my writing, and were even surprised to learn that my books were published independently.  In fact, after publishing Stitch and Shudder, I’ve only learned of a combined 3 true typos across both books (2 of which I fixed in the Stitch update released last April).  And while I’m sure there are more hidden in there (if you know of any, I’d love to know about them!), they’re subtle enough that the vast majority of readers will never even notice – and after all, even professionally published books have a typo or two in them, so I can deal.

Given my success in this particular arena, I thought I’d take a few moments to share my top 3 tips and tricks for other writers who are editing their own work:

1. Get more eyes on it! Seriously, this is the number one tip and by far the most effective thing you can do – get at least 10 people to read your work before you publish it, and make sure they know you want to hear about any typos, misspellings, or potential grammar issues.  (Sometimes people are afraid to insult you otherwise!)  The unfortunate reality is that you just can’t see your own writing clearly – you know what it’s *supposed* to say, so your mind just reads that instead of what’s actually on the page (thanks, brain!).

The good news is that you’re already getting people to give you feedback on the story, right?  Well, why not get some free editing while you’re at it?  Some readers are excellent at picking up on mechanical errors, others less so, so it’s essential to cast a wide net.  If you have the cash, you can even hire a professional – but so far, I’ve gotten by on the generous help of friends and family.  And be sure to THANK THEM for their time and input, even if you don’t always take their advice.  (After all, as I’m constantly telling my husband, there is such thing as “writer’s license!”)

2. Read it in print.  I don’t understand why, but for some reason, typos are easier to catch in print than on-screen.  I HATE wasting paper (I guess all those “save the rainforest” PSAs from when I was a kid made an impression…), but you have to review at least one printed version of your work before you hit the publish button.

In my case, I use the print proof from Createspace to do this, but if you’re just publishing an e-book, you can print it out at home (hey, you can always use a really tiny font, small margins, and double-sided printing to save paper!).  And again, refer to #1 – if you can get other people to read it in print as well, that’s even better.

3. Pay attention to grammar check.  Okay, I’m not going to lie – automated grammar checks have proven completely useless to me 99.9% of the time.  I don’t know what it is about the English language, but computers just don’t seem to get it.  BUT whenever I do a thorough automated grammar check on my books (which usually turns up what feels like about 3000 “issues” and takes 1-2 hours to go through), I almost always find one or two actual errors that I would have overlooked.

Yes, it’s a pain in the butt, but if you want your writing to look professional, you need to catch as many issues as possible – so save this one ’til the end and do it once, but make sure to do it!  You can use the built-in Word grammar check or any number of online tools (e.g., Grammarly), but use something.  You’ll have to sift through a lot of garbage, but you just might find a gem or two.

Good luck and good grammar to all!  If you have any other tips or tricks that have worked for you, I’d love to hear them!

Shudder Blog Tour Grand Finale Recap & Giveaway! + Bonus Post

So the Shudder Blog Tour is officially over.  WOW!  That was an action-packed summer, if I say so myself.  :-)

BUT the excitement isn’t done *quite* yet…  You may have noticed some Grand Finale Recap posts like this one at Colorimetry going up at your favorite blogs over the past few days (and coming to more blogs in the next couple weeks!).  These handy posts include links to all the awesome Highlight Posts that went up the last few weeks of the tour, and in turn link back to top moments and great content from tour stops all summer long.  So in case you missed anything, definitely check out the recap post to catch up on all the goodies!

The recap post ALSO includes the Rafflecopter widget where you can enter the Grand Finale Giveaway!  The giveaway is open for almost 2 more full weeks, so make sure to rack up your entries while you still can – more info below:

Tour-Wide Giveaway:

5 Winners. August 24 – September 16, 2013

  • Signed print copy of Stitch & Shudder for you and two friends (USA only)
  • Signed (via Authorgraph) e-book copies of Stitch & Shudder for you and two friends (Int’l)
  • Signed Stitch & Shudder bookmarks + e-book copies of Stitch & Shudder (Int’l)
  • $10 Amazon Gift Card (Int’l)
  • $5 Amazon Gift Card (Int’l)

Enter the Giveaway HERE!!!

Donnie Darko GirlAnd finally, don’t miss a bonus post from Donnie Darko Girl that includes fabulous 5-star reviews of both Stitch & Shudder (and of course, another opportunity to enter the big giveaway!).  Thanks so much to Jennifer for hosting!

“Will be haunting me until I can read the final installment” – LAST DAY on the Shudder Tour – Review + Giveaway

Wow, I can’t believe it’s September already… and you know what that means.  It’s the LAST OFFICIAL DAY of the Shudder Blog Tour!  Really??  That went by fast!

The Book RogueTo celebrate a successful summer-long tour for the latest release in the Stitch Trilogy, we’re capping things off with an awesome 5-star review at The Book Rogue (plus a chance to enter the grand finale giveaway!):

There were also some shocking aspects — in the regard that I don’t find them too absurd to actually happen, like right now. Genius and insanity are utterly and truly a very fine line that tends to blurr alot. … Alessa and Isaac proofed very strong, very conflicted, yet also very open characters. They struggled through a lot, partly by themselves and partly with the other. … Nikhil, Janie and Phoenix were used as nice threads to connect the dots. And Joe, oh Joe! I can’t spoil anything about him, but I know this will be hauting me until I can read the final installment. <continue reading>

Thank you so much to Caro for helping us wrap up the tour today, and to all the amazing bloggers who’ve participated all summer long.  And especially a big thanks to the readers – there certainly would be no tour without you guys!!  Best of luck in the grand finale giveaway (it’s still open for two weeks, so keep racking up those entries!), and stay tuned as I have it on good authority that there *might* be another bonus post or two coming up in the next few days…  :-)