Does your Reading List Change with the Seasons?

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

It occurred to me recently that my reading preferences tend to change with the seasons. This surprised me somewhat as I consider myself to be a well-rounded reader. Sure, there are certain genres I gravitate toward, but I am open to reading just about anything.  In fact, I try to push myself to read in genres that don’t call to me naturally. Curiously though, aside from the books I read for my job, my personal selections seem to be strictly driven by my mood, which, as it happens, changes with the seasons.

During the first few weeks of the year I am full of ambition –inspired and ready to jump in and start anew.  I usually set a ridiculous reading goal for myself, much like those often unattainable, but well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions.  I spend countless hours scouring the internet and perusing library shelves for titles to add to my reading list (probably logging enough hours with which I could have already actually READ a few books).  With the mindset at this point being that anything is possible, it is also the time when I am most willing to venture out of my comfort zone with books from the history, business and self-help genres. 

By Spring I am finished with non-fiction – sorry all you wonderful non-fiction authors, but at this point I really need a good story.  Coming of age tales, memoirs and happily ever after stories usually match my mood this season.

During the Summer I love to read mystery, romance, and historical fiction.  Reading historical fiction puts me in the mood for more history though, so I’ll typically listen to an audio book about a specific person in history (do audio books count)?

With the fall comes more mystery, specifically psychological thrillers that have a bit of romance mixed in.  Sci-fi and fantasy also works, and this is the only time of year I can venture into the horror genre.  I try to read a couple of horror titles a year but I have to read something humorous or uplifting immediately afterwards (nightmares guys – I’m a sissy)!

When winter hits I’m back to romance.  Snuggling under a blanket with a never ending supply of coffee and a great book and I’m set.  I also love books geared toward the holidays and family – ‘tis the season. With holiday shopping and the excitement and activities of the season, short stories are perfect for me since I can squeeze in some reading time without a heavy commitment.

Looking back over this list, it does seem pretty well rounded.  Did I miss anything?  I’ve considered creating a calendar and plotting out my reading for the next year.  It would be interesting to see if doing so would expand my reading horizons.  I’ll let you know how it works out.  How about you?  Does your reading list change with the seasons? Visit ReaderViews.com to learn about how we connect readers and writers.

Hooking Readers with Your Synopsis

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

When people pick up your book they want to know is what it is about. This is why books have a synopsis or description on the back cover. But if the text featured on the back cover doesn’t hook the reader’s interest right away, chances are they won’t buy the book.

After seeing your book cover or hearing your book title, the first thing readers do is pick up the book and flip it over to read the back cover, or if they are online, they will look for the product description, also called a short summary or synopsis (about a paragraph long). Some authors put only their biographies on their back covers. Depending on the book, the author’s Bio might give credibility but not only will the reader still wonder what the book is about; the author is also missing out on the best opportunity to hook readers.  Below are some tips on writing a synopsis with a hook:

1-      Make it Short. Remember, the possible buyer will not spend more than few seconds looking at the back cover, so make it sweet, short and to the point.

2-      Make it Relevant. Most people look for stories relevant to their lives, so it is important to show how the book can relate to current times on the synopsis.

3-      Make it Credible. Even sci-fi needs to sound credible to call the interest of a reader. So make sure that how you describe your story (no matter the genre), sounds credible to the reader.

4-      Make its Uniqueness Evident. What makes your story different from other books in that genre? That is the question to answer in the synopsis.

To give an example on using the above tips to create a synopsis, below is my book’s back cover/Amazon Synopsis:

“Growing up under WWII Italian survivors was not easy. For Susan, the hardest part was the feeling of alienation as she desperate tried to relate to her parents to no avail. Through the years Susan was able to relate with her mother, but her father remained an enigma until one day he gave her five tapes containing his memoirs.  Based on Nino’s first tape, Innocent War is a boy’s adventure, showing a child’s point of view through the war’s hardships, dangers, and tragedies, combined with his own humor, innocence and awakening as he grows up. Join Susan as she gets to know her father, and finds herself within the family she thought she knew.”                                                                               

1-      Make it Short: It is 114 words and states all topics within the stories.

2-      Make it Relevant: It states how I was trying to get to know my father (relevant to all who have parents)…even though it is about WWII, currently we are in war against terrorists.

3-      Make it Credible: I state that the story comes from first-hand accounts and there are tapes to back it up…

4-      Make its Uniqueness Evident:  WWII under the Italian point of View, A child’s experience.

In the end, the best sales person for a book is the author…and the best sales tool is the book itself! For more information on how Reader Views can help Authors visit www.readerviews.com.

Early Bird Registration Discount for Literary Awards ends October 31, 2017

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

We have been receiving so many great books for the 2017 Literary Awards program that I didn’t realize until now how close we are to the early registration deadline. Where did the time go! The Literary Awards is actually my favorite thing because every time I open an awards package I go back in time to when I was sending my own book to different awards programs.

I remember how I felt as I double-checked the entry form and the number of books, making sure everything was included, and then sealed the package sending in all of my hopes with my submission. It feels weird to me to think about it now, as I remember not knowing anything about literary contests or how they work. I remember wondering who would be judging my book and hoping that they would love it as much as I did. And now I find myself receiving so many authors’ hopes along with their books…

So, I decided to explain how the Literary Awards program works here at Reader Views.

  1. We receive the package, and process the submission. 
  2. The title then goes to the first line judging where the book gets read and a review is written.
  3. Once the book has been reviewed a set of scores is generated and entered into the awards database.
  4. This process goes continues until the final deadline and all the books are read and reviewed.
  5. Then the title goes into the second line judging where the finalists are selected by evaluating and tabulating the scores by a second group of judges per category.
  6. Once the finalists have been selected the final judging takes place by another panel of judges who will judge the books on each category, based on the physical book, the review and scores, upon which a final score is determine and placement awarded.

All books are treated with respect and enthusiasm as all our judges are avid book lovers, whether authors, or readers, or experts in a specific category.

The final deadline for entry is December 31, 2017.  We receive a LOT of books in December and, as you can imagine this process takes time. If you are planning to enter your book, this would be the perfect time to do so.  Not only do you avoid the mad rush at the end of the year, assuring your book is read and reviewed sooner, but it’s the final week to take advantage of the discounted entry fee.

For more information on how Reader Views helps authors visit www.readerviews.com, and check out our Literary Awards Early Bird Discount at www.readerviews.com/literaryawards.

What do Judges Look for When Scoring a Literary Awards Title?

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

It’s October already!  The holidays are upon us and for our reviewers at Reader Views that also means lots and lots of reading as the 2017-2018 Reader Views Literary Awards program is open for submissions and in full swing.  Just a couple things to note that are new for this year:

·         We’ve extended the entry deadline to December 31st to accommodate all 2017 copyright books

·         Our early bird registration discount is extended to October 31st.  

So what do judges look for when scoring a literary awards title? Reading with my judge’s hat on is different than reading for leisure. I need to be able to evaluate the work through several different and specific aspects of the book, and thus must be on the lookout for, and pay attention to those details. Following are the guidelines I use when judging a literary awards title:

·         Content.  Content of course, is critical.  Does the author’s voice convey a distinct and consistent style throughout?  Does the flow of the book draw the reader in at an appropriate pace?  Does the reader have a clear understanding of who the characters are in the story? 

·         Presentation and Design.  I’ve said this before; there is nothing more distracting to a great story than editing and proofreading errors.  This is the easiest thing to fix or prevent in the first place.  I can tell within the first few pages whether or not a professional editor has been used.  An occasional typo won’t make or break the book, but consistent use of poor grammar will cause me to close the book for good.

·         Production Quality.   Is the cover attractive and appropriate for the genre and the story?  Yes, I know the cliché, but a dull and drab cover, or a noisy cover with hidden titles and too much information can be a turn off.  Does the binding fall apart when opening the book?  Is the paper quality adequate or just so-so?  I have a hard time concentrating on a story when the book I’m reading is falling apart or the pages are tearing because the paper is so thin. 

·         Innovation. It’s no surprise there is a lot of competition out there in the writing world, now so more than ever.   To stand out in any genre, innovation is the key.  Is the subject matter original?  Does the author bring a fresh voice to the genre?   Are writing elements being used in interesting and creative ways?

·          Social Relevance and Enjoyment.  For fiction books: Is the book impactful on the community of the genre?  Is it reflective of important social issues? Is it highly entertaining and completely engrossing?  Would I re-read this book?  Was I left wanting more? 

·         Resourcefulness.   For self-help, business, how-to, etc. type of books: Is the book easy to follow, clear and concise? Are credible sources noted? Does the author have credibility in the subject matter?

When I read a book, whether for pure enjoyment, to learn a new skill, expand my knowledge, or for a literary contest, I want to feel a connection to that book.  Be it fiction or non-fiction, humorous or biographical, when I’ve finished a book and it lingers in my mind for days – that is the sign of greatness. Happy holidays everyone and happy reading!

Judging a Book by Its Title

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I can’t count the number of times I was misled by a title. A book title can make or break the book’s sales and popularity. The title is the book. It must be a summary of the book–an encapsulation of all its content in a few words, so creating a great title cannot only make or break sales, it can also make or break book reviews!

No matter how good a book is, if the title does not appeal to readers, they are never going to read your book. And if the title does not relate to the story and becomes misleading, readers giving reviews might not be the right audience, and thus will not recommend to other readers. Here are a few tips for creating a book title that will capture reader’s interest, clearly convey the book’s subject matter, and be memorable.
 

  • Short and To-The-Point. The title needs to be short and to the point so it immediately conveys your book’s subject. Titles should be no more than five words, and one or two is preferable.
  • Alliteration and Rhythm. You want your title to roll off the reader’s tongue, so it is not only easy to say but a pleasure to repeat. Some of the best titles have alliteration in them, a repeating sound that gives the title emphasis and flow. Repetition of a word also works well to give the title a rhythmic sound. Here are a few effective titles that use alliteration:

He Knew He Was Right (repetition and alliteration)
The Way We Live Now (alliteration)

The idea is to create the effect of a sound bite to make it easy to remember.

  • Avoid Words with Double Meanings or Pronunciations. Ask yourself if your title has any words that could be misread before you settle on them.
  • Be Original. Be sure to do an online search for your title to see whether anything comes up. If you find other books with your title, pick a different title. The last thing you want is to be thought as just another author writing about the same thing. Make sure that your uniqueness is reflected in your title so that your book stands out.
     
  • Make sure it can also be the website’s domain. When making sure your title is original, also check to see whether your book title is being used for a website. These days is not only important to stand out on the book cover…you should also be consistent on your website. Make sure your title can also be the book’s domain. Search the title as a domain and create it so that the title leads readers directly to your website so you can sell them your book.
  • Subtitles. If you feel your title needs more explanation, a subtitle is a good idea, provided it’s not there just for show. But don’t let that stop you from having fun. Yet, make sure it complements the title instead of repeating it. Also make it as short as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to give your title a great deal of thought. Make it clear and memorable and your book will be too. For more information on how we can help Authors please visit www.readerviews.com.

Podcast Internet Radio Shows

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

The internet has evolved beyond from being a place to read to being a place to see and listen to information. Radio has moved to the internet, and anyone can set up his or her own internet radio show. Authors can find plenty of internet radio shows where they can be guests, and they might even want to host their own shows to provide added exposure to their own books and to discuss topics they care about that tie into their book’s subject.

So what is a podcast? Basically, it is a live or pre-recorded show broadcast or uploaded on the Internet so people can listen to it. It is simply a recording stored online. The advantage of podcasts is that listeners do not have to tune in when the show airs but can visit the website later to play the recording. Options exist today for both live radio shows and for recording shows and placing them online so people can listen to them at their convenience.

Technology and technical skills aside, the key to creating an effective podcast to get people to listen is not really different than creating an effective talk radio or TV show. Some are funded by the audience; others are sponsored by third parties and even by the same Author through podcast service fees. All of them have an audience and are capable to spread your name and title out there. Here are some tips on requesting and getting booked:

  • Take the time to check the platform for the show and what type of audience will it draw. The purpose for the show is to fill a need within an audience—so make sure your topic of expertise or the topic of your book is a good fit before submitting.
  • If this is your first interview, do not be afraid to tell the host or the producer of the podcast. Ask as many questions you need about the process and provide the host with sample questions. There is no guarantee they will all be asked but it will for sure set a guideline for topics of conversation, which in turn give you an idea of what to expect.
  • Have as many rehearsals as needed by creating mock interviews with a friend or relative. Pay attention to how you answer the questions and make sure you manage to include the title of your books, and your website more than once; and even come up with a sound-bite to help the audience remember them.
  • The day of the interview, just relax, be yourself and enjoy the trip!
  • Finally, spread the word once the interview is up! Don’t be shy when it comes to letting everyone know about your interview! Post the link in your website and spread through social media.

For more information on how we can help authors please visit us at www.readerviews.com.

Early Bird Awards Fees and Other Ways to Save on Submissions – Don’t Miss Out!

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Literary Awards are the best credibility tool for Indie writers. Yet submitting to as many as possible in hopes to get a placement on one of them can get pricey. Here are some tips on how to budget when submitting your title to many contests.

·         Search for small and local Literary Awards that have low or no entry fees. Yes it would be awesome if your title could win a National Award…but that doesn’t mean that a placement on a small one is not a good thing. On the contrary, as they might have less competitors, chances for placement become more possible. Plus, many are budget friendly.

·         Submit in eBook form when possible. Some Awards will allow eBook submissions for printed titles, so read the guidelines carefully and take advantage of anything that might save money. Savings don’t come only through submission fees!

·         Finally, the most evident savings tip is to take advantage of early bird discounts! To make the judging less hectic, many Awards will offer an Early Bird discount to authors. Not waiting ‘till the deadline can save the author a big chunk from their budget!

For more information on how we help Authors visit www.readerviews.com; and check out our Literary Awards Early Bird Discount at www.readerviews.com/literaryawards.

Fall is Coming!

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

The National Month of Books, October, could not be in a better month! Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Holidays are just next door. This is why Fall is my favorite season…the time a miracle happens as the fall colors paint the scenery, night falls earlier than before, and mystery tangles with joy. It is hard to decide what read in this type of environment as our mood changes with each occasion. So we better stock up on a little of everything, whether for ourselves or to give to a love one! Remember that fall is coming and with it an almost infinite array of stories to enjoy and share by the fire…

Below are few tips on making the most of a good read!

·         Check out the New Releases to make sure you keep yourself updated.

·         Don’t limit yourself to your favorite genre, live a little and take a chance on something different.

·         Don’t forget to re-visit a Classic! There are awesome books from previous years that we never got to worth reading!

·         Make reading a daily ritual, something you look forward to after the busy day.

·         Stock up on books and your favorite hot tea flavors!

·         Enjoy!

. For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com.