Can You Feel the Love? Romance! Romance! Romance!

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte

While I love all the traditions and festivities surrounding the winter holidays, by year-end I am ready to move forward!  I particularly look forward to February, because it is then, and typically earlier, we have spring-like weather here in Austin, Texas. February marks the beginning of so many different things for me. I get to reassess all the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions I’ve made (and broken already) and adjust my mental focus toward more attainable goals.  Warmer weather means spring planting time and the anxious wait to plant my new flower and vegetable gardens is nearly over!

But probably most exciting for me is that February means Valentine’s Day is coming!  And that means time to read – ROMANCE! I am a romance junkie, I can’t help it – and don’t roll your eyes at me! What’s not to love about romance novels?  In spite of continuously being one of the hottest genres around, romance often gets a bad rap and I’ve never understood that sentiment. Here are a few reasons why I love the genre and why you should give romance a try:

·         Romance novels inspire hope. I love the positive messages and affirmations I get from reading about a protagonist that overcomes many hurdles to achieve happily ever after.

·         Romance novels often incorporate multiple genres into the storyline.  I feel like you definitely get more for your money with romance novels as most of the time other genres are entwined in the plot.  The romantic element of the story often revolves around some sort of intrigue such as solving a mystery, or happens during an event in history, or is part of the excitement of a time travel drama. Romance belongs in all genres!

·         A great way to unwind. Have you ever read a romance novel with a sad ending?  I don’t think so!  And what better way to unwind than with a story that is going to uplift you and make you feel good? 

·         Strong female leads! I recently finished reading several non-conventional romance stories with strong female leads.  One featured a Japanese geisha who was forced to work as an assassin for an evil crime lord.  Another was an intriguing time-travel tale about an ER physician and her escapades with the most infamous rogue of the eighteenth century, Giacomo Casanova.  Yet another starred an NSA agent who was confident and sexy, down to earth and playful, but also mean, and sometimes nasty – one thing was certain – she called the shots. In fact, these ladies are anything but the stereotypical damsels in distress!

There are many great reasons to read romance and I suggest you just go ahead and indulge in a great romance novel soon. Because – it just feels good. To learn more about how we help authors visit

Planning your Writing Year for Real

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

So, now that we all are done with the New Year’s Resolution phase, let’s get back to real life. The fact of the matter is that if we do not plan, schedule and make it happen, we will never find the time to write. If you are like me, you have already sat down with your new planner and scheduled writing time every day, weekly, or any amount of time you think you can manage out of your work and home commitments. But, just because you penciled it in doesn’t mean it is sustainable. Here are some tips on drafting a realistic writing plan for the year:

·         Consider your first plan to be a first draft and not a set-in-stone schedule. We all are euphoric, optimistic, and filled with good intentions at the beginning of the year, so most of our planning reflects what we would like to do, and not what we can do.

·          Once you add up in your planner the working hours, and personal commitments, revaluate your writing schedule with a realistic eye. Avoid substituting writing hours with other appointments and commitments. Truly look at your planner and schedule to find the best time to pencil in some writing time. Five minutes a day or week consistently is better than 5 hours that never happens.

·         Once you’ve allocated the writing time, make sure you use it, even if you are going through the abominable writing block, take the time to read, work on another writing exercise, writing project or just write in your journal. Any type of writing and reading will help you get out of your dry spell.

Plans are awesome to keep us moving forward, but only if we stick to them, so to make sure it happens we have to be realistic. The best plans will consider our own weakness, level of commitment and time available, and will adapt to our life changes as we move through the year! For more information on how we can help authors visit

Reading Resolutions and How to Read More Books

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte

It’s almost time everyone – for new beginnings, a fresh start, a clean slate – whatever you want to call it, the weeks leading up to the new year represents for many a time of renewal and reflection of personal and professional goals.  As an avid reader and book reviewer I like to set reading goals for myself each year, with the intention of reading more titles than the last.  Here are a few ways I use to read more books:

Reading Challenges – Reading challenges help considerably with reading goals due to the accountability factor. I’ve participated in the Goodreads challenge for the last few years to publicly declare my intentions and put myself “out there.” While this challenge is a good motivator, it’s not a perfect system as not every book is listed on Goodreads, (and somehow I feel cheated when I don’t get “credit” for reading a book). There are several challenges available to join, so it’s easy to find the one that best suits your purpose.

Libraries – Libraries are awesome!  I just renewed my membership recently and wondered how I survived so long without one.  What a great resource to use to add to your reading list. Today’s libraries have everything you could possibly want to read, plus it’s more fun to chill at the library when you need a break or change of scenery from your local coffee shop. 

Redirect Some Internet Time to Reading – What?  Am I the only one who spends too much time on social media?  It’s so easy to overspend your time this way – part of it I can justify for work, but often I find myself yearning for the hours lost.  This is a work in progress.  I just started to set limits for myself by scheduling a time when the laptop gets turned off and I spend more time reading.  We’ll see how it works.

Read Multiple Titles – Some might disagree with this practice, but I’ll often have a few books going at the same time. The trick here is to read in different genres. For me, it’s easy to read a self-help book and a fiction novel  together, dividing up my time between the two.

Go to Bed Earlier – This may seem like a no-brainer, but if I wait until exhaustion sets in I’ll usually only get a few minutes of reading in before I find myself nodding off, re-reading the same paragraph multiple times, and/or not remembering what I just read.  By going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier, I’m guaranteed some additional reading time.

How do you sneak in some extra reading time and what are your reading goals for the upcoming New Year?

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The Literary Awards Entry Deadline is Approaching Fast!

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I can’t believe a year has gone by from the last deadline already. Here at Reader Views the excitement has taken over as all our reviewers and judges are busy reading away and scoring titles! Many awesome books have come our way and as we get buried by the December entries, we will welcome the Holidays to enjoy them as well! It is not too late to enter your title so hurry up and make sure you meet the postmark deadline of December 31, 2017! Below are some tips on submitting to any literary awards programs:

·         Read the Guidelines! All awards programs post submission guidelines on their websites and/or submission forms. These guidelines and rules are there for a reason. No program will make exceptions and the result of most of them is disqualification – sometimes without even a notice. So make sure you understand guidelines and follow them. After all, if you don’t compete, you went through the trouble for nothing!

·         Send the final version of your book! This is just common sense, however due to time limitations or budget constraints – I have seen authors submit galleys or Advance uncorrected copies. This is a big mistake. Judges will penalize you for it even if they liked your story! This is really bad if the contest also provides and posts a review, so it is best not to submit if you can’t send in the final product.

·         Listen to your Audience! If your book reviews are not good; or they are good but mention editing issues, it might just be a good idea not to send it to a contest. It would be best to publish a revised edition and send that one instead. Or cut your losses and do a better job with the next one. Chances are that if your audience found many flaws in your book, or didn’t find the book interesting; the judges will find those issues as well. So let your audience guide you when considering investing time and money in awards programs.

It is never too late to become an award winning author. It doesn’t need to happen with your first publication, so don’t push it – strategize instead. This will allow you to submit with a better chance to win! For more information on how we help authors, visit

Things to Consider When Deciding What to Write

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many writers write about topics that are relevant to their lives, others write only within a specific genre; but all writers who are published want their work to be read. So what should writers who wish to make a living writing and publishing their books write about? Should they write what is relevant to them or produce a story based on what is trendy? I think they should do both. 

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not big publishers create trends. I mean how many more vampires, werewolves and witches can we handle on books, cinema and TV? But big publishers are not the only ones to create trends. The media creates trends by just broadcasting the news. I am not suggesting that we forget the story we want to share, what I am suggesting is to deliver the story in a way that is relevant to current times and trends. Here are some tips.

•    First determine what is the heart of the story? For example: Suppose you wish to write about the coming of age of an Italian boy during WWII in Italy. Is the heart of the story the coming of age of a boy during the war, or is it about an Italian boy during WWII? By determining the heart of the story the author will be able to be more creative in how to develop the plot and setting to make it more current and thus relevant to current times.

•    Decide how to deliver the story, and don’t look back. Taking the example above, the author can make the story current in two ways. If the heart the story for the author is just coming of age during a war, then the story could about an Afghan boy during the War on Terror. If the heart of the story is an Italian boy during WWII, then the plot can be developed to be a recounting of a survivor sharing the story in current times.

•    How open are we to change our original idea? Can the boy be a girl? A vampire? A witch?  You get the gist.

There is nothing wrong in writing what we want. In all honesty that is what I do and it is what we should do. However, if your goal is sales and not just doing what you love, writing what you want might not get you there. After all, what we want to write might not be what people want to read today.  

For more information on how we can help authors visit

How to Price your Book to Make the Most of your Title

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Finding an appropriate price for your book requires a lot of thought—the price should be high enough to make a profit, but low enough for readers to want to buy it. With a little research on what buyers think a book is worth, authors can find a price that will work for them and be the right amount for their readers to spend. Below are some tips on pricing your book:

·         Understand the mechanics of return on time and effort put into a Title. It is imperative that authors understand that a book will not provide a return on the years spent researching and writing. The author can consider the publishing production costs of the book and price high enough to make a profit on top of that, but the return for the overall cost has to come from quantity sold. This is why having the right marketing and PR strategy in place and ready is so important.

·         Remember to take into consideration the book’s genre when pricing. The genre will determine what the reader is willing to pay. For example, if the book offers new or specific information which is not found easily in other books they will consider that book more valuable than a mystery or fantasy novel, as they are currently flooding the market.

·         Product quality is also a pricing factor. A hard cover will always be more valuable than a paperback, but that is not the only quality factor. The type of paper, the book design, etc. can also determine quality level.

·         Take time to research prices. The best way to establish what book price readers might consider your book to be worth is to check what they are already paying for other books similar to yours.

In the end when trying to make a return, what matters is what readers are willing to pay for your book, not what the author thinks their product is worth.  For more information on how we can help authors visit

Book Reviews and Literary Awards: Are They Relevant to Fiction Sales?

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

We all know that many readers check the reviews before deciding on a book, so no wonder that most authors rush out to get book review requests even before the launch of their new title. We also know, as it is evident, that non-fiction books such as Self Help, Health, and Spirituality have the author’s credibility and certification as their foundation and thus winning awards plays an important part of credentials confirmation as well as credibility to the title. When it comes to fiction however, all bets are off, as praise for creative work is such a subjective matter. So are reviews and awards really relevant to sales when it comes to fiction? In my opinion, yes!

·         We all are very particular about what we like, but at the same time we always ask others about their experiences and opinions when it comes to food, hotels, movies, books, and anything or place that enriches our lives. When it comes to subjectivity, just who likes or dislike an item or place will give or take credibility. This is why designers give fashion to celebrities to wear, advertisers hire celebrities to feature products, and authors hope for good reviews and endorsements. This is also why The Oscar is so important in the film industry, as is the Emmy in the music Industry and the Pulitzer in the literary world. Within this context I believe that reviews and awards can and will influence some buyers to purchase or not purchase a book. But I must be honest; I also believe that it is not the decisive factor. It does take the buyer’s opinion of the product that is in front of them when they are considering purchasing a book.

·         With the Indie’s boom, the pool of fiction books to choose from is limitless and all new books need to stick out in the crowd more than ever in order to make some sales. Famous authors and celebrities stick out just by their name alone due to their fan based platform. Authors published through the big publishers stick out with their publisher’s platform and distribution system, but Indie authors have their work cut out for them. This is where reviews and awards can help. More and more readers are venturing into the Indie pool as it offers variety, which is the one thing the traditional system is not offering to the market. So, having reviews and awards seals to back up the title can make the difference when it is being considered by a reader.

·         Finally, reviews and awards are truly the one feedback from the audience that can note to the author what their target market thinks about the title. If the feedback is showing a problem with the product’s quality, the author could fix it and publish a revised copy, or simply improve the production on their next title. If the feedback reveals that the title is being targeted to the wrong market, then that feedback can help to point the marketing strategy to the right niche. There is really no negative feedback if it is utilized to make and increase sales.

For more information on how Reader Views can help visit For information on our Literary Awards Program click here.


Promoting Your Book - Is There a Perfect Formula?

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Most indie authors realize that promoting a book is the real hard work in the writing profession. Most of us have already spent an infinite amount of time online and at speaking events, book signings, and conferences, and many other things, to promote our books and ourselves. For some people, these efforts translate into book sales, but for others, it does not. Why is that? What do some authors do that helps sell books? What are we missing when our promoting efforts don’t produce the expected results? Is there such thing as the perfect formula? In all the years I’ve been doing this, I came up with “No” as the definitive answer to this last question. I have come to realize that promoting should not be designed with a cookie cutter. Yes, we must use online tools in combination with real world events and opportunities, but how we combine them is not a “one-size-fits- all” thing.

Below are some tips on how to design a promotion campaign customized to each title:

·         The most important thing is to begin promoting early. That is, about 6 months before the book is out. While the book is still in production, the author should already be planning what strategy best fits the book, and begin putting it in motion.

·         Get help. Even when the author plans to do their own campaign, some guidance is necessary to navigate the different angles, tools, and best timing for the launch of the campaign. So collaborating with a publicist, even if just for consulting, always makes good sense.

·         Make a decision and be persistent! Promoting is not a one-time thing. It must be a consistent effort for as long as the book is for sale.

·         Be proactive. In the end, no one is more interested in selling the book than the author. Not bookstores, not publishers, not publicists! So the author should always be the consistent nagger and pushing promoter. Be proud of your product and keep up with it!

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