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How to get Free Books!

This has been a big month for me!

My first novel made it into the finals of a contest (Yaay!), I found out my novel formatting is incorrect ( Noo!), and I found another way to get free books.

I have been enjoying the world of book blogging for about five months.  I have deeply educated myself on how much I don’t know about the literary world.  I am slowly catching on. A few new bloggers reached out to me this week and asked how I got started, so I want to share the four main things I have learned.

    1-   Ask for a book before you buy it.

I always request review copies from the authors or publishers of books I am interested in adding to my website. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  I figure it’s better to ask and receive a no than to never know. Right?  Requests usually work out in my favor. Authors  want to get their book in the hands of people who are going to rave about it.  Are you a book lover? Are you passionate about the genre they are writing? Then you are who they are looking for! It’s a win-win!

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   2- Sign up for your favorite Authors’ newsletters.

Newsletters do more than provide news on release dates and book signings ( although as a book reviewer you should be paying attention to these things). Authors often use them to reach out to their fan base and let them know about contests, book giveaways, and their need for book reviewers.  Newsletters are what really got me started. It was so simple, and it got me connected.

    3- Join a review website

A while ago a favorite author of mine sent out a request for book reviewers ( Oh look, # 2 in action!) .  I was all over that like white on a polar bear that’s never left the north pole. She sent me a link to a little website called Xpresso Tours

And my world was forever changed.

Did you know there are websites for book reviewers that GIVE AWAY free books?!?

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I  also joined Net Galley, and I am sure there are many more websites and avenues I have yet to discover.  So far I have received four books,  and I definitely have things to say about them. all good things

 

 

One little tip- don’t  over request if you join these websites.  You are expected to fully review each book you receive. If you don’t your feedback rating will go down and publishers will stop giving you review copies.

4.- Use twitter!

All of the above actions can be done using tweets. Twitter is a great way to instantly connect with your favorite authors. It is also an easy way to be added to their newsletters. Once you start following a few people in the book business, they will follow  you.  I started  using twitter to connect with authors, readers, and publishers a few months ago, and my network has increased by 300.  If I really put some effort into connections ( it’s on my to do list, I swear!) I could see that number tripling in a month. While we are talking about this, follow me on twitter guys! right here! Follow me! @_AnchoredGypsy

One more thing before  I sign off. It’s the most important part of this post, so listen up!

   Don’t expect every book to be free.

If an author doesn’t need any more reviews I am happy to pay for their book. Remember, this is their livelihood, and it is important to support the people who create these worlds we love much. I Love books. They are worth my money.

Now I have a question for my fellow book bloggers who are much more seasoned than I am.

What other resources are available for the word gobblers out there? Enlighten me, please!

 

 

A Gift of Poison – Four stars!

A Gift of PoisonA Gift of Poison, what a name! And like its intention grabbing name the book started off with a flourishing scene involving gambling, a good chase, and knives being thrown at our heroine.

This book certainly has a hook.

The story centers around a young girl named Briand, who’s sharp, beautiful under all her gruff antics, and gloriously flawed. She doesn’t lack in spirit but she does lack in discretion, and it tends to get her into trouble. The fact that the man who is charge of her wishes she didn’t exist doesn’t help her situation.

The book started off well. Briand is shunned by her Uncle to the “wildlands” which seems to be an eventual death sentence. Her cousin, Bran, and the Steward of the castle, Kael, want to save her from the harsh punishment, so they attempt to whisk her away somewhere safe. In the process it is revealed she is the “Dragonsayer”, meaning she can control animals – even dragons.

Sounds cool, right?

In many ways it is. Kate Avery Ellison is an amazingly descriptive author with a vivid imagination and this book is full of poetic world building. Some people don’t like that, but I do. And there are moments of really great story telling, such as the snake scene (when you read it you will understand) and the moment in the mountains with the lake (JUST READ IT!). It has loss, different cultures, and a great twist ending. This book is appropriate for young teens and still interesting for adults, which is a rare thing.

It’s just missing something.

I think what’s missing is more connections. More connections between the characters, and there are a few holes in the story. This is the first book of a series, so I suspect many of those holes were placed with purpose and will be explained in the future. That’s understandable. But this book’s description is “Intrigue. Romance. Dragons.” Those last two words are a bit understated in the storyline.

There are dragons, just not as many as you might like to see. That is fine with me, the first book of a series often offers only peeks of what’s to come. Be warned that if you are choosing this book because of the dragon aspect you might be disappointed.

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There are many great reasons to read this book, but if dragons are all you want go somewhere else, or wait until the next book in this series is released so you can jump right in.

As far as romance goes, this book is lacking in it.

Romance is starting to show by the end, but it hasn’t fully bloomed. I have a problem with that. I am a sucker for a good “angsty” duo or a spit fire boy and girl who love to hate one another. This book almost has it, but not quite. I think a little more would have driven the plot along, especially because the two characters in question are so much more multi-dimensional when they are together. They make one another better, not just as people but as characters in a story. I am hoping the next book will break past the “I almost like you” barrier. When Briand and her love interest cross over that line it is going to be quite a show!

Finally, the ending is abrupt. Way to abrupt. I wouldn’t call it rushed. The plot points that needed to be tied up in this book are taken care of and foundation for the next installment is laid. The book just sort of …Ends. Where it ends doesn’t really make any sense to me, so I felt sort of lost.

Overall, I’d say this book is good. Not great, but good. It wouldn’t be the first book by Ellison I would recommend, but I will be anxiously waiting for the next installment to be released, mostly because of the ending.

Wait.
I think she did that on purpose!
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3.75 stars, and I’m rounding up on all the sites that don’t allow decimals…which is all of them.
Thanks for the book Kate Avery Ellison! It was an enjoyable read.

So I wrote a book … now what?

No, I’m really asking, now what?

A few weeks ago, I finally wrote the last sentence of the novel I have been writing for the past two years.

Two. Years.

As soon as I finished, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.

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I was joyful. Ecstatic. I had finally accomplished something that I had dreamed about doing as a little girl, and I was proud of it. So proud! I mean who cares if nothing ever came of it, I WROTE A BOOK!!!!!!! If no one else liked it at least I did, and I was okay with that. So what if I poured two years of precious time and effort into this thing? I didn’t need anyone’s approval, I was a strong independent woman who has accomplished a DREAM!!!!!!!!!!

I WAS A CHAMPION!!!!!! Right? … Right?

Well, yea, I was technically right. But here’s the thing about books. There not worth much if no one reads them. So, how was I going to get people to read it? and enjoy it? As I stared at the 107,000 words I had written ( I know, it’s long) I couldn’t help but think, Now what?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I entered a contest.

I wasn’t under any delusions that I would magically win and suddenly become a best selling Author.  I entered because they promised feedback, and feedback is invaluable. Creating my entry also forced me to look at the first two chapters of my book with a critical eye. It forced me to edit. It forced me to cut. All in all, it made my story better.

So, that was a good start! I took a first step!  I am going somewhere!

And after that first step, I arrived at the same question .

Now what?

So, I’m entering more contests and trying to gather some draft readers. Truthfully I’m just stumbling around, sort of lost. I am taking some time to read other people’s work, because I think a good writer has to be an avid reader . My inbox is jam packed with books, just waiting for me to review them! I can’t wait!  But I am worried this new experience is going to change my ability to critically review.  Will I still be honest about flaws? Will I be too connected to the author’s feelings, and suddenly be too biased?

Great job!!!!...Sort of.
Great job!!!!…Sort of.

Am I going to say “good work” to everything, just because I truly understand the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these pages? I open the first book on my list nervously. It’s written by a favorite author of mine, Kate Avery Ellison (review coming soon!) and I dive into the story.

Thank the book gods, I think I’ll be okay!

I have always enjoyed looking past a book’s surface and focusing on the details. Pacing, world building, and all the technicalities have always held a little magic for me. Suddenly I notice these intricacies more. I can read between the lines so much clearer now.

I am excited to post my next book review. I think it will be one of my better ones.

As far as my own book goes, I’m still stuck on island “next step is unknown”.

Anyone out there have any suggestions? A map? A guide? Anything? If so, please, send me a message in a bottle.  I could use some book direction.