Book Reviews, two small words . . . one BIG subject!
We all write because we have to . . . keeping the feelings and descriptions within us would be detrimental to our health, and I am being serious, not “flip” or comical.
Of course, once you write, you want someone, anyone, to read your words. You want to share. You write because you care . . . about humanity, about life, about others in your chosen craft. We write because we are readers first! We are not competing–we are giving. Only life experiences have brought me to this comfortable place.
So how do you get others to read what you write? How do you get Book Reviews? This seems to be the question I hear most from authors of all genres–fiction and nonfiction.
I can’t speak for anyone else. I can only tell you what I choose to do. I review at least one book a week. Please bear with me, just a few more moments, a few more sentences so I can share . . . this time.
I’m retired, though slightly younger than retirement age–not much–and my mobility is somewhat restricted, not as bad as it once was. Yet, I’m not slowing down–I’m speeding up–busier than I’ve ever been when I worked full-time.
In retirement, all I wanted to do was write fiction–the one form of writing that eluded me during my entire working career. I wrote for others and made their words and images look nice, made them accurate, took pride in them, regardless of the subject matter. So now I thought I had time to write my own words and I have. I felt true freedom for the first time since I wrote poetry as a child, wrote songs and lyrics as a young performer, and wrote silly notes to my friends to make them laugh. But that was a long time ago.
Then, somehow, just recently I returned to my roots. My fiction writing was temporarily halted as I began ghost writing for someone else, using “his” voice–not mine–laying out the pages, making “his” words and the images I selected to enhance “his” words look nice, made them accurate, took pride in them . . . I’m not quite finished with this project, but I’m pleased with it. Upon completion, it will be camera-ready, published as an eBook by myself as a gift to my client, and ready for him to use for his own personal crusade–and it is a very noble one.
Even though my time is scarce, and my personal writing is crying out to me for attention, I still review one book a week. I hope to be able to do more in the future. After all, I’m going to be reading anyway. I still write fiction in little “snippets.” It’s progress.
There is so much to learn, so much to share, so much to give. I want to “learn” something from every book I read.
There is a massive amount of writing out there to be read. It was different when I first started writing. Fiction was hard to publish, finishing a book of any genre was a massive accomplishment, many people started books and never finished them, myself included.
I started my first novel on a $99.00 Montgomery Wards portable typewriter, then I paid someone to put it on a word processor. I rewrote it five times. Then I helped launch an eBook site in the late 1990’s, a little premature for eBooks. But, I began learning how to use my skills in editing, writing, layout, format, etc., on a computer with other people’s books. It allowed me to list my own. I introduced one novel and one anthology of short stories that no longer exist, but still live inside me.
Book Reviews . . . two small words . . . one BIG subject!
1 – “Writers are readers, and readers are writers …”
2 – “All writers are readers, but not all readers are writers—many readers ‘could be’ but prefer the mystique of the story and the beauty of words!”
3 – “Writers need readers, and readers need writers. One without the other is a blank page in a dark world.”
Mmmmm . . . In my youthful dream-state today. Who knows why? Maybe because its Sunday and the sun is shining? Maybe because I always have one foot in the dream world? No matter.
Which caption do you prefer?
None of the above
NONE—GET A JOB!
Fill in the blank: ___________________________________________
(my personal favorite vote) Depends on the audience
I don’t really care!
I feel justified by Walt Whitman’s endless revisions: “… I am a part of every person I have ever met . . . and what I assume, you assume . . . [yet] … I separate myself and I sing myself … and we are but Leaves Of Grass.” Walt’s quotes are like the wind, forever changing, so he can never be misquoted. I think he let us choose the version we identify with, so nice of him!
Whitman’s words tell me that we’re all the same, but we’re also vastly different. Even what I was ten minutes ago is not what I am now or what I will become ten minutes from now. We grow and change and evolve with every word we speak and every word we see.
Every word being perceived as perfect only in my eyes (“wordsmithing”) drives my mate crazy (just finish it, already!) but it’s what I live for (why write it, if IT isn’t perfect?). The joy of words is breath for the soul!
Most of my own fiction writing requires no graphics except the cover. Now that I am doing some ghost-writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing, I’ve found non-fiction, transformational, business books need graphics to break up the copy and hold the reader’s interest. It’s very different than telling a story where you can’t wait to see what happens to your favorite character!
Of course, Microsoft Publisher is a great program to start the process of incorporating graphics, pictures, and layout design. It’s easy to use and flexible: sizing, framing, changing color, contrast, brightness, and other effects like reflection, glow, WordArt, bevel, shadow, and much more.
I just recently found a great web site: http://www.dreamtime.com . Thousands and thousands of free stock photos or if you need something unusual you can purchase credits to buy photos at extremely low prices ($14.99 bought me enough credits for about 11 pictures).
I was writing a brief non-fiction section for a client on Mahatma Gandhi. We all know that Gandhi was a great spiritual leader, but his story of tribulation in gaining India its independence from Great Britain was one of great sacrifice that failed. No, he did achieve independence, but the plan he had for India as a united, self-sufficient country never materialized after one of his own followers murdered him. The country was taken over by leaders that did not follow Gandhi’s vision. Consequently, India has had social unrest and division among its varied groups of people for over 60 years.
You’re probably wondering why I bring this story up? The icon or symbol of the Gandhi movement was the oldest form of the spinning wheel. It represented the self-sufficiency of growing your own cotton, spinning your own threads, making your own clothes, and the crops feeding the people of the village. I was able to find many, many graphics of this item on dreamtimes and purchase what I needed for about $1.20 in credits. I will include it here as an example of the unusual, but check out dreamtimes for photos and graphics to pull your writing together, mix up the layout, and add interest to your piece!
While developing my new business card for the writer/editor/proofreader/designer hat I wear (oh hum, I know so boring, but so necessary), I had a little help from a business partner to come up with my new tag line:
Clasid Consultants Publishing: More Than Mere Words and Pictures!
What do ya’ think? Comments, suggestions, snide remarks?
My love and passion is still fiction. I just need to find the time to write it all down! Then the hard part begins: the edit, the proofreading, the cover design, the fonts, the leading, the layout, the graphics, the logo . . . on and on and on . . . but the better it looks, the better you look. Another tagline I may use at some point:
Words are your “real” first impression!
Deborah A. Bowman, author, writer, editor, ghost writer, proofreader, designer, publisher