Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
on Nov. 19, 2010
what's interesting about the tips is that they not only apply to writers but to bloggers as well. writers need help on how to increase their sales in a competitive market.
bloggers too need tools on how to boost their site traffic.
i am not an author but i am a blogger. this guide has opened a can of fresh ideas on how to attract more readers to my blog and where to find them. in fact, right after reading the guide, i immediately implemented a couple of Mark's tips and they worked for me.
i recommend this free marketing guide to amateur and professional writers and bloggers. in fact, i recommend this to anyone who does marketing and want to see positive results - whether they be short or long-term ones.
thanks Mark for writing and sharing this with us!
A Smashwords fan,
The Other Boyfriend
on Feb. 07, 2011
what is it about love that makes one do or say stupid things that seem so illogical and outrageous to other people but make a lot of sense to the enamored? why is it that one also fails to hear the alarm when warning signals suddenly go off? are we plain stubborn or just acting out what our "flesh is heir to?"
readers may find themselves saying "oh, i've been there done that" as i have while reading the story.
Sarah Massara's debut novel The Other Boyfriend is a funny, real, feel-good book and though the author herself labels it as "chick-lit," i believe that male readers may see themselves in a character or two and learn valuable lessons about falling/being in love and about the women they love or pursue.
Mishap & Mayhem (The Legacy Trilogy)
on June 17, 2011
[E]very time a child says, "I don't believe in fairies," there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead. - James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan
it is the summer of 2045 and sixteen-year-old twins Grasiella and Tatiana are sent to Kauai, Hawaii to visit their grandmother "G". they each know of their special abilities but what they find out and who they meet during their stay on the island will make their holiday something they will never forget.
in this fast-paced book, i was treated to some mystery, magical creatures, gods and goddesses, secrets and age old battles. the book's prologue drew me instantly to the story. the last few pages were exciting as well and obviously hint at a sequel.
the lines between the world of magic and reality are non-existent. mythical beings have no trouble blending in with the human population who seems to be oblivious to what is going on. only a handful, like the twins, know that there is more out there beyond the surface of things.
despite their limited powers, knowledge and their grandmother's disappearances just when they needed her, Grasiella and Tatiana go out of their comfort zones to find answers. it does put them in danger but i like the idea of the teenage twins taking part in something heroic that could bring about the world's salvation from an alien threat.
overall, it was a fun read. author M.M. Shelley's writing debut is wholesome and imaginative. although i feel that the book would cater more to a younger audience, adults would also enjoy reading this as i have.
Special Delivery (A short story)
on July 04, 2011
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. - John Ruskin
Special Delivery is about a 39-year old woman coming to terms with the death of her husband and entertaining the possibility of welcoming someone new in her life.
this short story by Lia Fairchild is sweet and poignant with a surprise twist at the end! i loved it!
on July 15, 2011
initially, i thought something was wrong with the file i downloaded but a double and triple check confirmed that i had a good copy. i have never come across anything like this before and consider it a new reading and learning experience.
James Hutchings' thirty stories cover a range of genres and are written in less than 140 characters. my favorites are those about using rope, a stalker, a brain-eating creep, a lonely guy's web profile, a Pavlovian treatment for students and a Mama Monster. there are a few more but the ones i mentioned really grabbed my attention.
Two-Fisted Tweets is a very quick read that - pardon the pun - delivers a punch and then some. it is perfect for whiling the time away - waiting for a ride, commuting or waiting for your date to show up.
In Leah's Wake
on Aug. 16, 2011
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. - Jane Howard
Leah Tyler is not your average teen. she is a star football player and her school work is brilliant . her father Will and her mother Zoe could not have been more proud to have a daughter like her. her sister Justine looks up to her, too. everything seemed perfect for Leah until she gets involved with Todd Corbett and his crowd. suddenly, her future and that of her family did not appear so promising anymore...
have you ever gotten to read a book that you could barely put down and that stays with you long after? i have and this is one such book. in her amazing debut novel, Terri Giuliano Long invites the reader to witness the ups and downs of a middle class American family. she takes us inside each major character's point of view and we become intimate with them as we learn about their feelings, dreams, hopes, fears and secrets.
i feel for everyone in this story. whether they did something that could be considered right or wrong turned out to be irrelevant to me because each had something significant to tell. moreover, i could relate to a few of these characters. as i continued to read, i was struck by how similar dynamics among family and friends could be wherever you live or come from and that some events can really spiral out of control despite one's good intentions. as the drama and conflict played out among the Tylers, i could not help but think about my own family, my relatives and friends and the problems and issues we lived through and those that we still face as well.
i highly recommend this book to everyone who has ever been a part of a family. my wish is that after reading In Leah's Wake, we all continue to learn to be more open, honest, caring, understanding, forgiving and loving individuals.
I Loved You First
on Sep. 09, 2011
We have been friends together In sunshine and in shade. - Caroline Sheridan Norton
Alexandria Carmichael and her BFF Seth have known each other since first grade. Alex, though, has fallen in love with Seth over the years and secretly pines for him. it would have been less complicated or perhaps simpler for her to deal with her feelings if Seth were not gay but he is.
author Reena Jacobs has written a beautiful and bittersweet young adult coming-of-age story that deals with friendship, love, bigotry and self-discovery. set in a college campus, it introduces the reader to football jocks, campus queens and slices of academic and dormitory life. the characters are well fleshed out and the language is fresh and contemporary. situations and emotions echo humor and pathos which readers can relate to regardless of sexual preference, race and even religious affiliation.
Alex's unrequited love and Seth's attempts to "stay in the closet" bring drama and conflict which caught my attention from the story's beginning to its unexpected conclusion.
overall, this is a wonderful book about people falling in love and finding themselves a place in the world where they could grow, be happy and simply be free.
on Oct. 05, 2011
Love and pregnancy and riding on a camel cannot be hid. - Arabic Proverb
Pace Kelly did not expect nor want to believe that she could be pregnant again. after all, her husband Jason had a vasectomy three years ago but her recent medical record says otherwise. Jason submits to another examination and he turns up sterile. how did Pace end up pregnant then and who was the man responsible?
this novel is about a happy marriage gone sour because of an unanticipated pregnancy. it also examines further how this scenario affects relationships between couples, their children, their neighbors, friends and immediate family members.
Pace's predicament is complicated when Jason loses trust and feels betrayed despite her claims of innocence. as a counterpoint to their situation, readers will read about Pace's father who is having an affair and about her mother who carries on as if nothing has happened.
we have here two families facing their respective marriage's darkest hours and it was interesting to read how the story progressed from each family's perspective. the characters are well developed with personalities that are shaped by their social status, background and experiences.
drama and a bit of mystery added tension to the whole book and i found myself hoping for a peaceful resolution and closure for each of the protagonists. the revelations at the end, however, were totally unexpected. for me, these unforeseen disclosures were simply brilliant.
i commend author Christy Hayes for beginning her book with a conundrum that puzzled me, generating scenes and emotions that sustained my interest and giving it an ending that is worth discussing!
on Oct. 14, 2011
well written short and inspiring as well. it cheered me up somehow. thumbs up!
Don't Fear the Reaper
on Nov. 17, 2011
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality - Emily Dickinson
Keely Morisson lost more than half of herself when her twin Jordan was murdered. wallowing in grief and hoping to be reunited with her sister, Keely commits suicide. the afterlife, however, was not what she expected. with a reaper and a demon for company, she finds out what being dead really is and that the battle for souls including her own is being wagered.
author Michelle Muto's book is a haunting journey and exploration of what lies beyond the grave. it is dark and sometimes frightening to contemplate but more often than not, it is filled with nostalgia and a deep-seated longing for forgiveness, justice and peace for and from both the living and those who have passed on.
Keely is caught in a purgatory of her own doing. her suicide condemns her to witness and be part of a world of demons, angels, reapers and wandering souls. she is unable to cross over and her soul's final destination hangs on a balance.
the author's premise that love does not stop with one's final breath does not surprise me. the idea that it becomes stronger and more tenacious even in death is something i agree with. the possibility of departed loved ones continuing to watch over and love those they left behind somehow brings me relief and some closure. i find it very comforting too .
i find the book's details quite plausible. Keely's story is also a reminder for me to live for the moment and to be thankful for everything and everyone.
i have to admit as well that this was a very emotional read for me. my late parents, relatives and friends were constantly on my mind as i read about Keely and her wanderings in the afterlife. my hope is that their transition from this world to the next was smooth and joyful and very unlike Keely's own.
Christmas in NeverEarth
on Dec. 18, 2011
too short but i loved it. i wish the author would write more about Tony and Wiste's adventures - the ones referred to in the story.
Chocolate-Covered Eyes: A Sampler Of Horror
on Jan. 16, 2012
this is an excellent literary collection of stories that i relished and loved. i was amazed by the author's writing style. using a wide range of vocabulary, she still managed to make everything readable and accessible. out of the six eerie tales and one poem, my choice picks from this sampler are Heartbeat, Unleashed: Tail One, Bedeviled and Macabre.
The Awakening of Leeowyn Blake
on March 28, 2012
What we hear while we are asleep continues to resonate with us upon awakening. - Henry Reed
Leeowyn Blake was still little when her parents split up. life was pretty much normal for her and her Mom in Jacksonville, Florida until she was fourteen when her Uncle Cyle suddenly showed up. four years later, her father's family is looking forward to Leeowyn's eighteenth birthday and her awakening...
reading author Mary Parker's debut novel was a pleasant surprise. i was hooked from the book's beginning to its cliffhanger ending. the story was fast-paced and intriguing. there were so many secrets concerning Leeowyn and her relatives and some of the other characters were quite suspect as to their real motives. it was like reading a mystery with fantasy elements on it and the combination worked well for me.
i liked how Leeowyn's visions were described. whether they were real or not just made the whole story more interesting.
i also liked the coming-of-age theme in this book. Leeowyn's character gradually develops when she experiences her awakening and finds out what she must face and what her responsibilities are. she may react like a typical teenager now and then but one can see the changes in her personality as she transitions from childhood to adulthood.
overall, i find Ms. Parker's first book entertaining and delightful. i hope the second book in the Kahl'Nar Saga would be the same as well.
The Post-College Guide to Happiness
on April 26, 2012
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. - Buddha
happiness is all around and it is for everyone. it is not as elusive as some people think it to be. author Bryan Cohen believes that it is within one's reach and explains why and how through his treasure trove of data gathered from his personal experiences, his readings and research.
this book was an eye-opener for me. how i wished that it were already available when i was still in college and getting myself ready to face the world. i would probably have been better equipped but as the author asserts, it is not and never too late though and i agree with him.
i liked the way everything is structured. there are eight chapters that provide a wealth of information and tips. each ends with doable "happiness workouts." however, the first step to any undertaking and achieving something is usually the hardest. so i personally feel that a thorough understanding of the first chapter and doing the exercises until they become second nature is critical before moving on to the next one and so on.
i also liked the bibliography provided at the end of the book. among those listed, two are already in my personal library - Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
change does not happen overnight and it takes some time. success - whatever that means to you or me - can be achieved by a willingness and conscious effort on one's part.
as i look back at the past and think about my future, i have realized that achieving a general feeling of happiness is really worth it. after all, i only have one life to live and it is my desire to make the most out of it by being happy no matter what.
on May 06, 2012
"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." - Oscar Wilde
Lamont Simms is a New York City cop who does his job well and has a clean record to show for it. after days of little sleep and putting up with his partner on their beat, Lamont takes his boat and goes on vacation. little did he know that this trip would forever change his life and the way he would view the world around him.
author Michael Lorde's novel crosses multiple genres. his story, which has a combination of sci-fi, police procedural, crime, mystery and thriller elements, grabbed my attention from the first chapter to the last. at each turn of the page, i never knew what was going to happen next. it was a strange, oftentimes surreal yet exhilarating ride that sustained my interest from beginning to end.
this page-turner deals with a subject matter that has been written about and even shown on the silver screen but i have never read or seen anything like it before. the fact that the author still managed to come up with something brilliant and original is really remarkable.
although the setting is contemporary, it has a classic, vintage feel to it reminiscent of the 50s and 60s which i liked.
overall, i loved this book and its premise. even if this book can stand alone, i would not mind if there were a sequel. in fact, i welcome it.
Drasmyr (Prequel: From the Ashes of Ruin)
on May 23, 2012
“Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make.” - Bram Stoker, Dracula
in Drisdak, the city on the Sea of Sorrows, the disappearance of Guild Master Arcalian and a mysterious fire in the Mages' Guild House prompts Councilman Regecon to hire a bounty hunter, a rogue and a warrior to investigate and solve the enigma. the quest for answers brings these three men to confront an ancient, evil and powerful enemy - the vampire Lucian val Drasmyr.
author Matthew D. Ryan's novel is a refreshing take on the Dracula legend and is set in a world inhabited by humans and supernatural creatures.
i was very impressed with this dark literary fantasy. it is filled with heart-stopping scenes and a storyline that engages the reader from the first page to the last. the prose is also excellent and i never had a dull moment as the story progressed.
i highly recommend this book which i devoured in one sitting. it has enough magic, mystery and adventure combined to provide chills and thrills for lovers of fantasy and vampire stories.
on June 06, 2015
Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite classic horror-romance stories and i loved it even more when i saw the London production in San Francisco. of course, the movie adaptation was excellent as well.
having mentioned the above, i commend author Lesa Howard for doing an excellent job in shying away from and/or focusing so much on Leroux's masterpiece. the essentials were there but she made Phantom's Dance truly her own. instead of musical ingenues and divas, she turned to the world of ballet for her novel.
although it started out slow and easy, the story soon sped up with a few twists and surprises that even i did not consider.
this had been another great read that i would gladly add to my Phantom-related literature.
on Aug. 28, 2015
Murray is one of the Amerasian kids their G.I. fathers left behind when these service men were stationed in the Philippines. Murray now lives in an isolated barrio with his mother whom he calls Inang. one of his deepest desires was to own a pair of shoes that he could proudly show off to his playmates. on his twelfth birthday, Inang takes him to the city for the first time and Murray was amazed at all the wonders he saw. he was also curious about the contents of a box that his Inang held close to her side. despite his questions, his Inang refused to tell him what it was.
this short story was written in Filipino, the official language of the Philippines.
if Arch Bala's intention was to shock his readers, he succeeded in doing so. if his plan was to show a glimpse of poverty and desperation and what they could result into, he achieved his goal. "Sapatos" or shoes was not at all what i expected it to be.
the last couple of paragraphs made my eyes bulge. like Murray, i was very eager to know what the box contained and the event surrounding that disclosure shook me to the core.
this was a disturbing read to say the least but i also understand in a way how and why it could have happened. i just felt bad and sorry for Murray whose only desire was to have a comfortable pair of shoes. did he get what he wanted in the end? i was not even sure but i guess he did in a way but he would be wearing them in a different fashion...
Three Houses Down
on Sep. 14, 2015
Jeffrey Merritt lives three houses down from Marshall Cory's. they became good friends since they were paired in Reading class. during 4th grade, Jeffrey realizes he is gay and that he likes Marshall a lot. but when 5th grade comes, things fall apart for Jeffrey and bit by bit, he and Marshall drift farther apart. in middle school, things changed somehow. Jeffrey befriends Sid and loses his virginity. then things fall apart again...
this is another short fiction that i enjoyed. it is such a simple one and moves along really fast. in a few pages or paragraphs, we see Jeffrey's life flash before our eyes until he is all grown up, working in a pharmaceutical company and living now on his own. it is also in the story's last few paragraphs that we read how everything comes full circle for our main character.
i think this short little gem of a story was sweet, cute but not altogether cheesy and that Susanna Hays handled very well how to end Jeffrey's story.
on July 18, 2018
I found the first half of the book slow but things turned around from Chapter 8 onward. It felt like riding a roller coaster - slow ascent then that sudden plunge! Everything went downhill from there literally yet in a good way.
on Aug. 17, 2018
I have just finished this earlier and I'm about to start on the second book in the series.
What a page turner. If real life weren't such an intruder, I could have finished this book in one go.
I love the darkness of the setting. It felt contemporary but it still had that vintage charm about it. As to the characters - both foul and benevolent - I loved Sarain and Kit the best. Winston , at this point, is still a huge question mark for me. I'm eager to know how things pan out between him and Sarain.
With regard to the quality of the writing, it could make good use of some editing here and there but overall, it was an entertaining story that pulled me from the get go.