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.

Benefits of Sending Books Early to Awards and Contests

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Granted, sometimes books come out right before the submission deadlines for some awards programs chosen by authors, so early submissions are no longer an option. Yet with advanced planning, a book launching can always be synchronized to contests deadlines, literary magazine guidelines, and important marketing calendar dates. If it is too late for the current book in production, creating a synchronized publishing calendar, program, and plan for the next title in the works will definitely give the best chance possible for the title to make good sales, especially if it can get to the hands of awards judges early.  Following are a few benefits of submitting early:

·         An early submission gets to judges with a blank slate on what the standard curve of the contest will be.  Remember, books are graded by judges as they are read, so it makes sense to try to get a book to them before they have read a hundred submissions in the same category, in my opinion, in hopes of being judged before other strong competitor raise the bar.

·         If the contest offers a book review with it, sometimes the review gets posted on their page shortly after it is produced. This gives the author not only a view of what the judge might think about it, it also gives the author a tool to use to get followers, buyers and create anticipation with their fans. From the marketing point of view, all of this interaction brings new visitors to the author page, improving opportunity for sales.

·         By sending submissions early, the author can focus on all other aspects of the title’s launch, events and other publicity efforts.

·         Many Awards programs offer early bird discounts, which will always help the budget.

A clarification is needed on entering early. By no means should ARC’s be sent to a contest, even if sending early.  The books sent should be the final product, as they are subject to judging with the intent to score a placement. Although advanced copies are great to send to reviewers, they are not the best idea when sending to a Literary Awards. For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com. To enter the Reader Views Literary Awards Click Here.

Simple Proofreading Tips



Proofreading can make the difference between a mediocre or dismissed manuscript, and a standout book. Skimping on the proofreading can result in a series of embarrassing errors. A few simple steps and a lot of patience can make proofreading pay off in the book printing long run.

Proofreading is not simple or easy. Nor should it be done quickly. Proofreading is an integral step in producing a quality book. While authors must always take responsibility for their own work, hiring a good proofreader is essential.

Here are some tips for making the proofreading process more effective:

  • Use the right font. Leave the fancy fonts to the book layout people. There is no reason for a manuscript to be written in different fonts or font sizes. Choose only one easy-to- read font and size—Times New Roman 12 is standard. Fancier fonts tend to blur letters together or have scripts where some letters are almost beyond recognition. Fancy fonts are sure to give you typo problems simply because they are hard to read.
  • Use the magnifying glass. Not literally, unless you’re proofreading on paper, but instead of reading the manuscript at 100% view, increase it so it fills the screen—150 or 200% is advisable. Of course, you don’t want it so large you have to scroll back and forth, but the larger the print on the screen, the easier on your eyes and the more likely you’ll spot the typos.
  • Read slowly – more than once. Nothing in proofreading is more important than simply reading slowly. Yes, it can be a tad boring, but an error-free manuscript is worth it.
  • Read out loud.  You will be surprised by how you can improve tone and style simply by reading your manuscript out loud—you will catch nuances of rhythm you would not have caught earlier just by listening to yourself. I also believe your brain is forced to concentrate more closely on the page when you read out loud, which means you are more likely to catch errors.
  • Read backwards. Don’t switch to reading left to right. Instead, start at the bottom of the page and read each line or sentence forward. That way, you won’t get lulled into the rhythm of the sentences and instead will be forced to see what is on every individual line. This process is time-consuming so you probably won’t stick with it for long, but it is good because it teaches beginning proofreaders to slow down and pay attention.
  • Look at every word and every letter. Paying close attention to each word and letter is vitally important. Many authors rely too much on spell-check. Spell-check will not catch words that are correctly spelled but in the wrong place.
  • Finally, always get a second opinion. Proofread your work, then give it to someone else to proofread. Don’t expect the other person to make it perfect and then consider the job done. Look at the mistakes the other person finds and learn from them. If you find you are making a recurring mistake, such as typing “dairy” for “diary,” you’ll learn to break yourself of the habit and watch for it more closely next time you do your own proofreading.

Proofreading, just like anything, requires practice. The more time you dedicate to it, the better you will be.  For information on how Reader Views can help indie authors, visit www.readerviews.com.

Starting a Writers Group? Why?

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

It is not an overstatement when people say that the writer’s life is an isolated one, and even though most writers prefer to work alone, they will all need feedback or at least encouragement and a chance to share ideas with others at some point. Attending a writer group is an awesome way to accomplish this but sometimes finding one that will fit the author’s needs near their location is hard to do. In those cases why not create your own writers group? Creating your own writers group has many perks like providing writing tips, achieving discipline, broadening horizons, and the benefit of establishing friendships with like-minded people.

Here are some tips for starting a writers group:

·         Find compatible writers. Ask any writers you know if they want to be part of a group and tell them to invite their friends as well. Set up a time and place to meet. Figure out any details about what your meetings will look like and specify them on your call out for members. If you don’t know any other writers, find a public place where you can meet like your local book store, library, or even a Starbucks and then create fliers or put notices in the newspapers or on social media sites inviting people to join you for an organizational meeting.

·         Decide on the group’s goals. Do you want to share your writing with each other during the meeting? Do you want to spend part of the time writing? Do you just want to talk about writing and share experiences? Just make sure you get what you need from it, since you are the one starting the group.

·         Determine the level and experience you wish to include in the group.  Will they be all traditionally published novelists, self-published non-fiction writers, or starting writers? Will the group focus on fiction or non-fiction, short stories, or essays? Can your group encompass these different interests and levels, or do you feel a need to split into different groups? Could you have one main group and then some smaller subgroups that split off from it?

·         Establish a regular meeting place, date, and time. Make sure the date, day of week, and time are convenient to people. Make sure the meeting space fits your needs, either for quiet, accessibility, room for the size of your group, and comfort.

·         Decide on the membership and organization. Will someone be moderator, or will you take turns moderating the group? Will it be a closed group limited just to the current members? Will it be open to everyone and advertised as such? Will it be invitation only to people you know? What, if any, requirements, such as annual dues, will be required of members?

·         Decide on the meeting format. You might want to begin with introductions, especially if you will let people come and go. Should you have a set agenda or let it vary?

·         Create a membership contact list. Exchange names, phone numbers, and email addresses with each other so you can get in touch if you want to outside of the meeting or if you need to contact each other in case of a meeting change or cancellation. Someone might want to volunteer to maintain a group list and keep notes on each meeting.

Remember that there isn’t a specific formula or frequency for meetings. Keep it light, fun, informative, respectful and consistent to make sure everyone looks forward to the meeting. For more information on how we help writers visit us at www.readerviews.com.

Finding the Right Fit: Hiring an Editor

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte

All authors need a second pair of eyes. Hiring an editor can be one of the most important parts of your book’s journey to success. Finding a professional editor who shares your vision, maintains your voice, and will work within a reasonable timeline will make your journey to publication easier and more enjoyable.

A mistake some self-published author’s make is to try to save money by doing the editing and proofreading themselves. Hiring a professional with experience in editing and proofreading is necessary before publishing a book. Without the help of a good editor, an author risks his book being filled with typos and grammatical errors as well as plot or content issues that may confuse the reader, but which the author did not realize existed. In short, editing is not the place to try to save money. Shop around when looking for an editor.  Following are some tips in finding the right editor for your book:

·         Never hire an editor based on price alone. Some editors state a simple flat rate, such as: “I charge $2,000 to edit a book.” There needs to be a basis for that price, both to be fair to the author and to the editor. If the book turns out to be 20,000 words, the author may be overpaying. If the book turns out to be 200,000 words, the editor has probably shortchanged himself.

·         Never hire an editor without it being clear what he will do for you. Requesting an editing sample is the best way to determine if you will get what you pay for. The editing sample not only provides the author with an idea of the editor’s style, abilities, and vision for the book, but it allows the editor to calculate approximately how many hours it will take to edit the book based on the author’s writing abilities—grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, character development, and organization.

·         Level of editing needed.  Editing levels vary from something as simple as proofreading to light and heavy editing. Light editing might require some rewriting of a sentence here or there, along with proofreading for errors. Heavy editing may include rewriting passages, correcting major grammatical errors, making decisions about paragraph order, larger structural issues, and deleting unnecessary passages. Ask the editor what level of editing he feels you need; if you disagree, after reviewing the justification for it, seek a second opinion. Make sure the type of editing required for the book and the cost to you are agreed upon before the work begins. You do not want the editor to edit only half of your book, and then ask you for more money.

·         Make sure the editor respects your style. The most important aspect of choosing the editor is not the cost or the timeframe to complete the work. It is how the book sounds when you read it after it has been edited. A good editor will make the book sound like your voice while correcting your grammar and helping you to develop or delete passages as necessary. You don’t want the editor to change your tone. After all, it is your book.

You’ve spent hours writing your book, so you owe it to yourself to have it be the best book possible that readers will enjoy, remember, and recommend to others. Finding a good editor is key to achieving that success. For more information on how we help authors, visit www.readerviews.com.

Don’t Be Nervous! Tips for your First Live Interview

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Most writers I have met have had one trait similar to me: we prefer to be by ourselves within our own thoughts, rather than surrounded by people. It is not because we don’t enjoy people, on the contrary, by watching and listening to people we get inspired. It is because to us the best way to communicate is through writing. It was no surprise then that when I got my first radio booking, instead of feeling excited, I felt scared and lost.  I actually experienced some mild panic attacks when I would think about it. I could not get myself to actually come up with a Q & A to guide the host and myself because I would get ulcer-type pains in my stomach. It was horrible, and I was a mess right up to the day of my interview.  It was bad, not just because I was a mess, but because I was such a mess even though I had actually participated in interview training classes with the best publicist agency at the time. Through the years however, I did find a way to conquer my stage fright and deliver all I wanted to make sure was said in the interview. Here are some tips:

·         Take the time to prepare a note card with all the book information, events and any other important promotional messages that need to be mentioned. Make sure these are also communicated to the show host via email with a sufficient amount of time, along with the topics of conversations you can cover in the interview.

·         Be creative and come up with sound bites that you can use when talking about your book or main topic. Sound bites will resonate within the audience’s minds long after the interview is over.

·         Have some herbal tea and relax an hour before the interview to put your ideas together, especially if you are new at it. With practice you will find you don’t need this hour to get yourself in the interviewing mood, but it always helps to center yourself before starting the interview.

·         Finally, be yourself. A different personality is not needed! Being who you are and being genuine allows the audience to relate to you, and they will want to look up your website, and maybe even buy your book.

Interviews are my favorite thing nowadays; I hope they become yours too! For more information on Reader Views Podcast service visit us at: www.readerviews.com.

Book Contests, Literary Awards and New Authors

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

The best way for new authors to get credibility is to get some kind of placement for their books on literary awards and book contests. But they might find it overwhelming to pick the right one for their titles as they try to manage the type of book, budget allowance, and the parade of different contest currently available. Below are a few tips and points to consider when navigating the world of literary awards programs.

·         National:  National contests are hard, but the greater the competition, the more important the award. So if your budget allows it, don’t be intimidated, give it a try! Yet, do not disregard the smaller contests. Actually the more the merrier, as they all help to put your book out there, and the more you enter the more opportunity for placement.

·         Regional:  Local contests have greater chance for placement and some have funding so entry fees are minimal.

·         Independent:  For self-published authors, these contests are great, as being an Independent becomes a requirement and not a handicap. IPPY (Independent Publishers Association Awards), Reader Favorites, Feather Quill, and our own Reader Views Literary Awards, among many others are a great place to start for getting recognition.

Some awards are so well known by readers and the industry in general that placing in them will most likely increase book sales. However, other contests receive little attention. Some of them are free, and again other ones require a fee (sometimes a high one). Yet, placing in any of them will always provide the book credibility on a higher level than the usual book review. This fact always makes entering awards programs worth it. Entry Fees:  When there is no entry fee, you have nothing to lose in terms of budget, so by all means enter the contest! If there is an entry fee (in most cases there is to cover the cost of processing and judges time) so make sure you build the cost into your budget. The important thing is to make the most of the judges’ critiques and keep trying when not winning, and make the most of the placement when winning through publicizing the achievement.

For more information on how we help authors visit us at www.readerviews.com. To check out our Awards submission Guidelines visit http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/.


Shy Authors

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many authors want to write their books, but they don’t want to market them. However marketing efforts are needed to let readers know about the book, and even a shy author is always the best salesperson for their books. Meeting the public can be terrifying for shy authors but it doesn’t have to be as frightening as many authors think. Here are some tips to make it easier.

1.       Visualize the Event Before Going

Not knowing what to expect always heightens one’s fears. This is why visualizing before the fact can be so helpful. So many authors are nervous about their first book signing that they forget to enjoy themselves. Make sure you are prepared to go early to be sure not to add extra anxiety. Once there,  spend five or ten minutes sitting quietly and envisioning everything going smoothly from arriving early, to talking to readers and selling books.

2.       Get to know the Staff

Getting there early also gives you the opportunity to befriend the staff. This contact is extremely important. If you make a good impression, the bookstore employees or conference planners are just as likely to say good things about you to your potential readers. Being friendly with them will also make them more likely to lead customers over to where you are signing books and to recommend your books to customers in the days and weeks following the event.

3.       Get to know the Audience Individually Beforehand

If you are speaking in public, it’s a good idea to engage the audience members individually so you have friends listening to you instead of strangers. Stand by the door and shake hands or walk among the audience, introducing yourself to people and getting to know a little about them. Ask them why they came and what they would like you to talk about. Even if they are shy, they will remember you and like you.

4.       Don’t Create an Invisible Line

Some authors sabotage themselves when speaking to their public. While you may not be shy, something as simple as introducing yourself as “Mr. Richardson” or “Ms. Lovelace” is going to turn customers off more quickly than if you say you are “Fred” or “Ellen.” Readers want to be treated like friends, and formal names create a distance. Body language, looking bored, or ignoring customers by not saying hello will also build invisible lines which make customers feel you don’t really want to talk to them. So be yourself, and be and friendly!

Sometimes, our own fears get in the way. The only thing we can do is convince ourselves that what we are about to do is no big deal, in order to get us through it. By being yourself, and friendly we automatically crumble the wall we thought needed to be climbed! For more information on how we help authors, visit www.readerviews.com.