Friday, July 20, 2012

About Book Reviews


As a writer, I am always interested in feedback on my work. Naturally, I want to hear glorious reaves about my prose but a well-made point about a character flaw or plot inconsistency is really appreciated, too –as long as it’s done tastefully!

Reviews can let a writer, like me, know what readers do and don’t like about their work. It can spur us on with a current writing project or make us change direction. The problem is we don’t get very many.

Think about all the products you buy in a week, a month, a year even. How often do you run to your computer and sit down to write a glowing review of the new dish soap you tried, the handy new kitchen tool you bought or the last boo you read? As a rule, the average person doesn’t have time to write reviews on everything he buys. If he did, he’s have no time to wash the dishes, putter in the kitchen or read that book.

Conversely, when we go to buy something these days, we very often turn to websites seeking review information on the item we want to buy. This seems prudent when reviewing new cars or refrigerators, doesn’t it? More and more though, we as consumers look for reviews on movies, CD’s and books before we plunk down our hard earned cash. In some parts of the country anew paperback book costs as much as some people make in wages for an hour, so why wouldn’t they be judicious about how they spend their money?

It’s true that there are thousands of book-reviewing websites in cyberspace where an author can try to have his book reviewed. The trouble is many of those sites come with strings attached. Some charge for reviews. Many are dedicated to one genre or another. Some only work with established authors. Some require that you already have reviews on book at other sites before they will even discuss doing a review on their site. And even if they do feature a book, what guarantee does the author have that his audience will see it? Virtually none because the competition is so steep.



So what is an author to do?

Places like Amazon and GoodReads allow readers to have profiles (you can supply just basic information to set one up) where they can leave reviews for books they’ve read. You can rate books on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and leave comments on Amazon while GoodReads allows you to leave comments and tell your friends about the books you’ve read.

The process takes only a few moments to set up and leaving a review can be as easy as just clicking the number of stars you think a book is worth or leaving a detailed review. It’s really up to you, the reader. I can tell you that we authors read every one – at least this one does. It is your way to communicate with the writer as well as the rest of the book-buying public.

Next time you read a book you absolutely love – or hate – will you leave a review?

Monday, July 16, 2012

E-Readers – Are They the Wave of the Future?



A recent discussion on this topic got me thinking about the advances in technology that have occurred in my life time. I was born in the early 60s – a child during the Civil Rights Movements, the Viet Nam War and the age of hippies and free love. So many things have changed in the world since that time that we now embrace.

I remember listening to the top 40 on my AM Transistor radio. I got to listen to it with an earphone, with a little white cord that plugged into the radio and then snuggled up inside my ear. The quality can’t compare with what we have to today but at the time, it was the best thing available to the masses. Later came Sony Walkmans that improved the sound quality and everyone had to have one. Boom boxes were those who wanted to share their music with everyone – whether everyone wanted them to or not!

The medium music has been delivered on has changed too. From the LPs and 45s made of vinyl that I listened to as a teenager (and still own), we passed through the 8-tracjk and cassette tape phase. I spent countless hours listening to the new and improved FM radio, trying to record my favorite songs without the DJ talking over the beginnings or endings. Tapes gave way to the CD and that was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Today people download their music. They listen on their computers and iPods or other MP3 devices. While CDs are still available, it looks like before long, all music will be digital and we will no longer buy music on disc or tape, but in cyberspace. At least it won’t get scratched and quit playing!

Even movies have changed dramatically. As a child, I waited anxiously for the seasons to pass so I could watch my favorite shows or movies when they came back on television. You could only watch Frosty the Snowman one night a year – at Christmas time when it aired on network TV. If you missed it, you waited until the next year. Now you can watch it anytime on DVD or Blu Ray. You can even watch it on your computer on sites like YouTube and Hulu.

We have by and large embraced this advance in technology and most people own many of the devices that allow us to indulge in our entertainment media today. Oh sure, a few folks came along kicking and screaming but for the most part, we enjoy our new toys and the improved quality the give us.

So why is it that with books, there seems to be such a divide between the e-reader camp and those who cling to the world of printed books? Books are the last hold out in the technological march into the future and many would argue that the days of printed books are numbered.

If you visit my home, you will see literally thousands of books. They have homes in almost every room in the house. They are a huge part of my family’s life. In recent years I have dreamed of seeing my name on the spine of one or two books sitting on the shelf in my office. With today’s self-publishing options, that is certainly a possibility. Still, one cannot ignore history and the trend is moving decidedly toward a digital world when it comes to everything else so why not books? 

I still enjoy reading an actual book, holding it in my hands as I get lost in the world the writer created for me. I am a writer of eBooks and I am waiting for Santa to bring me an eReader for Christmas. There are generations coming up behind me who will read their books on Kindles and Nooks. In years to come, they will laugh at our attachment to paperbacks and hardcover books that took up ridiculous amounts of room in our homes and libraries. 

How do you feel about eBooks? Are you a die hard for the paperbacks? Do love your eReader? Are you on the fence waiting to see where technology takes us?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday the 13th Free eBooks


As an Indie publisher, I know the importance of letting readers know when there is a great deal going on with a book. I am participating in A “Free on Kindle” promotion with some other writers over the next couple of days. Each of these writers has crafted a fabulous book for you and during the dates listed below, you can get your copy for free. Aren’t authors the best?!

What better way to enjoy Friday the 13th than with a great free book for your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? You can download Kindle for the PC free from Amazon.  

Naturally all the authors hope you really enjoy the book. If you do there are a couple of ways you can let them know. First, leave a wick short review on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a “loved the book!” or “Great read” will suffice. Don’t want to do that? Rate the book by leaving a few stars that lets them know how you felt about their free book.

The second way to let them know you enjoyed the book is to check out their other offerings. Some are as low as .99 cents. It’s a great way to let good authors know you enjoy their work so they can keep turning out more for you.

Check out these eBooks for Kindle free starting Friday, July 13th! And feel free to leave a comment here letting me know what you got and how you liked it.

Mine by the way is “Destiny Steps In” – check it out!

Erotica
Restraint by Erica Chilson (July 13-15)
Anticipation by Sarina Asheford (July 13-14)
911 I Need Help by Felicity Freedom (July 13-15)
Dark and Twisted
Destiny Steps In by Theresa Leschmann (July 13-14)
Creepy Bits by Tammy Lee Morris (July 13)
Spaztastic Zombies by Tammy Lee Morris (July 14)
Devil's Playground by Mercy Mayer (July 13-14)
Collection of Dark Stories by Amy Browne (July 14-15)
Non-Fiction
Content to eBooks by Amy Browne (July 14-15)
I Love You, I Hate You A Bipolar Marriage by Alice Madison Young


Meet Theresa Leschmann, Author, Part 2


So after getting my feet wet with personal correspondence and some pieces in the local paper, I was itching for somewhere else to test my skills. It wasn’t too much later that I talked to Tammy Morris, a longtime friend about the online writing she did. She was writing for several content sites and beginning to make a little money at it and encouraged me to give it a try. 

I began writing articles for several content sites and while writing news, articles and how-to’s is radically different than writing fiction, the experience helped develop me as a writer. Not only did my writing improve because of the increase in volume I was turning out, I met a wonderful community of people I had never known existed. Writers are for the most part, a very helpful and non-competitive group of coworkers. 

One of the sites I wrote for sponsored a flash fiction writing contest. We were to write something from a prompt and keep it under 1000 words, I believe. I entered the contest and didn’t even earn an honorable mention but my whistle had been whetted. By this time, I had found several other local friends who were also writers. We agreed to start doing writing prompts together and began critiquing each other’s work. The feedback was by and large positive but even when it was negative, it helped me learn and grow as a writer. I used a series of those prompts to help me begin a novel I had been mulling over for a while and I was hooked on writing fiction. 

I also turned out a few more short stories and posted some online where they languished in undiscovered obscurity. That’s okay. I didn’t expect to be an overnight success then, any more than I do now. The novel idea got shelved as I was drawn more and more into content writing for the immediate financial reward it provided. And I was a little unsure of myself as a fiction writer. 

In 2010, a group of friends and I all decided to enter NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – an event held every November where you chain yourself to your computer and try to churn out 50,000 words by the end of the month in an effort to write a novel. It has to be something new, not something you have already started. So I used October to prepare. 

I didn’t make the goal by the end of the month but I did complete some 37,000, by far the largest body of work I had ever completed. I was ecstatic over my progress and to me it was success. The book, however, was also shelved in favor of completing paid work.

The biggest compliment I had received at that time was an invitation to join a group of writers who were self-publishing anthologies of short, dark and twisted stories – right up my alley. I was delighted to have been asked and the first story I submitted provided me with a much needed reality check. As I opened the email, I was overwhelmed by the red print liberally splashed across my work from the group’s resident editor. I was initially inflamed and it took me two days before I could look at it calmly. 

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. My relationship with that editor was a bit bumpy and I didn’t always agree with his recommendations but I learned a great deal from him about the craft of writing. I stayed with that group for a couple of years and published stories in five books with them before deciding to try my hand at doing it solo. 

My next post will explain how I go to where I am today and where I hope to go. Won’t you please come back and read some more?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet Theresa Leschmann Author, Part 3


After leaving the anthology group, I floundered a bit. I realized that for me, having no deadlines to meet in terms of writing fiction meant I just didn’t do it. Oh, I had plenty of ideas but there always seemed to be something else that needed to be done. Laundry, making dinner, writing those pesky but-oh-so-valuable articles for clients that helped pay the bills. Fiction writing just waited and waited.

As the popularity of eBooks took off, I began to wonder if I shouldn’t give that a try. After all, aren’t eBook sales similar to the page views I was earning pennies for on content and news sites? S0 I deliberated over what project to tackle first. Should I finish the novel I had started for NaNoWriMo? Maybe I should do some more short stories and publish m own collection. Perhaps I should finish the first novel I had started from the writing prompts. Or, I could do a historical fiction series that I had been toying with based on my home town. Oh the choices!

I started with the series because it had been calling to me for some time. I ran into an obstacle and set that aside. Next I picked up the NaNoWriMo novel and started to reread what I had written. I began sharing chunks of it with the writer group I am currently part of and they loved it – at least that’s what they told me. So I have been diligently working on that since January 2012 and hope to have it finalized by summer’s end. I am hoping to send it to a few traditional publishers and see what happens.

In the meantime, I decided to put out those short story collections which bring me to where I am today. I hope my career as a writer continues to take as many twists and turns as it has so far. The journey has been exciting and educational. And I hope you’ll stick around for the ride.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meet Theresa Leschmann, Author, Part 2

So after getting my feet wet with personal correspondence and some pieces in the local paper, I was itching for somewhere else to test my skills. It wasn’t too much later that I talked to Tammy Morris, a longtime friend about the online writing she did. She was writing for several content sites and beginning to make a little money at it and encouraged me to give it a try. 

I began writing articles for several content sites and while writing news, articles and how-to’s is radically different than writing fiction, the experience helped develop me as a writer. Not only did my writing improve because of the increase in volume I was turning out, I met a wonderful community of people I had never known existed. Writers are for the most part, a very helpful and non-competitive group of coworkers. 

One of the sites I wrote for sponsored a flash fiction writing contest. We were to write something from a prompt and keep it under 1000 words, I believe. I entered the contest and didn’t even earn an honorable mention but my whistle had been whetted. By this time, I had found several other local friends who were also writers. We agreed to start doing writing prompts together and began critiquing each other’s work. The feedback was by and large positive but even when it was negative, it helped me learn and grow as a writer. I used a series of those prompts to help me begin a novel I had been mulling over for a while and I was hooked on writing fiction. 

I also turned out a few more short stories and posted some online where they languished in undiscovered obscurity. That’s okay. I didn’t expect to be an overnight success then, any more than I do now. The novel idea got shelved as I was drawn more and more into content writing for the immediate financial reward it provided. And I was a little unsure of myself as a fiction writer. 

In 2010, a group of friends and I all decided to enter NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – an event held every November where you chain yourself to your computer and try to churn out 50,000 words by the end of the month in an effort to write a novel. It has to be something new, not something you have already started. So I used October to prepare. 

I didn’t make the goal by the end of the month but I did complete some 37,000, by far the largest body of work I had ever completed. I was ecstatic over my progress and to me it was success. The book, however, was also shelved in favor of completing paid work.

The biggest compliment I had received at that time was an invitation to join a group of writers who were self-publishing anthologies of short, dark and twisted stories – right up my alley. I was delighted to have been asked and the first story I submitted provided me with a much needed reality check. As I opened the email, I was overwhelmed by the red print liberally splashed across my work from the group’s resident editor. I was initially inflamed and it took me two days before I could look at it calmly. 

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. My relationship with that editor was a bit bumpy and I didn’t always agree with his recommendations but I learned a great deal from him about the craft of writing. I stayed with that group for a couple of years and published stories in five books with them before deciding to try my hand at doing it solo. 

My next post will explain how I go to where I am today and where I hope to go. Won’t you please come back and read some more?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meet Theresa Leschmann Author, Part I

Meet Theresa Leschmann Author, Part I

Today I am launching a new blog about my attempts to make it as an author in an ever changing world of publishing. This is a learn-as-you-go operation for me but then isn’t pretty much everything in life? What fun would it be if we could simply read a book and know exactly what to do for every choice we make or every new thing we attempt?

I guess you need to know a little bit about me as a writer if you are going to accompany me on this journey. 

My life as a writer started out with me being a reader. I was a voracious reader as a child. The school I attended sent home those little Scholastic Books flyers and I cajoled my mother into buying me one or two books every month. I read everything from “Black Stallion” and “My Side of the Mountain” to “Nancy Drew Mysteries” and anything published by Alfred Hitchcock. 

I never considered writing as a career while I was growing up but then I never really considered any career. By the time I was a teenager, I had aspirations of being a singing star but they weren’t terribly rooted in me. I took some voice lessons, did some community theater and moved on. 

It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I began to le the thought of doing a little writing tumble around in my mind. I had a pen pal, James Bell, overseas who loved my letters and encouraged me to explore writing. For years I thought he was simply being kind. I got some great reviews from family members over my annual Christmas letter. If ever there was an endorsement to write professionally, what better one to have than friends and family gushing over my annual Christmas letter? Still, I was not moved to quit my day job. 

A few years later, I took a job at a small town library. I was surrounded by books and discovered more authors than I could list. I also discovered Loretta Ruff, a fellow library worker who encouraged me to accompany her to a meeting of the Writer’s Guild in our area. I went a few times and enjoyed the atmosphere. A couple of months later, I read an anecdotal piece at an open critique night which was well received. I later learned they received everyone’s work well but it still help boost my courage to take even more baby steps. 

A guest speaker at the guild meeting was the editor of newspaper magazine in our regional newspaper. We spoke after the meeting and she hired me, on the spot to write one or two pieces a week for the magazine. I was so excited as I had no journalistic training or experience. Still, it didn’t take long for the thrill of writing about medical center openings and baby pageants to wear off. It proved invaluable experience though. It laid the groundwork for the path my writing has taken since then. 

In the next post, I’ll talk more about how I became a writer of fiction and I hope you’ll come back and read more.