I can’t think of many things more exciting than the privilege of reading the final product of a hard-working writer friend. Y’all remember how loud I was when it came to promoting books written by my friend Ellie Di Julio, and the cheerleading I did for Chase Night‘s debut novel Chicken. These days I’m writing book reviews (what!?) and I’m honored to get the chance to review this novel: Kindling by Angel Blackwood. I am also thrilled to be in the line up for beta reading the second installment. Pretty Hot and Awesome Gang featured posts about Kindling. Here’s what I said for my Goodreads and Amazon review:
Epic fantasy meets splatter punk for high gore adventures
The scope of this novel is wide, clearly intended for a series. Rather than a single main character, readers are treated to a cast of significant characters who end up traveling in various combinations. Good and evil are clear forces at work but there’s plenty of room for gray as the main characters struggle with themselves, each other, and in many cases the dark of their pasts. Bloodthirsty readers with be sated as legions meet excruciating ends. And an interesting paradigm shift at work here is the power of magic which places women in the strong, dominant roles and men as the weaker sex. Not to be missed, Kindling is clearly the start to a series which is not to be missed.
Woohoo! Are you excited yet?! I really loved how this book flipped the script on traditional gender roles, from a main male character of small stature—Zahir—to the impossibly strong magicks of the Matron herself. There is even a scenario where men can go mad (any woman might confirm how irritating it is to hear that all women are crazy). There are two main forces at work, one led by evil men in power and one led by evil women in power, but the primary force for good as far as deities go is the essential Mother goddess. The language in this book is evocative, and those who’ve grown up on comic book movies will have no trouble at all vividly seeing how the magic in this world works. I think my favorite male character is Zahir, while my favorite female character might be Dejanira, who is a baddie! Who are yours?
PopSugar 2017 reading challenge No. 32 a book about an interesting woman. While this novel doesn’t have one main character so much as a large and varied cast, readers will notice from the very beginning that the female characters don’t mess around, mean business, and are strong, powerful, and decisive. Definitely one for the feminist pile.
Diverse Reads challenge (here and here). Yes! While the novel does not have any clearly trans characters, the novel is written by a trans author, and I’m happy to support him in his endeavors (and to know him personally and know what a cool dude he is).
The Book Date Full House challenge I think I can shuffle some things around. Lamb could be “books about books” bc it’s definitely a book about a book (fiction novel about the Bible). That would free up my Free Space for Kindling.
Two weeks ago, I attended the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock. This was my first time to attend and I took a few notes on one of the sessions I attended. What I like most about these conferences and festivals is all the good stuff we learn from our fellow writers.
Some fast notes to think about:
>>>YouTube.com is a search engine. I never really thought of it that way. Never put it in the same category as Google or Yahoo. But indeed, we use it to find information. So that closed captioning? Yeah, that’s what’s providing your SEO. Whoop!
>>>Facebook groups aren’t lame. If you can get someone to connect to your Facebook page, they’ll get a notification every time you post something new/send something out. Engage in other people’s Facebook groups to figure out your audience and grow your cliental. (In our case, these would be followers and readers!)
>>>Update your website annually.Designs, trends, styles, looks… they’re always changing. We all know that. So give your website format a little upgrade every year. You’ve got to keep people interested. It’ll excite you too. 😉 Good images and key words are essential! Get your SEO on, ya’ll.
>>>People want simplicity. When it comes to social media, websites, blogs, etc., people want to be able to find what they type in the search bar. So if you’re writing about how hot air balloons fly, make sure your title represents the topic. I know it’s easy to get abstract and creative, but you can do that in the actual writing. Make your subject searchable and basic.
>>>Publishers do not want to market you. Before anyone is going to work with you, they want you to establish a fan base. If you spend a year or so working on a blog, (I keep using blogs as an example because I’m writing on one), you’ll draw in readers and develop your voice as a writer. When the time comes for you to publish a book, you’ll already have people who’d be willing to read it because they know a bit of who you are already! It’s not a waste of time.
>>>Know your audience on each social media platform. For example, over the last few years, Facebook, (which began as a college-student site), has had a high increase in users over 65 years old. Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine are attracting people ages 18-34 at the moment. Pinterest is geared toward women. You get the idea. Know who you’re talking to.
>>>Don’t use ALL the social mediums. Pick one or two that you can use regularly. If you don’t use one, you can leave a note/link on it, telling people to reach you at another one. Keep in mind that if you have a dormant medium, that may look bad for your reputation if your job title has something to do with excelling at social media. It may be best to just delete that Twitter account you never post on.
>>>You can link your social media to your Amazon account. Okay, so this is for you people who actually have books published and sell them on Amazon.com. This is not me at the moment, so I can only say so much. But hey, check it out!
>>>Rankings on Amazon matter! Again, I don’t have experience in this area yet. But as a consumer and an eCommerce writer, I do know that reviews people write for products make an impact. So if someone tells you they liked your book, ask them to write a review for you! No harm in asking.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. I hope it gives you some new things to think about. Seriously consider starting a blog if you haven’t already. Resumés are becoming outdated. LinkedIn.com actually comes up high in your SEO, so don’t write it off just yet! (No pun intended.)