Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Back-list Promotion – A Necessary Task

September 30, 2021
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Promoting a back list can be frustrating, if a little boring, as we naturally want to concentrate on our latest shiny novel. However, all our books are worthy of attention for as long as they are available for sale. There are several ways to keep the back list titles fresh and you can actually utilize the change in seasons to plan it.

Firstly, can you categorize your books by season. Look at the season the narrative is set within or it’s genre and use that as your starting point.

  1. Summer: romance/vacation adventures/a beach read/contemporary summer town story.
  2. Spring: a character’s new life/moving to a new town, school or college.
  3. Fall: chilly horror/mystery/monsters and Halloween.
  4. Winter: isolation/struggles of survival/Xmas romance.

I think you get the idea.

Here are some other ways to keep the older titles fresh.

  1. Do a live reading (if restrictions allow) or read on any social media site or streaming site.
  2. Upgrade the cover.
  3. Revise the content – new edit, additional information, add book club questions and new reviews.
  4. Write a prequel.
  5. Arrange guest blog posts centering on the back-list book(s).
  6. Create a readers guide for book clubs.
  7. Use niche topics to promote.
  8. Utilize a podcast interview to promote all your books.
  9. Request new reviews.
  10. Offer a sale price.

What methods do you use to keep your older books fresh and saleable?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tips on Who to Ask for Feedback on Your Writing

August 5, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As writers we are constantly second guessing our writing. Is it descriptive enough without too much exposition? Is that character’s personality clear? Does my action scene work? Are my character’s developing? There are many and varied queries as we write. To enable us to grow as writers, we need constructive critique from people we trust.

Here is a list of who you should ask:

  1. Experienced editors and writers.

2. A writer in your niche.

3. Someone who has read your work before.

4. Your writing group.

When asking for feedback be specific in what you are asking, rather than say “let me know what you think.”

Here are a couple of examples of questions to ask:

  1. Do you get a clear idea of the genre?
  2. Can you relate to the characters?
  3. Do you understand their motivations?
  4. Does it have a good beginning/ending?
  5. With specific scenes name it and then ask a question in relation to it.
  6. Does the story flow?
  7. Were the characters reactions to situations believable?
  8. Was the story predicable?
  9. What surprised you?
  10. Which part was your favorite?

Remember feedback should be taken as constructive critique. You may not agree on their viewpoint, but use it to see your work in a different light/perspective. It is your work and you tell it the way you want.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reader Feedback Wanted on this Story Excerpt.

August 3, 2021
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Today I am sharing the first paragraph of a ‘on the back burner’ work in progress. It is the result of a National Novel Writing Month challenge, a couple of years ago. I am unsure if it will ever become a fully fledged novel, time will tell. I would welcome any feedback on this excerpt.

Do you ‘see’ Jess?

Do you get an idea of her background, her personality?

What genre do you think it is?

Would you read more?

Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

Coming to University – Part One

Jess                                                                                                                                        

Jess sat hugging the hot coffee mug in her hands, she may have looked relaxed and happy, but inside she was in turmoil. Her eyes scanned the many pedestrians walking back and forth on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop. Willing him – the one -to appear out of the crowd. Tall, blonde and athletic her first real crush, well as she called it – a grown up infatuation – not like the silly childish crushes, when she was at school back home. Here at university it was so different.  She had independence from a worrywart doormat of a mother, who pushed her towards any ‘suitable’ young boy. “Make the right choice now, Jessie, and you will be happy. Don’t make my mistake and go for the ‘cool guy’.  Her mother always whispered this advice least her distant and unemotional father heard. Jess tried to elicit more information from her mother on the subject, but it was always brushed aside.

The thought of the three of them eating in silence every evening meal at the dining table made her cringe. Jess once ventured to ask to eat in her room, mainly to escape the uncomfortable atmosphere; it was met with a horrified look on her mother’s face and a rage exploding from her father, which so terrified Jess she vomited there and then. This, of course, made the matter a hundred times worse. Her father stormed out of the room; slamming his study door so hard it propelled two pictures off the hallway wall. Her mother visibly shaking went into clean up mode immediately, running to the kitchen and filling a bowl of hot water and grabbing several rags to ‘save’ the carpet. Jess stood frozen in place, the vomit drying on her dress and chin as tears ran unbidden down her cheeks.  It wasn’t until her mother pushed at her leg to reach a splash of vomit that either realized the other’s presence. “Get in the bath, Jessie and put that dress in the sink.” Having an instruction gave her body permission to move. She climbed the stairs, stripped and sat in the bath as it filled with water. Deep inside a switch turned, she needed to escape this house and find real love, someplace where people loved each other and were happy. At the time, at the tender age of eleven, she could only dream and secretly plan, but as the weeks and months passed, her escape route gradually formed. Her art teacher told her she had a real gift and after several conversations between them, they managed to find a grant-funded course for Jess in a university several hundred miles away. For Jess the distance was heaven sent almost as much as her teacher’s ability to get the grant on her behalf. With no costs to pay, her parents could not refuse Jess attending.

She announced her entrance into the university over another silent dinner table the day of graduation. Her mother looked at her wide-eyed, but Jess could see relief there too. Her father paused putting a mouthful of food in his mouth, looked directly at Jess and said, “Make the most of the opportunity.” He then continued eating, no good luck, and no congratulations – nothing. Later, her mother came into her bedroom and hugged her. “You will find someone wonderful Jessie, I am so happy for you.” Even then, her mother did not divulge any information on love and life or relationships, leaving Jess with a hope nurtured in her chest that she would indeed find love, a true love. Someone who made her happy, talked to her, listened to her, and gave her a wonderful life.

Thank you for participating. Your comments will be helpful.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

April 27, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As our options for choosing a book to read have become virtual for the most part, during COVID, we have to decide which one works best for us. The easiest option for many is a book selling site, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, to name a few. There is also the option of utilizing your local library, where you can browse online, order and pick up your selections. And visiting your local bookstore too. Whatever method you use the author will sincerely appreciate your leaving a review. So please do.

It is a matter of personal preference where we purchase our books and in what format. Whether it is print or e-book. As I work on a computer all day for my day job and then work on my laptop most evenings, my preference is a print copy. I enjoy the tactile feeling of weight, smell and texture as well as the physical turning of a page. For me it is better to read without a backlight at night, as it stimulates my brain rather than calming it.

Which do you prefer? Print or e-book?

Why do you make this choice? Is it a practical concern or something else?

I am lucky to have a friend, who gives out books after she and her daughter have read them. I recently visited her and she handed over a huge bags of books! Such a delightful surprise and it was like Christmas lifting each one out to read the blurb. However, it then gave me a problem – how should I choose which one to read first, second, third and so on.

After reading all the blurbs, I categorized them. Ones that did not instantly appeal, others that were soft choices and others that engaged my curiosity. Depending on your specific likes and dislikes, favorite genres and subject matter, choosing can be little easier. So from this stack.

I choose my first three reads as below.

I choose these particular books because two have characters in them that write and the third because I love myths, legends and magic.

This is my review of Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland

A compelling, complex and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections.
This book will change your outlook on your life and your life’s path.

Please leave a comment on how you choose a book and the last book you reviewed so other readers can find them.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Excerpt from The Twesome Loop & Book Review

April 6, 2021
mandyevebarnett


This is an excerpt from Chapter Forty-One A Secret Place – 2002

As the evening grew darker Gina took Caroline’s hand and led her further down the valley towards a grove of olive trees. Gina told Caroline she had a secret place where she spent many peaceful hours. It was there she found a deep pit covered with wooden planks hidden in the undergrowth. Caroline was intrigued so came prepared with a rope.

  “See here, Caroline, here is the pit as I told you. The wooden lid is held down with a large boulder. Why would someone do such a thing? It could only be a water well, don’t you think?”

  “I’m not really sure but whatever the reason, I am curious to see.”

  “It may not be safe shouldn’t we ask the archeological dig people to look?”

  “If I find some precious artifact or relic I will certainly get James over here. Now don’t worry I will be careful.”

  With one end of the rope tied to a sturdy olive tree Caroline’s excitement grows. She holds a lantern over the void, before lowering herself down slowly. Gina watches as Caroline gradually disappears into the inky blackness.

    The lantern hanging off her belt Caroline’s descent was slow but gradual and her eyes could pick out roots and rocks jutting out of the pit walls. Eventually she felt her feet touch ground and called up to Gina.

  “I’m at the bottom now.”

  “Be careful, is there no water? You don’t know what’s down there.”

Peering through the gloom Caroline suddenly gave out a cry making Gina jump and call down to her.

  “Are you all right?”

 “Yes, I’m fine but I’ve found a skeleton!”

Both girls exclaimed at once “Who could it be?”

“I have no idea but I’m guessing this well has been dry for quite some time.”

Caroline knew she would have to get the Professor down the well with proper equipment; it could be a wonderful discovery. For now she needed to make sure she didn’t disturb anything and made her way back up.

Let me know – were you intrigued? You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/Twesome-Loop-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1988723078

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Absolutely loved this book! Great characters, story, tension, discovery and the power of finding your true self. The descriptions transported you to the locations. I thoroughly recommend it. 

My next read is Saying Goodbye is Easy – A Life in Short Stories by Kathie Sutherland.

What are you currently reading? What was your last review?

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