Hi, everybody! I am excited to share with you Yecheilyah’s First Annual POETRY Contest, right here on my blog. Read the instructions below, because you are going to love this!!
“It’s no secret I love poetry. In fact, my entrance into Indie Publishing began this way, with a collection of poems. I have been performing since High School and writing them since middle school. I’ve traveled to perform, entered contests, and have been filmed. Remember that you can listen to my poems and follow me on my new Soundcloud page HERE.”
“I have wanted to do this for a long time and Renaissance: The Nora White Story is the perfect excuse. In my upcoming release poetry plays a significant role. Nora meets such famous poets as Langston Hughes and even gets to recite a poem of her own. For this, to celebrate the release of book one in the…
Grab your copy of The House on Candlewick Lane, by Amy Reade for 99cents! I had the honor of reading and reviewing this book myself and I don’t promote anything I don’t like! *Comments disabled here. Please refer to the original post*
My latest release, The House on Candlewick Lane, is on sale for 99¢ and I’m trying to spread the word far and wide. If you’ve read the book, thank you very much. If you’ve read the book and left a review, you are awesome.
And if you haven’t read the book, this is your chance!!
Here’s a quick summary of the novel:
It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.
Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up…
There’s a lot that goes into what it means to be professional so I won’t linger, but you don’t have to have worked in corporate to understand it. In today’s world, you don’t have to be anyone special to get tons of emails. With Social Media, everyone practically has one as it is needed for most social media platforms. In short, we all get them and we all scan and then delete them. To increase your chance of getting your email noticed, be sure your email is first professional.
Don’t use a blanket “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Book Blogger” or worse “Hey”
Don’t talk about how good the book is.
Don’t abbreviate words. This isn’t a text message. This is a professional business correspondence. (no IKR, THUR, THO, etc.)
Don’t attach your book(s) to the email. You don’t know if we want to read it yet.
Don’t post the details of your book as if writing a book review (Title, Author, Publisher, Number of Words.)
Don’t keep emailing the reviewer to see if they saw your email.
Do address the reviewer by name.
Do tell us what the book is about. (Instead of telling us the book is good, tell us what the book is about.)
Do offer a complimentary copy of the book (offer, don’t attach automatically.)
If you like, do post a few reviews you already have (this is evidence that the book is a good read and is better than you just saying that it is.I would recommend not to overdo it though. Just a few will suffice.)
Do sign your name.
Do include ways that we can contact you (an email signature is nice with your name and social handles at the bottom.)
Do wait patiently for a response.
Visit that reviewer’s website or blog.
This is how you learn our names and find out more about us.
We talked about the email but not all reviewers accept unsolicited email inquiries (I don’t. I have a submission form authors must use to register their book first.) Reviewers who are also bloggers usually have guidelines for how to contact them. If they have a website or blog, visit them and follow their blog so that you can know if they are a good fit for your book or not. Reviewers also tend to have guidelines for how to send information in for a review on their blogs/websites. Find it and read it. Pay attention to every detail and be obedient to the rules. This is like the big pink box on the reviewer’s virtual desk. We love responding to people who are professional and who follow the rules. You can’t ignore the big pink box.
Look for reviewers in your genre.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is hustling to get reviewed by anyone who would want to review my book. This is OK. I am by no means saying it is wrong as I sure will be interested in submitting to those of you who show interest in reviewing Renaissance, Histfic or not for sure (let’s just go ahead and keep it all the way real). But, I must also admit it’s not the smartest thing in the world either. It is much more difficult to score high ratings or an understanding of the content from readers who are not familiar or are not interested in the kinds of books that we write than those who do. I am not saying it is a guarantee that those of your genre will rate you high or give you a positive review, not at all. However, they will understand your story better. I am not into Horror novels for example. I just never got into them. Although I would read a well-written horror novel, I am less likely to enjoy it as much as a Young Adult novel or Black Literature. There are also elements I may not fully understand.
It’s no secret that some authors are arrogant. I am not sure why, but it is obvious from the start. (Even though being a #1 Amazon Best-Seller for an hour literally means nothing.) Publishing a book does not give any of us the authority to talk down to people. Nothing does. If you are querying a book reviewer, be as polite and considerate of the reviewer’s time as possible. Not just for the sake of your review but for the sake of your integrity as a person period. Just be a good business person and kindhearted regardless.
Be time sensitive.
Book bloggers have tall “to be read” piles. A “to be read” pile is a pile of books you’ve already committed to reading and have not gotten to yet. With Reviews being so important, Indie Publishing being what it is today, and Book Bloggers willing to review Indie Books at a rate much faster than anyone else, book bloggers have a lot on their plate. This means you are on their time. If you give a time limit for the reading, don’t sweat it if the reviewer didn’t finish in time. You don’t know what that person is going through in life or their reading speed. If you are not giving a final copy, be sure to let the reader know this is an uncorrected manuscript.
It’s OK to request the book to be read in a certain amount of time. Those who have the time will do so. However, if they happen to read beyond your time, let it be. Don’t push. It’s a respect thing.
Your writing is never measured by how others respond to it so don’t assume you know what the reviewer is thinking. And no matter how disheartening (I know, I hate it too) don’t take the feedback to be a personal attack on yourself. That’s difficult, I know. One of my fears was that people will make assumptions about who I am or what I do because they don’t understand me. However, I cannot worry about that. Nor can I grow from it. Sometimes you just gotta swallow spit and keep it moving. If not then we get all emotional and the result is an author who curses out the reviewer or disrespects them because they said they found two typos. TWO. The author didn’t wait to read that the reviewers ALSO loved the story. Now the person who was going to rate you 5 stars has decided to lower the rating or not to rate you at all. I don’t change my ratings personally but the moral of the story is to never assume you know what the reviewer is thinking. Wait for the reviewer to reveal to you his or her thoughts on the book. Assuming makes a…well, we’ve all heard the saying. That.
If you’re wondering, authors can still give free book copies to readers in exchange for honest reviews.
If you have received a copy of an authors book for review, be sure to mention that you received the book in exchange for an honest review or that you received the book as a gift from the author at the front end of the review so that it is published on amazon. (By front end I mean before you post your review mention you received it as a gift if you did not buy it.)
Anyone registered with Amazon can write a review as long as they adhere to the guidelines. Doesn’t matter if you’re verified or non-verified.
If you are a reviewer who reviews books on your blog (or features authors on your blog that requires you link to their books) be sure to use the direct link to the book on amazon and not the entire link. By direct link, I mean everything up to the ASIN number. Anything after that is extra and Amazon uses it to track. This can be why reviews are being removed.
Leaving an Amazon review doesn’t mean writing a literary critique. (There are those who do but you don’t have to.) You are just leaving us your thoughts / opinions about the book. For instance: Go to Amazon.com and find a book you have purchased / read. Scroll all the way down to where you see Write a Customer Review. Rate it and write what you liked/disliked about the book. That’s literally it.
ps. We’ll pick up with Black History Fun Fact Friday next week, time permitting. I should also be finished with a book I am reading in time for another review.
pps. I am going away with the Hubby this weekend (whoo hoo!) so I may be late in responding to comments after tonight (Friday 6/2). I will come back and post pictures of our adventures!
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because blogs are technically “social media,” that standard rules of business etiquette do not apply. A query to a blogger—whether you’re asking for a review, interview, spotlight, or guest spot—is a business letter. Would you go to a job interview without bothering to find out if the business is a fashion boutique, a pharmacy, or a XXX porn theater? I didn’t think so. So use your head and put your businessperson hat on it before you hit “send.” – Anne R. Allen, Ann R. Allen’s Blog with Ruth Harris
Thunderclap is like crowdfunding for social media. Instead of raising funds you are raising support. Neat huh? Here’s how it works:
You set up a campaign and set a social reach goal. Once the campaign is approved and goes live, supporters can pledge an action (a Facebook Post, Tweet, both, etc.) of the campaigns message as set by the host. This message will go live on the day the host sets. This means that if an author has a book coming out for instance (yours truly), the message will go out on the day of release from the social media accounts of everyone who pledged at the same time, making a thunderous noise of support!
The Kicker: Of course, there’s always something. For the free option, for the messages to go out, the host (yours truly) must reach her social reach by the date set. For this, I have set this campaign up a month in advance to give me time to build support.
I need at least 100 people to “donate” a pledge towards my message on their social media by July 15th. It’s free, of course, as you’re only donating a social media blast. There are 1,756 people subscribed to his blog as I write this. I am only asking for 100 of you to support me. Are you in?? Let’s do this!
About the Book:
When seventeen-year-old Nora White successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.
The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.
Shocked by their daughter’s disappearance, Gideon and Molly White are plagued with visions of the deadly south, like the brutal lynching of Gideon’s sister years ago. As the couple embark on a frightening and gut wrenching search for Nora, they are each stalked by their own traumatic past. Meanwhile, Nora learns that the North is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Can Gideon and Molly overcome their disturbing past in time to find their daughter before it’s too late?
“When I finished reading Renaissance: The Nora White Story I actually shouted. I loved, loved this book. From beginning to end. The characters are still alive inside my mind. The setting as well. I could smell the hot soup the girls had or the rain on the hot earth. The dialogue is superb; I can still hear the soft southern accent in my mind.”
– Adele Marie Park
“The author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully and I found the description of each and every action and location to just roll off my tongue as I read.” – Rachel Poli
“I consider myself and anyone else aware of her to be pretty lucky already as this author has a pretty powerful perspective and is more than capable of articulating her experiences and thought processes as it relates to the cultural upbringing of the African American experience. Her name is Yecheilyah Ysrayl. – Dottie Daniels
Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established (not so new) authors and their books.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dan Alatorre. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Dan Alatorre and I live in Tampa.
What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
Ooh, that’s touchy. I actually have THE perfect writing room. When we remodeled our house, we converted the dining room into a kind of reading room, then I took it over as my office. It was beautiful mahogany bookshelves and two Queen Anne mahogany chairs, a barrister bookcase, and a writing desk. Dark green walls and three big windows trimmed in white with thick green curtains, walls adorned with framed artwork of a British fox hunt, pond boats and wood duck decoys, rows and rows of books… It’s most writers’ ideal writing room. My editor kinda hates me for having it. We do video calls and she sees it and weeps.
Lol. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
Bragging about my awesome writing room. That, and accidentally-on-purpose telling my cold weather friends how awesome it is here (Tampa) every time we talk.
I’m an author, that’s my gig. I have also a Young Author’s Club where I give guidance to grade school kids who want to be writers, and I host a private coaching/critique group for adults who are learning to be novelists. That’s a lot of fun. So many people want to write a book but don’t know where to start, or need input to take their work from good to great, you know? I help them. It’s very fulfilling work.
That sounds great! Speaking of critiques, what do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
I don’t listen to much writing advice. The people giving it are not necessarily correct – myself included! My favorite piece of advice is – the one I LOVE – is: “Great writing isn’t safe.” My second: “If I could give you one thing it would be enough confidence to believe in yourself the way I do.” So many people are afraid to be bold in their writing, to go there, to put themselves out there for the world to see, naked and exposed and vulnerable. They play it safe, so they never feel the applause and gratitude when somebody says THAT was a great story or THAT was the most romantic scene ever. Safe sucks. Be brave. It’s worth it. And writers have to be brave because we risk that every time, risking the pain and humiliation of rejection and being laughed at, and yet we go right back out there and do it again.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Lion safari in Africa. Like in those big Jeeps. I have friends who’ve done it, and I’ve seen it on TV – I just can’t figure out why the lions don’t walk over and eat the people in the Jeeps. That makes no sense to me. The lion sees you outside the Jeep, you are dinner. You take two steps and sit down IN the Jeep, it’s like he can’t see you. I wanna do that, to be up close and personal with nature that way. But in the Jeep, and not getting eaten. With my luck, that would be the day the lions figure it out. A big lion would be like saying to his lion buddy, “Hey, Bill, you know those things in the Jeeps are the same things we eat when they are out walking around?” And we’d all get eaten.
In your own words, what is humility?
Doing it. Not bragging and boasting about how awesome you are, just getting it done and not boasting. Then, help others do it – and they boast about you, and you honestly believe they are exaggerating.
Probably the best definition I’ve heard so far. What skill would you like to master?
Levitation. Wouldn’t it be cool to fly like Superman? I’d freaking do it naked just to have people saying they saw a naked guy flying over their house. People would be getting locked up in loony bins everywhere.
Lol! What job do you think you’d be really good at?
Writing, I hope. I’m a pretty good motivational speaker, though. I went to president’s circle with two different Fortune 500 companies and a lot of people I hired became successful because I believed in them like no one else did. One example was a young lady we hired from a local high school when we were trying to create an in-house telemarketing department. She wasn’t too good at phone sales, but she was a good worker with a lot of potential – to me. To a lot of other people, she was just a high school kid. One day I was working on some report and I said to her, “Here have a look at this. One day you’ll be a branch manager and you’ll have to do these reports.” Her jaw dropped. I was no big shot, but nobody had ever told her she had that kind of potential before. It changed her world. She became a dedicated, hardworking employee. I think she grew three inches that day. Another time, I was in Home Depot and I hear a guy calling me from across the store. He runs up – it’s another former telemarketer I hired for that program. He wanted his friend to meet me because he said I gave him his start. He was a successful business person, buying and remodeling houses. He worked for me for three months, and ten years later he was still bragging about me to his friends. I’m not sure I’ve ever told either of those stories in print before, so I’m not tooting my own horn, I’m just saying that inspiring folks is really cool and we should all do more of it.
I agree. We can never lift people up too much (Lol @ she grew 3 inches). What’s your favorite drink?
Peach mango green tea. I live on the stuff. It tastes awesome, and there’s no caffeine. I get up at 4:30 and start writing without java juice. That’s another reason my writer friends hate me – no caffeine required. My editor texts me in the morning and she’s like Whuuuuuttt? I’m bouncing off the walls. She says she wants to slip me a cappuccino just to see what happens.
Yea, you’ll be flying for real then. What state or country do you never want to go back to?
I could do without Alabama. It’s like indoor smoking is required there. Yuck. Aruba sucked. A desert on an island. Hot. Damn hot. Pretty water, but way too damned hot. I live in Florida and I thought it was too hot, so most of you will just burst into flames.
Let’s get a little personal (readers make the “ooh” noise). How many siblings do you have?
Four brothers and two sisters. I am number six out of seven, children of a small-town doctor. It was like being a celebrity, being out to dinner with my dad. Everybody would come over and say hi, and Dad would talk to them all. He knew everybody, and they all loved him. If I could be half the man my dad is, I will be a great man.
Ahh, that’s where you get it from! What was your childhood dream?
I had a classic childhood filled with daydreams of being a writer and a cartoonist. I settled on writer.
What kind of music do you like?
Not much. I’m a former drummer in a rock band, so music has to have an interesting beat, and not a lot of tunes do that these days. Melodically, I love all music. A good tune puts you in the mind of its creator like no other art form. We all hear it the same, but we all hear it differently. There are songs I’ve heard 500 times that can make my cry each time I hear them. Oh Holy Night is one. Ave Maria is another. When You Wish Upon A Star is another. If I try to sing them, I can’t get through without choking up. The reasons why are different in each case, but suffice it to say each is hugely sentimental. I’ll break down if I try to sing Oh Holy Night. Seriously.
*EC writes down the secret to making Dan cry. Stores it away for later.*
Poggibonsi, An Italian Misadventure is available HEREon amazon.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
August 2013. I pushed “publish” and sat back waiting for Oprah to call. I even rehearsed my answers to the questions I thought she’d ask. I’M STILL WAITING, MS. WINFERY!
You too?! (Dear Oprah, you heard it here first.) Dan, who is your best friend?
My daughter’s Spanish art teacher. She posted on Facebook that she was going to buy all my books. Automatic best friend status.
Is Dan married? How long?
Yep. 25 years this fall.
Congratulations! Does blogging help you to write? How so?
Yes, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Probably. Yes, it takes time away from writing, but blogging IS writing. And it’s a fun way to connect with others with a same interest, also known as friends. Blogging rocks. I have friends all over the world because I blog. I’ll be seeing the brilliant Lucy Brazier (PorterGirl) in a few months – in London, going to haunted pubs – because I blog. We live ONCE, people!
Ahh man. I’m jealous. I wanna go to London! Who is your favorite writer?
Mark Twain. When people are still quoting you a hundred years after your death, you’ve done something right.
I know that’s right. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most exciting thing is creating words on a page that make people laugh, or make them cry, or open their minds or make them totally conceive of a world you created, and they go, hand in hand, your willing accomplice, into it with you. Playing them like a piano, knowing: get ready, get ready, here it comes, BOOM – they get to the sad part and they have tears streaming down their face, and then you insert a line and they are laughing through the tears. That is awesome. It’s a super power only writers possess. The worst thing? When it doesn’t work.
Loll. I love it. Speaking of Super-powers, if you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
That flying naked stuff would change the world, I think.
It definitely would. What genre do you write in, why?
I am writing in each genre in succession until I find one I’m good at. Cook books is next, I think, then scrap-booking.
Neat. Why is writing important to you?
Lol. Honesty is the best policy. Let’s keep it going. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
The Dan Channel. But I’m working on it.
What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
I totally don’t get MSNBC. Everybody’s so angry all the time over there.
What are your thoughts on Race?
We messed up race relations in this country recently, and we have to get over being angry about everything. That anger stuff hasn’t worked in the middle east for 3000 years, and it’s not gonna work here. My mom’s family is from Germany, my dad’s is from Mexico and earlier in the line from Spain; I have a black brother in law and a black guy married my niece, the daughter of my brother who married an Italian girl. Love, people. It’s not that hard. And America does it better than anybody else, but we aren’t perfect and occasionally back slide. But the people who promulgate racial disharmony, for whatever reason, I sleep well knowing they lose eventually. It’s a dying industry as we all intermarry, less and less a factor every generation, despite the 24/7 news stations telling me otherwise. We’ll get there. We’re pretty smart and awfully compassionate.
Speaking Love, Dan, in your own words, what is love?
That crazy semi-queasy feeling you get when you can’t stand being away from somebody, your heart racing when you are about to see them, the euphoria you get when you DO see them, and the hating to say goodbye… Deep, slow, soft kisses you wish would never end and you want to go on forever. Heartache over being apart and joy over being together. Something like that.
What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler. He was cutting edge and basically completely wrong about everything. Like most people who know everything.
In your own words, what is truth?
Pure honesty and emotion, put on the page bare and raw and open and hurtable, identifiable in the smallest detail to anyone who sees it, and lasting beyond your ability to stand it.
Dan, this was fun. Thanks for making us laugh and spending this time with us!
Dan Alatorre is the author of numerous best sellers, host of the YouTube video show Writers Off Task With Friends, blogger… and father to a hilarious and precocious daughter, “Savvy” of the bestselling book series Savvy Stories. His novels, short stories, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks have been translated into 12 different languages and are enjoyed around the world.
Dan and his family live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. (If it’s Friday, he’s making pizza, including making the dough and sauce from scratch. Who does that?)
There are 50 questions to choose from. MIX THEM UP and remember that they do not have to be in order. (..because I’m gonna like, mix them up anyway)
When asked what skill you WOULD LIKE to master, be creative. For instance, I would love to learn to play the piano. Stuff like that. (I really would like to learn to play the piano)
Do put some thought into your answers. Give us something interesting and write in complete, detailed sentences. Remember that you’re a storyteller so showcase your personality. I had the opportunity of being interviewed by Best Selling author Dan Alatorre recently. If you are unfamiliar with how text interviews are structured, you can check it outHERE for an example of the format.
RESPOND TO COMMENTS. As a guest on this blog you are only going to get out of it what you put in. Be sure to check back in for comments and questions left for you on the page. When leaving a comment, check the “notify me of new comments” box. It will subscribe you to the comment thread. You’ll get an email every time a new comment comes in. (You can unsubscribe from the thread at any time if it gets overwhelming.)
Share Your Post. Re-blog, pingback, or post it to your blog however fits you and share it on social media. (I think re-blogging is best but any kind of sharing is appreciated.) Again, you are only going to get out of this what you put into it. I can only do so much. (*rewind*) I CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH. Be sure to look out for my emails with the post link BUT DON’T DEPEND ON IT ENTIRELY. Be sure to FOLLOW THIS BLOG and to check in for when your post is published according to the day we have agreed upon. Check in also periodically both on the day of and throughout the week for any commentary left for you on the table. At the end of the day the success of your interview is up to you.
Send high resolution book covers and author photos you’d like me to include in the post. *Send images that belong to you, are of your books or are of you personally*. Google Images or Unsplash images will not be accepted for this feature. We want to see you or your books. I can also not include images if you’d like.
Once you’ve sent your questions in for the interview follow this blog. That will help you to not only see when your interview comes up (aside from me sending you the link) but you can also support the interviews of the other authors.
Support the interviews of other authors. Its not just about you. That said, support the other authors who are featured here. Like and comment on their interviews, share their post, purchase their books if they interest you and follow their blogs. If you support another blogger they may also support you.
What is Introduce Yourself? How can you get involved? New author? Learn more HERE.