Very informative post. This could be why one of my Renaissance reviews went missing even though I have never (and would never) buy a review and have so far followed all of Amazon’s review rules. They are cracking down. I agree with the idea that reviews should be spread out, left not just on Amazon but also on places like B&N and Kobo if the author is there. I suppose this would also mean that authors would probably want to consider publishing on these other platforms as well, instead of just on Amazon.
You can find some of this same information under the about section of this blog but, let’s be real: How many of you read my about page before following this blog? Exactly. So, welcome newcomers and old comers alike! I am here to answer the question I am sure has been burning on your conscious, why is my blog name so…weird?
To get the full understanding, I should give a little background on what PBS is short for and what it means.
PBS is short for Pearls Before Swine and is a term that comes from Matthew 7:6 of the bible:
Mat 7:6 “Do not give what is set-apart to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
In this context, pearls are symbolic of the word, truth. It’s precious, delicate, and priceless. A pig, on the other hand, is a filthy and unclean animal. Anything you put in front of a pig he will either eat it or step over it. When you give a pair of pearls to someone who wants it they will accept it, protect it and value it. But, if you give a pair of pearls to a pig he will tear it apart. Some people are pigs and will not accept what you have to offer. When you give people the truth not everyone will value it or take care of it. Some people will take their disagreements and turn their anger on you. It’s like buying my husband a very costly watch and he rejects it. When this happens, you step back and not allow yourself to be put in a situation in which a pig will trample your pearls. If he doesn’t want the watch, it’s going back. (No, my husband is not a pig but this was too good of an example to waste lol)
In short, if people don’t want the truth, don’t force it on them because the truth is precious and should be protected. Thus, “don’t cast your pearls before swine.”
It gets a bit heated on this blog sometimes as many of my posts are considered controversial by some. I am the kind of person who, if the majority says the sky is blue, I will say that the sky is really black. That it is only blue because of the sun’s light reflecting off the water and that when the sun sets we see the sky for what it really is, black. Needless to say, very rarely do I agree with the majority. I don’t say much but what I am passionate about I will speak up on. I will not shy away from the truth and bite my tongue on what needs to be said because people’s feelings are hurt or because it makes them uncomfortable. I don’t scratch my head unless it itches and I don’t dance unless I hear music and nine times out of ten, not even then. (because, like, you can be humble and firm at the same time…stand for something or fall for anything.) In the words of Nina Simone, “you can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”, and here I strive to reflect the times, no matter how ugly that reflection may be.
That said, due to the controversial nature of some of my topics it’s important for me to remember not to “cast my pearls before swine”, that is, not to argue back and forth with people who have already rejected the information. You can’t make people believe anything so I am not here to force anyone to agree with me, see my point or slap me on the back. I am not here for praise or applause. I am here, to tell the truth. Thus, PBS is a reminder to me of why I am here and what I must do.
All of this said, it took me a while to accept this as the name of my blog, to not conform to what others were saying a blog should be and not to change my blog name once I learned more about blogs (which I am tempted to do at the beginning of every year. To change my blog name, not to change my blog name…that is always the question!)
I chose this name in the beginning without the revelation of what I’ve just told you. In the beginning, I chose it simply because when I started this blog in 2014, I had just published a book by the same name. I didn’t know what this blog would become much less put thought into changing the title to something that sounded more “writerly.” In the end, I decided to keep the name to further set myself apart. I am after-all a bible believer and I also love to write symbolically, objectively, and metaphorically; being able to compare objects or use them as symbols to stand-in for a deeper meaning. Like they say if you want the truth of something it’s always just beneath the surface. I am proud that my blog name reflects that. Like me, this blog is more than what you see on the surface.
“Because Truth is Stranger Than Fiction”
When I first started this blog someone reached out to me. They said that I had made a mistake. They thought I had meant to say that truth is stronger than fiction. No. I did not mean stronger. I meant stranger.
“Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” isn’t just a fancy tagline put together by a writer of fiction; not something I dug up between the inspirations of Mark Twain. What it seeks to communicate is the notion that nothing we can create can be as unusual as what we are bound to find in real life, and speaks metaphorically of the unsettling realness of truth. The “strangeness” of reality. You think something is weird until you find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes. You think my blog name is weird until you understand what it means.
Mission, Purpose Goal
My mission for the existence of this blog is to spread truth by way of the written word and spoken word by any means necessary. Whether we are talking biblical truths, historical truths. Writerly/Authorly truths or my own personal truths. To paint poetic justice against the backdrop of heavy keystrokes. To paint poetic justice means to use my writing as an underground railroad to freedom. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope that my writing (in whatever form that may be…my books, poetry or this blog) can provide a road-map. Of course, this isn’t easy to do considering the heavy misinformation, deception, and religious ideologies that have enslaved us for so long. These are the heavy keystrokes.
Here you will find:
- Articles (various topics)
- Creative Writing
- Indie Author / Self-Publishing Tips
- Blog Tips
- Inspirational Quotes
- Biblical Analysis
- Black History
- Music / Throwback Jams
So there you have it, that’s why my blog name is weird!
Title: The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors
Author: Anne R. Allen
Print Length: 176 pages
Publisher: Kotu Beach Press
Publication Date: December 4, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*
*Due to the high volume of reads I am behind on, reviews will no longer be restricted to Fridays. I will be publishing reviews on whatever day I get them out until I am caught up*
Anne R. Allen is no stranger to the blogging world. Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017. Her advice and suggestions are shared daily by bloggers and authors such as myself. As her book is targeted, I am a busy Author but I also love to blog. Blogging. It has become one of the things I must incorporate into my schedule. I love interacting with the WordPress platform, networking with other authors, readers, and bloggers and being able to share my post on social media. In short, if there was a book out there for busy author bloggers, I am definitely one of them which is why I definitely knew I was going to need this book. I was not disappointed.
This book is extremely easy to understand which I think makes the “Easy” in the title so critical. It helps to guide those authors who are new to blogging in a way that leaves no stone unturned. Whether it is Blogger or WordPress, if you are an author (even if you’re not a busy one) Allen’s book will give you the tools you need to make blogging part of your platform. What I loved most of all is the information on how an author blog is different than a business blog. I also enjoyed the part on writing an author bio, which I applied immediately. What I loved least is some of the information on author newsletters.
While I don’t think everyone should do it at all (and I also agree with the author on some of the focus of some newsletters), I still think the email list can be beneficial for staying in communication with an author’s target audience. While my blog is more interactive and people can subscribe and also get email notifications of new posts, the email list helps me to organize exactly who the people are who are subscribed. I do not think the email list is for hard-selling (it doesn’t work) or anything most people tell you it is for but I do think it can be helpful to know who your supporters are more intimately. I love my blog. I have more interaction, feedback and more subscribers but I don’t know who everyone is, who is actually reading my content or what percentage of them are no longer paying attention. With an email list, I know exactly who is active, who is inactive, who clicks links, who open emails and who doesn’t. People who are no longer interested can also unsubscribe, giving me, even more, insight into the people who care and the people who do not care.
Nonetheless, there are still some really good pointers here so my disagreement with this part didn’t downgrade my thoughts on the book. Allen brings up some good pointers, such as: not using your list to advertise hard sell, promote or spam. How blogs show up on search engines, can be shared on social media and is interactive. I also like that she brings up the Street Team newsletter where everyone is treated as members of the author’s team to help to review and promote the work. I don’t like the idea either and have always thought there should be a separate list for this.
I wouldn’t recommend this book just for busy authors. I recommend this book for author bloggers in general. It’s an easy read and gives all the tools you need to start your author blog today.
Entertainment Factor: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Anne R. Allen is the author of nine comic novels. THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, and THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER are available singly or in a boxed set called BOOMER WOMEN. She’s also the author of the hilarious Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, and THE QUEEN OF STAVES. She is currently published by Kotu Beach Press.
She also has a collection of short stories and verses called WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.
She’s the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Amazon #1 seller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Her latest book is THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.
Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017.
Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the foggy Central Coast of California with an imaginary cat and a lot of fictional people.
What a pleasant surprise. Just found out this blog is listed on Reedsy’s Best Book Review Blogs of 2017. Neat. ☺
If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, please register your book through my Book Review Registry HERE. I do not accept unsolicited submissions.
(I always use a disclaimer at the front end of any review to books in which I have not bought / given as gifts. Bought books that show as reviewed on this blog, of course, does not have the disclaimer and does not count toward the ‘unsolicited submission’. I know, this is obvious information but you never know.)
Failure to register will automatically disqualify you from consideration. You must register your book if you want me to consider reviewing it. Emailing me your book does not count.
“It’s not just because she reviewed my novelette, All Good Stories, and gave it 5 stars, I’m writing about her because she gives great (and helpful) reviews. In a market, so full, it’s hard to choose what to read, isn’t it? We really need reviews these days that go beyond the minimalistic, “I liked it,” to know what we’re investing our money in. Because money doesn’t grow on trees. Neither do books anymore, for that matter.”
– Linda G. Hill, author, All Good Stories.
(To support the authors featured on this blog (or those who have been featured in my email), go to my Indie Author page here. All reviewed books are listed there. Introduce Yourself Interview Authors will be listed soon.)
I didn’t intend on posting again today but one of my favorite authors posted something to her IG that sparked something I had to share. As you see above, this author is Bernice McFadden and this is her sharing the rejection letters she received for her novel Sugar. I have this book as well as her novels This Bitter Earth, Glorious and I’d like to get my hands on Nowhere is a Place and The Book of Harlan but I digress. Needless to say, the writing is on point. Long story short, you all know that Sugar has gone on to do very well despite the 75 (yes, seventy-five…let that settle) rejection letters. For Indie Authors, we may not be looking for publishers, but we have rejection letters too. I want to encourage you not to give up when you get one:
Negative Reviews – One of our most obvious rejection letters is the negative review. While all authors, no matter how they are published, get negative reviews, for the Indie Author it can feel like the ultimate rejection. Not from a publisher or agent but from the people who we slave so hard for, Readers. When a reader rejects a book it can really put a damper (who says that?) on an author’s mood. But, think about being rejected 75 times. Would you have tried for the 76th? The next time you get a bad review, think of McFadden and how important it is not to quit on the vision. If McFadden had given up, there would be no Sugar.
No Reviews – I came into the game (for lack of a better term though I hate using it. This ain’t a game lol) late because I did not start publishing my books with Amazon in the beginning. I also did not have much insight or people around who could help me to understand this growing industry. That said, reviews weren’t very important to me (neither was Amazon for that matter). However, we are all aware by now how important book reviews are to Indie Authors. But what if you don’t have any? Or very little? This can feel like a real let down and crush an Indie Author’s mood. Especially when their peers have over one hundred and they only have one or two. I am not saying to look at what every one else is doing, not at all. But I’d be lying if I said no reviews on a book doesn’t feel bad. We’ve all been there so let’s just keep it all the way real. No reviews can feel like the ultimate rejection. Honest reviews help to prove that an author’s work is worth reading which means that none can be a real let down. A real rejection. I tell you to think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters and ask yourself if you were her, would you try again? Would you still want to write if you had 75 bad reviews? Sheesh. That can make one depressed! Lol. But, I am showing you that it’s the same thing for Indie Authors who are their own publishers and thus rely on the social proof of readers to help people to see that they really aren’t bragging about themselves.
No Sales – And of course, need I not leave out the ultimate rejection letter for Indies, no sales! Nothing screams rejection like no one buying your book. Does that mean you should stop writing? Of course not. My first novel is full of mistakes (which is why I took it off market for now lol) but if I had not published the first book, mediocre as it was, there would not have been a tenth. My point is, just keep writing and keep trying. You know you are close to the mountaintop when everyone starts to fall off. When people start giving up, that’s when you’re close. When you feel like giving up, that is when you should push the hardest. It means you are almost there. I am not saying this to sound all “cliche”. I am saying it because it’s real. My husband was just telling me I am too hard on myself and I’d like to extend the encouragement your way. Especially since we didn’t have a “No Whining Wednesday” today 🙂
So, there you have it. Three Rejection Letters Indie Authors receive. When you get one, think of McFadden’s 75 rejection letters. That had to be depressing at some point but she kept at it and so should you.
Do you know of any more “rejection letters?” Tell us about them! What was the most heartbreaking of your rejection letters? How did you recover from it?
Don’t forget that there are tons of people willing to help to spread the word about your awesome authorness! Including me. My Introduce Yourself Interviews for authors will pick back up next week. However, I am in need of authors for August! It’s a free opportunity to let us get to know more about you and your books. Click Here to learn more. Again, it’s FREE and I must say, the Introduce Yourself features do very well in views. Many of them are the top viewed on this blog which means these authors get a lot of shine! All genres welcomed. (Those of you who have already been featured, if you have updates, new books coming out, let me know so we can do an update post).
Title: The Stranger
Author: Joan Hall
Print Length: 102 pages
Publication Date: October 21, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
The Stranger is a short read about a woman named Julie Williams, the owner of Uncommon Grounds coffee shop, the wife of a loving man and two grown children who are doing well for themselves. Julie’s life is stable and put together and everything seems fine except the feelings Julie has of her mother.
Margie Smith has just passed and there are only a few people at her funeral. As the minister gives his words, it becomes apparent that both Julie and her husband did not like Margie. She is remembered as a mean woman who cared about only herself. Not only does Julie and Mark feel this way, but even Stella Green, the nurse who worked for Margie, found the woman difficult. It seems Margie was just a mean woman and I enjoyed trying to figure out why as the author gave bits and pieces of her persona. Meanwhile, someone is watching as Julie leaves the cemetery and he seems to have just as much disdain for Margie as she does.
Since the book is short I’ll leave it here. It’s a fast paced read and I enjoyed trying to figure out who The Stranger was following Julie. I thought the feelings she had toward her mother started to get a tad repetitive and Julie was starting to get annoying with it. I just wanted her to let it go because it didn’t seem that deep. However, this too plays into the mysterious feel of the novel. Who was Margie Smith really?
I’m starting to really enjoy these psychological reads and was excited to have caught onto The Stranger’s identity ahead of time which I gave myself cool points for. (It was like a mental game lol) The Stranger is a tad predictable for me personally and I wanted more on Julie’s mother. However, an overall enjoyable read. You can’t go wrong with a book that’s short, well written and to the point.
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Overall: 4 / 5
The Stranger is available now on Amazon
Be sure to follow Joan online!
Author Website: http://www.joanhall.net/
Twitter Handle: @JoanHallWrites
Regrettably, I am not going to make it to the convention. I’ve tried as best I could but it’s just not feasible. I did, however, make it to Florida and am so far enjoying spending time with the family. Upon my return home, I will have the results of the Thunderclap campaign as promised and my thoughts on the overall experience from set-up to launch.
For now, I’m still celebrating the launch and feeling great. I’d like to take this time while I am sitting here and announce the winners of The Nora White Giveaway. If you didn’t win, no worries, I am anticipating another, more organized, giveaway real soon.
Without further ado, here are our winners:
You have won one paperback copy of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One), signed by me with matching bookmark and my author seal as well as a $10 Amazon Gift-card. You will be contacted through email with more information on receiving your prizes. Congrats again!
In the meantime, stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of Introduce Yourself. I will be traveling but the author is going to hold it down. She is a wealth of information. You don’t want to miss it.
Until next time, peace
(Yellow for the Sunshine State…yesss lol)