CHRISTMAS TREE BOOKSI hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!

I wish you peace, joy, happiness and much reading and writing success!

I hope you get some reading time in!

What books did you receive or choose with a gift card?

What books did you gift?

What are you looking forward to reading in the coming New Year?





Keep These Tips in Mind When Considering Self-Publishing a Book

10/14/2016 12:44 pm ET | Updated Oct 14, 2016

What factors should I keep in mind if I want to self-publish a book? originally appeared on Quorathe knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including In Twenty Years, on Quora:

When asked about self-publishing, my honest answer is that I think self-publishing is a very tricky beast, and while it seems like the easy way to go, unless you are a writer in a specific genre (romance, for example), I think it can lead to disappointment. I opted to self-publish my fifth novel because I thought I could do a better job on it than a traditional publisher after my discouraging experience with my fourth book. I was listless and unhappy with the shifting winds of the publishing world, and I already had a pretty good built-in audience, so I wanted to give it a go.

Because I’d had all the experience within the publishing world, I put the book through all the paces that it would have gone through had I opted for a traditional publisher. I hired a veteran editor, I hired the designer who did my jackets at Random House, I did extensive copy-edits and galleys, etc. The finished product wasn’t much different than what would have come out of a traditional publisher, and I think that’s really critical: just because you’re self-publishing doesn’t mean that it can be amateurish or unpolished. Also, I think it is super, super, super important to go through a very hearty editing process. One thing that is very difficult to learn is when your book is really done. Even now, on my seventh book, I probably go through five or six rewrites, and I think that with self-publishing, it’s too easy to just upload something that isn’t ready to be put out into the world.

From there, you still have marketing to deal with. I think aspiring self-published authors underestimate how difficult it can be to get eyeballs and readership (again, certain genres do well, so this isn’t a blanket statement). I had a film deal and a lot of press to help me out, so I felt secure with it, but, for example, when it came time to consider how to handle my new novel without having locked in a film deal, I wasn’t sure that I had the reach to sell as many copies as I hoped, and ultimately, I chose not to self-publish again. Competing for readership is very difficult in this crowded marketplace, so my advice is to really consider how you will do that and to have a plan. I seem to recall that the average self-published book sells fewer than five hundred copies. That’s your friends and family, and that’s not enough. So be sure that you have done your research and have a marketing plan beyond posting it on Facebook.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Social media in the writing, reading and book reviewing world. Yes, it is a great outlet for Authors and bloggers, and readers are always finding new books to read.

But when is it too much?

When I first started my Book Reviewing blog, I also created a Facebook Page, Twitter, Google+, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Instagram and Pinterest…

Not including the places I am required to post my reviews, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, NetGalley, sometimes Smashwords, and the publishers page.

I knew I was missing other Social Networks, but I thought these were enough.

It turns out, they were too much.

Now some disagree, and I understand both sides of the social networking coin, but sometimes it is too much noise.

As a mostly introvert, I enjoy Social Media. It allows me to socialize without actually going out or changing from my Yoga pants. I can also multi-task or simply walk away from it when there is something I have to do, or I am just done socializing for the moment.


Between all of the messages and chat boards and my own posts, it was too much.

I know some people have a schedule for their Prime Times of social impact, but I do not live that kind of life where I can schedule, although I have found scheduling blog posts and FB page posts to be very useful.

But you know what I miss between the Tweets and Re-Tweets?

I miss the connection. The reason for all of these apps on my phone.

The Social Connection.

I started blogging because I love to read and write, and I love helping Authors get noticed.

But what I am loving the most, are the connections and friendships I am making with these Authors.

The ones who message me and can tell me their book got some more sales and great reviews, and they don’t even have to tell me the title because I KNOW that Author and their book.

I love encouraging them to not give up when it seems no one is interested in their book or they got a crappy review.

I also enjoy the GoodReads and FB Groups I am a part of, and it is nice to actually have time to interact with people instead of racing around the internet making sure I have posted my most recent reviews all over the place.

I understand getting out there and getting your work noticed is important and your audience is stretched out all over the planet, but personally, I am finding limiting the Social Networks I use, has improved my audience.

I gave up LibraryThing because it is similar to GoodReads but wasn’t as productive for me.

I also gave up Google+. It just wasn’t for me, and I never took the time to understand it. My feedback from Google+ was next to none.

What works for one doesn’t work for all.

So, go ahead, use all of the Social Networks you want. I know many of you are more adept at it than I will ever be.

Just keep in mind…



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One of my biggest peeves lately that I’ve noticed in the Indie Author world, are readers asking for free copies.

Yeah, yeah, I know…this comes from a Blogger who gets books for free.

but wait…

I also purchase from these Authors, because it is only fair. Yes, I am receiving a free copy in exchange for my time to read, review, and promote their book, but honestly…their prices range from 99 cents to 4.99 at most that I’ve seen.

But I digress…

It seems many readers lack respect for Indie Authors.

Do they understand how brutal the publishing world is?

As a freelance writer, I’ve had many of my colleagues tell me that Publishers aren’t even giving manuscripts from new writers a second glance unless they can see a future movie and action figures.

I had a ‘friend’ recently say this to me:

“Just write the book, send it off and there you go.”

That was an EXACT quote.

But this is the same friend who told me it must be nice to be a Freelance writer because “they tell you what to write.”

The trend I am seeing, is readers returning books that show they have read 100% of!

They are also reaching out to Indie Authors for free books, because “they are poor and can’t afford books.”

Why is writing not appreciated as work?

Has the world romanticized writing?

I think many readers see Authors waking up slowly and gently in the morning, walking into the kitchen and feeding the cat while they wait for coffee to brew.

Then the Author goes to their front porch (wraparound with an amazing view of a lake of course, and let’s add some pretty flowers, singing birds…oh, and a weeping willow tree.)

And, after the first cup of coffee, the Author wanders to their desk and magically writes a book!

What many readers do not see:

Overslept, late for work (perhaps trying to get Children out the door?)

Traffic jams, bad day at work (because so far writing isn’t paying the bills.)

Grocery shopping, paying bills, housework, laundry, oops time to cook dinner.

Help the kids with homework? What kind of math are they teaching them?

Get things ready for the next day, and MAYBE find a few minutes to write…


that ‘great idea’ you had while in your car, has somehow disappeared!

Would readers contact their favorite best-selling Author, tell them they are poor and ask the author for their books?

Unfortunately, I think some of them would.

Writing is blood, sweat and tears. Many, many tears.

It is frustration, disappointment and all sorts of negative things.

But writing chooses us, we don’t choose writing.

It can be both a gift and a curse.

But oh what a calling and a gift it truly is, even on the worst of writing days!

I just wish more readers would appreciate it for what it truly is.

Hard work.

Good luck, and keep writing!

January Gray


©January Gray and January Gray Reviews, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to January Gray and January Gray Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

January Gray Reviews is an Independent blog and is not affiliated with any Publisher, Agent, Promoter or Book Seller. January Gray Reviews does not make any guarantee to increased exposure or an increase in book sales due to reviewing/blogging and sharing your book(s), Author Spotlights, Cover Reveals, Giveaways and anything else associated with the exposure of your book. January Gray Reviews gives unbiased reviews and does not receive any form of payment or gift from the Author, or anyone requesting the review. Receiving a free book in exchange for review does not influence nor bias the opinions or reviews posted. This exchange of free book-free review (including blog posts and social networking posts), is considered fair and even trade by both the Reviewer and Author (and/or other involved party requesting review.)

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