Archive for the 'Kindle Fire' Category



Writers as Learners

I’ve had a post lingering in the back of my mind lately. The need to write it developed from some conversations with authors. These haven’t been the good kind of conversations. They’ve mostly been the too-stupid-to-live kind of conversations. Most people publishing books take their craft seriously. The availability of self-publishing platforms (meaning anyone who can type can upload a book to Amazon.com and try to sell it) hasn’t changed this. I repeat: most people publishing books take their craft very seriously. But there are those few, as there are in any profession, who believe that they have nothing to learn. Their books are their brainchildren, and the only reason they aren’t selling well and are getting poor reviews is that people don’t “get” them. Or someone else is out to get them. Whatever.

Before I got around to writing my blog post, someone else did it for me. Did it better, even.

So forget my post. If you’re a writer, you need to read this. Really, really need to read this, instead of making excuses.

http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/keep-learning-so-you-wont-get-stuck-in-the-pits

Have fun.

New Year Blog Hop – PRIZES!

What is a blog hop? That’s when several blog owners link their sites together, and readers win prizes for skipping around and commenting on as many blogs as possible. So pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee, and have at it. Each time you comment on a blog, you are entered to win a Kindle Fire and an $80 gift certificate. Also, those who comment on this blog on January 4 are eligible to win an electronic copy of Vickie Taylor’s upcoming fantasy romance novella, Mother Nature & Father Time, A love (and hate) story.

New Years’ Memories

Blog hops often have themes, and the theme of this one is favorite New Years’ Memories. As I thought back over my life, one memory stood out for me.

My Senior year in high school, Danny asked me to the New Year’s bash at his fraternity. I was beyond excited to be going to my first college party, but I was also nervous. I’d never met Danny in person–just chatted with him online. It took three days of serious shopping, but I finally found the perfect dress, a low-cut black number with white piping that said “mature” witout giving up “sexy.”

The bash was a blast. I hadn’t realized until I got there that it was a masked party. I was handed a little half-face sequined disguise at the door. Luckily the person handing out the masks knew Danny and pointed him out to me, since everyone inside already wore their masks.

Danny and I were a perfect match. We danced, and managed a bit of conversation by shouting over music. At midnight, he told me, a toast would be made, and everyone would remove their masks for a New Year’s kiss.

I couldn’t wait.

The big moment  finally arrived. Champagne in hand, everyone counted down the final seconds of the year.

“Three. Two. One. Happy New Year!”

We clinked glasses and sipped. My heart strummed. I lifted my mask, saw Danny’s lips curve upward beneath his full face piece. Slowly he slid it up from the bottom to reveal …

ZOMBIE!

I spun to run, but one of my three-inch heels caught on the carpet. I tumbled forward into a girl, her face decaying and smelling of death. A bony hand grabbed my ankle from behind and dragged me …

Oh wait … that was a book idea, not a memory. Sometimes I get the two mixed up. 

In reality, New Year’s Day is the most exciting day of the year for me, but not because of any zombie encounters. It’s a time to let go of any mistakes and disappointments from the previous twelve months and contemplate the possibilities ahead. Clean slate.

I look forward to 2012 with as much anticipation as I’ve ever felt. I’ve made some big changes in my life, career-wise, and I can’t wait to share them with you in the form of books. I have three romance novellas coming out on Amazon.com in January, and then I will be starting a cozy mystery series that I can’t wait to tell you about (but I’m going to, because I want it to be a surprise).

Happy New Year, everyone!

click here for links to the other participating web logs! Win a Kindle Fire and an $80 Amazon.com gift certificate.

Predictions for 2012 for writers and readers – Part 2

Yesterday I put in writing my predictions for writers in 2012. As promised, today I’m going to consult my crystal ball to get some insight into what readers will see. (Mist swirling in ball. Vickie straightening turban, murmuring magic words and drinking wine. Much wine)

Magic Eight Ball Crystal ball says nothing. Or at least not much.

And that’s the way it should be. Sometimes writers forget that readers don’t see the man behind the curtain the way we do.  Sit in a bookstore and watch and listen to the customers (try not to get arrested for stalking). Hang in some reader forums if you can find any that haven’t been taken over by hungry writers.

Most readers have no idea what’s happening in the publishing industry, nor do they care. Most readers can’t tell a traditionally published book from a self-published book, nor do they care. Most readers don’t know what midlist is or what a fair digital royalty rate is. Nor do they care.

Therefore, the changes that seem world-altering to authors will be subtle or non-existent to readers. A few of the more observant may notice the differences below, but most probably will not.

  1. Bookstore closures will slow. Now that the Borders are gone, the few remaining (Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-a-million, and a few hardy independents) will batten the hatches and try to ride out the storm. Sure, we may lose a few more, but the mass closures of 2011 should not recur. So people will still be able to drive to a bricks-and-mortar store and buy books, though they may have to drive a bit further.
  2. A-list authors and breakouts like Roberts, Patterson, Rowling, King, S. Collins will gain percentage of shelf space in discount stores like WalMart as fewer midlist and new authors appear (see yesterdays predictions for writers to understand why). But the change will be gradual, and therefore go unnoticed by many readers.
  3. A few names readers are accustomed to seeing and buying won’t be found on the shelves. Last week alone, I spoke to three midlist authors who are abandoning traditional publishing to go the indie route. Hopefully their readers will find them online.
  4. Readers will continue to be inundated with e-reader ads. Sales will slow a bit after the Christmas rush, but there will still be an uptrend in electronic reading adoption. Other readers will continue to hold out. Unfortunately, their reading choices will gradually shrink as midlist authors jump ship and publishing houses begin offering e-book only lines for their newer talent. But again, the change will be so slow that I doubt many readers will notice.
  5. Books will be cheaper than ever for those who do adopt electronic reading. They’ll find so many books ranging from free to $2.99 that they will never have to buy a more expensive book again if they don’t want to.
  6. Among those cheap books, there will be bad books. Readers will have to become adept at sorting the wheat from the chaff in order to get the most out of their reading time. There will also be so-so books and many great books.
  7. Retailer tools will continue to improve to help readers find the great books.
  8. Readers will band together through social media just as authors have. They will share reviews and recommendations and price deals to help with that chaff sorting.
  9. Readers who embrace electronic reading will find a wider range of stories and voices than ever before available to them.
  10. Readers will continue to love great stories, and support the authors who write them.

Those are my predictions. Guess I’ll check back at the end of 2012 and see how I did.

Meanwhile…hang in there…coming soon to Amazon.com, my new romantic fantasy novella:

5 Christmas Gifts for Writers (that won’t cost you a dime)

The publishing business has changed for authors. Used to be, you signed on with a publisher, your book got printed and placed in bookstores or grocery markets, and authors anxiously sat back and waited for readers to pluck their paperback babies up and head to the checkout.

Not so, now. Authors are expected to promote their books and have a “platform”–an online presence. Life or death for an author’s career can depend on how visible she is in the cyber world.

The business has changed for readers as well. Where once they wandered the aisles of a brick-and-mortar store for their next read, now they click through websites. Where once they judged their potential purchase on the cover, back cover blurb, and maybe a scan of the first few pages, now they have customer reviews and ratings to guide them.

If you’d like to give an author a Christmas gift that won’t cost you a dime, but will mean the world to him or her, here are a few suggestions:

1) If you read and enjoy a book, go to Amazon.com or bn.com (Barnes & Noble) and enter a review–even if you bought it in a physical store. Reviews= life to an author’s career.

2) Tweet a link to the book or post it on your Facebook status to your online friends letting them know you enjoyed the book.

3) Find the author’s blog and leave a comment there letting her know how much you enjoyed the book

4) Mention the book in your own blog if you have one, and link back to the author’s blog and the book.

5) Email the author and let her know you enjoyed the book. A personal message is sure to brighten an author’s day.

Now–go forth and make Christmas, everyone! Happy Holidays to all!

Coming Christmas day to Amazon.com, a fantasy romance novella:

Tablet e-readers: Good or bad for the book biz?

I’ve been watching with great interest the release of the new Kindle Fire tablet e-reader as well as that of the upcoming Nook Tablet. Is seems as if everyone is counting on these devices to lead us into the next generation of reading. I haven’t ordered one (yet). I want to actually get my hands on each and compare and contrast them before making a decision, so I’ll wait until they are available in stores. I have to wonder, though, will these tablets really be as good for the book business as everyone is touting?

I have an old-fashioned Kindle. It’s gray. It’s kind of boring looking. It has some limited functionality for games and Internet browsing, but…well it’s gray and boring. This may be bad for those who want to use their e-readers for a variety of activities. It is good for those who want to read.

I worry that with colorful, powerful new tablets in hand, potential readers may be seduced into browsing the web, watching video, and playing games instead of reading. It will be interesting to see if the reader with a new Kindle Fire buys as many books as she did on her plain, boring Kindle, or if she’ll dawdle away all that potential reading time playing on Facebook.

What do you think? Will tablets continue the charge of e-reading, or hurt e-book sales?


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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