Too many books? Puh-shaw!

The first stack of my BTR pile, aka Books To Read.

The first stack of my BTR pile, aka Books To Read.

“Book Blogging” seems to be a popular topic now, which means I’ll probably try it in a few years. I may be an early adopter as far as tech toys go, but when it comes to other trends, I am usually a day behind and often a dollar (or more) short. Case in point: I only recently started to tweet here. Still getting the hang of that one. Pinterest? Fairly new, but on there here. As for Instagram? So far, not enough days in the week left open. But I digress from the original thought – what is this book blogging anyway and should I do it?

Simply put, book blogging is where you read a book and then post a review. Sounds easy enough. Of course, as my old marketing professor would say, it’s always about dollars and cents. True, many book bloggers, once they reach a certain level of readership, will start to receive ARCs, or advanced reader’s copies from publishers. The idea is you get a free book before the general public can purchase one, and the publisher and author get free and early advertising which, in a perfect world, increases sales.

There is a dark side, however. Maybe not exactly dark. More like a dim side, I guess. Depends on your point of view. Affiliate sales are the little links and ads the reader might select after reading the review. Click on the link enough times and the blogger receives a few pennies. Click on the link and then actually buy a book? The blogger gets a small percentage of the sale. The more popular the book blog, the more likely you will see these affiliate sales links.

Is this bad? Not really. For some bloggers, this is necessary income. The rub comes in when a blogger pushes a mediocre book as “a must read” in hopes of gaining those affiliated sales. Should this happen? No. Do most book bloggers participate in such deception? No. But does it happen? Well, as one man once told me – if you can think of it, then someone on the Internet is doing it and making money by doing it.

As for me? I would love free books. Who wouldn’t? But until I get through my “just had to buy this book and I’ll get to it soon, really, I promise” pile, I’ll need to beg off this book blogging trend. As they used to say – ain’t got time for that. See how timely I am with the popular catch phrases? Told you.

Any way, if book blogging is your thing, more power to you. I’ll try to stop by and read a few of your reviews. Put a link to your site in the comment section and I’ll help spread the love.

Until then, in between writing recipes for The Milk Chocolate Murders, and outlining the follow-on book – The Wedding Cake Witness, I will stick to reducing my collection of BTRs – books to read. The photo at the top should tell you how long this may take. And that photo doesn’t include the books I have stashed at work to be read at lunch. Or the other books sitting in the bedroom. Or the unabridged volume of work by some guy named Poe.

As soon as I get through these books, I’ll consider acquiring more. Unless I find myself in a bookstore, in which case all bets are off.

Don’t wait up. This could take a while…


Free and Worth Every Penny

Ever do something on a whim? Sometimes it works – other times not. Now that I think about it, whims are often put in the same realm as double dog dares. Those never end well. Semantics aside, here are a few of the more notable whim-inspired disasters behaviors I have seen in the past:

– One guy drank a bottle of ketchup – just before he had to sit on a plane for about 10 hours. Fortunately, no one else needed to use the small aft restroom on that flight. (No, it wasn’t me.)

– One guy bet he could best the competition in a drinking contest in which the winner was the person who became nauseous first. (Again, not me, but I was a witness.)

– One guy talked his friends into hanging onto a rope – a rope attached to a helicopter flying 800 feet over the beautiful hills of Southern California. (Of course not me – but I was, ahem, one of the friends…)

Notice how these whims are all “guy” oriented? I am sure women do no such whimsical activities, unless protocol is voided by going directly to the triple dog dare; but that is another story.

My latest whim? The “free” business card from Vista Print. In case you are wondering, the free card cost about $18.90 including tax and shipping. Okay, so I know I should have issue with the term free, but the card turned out well. And in Vista Print’s defense, you can get cards for just the cost of shipping. But – now I have something to hand out at my coffee shop central urban writing center. It’s not a bottle of ketchup, I know, but I think it’s cool.  Here’s an image (slightly cantered due to my “excellent” camera skills…

Biz Card




Home-based Business 101

One of the editorial assistants...

In honor of this past Labor Day, I have seriously started to labor on my newest writing venture, a newsletter/e-zine. Not a lot of start-up cost and the potential for profit is small, but it should be fun to create and who knows – it may just turn out to be worth reading!

The business plan is a fairly simple one. I have most of the parts, just not all in one place. You gotta have one, though. Biz plans help you know where you want to go, how you might get there, and how you will know “if” you get there. Besides, it always helps to know when you are losing money. But let’s think positively!

This week: try to finish the Publisher file that will eventually become the website.

Next week: more work on the e-zine file itself, also in Publisher, finishing the template.

By the end of September, if all goes well, I will have registered the domain name, set up the website, rented the P.O. Box (if the postal service is still in business, that is) and filed for the LLC and the local biz license.

That means starting in October – I will send out the call for submissions. But hey, if you write mysteries, and your short story features a detective/sleuth, why wait? Start checking for grammar, missing plot points and nebulous POV now!

Oh, yes. The authors that are published will be compensated. That means I will send them money. For their writing. Really. It won’t be much, but something is better than nothing! If you don’t have a story written yet – get going! 3,500 words or less, please.

Stay tuned!