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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Pattison, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 15 of 15
1. Arkansas Literary Festival: Cocktails, Glossolalia, and Orphaned Pumas

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Vagabonds by Darcy Pattison


by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends May 09, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Cocktail Party – Author! Author!

Friday night, I went to the Author! Author! party with Carla McClafferty, my author friend. We chatted with local radio celebrity, Ann Nichols, host of KUAR’s Art Scene show.

Mcclafferty Nichols

Arkansas author, Carla McClafferty, and KUAR radio “Art Scene” host, Ann Nichols.

Of course, they had good food.

Author! Author! Cocktail party at the AR Literary Festival.

Author! Author! Cocktail party at the AR Literary Festival.

Arkansas author Erica Taylor was accompanied to the party by her husband, Middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor. Here’s his plate.

Middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor's plate at the Author! Author! Cocktail party, AR Literary Festival.

Middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor’s plate at the Author! Author! Cocktail party, AR Literary Festival.

If you read my first blog post about the Arkansas Literary Festival, you know that I featured 71-year old Catherine Coutler’s legs. Here, I am confessing that I wrote about her; Carla, Catherine and I also tried to outdo each other by telling horror stories about author visits.

Arkansas author, Darcy Pattison talking with Catherine Coulter.

Arkansas author, Darcy Patti son talking with Catherine Coulter.

Catherine also talked about the process of working with co-writer J.T. Ellison on her new Brit in the FBI series. Like James Patterson and Clive Cussler, Catherine is looking to establish several ongoing series by using cowriters. She said that she firmly believes in paying a co-writer well; of course, being an instant NY Times bestseller is also an incentive for a co-writer. Catherine is usually a panster, writing with no outline. For this series, though, she and J.T. sat down and planned out the next 90 or so scenes and the story has pretty much stayed on track. It is possible to learn a new writing strategy, even after 70 books.

Would you be interested in co-writing with a NY Time best-selling author? Why or why not?

Speed Dating for Authors

For me, the second day of the Arkansas Literary Festival kicked off on Saturday with a Treasure Hunt at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library, a gorgeous new facility dedicated to children’s literature and children.

We describe the Treasure Hunt as “speed-dating for authors.” Kids go from station to station, looking for clues, and of course, there is a treasure (snack and small gift) at the end. In the past, the speed dating has had ten minutes at each station, and then a bell rings to move kids to the next station. This time, kids were just set free to complete the treasure hunt at his/her own speed.

For authors, this didn’t work well and I hope we’ll go back to ten minute sessions next year. For example, one boy who was the right age for my ABAYOMI book breezed through, totally focused on gathering clues and getting the prize at the end. He was probably the first to finish in record time–but he saw none of the books and talked to no authors. If the setup had allowed ten minutes per station, he might have been pulled into a couple of great books that were unfamiliar to him.

Still–it was a great morning with kids, and I was so busy, I took no pictures.

Short Stories

I wanted to attend at least one session on Saturday and chose to go see David Jauss, author and writing teacher. He teaches at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Vermont College and is the author of one of the most amazing books on how-to-write: On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About the Craft. His essay on point-of-view is unconventional, but brilliant. I used his ideas as the basis of a 3-post discussion of POV in The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery. I had never met Jauss and wanted to hear him.

Jauss and author Cary Holladay were talking about short stories and both read interesting selections. Then, the moderator asked, “How do you know when a story is done?”

For Holladay, she intuitively knows when a story is done, because it wraps up something and just feels done. Jauss posed an interesting question. At first, he quipped, “A story is done when you die.”

But he went on to point out that some writers feel a published story should be archived at the moment of publication as an expression of where the writer was at that point of his/her career. However, Jauss feels its his duty to improve his stories each time it may be published. One short story has seen print about seven times in various journals or anthologies and each time, he tweaks it.

Where do you stand? After a story is published, would you tweak it again when it is republished?

Arkansas Author, David Jauss talking about his story story collection, Glossolalia

Arkansas Author, David Jauss talking about his story story collection, Glossolalia

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

For my author session about ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub, I was at the Witt Stephens Nature Center. Situated right on the Arkansas River, just a block east of the Main Library for the Central Arkansas Library System and a block west of the Clinton Presidential Library, it’s a jewel of a place that is dedicated to the wildlife in the state.

Arkansas author, Darcy Pattison discussing her new book, Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma.

Arkansas author, Darcy Pattison discussing her new book, Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma.

My last session was about self-publishing. As a hybrid author, I now have lots of sources and information for those just starting the indie process. Here’s my handout for the session. IndiePublishing-2014LitFestival.

I saw a tiny slice of the festival this year, which featured over 85 authors. Still, it was an intensive and fun two days and i am already looking forward to next year’s festival.

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2. Heights and Depths: A Writing Life

In the space of a week, I’ve gone from the heights to the depths.

First, the good news.

Last week, I was thrilled to learn that my book, Wisdom, the Midway Albatross was given a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. This book has defied all the odds–just as Wisdom has done.

“. . .Pattison writes crisply and evocatively, and her closing notes provide a wealth of information and resources for readers interested in Wisdom and her fellow albatrosses.” Publisher’s Weekly 2/18/13

The story is about a 60+ year-old albatross who lives on Midway Island and survived the Japanese tsunami. For over 60 years, she has soared over the North Pacific, only coming to shore to breed. Scientists estimate that she has hatched over 35 chicks, including one each year for the last five years. Last year’s chick was named Wonder and this year’s chick–just a couple weeks old now–was named Mana’olana, Hawaiian for Hope. Yes, a 62-year-old bird just hatched a new chick!

After the 2011 Japanese tsunami, I heard her story of survival and within six weeks, I had contacted scientists, researched her life and times and written her story. I contacted about twenty publishers and none would publish it. I decided to work with my long-time friend, wildlife artist Kitty Harvill to publish it from my own imprint, Mims House. Now, I’ve been in this business long enough to know that it would be a long hard road. But it was an important story, one I couldn’t let go.

It won the Children’s Book category of the 20th annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published award, a $1000 cash prize. So, I submitted it to Publisher’s Weekly for review and it earned a Starred Review! Right now, it is an Amazon bestseller (for the spring season, the ebook version is only $0.99).

The starred review was especially nice, because it was a validation of all the work we had put into the book. Go look for yourself: self-published can be quality.

Next, the Bad News

Publishing has weird math. 9 months + 5 revisions = NO.
The rejection I got yesterday was shocking and painful.

For nine months, I have been working with someone on a project and it has developed in amazing ways. The critiques were spot-on and I revised like crazy. I deleted chapters, added chapters, rearranged chapters, deepened characters, searched for ways to add humor. Then, I did it again: I added a character, took out a subplot, deepened characters and searched yet again for ways to add humor. I expanded the climax scene, set it up better. I created a stronger emotional arc, added a stronger villain. I revised.

I love this story now.
It was rejected.

The world tilted for me yesterday.
Nine months. Three major (huge, gigantic, difficult, rewarding) revision and a couple more minor ones.

Yet, the moon rose as usual, I slept.
The sun rose as usual, I got up and showered and ate breakfast.
I have already queried someone else and will send it to them today.
I am raw. I feel wounded. A trust betrayed. A grieving because they couldn’t see the story in front of them; they only saw what they would have written, if only they were writers.

Are they right? Are they wrong?
I don’t know.

I only know that this is a heartbreaking week, but last week was an uplifting week. This is just the heights and the depths of our profession; somehow, it feels normal. And regardless of the reaction of others to what I write, my job is to plod along putting one word after another.

So, today, I will write.

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3. Arkansas Authors on TV and Radio

Carla McClafferty on C-Span 2/Book TV

“The Many Faces of George Washington”
Author Carla McClafferty talks at a Comcast/C-SPAN welcoming event in Little Rock about her book – which follows the process Mt. Vernon used to create life models of George Washington as a young man, commander of American forces in the revolution, and as our nation’s first President.

Airtimes: in central Arkansas–Central Standard Time:

  • Saturday, March 31st 11am
  • Saturday, March 31st 8:15pm
  • Sunday, April 1st 10:15pm

Darcy Pattison on Color Your Life Happy BlogTalk Radio Show

Why Revision is Critical to Your Success.
Writers have two challenges. First, they must resist the tremendous urge to edit while creating the rough draft. Second, they must develop the patience to edit, revise, and polish the rough draft once it’s finished.

Upon recognizing the important role of revision, James Michener said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

Join host Flora Brown and guest, Darcy Pattison, author and writing teacher, when she reveals why revision of your book is a critical part of your writing success. She will share how revision allows for distance, reflection and vital feedback and eventually the discovery of your voice and the story you were meant to tell.

Monday, April 2, 2012 at 1 pm CDST.
(There’s a nifty reminder that you can set up at the site, by clicking the clock by the time.)
Call in to speak with the host at (347) 539-5700

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4. Help Me Celebrate! PRAIRIE STORMS

Official Release Date: PRAIRIE STORMS

Celebrate with me the release of my new picture book, PRAIRIE STORMS.

Here’s a new book trailer, which has a chant about the weather in each month for kids to learn. This is an adaptation of an 18th century poem.

Prairie Storms: A Chant of Months
Snowy, Flowy, Blowy,
Showery, Flowery, Bowery,
Whippy, Skippy, Nippy,
Breezy, Sneezy, Freezy.

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here to see the first trailer.

This is the second book trailer. Here’s the first.

If you can’t see the embedded video, click here to see the second trailer.

What do you think? Isn’t it exciting?

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5. Report on a GoodReads Giveaway

On July 15, I reported that I was going to try a GoodReads Giveaway for my new picture book, Prairie Storms.

To recap, GoodReads reports these are typical results from a giveaway:

  • 21% of members have a book blog
  • 750-785 people enter the average giveaway.
  • 8% of those who enter will add the book to their to-read list.
  • To say it a different way: 50 books added to user’s TO-READ shelf
  • 45% of the winners will review the book.
  • 8 reviews (1% of entrants & 42% of winners)

My Setup of the GoodReads Giveaway of Prairie Storms

Here’s how my giveaway was set up:

  • Goodreads suggests that you let a giveaway contest run for 1-2 months. Mine ran from July 15 to the release date, August 10–so only 25 days, barely the minimum suggested.
  • There were 2 books offered. You can offer whatever number you want.

My Results of GoodReads Giveaway of Prairie Storms

  • In 25 days, 554 people entered the giveaway contest.
  • There are now 6 ratings and 5 reviews. (1% of entrants)
  • 45 added it the their TO-READ Shelf (8% of entrants)

GoodReads was easy to work with. They did the work of tracking who entered and the day it ended, they randomly selected winners and sent me the addresses.

Overall, the giveaway was about average, especially considering the short amount of time. I am pleased with the results. I’ll probably do another one this fall before Christmas, when the market is high for children’s books. Definitely a good experience for me.

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6. Where Did the Summer Go?

Where did July and August go?

Computer Woes. First, my server has been wonky for the last two weeks–apologies. If you have any difficulty getting to pages, please send me an email so I can straighten it out (darcy at darcypattison dot com).

Travel. For me, this summer included a great two-week trip to China. Our friend of ten years was getting engaged and invited us to the engagement party. Wow, what a great trip. So much to see and do–and we did all the usual things. Beijing in July was very smoggy. But we had a couple clear days to climb the Great Wall and see the Forbidden City. My favorite part was wandering the streets, as you’ll see in this video of a street vendor blowing a caramel-sugar pig:

Research (NOT!) After China, I did research (NOT!). My friend, Dori Butler won the Edgar award this year for the best children’s mystery for her series, The Buddy Files. (IF you haven’t read them, you need to!) She’s working on a new mystery–duh! And doing research: she’s recently shot a Taurus 380 and a Glock 22.40.

Why can’t I do cool research, I wondered? So, I went and had my throat slashed. Well, technically, they called it minor surgery as they took out my thyroid. But I now have the personal experience to go with Dori’s to write that mystery thriller. Hmmm. Maybe I don’t like research so much.

Back to Normal. But all it well here in the mid-South. And I’m back in the saddle with lots of plans for fall!

Plans for Fall.

Random Acts of Publicity: By Wednesday, I’ll have the complete info posted on this fun week when it’s “All About Your Friend’s Book.”

  • And I’m planning a September series on the Writer’s Voice.
  • So, how was YOUR summer? Any interesting trips, research, writing? Please share your good news!

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    7. Random Acts of Publicity 2011


    September 6-9, 2011
    Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=247495138609650

    It’s all about your Friend’s book.

    The 3rd Annual Random Acts of Publicity, September 6-8, 2011 is a week to celebrate your Friend’s book, or your favorite book, by doing a Random Act of Publicity: Blog, link, Like, review, or talk about the book . (BLLuRT it Out!)

    Daily posts here on Fiction Notes (www.darcypattison.com) will offer tips, wisdom and Prizes for your Friend!
    Twitter: Use #RAP2011

    September 6: Guest Susan Raab

    “Brand Building Square One” by Susan Raab, President of Raab Associates, www.raabassociates.com.
    One-day chance for you to enter your Friend to win one of 15 FREE Giveaways of a 15-minute book marketing consultation provided by Raab Associates.

    September 7: Guests Barbara Fisch and Sarah Shealy

    Many Hands Make Light Work – or How Two Heads are Better than One by Barbara Fisch and Sarah Shealy, Blue Slip Media, www.blueslipmedia.com
    One-day chance for you to enter your Friend to win a 15-minute book marketing consultation provided by Blue Slip Media.

    September 8: Guest Deborah Sloan

    Create Buzz by Connecting with Readers by Deborah Sloan of Deborah Sloan & Company. www.deborahsloanandcompany.com
    One-day chance for you to enter your Friend to win a one-hour book marketing consultation provided by Deborah Sloan & Company.

    September 9: Guest Dana Lynn Smith

    How to Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith of The Savvy Book Marketer. www.thesavvybookmarketer.com
    One-day chance for you to enter your Friend to win a FREE copy of How to Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith

    ALL WEEK: The Book Trailer Manual

    Post your Friend’s name/book title on the Facebook page for Random Acts of Publicity to be entered to win a FREE The Book Trailer Manual by Darcy Pattison. One ebook given away daily; must post Friend’s name that day to be eligible and you can post it each day if you like.

    NOTE: You may not enter your own name in any of these prize giveaways. By posting a person’s name you acknowledge that you have asked their permission and the post is with their knowledge. Please note carefully WHERE to comment for each giveaway. They all require you to comment on the POST at Fiction Notes (www.darcypattison.com). The EXCEPTION is the ongoing drawing for The Book Trailer Manual; for this giveaway and this one only, please post on the Random Acts of Publicity Facebook page.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Who can participate?
      Anyone who wants to help a book get noticed by readers. We are focusing on helping a Friend’s book get noticed, but you can also choose to help your favorite book get noticed.
    2. What do I do?
      BLLuRT or Post. Or both.
    1. BLLuRT (http://bit.ly/RAoP2011). The basic tasks for book marketing online remain the same, BLLuRT! Do one of these each day for your Friend’s book or for your favorite book.
    8. You Need a Series of Book Trailers

    Random Acts of Publicity DISCOUNT:
    $10 OFF The Book Trailer Manual. Use discount code: RAP2011 http://booktrailermanual.com/manual

    Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattison


    I’m still celebrating the publication of my picture book, PRAIRIE STORMS, by creating another video. This time, I attended the AETN-PBS Family Day event in Conway, AR, where I talked with parents and kids about reading and books. I invited the kids to be “You Tube” Stars by answering a simple question: What is a Rainbow?

    As you might imagine, we got a wide range of answers. See what observations these young scientists made!

    If you can’t see the embedded video, view it here.

    More Than One Book Trailer?

    Excerpt from The Book Trailer Manual by Darcy Pattison
    Most authors make a book trailer and stop. This is my third book trailer for PRAIRIE STORMS, and I plan more. This chapter explains why multiple videos are a great idea.

    More than one book trailer? Does this question surprise you? You’re unsure about doing one video, much less a couple. Should you really think about more than one book trailer for your book? Yes. Here’s why.

    Networking: Like every other social media, it’s your network that counts. And networks grow when you post regular content to keep them coming back. You may want a series of trailers spread out over several months, so viewers – and readers – have reasons to come back often.

    Short Life of a Video:
    In May 2010, Jay Yarow and Kamelia Angelova reported that the shelf life of a video is very short. Half the viewers of a YouTube.com video come in the first six days. 75% of the viewers are within the first 20 days. Of course, there’s going to be a long tail, in which your video gets a few hits/day for a long time. But if you want a high level of sustained interest, you might want to consider a series of videos, distributed 1-3 weeks apart.

    There is precedence in the online world for multiple marketing messages. Often marketers use an auto-responder to set up a series of messages which are automatically sent to an email list at specified intervals. For example, you might sign up for an camera site’s newsletter because they promise to send a series of three tutorials on taking portraits with a digital camera. You sign up and get your first issue of the newsletter right away, along with a second email that contains the first tutorial. The second and third tutorials turn up at one week intervals. These automated deliveries are via an auto-responder.

    The idea behind auto-responder messages is to build your audience’s trust in your ability to offer something valuable on a long term basis.


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    9. Give a Military Family a Free Children’s Book for Veteran’s Day

    In celebration of National Picture Book Month and Veteran’s Day:

    Give a Military Family a Free Book

    11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph book

    In celebration of National Picture Book Month and Veteran’s Day and to honor of our military families, download and give a free children’s picture book to a military family.

    THE STORY: “11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph”

    When her father goes soldiering for a year, a girl decides that without Dad at home, it’s not a family photo album. Though her beloved Nanny is in charge of the album that year, the girl makes sure that photographs of her never turn out well. Photos are blurred, wind blows hair in her face. April rains bring umbrellas to hide behind. Halloween means a mask. This poignant, yet funny family story, expresses a child’s anger and grief for a Dad whose work takes him away for long periods of time. It’s a tribute to the sacrifices made by military families and to those who care for children when a family needs support.


    In conjunction with “The Help” movie (www.thehelpmovie.com), TakePart.com (www.takepart.com/thehelp) recently sponsored three writing contests: a recipe contest, an inspirational story contest and a children’s story contest. TakePart is the digital division of Participant Media which aims to bolster a movie’s audience with a message of social change. THE HELP movie campaign emphasized the role of stories in people’s lives.
    Notice: This site and the story are not endorsed by or affiliated with TakePart, LLC or the motion picture “The Help” and or its distributors.


    Darcy Pattison’s story, “11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph” is the winning children’s story. It is a free download at www.takepart.com/thehelp, or download it here (pdf download).

    You can also order it for your:


    Read more at www.11WaystoRuinaPhotograph.
    PLEASE pass this along to anyone who might know a military family or to anyone in the military that you know.

    10. Oliver K. Woodman Needs Your Help

    Coming in May: The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman in Paperback

    Dear Friends of Oliver & Imogene:

    Shhh. It’s a surprise! To celebrate the paperback edition of Oliver’s story, I have created a new group on Flickr.com,(http://www.flickr.com/groups/oliverkwoodman/) the photo sharing website, that will help teachers use the book more effectively in the classroom.

    The point is for schools, teachers, and families around the US to post pictures of Oliver or Imogene in their towns. Teachers will then have an interactive map with photos from around the United States and the world!

    Only two requirements: Each photo must be Geotagged, so it will show up on the Group Map. And if you post a student’s picture, you must have parental permission.

    The official rollout of the website will be May 1. Before the party begins, I’d like to have some photos already included on the site.

    How YOU Can Help

    1. Join the Oliver K. Woodman Flickr Group.
    2. If you have photos of Oliver or Imogene, then upload and geo-tag your photos! Even one photo from your town will add to the fun. Instructions for uploading and geotagging are available on the website when you join. But rest assured: it’s simple!
    3. Ask one other teacher, librarian or family member to join, too. Forward this posting to a friend.
    4. Visit the Flickr site on May 1 to see where Oliver & Imogene have traveled.


    P.S. Please forward this posting to just one other person. Even one more person adding one photo from a different location will help make a difference for Oliver.

    P.P.S. Or Stumbleupon this posting to help others find the fun!

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    11. More on Skype an Author

    Connect with Authors Through Skype

    One site that quickly gained popularity this year is the Skype an Author, a Wetpaint site, billed at the key to Virtual Author Visits in Your Library or Classroom. Set up by Sarah Chauncey of the Grandview Elementary School Library in Rockland County, NY schools and author Mona Kirby, it is getting attention from many sources, including the School Library Journal.

    The site allows authors to set up pages describing their books and how they might do a Skype visit. Skype is the online audio/video free phone service; a Skype visits allows an author to see students and students to see the author.
    Authors are asked to do one of two types of Skype visits:

    • No Charge – Meet the Author Visit – 10 to 15 minutes
    • In-Depth Visit – 30-60 Minutes – Charge to be determined by author

    Why Should you Want to Skype?

    (See what Balkin says first. . . )

    Set Up Your Page

    I recently updated the Darcy Pattison page on the Skype an Author site.

    Here are some tips:

  • Look around the site and see what type of information others provide. You want yours to fit in and yet, be distinctive.
  • Think about how you can make the site look similar to your own site, keep your “branding.” Do you use distinctive colors? Special logos? Wetpaint is very easy to customize.
  • Read through the site’s directions on adding your page.
  • It’s wise to have your page planned before you sign up, so there’s no time when you have a blank page. So, gather all the photos you want to use, write the copy and be ready to cut and paste it into place. As you write, think hard about what a librarian would want to know about your books and yourself that would entice them to contact you.
  • Once you’ve updated it, publicize it! Share it with the publicist at your publisher, share it with your editors, post it on your site, etc. Check out Wetpaint’s Droplets as a great way to add an promo to any website, blog or social site.
  • Ongoing tasks: As you have more books published, be sure to update this after you update your own site. Keep the contact information up to date.
  • Set up your Webcam

    One final thing you’ll want to do before going live with the Skype an Author site is to test out your Skype/Webcam set up. I discovered, for example, that the lighting in my office is great for doing work on the computer, but awful for doubling as a video studio. Here is one videos to get you started on simple lighting. Look for other tutorials.

    How to Apply Simple 3-Point Lighting to Amateur Film Making

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    12. Book Trailers in the Library

    I’m speaking today at the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM) conference about using Book Trailers in the Classroom and Library. So, at the same time, I am rolling out the trailer for the paperback release of my novel, THE WAYFINDER.


    Please pass it on!

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    13. Bookingly Yours Features The Wayfinder

    Bookingly Yours has posted a guest post from me about The Wayfinder.
    How could we Find our way home? How do we Find our way?

    NonFiction BookBlast Sunday, June 26, 2011. 8-10 am. ALA Conference in NOLA.

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    14. Rita Reviews on The Wayfinder

    Rita Reviews has posted a review of The WAyfinder, read it here. “Lady Kala and Winchal are a unique duo.”

    NonFiction BookBlast Sunday, June 26, 2011. 8-10 am. ALA Conference in NOLA.

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    15. Prairie Storms Giveaway on Good Reads

    Note: Fiction Notes is on vacation until August 1. See you then!

    Last year, I interviewed Joelle Anthony about her use of a GoodReads giveaway to promote her book. One of her biggest reasons to go with GoodReads is that she had 1348 people enter the giveaway.

    Here are some other interesting statistics from GoodReadshere and here:

    • 21% of members have a book blog
    • 750-785 people enter the average giveaway.
    • 8% of those who enter will add the book to their to-read list.
    • 50 books added to user’s TO-READ shelf
    • 45% of the winners will review the book.
    • 8 reviews (1% of entrants & 42% of winners)

    Wow, that sounds good to me. Let’s try it!

    So–ENTER! It’s FREE!

    I’ll report back on the results of the giveaway after it closes on August 10.

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattison

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