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How To Get More Reviews For Your Indie Novel

books in libraryWhat good is publishing your book if it never gets read? Know the basics of what it takes to get your indie novel reviewed.
The prospects for independent authors today are better than ever thanks to the phenomenon of digital self-publishing. Publishing through e-reader devices such as the Kindle and Nook is as easy as clicking a mouse. Once no-name writers such as Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves series) and Hugh Howey (Wool) have managed to engineer breakthroughs to traditional publishing by going “indie”. To say that the once accepted publishing boundaries are shifting is an understatement, they’re dissolving. Despite the digital disruption some traditional publishing methods are still necessary for indie author success. Garnering book reviews for your indie novel is one such practice.
Books need to be read and authors, especially indie authors, need to get their novels reviewed. Just as digital self-publishing has changed the publishing world, blogs and social media have transformed the book review process. Blogging and social media sharing have blown the book review process wide open. This may sound fantastic, but what is important for indie authors to realize is that digital self-publishing has increased the competition for reviews. Now that anyone can self-publish with the click of a button the amount of material being generated on a daily basis is enormous. The fight for readers and reviews is fierce. It is a competition. Indie authors need to realize that they’re competing for reviews and tailoring their indie novel review request is critical to winning.
The reality is that review demand is outstripping supply. The odds of getting reviewed are stacked against most authors despite the hundreds of blogs and websites reviewing indie novels. Most book review blogs that are listed to websites such as Blog Nation or The IndieView are inundated with novels, novellas and short fiction for review. The stark reality is that many book review blogs have become de facto slush readers. Add the current Internet marketing trend of authors hiring online specialists and publicists to navigate the social media world, and the reality is that only a fraction of submitted indie novels will ever be reviewed. Review blogs now offering paid or “sponsored” reviews should drive this fact home for aspiring indie authors.
How does an independent author get more reviews for their indie novel? The simple answer is by paying attention to detail. Type of work and genres accepted for review are two important items indie authors need to quickly assess when adding prospective book review blogs to their submission lists. After the author has compiled a list of prospective book review websites and blogs, time must be taken to actually read their review and submission policies. Many blogs are maintained by a lone reviewer; crafting personalized review requests should always be done when possible.
Making the submitted indie novel easier for review is also vital. Many indie authors lack confidence in their work or are fearful that their creative genius will be stolen. Reality is that the majority of submitted novels will not be read so the chances of copyright infringement or creative stealing isn’t realistic. Always send a copy of the novel with the review request. The indie author needs to muster their self-confidence and have faith in their work–supply the reviewer with a complimentary copy of the work for review. This is why electronic versions of the material are vital. Eliminate all unnecessary communication. The submitting author must take the time to learn the preferred electronic format of the reviewer. Provide the indie novel in the proper format as easily as possible.
Usually, only a brief email needs to be submitted with the work to be reviewed. This is the time for an astute author to shine. Realizing that the bulk of review submissions are spam emails is critical to increasing the odds of a positive review. How the submission email should read needs to be site specific. The author should be familiar with the individual reviewer and respect their submission policies. When possible, always address the reviewer by name. Tailored novel review submissions always have an advantage and will typically rise above the pack.
The indie author’s goal for review is simple; pay attention to detail and tilt the odds in the favor of getting your novel reviewed. This sounds clear and simple, but the reality is many indie authors opt for complexity. They create complex avenues for obtaining a copy of their work. Many lack confidence and fail to categorize their indie novel correctly. The result is usually failure. Again, the amount of indie novels submitted for review is growing daily. Getting an indie novel reviewed is a competition. Indie authors need to pay attention to the review blog or website submission policies, tailor the submission accordingly and confidently send a copy of their novel for review. Authors that do these simple things correctly on a regular basis should see their review rates increase, transforming indie author dreams into reality.




Manroot by Anne Steinberg

Manroot Book Cover
Manroot is the evocative and stirring story of a lonely town in Missouri, and a young woman named Katherine who discovers a mystical side to herself that she’d never known existed. Anne Steinberg weaves together fantasy, romance, and a young girl’s coming of age into a darkly magical story.


In the spring of 1939, Katherine Sheahan and her father, Jesse, are looking for work in the isolated tourist town of Castlewood. Jesse gets a job as handyman and Katherine as a maid at a small hotel. Jesse drinks and neglects his work and eventually disappears, abandoning his daughter. Frieda Broom, the hotel Manager, takes Katherine under her wing, and teaches her about ginseng, the manroot, and other secrets of the foothills. Katherine discovers that she is a natural healer and has the ability to communicate with spirits, a gift she inherited from her Navajo Indian mother.
Among the hotels regular clientele is Judge William Reardon. Escaping his sterile marriage, he becomes captivated by Katherine. As the pair bond over astrology and gardening, Katherine becomes convinced they belong together, despite him being much older than her and married. As they begin to fall in love, the violence of dark magic threatens to annihilate all Katherine knows and holds dear. Can their love survive?
Manroot is a potent tale of destiny, spiritualism and love, written in Anne Steinberg’s signature compelling style. The kindle version was published March 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.


Amazon reviews:
“Manroot is an undeniably good read; it’s well-written with a compelling plot and memorable characters. Recommended to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction imbued with fantasy, including Native American themes and the supernatural.”
“Words to describe this book are: romantic, thrilling, memorable, spiritual, magical, and well written in a breath taking way that will keep you enthralled well after it is over. I wish it would have lasted longer and was saddened when it came to an end. 5 stars and cannot wait to see what Anne Steinberg comes up with next!”


Excerpt from Manroot:
Working alone in the kitchen, Katherine scrubbed it clean. Looking up at the calendar, she knew tomorrow was Friday. The Judge was one of the few people who stopped here regularly, even now, in late autumn. Perhaps it was telling Sally that had started it all, for now her thoughts of the Judge were like a fever that stayed with her. Last Friday when she took him his bourbon and spring water, she noticed it for the first time, the birthmark. It was on his right hand, so clear and vivid that she had almost dropped the tray. He had smiled at her nervousness, called her ‘my dear,’ and given her a silver dollar for a tip.
Katherine slept restlessly; she dreamed of the Oh mu and heard its moan of agony echoing in her sleep. She dreamed of Papa floating in the muddy river, caught and held under by a treacherous branch, his eyes vacant pools staring upward through the water. It was so real that in the morning when the siren from the firehouse once again split the air, she rushed into the kitchen where Frieda was telling Bruce, “You be careful…another one’s gone and gave herself to the river. It was a suicide, a painted woman from the Eagle’s nest…” Frieda shivered as she told the story the way that she had heard it from the postman. The woman in the night had cut her wrists, but the dying was too slow, so she ran from the clubhouse, perched only for a moment on the railing, then jumped headlong into the cold water.
Katherine moved slowly this morning. Frieda fussed at her, but knowing the girl had never been lazy, she thought the drowning must have upset her or maybe she was coming down with something.
The guests were all gone. They only expected one tonight – Judge Reardon. They’d have time to go into the woods today, hunting for herbs and the manroot. But Frieda went alone as the girl looked a bit too peaked.
Alone, Katherine cleaned the rooms again; it took no time, for they were already clean. She lingered in Number 8, The Judge’s room.
She knew a lot about him now, and she felt a very real presence that he left in the room. She knew intimate things about him – like the size of his shirts, the smell of his aftershave, which side of the bed he slept on, how he preferred his coffee, the brand of cigarettes that he smoked…numerous details about him that she had collected bit by bit, saving them in her mind and in her dreams, like pennies to be spent at a later date.
He knew nothing of her dusting his dresser, straightening the bed after he had risen. He was not aware that while he was out, she pressed his shirts to her lips, inhaling his aroma, and sat on the bed in the same crevices his body had made over the years that he had slept here. Now she knew with the wisdom and instinct of centuries, she knew that what would be, would be.
Last week for the first time she had seen it, the birthmark, on his right hand. It was paler than the surrounding skin, crescent-shaped like a slice of the moon, and within its outline, unmistakable, a perfect five-pointed star. She knew its shape by heart, as just above her right breast she had its identical replica.
The Navajo blood flowed strongly in her veins, with all its beliefs in the signs, even though her father had tried vainly to smother these strange alien traits. Since her childhood she had believed that she could speak to animals, and she could find herbs hiding under any rock and knew exactly what they would cure.
She stayed dreaming in the Judge’s room until she heard Frieda calling her. The woman had returned from the woods, carrying a full burlap sack.
“You should have come today…I found it…the time is ripe, and you’re much quicker than I. You would have climbed the higher spots where it grows.”
Placing the sack on the table, she pulled out one root. “It’s perfect…it’s prime, probably ten or fifteen years old.” She held the root up to the light. Its torso similar but lighter in color than a carrot, with no hint of orange, just tannish-brown, the root seemed to have two arms, two legs, and a fine network of tendrils. It appeared to be a miniature figure of a headless man.
“What is it?” Katherine questioned as she stared at the unusual root.
“It’s a manroot!”
“The manroot,” Katherine repeated, liking the sound of the word and feeling it described the plant perfectly. “It seems as if it could contain magic?” she said, as she gingerly touched it with a timid finger.
“Oh, they say it does. It works wonders. The Orientals prize its properties – to them it is also the love root. It does many things, cures most anything that ails you. For me it lines my pockets – Bailey’s general store pays about four dollars a pound.” Emptying the sack on the counter, Frieda explained, “You can’t let it get damp – it ruins the root.” She began taking them out, examining and inspecting and drying each root with a clean dish-towel.
“They’re not all like this one, that’s special. Some don’t come with the likeness of arms and legs, some just look like a pale carrot…but the old ones, the very special ones do. Here, Katherine – take it, it’s yours.”
They sat at the table and by habit Katherine helped her.
“If you weren’t such a lazy girl, you could have come with me today. When these are dry, I’m sure Bailey’s will be paying twenty dollars or so for the batch.”
“Twenty dollars?”
“Yes, ma’am!” She knew the girl wasn’t lazy; it was her way of trying to shake her out of the listlessness. “Put on the kettle, Katherine. I’ll slip a little of the root in it. That will perk you up.”
They drank the tea, and Frieda continued drying the root. She did a rare thing: she hummed as she dried the fine tendrils.
“It takes time for the manroot to grow. You shouldn’t harvest a root less than seven years old, and you must always plant the seed when you harvest – each red berry has two seeds – not deep, just under the leaves. It’s a sin…to harvest and not plant the seed,” she said solemnly.
Katherine watched the clock. “I better put on my uniform. The Judge…”
“No need to. When I was coming in, he was headed for the Eagle’s Nest. He told me he wouldn’t be wanting any supper.”
Katherine’s face fell with disappointment.
In previous gossip from Frieda, Katherine had learned that the Judge lived twenty miles up the road with a wife who was said to be fragile since the births of her two stillborn sons. There was not much in these parts that the Judge did not own; he was rich, well-liked, respected, and known to be a fair man. Remarkably young to be a judge, no one faulted him for his tendencies to card-playing, drinking whiskey, and relieving himself with the local women. A lesser man with these leanings would be called no account, but he was, after all, the Judge, and this title brought with it a tendency to look at vices as virtues.
It was just another Friday. Destiny waited for her; she felt it close, closer than it had ever been.
The hotel was quiet. There were no guests and the only person staying was the Judge, who would be out late.
Katherine played the radio softly, dancing about the room, pretending she was at Castlewood waltzing under the lanterns with him. She put the perfect manroot in the Valentine box with her other things. After midnight when he rang, Katherine shook the sleep from herself when she realized the bell from Room 8 was ringing.
She owned no robe, and the persistent ringing threatened to wake Mr. Taylor. She flew up to the Judge’s room and knocked timidly, aware that her hair was down, and she was in her nightgown. It was plain enough – white cotton, sturdy and sensible.
He opened the door to her. He seemed surprised.
“I’m sorry, sir, everyone is asleep,” she said, not really knowing how to apologize for her attire.
He blinked at her, his hair ruffled, his shirt-tail out; she had never seen him like this.
“You’re new?”
“No, sir I’m Katherine. It was late; I didn’t have time to put on the uniform.”
He nodded and leaned forward studying her face. “Come in.” She did so, but left the door open.
“Sit down,” he said. She could tell he was very drunk. She sat timidly in the vanity chair. He paced the floor unsteadily, running his fingers through his hair. “It’s my head… I have a headache that won’t stop. I thought maybe you had something in the kitchen.”
He kept pacing. “I went out tonight, trying to forget. I’ve drunk a lot…it doesn’t stop…my head hurts so.”
“Sir, I could go look, or…” She wondered if she should chance it – maybe he would laugh. “My grandmother had a remedy that always worked.”
He stopped pacing. “Yes? What is it?”
“Well,” she said, “if you rub your thumbs vigorously for a few minutes, it has something to do with the blood flow…if that didn’t work, then a leaf of boiled cabbage on the forehead never failed.”
He smiled and stopped. “Well, try it.” He pulled up a chair in front of her and held out his thumbs.
She blushed. She hadn’t meant that she should rub his thumbs, but he was there across from her, waiting.
She reached forward, and with a firm grip clasped his thumbs and rubbed vigorously, while he leaned back and shut his eyes. She alternated between each thumb. It seemed natural to her to be touching him.
“Do you know what it’s like to play God?” he asked abruptly.
Startled, she didn’t know if he was really talking to her, but she replied, “No, sir, I don’t.”
“Well, I do, and it’s not pleasant, not pleasant at all… Today I’ve sent a man to the gas chamber – well, not me personally, but the jury.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said quietly.
“Stop saying ‘sir’ – my name’s William. The Judge…sir…that’s somebody else. I don’t feel like a judge right now. I never wanted to be a judge.” He opened his eyes and she drew back.
“Do you know what it feels like to judge other people?”
“No, si–” She stopped herself. “No, I don’t.”
He looked down at her hands. “Don’t stop. By god, I think it helps!” He closed his eyes once more and held out his thumbs to her. The house was quiet. Somewhere a nightbird called; the ticking of the clock in the hall kept time in its steady rhythm, and Katherine felt the sound of their breathing in tune.


About the Author:
Author Anne SteinbergWhile living in England, Anne Steinberg’s first novel, Manroot was published by Headline Review in London. Manroot was heralded as an important first novel in 1994 and included in the Headline Review’s prestigious “Fiction without Frontiers,” a new wave of contemporary fiction that knows no limits. Eight modern storytellers were featured: Anne Steinberg, Margaret Atwood, Iain Banks, William Gibson, Peter Hoeg, Roddy Doyle, and E. Annie Proulx. It was an auspicious beginning to a long and varied career for Anne Steinberg, who went on to write several acclaimed novels, Every Town Needs A Russian Tea Room, the story of a wealthy socialite who falls in love with a penniless young Russian immigrant who is haunted by a bizarre shameful secret, The Cuckoos Gift, First Hands, and An Eye For An Ear. She is also coauthor of The Fence, written with her grandson Nicholas Reuel Tolkien, the great grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. Nicholas is a filmmaker, director, and published poet. The Fence is a chilling story of a magnificent Gothic fence forged by a despicable blacksmith and infused with evil.
Anne was a partner in the world famous vintage clothing store, Steinberg & Tolkien, on Kings Road in Chelsea. After a successful run for over 20 years, the shop closed, and she returned to the US. Approaching her eighty-second birthday, she now writes, reads, and studies antiques, American Indian history, animal welfare, mythology, and folklore legends.
Anne recently re-released Manroot in kindle format. It was published March 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.


To schedule an interview with Anne Steinberg or request a review copy of Manroot, please contact Book Publicity Services at

Because I Said So: Life in the Mom Zone by Annie Oeth

Because I Said So book coverBecause I Said So: Life in the Mom Zone, by Annie Oeth, was published in April 2014 by Sartoris Literary Group.
Category: Non-Fiction / Humor / Parenting.
It is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.


“But whyyyy?”
“Because I said so.”
It’s the answer that rolls off the tongues of mamas from all over. In Because I Said So: Life In The Mom Zone, veteran mama Annie Oeth tells of the worries, laughter and sheer terror of being a mother.
Trips to the emergency room, college graduations and the dangerous combination of teenagers and fireworks are all fair game in this romp through southern motherhood. Spilling the (jelly)beans on Easter egg hunts, Santa Claus and frogs in mailboxes, Annie Oeth writes of life, love and raising children while hanging on to her sense of humor.
From stories of laughter to tales of tears shed, she remembers her own growing-up years in small-town Mississippi, her parents’ 44-year romance and her own children’s travels on their way to adulthood, crafting stories that will touch hearts and funny bones.
Anyone who’s ever rocked a baby, worried over a teenager or seen family game night degenerate into a knock-down, drag-out can relate to these life lessons, straight from The Mom Zone.
Mamas are tender-hearted, but don’t mistake their kindness for an absence of backbone. In these stories, the love, strength, humor and super powers of mothers are hailed for the wonders that they are. Whether you’re a mama to sons who have an affection for reptiles and bottle rockets or a daughter who thinks you’re wrong just when you’ve figured out your own mother was right, you’ll love yourself, your kids and your life more after this read.
“Because I Said So.”


Excerpt from Because I Said So:
There was a time of retribution like no other in my growing-up years. It was when church let out.
At no other time in no other day did more children get more beatings, spankings, whippings and whatnot than after church.
Now let me preface this by saying our parents were not the “spare the rod” types. If you loved your children, the thinking back then was you would get to the seat of the problem. Rapidly. There were no time-outs back then. We kids would have loved those.
I am not an advocate of spanking children because I think there are more effective ways of communicating right and wrong than hitting. That sentence would have been laughed off the street in the South circa the early 1970s, though. And if one was to call one of those hiney-warmings child abuse, then I guess a whole town’s worth of parents would have been locked up.
No, we kids all wound up being worn out at one time or another. It was only a question of when and where.
Usually, most waylayings happened once the 15th go-round of “Just as I am’’ was played and a couple of people rededicated their lives to Christ. The handshakings and greetings would begin as folks made their way to their cars in an effort to beat the Methodists to the Sunday buffet at the Southern Inn.
We kids would be walking out of the church together, and sure enough, some other child would be screaming in the parking lot. Probably several. It was the topic of discussion for us—who was getting a beating and what they did in church to deserve it.
Church misbehavior would get you a warm behind faster than setting fire to the school back then. It was a reflection on your parents‘ child-rearing in the public-est place in town. You didn’t challenge authority too much more than acting like a heathen in church. It was like asking for the physical motivation to stand awhile.
We would witness someone wearing out their young’uns‘ backsides beside the family‘s Chevy Malibu and be thankful that our own badness, doodling, whispering and note-passing didn’t cross the line that Sunday.
Our badness continued, though, not unlike a game of Russian roulette. We’d keep talking during the preacher’s sermon, never knowing when the bullet of getting a backseat beating had our names on it.
Of course, we all grew up, and many of us kept the habit of going to church. We had even learned to behave by the time we had children of our own. And this is when I learned the lesson my parents and all my friends‘ parents knew: Never commence to punishing your child during the sermon.
The oldest boy was somewhere between two and three at the time and was bored out of his little mind. To occupy his time, he picked up the Methodist hymnal and began flipping all gazillion pages from hard front cover to hard back cover.
“Stop, baby,’’ I hissed.
It was like the tide, steady and relentless, and also pretty darned loud. I started getting disapproving looks from my fellow congregants.
In desperation, I folded my arms and gave him a pinch, surreptitiously, to get his attention.
Instead, he got mine. Along with the preacher’s and everyone else in the congregation that day.
“Mama!’’ he said in a nice, clear, outside voice. “Quit pinching me!’’
The preacher had to pause to get his composure back, shaking while he stifled a laugh, and the choir twittered with muffled laughter until the altar call.
The rest of the week, folks around town would tell me to stop pinching my little boy and laugh. That was the last time he got pinched by me, in church or elsewhere, by the way.
The oldest boy was lucky he was a child of his generation. In the church parking lots of my day, that would have gotten him a walloping of Biblical proportions.


About the Author:
A lifelong Mississippian, Annie Oeth is a graduate of Mississippi University for Women. She currently works as a features editor for The Clarion-Ledger, the state’s largest daily newspaper. She writes about family and fun and The Mom Zone blog. Annie is the author of Because I Said So: Life in The Mom Zone, which was published April 2014. She is a solo mom to four, and currently resides in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Connect with Annie on Facebook or Twitter.


To schedule an interview with Annie Oeth or request a review copy of Because I Said So, please contact Book Publicity Services at


Interview with Author Claudia Y. Burgoa

Claudia BurgoaClaudia Y. Burgoa recently released Getting By (A Knight’s Tale), a new-adult contemporary romance novel, published February 18, 2014. This is the first book in the Knight’s series. It is available for sale on Amazon.
Interview with Author Claudia Y. Burgoa
Tell us about your new book:
Getting By is the first book of the Knight’s Tales series. They tell the story of three handsome successful brothers that rather get a root canal than getting serious with a girl.
GB introduces us to Jake, Mitch and Liam; while telling us the story between Jake and Emma; two people that like to have a light relationship but are afraid of something more.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
That’s a difficult question, since I love them all. However, I can say Mitch is the one that has my undivided love. He’s fun, and likes to pull everyone’s leg at every turn.
What is your favorite scene in the book and why?
The elevator scene, when you get a glimpse of a closet hardcore fangirl and how the fact that she’s a little out there gets Jake’s attention.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book:
Gabriela is based on one of my best friends, the loud fire cracker get in your face attitude. Though physically they are like day and night, my friend is tall, blond and blue eyed…and she’s not a cheater ;)
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m terrible when it comes to talk about myself… I love music—most of it and especially alt rock. I can watch episodes of Friends every day for the rest of my life, watch movies and love everything superhero related. My superpower is to know everything or make up something for the lack of knowledge.
I have three children, three dogs and only one superhero husband.
What’s next? What can we expect from you in the future?
Next to You, the sequel to Where Life Takes You, my first published book; I plan on releasing it on June.
Standing By, the second book on the Knight’s Tale series is being written and hopefully it will be published late summer.
What to expect in the future…more Romance books, and on 2015 a New Adult Fantasy book.
What book are you reading now?
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
To learn more, go to Claudia’s website, and Twitter.

4 Ways to Organize a Book Tour That’s Far From Boring

bookshelvesWhen it comes to promoting a book you’ve written, it might seem like writing it was the easy part. Book tours are one of the best ways to get yourself and your book known, but with so many authors out there, how do you make your book tour stand out? The blog post offers easy tips for making your book tour one that the book-buying public will remember.
Your book is published. Congratulations! Whether you finally got the attention of a well-known press or you went the self-publishing route, you now have something you can hold in your hands and call your own. Remember all those hours you spent at the keyboard? Compared to promoting your book, that was the easy part.
One of the best ways to promote your book is with a book tour. When you hit the road to visit bookstores, though, it can be a bit of a nail-biter. What if no one shows up? What if no one buys your book? Among all the other books being pushed by all the other authors, how do you make your book tour stand out? One of these methods might be just right for your publication.
Give a lecture.
Schedule a talk at the bookstore, and narrow the focus, rather than just talking about yourself and your book. Better yet, make it useful. If you’ve written a book on business, you might give a talk on interview skills. If you’re a novelist, hold a Q & A on how you got published. Once the audience knows you have something to teach them, they’ll be more likely to leave with a book in hand.
Use other media.
Libraries often have a collection of public domain films that they can screen for free. Make your appearance a tie-in with a relevant screening, and more people will attend. If you’re a romance writer, for example, you might schedule a talk following a relevant film, then compare the love story to the one in your novel. Non-fiction writers can screen documentaries on their topic. If there’s not a public domain film that suits your book, a slideshow of relevant photos can add interest.
Have a Giveaway
Giving away books is always nice, but you can draw a larger crowd by giving away something a little more valuable, yet relevant. Cookbook authors might give away a cooking class, or action novelists might put together a survival kit. Think creatively. Some writers have attracted attention by holding contests in which the winner gets to name a character in a book. You could give away a gift card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble, a kindle or other ebook reader, or signed copies of your book.
Dress the Part
Remember the lines of kids in costume waiting to buy the next Harry Potter? If your book’s characters have noteworthy dress, make the event festive by inviting attendees to wear costumes. If it suits your personality, wear one yourself. If your book is about executive success, you can still join in the fun: give away a book to the best-dressed business person, or for the most unusual tie.
Bonus tip:
No matter how you choose to make your book tour stand out, remember to sell yourself and not just the book. Consumers often shy away from blatant attempts to sell them something. Be yourself, be friendly and talkative, and buyers will gravitate toward you.

Books on Books: 3 Writers Explore Their Love of Reading

Do you love to read? Is your idea of a great time curling up in bed with an awesome book? Well, those who write tend to agree.
If there’s anything writers like to do when they aren’t writing, it’s read. After all, the world of books is home to a writer, the place where their thoughts and imaginations live. Here are three famous writers who have written books on how much they loved to read:


Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtryBooks: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry, author of such well loved novels as The Last Picture Show and Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove has long been known as a book lover and collector. The writer owns some 28,000 books on his own and is owner of a 5-building bookstore in Texas that is home to 300,000 more. Strange then that McMurtry’s early years were lived in a bookless world.
Books: A Memoir begins with McMurtry’s boyhood in Archer City, TX, during which the future writer had no access to books until, by chance, a cousin heading off to the war gave him a stack of adventure novels. The gift lit up the young boy’s life, setting him on the path of author and ardent book collector.
In Books: A Memoir, McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely “bookless” world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America’s most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously “bookless” hometown of Archer City, Texas. In this work of extraordinary charm, grace, and good humor, McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer, how the countless books he has read worked to form his literary tastes, while giving us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare volumes. Books: A Memoir is like the best kind of diary — full of McMurtry’s wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like McMurtry, erudite, life loving, and filled with excellent stories. It is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads


How Reading Changed My Life by Anna QuindlenHow Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
InHow Reading Changed My Life, noted author of One True Thing and Living Out Loud Anna Quindlen speaks with eloquence of her lifelong love of reading. In four short essays, the author returns again and again to her special themes: how books have been her constant companions and how such heroes of literature as Anne of Green Gables and Heidi, Anthony Trollop and Jane Austin, were her personal heroes as well.
How Reading Changed My Life is part memoir, part protest, part celebration, a commentary on how books are central to many of the most important questions faced by our culture today.
A recurring theme throughout Anna Quindlen’s How Reading Changed My Life is the comforting premise that readers are never alone. “There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books,” she writes, “a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but never really a stranger. My real, true world.” Later, she quotes editor Hazel Rochman: “Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but, most important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” Indeed, Quindlen’s essays are full of the names of “friends,” real or fictional–Anne of Green Gables and Heidi; Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, to name just a few–who have comforted, inspired, educated, and delighted her throughout her life. In four short essays Quindlen shares her thoughts on the act of reading itself (“It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbable pedestrian task that leads to heat and light”); analyzes the difference between how men and women read (“there are very few books in which male characters, much less boys, are portrayed as devoted readers”); and cheerfully defends middlebrow literature: Most of those so-called middlebrow readers would have readily admitted that the Iliad set a standard that could not be matched by What Makes Sammy Run? or Exodus. But any reader with common sense would also understand intuitively, immediately, that such comparisons are false, that the uses of reading are vast and variegated and that some of them are not addressed by Homer.
The Canon, censorship, and the future of publishing, not to mention that of reading itself, are all subjects Quindlen addresses with intelligence and optimism in a book that may not change your life, but will no doubt remind you of other books that did. –Alix Wilber
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads


great booksGreat Books by David Denby
To movie buffs, David Denby, film critic for The New Yorker, is a familiar name. But Denby is a lover of books as well, and, at the age of 48, he decided to return to his alma mater of Columbia University and read through 2000+ years of literature. The critic thus read all the “great books,” from Homer to Woolf, Rousseau to Conrad.
Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World chronicles Denby’s experience, thoughts, and inspiration gleaned from the pages of these important writers’ work.
At the age of forty-eight, writer and film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces — the “great books” — that are now at the heart of the culture wars. In Great Books, he leads us on a glorious tour, a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche. Conrad and Woolf. The resulting personal odyssey is an engaging blend of self-discovery, cultural commentary, reporting, criticism, and autobiography — an inspiration for anyone in love with the written word.
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads


Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS TitanicKitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic is book 4 in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. It was published February 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon.


Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic is the thrillingly cryptic fourth installment of the exciting Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series featuring the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot Kitty Hawk and her various adventures of mystery and intrigue as she follows in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart on an epic flight around the world.
This fourth book in the series brings Kitty to the emerald hills of Ireland where she meets a handsome stranger and is quickly swept up in a perplexing hundred-year-old family treasure hunt involving secret codes and puzzling clues that lead her on a fast-paced adventure that carries her from Dublin to London – from the decks of the ill-fated ocean liner Titanic to the temples of ancient Egypt and the streets of Jack the Ripper – until she finally unlocks the mystery and discovers the long-hidden treasure.
Much like the earlier books in this series, Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of armchair detectives of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history the reader will find themselves immersed in brand new worlds that are brought to life before their very eyes as Kitty Hawk experiences the stories and history of a doomed ocean liner and unravels the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic.


Excerpt from Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic:
I found myself surrounded by an all-consuming blackness so thick that it felt as though I could touch it. It was such a deep inky blackness that it made me realize that even when we think we’re in complete and utter darkness, there is almost always light emanating from somewhere: light in the hallway sneaking under the doorway, perhaps, or the light of the stars on a moonless night in the wilderness. But this inky blackness wasn’t like that at all. It was so dark, as the saying goes, that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. It was so intense and absolute that the longer I stood there, the more I felt it seeping into my pores.
To make matters worse, it was also cold—bitterly cold. And while I stood there waiting, I was forced to pull my jacket more tightly around me in a vain attempt to protect myself from the freezing air. Just a few days earlier, I’d been in the tropics, wearing shorts and sandals and suffering in the oppressive, sweltering heat of equatorial Africa. But now I’d returned to the colder climate of Ireland by backtracking north on commercial airliners along the path I’d already taken across Europe and Africa.
Six months earlier, I’d filled out an entry form on a whim, and that’s how I found myself standing there on that cold December morning, but I wasn’t alone. Surrounding me on all sides were others waiting with me for the sunrise. I could feel their presence somehow, and I could hear them breathing the icy air. They were even close enough for me to feel their warmth, but in the invisible blackness, they might as well have been a million miles away. I felt isolated and alone as though I were a lost soul floating aimlessly through the universe.
I looked up at the ceiling. I couldn’t see a thing in the darkness, but I knew it was up there—the writing that we’d discovered so many months ago—the final clue that had unlocked the secret to everything.
I had to remind myself that I was supposed to be looking down, not up, so I peered down toward my feet where at any moment the light of the rising sun would begin to carve its way across the floor of the chamber.
Just imagine being in this place so many thousands of years ago when it was first built, I thought to myself in wonder as I stared blindly into the black. Far underground, cold and frightened, and probably wondering if the sun would ever rise again, but they knew it would. That’s why they built this place. And with the rising sun their world would be reborn.
My breath caught suddenly in my throat as I thought I caught a glimpse of light in motion in the endless dark. Was it the first rays of the sun breaking over the distant horizon? Or was it just a trick of my imagination?
The seconds passed, and my eyes detected a flicker of light in the gloom as the curtain of darkness slowly lifted from my eyes. Seconds turned into minutes, and I stared in utter amazement as a thin rapier of pure liquid light knifed its way across the stone floor and poured a golden heavenly luminescence into the crowded chamber, filling it with light and warmth.
My mouth was hanging open in complete astonishment at the sheer and absolute beauty of it. I glanced around me and saw that the others were every bit as breathless as I was. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
It was numinous.
It was sublime.
But in truth there were absolutely no words to describe it, and yet my mind raced to find some linguist hook upon which I could anchor the experience and never forget it, not that I ever would. I would remember it for the rest of my days.
As the heavenly fire continued to fill every nook and cranny of the underground chamber, I couldn’t resist lifting my head again to look at the ceiling. Somehow, I just had to be sure that the writing was still there, and of course it –was; it had been there for many, many years before I ever laid eyes on it, and it would remain there for many years more, perhaps for all eternity. But I just had to know for sure, so for a quick moment I tore my eyes away from the radiant beam of light splitting the floor and glanced upward.
It took a moment to orient myself and find it again, but there it was, waiting to be found again.
So many months and a thousand memories had passed since I’d last been inside this underground temple of light, and yet it felt like yesterday.
With a lump growing in my throat and tears of emotion in my eyes, I lowered my gaze and watched the dagger of light slowly recede across the floor. Before I knew it, and as mysteriously as it had arrived, the beam soon retreated up the tunnel and out into the reborn world outside, plunging our underground world into the same thick and utter blackness from which we’d just emerged.
And then there was silence. A silence so complete that not a single one of us dared to breathe. For a moment, I was a lost soul again, set adrift in the universe and floating on the memory of the adventures that had led me to this place so many months before.


About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series. To learn more, go to Iain’s WebsiteTwitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.
To schedule an interview with Iain or request a review copy of Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic, please contact Book Publicity Services at
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic IntrigueKitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is book 3 in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. It was published April 2013 and is available for sale on Amazon.


Following in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart, Kitty Hawk sets off on an epic flight around the world and arrives in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik where she finds herself immersed in a beautiful alien world of volcanoes, Vikings, elves and trolls. Before she knows it Kitty is plunged head first into an amazing adventure that sweeps her across a rugged landscape where humans and nature exist side-by-side in an uneasy truce and magical realms seem to lie just out of sight beneath the surface.
Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is the dazzling third installment of the Flying Detective Agency series featuring Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenaged seaplane pilot with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into – and out of – all kinds of precarious situations.
This is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages – armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike. From dangerous criminals and corrupt government officials to mystical beings and clashes with the elemental forces of nature, this book has it all. Come and join Kitty Hawk as she experiences the strange and extraordinary world of the Icelanders, and unravels the Icelandic Intrigue.


Excerpt from Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue:
The bullet split the air with a dreadful ripping sound and whizzed past my ear like some horrifyingly angry insect. The experience was completely new and terrifying to me, and it was one that I could have happily lived the rest of my life without having had. After hearing the bullet rip past me (and feeling it, too, since such a terrible sound is felt as much as it is heard) everything that followed seemed to happen all at once in excruciatingly slow motion.
What was that?!? I asked myself as I bolted upright and my brain tried to make sense of what it had just experienced. But I already knew full well what it was. My brain was slow to accept what it already knew to be true, because with that acceptance came the realization that someone was trying to kill me, and had the bullet not missed, I would already be dead.
After accepting what was happening, panic began to set in. People sometimes talk about being frozen in fear—like a deer in the headlights of a car—but for me, the fear had the exact opposite effect. All I could think was that I needed to run; I needed to get out of here—right away—and to anywhere other than the middle of the road where I was exposed and vulnerable to being shot at a second time.
Fortunately, my brain had the good sense not to run toward the source of the gunfire, and I managed to scramble down the side of the road and take cover in the ditch. Somewhere up the road, men with guns were pulling themselves out of their wrecked automobile and planning to come after me. If I stopped breathing for a second and strained to listen over the sound of the wind, I could hear them grunting as they pulled themselves free of the car accompanied by the sound of broken glass raining onto the ground.
“You have to get out of here,” the little voice in my head reminded me. “You don’t have much time!”
I know, I told myself. I tried to breathe normally and stay calm. I didn’t have time to make any mistakes. Even the smallest misstep could cost me my life. All I could do was run, but where could I run to when I was on a road in the middle of nowhere? If I got back onto the road, I would be completely exposed, even in the dim light of the early morning.
“The only place you can run,” the little voice said, “is cross-country.”
I lifted my head for a second to see if anyone was coming after me. I couldn’t see anyone, but that didn’t mean no one was out there, so I kept my head low, ran across the ditch, and scrambled up the rocky ledge on the other side.
Please, God, don’t let them shoot at me now, I thought as I climbed up the ledge and out of the ditch.
Once I was at the top, I crouched low and surveyed the way ahead of me. The landscape was rocky and rough—full of places to hide and take cover.
“Maybe that’s what you should do,” the little voice suggested. “Maybe you should just find somewhere to hide? It’s pretty dark out here and there are plenty of shadows you could crawl into. Just hide somewhere until they decide to leave you here.”
I shook my head.
“It won’t be dark for long,” I murmured to myself as I looked toward the brightening horizon where the sun would soon be rising. “And I am not just going to sit around helplessly waiting for them to find me. I am going to get as far from them as I possibly can.”
“Then what are you waiting for?!?” the little voice replied, still panicked.
I peered over the ledge and back up the deserted road to where the shot that had barely missed me had come from. I still couldn’t see anything—not even the hulk of the wrecked car that I knew was back there—and no one was walking up the road toward me. I closed my eyes and tried to listen for any sound of movement over the howling wind.
“You have to go!” the little voice screamed. “They could be anywhere! They could be standing five feet away from you, ready to grab you again!”
The voice in my head was right. I had to go. But I kept listening, waiting for clarity. Somehow, I felt that I had to have some idea of where they were, because it terrified me much more not knowing anything at all.
And then I heard it—the faint sound of angry voices carried on the wind down the road toward me. They were speaking some foreign language, and they could have been saying just about anything, but I only heard, “That stupid girl is going to pay for this. Let’s go get her.”
A cold wave of fear washed over me. My heart pounded like a jackhammer, and a sickening chill poured deep into the pit of my stomach.
“Now I run,” I whispered to myself, and sprang to my feet. “Now I run like I’ve never run before in my entire life.”


About the Author:
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. He has published 4 books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series. To learn more, go to Iain’s WebsiteTwitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.
To schedule an interview with Iain or request a review copy of Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue, please contact Book Publicity Services at
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series