Warning: very long and boring post.
Wow, it was difficult to find a free classic book on Kindle that I enjoyed. I began The Call of the Wild by Jack London with high hopes. It started off great, from the POV of the dog, which I love, and then it became absolutely brutal and horrible. I had to stop ~ I can’t bear reading about animal abuse. Next, I downloaded Emma by Jane Austen. It was hugely long, but even so I was excited to begin, as I figured it would be awesome. Loved the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow (1996). But ugh! The writing was SO BORING. I couldn’t take it after two chapters, and the whole thing was over 500 pages, omg. How is this even a classic? Maybe people used to have longer attention spans.
1. Finally, for the classic square, I read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, a nice short book. This story was narrated in a form I really dig, which is “someone” telling a story about an event. We don’t really know who the narrator is or if we should necessarily believe them, but as the pages go on, we kind of forget that as we’re drawn into the experience. Remember, the narrator is actually a character too, but we don’t find out much, if anything, about them. Idk why, but I really like this form. I also like it when things about the narrator are revealed as the story progresses, but either way is fine. Anyway, EF is basically about a doomed romance, and we are immersed in every detail about it ~ not the normal romance novel clichés but Ethan’s conflicting feelings, veering from impulsive to practical throughout. And there’s something here you don’t often find in romantic fiction, especially current stuff: money talk. Yes, for many of not most of us, economics is a big factor in our decisions, including ones regarding our love lives. Four stars.
2. Again, I had difficulty finding a “travel” book (whatever that even means) that I could stand. Most were so boring, and then I read a sliver of an essay too short to count (liked it though), called The Bin & the Bomb by Matthew Felix about a tiny apartment in Paris. Very fun read. I decided that would be cheating though, so I found a novel in the (free) travel book section on Kindle called Finding Love in Florence by Shanna Delaney, and though it began in a very stereotypical way, I kept reading. I guess I have a higher tolerance for mediocre romance than for meh mystery and non-fic. I gave the book only 2 stars. The lurve story was predictable but sweet, and I got a tiny taste of Italy.
3. I chose Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran about self-publishing for the self-help square. Hey, not all self-help books have to be focused on getting rid of your flab or learning how to love some dumb man, or vice versa, as the case may be. I skimmed a lot of this book at first because it went on and on and on about all the things it was going to tell me instead of telling me already. So boring! But then we got to the good part, which was informing me that everything I’ve done is wrong wrong wrong. I kinda already knew, but it was nice to have that confirmed by a professional. Design your own cover? WRONG! Do your own proofreading? WRONG! Build a “platform” by jabbering on a blog? WRONG! If only I had spent $500 on each cover, shelled out $500+ hiring proofreaders for each book, and nagged y’all to sign up for my newsletter (not to mention creating one), then I’d be rocking bestseller lists as we speak. Right. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
But seriously, this is a valuable book for aspiring authors (after you skim through the overlong intro). If I were just starting out, I would take his advice, especially on building a mailing list and focusing on one genre only to “fit in” with the writers there instead of flitting around from erotic romance to angsty poetry to political satire. Ugh. Just thinking about all the flitting makes me dizzy. I always knew I should pick something and stick with it ~ at one point I had a romance Facebook page, a dedicated romance blog, and a Twitter account just for Anna. But my problem is I never tried to find the romance readers ~ I still kept talking to my friends, most of whom don’t read these stories. No offense, but hey. I never built a mailing list or did any serious marketing except for an occasional ooh look I have a book. It’s just not in my nature to pester people to buy something or sign up for a list. As Ashley says (paraphrased): I don’t feel good about bugging readers to do something I hate when done to me. So anyway… even if you (like me) have already screwed everything up by losing focus, diluting your “brand” by posting about cake, and interrupting your author success trajectory by sliding into teenaged poetry, still… I recommend checking out Let’s Get Digital. You will definitely learn things. Four stars.
K, I’m going back to link things, like a person who is serious about selling books. LOL
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