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Appreciation

Appreciation

When someone does something well, do you tell them you thought they did a good job? When YOU  do something well, whether it’s cooking a difficult and impressive recipe, growing some spectacular orchids, doing an amazing cabinetry job, or giving a great speech, don’t you like to receive praise that tells you your efforts were appreciated?

Authors are no different. We like to know that our readers appreciate our books.

There are several ways in which you can praise an author’s work. The one that does him or her the most good is to post a good review online. Where did you by the book? If you bought it on Amazon, you can leave a review there. If  you bought it somewhere else, then leave a review wherever you bought it.

There are other things you can do, too. You can post a notice on your Facebook timeline. “I just read a fascinating book,” or whatever words best describe it: “very well written,” “compelling,” “useful,” “helpful,” “marvelous”…. If you’re on other social media, you can post notices there, too.

And you can write to the author directly. Many times, an author’s bio in the book, on the back cover, or on the website from which you bought the book contains a link to the author’s website, and almost all websites have a contact page with a link or a form whereby you can send a message to the site owner—in this case, the author. Your message can be as short as “Loved your book [and insert the title here, as the author may have written more than one book, so let him/her know which book you are referring to].” Or you can be a bit lengthier and tell the author why you loved or liked his or her book.

If you can’t find a direct contact link for the author, try sending him/her a note c/o his/her publisher. Most publishers will forward to the author any email or snailmail that comes in for them.

But authors are people, just like you. They like to know their efforsts are appreciated. Why not tell them? Or tell the world how much you enjoyed what they wrote.

No New Year's Resolutions!

No New Year’s Resolutions!

Here’s a radical idea: DON’T MAKE ANY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

No! Instead, make a list of ACCOMPLISHMENTS you wish to see yourself attain in 2019. What do YOU want to accomplish in 2019? Declare it…and then DO it!

Let’s start close to home, with readers and writers. Are you a reader? How many books did you read this year? Did you determine you will read five more, 10 more, 20 more in 2019? Whatever your target number, choose a number that’s feasible…and then live up to it.

Are you a writer? What are YOU going to accomplish? Finally sitting down and writing that novel that’s been brewing in your head? Finally starting your memoirs…to be continued as time goes on? Trying your hand at a different genre just to expand and grow? If you’ve written only short-form (articles, blogposts, and such) up till now, will you determine to accomplish writing your first whole BOOK this year? If you’ve written only nonfiction, do you want to try your hand at writing a novel in 2019?

Now on to other folks…what do you want to make it your intention to accomplish this year? Start a new business? Change jobs for one that pays better or that you enjoy more…even if it pays less? Go back to school to get the degree or training you need  to get the job you really want? Move to another city? Find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Or divorce the spouse who makes your life miserable or simply doesn’t bring you the happiness you want and deserve?

Have I hit on one or more things you would like to accomplish in 2019? If not, it’s because I don’t know you personally and don’t  know your circumstances. Do you want to accomplish reconnecting with your favorite aunt, with whom you’d lost touch? Do you want to accomplish crocheting 100 afghans for 100 of those children stuck at the US border? Do you have a really audacious desire to run for public office? Determine that in 2019 you will set up the foundation for your campaign—an office, a campaign manager, a speech writer—to be ready to campaign in earnest in 2020. Or perhaps your municipality will even hold local elections in 2019, and THIS is the year you will run for election! Better get organized quickly!

Whatever you want to accomplish in 2019, decide what it is, determine that you WILL accomplish it, and then DO IT! Let 2019 be YOUR year!

Year-End Thoughts

Year-End Thoughts

As the year draws to a swift close, it’s inevitable that we look back on the 12 months past. Some of us will do so with regret or even anguish, while others will do so with satisfaction or a warm glow.

Where do you stand?

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Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

For a change of pace, nothing this week about books, libraries, reading, book signings and similar events, or such. Instead, we’re going to talk about words,or more specifically word choices. And, even more specifically, this will be a rant about other people’s rants.

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Christmas Inspirations

Christmas Inspirations

How is a writer to write about Christmas when there’s no snow on the ground? Is that your question?

Yes, I live in South Florida, where the only snow is artificial (or in snow globes),but what many non-writers don’t realize is that Christmas books are, of necessity, written long before the holiday season. In fact, they might even be written when the snows of the previous winter—up north—are still melting in the spring thaw. It isn’t just South Floridians and Southern Californians who need to ignore rising temperatures when writing about sleds or Santa.

Books published by a self-publishing outfit tend to go through the publishing process faster than books published by a traditional publisher, but even with a self-publisher, you need to allow time for editing, layout, cover design, proofreading,printing, trimming, binding, and shipping, as well as such items as securing an ISBN and generating a barcode. And, as there are inevitably other books being worked on in-house, you can’t expect your book to go through each of these processes lickety-split.

With a traditional publisher, the time is even longer—and don’t forget the three months it may take before the acquisitions editor even gets back to you with an offer to publish. (Or a decline, the industry term for a rejection, which can delay your quest for your book’s publication even longer as you resume your search for an interested publisher or decide not to delay any longer but to go ahead and self-publish.)

So it’s very possibly sweet springtime or even sweltering summer—and that’s pushing it if you’re going with a traditional publisher—when you write your Christmas picture book, Christmas romance, Christmas mystery, or holiday decorating how-to or Christmas goodies cookbook.

How does a writer trick herself into a Christmas frame of mind when the air-conditioning is fighting the summer heat and the swimming pool outside her window  is sparkling in the summer sun? Well, if you live in South Florida, as I do, unless you are a new arrival, you have long since acclimated to writing about crisp autumn leaves when there are none, writing about snowy trails and carrot-nosed Frostys when no such sights are on offer anywhere around, and relying on imagination (or memory, if you are a transplanted northerner) to write your winter holiday-themed books.

Maybe you crank the a/c down to where you need to don a sweater and a muffler for comfort as you sit at your computer. Maybe you put Christmas music on the stereo. Maybe you’ve saved snow scapes and other wintry scenes, cut out from magazine, which you now tape onto your wall to look at in order to get yourself in the right frame of mind.

It’s no tjust us book authors. I have heard that songwriters write their Christmas songs in July.

Some professions require good imaginations.

In Praise Of Librarians

In Praise Of Librarians

What do you think of, what picture comes to mind, when you hear the word “librarian”? A spinster (to use a quaint term, as outmoded as this mental picture), tending dusty books in a musty library? Or perhaps, more specifically, Marian the librarian, of THE MUSIC MAN fame?

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Freedom To Read

Freedom To Read

We live in the “land of the free,” as our national anthem tells us, and that includes freedom to read whatever we please. While there are still groups that successfully petition to have certain books removed from library shelves or schools, there is no overarching governmental entity decreeing that certain books may not be read at all.

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Can Books Lead To Peace… World Peace or Peace in Our Country?

Can Books Lead To Peace… World Peace or Peace in Our Country?

Can books lead to world peace, or simply peace in our country? Can they put an end to school shootings, Pittsburgh-style atrocities, 9/11s, and overseas genocide? Well, they can’t put a total end to war or domestic violence. The world will always have troublemakers, agitators, and those who are, to put it nicely, off balance. But I bet the ordinary individuals who are swayed to follow the agitators could also be swayed in the opposite direction by books. Not just books describing and railing against the atrocities of war or books preaching respect for others—those, too—but also books about people of different backgrounds, different ethnicities, and different religions. I bet the SOB who killed those Jewish people in the Pittsburgh synagogue had never read the Diary of Anne Frank.

I “prescribe” a school reading program in which the students are exposed to age-appropriate books about people from varying backgrounds: people of color, Native Americans, foreigners, rich and poor…all varieties. And students should also be required to read about people of differing religions: Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim at minimum, and maybe Hindu and Buddhist, too. For those students old enough, Anne Frank should definitely be on their reading list.

It’s not that I’m naïve enough to believe that just by requiring diverse reading at a young age we can put a total end to all hostility. But if we can just dial it down by half, or maybe three-quarters, that would be a wonderful start!

This Is Really Scary

This Is Really Scary

Today is Halloween. You know what REALLY scares me? It’s not the ghosties and ghoulies afoot today and tonight, nor the fake cobwebs draped in my chiropractor’s office, nor the spectre of running out of candy early in the evening–actually we don’t get ANY trick-or-treaters in this 55-and-older community. What really scares me is the thought that we are raising another generation of non-readers.

The Millennials are not big readers, and the kids of today seem to be following in their footsteps to a large extent.

Yes, there are exceptions–kids who still haunt (to use a word appropriate to today’s holiday) libraries. And yes, manga is popular with some, and I am not among those who frown on manga because they aren’t “real books.” But how many of today’s kids are putting books on their Christmas wish lists?

And how many young adults are planning to spend their Christmas cash gifts, work bonuses, and other newfound moolah on readables?

It would be a sad thing indeed if people in the main stopped reading–and sad not just for us authors but for society and civilization in general.

I’ll tell you what: We’re on the cusp of November, which for many authors and would-be authors (although I’m not a participant myself) is “NaNoWriMo”—National Novel Writing Month—during which 30 days they are challenged to start and complete writing an entire long book.

Suppose I challenge everyone reading this post to READ (at least) one whole book–and not a comic book or anything super-short–this month, and if they have kids old enough to read and young enough to still live with you, to ensure that these kids also read (at least) one age-appropriate book this month, NOT COUNTING SCHOOL ASSIGNMENTS.

Let’s get America reading again!

We Interrupt This Program

We Interrupt This Program

“We interrupt this program…” or this blog. Or as the Python folks used to say, “And now for something completely different.”

This week’s post isn’t about books, reading, or writing. Instead, I want to urge all our American readers to get out and VOTE.

This is NOT a partisan rant. We are not siding with the blue or red wave, or with any particular candidate or party. You need to vote your own conscience, whatever direction it may take you in, whichever path it leads you down. But whoever it is you favor, whatever candidates and issues or other ballot questions you choose to vote for, you DO need to get out and VOTE.

And that’s what we here at Roundtable urge you: Vote on Election Day, or vote early, or vote by mail…but VOTE.

And if your locality has any kind of referendum in favor of financial support of libraries, please vote for it. Our libraries across the nation need all the help they can get,

Again—vote your conscience, vote at your convenience (mail-in, or early, or “regular”), but VOTE.

Thank you.

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