My Ten Favorite Books Blog Challenge

LogoI was invited to participate in this challenge by blogger Abbie Johnson Taylor. Here’s how it works. Think of your ten favorite books and write them down. Then invite three other bloggers to create their own lists of ten favorite book titles and invite three other bloggers and so forth. You can read the guidelines here.

Below is my list of ten books. I must admit this was HARD. At first, a dozen titles popped into my head and they kept coming. Certain books were more important to me during certain periods in my life, so I ended up writing a few down, then the mister randomly selected ten. They’re not in any particular order.


1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
2. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
4. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
7. Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
8. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
9. The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
10. The Bible 


The three bloggers I am inviting are L S Fellows, Taylor Love, and D.E. Haggerty. Of course anyone else is welcome to submit favorite book titles. I look forward to reading about them.

5 Things Bloggers Should Remember When Hosting Book Tours #MondayBlog

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In my last two #MondayBlog posts, I posted five things book promotion services and authors should remember when planning/running book tours. The week – it’s bloggers’ turn.

Regardless of where you post—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or an Internet blog—you’re a blogger. When you join book tours… you’re a tour host. Authors can write books and services can plan tours, but without motivated tour hosts to help get the word out… nothing happens… it doesn’t work!

Bloggers host tour events for a variety of reasons, including the love of books and reading, supporting authors, and blog content.

Five things bloggers should remember are:

  1. Know what you’re signing up for. What type of tour is it? Is it DIY or will HTML be provided? Is it just a promo post? Is reviewing an option or mandatory? Is sharing the post expected?  If you are not sure- ASK QUESTIONS before signing up.
  2. If you sign up – be proactive! Add the event to your calendar. Set a reminder alert. Start a draft copy with the date of the tour. Do not just sign up and forget about the event. Problems arise with authors and services… and the blogger is the last to know. Be prepared.
  3. Publicize! Authors and services blog about upcoming tours and include the info in newsletters – bloggers should too! Promotional posts only work when they are seen. Some bloggers do post calendars, but publicizing could be as simple as a post at the beginning of the week on upcoming events for that week. You’re not just promoting the tour, author, or service, you’re promoting YOU!
  4. If reviewing, only review books you are interested in! Reviews are only beneficial when reviews are posted, but some of the worst reviews have been written by tour hosts who had no interest in the promoted book… and said so in their review! Reading diverse books and/or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone are two things everyone should try, but a review tour is not the time to start. Do not be badgered by services or lured by contests, giveaways, or simply a free book.
  5. Tag your posts and Moderate your comments. When hosting a tour, bloggers should strongly consider tagging the author or the service… or both! It’s the quickest, easiest way to guide them to your post, and hopefully, they will leave comments. Acknowledge commenters on your blog post! Even when they leave questions for the author, like their comment and thank them for stopping by. You are a tour host… so be open, amiable, and approachable. This will encourage visitors to return and enjoy your site content even when you’re not hosting a tour.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to book tours. There is experience… and some have more than others, but no two tours are the same—even if they’re for the same author.

However, even experience is worthless if there isn’t real communication among all team members, and yes, it is a team. All team members are equally important and should be treated as such. Forget the ‘form letter’ emails and plastic posts in Facebook groups.

Authors + promotion services + bloggers collaborating and working together will always lead to a successful book promotion. If communication fails… so will the event.




5 Things Book Promotion Services Should Remember #MondayBlog

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Book promotion services provide a wide range of services to authors including promotional tours for cover reveals, new releases, and blog tours. Many also offer publishing support features for indie authors like manuscript editing, book formatting, cover design, and book reviews. These are invaluable services to any author which may not necessarily sell books, but go a long way in garnering name recognition for an author and help build the author platform.

When it works.

Recently, a group of authors shared their most recent experiences with promotion services. The emails went from humorous to frustrated to angry quick, fast, and in a hurry.

This is not a condemnation of book promotion services in general, nor any one service in particular. Several authors using several different services all encountered similar ‘problems’ which left authors feeling shortchanged, leading them to cross the service off their list for future promotions. (Authors are not without their responsibilities either – that’s coming in part two.)

If you run a book promotion service, here are five things you might want to take into consideration:

  1. Equal and fair treatment – Some authors felt the service they received was less than stellar and their questions were brushed off because they were not bestselling authors or recognizable names, yet they paid the same fees. Some services do have ‘new or debut author’ packages. (Kudos to you!) But if your prices are the same for everyone, your services should be the same for everyone.
  2. Communication – Many services require advance bookings of three to six weeks (or more). It takes time to sign up blogs and create a schedule that accommodates authors and That being said, do not take payment from an author and disappear. A prevailing comment in our ‘talks’ was, “I haven’t heard from them.” A weekly update of a few words to an author means more than you know.
  3. Prompt response to emails from authors and bloggers would be appreciated. And prompt doesn’t necessarily mean fifteen minutes to an hour, but it shouldn’t mean 24-48 hours either for a current or fast-approaching event. People have day jobs, families, and responsibilities – that’s a given. But you’re still doing business and should strive for the best response times possible. A response—or lack of one—could make the difference in the timely posting of the event.
  4. FAQs – Most services have FAQs. Some are more detailed than others, but it’s generally stated that “a WORD doc, book cover and everything needed for posting will be provided.” What’s not stated is if the service provides HTML or WordPress HTML. This is a biggie for some authors and bloggers… and a deal-breaker.

HTML posts are quick – cut, paste, confirm, and schedule!  But it takes time to build an aesthetically pleasing post, and the more files and images included, the more time it takes.  DIY posts should be an option, never the norm unless the service is exclusively for Facebook pages or non-WordPress blogs. Tour hosts are volunteers and the onus of building a tour post should never be expected of them unless they know in advance what they’re signing up for.

If HTML/WP HTML is not provided, it only needs to be a simple sentence or bullet point of disclosure in the FAQ or on the sign-up sheet… but it should be disclosed.

  1. The Author/Blogger Chose Your Service – Whether it was your price/promotional package, seeing your work on another blog, word-of-mouth, or reputation, an author chose your business to promote their book, or blogs chose to host tours for you. If you want them to return, keep the lines of communication open and allow for some flexibility.  Not all authors/bloggers and services are a good fit, and that’s okay, but the book event can still be a successful event for all parties.

If you run a book promotion service, you may already be doing these things.

Or none of them.

Does it mean you’re doing anything wrong?


However, it could explain why some authors are not doing repeat business with your promotion service. Just some things to think about.


Next week: 5 Things Authors Should Remember When Planning a Book Tour