Overcoming Anxiety Showcased at Virtual Bookcase

With seven days to go until the official launch of Overcoming Anxiety, we begin the launch party with a showcase at the Virtual Book Case. Here is the link; Click here to visit the Virtual Bookcase.

The Virtual Bookcase showcases select books that the owner, Glynis Smye deems worthwhile. She is very personable and lives in the UK, at the seaside town of Dovercourt-Harwhich. She is author of the Ripper Romance Series and while she tends to favor historical fiction, especially from the Victorian era, she has some interests in Mind, Body and Sprit topics and was gracious to include a showcase for Overcoming Anxiety.

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Overcoming Anxiety Virtual Book Tour

As part of the eBook Launch Extravaganza for Overcoming Anxiety, there will be a huge discount on the book during the first 10 days after the release, and some extensive virtual touring. I will be doing the usual virtual touring activities  (guest posts, reviews, interviews, responding to comments) and look forward to interacting with many of my readers on these sites:

Here is the planned virtual blog tour so far for this nonfiction mental health book:

7/27         interview   Va Beach Publishing Examiner
7/28         excerpt      Book Reviews and Authors
7/28         spotlight      Fit4moms
7/28         review          My Bookish Life
7/28         guest post    Books Direct Online
7/29         review          The Dark Phantom
7/29         spotlight       KitnKaboodle
7/29         guest post     Literally Speaking
7/29         excerpt         Jamie Hope’s Journey
7/30         review           The Serious Reader
7/30         excerpt         Valley Girl Gone Country
7/30         review            Bound for Escape
7/30         interview         CA Milson’s Blog
7/31          interview        Julius Thom Novels
7/31          review            The Pink Lyme
8/1            review              Book Fidelity
8/2           interview         Book Adventures of Emily
8/3           interview       Virtual Book Club
8/4           review              Literary Meanderings
8/5           review               Crafty Mom Zen
8/5           guest post         What is That Book About?
8/6
8/7            review             Ogitchida Book Blog
8/8            interview          Literary Lunes
8/10          interview       The Writer’s Life
8/11           review             Curling Up By the Fire
8/12           review            My Life, Loves and Passion
8/13           guest blog      Mythical Books
8/17           review               Laura’s Interests
8/18           guest blog        Queen Of All She Reads
8/20          review             Our Family’s Adventure

Reader Engagement to Be the Next Big Thing

Amazon ™ just today announced in a letter to its authors, that instead of their previous method of reimbursing authors for borrowed books, they are moving to a system that awards a certain amount per page of the borrowed book that was read. Few authors realize how often a book -in fact this is true even more so with bestsellers – does not get read.

People buy a best selling author because everyone else is buying it: word of mouth, reviews, and several obtuse factors (“I want it on my shelf”) can all lead to the purchase. But often there is not enough due diligence.  Too frequently there is not any questioning about whether you would actually enjoy reading that best seller. Indeed romance readers are far more likely to read to their HEA ending of a romance, than the typical best seller.

But as Amazon with its KU (TM) program and others move to reimbursing authors based on reader involvement, the question becomes, how will worth be translated into metrics like pages read? Will pictures count for 1000 words, or none? That will effect coffee tables and children’s authors.  Will dialogue-intensive genres like romance get a bonus (i.e, more pages) or, as I expect will happen with Amazon’s page count method, will they be penalized?

As a writer of mostly nonfiction, I wonder what will become of information intensive books in which chapters 10 and 13 may be more compelling than  Chapter 3? I have faith in technology to be able to eventually handle these issues, but in the interim, when retailers make business decisions based on imperfect technology, this could really impact the field, more than people imagine. Will the next James Joyce give up because his readers put the book down after 8 pages, only to pick it up a month or two later?

Overall, I think that big data will win the most from this, and it will be a way to commoditize writing content, that the distributors have only dreamed of until now. Will writers make two cents a word (at least for borrowed books) or three, and will an upstart company, paying more per word, be the next Amazon? It is a slippery slope that the retail giant has embarked on, and it depends on Jeff Bezos and his peers, and how well they play their hand, and whether a free market economy can bring out the best in writers. I believe this move could easily be the kind of over reach that opens the door to more competition, buy we shall see.

 

Indie Publishers gaining market share, while big 5 are slipping

Bestselling author Hugh Howey’s quarterly analysis of sales is remarkable:

http://authorearnings.com/report/may-2015-author-earnings-report/

Several interesting findings include a 44% increase in share of bestsellers by indie books and a 26% slide in number of big-5 published books on the bestseller lists. The traditional publishers had only 14% of the bestsellers.

The Nook is also down to single digits and sinking, (sales off by nearly 50%) leaving Amazon back in the catbird seat.

Over 7 quarters of data, the price of eBooks in the big-5 legacy publishers has risen 17%.

All in all the Big 5 publishers and their authors are losing money fast, selling fewer ebooks, and losing discoverability as they are giving up significant market share.

Review: Snap Strategies for Couples, a Quick Read

As a psychologist I often read and sometimes review books about psychology and psychological interventions, so when I saw Snap Strategies For Couples by Lana Staheli and Pepper Schwartz, I was eager to get it. In part I was curious because there had not been any good book by a new author skilled in couples work in recent times. I was provided the Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this book, which is currently in pre-release status, and will be available for sale to the public on April 21st, 2015.

The authors have both published before, and this is their first collaboration. Dr. Staheli is a coach, and Dr. Schwartz describes herself as a “relationship coach,”but she is best known as a sexologist and sociologist. Dr. Schwartz writes a column on sexuality for AARP, and a book she wrote earlier made the New York Times bestseller list. In Snap Strategies for Couples neither author give their specific credentials; however from the content of the book it is likely that they are both trained in the coaching area. As a consequence, some might find these ideas a little too simplistic. Yet the 40 brief interventions that the authors describe are consistent with the kinds of emphasis and scope that is often found in the coaching domain. As such, Snap Strategies is a useful and well written collection of simple straightforward things a couple can do to improve their relationship.

Each of the 40 topics is introduced and followed by two clinical anecdotes that illustrate the issue. Each of these brief 5-9 page chapters is then concluded by a prescribed solution offered by Drs. Staheli and Shwartz.  Many of these suggestions seem self-evident, as in the chapter on Snarky Comments. The authors point out that making snarky comments to your spouse can “poison the relationship,” and in the prescription, they say that recipient should first recognize that the snarky comments are hurtful, take them on, and then be specific in describing what is being said that is so hurtful. This is fairly typical of the level at which these discussions are presented. They are always straightforward and  simple, but nonetheless often useful. However, if you expect in depth or scholarly discussions of marital problems and their solutions, tied to research or to the known experts in the field, then the reader may be disappointed. The authors do have a chapter on the Languages of Love that credits and relies upon the 1995 book by Chapman.

I found some of these pithy interventions quite well crafted and helpful. For example, one solution to a tendency of one partner to be too critical is for the critic to focus instead on the good things that they would like to see increased, rather than on trying to  curb purportedly problematic areas.  Where this book is at it’s best, however, is in addressing sexual conflicts and problems. Dr. Schwartz has already made something of a name for herself in this arena, with writing as far back as 1970 in her topic area. Her expertise shines through in these chapters, mostly outlined towards the end of the book.

I give the book Snap Strategies for Couples 4 out if 5 stars, and this quick read, aimed at couples trying to breaks some bad habits and patterns, may help many couples navigate these conflicts and problems more smoothly.

Snap Strategies for Couples

40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Struggles

by  Lana Staheli and Pepper Schwartz

Seal Press

263 Pages

Release Date: April 21st, 2015

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review of See Bride Run by Charlotte Hughes

See Bride Run! is the latest book by Charlotte Hughes, and I enjoyed this book, which was a quick and funny read. It can be read in one sitting (it is 211 pages long) and is really a classical romance.

Charlotte has the ability to paint characters that are both funny and 3 dimensional. She writes great dialogue and keeps the plot moving. In this story she has a prologue in which the protagonist, Annie Hartford, steals the family limousine in order to flee a wedding forced on her by her father. She has lived under her father’s thumb all her life, since he raised her as his only family member.

The car brakes down in Pinckney Georgia, in front of Sam Ballard’s Café.. Sam and Annie go through many of the usual crises/conflicts before the HEA, but the reader has fun along the way.

The book is fun and a quick read, with several quirky characters. I can recommend this book with 4.5 stars.

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See Bride Run!: (Click here for more)

Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review of Against Her Will by Peter Martin

Against Her Will is a debut novel by the author, and as such introduced me to an author of whom I will keep track. His book is a hybrid and includes a plot that at the beginning and end reads like a suspenseful thriller, with a breathtaking pace and twists, turns and a surprise ending. However the middle part Is not at all like this and focusses instead on a very adroit but much slower psychological profile of a woman dealing with the aftermath of rape.

The plot follows the protagonist Donna, from a rape she experiences on the way home from work, devolving further and further into a world of pain and isolation. Initially she attempts to stay with her boyfriend, but when that does not work, she moves in with her parents, and eventually to a care home, where recovery seems impossible. However she meets a male from the staff of the institution and moves in with his family. The ending of the film has a surprise twist, and this reviewer won’t give it away.

I am a clinical psychologist and have treated countless men and women who have dealt with the aftermath of trauma, and I can say that for a work of fiction this rings true enough, and the book seems to care deeply about the protagonist, and it gets the morass that Donna finds herself swimming through. While this section is well written, the suspenseful parts elsewhere in the book are better, and they show the promise of this new writer. Despite the problems with pacing, I highly recommend this book and will be eagerly to see what the author next has to offer.

Amazon Best Sellers

Published in: on December 28, 2014 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Maya Angelou has Died

In case you had not heard, Maya Angelou, renowned poet and Medal of Freedom winner, has died according to her agent:

Maya Angelou Dies

While all of us loved her, she has lived a remarkable life. For example few know that she was a calypso singer who recorded an album as such that won her some fame, before he poetry was recognized.

She turned pain into poetry and gave her voice to those who were voiceless. She encouraged girls to grab the world “by the lapels.” Here is Maya reciting “Still Rise” : Still Rise by Maya Angelou on Youtube.

While she may have left her body, she left a body of work that will be eternal

Published in: on May 28, 2014 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Self-Publishing in the Age of the Kindle

Book publishing has changed. In the past, the idea of publishing a book outside of the Big 6 New York Publishing Houses (especially without an agent) was relegated to vanity publishing. People who had no other recourse spent about $10,000 to make enough copies to fill half their garage, which is where the books congregated. With few exceptions, these endeavors never made any money or came close to paying back the initial cost, not to mention the cost to the author’s brand/reputation.

Today, an author needs to think twice before signing on with a traditional publisher. In order To self-publish the initial costs, in addition to writing the book, are procuring your own cover and hiring a decent editor. Sure you will still have to promote your book but that would be necessary with a print publisher as well (at least if you plan to sell any books).

However the royalties from Amazon if you go with the $2.99-$9.99 price range, are 4-9 times greater than you would get from a traditional print publisher, and you also have the potential to get Amazon to put their marketing muscle behind you, if you are smart or lucky enough to please the Amazon algorithm.

These and related reasons have led me to self publish the book

    Overcoming Anxiety

once I have finished the editing. That means I need to brush up on self publishing and while I do that, I will try to share much of what I learn with my readers.

Published in: on May 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rekindling the Art of Reading

I was probably the last person on earth to get an eReader, but the other day I finally broke down and bought one, and have already begun working my way through the classics with Jack London (White Fang) and James Joyce (Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man).

These were two books I read in high school, and because they were free (yes I am a cheap skate) I have now once again taken a fresh look at them. It strikes me that Kindle is likely to not only largely replace the Public Library (in Republican South Carolina tax cuts have devastated the Public Library System) but for all looks and purposes, Kindles seem to be opening reading as a hobby to a whole new group of readers.

Everywhere I look there seems to be a mother with babies in tow, reading a Kindle. When I talk with many of these readers, they are often the same people who formerly bought Danielle Steel or Nora Roberts or Harlequin Romances often at the grocery store. They are still buying these books (but now often through a Kindle Store), yet because they love their eReader, they also are downloading free and low cost books in other genres ranging from Self Help to those free classics.

Kindle has made reading an easy lifestyle choice, no longer associated with language arts. The number of readers who use Kindles or other eReaders has increased dramatically every year, and within the near future more than half of the books sold each year will be e-Books.

Another interesting benefit of the electronic book trend is that books are now perpetually available to the reader. The traditional shelf-life on a newly published books at a Brick and Mortar store was 3 months, and if the author did not sell through some 60%+ of their books in the first year, it would usually die with a whimper.

With eBooks there is no magic number of sales needed to keep a book “in print” and so an author can grow their sales and reputation over time, without needing the right combination of luck and money to succeed.

Published in: on August 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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