Reading List- Febuary 2018

Alas! My Febuary reading list.

With Febuary being my second most busy month I´ve decided to keep my reading list a little smaller than I usually would.

But then again- Febuary is my birth month and I can´t NOT treat myself with just 2 books. Either go big or go home, right? Yes, I´m absolutely right.

Here´s my reading list for Febuary 2018!

feb reads.jpg

1. A Shadow Bright And Burning – Jessica Cluess  ( Fantasy/YA )

2. Forgetting You, Forgetting Me – Monica James   ( Romance )

3. Glitter – Aprilynne Pike   ( YA, Fantasy, Dystopia)

4. The One – John Marrs   (Thriller)

5. A Crack In Everything – L. H. Cosway   (Romance)

6. Prelude – Auden Dar   ( Romance )

What a chaotic mix of books! Some were recommendations from friends, others I found while snooping around on social media.

I can´t wait to start these and share my thoughts on each of them. Let´s hope  none of these end up on my dreadful TBR list.

Much love,

Morgana xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

My Social Media – Like & Follow

And so it begins…. My social media is not really anything special but it´s a necessity. Not even I can get around my social media. As with authors- Bloggers can´t avoid social media, even if we try. Life without my social media just doesn´t flow as smooth as it should.

Why am I telling you all this? I´ll get to the point in a second….

The job of a book blogger comes close to one of an author´s. We both write and we´re both trying to “sell” a product. With an author it´s all about writing a great story and putting it out on the market for people to read. A book blogger doesn´t really do much differently. We write posts / articles / nonsense ( depending on the content ) and we want to share our published work with the world. Book bloggers “sell” their opinions on books and book related topics. Both need readers. Both depend on readers. Both can´t really survive without readers.

As with books and authors, book bloggers are a matter of taste. You purchase what you find interesting and you follow what you like. It´s as simple as that.

BUT….

Book bloggers depend a little more on social media. Besides the personal blog ( where a blogger keeps everything well-organized and safe) there are other places many readers/followers like to hang out, or hang out instead.

We´ve got the Facebook people, the Tweeters, Instagrammers, Pin-ners, etc. These people like to stick to their neck of the woods and that´s perfectly okay.

Personally, I see my Morgana´s Book Blox like this:

pyramin

This is a simplified visual from my point of view on how book blogging works for me.

  • The Blog is the home of my book universe. The place where everything happens. I´m my own boss. I´m the creator and I swing the Power Sword there. My WordPress blog for people who want the details instead of having to read short key points.
  • Social Media ( Facebook & Co.) is not less important than a blog. In fact- Social medias are blogs only in a different format. Personally, I treat social media platforms as the cool aunts of book blogging. They´re apart of the family. You hear from them on occasion and when you see each other you get excited and start feeling all kinds of love. And although you know no one can reach the level of awesomeness your aunt has- you still know there´s no place like home ( your personal blog).
  • Social Gatherings ( Book Signings, Book Events, Book Conventions) are by far the equivalent to Grandma´s new boyfriend. You´re not sure about the new partner. You´re questioning Granny´s sanity but when the time comes you come to accept Granny´s choice and even start liking the new guy. Same with book events. Most book people are introverts. They´re shy. Unless there´s some special author appearing at an event you´ll hardly get a reader to those over-stuffed gatherings. Of course, there are those who unfold completely at book events, like a butterfly spreading it´s wings, but those folks aren´t in the majority. 

 

Back to the point: Social media is, next to the blog, where all the magic for us book bloggers, happens.

It´s all about sharing the book love, book news, latest book findings. If a reader hangs around social media then it´s wise for a book blogger to do the same.

Book bloggers have so much to offer besides reviews. We share our thoughts and sometimes our secrets. We pour our hearts out after we´ve read a phenominal book. We give the ugly and the pretty sides of our world and share everything through our blog and social media.

If you´re a fan of a blog or a blog that has social media then make sure you follow and like. Never forget to comment and interact. Socializing is important for us book bloggers. We´re here to make the lives of book people easier.

I used to believe that pointing out the obvious was rude. Not anymore. Not in 2018. Support is needed everywhere! Be a book blog follower. Be a facebook page liker. Follow a book activist on Twitter. Comment and like reviews on Goodreads. No matter what you do- do it and support the mother blog and it´s cool aunts!

Speaking of- Be sure to follow me on my own social media platforms ( if you haven´t already). Just pop in and give a few clicks and maybe even a hello.

Facebook  Twitter     Goodreads   Pinterest  Instagram   Email

 

Fine me

 

 

 

 

Authors and Social Media

Author´s and social media – One can´t really live without the other.

When an author starts out the first thing they need is to become a public figure. And what better way to become a name ( with or without a face) than on social media? There is no better way because, believe it or not… Social media is where half of the magic happens. Social media is, also, where an unimaginable amount of people spend a lot of their time.

And when an author is great at mingling with the common foot folk then social media is a blessing.

But have you ever stopped to think for a second about what exactly happens behind the scene´s? Does an author have to use all social media available for exposure? What does an author have to do in order to become known? Question after question….

The ugly truth is- Author´s cannot avoid social media. It´s nearly impossible. If they do try to avoid any social platform then there´s a high chance no one besides family and friends will ever get to read an author´s work.

Here are a few of the many places where author´s can hang out:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Personal Blog

Pinterest

Youtube

Meetup

etc.

There isn´t really an end to the profitable social media list. With time, each social media site will celebrate their highs and suffer from lows but that still doesn´t change the fact that they´re still necessary. Author´s need to be where the crowd is, right?

But, where, exactly, is the crowd?

I don´t have an aswer for that question. Rumor has it that it completely depends on the genre. Some say it´s better for a paranormal author to spend all their free time on Facebook, and others say Twitter is the place to be for romance writers.

Many authors swear on Instagram being fully Fantasy, Young Adult/New Adult…..

But that´s just absurd because

  1. There hasn´t been an actual study done on the topic.
  2. Social Media platforms are not bound to genres / books. They´re for everyone.

No one and nothing can support that rumor because it´s different for everyone. Every author, every reader has their own thoughts on what works where.

There´s no true formula on which social platform´s the best.

There are a few author superheroes that make us believe they have it all figured out, though. Maybe they do know a few tricks on how to work social platforms. Maybe they develop 8 arms when the moon hits it´s peak. ( Okay, okay. That was unnecessary. But I often can´t help what pops into my mind.)

Unless an author has a wonderful team of minions who´re willing to help, there´s no way an author is able to be everywhere, at the same time. Aside from the miracle worker authors- I´ve noticed not all authors use every platform available. They use what works for them the most.

Some authors focus on Facebook and Twitter. Some work the Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest mill.

Some even go through the efforts over at Youtube and upload book trailers, reading sessions, etc. Writers have become creative in alot of ways and it´s often really cool to witness.

My verdict on what social media is the best for authors is:

Everywhere! Meaning: Every platform is a good place for a writer because it doesn´t depend on where the most people are- It depends on which platform an author feels most comfortable with.

If Facebook works for an author- great.

Twitter? Sure!

Instagram? I´m on board with that.

The key isn´t to chase after the crowd. Author´s aren´t door to door salesmen. The key is getting the crowd´s attention.

Which brings me to my next point:

When a writer has their prefered social media platform where they´ve already grown roots.. It´s not wise to think all the work is done. Especially when the love gushing over a certain book has died down ( a painful fact author´s have to come to terms with ).

When the hype is gone, the fan base will cool down. Only a selected few hardcore book activists will stay. What then? Is it time for an author to move on and write something new? Perhaps it´s a better idea to stick with one book and find other ways to promote it? Maybe find more hardcore book activists?

This is where social media can be an author´s best friend.

Social-Media

 

Every platform is filled with book lovers from all corners of the book world. But what a few aren´t aware of is that Facebook and Co. are also filled with book clubs, book / author groups that offer wonderful extra´s for author´s and readers. Book people like to hide in groups where they can share their latest reads with fellow readers.

Let´s say the hype for an author´s book has died down. Comments slow down. Likes vanish. All the people who have been super supportive have disappeared into thin air. ( Don´t believe it doesn´t happen. It does. Every. Damn. Time. ) It´s a crucial moment. Even devastating because an author depends on likes, follows, shares, etc. Once the interaction slows or stops it can make authors doubt themselves and their abilities.

When that happens it´s time to take the next step. It doesn´t matter which step. It´s the action that matters. Preferably immediately.  If an author doesn´t take matters into their own hands then no one else will.

No matter how many blogs support a writer with posts and graphic quotes or honorable mentions…. Blogs and fans don´t own the author´s work, therefore, their hands are tied.

Of course, there are author´s who depend on blogs and fans to do all the dirty work promotion but that´s a different bedtime story for another night.

Author´s who want exposure and want their names to stay in people´s minds need to stay in the picture.

You cannot imagine how often I´ve seen certain books on social media. Sometimes it´s annoying when I see the same book over and over again ( especially after I´ve read it ) But that´s not the point. It´s the fact that the book is still around… even a year after publication date. Why is that?

Because author´s use their tools. They don´t fully rely on others to get the job done. They´re always on the look-out for new groups and games they can participate in so they can introduce their book to new readers. They collide with other authors.

They make it look like they never sleep.

It all ALWAYS boils down to the same point. Work the self-marketing mill as if it were your religion.

Social media is a warped place but it CAN be very useful for authors if they use their platforms well.

Get to know your social platforms. Learn to use them.

 

NOTE: This doesn´t just apply to authors. This article can be very helpful for book bloggers as well.

 

 

Fictional Romance Hero vs. Husband: Experiment

Low and behold – I present to you modern-day book Heroes!

That just sounded like I was introducing some exotic creature, right? Well, I am. Sort of.

I´m talking about the manly figures in romance novels. Male protagonists. The men women swoon over while reading a romance novel. Or as I like to call them now-a-days… Passionate nut-jobs. 

You think I´m exaggerating? I assure you, I´m not.
I know I know, people reading those popular genres love their passionate nut-jobs. You know what I´m talking about. Those characters who are so bat-shit crazy, no real-life person would ever go near them, not even for money ( at least I wouldn´t ).

Romance is a popular genre and if a romance novel has the whole package then it´s like winning the damn lottery. The only problem is- These heroes are more dramatic and painted out to be the best of the best in the worst way possible.

The fictional characters some authors create are often beyond words. It´s a good thing they´re not real.

I´ve enjoyed a few of those characters a few years ago, before those characters turned into psychopaths.

Yeah, I used to get all excited by the caveman behavior. I was a member of the „ Lusting after X“ society. Swoon here…swoon there. *sigh * It was fun until every new hero became more crazier. After that….I quit the swooning. It wasn´t worth it. Maybe because I didn´t find stalking romantic, or MAYBE I think way to realistic.

These days, a lot of authors like to create characters who have power, who like full control in all areas, and who love to wash their heroines hair…like- all the time! YIKES! Now, some might find that to be the Jackpot…..I find it not necessary because both my arms aren´t broken. I´d also poison any  hero who´d treat me like their possession. 

X: ” You´re MINE! SAY IT! * him, thumping chest with fists*

Me: * eyes wide * ” I´m yours? ” * listening to crickets chirp *

X: ” I´m not convinced! Say you´re mine FOREVER!”

Me: ” Sure, I´m yours. Til the day you die.”  * waiting for X to go to bed so I can hit him on the head with a frying pan *

I´ve noticed there are 3 major Hero-types in the romance/erotica/New Adult novel world.

The Baby Billionaire ( the untouchable CEO´s )

The College Lunatic ( the passionate nut-jobs, game players)

The Bad Boy ( the social outcasts, the rebels )

And what do these 3 character-types have in common? They´re all obsessive, all passionate, and all ready for the funny farm. They ALL love to wash women´s hair. They ALL love to see their women eat, and they LOVE to be the judge of everything, including having the last word when it comes to clothes, friends, and having fun. In short- They´re all unbelievably wacko when they find their significant others. Those 3 Hero-types will do anything and go to great lengths to keep their woman.

Now, in reality, it´s kind of mandatory to have a relationship where both would do alot for each other. I want to see my husband happy and my husband wants to see me happy. But fictional characters these days? That´s a whole new level of relationship there.

Some authors will let their heroes rip plane tickets into a million pieces, let a hero hide the pill, and let a hero beat the crap out of any other male who even sneezes near their partners. If you ask me- that´s plain absurd. As if letting those characters go ape-shit is a romantic thing. The crazier, the better, right? RIGHT? In my world, it´s not reeeaaally right. Jealousy- Fine. I´m good with a suitable amount of jealousy. 

Again…I´m only talking about the millions of books that have been doing their rounds in the book world. ( Note: Not all romances, just many)

Have any of you wondered what life would be like if our „real life husbands / boyfriends / Fiancès would act like those characters? Would you like it if your better half washes your hair? Would you enjoy the things that happen in those books? I bet some readers would love to have the same sex life as the characters they read about have..:-) Which is fine, really. But, It might not be the sex that´s so awesome- maybe it´s just the way the author writes about it that fascinates a reader. Ever thought about that? Or the fact that book people have more sex than a reader does.

ANYWAYS….

After months and months of playing out the „ what if´s“ after finishing a romance novel, I wanted to find out for myself if a book character´s life was all that fancy. I did a little experiment with my poor husband. It´s not like I have better things to do, right?

So…here´s what I did.

Mind you- My husband is the most silent and easy going person I know. He hardly get´s overly emotional but he does get confused when you ask him questions. Odd, out of the blue, questions throw him off. He´ll tell you what he wants for dinner within 0.3 seconds but don´t ask him what you should wear before going out together. The answer might never pass his lips.

Test #1 ( Washing Heroine´s Hair )

Me: „ Honey, can you wash my hair?“

Hubby: „ What´s wrong?“

The look on his face- Priceless. 

Me: „ Nothing. I just thought you´d like to wash my hair. I heard that men do that alot.“

Hubby: Confused, “You sure?”

Me: „ Totally. Men do it to worship their better half.“

Hubby: „ I worship you everyday without wanting to wash your hair.“

He´s right. And he also knows I would never ask him to wash my hair but he did it anyways. Because he loves me. Poor guy. He made an effort, I have to give him that much. That same night I got my special pamper treatment I asked for.  I sat in the tub and let him wash my hair. Would you like to know how it felt? My own husband acted like my head was made out of fragile glass. He was too careful. Lol. But when I told him he needed to wash my hair, not massage it he took my words to heart and scrubbed the life out of my scalp. To this day I´m convinced he reduced the thickness of my hair to half of what it was.

And let me tell you- My face and eyes have never been as clean before, either. I nearly drowned because he didn´t know what to do with the showerhead ( so he accidentally held it against my face. Sure thing. I understand. Guys + showerheads = incompatible.) 

He told me that he loved me and that he never wanted to wash my hair again. Not until I get them well-trimmed. I agreed. In fact- I told him that I loved him but never wanted him near my hair, ever again. There was nothing remotely sexy or sensual about the act itself. I didn´t feel closer to my husband. I didn´t enjoy the feeling of his uncoordinated movements on my head ( my ears don´t have hair in them yet. Doubt they ever will have any for the next 30 years too) I feared for my life. I gasped for air. I´m traumatized. 

 

Test #2 ( Buying clothes for the Heroine )

Me: „ Honey, have you ever thought about picking out clothes for me to wear?“

Hubby: „ Come again?“

Me: „ Don´t you want to be the one who decides what I should wear?“

Hubby: „ Me?!“

Me: „ Just asking. Maybe you can go out and buy me a new dress?“

Hubby: No. Go buy your own dress.“

Me: „ Then maybe you could offer me your credit card. Show me you want to take care of me.“

Hubby: You might never come back if I give you my credit card.“

It took alot of will power not to burst out laughing at the sight of my poor husbands face. He looked so lost. Confused.The end-result of the “buy me a dress” test? I failed. For the rest of that day he just looked at me like I had lost my marbles. I can´t say I didn´t try, though.

Test #3 ( Chose a Meal for Heroine )

( we decided to go to McDonald’s while the girls were at Grandma´s )

Hubby: „ Should I order first or do you already know what you want to eat?“

Me: „ Uuhm, just order what you think is okay for me.“

Hubby: Confused, „ What?“

Me: „ I said, you order for me. But don´t tell me what you´re ordering. Order it in french and just bring it to me.“ 

He then bent towards my ear and whispered softly, afraid someone would hear him.

Hubby: „ We´re at McDonald’s. And I´m seconds away from calling your mom.“

Me: Evil eyed, „ Fine. Nuggets and fries.“

Douche-bag threatened to call my mom just because I was doing a study on Fictional Hero vs. Real Husband. Pfft.

It took a while for my husband to speak to me again but he did. When we finished eating and were back in the car, on our way home. But he only said “We need to talk.”. On the inside, I was cracking up but kept a straight face until we got home and had our little chitchat. 

The end of that story was- Hubby thought I was having an affair ( how he came to that conclusion is a mystery to me). I assured him that wasn´t the case. Then he thought I was taking medication, having a meltdown, a mid-life crisis, etc etc. I told him what I was doing. That I wanted to find out what life as a fictional character was like.

He told me I needed professional help.

The end result of my little experiment-  Life actually sucks as a fictional character ( well, it didn´t work for me). But I did have fun. I guess that´s what matters most, right?

Any author can write about whatever they want. They should just be careful about how crazed the make their heroes.

So, why is it hundreds of readers wish they had character X as their partner? What good would ever come out of it?  What´s the appeal? 

Let´s collect signatures and go against the madness. Surely, authors are capable of writing a love story without making their characters full-blown lunatics. 

Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Part One

To self publish or not to self publish.

That´s something I never had to ask myself because I´m not a writer, but many others have undoubtedly asked themselves if they should dive into self publishing or not.

Writers from all literature corners have, at some point, thought of the idea of publishing their own work, whether through traditional publishing or through self-publishing.

Both routes are fully acceptable these days, but before any writer choses a path to take they should definitely have a closer look at the pro´s and con´s of both traditional publishing and self publishing. Let´s do a quick breakdown to show the differences between the two and include pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self publishing:

Pros for Traditional Publishing

  • Marketing
  • Reach a wide audience, more exposure
  • Publishing houses often offer a financial advance
  • Publishing houses take care of edits, covers, etc.

Cons for Traditional Publishing

  • A writer hardly ( if at all, depending on the publisher) has a say ( in all areas)
  • Marketing runs at a snail’s pace
  • Royalty rates suck
  • It´s hard to get out of a contract

So basically, a writer´s hands are bound.

 

Pros for Self Publishing

  • You call the shots. You´re your own boss.
  • Publication is almost instantly
  • Royalty rates are higher
  • No rejections ( other than maybe from readers)

Cons for Self Publishing

  • No professional book polish ( no editing, no suitable cover image)
  • You have to do major self marketing
  • Potential for publishing a shitty book
  • Literally, anyone can self publish

It all comes down to having all the freedom in the world but also investing an outrageous amount of time doing self promotion because.. since you´re your own boss you have to do every stinking thing yourself.

If I was in a writer´s position I would definitely go with the traditional route. But that´s just me. Since I´m not a writer it´s not important what I would do, right?

A simple fact is: It´s hard getting a deal with a publishing house and it´s easy as hell to self publish.

Doing business with hundreds of self published writers did reveal an awful lot, but what the years of observation have shown was that many self published authors struggle.

And the struggle is real.

Some authors don´t know how to market themselves or they find it extremely difficult.

Why is that?

Well, for one… most writers who go into self publishing and want to make a name for themselves know that they´re going to have to deal with marketing but they don´t know how hard it is.

Imagine you wrote a book and you set your mind of self publishing. Great. But what steps need to be done?

Is your book edited? If not, it should be. You don´t want to sell crap and no one wants to spend money on crap. A harsh truth alot of self published author´s don´t want to hear.

Is the book cover image eye-catchy and is the quality of the image good? If not, you might want to invest some money and get something that´ll make a reader want to buy your book. Many readers judge a book by it´s cover. ( read my article on book covers )

Once your book is properly looked over and the cover ( incl. the quality) is ready you still need readers.

Do you have fans? Without fans you have little to no sales. And without fans you have no one but yourself and maybe your mother to spread the word about your book.

Your book can be a genius piece of written art or a possible world-wide bestseller but that´s worth crap if you don´t have any readers.

You need a plan. A large one.

From what I´ve been able to learn was that self published authors NEED to interact with people. There´s no way around it. Writers must use the tools they´re given and start interacting with all sorts of people in order to get the marketing ball rolling.

Social media is the best place for that. Millions of book lovers hang around Facebook, Twitter & Co. and are dying to get their hands on a new book. Befriending authors is also a step in the right direction because other, more accomplished self published authors have the know-how and can help with fulfilling a dream of becoming a known writer. Contacting book blogs is another way. Us foot folk know how to spread the word in an effective way.

It sounds so easy. But then again- everything seems easy in theory. Contacting strangers is not always easy. It´s acutally awkward.

„Hey, we don´t know each other but I have a book and ( after a full-blown social media investigation) I know you like to read… So, do you wanna read my book?“

Yes. That´s awkward but with a little more tact there is a high chance of gaining potential readers that way.

When a writer has to do their own marketing that means nothing other than having to sell their own product. In this case, it´s their book. Selling a product involves having to interact with people.

A nightmare for introverts or moody artists.

Another thing most self published authors forget is that self marketing never stops. It´s a constant, never-ending cycle. Once the self marketing slows down or stops then that´s it. Everything else stops too.

It also doesn´t stop at the interacting, either. There´s a whole lot more to self marketing than a writer´s eye can meet. Writers need to become creative and find ways to keep the ball rolling. This can be done with simple posts of teasers from their book or maybe a graphic quote or possibly through another author promoting a new writer. Something that engages other people. There are ways to make self marketing fun and slightly easier but the key is: interaction.

It also can´t hurt to mention how much time self published writers need to invest on self marketing. Yes. Many writers would appreciate a day with more than 24 hours.

The reality of self publishing is completely different from what people might think. It´s not just going on some self publishing platform and uploading a story with over 60.000 words and calling it a day.

Of course, writers who chose the traditional path and get taken under the wings of a publishing house have it bit easier. They don´t have to worry about self marketing because that´s included in their package. All the fun( insert sarcasm) with having to deal with emotional stress, interacting with strangers and working on spreading the word falls in the hands of competent people who know how to work the book mill. It might not always be what the writer had planned but it´s one less thing to worry about.

Self publishing is hard work and we´ve only just scratched the surface of how hard and frustrating self publishing can really be. The only advice I can give to writers who are unsure of which publishing path to take is: Collect as much info as possible and weigh your options. See what works best.

Because if we´re honest- not everyone is capable of marketing themselves or their work. Not everyone is a social bunny. But if a writer wants to self publish then there´s no way around having to do some self marketing. But when someone is good at marketing themselves then self publishing can be a joy and fun all around.

Coming next: Self Published Authors, Part Two: Book Pricing

Wattpad: Online Writing Community-Review

There are hundreds of free online writing communities but none are as fast growing as Wattpad.

As a writer, being apart of an online writing community is genius, expecially on Wattpad2Wattpad.The registration is free and it takes mere minutes for a writer to create a profile, which is a huge bonus, and they can start uploading their stories, fan-fictions and / or poetry. Practial, right? A writer can upload their stories chapter by chapter where readers can vote and comment on. Often, through the comments, a writer can receive feedback from their readers which may or may not be helpful ( depending on the feedback, of course ). Wattpad is a great place for writers to interact with other writers and readers. And another huge bonus? Wattpad writers are able to enjoy some of the many opportunities Wattpad has to offer ( and there are quite a few. Awesome sauce).

As a reader, being able to pick from millions of stories from just as many writers is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Wattpad is a fabulous platform where a reader can dive head first into any story and explore different genres for free.

It´s an overall win/win for everyone, at first glance. Wattpad is like Christmas on Easter. Everything is idiot-proof. As a writer, you can become super successful and enjoy all the perks Wattpad has to offer and as a reader all you have to do is vote and comment on a story you enjoyed. Include all the cool and fancy fun stuff and you´re at a writer´s fun-park where everyone is happy. Voila!

But what happens when you take a closer look at Wattpad and the writers who publish their stories?

Now- Personally, I love Wattpad. Not because of the neat knick-knacks and fun stuff the platform offers. I love it because it feels like I´m a child in Bookland. I enjoy watching stories grow with each uploaded chapter and I like how easy it is to build connections there.

It´s incredible to see so many talented people in one spot.

From cover designers to writers ( and so many more )… Wattpad is a hot spot no one should miss out on. BUT…….  ( there´s always a but…..*giggle* )

Wattpad2As an avid reader myself I´ve read my fair share of Wattpad stories- many great and fully worth recommending. I´m even surprised that a few of those stories haven´t been picked up by a publishing house yet.

But then again- I´ve been down the „What the heck did I just read?“ road, too. I´ve even been on the „You must be kidding me.“ lane, where I´ve seen the unthinkable happen. It´s sad to say that not everything on Wattpad is golden.

From what I´ve noticed- Wattpad is more geared towards fantasy, science fiction and YA. Of course, there are plently of other genre´s, such as: romance, historical, horror, self-help, etc, to satisfy a reader´s appitite. Wattpad welcomes all, including fan-fiction. Yes. The F genre.

The problem with a platform that allows everything to happen is- everything happens.

With over 40 million members, Wattpad is a place for all kinds of writers. People who take writing seriously, people who see writing as a hobby, people who just want to scribble down ideas and unfortunately- Wattpad is also misused by writers. I´ve even seen NYT Bestselling authors on Wattpad!

One thing really stands out on Wattpad. You can´t get around without being confronted with a fan-fiction. It happens. No use in trying to prevent it. You´ll definitely see an image from Harry Styles ( The kid from 1D ) or a cover with the actor Jamie Dornan on it. And when you see one, you´ll see more. That´s the downside of Wattpad. It´s over flooded with fan-fiction. That´s not to say that fan-fiction is terrible. Personally- I don´t like that genre but some stories aren´t too shabby.  A few fan-fics on Wattpad are actually brilliant. Sadly, not the majority, though. Many on Wattpad are down-right tasteless, tacky, poorly written and so over the top weird you can´t help but categorise all fan-fics as terrible.

Same goes for paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi stories. Wattpad writers have outstanding imaginations when it comes to preternatural and supernatural… it´s mindblowing. If you´re lucky, you can stumble upon a brilliant story that will most likely tear your heart into pieces and leave you with a nasty book hangover.

If luck isn´t on your side you can be stuck with a night full of shifters, skinwalkers ( Yes, apparently- that´s a thing ), toothless, alpha vampires which will definitely make you think about the writers sanity.

Each genre has it´s perks and downfalls in the Wattpad world. But, all the genre´s share one issue: Typos and misspellings ( not all stories, of course, but more than enough).

I believe in the good of everything. I over see lots of stuff all the time because I understand how busy or stressful life can get. But when I start a story on Wattpad and the first lines in the authors note are:

„This is not edited. You´ll find misspellings and typos. I´m sorry. I don´t want to waste my time with editing this.“

„ If you want to read the typo/misspelling-free version you can purchase this book on Amazon.com.“

That´s slightly rude, in my opinion. I´ve read books with over 100 misspellings and it´s annoying beyond means. If you upload something and expect anyone to enjoy reading then surely it´s not too much to ask for less than 20 typos? That can be done, right?

Let´s not forget to mention the sly Wattpad writers who already have their books up for sale on Amazon but still keep 3 chapters from the same book on their Wattpad page…as a teaser. I´m pretty sure that goes against the Wattpad policy. Yet each night, I come across at least 1 writer who does that. Teasing a reader with 3-5 chapters and hope they´ll buy the book on Amazon. These people think they´re clever but forget that Wattpad readers read on Wattpad for a reason. Namely- because of the free stories.

One could believe the fantastic Wattpad is corrupt. I certainly believe it´s corrupt sometimes. The contests many writers run are great but the Watty Awards that run on Twitter are full of horse s**t and alot of  writers are so full of themselves. How can I not think that Wattpad is a place filled with evil minded, shameless people? Have I forgotten the trillion horny teenagers with the Dornan fantasies? ( I can write a book about those people…. )

This doesn´t really put Wattpad in a good light. It´s rather sad. All I´ve mentioned above is rather harmful for the great writing community. But do not fear. Not all hope is lost. Wattpad isn´t filled with all evil. If you take your time, you can find the gems hidden in the sea of stories. You just have to look hard and stick to what the great writers recommend… or ask me and I´ll gladly point out the writers that are out of this world brilliant * wink *.

If I were to rate Wattpad as I would the books I read then I´d definitely give it 4 out of 5 stars. Why? Well, as I´ve said- Wattpad is a great community where readers and writers can mingle and have a great time with stories. Ignore the rude writers, ignore the fanfics, ignore the Watty´s Awards and avoid being sucked into the many events and you should be all set to have a great time. If a reader sticks to the basics ( vote and comment & interaction ) then Wattpad is THE place to be.

 

I´m giving Wattpad 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Covers- What Happened?

Book Covers

Book covers / cover images are the first thing we see when we look for books. Whether it´s while we´re scrolling through an online shop or simply combing the bookshelves in a bookstore- It´s always the cover that grabs our attention before anything else does. 

Let´s get one thing out of the way before I begin:

Book covers / images are a matter of taste. Everyone has a different idea on what is great or what´s eye catching.

Personally, I like book covers that hardly give away anything from the story. I believe a cover image should grab someones attention, not give the story away. A book cover has to make me stop dead in my tracks. I mean- it’s the first thing a reader sees, right? And if a reader doesn’t like the cover, how fat are chances the reader will buy the book unless they´ve been forced by a friend/family member to read the book? ( The power of recommendations. “It has a hideous cover but awesome story!” )

All this means- I judge a book by it´s cover. I know I shouldn´t. No one should, yet we all do it.

I love to see covers with lots of color / color clashes, unique symbols or anything that stands out ( eye catching, remember? ) Contrasts are also brilliant.

 I’m Amazon’s Costumer Of The Year. Alot of my hard earned money goes for books. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this devastating condition. But if you asked me about book covers then I’d have to say that maybe half of the books I own have decent covers and half from that half have AWESOME images.In other words- I find alot of book covers / images boring and sometimes questionable. 

While reading books from the Romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Erotica and even Horror genre, I’ve come to learn that each genre has their preferred book covers or colors.

Young Adult usually has some teenagers holding hands in a meadow ( colors are usually light ), New Adult covers are a bit more mature ( colors are more bold ), mostly showing some skin or a headless figure… you get the picture, right? We don´t really need to mention Horror covers because many of those covers are just down right brilliant. Creepy but cool.

Also, one has to see the difference between traditional published and self-published book covers. It most cases, self-published book covers / images aren´t done well. But then again- alot of traditional published books have horrible, tacky covers. I can’t really speak for trad-published authors because most of them don’t have a say in the matter. The publisher calls the shots and authors have no power over what cover will be used for their story. That all depends on the publisher and how tight the contract is. Some published authors are lucky and get to chose a cover image themselves. Very few have covers that are able to knock me out of my socks.

There are 2 types of book covers that do not grab my attention at all.  

  1. shaded, oiled torsos with tribal tattoos
  2. covers that look like every other cover

I can’t begin to tell you how many books I have that have black covers with some tiny animal, a key, a keyhole, pearls, diamonds or has some shadowed body parts on it. It’s a nightmare that will not end. 

It´s a trend, I get it. Still… It´s annoying. And when I see certain covers I immediately say to myself ” Uugh. Not again.”.

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( Those are only a few taken from my private bookshelf from only God knows how many )

Many would argue with me on the fact that black book covers aren´t an issue. They´re practical because they look good on a bookshelf, etc.  It truly isn´t an issue. It´s just nothing spectacular.

Then there are those covers with half naked, totally muscular, tribal tattooed, well oiled and well tanned, headless guys. In short- eye candy in it’s tackiest form. I stopped counting those covers because they’re endless. I know I know…sex sells and all that stuff…..but can’t someone stop this nonsense? Tribal tattoos went out of style a while back. Plus, I like guys who have a head. Hands can be sexy, too. Also-  I’m also not a huge fan of character covers, which is when the cover has a face on it. That ruins alot for me and I will ignore the book, risking the chance to read a fantabulous story. Why? Because a character image ruins my own personal image I like to create myself of a character. 

Another thing that brings my blood to boil is when there’s too much going on on a book cover. 

I once saw a cover that was in full color and had an oiled naked, tattooed bod, except- the lucky headless guy had arms and hands ( yay!) and those hands were holding a suit which hung from a coathanger ( I have never in my life seen a suit hanging from a hanger on a book cover before…NEVER) in the background stood the Eiffel Tower. The title- Caged. Can you imagine how confused I was? After taking all the images in I knew what the story was about. But the real question was- Was I interested in the story although I knew there was some godly guy in it, who was probably going to wear a suit at some point, paying the Eiffel Tower a visit? No, I wasn´t. Not even the coathanger was able to convice me.

My point- There´s no need to overload a book cover with dozens of images. That´s only confusing. 

Copying. It´s not a secret that many self-published authors like to copy. Which is fine. I´m the last person to point a finger at anyone in particular. Whatever works best for an author, right? Right. No wait- that´s wrong. Copying is wrong and often doesn´t work out well for an author who wants to make money. What worked for author A doesn´t necessarily have to work for author B. Many writers seem to forget that. 

What happened to self-published authors wanting to be original, standing out and making their book cover better than others? Any, if not all, want to make a living ( eventually ) off of writing, right?

I understand that cover designers are costy. And, yes. I´m aware of how prices are sky high. But they´re worth it. If an author finds a good, professional designer, and both communicate then nothing can go wrong. No one in the history of writing said it would be easy, or cheap. Unless writers don´t value quality and focus their attention more on their story. Then I´d say ” Whatever floats their boat.”.

Still, many don´t or are financially unable to take that path and invest in a cover designer. And if an author doesn´t have a clue what they´re doing when creating their own cover I´m 100% positive it will affect sales. Because, let´s face it- If I notice bad quality / a copied image then other readers will too.  There could be a chance people will ignore a not so great cover and read the story OR they´ll skip the book because of the cover. Who knows. I´m not an expert. But I´ve been watching this business for the last 10 years and can say that covers mean alot. 

I´m not out to ruin self-published authors. I´m not even out to diss traditional publishing houses for their often lack of taste in cover images. Just remember this before the next book hits the market:

1. Sex doesn´t always sell. ( Keep them well oiled studs in the late 90´s where they belong.)

2. Less is ALWAYS more. ( Be tasteful. Be creative. Be original. )

It may not be up to me to decide what cover image is acceptable for a book cover or not. After all- Cover images are a matter of taste.  But since I spend the majority of my money on books I can skip a cover that´s not original or won´t grab my attention.

My wish for the future? For writers to be more creative when deciding on a cover image. Or, invest in a designer. Although, I have seen a small inprovement in the past year ( see Colleen Hoover´s cover image for `Too Late`, for example. What a color explosion! ) so my hopes haven´t died completely.

( NOTE: A cover image alone won´t influence sales. Titles and excerpts play an important role as well. The cover is just what we see first.)