Do we still have personal libraries anymore?

Are private collections falling out of favour?

Growing up my family had shelves either side of our fireplace that had a lot of reference material. Novels and other fun reading material was generally kept in our bedrooms, with books for general knowledge or research kept in a central place for all to access.

Teaching in today’s climate has seen information shift online. The issue with that is whether or not that information is credible. Physical books have generally undergone a string of editors, fact checkers, and the like before reaching the shelves; where online content may not have undergone such scrutiny. *cough* fake news *cough* Not many of my students cited actual books as their reference material, and I always have to ask how they can prove the information they are presenting is true as an exerscise. Less and less we are seeing people build their own personal libraries.

Granted you can construct a virtual one. A collection of collated reference material that has been traditionally published in e-book format. Which is great for mobility, but it’s hard to have multiple books open at different parts to compare and contrast the content. Especially when you get to a more involved project drawing from several sources at a time.

Today books seem to be decorative quite a lot. An aesthetic. Displayed on coffee tables, colour coded with décor on shelves. A way to say ‘look at me I’m intelligent,’ whether or not you have even cracked the spine or not. I’ve seen bookstagrammers and book bloggers posting pictures of books and have yet to read them. There’s nothing wrong with this – I making my point about building and utilising a personal library, not just making pretty picture content.

There is always the public library for accessing material, but I still value a small functioning personal reference library at home. Recipe books, first aid books, a dictionary, a thesaurus, guides, manuals, maps… you never know one day the power might be out, and no access to the internet when you need information. Plus, I subscribe to the adage that stimulating as many senses as you can when assimilating knowledge aids retention. A physical book with the tactile sensation of the page, the act of looking up information and flipping through pages adds an element to help focus your attention. You can hold and touch an object instead of staring at a screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing online content, I’m simply wondering if anyone values a physical collection of books at home. I refer to my university textbooks and periodicals occasionally. I love having a book open as a reference when writing an article or working on a novel. When ghost writing content for clients, I also have may tomes open for ease of reference. Maybe it’s simply what works for me. My preferences for a physical book, my love of collecting and creating my own personal library… I know a lot of my students give me a funny look when I express my love of books at home. Bish you crazy. Why you want to lug all those books everywhere? Why are you contributing to deforestation with the need to populate your shelves with something you will only use a handful of times?

Personally, I read the books I own a number of times, I lend them out, use the reference books on a near daily basis – especially for research. Because my writing and reading activity is a part of my work and leisure time. I guess for people for whom reading and writing have different priorities in their lives see personal libraries as frivolous. A luxury.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a personal collection of books other than novels in your home. Do you see value in having a home library?

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

e-Book Piracy – What to do if someone steals your book.

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Information and actions around preventing the theft of your published work.

I came across the below article penned by Dave Chessan a while back and thought I’d share it here for those wanting this type of information. The sad reality is that there is so much piracy of IP, and most of the time there is precious little we can do to stop it; or the reality of tracking down and persecuting those breaching your copyright is expensive and takes up a lot of time, money, and research. The piracy in the publishing world is primarily with e-books, and I can only hope that those downloading and reading pirated novels will like them enough to go and purchase a hard copy at a later date.

The other issue is that pirated copies usually are formatted differently, may be ARCs, or incomplete files as well. You never know what your going to get. Not to mention the digital security risks with getting files infected with a worm or virus, or having your personal information stolen.

Considering its something like $300 million or more annually of lost income to authors who are traditionally published (in the United States.) This is a big issue. Authors generally don’t earn much, so it would be ideal if we could eradicate piracy altogether. But I don’t see that happening, and unless some major technological developments, laws on copyright and e-commerce drastically change, it is going to continue.

I’m unsure how this affects independent authors and writers whom publish exclusively in electronic form (like Amazon KDP and similar) as there is no data available; but it looks to be only popular book titles that are being targeted for piracy.

But anyway, here is the article with some information to help tackle piracy, but keep in mind the laws can change quickly, and in dealing with international IP addresses, you are also grappling with both international and their local laws. Today, most pirates use fake accounts, and it is nothing for them to close them down and open another. But we have to keep fighting for the right to keep our own income and intellectual property.

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You’d be amazed at how many websites have pirated or claim to have pirated your book.

There it is…sitting there, being given away for free.

All those sales…lost.

Worse yet, most of these sites have no contact information and probably aren’t even located in your country.

So, how do you protect yourself against these pirates and protect your rights?

In this article, I want to show you the legal, safe, and extra awesome way that anyone can regain their book from these pirates with some cunning tactics that only the most advanced computer nerds know how to employ.

Don’t worry, this will be simple…even for the most tech-challenged readers.

In This Article, You’ll Learn:

  • When to act and when to leave it alone
  • The steps to get the pirates to release your book
  • How to get Google to slap them around
  • And more…

BEFORE YOU GET JUSTICE…

Before you go all Klingon and serve that dish cold, I’m going to give a recommendation that SHOULD apply to 99% of you: If you find out someone is offering your book for free on their website, you should just leave it alone and move on.

Why?

  1. Most of the time, they don’t actually have your book.They scraped your title off Amazon – seeing that it was popular or potentially popular – and are only lying saying the book is available in their archives.  This is for one of two reasons.  Either:
  2. They want the searcher to pay their subscription in order to get the “free” books
  3. They will “send you the book” but it will actually be a virus.

So, in the end, you’re actually safer if you don’t look for these pirates.

  1. The amount of work it will take to get your book removed is usually not worth it.That’s not a knock against you or your book, but the number of sales that you would lose because of that book is probably so negligible that you shouldn’t even waste your time with it.  Most people who go looking for free books probably aren’t the type that would actually pay for one.  So you really aren’t losing any money.

Also, it’s important to note that sometimes ebook piracy can be a good thing.  As my good friend Tim Grahl shows, it can actually help you out.

But I get it.  It’s just the sheer fact that someone is either lying to people or conning them out of money, and using your book to do it.  You’re out for justice!

ARRRRR! Finally…a way to deal with ebook piracy #Ebooks

Well if that is the case, or your book is outside of reasons #1 and #2 above, then below are the steps you should take in order to get it removed or hurt their website, without getting a lawyer involved.

STEP 1. CONTACT THE WRITER/OWNER/EDITOR

Probably the most obvious of steps, yet often overlooked and more effective than you’d think with these cheap book thieves.

Why?

Because they are probably not making much money off of your book specifically, so instead of endangering their website/business (for fear that you are savvy with the ways of the Internet force and have read this article), they’ll acquiesce to your request and remove the one single page.

But what if they don’t have a contact page or way for you to contact them?

That’s okay because we’re going to use Whois to find out all we need to know about this website.

NOTE: For this, I’m going to use a pretty cool fiction website made by my good friend, Shaunta Grimes, called What Is A Plot.  How good of a friend?  Well, let’s just say I photo-bombed her Huffington Post picture.  But rest assured, she is not a pirate.

To do this, navigate to http://www.whois.com/whois/ and type in the pirate website’s domain name.

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Whois is awesome because it not only lists their personal contact information (unless they paid for privacy), but also lists where their website’s domain is registered, who their hosting service is, when they bought the domain, and more.

Basically, it’s useful for figuring out information about any website out there.

And that information is going to be important for these next couple steps. So, keep this information handy as we move forward.

Now, scroll down to where “Registrant Email” is listed.

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If it says something like “privacy@servername.com” don’t worry.  Just send an email to that address, and it will get redirected to their real email.

Now that you have the owner’s email, craft a well thought out email that details your displeasure in the matter, your request that they remove it, your rights, and the steps below that you WILL take if they don’t comply.

STEP 2. CONTACT THE HOST/DNS PROVIDER

If you’re at this step, then they either didn’t have contact information readily available, didn’t respond, or they said they were disinclined to acquiesce to your request…

So, let’s take it to the next level.  In this step, we will contact the hosting company – the people who house their website on their servers.

What good will that do?

These hosting servers have more to lose than some sneaky ebook pirate. If it is found that they are hosting illegal sites and are not in compliance, they could get shut down and lose their business. Plus, most of them don’t want illegal activity on their servers.

But how do we find out who their hosting service is?

Simple!  We go back to Whois Lookup.

Now, to find out who their hosting service is, you want to scroll down in Whois until you see “Name Servers.”

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These servers usually look like “ns1.somehostingcompany.com.”  In the example above, it is Bluehost.com.

In this case, you’d want to go to “somehostingcompany.com” and look for a “Contact Us” form or an “Abuse” form and file your complaint there.

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When you contact them, be sure to use your best legalese and state the following:

  1. The violations occurred by the website owner
  2. Specific URL you want to be taken down with a “fix it or else” type statement
  3. Inform that you tried contacting the owner of the site directly but they were unresponsive
  4. Your next step will be to file a DMCA (more on this later)

STEP 3. CONTACT THE REGISTRAR

Many of the scourge of the Internet actually have their own hosting service (you can basically turn any old computer into a web server), so sometimes trying to contact their “hosting service” will do no good.

But that’s okay.  We can kick it up a notch because even if they have their own hosting, they CAN’T have their own Registrar.

For this, we again look at the Whois info and locate their “Registrar Abuse Contact Email” and/or “Registrar Abuse Contact Phone.”

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If a phone number is available, it’s best to pick up the phone and contact the Registrar with your complaint.  Since its a copyright infringement, you have a decent shot at getting the information removed pronto.

If for some reason, you don’t get through to them on the phone or no phone number is listed, then send an email to the Registrar Abuse Contact Email with the compiled information and close your email with the statement “My next step is to follow through with a DMCA request since you are dealing with stolen content.”

That ought to get ‘em!

STEP 4. ENTER THE DMCA DRAGON

If nothing has happened yet, then it is time to roll up your sleeves and slap them around for real. In this case, a dish served cold with a side of DMCA.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is supposed to protect the owners of content from copyright infringement on the web. It’s basically a formal action.

So, why not just start with this?  Because DMCAs are supposed to be the last resort.  It’s the “I’ve tried everything and they didn’t listen so here comes the boom” move.

This is how you can take down the Pirates who steal your #book, Matey! #WritersLife

Most of the hosting services and registrars have a specific page for submitting a DMCA.  The best way to find this is to do a Google search with the “Name of the Company” + “DMCA”.

Here is an example of Host Gator’s DMCA page.

If the company you’re looking for doesn’t have a DMCA, then you’ll need to create your own and send it to them or their legal department. You can also access the Copyright.gov website list of companies and hit them there.

When filling out a formal copyright claim, you’ll need to list some of the following:

  1. Your full name and contact information
  2. Exactly who you are filing this DMCA against (website owner, host, registrant, etc. – you need to do a separate one for each)
  3. Take a screenshot of the blatant abuse
  4. Provide proof that you attempted to contact the violator
  5. Sign it yourself (electronic signatures are sufficient)
  6. State that you are complaining in “good faith”
  7. State that “under penalty of perjury, the information contained in the notification is accurate”
  8. State that you have the right to submit this DMCA because you are the copyright owner or the owner’s agent.

Here you can find a couple of templates to use:

DMCA Notification Template
DMCA Template from our dear friends at Scribd

Also, to help this step move in a better way, be sure to check out my article on Book Copyright pages and what to put in them. Having a strong copyright page will go a long way to helping to bolster your argument.  Also, there are extra steps you can take in order to formally copyright your book other than just publishing as well.

STEP 5. THE FINAL TAKEDOWN WITH A GOOGLE SLAP!

Hopefully, by now, you’ve made some progress with all of this.  But here’s the thing…even though the website finally complied, their cache might be slow to change.  Therefore, to get the Internet and Google to stop showing the page, you need to tell Google to remove the URL.

To do this, just click on Google’s URL request, put in the URL you want Google to stop acknowledging exists on the Internet, and click “request removal.”

Then Google will get to work ASAP so no one in the near future will stumble upon it.

Any SEOers reading this know what the above image references…haha.  Panda Update, anyone?

WHAT NOW

Again, I hope you didn’t go through all of that to save a couple of sales.  But if you did or needed to, then kudos to you and may the Copyright force be with you.  The above steps have only worked 2 out the 3 times I’ve enacted them.  The third?  Well, not really sure what happened there, but the owners were above average in covering their trail.

So, you no longer need to feel helpless if your book is being stolen or your content is being used without your consent.

You’ve got the steps and the means in order to exact justice.  Now, it’s up to you to decide if all of that is worth your time. Personally, I’d rather get back to writing.

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Have you been personally affected by piracy? Did they steal your novel, or simply use it as a lure to attract traffic, charge money, or steal personal information?

I’m seeing pirates getting more and more imaginative, setting up profiles on goodreads.com, contacting consumers directly through email gleaned from Amazon reviews… Keep reporting, it’s up to us to police our own industry!

UPPERCASE lowercase 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How do you read so many books?

A question I get asked a lot, but in truth, I could be reading much more.

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I had a little think about the secret to roaring through that TBR pile… and here’s the answer:

How do you read so many books Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe simplest answer is mood reading. I only ever pick up books that I get excited about after reading the blurb, that I am keen to crack the cover and start to discover the world within. If after a short way in, my attention wains, I put it back on the shelf for another time.

How do you read so many books Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleAnother aspect is that I read about an hour every day. It’s a part of my routine. At the end of the day, curled up in bed, reading for a while helps calm my mind so I can relax into sleep. I used to suffer insomnia terribly, but reading has helped immensely. Sometimes it can work against me, especially if the novel is enthralling… but that only adds to the excitement. Like I’m being naughty staying up late to read a book. Crap – I’m such a nerd.

Long row of colorful library books isolated on white backgroundI vary the genre as well. A diet of only romance or YA will eventually lead to becoming bored. You’ve read it all before… So I mix it up as much as I can. Heck I’ve even read a textbook.

 

Reading Kindle on a trainWhen I lived in the city, I was always that girl on the train or tram with her head in a book – that’s an extra hour or more a day to indulge in my favourite past time. At the airport, at the dentist or doctors waiting room, I don’t miss an opportunity when some downtime presents itself… without being antisocial.

How do you read so many books Pic 06 by Casey CarlisleThere is always a book in my handbag. And if by some random momentary lapse I forget to slip it in as I leave the house, there are many titles to choose from on my phone e-reader.

I’m not lying about all day, every day with my nose between the pages. I have a life to live too. Whenever someone comments at the volume of novels I get through, they seriously think I’m a lady of leisure, sipping tea on the couch reading romance novels… gag me that’s infuriating. I can’t believe there is still a stigma that reading equals lazy, and no life goals. We read to learn, to escape, to be entertained.

What are your best reading habits?

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reading and purchasing that bargain

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No review copies here – just an honest bibliophile!

I post a lot of reviews, but all of the books I read, I’ve purchased myself with hard earned cash. I get no kick-backs from my reviews. So I value my dollar, buy books only that I am genuinely interested in reading. And hunt around for great prices.

There are some authors that are an automatic buy, and titles that I am excited about and will pre-order online. Most of the time there will be a better price after their release, but with my over-enthusiasm, I generally don’t care so much about the increased price point because I want it as soon as possible.

I find cheap books from local book stores having sales – I can get lost for hours perusing their sale racks in search of a book on my wishlist… and I never come away empty handed. Plus, I get the books cheaper than I would have been able to source online… great things mobile phones these days, check to see if there is a cheaper price elsewhere before you head to the register.. You can even go to the sales staff and show them the cheaper price, and most of the time they will match it.

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The majority of the time, I have my wishlist – a number of books that I want to purchase, and I’ll jump on my computer and pull up some of the major websites to do a price comparison. Amazon, Book Depository, Fishpond, Booktopia, and the major book retailers like Dymocks etc. It’s important to convert the prices to your native currency – as in Australia book buying is expensive! Check the shipping costs too. 8 out of 10 times I find the Book Depository the best value for money. Occasionally Amazon gives it a run for its money. Sometimes a book will only be available on a certain site, and not on the others. Australian authors are generally cheaper from Booktopia (an Australian-based site) but still check. I’ve gotten a bargain from other distributors occasionally.

Then sites will run a special – free shipping, half-price, or discounted books. So be vigilant, look around and you can always pick up a bargain.

Books online

I say this because I like to have fresh, new copies of novels that I like adorning my shelves. My sister likes to collect second-hand copies and rarely spends more than a dollar for a book. She is also a massive e-book reader. Admittedly I only read e-books if I can’t find it in a physical format, if I am travelling, or if the book is more than 500 pages. Only because my reader likes to reorient the screen on me when I move, or runs out of battery at the worst possible time… for me, nothing beats good old paper!

For authors and books that I’m not sure about, I’ll often buy in e-book first, generally because the titles are less than half the price of their printed counterparts. So mix it up, check what’s available in your area.

I’d join a library and borrow books from there, except I live in a rural area and the closest decent library is over an hour and a half drive away, so I’d waste a day just for a visit.

Another way I get to read great books on the cheap is book-swapping with my friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have a large group of readers, and we like to pass around our favourites. It has let me discover new genres and titles that I would have overlooked before.

Buying and reading literature has never been more accessible, and I’m just a kid in a candy store with eyes bigger than her belly!

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Life and Death – Twilight re-imagined by Stephenie Meyer

Get some glitter on your skin and sink your teeth into ‘Life and Death.’

Life and Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Romance

No. of pages: 442

From Goodreads:

When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.

What Beau doesn’t realise is the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back… 

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I immediately dropped everything to read this as soon as it arrived in the mail from pre-ordering – being such a twi-hard, how could I not.

I’ve read comments of others complaining why Stephanie Meyer released this instead of a sequel to ‘The Host,’ or ‘Midnight Sun’ – and if you read the forward, you’ll get your answers – this was basically a re-edit of ‘Twilight,’ not an entirely new book.

I enjoyed this novel, it still gave me all the excitement from reading ‘Twilight’ in the first place, but without actually re-reading it. The gender swap is fun, the names comical and glimpses in what Stephenie wanted to do if she’d had a chance to edit ‘Twilight’ one more time before its release.

I still got that angsty tension between Beau and Edythe. Granted it didn’t feel as intense as with Bella and Edward, but still elicited all the feels I love getting from her books.

The ending was fun too – a nice surprise for Twilight fans. Although it felt a little rushed and a bit too much information was crammed into the final 1-2 chapters. I think if Stephenie had more time she could have done it justice – initially it was only going to be a snippet, but in turning out a new novel (even if it is a re-edited version) is amazing and I’ll take what I can get. I love the way her mind works.

You can certainly see how gender does not come into play all that much in the overall story – and I love how Steph has made that point after all the criticisms over Bella being such a damsel in distress.

A great addition to the Twilight franchise.

I started seeing Bella and Edward in Beau and Edythe, but by the end of the novel, Beau and Edythe had separated themselves as alternative entities.

I was liking the gender-swapped versions of some of the characters better than their originals and it was fun imagining how these re-imagined characters would fair in the rest of the Twilight Saga storyline. Highly recommended.

The fandom is already starting to come up with art on what Beau and Edythe look like… both funny and interesting so far. Check it out at #Twilight10Art.

Overall feeling: bliss

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Life and Death Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ghosts of boyfriends past

What fictional boyfriends have taught me vs. actual boyfriends …

I’ve met some outstanding men through my reading habits, so let’s have a fun look at how their attributes (and tropes) stand up to their real life counterparts:

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Casey Carlisle

If only I could do some Weird Science and construct a man on my own….

Who is your favorite fictional boyfriend and how well do any real life boyfie’s stack up?

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How writers can ensure their work sells… by Casey Carlisle

Many of us use Beta readers – other writers, friends and family members… but do you get your target audience to scrutinize your work?

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Upon completing the ‘reader-ready’ version of a manuscript, wanting to get some feedback and assistance in editing, storyline and characters, many of us give our baby of blood, sweat and tears to someone to read. Usually it is a family member or close friend, and for others, it is a colleague within the field of writing to get some constructive criticism. It can be a nerve-racking or pleasant experience depending on who you give it to, and what their impression on your work is. Some of us don’t even use Beta readers, but I like to gauge the reaction of a few readers before I hand my draft to the editors and publishers. Being so close to your plot and characters for so long, it is quite often that there is something simple you miss, and a fresh set of eyes can be your saving grace.

I have two groups of readers I sample my writing on: friends I can rely on to give an honest critique and some fellow writers; and my target audience. There have been some posts on Beta readers discussing wether writers use them or not, and even what questions to ask to help gain valuable insight. Although, I haven’t seen a lot of talk on choosing your target market to offer their two cents.

Keeping a large portion of my recreational reading within the genre in which I write, not only to keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry, but to stay in tune with the voices of today’s popular culture. I write YA, and it’s been waaay (*cough*) too many years since I squeaked in rubber soled Converse down the concrete halls of a High School as a student. So how could I possible think that my scribblings relate to any pubescent reader? I research, I observe, I chat… and then pray my words stir their minds and souls. Even though I consider myself a mature, professional woman, there is still that insecure fourteen year old girl romping around in my head, fangirling, squealing, swooning and the occasional, ‘like..ew!’ So I have a small network of avid readers from fourteen to twenty that keep my finger on the pulse (and keep me young  – and sometimes feeling positively ancient).

It has yielded fantastic results for me. Not only has it challenged my writing style, but also improved the complexity in plots throughout the novels. They challenge my use in language and demand more interesting characters… and I can’t thank them enough. Their feedback has made it possible to reach out and grab my dream of being an author. Otherwise I may still be banging away at the computer, churning out pages and pages of prose that would never see the light of day.

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Now I wonder how many of us test our products on the very people we want to sell to? It makes sound business sense right? We’re road testing our product, and when some of us are putting years into a single manuscript, you want to be sure that we get something back. Yes, we may write for love and entertainment, but isn’t it also for the love and entertainment of others? A little research into who is going to read our book, how it is they buy their books and where they buy them from – all of this is invaluable information to keep in mind. For those of you who use social media to market your wares, why not use it to have a conversation with your followers: create a poll to garner statistics on where they spend their money. The more information and feedback you have, the better you can be in control of your destiny as an author.

Please like, share and comment below – I’d love to hear what you do to have your book ready before publication.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.