Once Upon a Name 2022 planner and reading tracker + giveaway!

Happy holidays bookish friends! I hope you’re enjoying the festive season and looking forward to lots of extra reading time over the holidays.

If you like to write in a planner or bullet journal to keep track of your TBR and make notes on your current reads so you can write up your reviews later, then you’re going to LOVE what I’ve got to show you today!

Some of my very clever and talented co-authors of Once Upon a Name, Susan and Jo, have created an absolutely gorgeous reading planner for 2022, complete with weekly and monthly calendars, reading habit trackers, review pages, a year-end wrap up and lots of beautiful illustrations and quotes from the upcoming anthology.

You can take a peek inside on Amazon and see the illustration and quote from my story, Baroness of Blood and Bone. Some of my co-authors have even made Instagram reels showing off their copies, take a look here:

All of the profits from the sale of the planner will go to Book Aid International, just like the anthology itself, so however you choose to support us you’ll be helping underprivileged children to learn to read and get access to libraries all over the world. Whether you buy one for your best bookish friend (or BBF) or you treat yourself as a little well done for getting through the last couple of years, it’s completely guilt-free spending!

If you order now, you can get it in time for January 1st and start 2022 as you mean to go on. At 176 pages and just less than A4 size, she’s a big beauty and well worth the $10, but if your budget doesn’t stretch to that at this time of year then you can still preorder the anthology for just 99c/77p and in April 2022 you’ll get twenty short fantasy stories for your reading pleasure!

Giveaway

Fancy being in with a chance of winning one of four copies of our gorgeous new planner? Click the link below to enter our big release giveaway!

https://bit.ly/OUANPlannerGiveAway


Happy reading friends, and have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa and New Year!

Lyndsey

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Why authors love reviews (even the bad ones!)

(That’s negative reviews btw, not bad authors!)

Do you write reviews? What was the last book you left a review for? Tell me in the comments. Mine was Court of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody.

I’m asking, because reviews are one of the biggest ways you can support your favourite authors. Not only do they help other readers decide if they’ll pick up a particular book, but they also tell the almighty Amazon algorithm which books to promote and show to readers (and it works the same way on Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Apple Books, etc.).

For example, once a book hits 50 reviews, Amazon may choose to include it in its email newsletters. That’s a whole lot of subscribers seeing a book they may otherwise have never discovered.

And reviews can be as short as “Fantastic!” or “Loved it”, or even “Poorly written” if that’s how you feel.

Why negative reviews are still good

With negative reviews, we all know it’s subjective and 100% opinion based – somebody else might think the book you hated was phenomenal. So if you can include a reason as to why it wasn’t your cup of tea, that’s really helpful, to both readers and writers.

For the author, if several reviewers have an issue with one plot twist or character, or an element of the writing, then chances are they’re not (entirely) wrong, and the author can work on that in their future books. Or even rectify it in a later edition.

For other readers, the reason you didn’t like a book (too steamy, too much swearing, darker than you expected, etc. etc.) could be the thing they’re really looking for in their next read, and your review might even convince them to buy it!

Five places you can leave your book reviews

  1. Where you bought it (Amazon, The Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Apple Books, Google Play etc.)
  2. On your book blog
  3. Goodreads
  4. Bookbub
  5. Social media

And always remember the GOLDEN RULE of sharing book reviews online. NEVER tag the author in a negative review. Even a mostly positive review but with some criticisms can be devastating for the writer. Authors are humans too, and many protect their mental health and wellbeing by avoiding reading reviews, unless someone trusted sends them the good ones.

So, just try to be kind. Reviews are for readers, once a book is out in the world the author has little control over it, and if it wasn’t your cup of tea that doesn’t mean it was the world’s worst book and everyone should avoid it.

(Obviously there are some exceptions, there are definitely problematic books out there that could damage some individuals, but it might be better to warn those communities rather than directing your comments at the author. Or you could possibly send a private message to let them know of their mistake, but be careful with this one, some people don’t appreciate unsolicited DMs.)

Happy reviewing! And don’t forget to review my books if you’ve read and enjoyed them!

Lyndsey

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Ways you can support your fave indie authors

If you’re here then you probably love reading, and I’m willing to bet you’re a fan of indie books. And wouldn’t you love it if your fave authors could write and publish more books for you to devour and adore?

Then you’re in luck, because I’m going to tell you some simple and easy ways that you can support independent authors, most of which won’t cost you a penny (although we do love it when you buy our books! And we enjoy paying for things with money that we’ve earned from our passion – it feels amazing!).

Ten ways to support an indie author

  1. Buy a book for yourself or a friend
    1. If you already own the ebook, why not buy the paperback or hardback as a gift for your bookish friend? Audio books are also becoming more popular with indies, and once you own the ebook the audio is usually only a few quid with Amazon!
  2. Write a review
    1. Reviews are the single most effective way of supporting your favourite authors – indie or otherwise. Amazon starts to promote books in their own newsletters once they have over 50 reviews, and that really helps authors to be discovered by new readers. Even a one line review and a star rating is enough to make a difference, so next time you finish a book just head over to your favourite place to find new book recs and leave a short review.
  3. Share on social media
    1. Post a photo of your copy on Bookstagram, share the author’s cover reveal post on Facebook, tweet the link to your review, make a YouTube or TikTok video of your top five indie books. Basically, wherever you spend time online, tell your friends and followers about your latest reads.
  4. Suggest a book to your book club
    1. Haven’t joined a book club yet? Why not start one and schedule the first three books to get you started, and then take suggestions from a different member each month. You could even have themes, like ‘indie book month’ and ‘debut author month’.
  5. Create fan art
    1. If you love to draw or paint, why not recreate some of the characters and scenes from your favourite books and share your creations online?
  6. Write fanfic
    1. Get on fanfiction.net or WattPad and write the happy ending (or steamy scenario) your fave characters deserve!
  7. Donate your copy to a charity or local free library
    1. Write on a post it note why you loved it and pop it in one of those free library boxes you find in some towns, or drop it into a charity bin so someone else can discover their new favourite author – and you can help to raise some much needed charity funds at the same time.
  8. Preorder new releases
    1. Preorders help authors to hit the bestsellers list on release day, which helps them to reach new readers and be promoted by Amazon. They also tell us what our readers want – 500 preorders on your new urban fantasy release? Make it a trilogy! Plot a spin-off series! Write novellas from the POV of side characters!
  9. Buy merch (and tell people what it’s from)
    1. If you love a mug or tote bag with a catchy slogan, check out your fave author’s website and see if they sell merchandise with quotes from their books. You could get all your Christmas shopping done in one place!
  10. Engage with them online
    1. Follow their social media accounts, like, comment and share their posts, join in with their giveaways and games, tell them you love their books! We love hearing from our readers and we really appreciate every message, every comment and share, and every post shouting about our books. Keep them coming!

So that’s ten pretty simple ways you can make your favourite authors happy and give them a reason to celebrate! And keep writing books you’ll love.

Tell me in the comments, who’s your favourite indie author? And what’s your favourite book by an indie author?

Lyndsey
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