Sunday, October 6, 2013

Five Websites to Help Authors

When I tell someone that I’m an author, a surprising amount respond by telling me they write or plan to write a book someday. I think that’s great. Writing is definitely a freeing and self-satisfying experience. Watching the characters in your mind come to life in print is a rush. Having a reader enjoy your book has to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in a writer’s life. Why don’t more people take the leap? The fear of the unknown, rejection, and there are many obstacles to overcome. It takes someone not afraid of shameless self-promotion because as an indie, that's part of your job. Believe me; I am very new in the world of independent authors and self-publishing so all of these feelings are close to the surface. There is so much to learn, my poor Google site has begun to sigh when I start typing “How to…” Luckily, I have found some wonderful resources to help guide me on this journey. The most surprising resource I have found is other authors! In an extremely competitive marketplace, I find fellow authors more than willing to share ideas, helpful websites, advice, and pitfalls to avoid. I’m not sure about other independent entrepreneurs but authors certainly have turned out to be a wonderful group of people. This article is an attempt to pay it forward by telling you some of the terrific sites I’ve found or been referred to since publishing my debut book The Returns. You may already be familiar with them but if not, I suggest you take the time to explore each one to see if they are a good fit for you.

AUTHORSdb ~ Authors Database is free and simple to join. The site allows authors to list their books, blogs, social medias, and much more. They list agents and publishers along with the services each has to offer. Everyone loves badges, contests, and recognition for their work and AUTHORSdb certainly fulfills that desire. They are great at tweeting; have an awesome Facebook, and overall do a wonderful job in promoting authors. It is easy to navigate the site and is set up very professionally. **Personal note: My book cover is in the book cover contest currently underway on their site. Please click the golden star in the left margin and support me with your vote! Thanks in advance.

Authors Marketing Club ~ AMC is a very popular site for writers and they offer a variety of services. Basic membership is free, offering many opportunities such as marketing tips, one book enhancement and book submissions. You can purchase a Premium membership, which allows you more options to enhance your book descriptions, more promotions, and book widgets. Either choice is very beneficial to the author. They also offer video web classes from time to time that provide great information. You can also find a one-stop list of other sites where you can submit your Free KDP days. AMC is also a great place for readers to find their new favorite books.

Bookgoodies ~ Bookgoodies has everything for the reader and the writer. Authors can submit an interview, post their books, join in a variety of forums, and seek advice along with a multitude of author services. This site is also free to join and participate. It’s a great site for readers to join since they can read interviews with their favorite authors as well as find bargain or free books. The author interviews will give them a peek inside the motivation and inspiration of their favorite books. I have always found they answer inquiries promptly and are very willing to help.

Goodreads ~ Goodreads is probably one of the best-known book sites that combine authors and readers in one location. Amazon recently purchased the site. It features forums for readers, writers, bloggers, and offers something for everyone. There are contests, trivia, quotes, recommendations, and gives you a place to organize and rate all of your books. It is a huge social network and I enjoy all aspects of the site. I have met many wonderful people and gathered a lot of valuable information here. The Goodreads librarians are always helpful and respond to your concerns or questions very quickly. If I have one complaint about the site, it would be the book rating system. I hope that since the site is now a part of Amazon, they will adopt the Amazon rating system.

World Literary Café ~ WLC is a fun and active site for authors, bloggers, and readers. It offers countless ways to promote your books and blogs such as Blog Follow, Facebook Like and Twitter Follow. These programs help build your audience and provide much needed exposure. There are many classes, forums, and services available for writers and readers. I have found this to be an extremely helpful place to learn from and connect with a variety of authors. The staff is very helpful and friendly. I highly recommend WLC no matter which aspect of writing you are pursuing.

I hope you discover one or all of these groups to be helpful in your pursuit of becoming an established author. I will have other blogs describing some of the mistakes I have made in hopes of keeping you from doing the same. On another personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to offer sincere thanks to the above-mentioned groups for their help and support over the past year.

**Recipes You’ll Wish You Didn’t Know**
Meatless Taco Salad

1 ~ Head of Lettuce (Chopped)
2 ~ Medium Tomatoes (Chopped)
1 ~ Purple Onion (Chopped)
1 ~ 16oz. Can of Whole Kernel Corn (Drained)
1 ~ 15 oz. Ranch ~ Style Pinto Beans (Rinsed & Drained)
1 ~ Bottle Catalina Dressing
1 lb. Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
1 ½ Bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos (Crushed)

Mix tomatoes, onion, corn, and beans in extra large pot.
Cover and refrigerate overnight (12 hours), stirring occasionally.
Add lettuce, Catalina dressing, cheese, and Doritos.
This makes quite a bit so make sure you use a large pot to mix. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. As the salad marinates, it will condense but it makes enough for parties, camping trips, or alongside burgers.
*This is one of my favorite recipes in the world! The taste is very original and addicting!

Pet Safety

You wouldn’t allow your child to be unrestrained in your car so why would you let your four-legged family member? Unrestrained pets in a car can be a distraction to the driver, accidently get under the driver’s feet, and can put both the driver and pet at risk for serious injury or death. In the event of an accident, your beloved pet will become nothing more than a projectile. To transport your pets safely do the following:
•Never allow pets to travel in the front seat. I know it’s tempting; they are so cute and really like to be up front with you. The front seat puts them at risk of severe injury or death if an airbag deploys.
•Don't let dogs ride with their head out the window. Of course, they love it but a sudden stop could cause severe neck injuries and debris in the air can cause eye irritations and injuries. Love them enough to tell them “no.”
•This is one of my biggest pet peeves: NEVER let your dog ride untethered in the back of a truck bed! This dangerous practice puts them at risk of being thrown from the vehicle in the event of an accident. Any sudden stops and starts throw the dog about the truck bed. Injuries to legs, hips, back, and head are too great of a risk no matter how convenient or innocent it may seem. Every dog should rate a crate!
•To keep your pet safe, confine cats to carriers, secured with a seatbelt. If your dog wants to go for a ride with you, there are specially designed seat harnesses, doggie seats, or put them in a kennel/crate.

This is something many pet owners will balk at but if you can’t adhere to any of these modes of transporting your pet, then please leave them at home. A quick trip in the front seat of your car unrestrained could accidently leave you with a heartbreaking outcome. It’s simply not worth the risk to your dog, cat, or heart.

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