Author-readers interaction: #2.1 Facebook event

In my previous post about the benefits of Facebook to an author, I focused mostly on the use of Facebook page.

Recently, I discovered that some authors used Facebook events to conduct their book release parties. I think it is a great idea because it transcends geographic borders. It costs much lesser than your standard party: authors do not need to hire a venue and book caterers, invite press and/or fans while invited guests themselves do not need to spend on travelling and lodging. Therefore using Facebook for book launch allows more people to take part.

For the past two weeks, I participated in book release parties held by my favourite authors, Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee. On 5th of August 2014, Ms Covington launched “Temptation”, her firsts book in New Adult genre. A week later, Ms Bybee released the fifth book in her Weekday Brides series “Taken by Tuesday”.

Virtual release day parties by Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee

Virtual release day parties by Robin Covington and Catherine Bybee

In addition to having so much fun, I learnt new things in book marketing. Here are five points that I learnt from the virtual release day parties:

Event name

Robin Covington named her book launch as “Temptation Release Day Slumber Party” – that’s very catchy! The event was held in the evening (USA time) and invitees were encouraged to wear their pyjamas. The author herself was really dressed in pyjamas (there was a photo evidence!).

Timing/duration of event

“Temptation Release Day Slumber Party” was two hours long while “Taken by Tuesday Release Day Party” took place during office hours (9 am till 5 pm). I enjoyed two-hour party more than the longer one because I was able to “be present” throughout the entire duration. I missed some activities at Ms Bybee’s party because I slept (there was a 15 hour time difference).

Guest appearances

There were many authors that attended and supported the event. It was a great opportunity to introduce new authors to the party-goers. Each guest author during Robin Covington’s party had 15 minute session with participants, which I thought was short. I was distracted during the party so by the time I posted and read comments by other participants, the guest author’s time was up and it was another author’s turn. There was slightly longer time to interact with guest authors at Ms Bybee’s party, which is slightly better.

Giveaways

The parties were filled with giveaways by the hosts and guest authors. Most giveaways involved simple questions such as “What’s your favourite romance sub-genre?” and “Who’s your favourite book hero of all time?”. Some giveaways were challenging, for example “What is the author Debra Holland’s other profession?” and “What other pen name Caridad Pineiro writes under?”. I had to look up Goodreads or the author’s website to find the answer. Some giveaways by guest authors involved liking Facebook page as proof of entry. Now that’s a clever strategy to increase fanbase! I’d say giveaways are compulsory in a book launch party!

Engage the party-goers

What better way to engage the party-goers than with interesting conversational topics. Since majority of heroes in romance novels are good-looking men with great physique and masculine confidence, debates on hot men were a must! Examples include “a trait in hero a reader find most attractive” and “favourite athlete hottie”. There were also topics that did not involve men, for instance a beautiful diamond ring posted by Catherine Bybee. Overall, there were comments to each post so one could assume that party-goers were engaged and had fun at the party.

As a reader who lives far far away from her favourite authors, I truly appreciate any book-related events that are conducted online and open to participants all over the world. I’d love to participate in these events not just to have fun but also to learn as much as I can.

So authors, why not set up a Facebook Event page for your next book launch? Feel free to extend an invitation to me by leaving the event’s details in the comment box below.

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Father’s Day tribute: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Malaysia celebrates Father’s Day today so Happy Father’s Day!

I must admit that I tend to read more romance stories. I wasn’t sure how to write this post (I did search for ideas online) until I realised that I have read a father-themed book and marked it as one of my favourite books. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee, what else! Atticus Finch is my role model. He is the best fictional father of all time.

The copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that I own has this cover design.

 

Racial injustice

I love how he fought for racial injustice in a time where people were judged based on their skin colour. Mr Finch was appointed to defend a black man, who was accused of raping a white woman. He believed in his client’s innocence and did the best to his ability despite the disapproval from the townsfolk.

“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”

Parenting

I also enjoy the interactions between Mr Finch and his children, Jem and Scout. Despite the big age gap and the death of his wife, he raised them well. He was affectionate yet firm with them. At times I feel that Mr Finch treated his children like adults. He did not give watered-down explanations to Scout.

“Do you know what a compromise is?” he asked.

“Bending the law?”

“No, an agreement reached by mutual concessions. It works this way,” he said. “if you’ll concede the necessity of going to school, we’ll go on reading every night just as we always have. Is it a bargain?”

“Yes sir!”

The aforementioned themes are my favourite takeaway points from the book. There are other life lessons that you can learn from Atticus Finch.

What do you think of the book? Is there any other father-themed book as good as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’? Share your views in the comment box below.

ps: My dad actually asked for the DVD as a gift. He really enjoyed the film 🙂

 

 

Are book trailers effective?

As an avid fan of romance genre, I’ve noticed that some authors do book trailers to promote their books. I wouldn’t simply grab a book to read because of a book trailer. It doesn’t leave any good impact on me. Instead it gives me spoilers because it features quotes from the book. Here is an example of a book trailer.

Good thing I watched trailer of ‘The Proposition’ by Katie Ashley after reading the book. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book. In general, I avoid book trailers.

Do book trailers really pique interest and increase sales? What do you think?

101 Books

I’m not much of a marketer, but here’s my amateurish opinion on whether or not book trailers are effective.

Really, a book trailer is nothing but a glorified commercial. I don’t know about you, but do you know what I do when a commercial comes on my television? I press the fast-forward button. Thank God for DVR.

Not that a movie trailer is any different. It’s all about branding and sales and visibility. A good movie trailer can make the crappiest Van Damme film seem like a sure-fire Academy Award winner.

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‘100 Greatest Romances of All Time’ survey – surprise and snubbed entries

The organising committee of Romance Festival 2014 has listed their top 100 romance books of all time. You could complete the survey here but in case the survey is closed, click on the image below. I agree with most of the entries although I think some titles are in the list because of their popularity. There are books that should and shouldn’t be in the 100 Greatest Romances of All Time list.

Surprised entry

I was quite surprised that ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky was in the list. In my humble opinion, the story had a different focus: identity development during adolescence. The book is about how Charlie finds his place in the world. His infatuation with Sam is a side story. I don’t think the book has enough romantic content to be in the survey.

Snubbed entries

One important book was snubbed: ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by the late Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez. The story is about enduring love; Florentino and Fermina went through so many life challenges and the only time they got together at the end of the book. I read this book in 2007 so I quickly checked Goodreads reviews. Perhaps this book did not make into the list because it takes awhile to warm up to their love story.

I was dismayed that ‘Paradise’ by Judith McNaught not in the list. It is one of my favourite books and I always re-read whenever I am bored. In most romance stories, a conflict between hero and heroine arises because of miscommunication. This element works here because people used snail mails, landline telephones and telegrams for communication in 80s and early ’90s. ‘Paradise’ is about “love conquers all” and I believe it is one of the 100 greatest romances of all times.

Do you agree or disagree with my views? Are your favourite romance books missing from the survey too? Share your views below.

 

Top 100 romance books of all time as chosen by Romance Festival 2014

Top 100 romance books of all time as chosen by Romance Festival 2014

Goodreads experiences: Members versus non-members

Goodreads is a global online community for book lovers. It includes many features such as book reviews, profiles of authors, discussion forums, polls. The database is not only limited to English books; it also includes Malaysian books e.g. Karim Raslan, Fauziah Ashari, Love You Mr. Arrogant. Budding authors, take note! You could join the ‘Goodreads Author Program’ to reach a wider target of readers.

This post is a simple guide to the desktop version of Goodreads website. I will distinguish the experiences of a Goodreads member and those of a non-member.

Non-member

Non-member

How to search for a book without Goodreads login/membership

You don’t have to become a Goodreads member to search for details of books. Just type in the book title, author or ISBN in the search column located in the middle of the webpage. You could find the search column inside a red box in the attached image. Click on the image to get a better view.

What does a non-member get to do?

  • Get more details of a book (e.g. publication date, book covers, formats)
  • Read reviews
  • View discussions of a book
  • Check out author’s profile (including a list of published books)
  • Answer a trivia
  • Answer a quiz

Member

There are already many great features provided for non-members. Why do you need to get an account?

Goodreads members get MORE benefits. Once a member is signed in, a dashboard will appear. As you can see in attached image, the search column is easily located in the main navigation bar (refer to red box). There is no need to scroll down the page.

Goodreads benefit

Advantages of becoming a Goodreads member

What are the extra advantages of a Goodreads membership? (refer to blue boxes)

  1. Keep track of the books that you ‘have read’, ‘are reading’ and ‘want to read’ (highlighted as #1 in blue font)
  2. Check out what your Goodread friends ‘are reading’ or ‘have read’ (refer to #2)
  3. Become a fan of your favourite authors and get their updates (refer to #3)
  4. Join discussions of a book (refer to #4)
  5. Get book recommendations from the website (refer to #5)
  6. Click on ‘Explore’ to (refer to #6)
  • Search in ‘Listopia’ for books with similar themes
  • Enter ‘Giveaways’ to win new books

Those aforementioned points are the features that I regularly use. Now that you have read and perhaps evaluate the different experiences, what have you decided? If you like using Goodreads, share this article with your friends!