Blog: In Real Life

Book reviews, marketing observations and advice, and general commentary…

Mobilegeddon 2015

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

Last Tuesday, Google released substantial changes to its search algorithm. In a nutshell, these changes mean that websites that are responsive (mobile-friendly) are now (most of the time; there are exceptions to every algorithmic rule) getting (much) higher placement in search results. But…will the book industry notice? Should authors and publishers care? You can find as many answers to this as Nancy Drew had pairs of nylons. My answer? Is yes, you should care. Why? Numbers. Specifically: 64% of American adults own a smartphone. 42% own a...

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Random Observations

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Commentary, Marketing | 0 comments

Wow…it’s been a crazy few weeks. Lots going on, and so it seems like a good time to round up some observations… Book Expo America BEA. The Rumble in the Javits. Book Nerds Unite. However you look at it, BEA is a big deal if for no other reason than there are a ton of people there, each of whom has some connection to book world. While I’m far from a fan of the locale (the combination of pigeons flying around the show floor at $6 for a Diet Coke doesn’t blow my skirt up), I love the energy. I say it every year: if someone tells you books or...

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Open for Service

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

While I’m not pleased that we need an organization like Open for Service in this day and age, I’m glad they exist, and I’m happy to support them. Here’s how they describe themselves: We are a non-partisan, nonjudgmental group looking to provide a grassroots network for people to support businesses that open their doors for everyone – Black, White, Gay, Straight, Christian, Atheist, Disabled . . . well, you get our drift. Anyone who knows me at all knows that this will always apply to my business:   Please...

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Clean Reader: Who’s behind it and what’s next?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Commentary | 0 comments

In March, 2010, my friend and YA author Marley Gibson received an email from a school librarian in Riceville, Tennessee. The librarian, Cheryl, explained to Marley that while her students loved her Ghost Huntress series, she was distressed because she had to go through each with a Sharpie (she was specific about this) before shelving them to “mark out bad words.” In other words, she censored them. Marley was furious. She responded to Cheryl and contacted her publisher. As a reader, I was horrified, and I contacted a number of reporters....

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Goodbye, Lisa

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Commentary | 1 comment

In December, 2013, I used this space to tell you about my friend, Lisa Adams. I got so many wonderful notes about this post, and I’m grateful that so many of you took the time to have a read of Lisa’s blog. One week ago, Lisa died. I saw the news on Saturday morning, and while she prepared us all for it as well as anyone could, it has left me with an even greater sense of loss than I had anticipated. One of the conversations (via instant message) with Lisa that I will always remember was about our shared experience of someone close to us...

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Video, Please

Posted by on Feb 13, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

Me: I’d like you to make a short video. Author: Huh? Video? Why? Me: Because videos are fantastic online content. Author: Really?   I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had the above conversation. I mean, I get it…you’re authors. Most of you (with some notable exceptions) aren’t accustomed to being in front of a camera. You might not even own a video camera other than your smartphone. But this doesn’t change the fact that people like watching video. According to Pew Research, 63% of online adults and 82% of...

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Survey Says

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

It’s an age-old question: What makes a reader choose one book over another? These days, the potential answers often feel endless, and that’s before we even get to how different answers are connected to each other. But knowing that whatever the answer, it will provide fodder for discussion and consideration rather than a clear-cut game plan shouldn’t stop us asking the question! So I did. Before I share the results, some notes on the survey pool: 442 people answered, and each could only pick one answer. So statistically...

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THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Books, Marketing, Reviews | 1 comment

Unless you’ve been locked in the drum of your drying machine lately, you’ve heard about THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. You know that it’s about a woman, Rachel, who rides the same train each workday (and some weekends), and when she sees something shocking from the windows of said train, her world quickly (further) unravels. I was torn about reading this book (because it’s had so much hype that I figured it didn’t need me) and even more so about reviewing it. I hated every single character in the story. I found the plot devices contrived and often...

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By the Numbers

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

This week, International Thriller Writers (ITW) sent out the (59-page) results of a (well intentioned) survey entitled, “Thriller Author Audience Expansion Roadmap.” Click here to have a look (if you dare—it really is 59 pages). If you don’t want to read 59 pages, here’s the summary (since the survey didn’t have one, this is mine): It’s important for authors to build their audience. The most effective ways to do this are, and will remain, unclear because it is impossible to have conclusive or comprehensive data about readers. Marketing...

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Welcome to 2015

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Books | 0 comments

Happy Birthday! Oh wait…that’s not you…that’s me. Today is my birthday. I make a point of telling as many people as possible every year because I’m still smarting from all those “Christmas and birthday” presents I got as a kid. So here I am, halfway through my fifth decade on the planet. As you read this, I’m off doing something fun. I hope you’re having a good day too. Because I failed miserably at cards this year, I decided to get ahead of the Best of game by publishing my Best Books of...

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