book blogs

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Guinevere has been featured on “The Attic!” New design changes coming soon!

Published December 1, 2013 by G.L.

While it is for our book blogging review page Twinja Book Reviews, we just thought it was worth mentioning! You can either scroll down to learn more about Guin(pronounced Gwen), or click on the link The Attic Reviews.

We hope all who participated in the NaNoWriMo got far! I didn’t always mark her progress as much as Guinevere did, but we didn’t win! But it isn’t about winning or losing, just about gaining better writing habits, so feel free to let us know if anyone had the privilege of becoming a winner!

On our sister site Twinja Book Reviews, we will be hosting a month long of interviews of bloggers, authors(both self published and traditionally so)agents, editors and more who promote diversity in the publishing world. We have about a dozen definites, but a few will make appearances on the way! Were even hosting a giveaway that includes a Tiffany Trent bundle of her book “The Unnaturalists” and her ARC for it’s sequel “The Tinker King!” It’s starting tomorrow with our first guest steampunk fiction author Balogun Ojetade!

Don’t forget to check back at our blog. Design changes are coming as yamulticulturaljunkie.wordpress.com has now become http://www.gltomas.com

Anyone who has followed us before wont have any issue, as it will redirect any newbies back here, even if you type in the old URL.

sat

Hey there, Readers!

Please give a warm welcome to Guinevere!

GuinevereName: Guinevere Zoyana Tomas
Blog: Twinja Book Reviews
Has been blogging since: Since March of 2013
Read/blogs about: Twinja Book Reviews is a book blog dedicated to spreading diversity in books with fantasy, science fiction and paranormal undertones. We only review books that feature multicultural main characters be they Latina, of Asian Ancestry, African descent, Gay, disabled, plus sized, You name it! We also blog about how representation in books is important for young readers as well as older readers. We get into some heavy stuff!

Describe yourself in five words. 
Geeky, Urban, Stylish Afro-Latina ;D

Why did you start a book blog?
Well I started a book blog with my twin sister because we really like reading books. But one thing I noticed coming onto the circuit is that there was very little focus on books that featured characters other than the “default” white, able bodied, male, cisgendered, thin and straight character. While I read books that don’t feature diverse characters, I thought it was time that another multicultural blog came into the circuit because I lot of my friends who don’t read is for one simple reason….They can’t find a book that includes diverse main protagonists. So i’m attempting to make the search easier for people who do want to read books that incorporate not only diversity but some culture as well.

What do you when you’re not reading or blogging?
Well in my spare time I work, write(I have a few WIP’s), I try to travel at least twice a year whether it’s networking or personal. But where I spend most of my time is an open gym practicing my “Tricking” and preparing for my next belt in Tang Soo Do.

What does your “to be read” pile look like at this moment? (Either take a picture or describe it!)
It’d be easier to show a pic.You see I have about 4 full bookcases in my living room and a small one in my room I consider “TBR”.

MyTBRPile

The_Partner_Track_by_Helen_WanWhat have you read recently that you loved?
The Partner Track by Helen Wan. It was a compelling tale of what it’s like to be a minority in the corporate world told by a female protagonist of Asian Ancestry.If you only knew what goes on out there, you’d be disgusted!

What is your all time favorite quote from a novel?
“I like knowing that sometimes the impulses can go the other way. That maybe it’s possible to have an impulse for good”.
The words of Jasper Dent from the novel I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. The book is about a teenager who has a serial killer for a father and he’s fighting the urge to be be like him.It’s pretty spooky!

Tinker_KingbyTiffanyTrentWhat is an upcoming release that you are most excited about?
I don’t always anticipate releases because I buy more books that are a few years old than I do new ones, but I’m really looking forward to Tiffany Trent’s sequel to The UnNaturalists called The Tinker King. The guy on the cover is delectable!

Do you have a favorite bookish memory?
I’m not sure if I even have one 😛 I’m terrible with questions like this

Guinevere&TravisGarland

I’m a huge music lover/music snob so I have to ask, what are you currently listening to?
Well it’s hard to say because I don’t really have one artist that I listen to but I recently seen an artist I’ve followed for years in concert named Travis Garland. He’s a blend of R&B, Pop and Soul music. He was the nicest celebrity i got the chance to meet(I’ve met a few)

Do you listen to music while you read?
Well I find it a bit distracting because I used to be a dancer and whenever i listen to music I envision dance steps in my head. Can’t really concentrate on reading when I’m seeing steps in my head, lol.

It’s time for a game of this or that!

Normal or paranormal? Hmmm…..I’m going say Paranormal

Chocolate or vanilla? Uhhh…Vanilla

The power to see the future or the ability to travel into the past? Travel into the past!

Paperback or hardcover? Hardcover!

Cats or dogs? Dogs, I’m allergic to cat hair.

Thanks for participating, Guinevere!
I think the concept behind your blog is awesome! I like how you focus on just one topic–it does make it easier to find a specific kind of book. I just tend to review whatever I read, which is kind of all over the place, but most of them do seem to fall under the typical stereotypes when it comes to main characters. I was stuck in a paranormal rut for a while, then I started forcing myself to branch out into contemporary, and more recently into LGBT. I’ve read so many amazing books that way!

If you are interested in participating in Behind the Blogger, please fill out THIS FORM.

Happy Reading!

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An author blog. An important piece of an author platform and why you shouldn’t give up on it. Part I

Published May 11, 2013 by G.L.

Blogs. Over time they’ve become a gateway of thoughts, for connecting others who feel, or may not feel the same way you do, but bring out great conversations when they don’t agree. Learning about things that someone may have more knowledge about, or even teaching others things YOU may have more knowledge about, and want others to know.

They’re important in gaining an author’s platform, but also important for just people looking to make brands for themselves. We wanted to write this fifty page blog post about why one should have a blog, especially those hoping to release a book, or those who have already released a book. But we’ve decided to stretch the subjects out. I’d hate to give people too much to read, and it would ensure I can write as much as I want on the different reasons or excuses one may give themselves for not writing one.

The reason we’re writing this blog is mainly through a connect on Goodreads. The woman appears so interesting, and her thoughts and opinions are so insightful, I was curious to know if she herself had a blog. I was in luck, as due to how specific her screen name was, I found a blog of hers right away. It featured everything I thought it might in my exchanges with her, and possibly more. The one drawback however was that it hadn’t updated since 2011. This was disappointing, but brought back memories of my own blog I’d started years ago, but stopped writing for.

There are many reasons why you should consider a blog, but some never even consider the reasons, they only consider the excuses.

Excuses One May Have:

Excuse One-Followers. Having none, not enough, or having a lot of followers that are only along for the ride because of follow for follow tactics. If you have no or few followers, it’s time to start get creative in gaining some. Research communities that you’re in. Communicate with others in communities you’ve gained and find people who have common interests. Get them interested in your blog, and vice versa. Be as invested in them and you expect them to be in you. And while follow for follow can seem slow at times in your numbers, it does help. Researching blog hops are even better. Sometimes it’s possible to gain 50+ in a week with a decent blog hop, and you’re getting to learn about your audience as well as the blogs you’ve become an audience to. But when you follow others, leave a note or a comment! If you don’t let them know, they may not even know that you’re following them!

And as far as people whom are following you now? Even if it by gaining followers you’d done it  through follow for follow, put pride aside. Say “Who cares?” The point is that they’re following you. And hopefully they’re following you because you at least have one common interest. For us it’s been books. And we’re positive not everyone is following us because they’re passionate about multiculturalism. But our point is just to make people aware of multiculturalism, or the lack of it. Perhaps an interesting post title will catch someone’s attention? But the point is, we’re TRYING to catch people’s attention.

It may not affect most people(and when I say most, it could mean white, or able bodied, or people of the Christian faith, etc.) but imagine this situation. You’re in a bookstore with your friend.

Insert Friend Here-

cartoon-muslim-girl-226x300 14960802-cartoon-illustration-of-a-girl-in-a-wheelchair maya_santos_by_supersegasonicss-d53jn72 Art_paintings_of_sweet_girls_b850 African_beautiful_Princess

Imagine both of you going to the same section of the bookstore(for me, it would mostly likely be Young Adult) with the intention of buying a brand new book. The default for book covers feature Caucasian, able bodied, “All-American” types. You see many books you feel you can relate to, and leave with a book. You’re completely satisfied in your purchase, but it bugs you that your friend didn’t leave with anything. I mean there were so many books to choose from, and you wanted to share why you bought yours, and hear why she bought hers(or his ;p). Asking her/him why she/he left with nothing, she/he gives you some reply about wanting to be able to relate to the cover as well. Now you’re friend is Black/Latino/Asian/Muslim/Disabled/Gay/Transgender(sorry I couldn’t find any flattering pics of gay men or women that were cartoons =/) etc. You’re friends with them because appearance doesn’t matter to you, so you’re unsure on why something as simple as a book cover would stop them from getting anything, especially when there were so many great choices to choose from! She/He tells you, “It’s easy for you to say, because in books you’re not invisible. That if race, religion, sexual orientation or disability are so insignificant, why can’t a book cover ever feature a non-Caucasian, non able-bodied, non-Christian default type character? You don’t know how to feel about that statement. So there’s an awkward walk to the car or bus. You quickly change the subject, as you’ve already forgotten. Unfortunately this is not a luxury your friend has 😦 This subject will probably stay with them for much longer than a car/bus ride home. So I know not everyone will get what we’re writing about, but for us the whole point is to get people thinking about it.

Excuse Two-Not having anything to write about. One of the biggest mistakes one could make about starting a blog is giving your blog a subject you couldn’t talk about during your everyday life. Multiculturalism seems to come up in a conversation at least once a day for us. I can be watching one of our favorite shows “The Big Bang Theory”, and while most of their cast is Caucasian, two of their major characters belong to two religions that don’t fall into Christianity(One is Hindu, one is Jewish). I live in downtown New Haven, which is Yale territory. On my way to Starbucks, I’ll see plenty of same sex couples, interracial couples, interfaith couples, etc.  New Haven is colorful, so I’m pretty sure I even see a lot of transgender females and males. So as long as I notice cultures within cultures in society I’ll be covered. Being Afro-Cuban American, I can’t help but notice and care for different cultures. But being a book lover, the lack of a diverse world also gives me much to write about.

NEVER CHOOSE A SUBJECT YOU CAN ONLY GET THREE MONTHS OUT OF. If you love hair, and everything that goes with it, such as different ways to style it, how to combat hair during weather changes, or performing tasks on hair that is not a texture you’re familiar with, then go for that. If you’re a pet person, there are lots of subjects you can talk about with that. Music lover? Even better! But remember to choose wisely. I had a blog two years ago(it’s actually still up 6_6). I choose a subject that I was passionate about, an anime I loved, but when that show came to an end, I stopped writing for it ^-^. Unbeknownst to me, that in while ignoring it for two years, I’d gotten 4800 page views, which was insane, because I only had two followers(and I’m ashamed to admit it was just Libby and I ^_^) and I didnt know all the ways in gaining audiences, so I never reached viewers on my own. Had I known it could have been a success, I would’ve improved it at the very least. So choose your weapon in war wisely. You may find out you’ve brought a pen to a pencil fight.

Pen_Vs_Pencil_by_ScorpioReport

Excuse Three– Not having any time. While this is a relevant excuse, it’s a dumb one. Many of us spend hours on social networks, researching things to buy, and following celebrity gossip. If you have time for those things, you have time to engage people whom you may want to read your book one day. There are dozens of ways to find ways to manage time, but unfortunately it’s up to a person to follow them. I feel the best advice I could give, is to help you manage your blog with very little time.

Try committing to your blog 30 minutes a day. Even if those minutes are not consecutive. Duolit, a team of an author and marketer have great ways in using time wisely, and all their info is free! They give great advice about time management, launching your book release, creating your author platform and much more. They can be found at http://selfpublishingteam.com or https://twitter.com/duolit

And I don’t think we have to tell anyone that the more you write, the more you’re giving an audience to comment on, provoke conversation, and see what you’re all about, but if school, parenthood, work or just life in general will not allow you a ton of time, any audience you have or plan to gain needs to know what you can commit to. At the very least, on your blog, there should be something indicating that you write weekly or even monthly. If this is all you can commit to, make it fun by counting down to your audience when the next blog post will be coming. Make your audience look forward to every post, even if they’re infrequent. Also, try writing your blog posts in advance, that way you can just post them when they’re scheduled to be released. Just try not to go more than a month without posting or updating anything. If you cant commit to at least once a month, some may question why they’re even following someone who never updates their blog.

So with all this being said, if you start a blog, start it for the right reasons, but also always find ways to commit to it. You wont regret it, and people you learn from or those whom learn from you wont either!

Part II coming soon…

Proper Online Etiquette when seeking reviews for your book

Published May 2, 2013 by G.L.

I thought that I might write a post about this particular subject because I believe that it’s important for independent authors like ourselves to know how to properly approach someone about reviewing your book.

You would think it would be common sense, however lately we’ve noticed that since we began taking reviews on our other blog,  Fighting for Multiculturalism to YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels , authors particularly Indie authors haven’t exactly approached us with the best of manners :/ Trust me, we get it! You want readers. You NEED reviewers! And maybe, just maybe you’re a little frustrated that in your mind your book is your greatest accomplishment,so it bugs you that people aren’t exactly lining up to want to read and review it.

But just a few wise words, you get more flies with honey than than with vinegar. And what I mean by that is when you approach bloggers with requests to read your book, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not just come out and say “You need to review my book because it’s the next Harry PotterBloggers(Including ourselves) will not respond well to this.

First off never compare YOUR work to that of a well established published author. The main reason being that if your book is not indeed the next Harry Potter, the reviewer that has taken pity on you and took the time out of HER or HIS busy schedule, may just mention that in their review. You may think that your book is really good, and it may just be but never compare your book to a popular writers book. You’ll just end up embarrassing yourself and appear arrogant to potential readers. Be the next YOU!That’s all you can set out to be.

Second, I’m not sure if I even have to say this because it goes without saying but, READ THE BLOGGER‘S REVIEW POLICY. You would be surprised how many offers some bloggers get from aspiring authors that did not read their review policy. Not only does that show that you can’t read but it shows that you don’t have the professionalism to be a writer and certainly don’t have the proper skills to represent yourself. Do yourself a favor and go over the blogger’s entire site. Why waste both of your times by submitting a request to a blogger that doesn’t read your genre.

A very important piece of advice is don’t be pushy and be patient. Don’t continuously badger the reviewer on how far they’ve gotten in the book.You may think that you’re being courteous but you may actually be annoying the reviewer. Lots of  reviewers need at least 6-8 weeks to review your book and that’s more than generous. A good amount of reviewers are backed up for months and a quick review is just not possible.

If you need a review sooner than later, you may have to contact the reviewer way before you need it reviewed. For example on a blog tour. Let the reviewer know of any deadlines you have and perhaps they’ll work with you. Many are nice, but there are some that are cut throat. So it’s really important to be respectful and polite.

Have a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like your book. Many may even leave you a less than flattering review. Do not and I repeat, DO NOT retaliate with insults, in fact don’t even respond in any way to a bad review. When publishing a book, you’re probably going to get a LOT of bad reviews. But if your book is well written, well edited and professionally packaged, you many see more promising reviews than bad ones. Trust that you have the overall formula to what makes a great book and I promise, reviewers will enjoy reading your book and leaving you a good review!

A really great way to reach out to bloggers is really simple. Join their blog’s email list or subscribe to their RSS feed and actually get a feel of what kind of people they are and what types of books that they like.Comment on their posts, find things in common with them, let them know that they are important to your book’s( along with a lot other people’s books)success.

I know you’re going, “Ugh!But that takes so much work.Why can’t they just read it and review it.Isn’t that part of their job description?I’m giving them something to do!”In reality, no it isn’t part of their job description. Most bloggers review books just because they like to. And once you get the ball rolling, lots of requests from authors come in. So actually a reviewer is doing you a service by taking the time out of their schedule to read YOUR book. Indie authors need reviews and people to give us those reviews, So unfortunately we need them more than they need us.

So next time you approach a book blogger to review your book, remember these 3 things

1.It’s nice to seek out potential fans but you may need to become a “fan” of them first.

2.Try to make friends with bloggers before your book is actually done, the likelihood of your book being read by a “friend” is much higher than a random solicitor.

3.Always, ALWAYS learn the names of the people you request to review your book. You wouldn’t believe how many people won’t even bother looking through a blogger’s website just to learn something as simple as their names. I don’t know about you but I like when authors take the time out to do this. It shows that they really want their book to be successful.

For any aspiring authors reading this, I wish you good luck with your writing!

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