How to Promote Your Indie Review Books

Hi All!

As many of you know, I’ve been reviewing books pretty much since this blog started almost three (!!!!!!!) years ago. It’s something I love doing, and I’ve also loved getting to connect with so many wonderful authors, both indie and traditionally published. Beyond that, I’ve loved helping out the book community as a whole, and the indie book community, particularly. So many of these books are just as creative and engrossing as their traditionally published counterparts, but don’t get as much promotion, since the authors don’t have a complete marketing team at their disposal. As bloggers, we’re a powerful part of the indie book promotion community, and in order to maximize these awesome books’ sales trajectory-and promote our own reviews- we need to do more than just write the book review.

Here’s some ideas to help promote your fav indie books further:

  1. Use Complimentary Promotion. Make an event of your book review by posting complimentary promotion in the days before or after your review, preferably afterwards. Complimentary promotion includes excerpts, sequel previews or sneak peaks, or interviews. I really like using interviews. My philosophy on this (totally unscientific), is that after you intrigue the reader with your review, you follow up with something about the author. The reader then thinks: “Now that I know why the author wrote the book, I want to actually read what they wrote.” That’s my philosophy, anyways.
  2. Engage in Creative Fan Cultures. What does HarperTeen (one of my favourite traditional publishers) have that indie authors don’t? One answer: EpicReads!!! Don’t know what it is? It’s an awesome (in the true sense of the word), online destination for YA book lovers. It has quizzes, games, contest, author Q&As, and much more. More important than its overall awesomeness, is that it’s a form of participatory fan culture (that’s the four-year degree talking, unfortunately :)). Participatory fan cultures involve fans engaging with media and with one another, in activities that involve their favourite books, films, or television shows. Are you a fan of an indie book? Start a fan culture! Make a book trailer on YouTube, draw fan art and post it, write fan fic. You might meet some fellow fans, plus it gets the word-of-mouth out.
  3. Circulate. Part of the reason that some indie books may not get a large following very fast, is circulation problems. Print copes may be difficult to acquire, and if readers don’t have the technology to read the ebook versions, chances are they won’t be buying them. One way to circulate these books to maximize their exposure, is to donate your print review copy to your local library. Now, I understand if you don’t want to give away your copy because you love it so much (I’m with you), but if you give it to the library, then you can not only check it out, but others will benefit from it as well. Just think about the transmission once people get to read it! They’ll write their own reviews, buy the author’s other books off of the internet, Tweet it out, tell their friends. You can even help the exposure along by, ahem, tweaking the library’s book display and fixing it in a prize, end-of-the-shelf spot. Just be sure to clear it with the author or publisher first if you’re donating an ARC.
Do you have any tips for promoting indie books? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Participate in NaNoWriMo (without really participating in NaNoWriMo)

It’s that time of year again. The time of great decision; to participate or not to participate in NaNoWriMo (aka, National Novel Writing Month). Personally, participating is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I had planned to use my free time in November to overhaul my latest WIP, “Moorhouse,” But fate had other plans, and I ended up in school again (not a biggie, I’m having fun doing my course). Given that I’m going back to school next year, chances are I won’t be able to do a full novel or second draft during the official NaNoWriMo period until 2017. Still, this writer-centered, month-long fest is too awesome to let go by  without some sort of celebration. That’s why I’ve come up with some ways to participate in the festivities (and maybe even get some quality writing time in) without having the pressure of having to actually commit to the full haul.

  1. Do a Mini “Write-a-Thon”: Here’s a fun fact about me: I’ve always wanted to participate in one of those 24-hour dance-a-thons. You Know? The type that they always had in the 1930’s during the Great Depression? (No? That’s okay! here’s a link if you’re curious: Anyway, if dancing the night away like Cinderella isn’t your jive, try a mini “write-a-thon.” Basically, shut yourself away for a certain amount of time and write like mad. It could be an extended shift (10 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours,whatever you want), till a certain time (midnight madness!), or as much as you can for an extended period, retreat style (a weekend or long weekend, starting early and ending late). Not keen on spending that much time alone? Invite some friends and make a party of it! The benefit of this is that you’ve devoted a certain amount of time to intensively concentrate on your work, guilt free. This saves the time of dedicating an hour a day, but having other things cut into that hour (turning on the computer, settling in, yada, yada), plus it’s super fun!
  2. Alternatively, maybe that’s just a little too much, all at once. Commit yourself to a certain amount of time each day and then quit after the time is up. This works best if you pick a time when you’re alert and keyed into writing, whether that’s morning or the graveyard shift, and if you ensure that you reserve your writing time for writing (not “research,” checking your email, making lattes, etc.). At least you’re fully engaging in your novel every day, which is something we don’t always make the time to do.
  3. Plot Your Novel: Don’t have time to write, but have a story nagging at the back of your mind? Plot it out! The entire thing. In writing. Maybe invest in one of those interactive templates. Just get to it! This will save you time for actually writing when you have time for it. Plus, take it from a pantser, plotting is, in itself, a lot of work. You’ll feel really proud and accomplished once your done!
  4. Support Others: If you really have no time to write, then have fun supporting others in their writing goals. Check out blogs, search out the hashtag for NaNoWriMo, leave comments. It’s fun, connects you to a writing community, and it gives you ideas for next year!

How about you? Any plans for National Novel Writing Month? Any tips? Leave a comment below!!

x, Emily

Author Interview: P.R. Principe

Hey All! Now that you’ve just read my book review of Omega Plague: Collapse (if you haven’t read it here:, check out my interview with its talented author, P.R. Principe!

Here, Principe talks about how Omega Plague came to be, his favourite liquid writing snack, and getting his amateur radio license. Enjoy!

Emily’s Interview with P.R. Principe:

. How exactly did you get the idea for your book? Did you want to be a writer before you wrote it?

I remember some late night banter with a friend of mine (a few years ago now) that planted the seed of an idea. It was clear to me that the area around Naples, Italy and the island of Capri would be the best place for the story to unfold. It fact, given the central idea for the story, it may be one of the few places in which this story could occur. But I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet!

I thought it would be an accomplishment just to write a novel, like running a marathon, but I never dreamed I would actually ever finish it, writing it at night, here and there. I’ve researched and written on various subjects as part of my “day” jobs over the years, but I hadn’t done any creative writing since I was much younger. So, it’s a personal milestone for me, and I’m pleased just to have it finally done.

  1. Do any particular books or authors influence your writing?

I’ve read quite a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction over the years, but a colleague of mine who read Omega Plague: Collapse told me it was like The Road meets Earth Abides. They are two great books, and if those are my influences, then that’s awesome.

  1. Are you a more of a plotter or a “pantser”?

Total “pantser,” no flashcards, no outline, other than a general idea of where the story is going. Sometimes I have a very clear idea for a scene or chapter. But many times, I’ll just write and see where it leads, which is probably why I feel like writing takes me so long! That said, if something occurs to me, such as ideas for a character or scene, I make notes at the end of the manuscript, adding as I go along.

  1. Do you listen to any music while you write? If so, what types?

Yes, sometimes classical music on the local radio station. Other times, ambient music like, which is a musical composition designed to last 1000 years. I might listen to dark ambient music like Squaremeter’s Tolkien-inspired album “War of Sound.” Also, I started listening to Ager Sonus in 2014. Some of their recent music incorporates shortwave transmissions from numbers stations. Eerie and dark, their music is perfect for getting into a post-apocalyptic groove.

  1. Favourite writing snack?

Wine. It’s the only snack I’ve found that makes writing easier.

  1. What are some of your favourite dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels?

There are so many good ones, but two that come to mind first are A Canticle for Leibowitz and Alas, Babylon. Nothing like some nuclear hellfire to jump start a story!

  1. I noticed in your bio that you have an amateur radio license. I’m a little bit jealous, that sounds so cool! How did you get that, and what inspired you to get it?

About seven years ago, I started teaching a graduate course in emergency planning. But my main work is not that field, so I thought should do something more “hands-on” to gain experience in emergency communications. I studied on line and passed all three amateur radio exams. I’m an Amateur Extra class now. The FCC eliminated the Morse code requirement, but I can do some very, very, slow Morse code with an old style telegraph key. There’s something quite haunting about the sound of radio late in the evening, particularly the on ham radio bands and shortwave. Those bands are static-filled and scratchy, with lone voices in the night, quite the opposite of the smooth stereo of FM.

  1. Do you have anything new in the works? Just started the sequel to Omega Plague: Collapse.


Thanks so much for the interview!!!!!

To learn more about P.R. Principe, visit his website:

Book Review: Omega Plague: Collapse by P.R. Principe

****I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. The generosity of the author has, in no way, affected my opinion of this book. *****

An airborne strain of the AIDS virus decimates humanity. Bruno Ricasso, an Italian cop, a Carabiniere, struggles to survive on the island of Capri while Europe erupts in flames and society crumbles. But when his solitary existence is broken, Bruno returns to the empty city of Naples in search of answers.

Can Bruno find a way to stay alive in the ruins of civilization? Or will Bruno’s past sins prove even more deadly than the Omega Plague?

Blindingly and heartbreakingly fast-paced. That’s how I would describe P.R. Principe’s stunning debut novel, Omega Plague: Collapse, in five words or less. The novel gets off right away, with nearly no setup. While I am a devoted setup lover, and normally find books with little or no setup jarring, jarring the reader is the point in Omega Plague, and Principe carries it off beautifully. With no time to breathe as the world as we know it collapses around Bruno, the reader is left with no choice but to compulsively follow. As we follow Bruno, we feel his emotions and acutely sense the horror that surrounds him, making for an affecting read.

Principe has personally spent time in Italy, the setting of the book, and it shows in his descriptions. The vivid picture he paints of the beautiful and historical city of Naples makes if all the more horrific to read about it collapsing. Beyond the physical descriptions is the dialogue and characters. Both sparkle with authenticity, and I felt as if I was really reading the thoughts and listening in to the conversations of the people of Italy. The dialogue between military members is similarly authentic, a difficult endeavor that I have often seen come off as cheesy in other novels. Not so in Principe’s. Although Bruno is tough, he has a rounded, compassionate character, and it shows in subtle ways; the way he worries for his sister, Carla, and his internal dialogue when he sees his fellow military colleagues collapse from illness. His toughness comes from his circumstances, not just his character, and that is a tough feat to achieve in a novel without referring to stereotypes.

Overall, Omega Plague: Collapse is a riveting, twisting read, filled with action and mystery, that will hook you, hold on, and never let you go until the last page.

One (of many) of the Reasons I Love Writing

Hi Everyone!

Happy Fall!!! Gosh it looks like fall out, although, mercifully, it’s still warm (yay for warm falls!).

I’ve been having a bit of a bad day, so I thought I’d take a few minutes away from the article review for school I’m trying to revise to talk about one of my favourite things (besides reading); writing! Maybe not article reviews always, but I love everything about writing. Don’t get me wrong, I have days I’m a bit written out. But for the most part, writing makes me feel better when I’m having a rough day.

There are many reasons why I love writing, too many to describe in the few minutes I have right now. But I thought I’d share one of the reasons. Many professional writers believe that writing is a job, passion, or vocation; not an emotional outlet. That it can be fulfilling, but not cathartic or enjoyable. That’s fair enough. After all, writing can be all of those things. However, in defense of those who identify with writing as a cathartic or enjoyable process, I can proudly say I’m a card-carrying “emotional writer.” Just like how an emotional eater (I’ve been there too) takes pleasure from mac and cheese sliding down their throat, or from the soothingly repetitive process of popping sour candies in their mouth, I love the feeling of my fingertips racing across the keys, pounding down the words that are a part of my characters-their thoughts, their feelings, and the binary between the two. Even if I don’t necessarily feel the same way as my characters do, it’s a real “take that” moment for me when I can help them get to where they need to be.

Beside my fictional writing, I also get a total sugar buzz from article and essay writing, and, especially, blogging. I’m so excited to share more stuff soon!

Anyway, my sweet reader friends, thanks for being part of my very emotional writing process !

x, Em