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Cool Stuff Friday

Checking In Again

Not too much to report, actually. Which in some ways is probably a good thing.

The Storytime idea I brought up last week is still evolving into its final form. I have an idea for it that I really like, but I need to clear a couple of things with my agent first. This may or may not work out, but I’ll keep folks informed one way or another.

Over in Cancerland, my wife completed another round of chemo. She’s got a minimum of 2-3 more to come, and possibly as many as 5, before we head back to Detroit for the bone marrow transplant. This last round came with the traditional nausea and weakness, but after a week and a half of recovery, she’s doing pretty well again. (Just in time to go back in on Monday to start it all over again.)

In the midst of all this fear and uncertainty and wishing cancer would just go back to hell, I’ve also noticed how much closer Amy and I have been these past few months. No relationship is perfect, and ours has had its speed bumps and potholes. Cancer has a way of shaking everything up and recalibrating your priorities. There’s a lot more appreciation and gratitude and tenderness.

There’s also the simple fact that we get to spend more time together. Take yesterday – I took her in for a blood transfusion, which was supposed to start at 9 in the morning. Thanks to the lab mislabeling one of her blood tests, it didn’t actually start until past noon, and we didn’t get out of there until about 5 or so.

Which meant, essentially, we got to spend a day together just hanging out. A hospital room isn’t much fun, but we watched a bit of TV, read some of A Wind in the Door, went for a couple of walks around the unit, and just got to be together. I can’t remember the last time we were able to do something like that back when we were both working and running all over trying to keep up with everything.

If all goes well, we’ll be going out as a family for a belated birthday dinner for my son, and maybe even sneaking away again to see Captain Marvel before Amy starts back up with chemo. It’ll be nice to have a couple days of relative normalcy.

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How to Get Nominated For a Nebula or Hugo

The Nebula and Hugo awards are generally considered to be two of the most prestigious and well-known awards for science fiction and fantasy literature. As a result, lots of authors would really like to win them.

Hugo AwardI won a Hugo in 2012 for my fan writing about SF/F, and I was on the Nebula preliminary ballot once — back when the Nebula awards had a preliminary and a final ballot. I have brilliant writer (and editor) friends who have shelves full of Hugos and/or Nebulas. I have equally brilliant writer/editor friends who’ve never even been nominated.

So how does an author go about getting on the ballot? There isn’t one Right Answer to that question, but I’d suggest the first step would be to understand how the awards work. Authors do not submit their work for consideration for either the Hugo or the Nebula. Instead, works are nominated and voted upon by members of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in the case of the Nebula, and members of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) for the Hugos.

In theory, members nominate what they believe are the best works in each category. From those nominations is born a final ballot. Members vote for the best, and a handful of writers get to figure out how to transport a hefty trophy home. (Taking a Hugo — shaped like a rocket — through airport security can be an adventure…)

All right, if authors can’t submit their work for consideration, what can they do?

Do Nothing.

This is certainly the easiest approach, in many ways. Just write your best work, and trust readers to find it and nominate it for consideration. In an ideal world, this would result in the best stuff being nominated and winning each year.

This is not an ideal world. Some works receive much more publicity and promotion than others. A brilliant book by an unknown author might be seen by far fewer people than a mediocre book by a bestselling author. A story in a popular magazine or anthology will receive more attention than a story in a smaller or more niche market.

Some would argue that doing nothing is the professional and classy approach to awards. I can understand where they’re coming from, and if all else was equal, I’d probably advocate the same thing. But as we’ve seen again and again, all things are not equal…

Post a Roundup of Your Eligible Works

Nebula AwardAs awards season approaches, more and more authors are posting a list of their award-eligible work from the previous year. Here’s mine from 2017, as one example. This works in two ways.

  1. It reminds your readers about stuff they may have read but forgotten about. I had a new book out a few weeks ago, but by the time awards season rolls around next year, people might not remember the continuing adventures of Jim’s space janitors. A roundup post can jog folks’ memories.
  2. It lets people know about work they might have missed. I self-published a Magic ex Libris sequel last January, but because it wasn’t through my big publisher, fewer people heard about the story. Someone who’s a fan of your work might discover something that slipped past them, and decide to check it out and see if it’s nom-worthy.

There will be people who say eligibility lists are tacky and unprofessional. I’m not one of those people (obviously). I see nothing wrong with reminding people what you’ve had published. As a writer and often-nominator, I appreciate the reminders and the chance to check out things I missed.

Amal el-Mohtar has a good post from 2014 on this topic: Of Awards Eligibility Lists and Unbearable Smugness.

Share Copies of Your Eligible Works

Unsolicited: When I first joined SFWA, I’d get a handful of books in the mail each year from authors asking me to consider nominating their books for the Nebula. These days, I’ll get the occasional email linking to a story or offering to send me an e-book for consideration.

I don’t know that I’ve ever nominated something based on this kind of cold-call from a stranger. And in 2019, it gets really easy to cross the line into spam. At least when people were sending me books, they had to look up my individual address in the SFWA directory and pack up the book with a cover letter and pay postage to get it to me.

Nowadays, an email to “Dear Reader” with my email address in the BCC: field is likely to go straight to the junk mail folder.

Posted Online: Making your work available online, or linking to where it’s been published online, is a less intrusive and obnoxious way of sharing your stuff. This goes well with the eligibility list approach I mentioned before.

My contracts often prevent me from posting things online. As an alternative, I usually note in my eligibility post that I’m happy to email a copy of an eligible story to anyone who’s interested and will be nominating. But I’m not comfortable with sending things out unsolicited.

(The corollary here is that if you’re going to be nominating, it doesn’t hurt to contact an author or publisher if there’s something you’re particularly interested in reading and considering for the award. I mean, the worst they can say is no, right?)

Logrolling/Vote-Swapping

“Psst. Hey, buddy — I’ll nominate your book for the Nebula if you nominate mine!”

It happens. I don’t think it happens as much as it used to, though I don’t have hard data one way or the other.

It’s also, in my opinion, pretty dickish. This approach may get you some extra nominations. It will also quickly get you a reputation as That Author, the one who doesn’t give a damn about whether or not a book is any good, and just wants to cheat their way onto the ballot.

Technically, it may not be cheating — but while this approach might not violate the letter of the rules, it’s pretty blatantly cheating the spirit of the thing. And it’s unlikely to win you an award.

Slates

::Dons helmet and flame-resistant suit::

In simplest terms, I think of slates as attempts to organize a group to vote for the same (or similar) handful of works in an effort to get them onto the ballot. (Often, but not necessarily, for reasons other than the strength and quality of the slated work.)

There are a ton of eligible works every year, and people’s tastes can vary widely. Also, not everyone who’s eligible to nominate does so. For these reasons, a relatively small group of people voting in lockstep can have a disproportionate impact on what makes it onto the final ballot.

We saw this for several years with the Hugo Awards, beginning with Larry Correia’s “Sad Puppy” slate in 2014. Those were some ugly, painful, frustrating years. Slates had varying levels of effectiveness at getting works onto the ballot, but slate-nominated works pretty much universally lost — often coming in behind “No Award” in their categories.

Some authors were very deliberately and strategically trying to game the system to get their own work and/or the work of their friends onto the ballots. Other authors were unaware they’d been added to a slate, and were dragged into the resulting mess against their will.

The issue of slates has come up again this year, reopening old wounds for some of the folks who got caught up in the Hugo slate issues a few years back.

What’s the difference between a Slate and a Recommended Reading List? If someone posts a list of who they’re nominating, is that a Slate?

None of these criteria are absolute, but here are some of the things I look at.

  1. Are people being encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, to vote for the same specific set of works?
  2. Is the list mostly or entirely made up of works by members of the same group being pushed to use that list for nominating/voting?
  3. How much of the focus is on Proving a Point?
  4. Is the creator of the list genuinely, visibly enthusiastic about the works?

Like the logrolling/vote-swapping approach, slates can get things onto a ballot, but they also tend to hurt a lot of people, including the nominated authors (as everyone’s left wondering if their work would have made the ballot on its own merits), and those authors pushed off the ballot by this kind of bloc-voting approach.

Buy Lots of Voting Memberships

This wouldn’t work for the Nebulas, but for the Hugo Award, if you bought enough memberships, you could essentially nominate and vote multiple times. It’s been alleged that this tactic was used in 1987 to get Black Genesis by L. Ron Hubbard onto the ballot.

The book did indeed make it onto the final Hugo ballot. It lost, coming in last place, below “No Award.”

In other words, if this was a vote-buying scheme, it was a very expensive way to lose an award (badly) and tarnish the reputations of those involved.

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Inclusion of various tactics listed above is not endorsement (duh). And none of these approaches guarantee your work will ever be nominated. That’s not how this works. Awards are nice, but they don’t define success or failure in the field.

Keep in mind that awards have different expectations and histories and cultures. The rules and expectations for the Hugo or Nebula Awards might be very different from other awards.

Ultimately, my best advice would be:

  1. Write the best stuff you can.
  2. Never assume you’re entitled to an award.
  3. Don’t be a dick.

This got really long. I’m sure I’ve still missed some things. Thanks for reading, and feel free to discuss further in the comments.

Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg van Eekhout

Cover Art: Voyage of the DogsI’ve had a harder time concentrating these past couple of months, and have struggled to get into the books in my TBR pile. So I decided to skip ahead to Greg van Eekhout‘s middle grade SF Voyage of the Dogs. I hoped the voice and the shorter length would work better with my current state of mind.

This was the right choice.

Here’s the publisher’s summary of the book:

Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet.

When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship.

Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts — and Barkonauts always complete their mission.

SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing.
We are the dogs. We are alone.

The best word I can come up with to describe this one is sweet. These are four Very Good Dogs, doing whatever they can to complete their mission. They care about each other, just like they cared about their humans. I’m not sure exactly how van Eekhout did it, but he makes you want to reach into the book and give them all belly scritches and reassure them that yes, they’re good dogs.

There are plenty of dangers – the ship is in bad shape, and the dogs don’t know what happened to the humans. And there are parts where the dogs have to struggle with feeling abandoned, and with fears of what’s going to happen to them. But the book never dwells on the darkness or lets the reader lose that sense of doggie determination.

I particularly loved the moments of dogness, like the way Lopside keeps wishing he could hunt a rat, or Daisy watching the viewscreen because it’s the closest she can get to sticking her head out the window.

It’s obvious van Eekhout loves dogs – it comes through in every bit of dialogue, in the personalities of the four Barkonauts, and in the stories sprinkled throughout the book of other heroic dogs from history. Not to mention his author photo.

This book was fun, hopeful, heartfelt, and just what I needed.

I’ll be passing it on to my son, who’s also a dog-lover. I expect him to completely adore this book.

Read a sample here. Or, you know, just go ahead and buy it.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday needs to stop stalking the Amazon page for Terminal Uprising, checking for reviews and sales rank…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Updates and Stuff

Cancer Stuff

We got back about a week ago from my wife’s latest round of chemo. She had an infusion reaction and a painful (but not life-threatening) side effect from one of the meds, but otherwise things went pretty well. The oncologist says the lymphoma is responding well to treatment.

In better news, it sounds like they’re going to transfer her care from the hospital in Detroit to a more local cancer center, which means no more 90-minute drives back and forth, and no more needing to stay in the hospital apartments for 1-2 weeks at a time. (At least until we get to the bone marrow transplant part of the process.)

People have asked what they could do, which is very kind and much appreciated. I don’t think there’s much we need at the moment, so my suggestion would be to look into donating blood. Amy needed a lot of blood products at the beginning, and will probably need additional transfusions, and it all drove home how important it is to have a well-supplied local blood bank.

Writing Stuff

On the writing front, I actually got a little work done on Terminal Peace earlier this week. Not much, but it was something. I’m hoping as the cancer stuff calms down a bit, I’ll be able to keep making progress there. But helping my wife to get well again and taking care of the kids is still the priority.

Thanks to everyone who boosted about Terminal Uprising coming out last week, and to those of you who’ve commented how much you enjoyed it and/or posted reviews. I haven’t been able to do as much promo this time, for obvious reasons, so I’m even more appreciative.

I’m still hit-or-miss on emails and such, but I’m trying to catch up and stay on top of things.

Depression Stuff

I’ve talked about my depression off and on. I’d expect, given everything that’s happened these past two months, that I’d be drowning in a nasty brain-weasel flare-up. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen too much sign of that yet.

Yet being the key word there. My response to crisis has always been to focus on helping the person in crisis and doing whatever I can do. I’ve been in that mode for two+ months now.

I suspect sooner or later it’s going to catch up and knock me on my ass. So I’m trying to watch my own symptoms, and to do what I can to take care of myself. Things like letting other people around town help out, or even asking for help when I need it. I also scheduled an appointment with my former therapist for next week, just to come in and talk and vent and see what happens. Then there’s stuff like sitting around and watching the second season of Dragon Prince with my son to relax and unwind a little.

I know I’m keeping some things stuffed down for now to help me function. But I don’t feel like I’m hiding from it. So far, this seems to be working.

Random Cancer-Related Observation

I’ve lost about ten pounds since this all started. This diet plan sucks!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is trying not to obsessively check email now that Project K is out on submission…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Happy TERMINAL UPRISING Day!

At long last, book two of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse is out in the world! Today is the official release of Terminal Uprising. In this book, Mops and company return to the ruins of Earth.

Terminal Uprising Cover Art by Dan Dos Santos

We’ve already seen a couple of reviews for this one.

“Subtle absurdist humor permeates the narrative, derived from faulty translations, cultural references without context, and unconventional solutions to problems. Clever characterization and action-packed moments round out this thoroughly satisfying outing.”

-Publishers Weekly

“Hines writes a crackling good action scene… Hines is also damn good at banter and witty repartee, and at evoking strong feelings of empathy in the reader … I really enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to another installment in the full course of time. I can’t imagine what Mops and her crew will get up to next — and that’s, of course, four-fifths of the fun.

-Liz Bourke, Locus

You can read the first chapter online, if you want to try before you buy (or check out from the library, or whatever).

Finally, I’m hoping to get another newsletter out today, and will probably give a book away to a random subscriber. So sign up now if you want to be included in that giveaway.

Purchase links below. Thank you to all of my readers, and to everyone who checked out the first book, posted reviews, pre-ordered, and/or just offered support and encouragement along the way.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday went willingly into the ice, to be thawed out when we need it most.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday was once again snubbed by the Oscars…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Hair Loss

Problem: Surgical masks don’t work well with long beards. Beard hair keeps getting pressed into my mouth, and when I take the mask off, I end up with bizarre-looking mask-beard.

Problem (cont.): Since Amy will be receiving chemo for several more months, which weakens or wipes out her immune system, I’m going to have to keep wearing the masks to visit her.

Problem solved:

I mean, they did warn us that chemotherapy would lead to hair loss…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

2018 Writing Income

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for another look back at last year’s writing income. I’ve been doing this since 2007, because I think it’s important to have open conversations about trying to make a living as a writer — as well as dispelling the myth that we’re all making Rowling- and King-sized paychecks.

Previous Years: Here are the annual write-ups going back to 2007: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017. In 2016, I did a survey of almost 400 novelists about their income.

My Background: I’m a primarily “traditionally published,” U.S.-based SF/F author with 13 books in print from major New York publishers. The first of those 13 books came out from DAW in 2006. I’ve also sold about 50 short stories. I’ve never hit the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, but my last five books have been lead titles for my publisher. In late 2015, I mostly-quit my full-time day job. Since November of 2015, I’ve worked 10 hours a week for the State of Michigan, and spent the rest of my time as a writer and stay-at-home Dad.

2018 Summary: 2016 was my best year as a writer, thanks in large part to a three-book deal I signed with DAW. I spent the next two years working on those books. My agent has also been shopping around a middle grade project, and will begin shopping a second in the coming weeks, but those won’t boost the income levels until if and when we sign a contract.

In total, before taxes (but after any agent commissions), I made $38,812.29 from my writing last year, down about $4000 from 2017.

Here’s the annual income graph going back to 2002.

The biggest check of the year was for the delivery and acceptance payment on Terminal Uprising. The smallest, if you’re interested, was a $0.89 royalty payment from Smashwords in September.

2018 Breakdown: I added a category for Audio book advances and royalties this year, since that’s becoming a more important source of income for a lot of the writers I’ve talked to. The bulk of the self-published income came from the release of Imprinted early last year. Interestingly, I didn’t have any new short fiction sales in 2018; all of that is royalties, primarily from one anthology that’s done surprisingly well.

  • Novels (U.S. editions) – $26029.29
  • Novels (non-U.S. editions) – $4406.39
  • Self-published Work – $3569.10
  • Short Fiction – $810.62
  • Audio – $3396.89
  • Other – $600

Other Notes: With my wife’s health issues, I’ve written pretty much nothing for the past two months. I’m hoping that will change as she continues to get stronger, but this is going to continue to impact everything. I’m hopeful that 2019 will see the sale of at least one of those two middle grade projects, but like so much else, that’s out of my control.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful to folks.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday has completely lost track of what day it is…or what year, for that matter.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Back Home For a Bit

Amy has gotten through the second round of chemo, which meant the hospital was finally able to discharge her to an acute rehab facility. (She’s been in a hospital bed for more than a month, so she needs some therapy to rebuild muscle and such.) Unlike the hospital, which was an hour+ from home, the rehab facility is only 20 minutes away, which means I’ve been able to split time between there and home.

There’s not really much else to report. From what they can tell, the chemo is doing its job so far. Amy’s in much better shape than she was a month ago. But we have a long way to go before we’re through. The current plan is for 3-4 more rounds of chemo, followed by a bone marrow transplant. We’ll be back staying at the hospital for the next round in a couple of weeks. Not sure if subsequent ones will be able to be done closer to home or not.

Thank you again for all of your support for my wife and our family. It means a lot to know we’re not alone.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Family Health and Ongoing Hiatus

I’m back home for the first time in a while, and I’ve been given permission to talk more about what’s going on. Last month, my wife Amy was diagnosed with cancer — an aggressive form of lymphoma, to be specific.

Aggressive, but treatable. We’ve done the first round of chemo, and the last scans showed some tumor shrinkage, which is a good sign.

This all started with a flare-up of lower back pain. Unfortunately, Amy has chronic back pain, and we’ve had flare-ups before. So the initial doctor visits just led to more painkillers and rest. It wasn’t until I took her to the Emergency Room last month that they discovered what was going on. By then we were dealing with a blast crisis (proliferation of immature white blood cells), dehydration, some organ failures…

I can safely say that was the worst week of my life.

I’m happy to say they were able to treat the immediate health crisis. The messed-up white blood cells have been cleared out, organ function is back to normal, dehydration and malnutrition have been addressed. We’re onto focusing on the long-term treatment plan now.

There’s no prognosis or percentages here. You can find survival rates for her particular type of cancer, but she’s significantly younger than the average patient. And five-year rates are based on patients who were diagnosed at least five years ago — we have five more years of research and advances now.

She’ll still be in the hospital for a while. She’s awfully weak after everything she’s been through. She’s not quite up for visitors yet, but she’s getting closer. I’ll be heading back tonight or tomorrow. I’ll still be mostly offline, and I haven’t written a word of fiction in more than a month, which is likely to continue.

To any of our friends or family who are hearing this for the first time, I’m so sorry. We’ve tried to update people, but Amy has so many people who love her, and my brain has not been at its best. Please feel free to text or email me.

My family has been holding up okay. Everyone has come together to offer support and help out, and I’m so grateful. The kids have been amazing, each in their own way. It’s hard, and that’s going to continue for a while, but we’re all doing our best to take care of each other as well as taking care of Amy.

She’s had really good care. We’re making sure that continues. So far, the insurance side of things has gone pretty smoothly. I’m not holding my breath for that to always be the case, but I’ll deal with that when and if it goes sideways. I’ve also taken care of things like her FMLA leave from work, and applying for short-term disability. The main priority right now is helping her keep getting better.

Oh, and I know the photos might be a bit odd — what can I say. Taking pictures is one of the ways I cope with the stress. Even with a relatively old iPhone camera.

I’m not up for answering a lot of questions online/publicly, since it’s not about me. And we’re not currently looking for advice. But your love and support and encouragement are always appreciated. Thank you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I’m still offline, but wanted to share a guest post from my friend Andrea Johnson, aka the Little Red Reviewer

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Hi!  My name is Andrea Johnson, and I’ve run the book review blog Little Red Reviewer since 2010. I review primarily science fiction and fantasy, I interview authors, attend local conventions, buy books like its going out of style, and generally talk to everyone all the time about some book I really liked. I’ve done radio segments, been on live TV,  and now I’m kickstarting The Best of Little Red Reviewer,  a print book of my best reviews!   Because why dig through the archives of my blog to find the good stuff, when I can package it in a beautiful little paperback just for you?  Can blog posts and book reviews exist outside of a computer screen? Let’s find out!  Click here to learn more about the Kickstarter and what The Best of Little Red Reviewer is all about.

Best of Little Red Reviewer

In the meantime,  here are some Useful and Interesting things to know about running a Book Review Blog. 

What are some of the pitfalls of running a book review blog? 

I think the biggest pitfall is overextending yourself by setting unrealistic goals, and then getting burned out. Your blog is a hobby, right? So set realistic goals for yourself. Pushing yourself to post 4 book reviews a week, do three cover reveals a week, download 20 books a month from netgalley, and accepting every review request that comes your way are all sure recipes for burn out and having a really un-fun time with this whole book blogging thing. And trust me on this: the moment it stops being fun, the moment it starts to feel like “work”, you will stop posting content to your blog.

It’s OK to say no to a review request, it is OK to remove your contact information from your blog if you’re feeling overwhelmed with review requests. It’s OK to take a break if you are feeling burned out. It’s OK to read something you feel like reading, even if everyone else isn’t reading it. It’s OK to have an unpopular opinion. It is super OK to do as many blog memes, blog tours, cover reveals, and non-book-related posts as you want.

To avoid common blogging pitfalls, just be honest with yourself about why you are blogging. Stay true to your personal goals, and you’ll be fine.  Don’t beat yourself up if your blog doesn’t look like someone else’s or if  your content is different than theirs.  And if your goal is to download 20 books a month from netgalley and read and review all of them? Go for it!  But don’t beat yourself up if you only read and review 15 of them. 

How to Get People to Read Your Reviews

Be social online.  Be authentic in your reviews, and develop your own style.

Be social!  I’m an introvert, so this one was hard for me. Being social online is easier than it looks.  See a post on someone else’s blog that looks interesting? Leave a comment.  I love WordPress “reader”, it helps me find recent blog posts on any topic I want, and I when I find cool posts on science fiction, book reviewing, Star Trek, etc, I comment on ’em!  Many of those bloggers end up visiting my site in return, and we’ve both found a new blog site to follow. Are you on twitter, facebook, instagram, or whatever the cool kids are using these days? Follow authors you like, follow publicists, follow other bloggers, talk about books you are excited about, link to your posts, and most importantly, interact with people on social media. Tell them you liked their book, or liked their review of a book you read.

The secret is to make sure you are starting a conversation. Talk with people, not at them.

Be authentic and develop your own style.  Authenticity is a fancy word for being honest. If you loved the characters in a book but thought the plot was undeveloped, say so.  If certain kinds of books work for you and you know you struggle with other kinds of books, say so.  Be super honest, be authentic, be yourself. You’ll develop a style in time. It probably took me 5 years of writing book reviews to develop my own style. I shouldn’t have been surprised that my book reviewing style matches who I am in real life: Snarky, sarcastic, sometimes sweary, sensitive and sometimes poetic, brutally honest, and sometimes shy and unpredictable.

Be social so that people know who you are, what your blog is all about, and what content you’ve recently posted.  Be authentic and they’ll keep coming back for more. 

What happens if I don’t like a book I’m reading?

This is a toughie!  If you dislike the book so much, maybe because it is a genre you really aren’t into, just DNF (do not finish) it and be done with it. Life is too short to waste on bad books, right?  Some book bloggers only post positive reviews, and will stay silent about books they didn’t finish. In my “5 Books 50 Pages”  posts (here and here), a good half of the featured books got DNF’d. Nothing was inherently wrong with those books, they just weren’t the book for me.

If I’m committed to reviewing a book I didn’t like,  I try to find something positive to say about the book, and then I discuss the reasons the book didn’t work for me.  For example, I know for a fact that I struggle with books that have large casts of characters and lots of different POV chapters.  My review will tell you that perhaps that aspect didn’t work for me, but here are some other things I enjoyed about the plot or the world building, so maybe this book will work for someone else who is reading the review, especially if you love large casts and different POV chapters.

Not every book is going to work for every reader. We all have things we love in books, and things we don’t like. It’s OK to not like a book. It’s OK to respectfully talk about what you didn’t like about it.  Be respectful, be honest.  And if you attend conventions, be prepared to come face to face with an author whose book received a negative review on your blog. Because that will happen. It will be awkward. You will survive.

Now that we’ve gotten through all that, let’s talk books and reviewing!

What’s your favorite book review that you’ve ever written?

What book was a surprise for you?

Do you go back and reread your favorites? Why do you enjoy reading them again?

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Andrea Johnson runs the science fiction and fantasy book review blog Little Red Reviewer (littleredreviewer.wordpress.com), where she has published over 400 reviews since 2010. In 2012, she founded the #VintageSciFiMonth blogging event, and she has organized read alongs and blog tours. She was a contributor to SFSignal, and is currently the author interviewer at Apex Magazine. Andrea and her husband live in a college town in Michigan, and their home looks like a library that exploded. In January of 2019, Andrea will be running a Kickstarter to print a book of The Best of Little Red Reviewer, which will include her best reviews. 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Brief Update and Online Hiatus

We’re dealing with some family stuff. I may go into detail later, but for now, just know that blogging and social media are going to be sparse to nonexistent for the foreseeable future. I’m also going to be worse than usual about responding to most emails and such.

For readers wondering about book three, this does mean Terminal Peace is likely to be a bit delayed. How much is impossible for me to say right now.

I know this is … well, a bit ominous, and I’m sorry for making people worry without providing any specifics.

Love to you all.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Cool Stuff Friday

Friday was up at 5:30 this morning and why is 5:30 a.m. even a thing???

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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