Oct 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Sentinel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

You always remember your first. First kiss, first day of school, first best friend, first heartbreak, and (for the bloggers out there) your first ARC.

Two and a half years ago I was a relative unknown in the blogosphere. I didn't have a lot of followers, I was just starting to find my footing and ARCs were about as hard to come by as a Unicorn and Big Foot having lunch together in Sherwood Forest. But then, one day, this magical thing happened. A bubble mailer appeared in my mailbox and inside was my it. A book. Not just a book, but an ARC. And that book? Half-Blood by an obscure author named Jennifer L. Armentrout.

I devoured this first ARC and I immediately fell in love with it. I fell in love with Alex, this kickass heroine with a heart of gold and a spunky streak that rivaled Punky Brewster. Not only that, but I fell in love with the author as well and her fantastic way of telling a story.

Here's the review I posted in June of 2011:

It’s not very often a book piques my curiosity so much that I have a deep craving in my gut to read it. This book has been blowing up across the blogosphere, and I can assure every person reading this review: it’s that freaking good. It’s one of those books that you open to read and then set it down four hours later, head spinning like you’ve spent an afternoon on the tilt-a-whirl with the biggest grin on your face. It has everything you could want: action, romance, angst, and so much more.
I have the utmost respect for an author who can literally hurl you into the story. With Jennifer L. Armentrout, you hit the ground running with Alex as she tries to evade a group of daimons within the first few pages. She also throws several characters out in quick succession, but takes the time to explain them all with such clarity, that I was never confused. Alex starts off as a brash, abrasive girl but you soon come to realize that her smart mouth and sarcastic quips are a big defense mechanism. Alex is the leader of an all-star cast, though. I fell for everyone from Caleb to Seth, and even Marcus wormed his way into my heart.
While it seems there is a romantic triangle being set up in this book for the series, I am 100% Team Aiden. The chemistry between Alex and Aiden burns across the pages so hot it’s a wonder my fingers didn’t blister. And who doesn’t love a forbidden romance? Especially one where the stakes are as high as this one.
The worst part about reading a book so far in advance from its publishing date is that it makes the wait for the sequel that much longer. Thankfully I was not left with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, but more of a hopeful looking to the future of Alex. I recommend everyone pre-order this book now. This is one read you won’t be sorry you indulged in.

Two years later and Jennifer Armentrout is one of the most popular authors in the YA fandom. Having met her and been able to hang out with her several times, I can see why people are innately drawn to her and the characters she brings to life.

I'm sad to be saying goodbye to this series and the characters I have come to love and let into my heart. But I know whatever Jen has planned next will be just as epic. If you haven't read this series yet, now is the perfect time. You can power-read the entire series and not have to wait agonizing months between books!

Summary for Half-Blood:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Author bio:

# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


Oct 25, 2013

Read Pink with Penguin

Read Pink® in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness

What’s black and white and pink all over?  The initiative by the Penguin Group (USA) called Read Pink® in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October)!

This literary embrace of a life-saving cause last year resulted in more than 400,000 best-selling romances shipped with Read Pink seals and information about the charity it supports – The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF).  Penguin is thrilled to partner once again this year with BCRF, as 91 cents of every dollar spent by BCRF is directed towards breast cancer research and awareness programs.

The $25,000 donation that Penguin Group USA contributes, regardless of sales, provides vital funds to support the mission of BCRF.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Penguin Group (USA)’s Read Pink® editions, we are featuring a few participating authors and what Read Pink® means to them…

Karen White (2013 Read Pink® Spokesperson), The Beach Tree
"To all of those who have fought the fight, or are in the middle of the battle, here’s a two-thumbs up for you.  You are not alone.  We are all in this together.”

Erika Robuck, Hemingway’s Girl
“As one whose life has felt the shadow of breast cancer through two friends’ illnesses this year, it is an honor to be included in Penguin’s READ PINK campaign. It is my greatest hope that this contribution may be a part of raising awareness and finding a cure.” ~Erika Robuck”

Jodi Thomas, Just Down the Road
“Breast Cancer is something all women fear. I’ve walked with two dear friends through the battlefield and both survived. We all must fight until the day comes when no one knows anyone who has had breast cancer.”

Carly Phillips, Perfect Fit
“So many of us have been touched by cancer, either personally, or through a family member or a friend's diagnosis.   I'm honored to be part of the Read Pink! program.  Purchasing a Pink book donates money to the The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Buy and Read Pink! and together we can do our part to eliminate this dreaded disease.”

Catherine Anderson, Lucky Penny
“Breast cancer is a killer that robbed me of one friend and threatened the life of another.  One out of four women may get this dreaded disease.  I am honored that this is my fourth title to be featured in the READ PINK campaign, and I am proud to be writing for a publishing house willing to engage, year after year, in the battle to save the lives of women.”

LuAnn McLane, Pitch Perfect
“Shortly after my mother’s diagnosis with breast cancer, I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child, a risky pregnancy that wasn’t supposed to happen. I believe that during the treatments my mother drew strength from the determination to see her granddaughter born. That was twenty-two years ago and my mother still refers to Cara as ‘her gift’.  Cara’s birthday is a lovely reminder that my mother is cancer free.  I am thrilled to have Pitch Perfect as part of the Read Pink program. Any small part I can play in the fight against cancer is a huge honor for me.”

Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot
The last three generations of my family have been affected by breast cancer. We, like so many other families, understand all too well the importance of research.
So I feel very moved and privileged to be a part of such a wonderful initiative as Read Pink.”

Alyson Richman, The Lost Wife
"My own life changed dramatically when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just before the publication of "The Lost Wife" in 2011, so it is incredibly meaningful that the book is now helping to find a cure for other women who have been afflicted with breast cancer.  Read Pink is helping to unite readers and authors for an extremely important cause.  Please buy a book for a mother, a daughter, or a friend to show your support for this disease that takes too many lives. My children lost their grandmother to breast cancer, so I know I'll be buying the other books included in the program, to honor this woman we all loved.”

Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia
"Breast cancer is a villain more sinister than any shadowy figure in my stories. I know someone with an advanced case of the disease, a woman who is bravely fighting, but who has been given a short time to live. She will leave behind three children, a husband and a truly beautiful life. All I can says is that if there is hope to end this horrific disease, to bring this villain to justice, I want to be part of it. And I'm so very honored that The Last Camellia was chosen to be a part of Penguin's Read Pink campaign. Together, we can help write a new story for breast cancer and hopefully give more women the happy endings they deserve."

Full List of 2013 Participating Authors:
Karen White, The Beach Trees
Nora Roberts, Chasing Fire
Erika Robuck, Hemingway’s Girl
Jodi Thomas, Just Down the Road
Carly Phillips, Perfect Fit
JoAnn Ross, Sea Glass Winter
Karen Rose, Did You Miss Me?
Catherine Anderson, Lucky Penny
Kate Jacobs, The Friday Night Knitting Club
LuAnn McLane, Pitch Perfect
Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot
Alyson Richman, The Lost Wife
Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia
Penelope Lively, How It All Began

Mark your calendars and remember to join in the conversation with @BerkleyRomance and @PenguinGroupUSA on Twitter in October.  Make sure to use the hashtag #ReadPink!

For more information follow @BerkleyRomance and @PenguinGroupUSA, and visit www.us.penguingroup.com/readpink.

Read Pink® Blog Tour Schedule
Please support the blogs taking part in this special, Read Pink® Spotlight Tour!

October 1 – Guest post and entire Read Pink 2013 collection giveaway by spokesperson Karen White on Chick Lit Is Not Dead

“Spotlight” Blog Tour
September 23                                   Bridger Bitches Book Blog; Wicked Little Pixie
September 24                                   A Tasty Read Reviews; My Daily Romance
September 25                                   The Allure of Books; Ticket to Anywhere
September 26                                   Bookish Babe; Swoon Worthy Books
September 27                                   A Southern Girl’s Bookshelf; Christine’s Blog (“She Book Blogs”)
September 30                                   Sunshine and Mountains Book Reviews; Winding Stairs Book Blog
October 1                                         Eye on Romance; Books, Books, and More Books
October 2                                         Books-N-Kisses; Reviews By Tammy and Kim
October 3                                         Urban Fantasy Investigations; The Book Cellar
October 4                                         Supernatural Snark; Got Fiction? Books
October 7                                         Theresa’s Reading Corner; Romantic Book Affairs
October 8                                         Book Addicts Not So Anonymous; The Romance Dish;
         Live Read and Breathe
October 9                                         Bitten By Love Reviews; Kindles & Wine
October 10                                       The Book Bellas; Stuck in Books
October 11                                       Thoughts in Progress; That’s What I’m Talking About
October 14                                       Boekie's Book Reviews; The Romance Studio
October 15                                       Paranormal Book Club; Ruby’s Reads
October 16                                       Stuck in YA Books; Caffeinated Book Reviewer
October 17                                       Always YA at Heart; Fiction Vixen; The Reading Café
October 18                                       Fiction Fare; My Book Addiction and More
October 21                                       Adria’s Romance Reviews; Cocktails & Books
October 22                                       Reality Bites! Let’s get Lost!; Literal Addiction
October 23                                       G Reads Books!; Reading Between the Wines
October 24                                       The Book Binge; SheReads.org
October 25                                       The Irish Banana Reviews; Harlequin Junkie
October 28                                       Readers Live A Thousand Lives; The Delighted Reader
October 29                                       Reviewing Wonderland;
October 30                                       Smexy Books; Hesperia Loves Books

Oct 23, 2013

Blog Tour: Endless by Amanda Gray

Welcome to The Irish Banana Review tour stop for Amanda Gray's ENDLESS!

Here's a little about it for those who don't know:
Jenny Kramer knows she isn’t normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them. When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumbles on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought.

Like a past life.

Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren’t alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has traveled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock -- and the Order -- the trio discovers a link that joins them in life -- and beyond death.
Publication date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.

Ah, the true love of soul mates is such a wonderful thing. Endless, a more then perfect title, gives you a romantic, detailed adventure that you won't want to end.

Jenny is amazing. If I could be like anybody, it would be her. She is such a strong-willed, passionate, determined young woman who won't let anything or anyone stand in her way. Amanda put you right in her shoes, in her head and heart. Ben's demeanor is a put off at first. Once you get to know and understand him, he is hard not to love, too. You get to know him in quite an unconventional way, but that's what makes Ben great. Nikolai is the perfect complement to Jenny. He completes her in more ways then one. And I really loved that Amanda didn't make it all wishy-washy and sappy. It's a very classy love that fits amazingly well with both their time and the past.

I don't want to spoil anything because it's such a great story. Jenny's gift and burden, the lies she learns of, the betrayal, the romance and friendship are one of a kind. What Amanda has done with Endless is sure to become any readers favorite. I know I cannot wait for the next one and I'm sure you will feel the same.

Buy: Amazon
Amanda Gray believes in magic and fantasy and possibilities. She is a team of two bestselling authors who live only miles apart but have never met in person. They talk on the phone and are the best of friends and between them have written more than a dozen novels and novellas and have had their work appear on television.

I’ve included the Tour Banner (again), and book cover (2 versions) to this email as well.  Please link the banner to the tour, or mention in your post where the tour schedule can be found.
Thanks guys!  I can’t wait for this amazing tour to start, and to see all your posts!  If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate in contacting me!  You all ROCK!

·         Two (2) print copies of Endless by Amanda Gray (US Only)
·         Two (2) eBook copies of Endless by Amanda Gray (INT)
·         $25 iTunes gift card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 22, 2013

Review: Trust In Me by J. Lynn

Title: Trust In Me
Author: J. Lynn
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 10.22.2013
Pages: Unknown – ebook only
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: Wait for You 1.5
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: A+

Summary (from Goodreads):
It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?

I’m sorry, a book told entirely from Cam Hamilton’s POV? Line forms behind me, guys!

Thank you, thank you J. Lynn (also known as the author that doesn’t sleep, Jennifer L. Armentrout) for this amazing novella (which is kind of a lie as it’s nearly as long as the book that inspired it) that brought me right into the inner workings of one of my favorite characters ever. Seriously. Did you miss how I raved about Cam before? Check it out HERE.

The new adult genre is still fresh and being formed, but already is seems saturated with male characters that are just, for lack of a better word, douches. They treat women like crap, exhibit tendencies that would get you a one way ticket to a jail cell in real life, and yet we’re expected to swoon hard and fast and forgive all their transgressions.

Cam is not that guy. He has a natural charisma that immediately draws you in, but it’s his heart and loyalty that keep you coming back for more. It was so refreshing to read a male character that not only treated the woman he loved with respect, but treated his friends and family with the same amount of respect and love.

Have I mentioned that J. Lynn can write the male POV with scary accuracy? A female writing a male perspective either is amazing or falls apart faster than a snowman in the desert. J. Lynn seems to have mastered the male voice which makes this story all the more enjoyable.

Fans of Wait for You cannot miss this installment. And for those of you who haven’t read the book … What are you waiting for?

Buy: Amazon

Oct 21, 2013

PubCrawl 2013 Recap

We're back! We survived! First off, before I begin, I have to give a huge thank you shout-out to the amazing people who let us come and crash their office, hang out, and teach us more about the publishing biz. The would not have been possible without them!

Jen and I started our trip at the butt crack of dawn with me picking her up a little before 6. Yes, a.m., people. After a 3 and a half hour bus ride north into NYC (after which I was pretty sure my butt would never regain feeling from), we arrived in the city and quickly disembarked and hailed our first taxi to head to our first pub.

Pub Stop #1: Macmillan

We arrived at the historic Flatiron Building and immediately got to work snapping pictures like a couple of goofy tourists. As we were taking picture I noticed Ksenia Winnicki (publicist extraordinaire  heading our way. After some awesome hugs and introductions, she led us over to Argo where we ordered drinks and sat down to chat.

Just hanging out and talking with her was so amazing. She's one of those people I just want to be around - she has a great energy and you can tell she loves her job and books. So many books.

She then took us up to see where she works at Macmillan. The Flatiron is a very cool, but oddly shaped, which makes for an interesting office set up. She showed us her office area and the massive bookshelves she has. We even got a sneak peak at some upcoming Spring 2014 titles and they look AWESOME. From there she took us to Jon Sargent's office. Jon is the CEO of Macmillan and he wasn't in, but we were able to use his office and the balcony on it to take some fabulous shots of NYC. 

Shortly after we had to leave to go to our next stop.

Some of the ARC bookshelves Ksenia has

Me with Ksenia
Me, Ksenia, and Jen

Pub Stop #2: Bloomsbury

Well, it should have been Bloomsbury. Jen and I got into a taxi and I rattled off the next address and when we arrived, I walked to the front desk to announce ourselves, only to get blank stares. After some digging we figured out that while I was making the schedule (because I need a schedule in all I do), I mixed up the addresses. We were at Disney, not Bloomsbury.


Thankfully Jen didn't kill me. She laughed it off and we walked the six blocks back to where we were supposed to be. Finally arriving at Bloomsbury, we went inside and waited for Lizzy Mason to come out.

I had previously met Lizzy this past year when she still worked at Disney-Hyperion while at BEA. Unfortunately she had been sick and had to leave early then, so I was very excited to get to see her this time around. Lizzy was also super-helpful in telling me where publishers were located and planning a lunch with herself and a coworker for Jen and I.

Lizzy took us around Bloomsbury, introducing us to her coworkers, who were so nice and welcoming. Then we went into a conference room (which cracked me up because their conference rooms are all named for cities - instead of numbers, you have Sydney, London, Dubai, etc.) where we met with Lizzy and three other members of the Bloomsbury publicity/digital media family: Erica, Emily, and Bridget. We got to snap a picture with Murray (he totally glittered on me, guys!) and chat about books and some upcoming things for Bloomsbury. After this Lizzy and Erica joined us for lunch along with another blogger and good friend of mine, Nicole (Paperback Princess).

We had an amazing lunch at the LT Burger - seriously, best fries I've ever had in my life. It was so good and so much fun, but soon after we ate, Jen and I had to return to Disney for our next stop.

Conference room
Some of their amazing bookshelves
Nicole and I
Jen, Erica, Me, Nicole, and Lizzy at lunch

Pub Stop #3: Disney

We arrived at Disney, with the guard giving us a grin like, "Back again, huh?" We checked in, got some nifty passes and were instructed to take the elevator to the thirty-fourth
floor. We used our swanky passes to get through the turnstiles and entered the elevator bank and .... blanked. We started at the key pad, a little lost. Why were they numbered? What happened to up and down arrows?

Finally a set of doors opened and we got in with another guy, the doors slid closed and when we turned to punch in our floor number, there was only an emergency stop and a key hole.

What the...?

The elevator starts going up on it's own and I'm pretty sure at this point Percy Jackson is going to join us on this magical elevator ride to Olympus, because nothing is making sense. I'm turning my pass over, wondering if that paper with a barcode somehow told the elevator where we needed to go. Finally I look at the other guy in the elevator and say, "Not to sound stupid-" -which, let's face it, I probably did seem at this point because it's an elevator, not brain surgery - "-but how do we get to the 34th floor?"

He gives me an odd look and says, "You punch in your number when you get on."

Lightbulb! So that's why the keypad by the elevator was numbered and not just up and down arrows.

We get off at the 24th floor and the guy with us gets out, so Jen and I jump out to. Thank goodness there was another man who worked there to help us because our elevator friend booked it away from us. The nice man trying to help us is all, "Go down to the 25th floor and take the stairs to the 26th floor so you can grab the other elevators that go to the other floors."

And I'm all, "Honey, please just tell me how to get to the lobby so I can start all over."

He gets us on and we get back to the lobby, feeling like fools. We get off the car and as we're rounding the corner, Jen starts laughing and points to the wall where this set of elevators is clearly labeled for floors 1-25. Yeah. Go, us.

We walk around the corner to another set of elevators, this time punching in the correct floor like a champ, and it lets us off at Disney where we meet Cassie McGinty. Cassie is amazing. She walked us through a typical day in her life and then took the time to set up quick meetings for us with the marketing, media, and art departments. We got to see how covers were taken from concept to finish product, different marketing tools that were employed, and how much work goes into planning an author tour. 

Me, Cassie, and Jen

Pub Stop #4: Harlequin

I had heard only amazing things about visiting the Harlequin offices. I heard they were gorgeous, and I was so glad people weren't exaggerating. The only problem was actually getting there.

We took taxis everywhere to save time, which was awesome, but this particular taxi driver dropped us off at a corner and said the building we wanted was twenty feet up on the left. Only seeing the good in people, Jen and I climbed out and started walking. After a block or two, we realized not only had he lied to us and dropped us several blocks away from where we needed to be, he also told us to start walking in the wrong direction.

Thanks, awesome taxi driver. Thanks.

Finally getting our bearings, we huffed it to where we were supposed to be and arrived at Harlequin where we were greeted by Natashya Wilson, an amazing editor I met while at BEA and heard nothing but incredible things about. She showed us around and then let us hang out in her office and chat. She showed us a new cover that would be revealed later this month, but then she had to run leave, but her co-worker and other editor, Margo Lipshultz let us hang out with her.

I had met Margo (along with Katie McGarry - one of her authors) at BEA this past year, so I was so glad I got to spend more time with her. It was more chatting about books and covers and the launch of Harlequin's new Digital First books. 

Margo and I

Pub Stop #5: Hachette

Our final stop of the day, which was kind of sad even if we were dragging at this point. We arrived at this building and were greeted with the prettiest interior - all glass and steel and polish. Very nice.

Once we got up to the Hachette floor, we met with Faye Bi who I've known for years. Faye is a total sweetie and I adore working with her. She showed us around the office. The have a conference room where the table breaks down into a pool table where they have company pool tournaments annually, shelves where people will drop off books they're done with and others can grab at will to read, a closet full of upcoming galleys (which I got to touch!), and a ton of cubicles ad offices.

From there we left with Faye and all went to dinner (Nicole joined us again). It was appropriate we ended our night in an Irish Pub having dinner and just hanging out an chatting. But sadly it was over all-too-soon and Jen and I had to leave to catch our bus back home.

But not before our taxi driver took us on the ride of our lives, nearly taking out a crosswalk full of pedestrians. Seriously. These people did that whole, butt-tuck and run thing to skeedaddle outta his way. It was rather intense.

Pool, anyone?
Faye with the awesome glass doors
Galley closet!
Hachette has a hall where they display their current catalog titles in finished glory
And on the other side is a bunch of posters that changes each season with current titles

What Every Blogger Should Know

A big part of why we went was learning what would help establish better blogger-publisher relations. Here are some interesting facts I think every blogger could use to help them when dealing with publicists, publishers, and everyone else:

1. Know that what you do matters: Every person I talked to was grateful for the work bloggers put into the publishing industry with reviews, blog tours, promotions ... It doesn't go unnoticed.

2. ARCs: A lot of people want to know how to get an advanced copy for review. When sending an email, keep it succinct and to the point. These publicists get up to 400 emails a day with review requests alone, which is also why you're email may not always be answered that day or that week. Just know that they read every request, every email. If you don't hear back in a month or two, then send a follow up email - but be polite. No one is entitled to an ARC just because they're a blogger.

3. Content Counts: For every ARC request, every publicist confirmed they go to your blog and check it out. They look at your followers, the type of content you have (is it 70-90% memes with an occasional review? 30 posts a year with 20 of them being giveaways?). They look for the serious bloggers. Blogging is a hobby for most of us, but this is a job to them. A career. A way they pay the bills to support themselves and their family. These review copies need to be in the hands of people who will help promote the books. And the reviews needed to have some thought behind them: Not just a line saying, "I LOVED IT!" and then a paragraph summarizing the synopsis. Be detailed. Show enthusiasm.

4. Honesty counts: When requesting anything, above all else be honest. As I said above, these publicists check you out before adding you to their blogger email list, contact list, review copy list, etc. Don't think you can pad yours stats in an email or on Netgalley and they won't find out - they check to see if you really have those 2,000+ twitter followers or 7,000 Facebook likes. 

That being said, also provide updated stats for publicists you work with and on Netgalley and Edelweiss. I don't have the same follower count, unique page views (an important number to know), and page loads as when I first started. It expands almost every month. Know your numbers.

5. Negative vs. Snark vs. Cruel: Everyone laughs at the funny, GIF-filled reviews full of snark. But bear in mind there is a fine line between snark and cruel, and publishers aren't so OK with cruel. Negative reviews are fine - publishers and publicists get that no book will be loved by 100% of the readers, and reviews that critique books are a good thing. But you need to back up what you say. If something doesn't work for you, explain why. Don't just say, "This is a sucky books with sucky characters and a sucky plot." It's OK to not like something, but don't get mean and don't fight dirty.

6. Netgalley/Edelweiss: If you're a newer blogger, these two places can be the best way to gain access to upcoming titles. But know that every request you make, there is a real, live person on the other side, checking you out, checking out your blog, twitter, and other social media accounts listed. Netgalley also provides them with a rating of you (how many books you've reviewed versus how many you've requested and downloaded). All of this comes into play and they have to check everyone out. Cassie shared that All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill got over 2,000 review requests and she had to go through them all.

7. Social Media: Most publicists and publishers are using social media more and more. In fact, a lot of publishers have positions now solely to track social media accounts. Don't think they don't see you on Twitter or Pinterest or Goodreads - they do! One publicist said she had found several bloggers she now loves to work with because she said other bloggers she followed interacting with their blogger friends and she started following and tracking those friends. Don't use your twitter account just to enter contests or post about your own blog - engage with other bloggers and even publicists (most have their own twitter account outside of their publisher).

8. Myth of ebooks and eARCs: One of the most beneficial things I learned on this trip is that ebooks don't come cheap and are easily as expensive as a physical book. I also griped and groaned over the fact that ebooks are frequently only $1 or so less than a physical copy, but I never took into account the team of people needed to format a book for each individual type (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, PDFs) and upload it, make sure everything is pretty and presentable ... A lot goes into an ebook.

Interview w/Jen from Jenuine Cupcakes

1. Best part of PubCrawl 2013: Having a chance to put faces with names.

2. Worst part of PubCrawl 2013: Cab driver who dropped us off four blocks away from where we needed to be them told us to walk in the wrong direction.

3. Unexpected part of the day: The incredible generosity of all of the publicists!

4. Interesting tidbit: Some of the elevators don't have number panels on the inside nor do they go to all of the floors.

5. I wish we had more time for... I wish we'd had more time, period.

Thank you again to everyone who made PubCrawl 2013 a huge success! Jen and I had a blast meeting you all and hanging out, and thanks to everyone who followed along with us on Twitter!

Oct 14, 2013

Pub Crawl 2013 - The Blogger Side of Things

If you've been following me or Jen from Jenuine Cupcakes (@cupcakegirly) on Twitter, you might have seen this hashtag lately: #PubCrawl2013

(No, this isn't Jen and I building up to going on a drinking binge.)

Back in July, Jen and I were having dinner and she mentioned how for her birthday she would like to go visit one of her favorite publishing houses in NYC for a day. I readily threw myself on that idea because that sounded freaking fantastic. Then we kept talking and decided why stop at one publishing house when NYC is full of them?

And thus, Pub Crawl 2013 was conceived.

This Thursday, Oct. 17, Jen and I will be taking the Megabus up from where we live in Maryland and into NYC where we're going to visit some of our favorite publishers and publicists. They're agreed to sit down and talk to us about publishing, marketing, publicity, and even give us a tour around their offices!

I'm sure we'll be posting all over Twitter and Instagram as we go as well as recapping what we learn and see on our blogs afterwards. We're doing this in two parts: Jen will be covering topics from the perspective of an author trying to break into the publishing world (what to expect, tricks to know, and how a book makes it from someone's head to on the shelves). I'm covering the blogger end of things - what do publishers expect from bloggers? How can a blogger get you to take notice of their blog? What are some dos and don'ts?

That being said, if there's any questions you'd like us to ask these awesome publicists about blogging (or anything else), feel free to shout them out here and we'll see what we can do!

If you're an aspiring author with questions about how books are published, head over to Jenuine Cupcakes!

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