Do reviews have to be either honest OR kind?

Do reviews have to be either honest OR kind?

Where would we be without Groupon? I would have had a lot less massages and experience days! Just before Christmas I went on an afternoon canal cruise with my fiance. We had bought the coupon as a birthday present for my Dad but he developed a knee problem and couldn’t get down the tiny steps onto the canal boat – and the coupon was due to expire. We decided not to waste it. My fiance is fond of canal boats – they’re generally really long, colorful boats with cheery painted canalware on top, buckets, pots, and the like. The colorful items that appear on other canal boats! So off we trotted to the meeting point, which was a restaurant overlooking the canal. This was in the morning so the restaurant wasn’t serving food and there weren’t any staff around, which was a pity as it left us and three other couples to stand around wondering if we were in the right place. After a little while a member of staff wandered out of a back room and told us we were and they were just waiting for the boat driver. 40 minutes later we were still waiting. When the driver arrived he just called us to go with him – no apology. I don’t mind having to wait (I have the Kindle app on my cellphone!) but I do find it irritating when the people keeping me waiting don’t apologise. So I, for one, wasn’t in the best mood. But this is Britain, where people are used to queuing and being kept waiting and generally do so without complaining – just some low level grumbling when they think no-one can hear them! Our first view of the boat that we were going to be cruising on didn’t lift my spirits. It was small, about the length of a van. It looked like it had been used for moving freight in the past, with high, solid sides and very small windows above them. That was where we sat, the eight of us, around a table. The driver busied himself in the kitchen area (two cupboards and a kettle) of the boat, clanking around. He eventually explained that he was late because he wasn’t the scheduled driver (who had been held up in traffic) and had had to come a long way. He then started serving our lunch, before we set off. Fair enough, it would have been dangerous to try to drive the boat while serving hot food! Unfortunately, the only food was a meat stew – I’m vegetarian and my fiance rarely eats meat. No alternative. I was quite glad I wasn’t eating it when I saw it! Afterwards we were offered coffee or tea – without milk, as the driver forgot to pick some up! So off we went on our ‘cruise’. Due to the height of the sides of the boat, we were unable to see out while sitting down. Standing on a slow moving boat isn’t too much of a problem if you’re fully able bodied, I guess, but I’m not (my ankles were crushed in a car accident years ago), so that was annoying. There wasn’t a lot of point standing up anyway because the windows were made of some kind of see-through plastic, which held onto rain drops so it was hard to see out. So we had occasional periods of standing to try to see where we were, and long (LONG) periods of sitting looking at the passengers around the table. After a while we came to a bridge. The driver – without a word of explanation – stopped the boat near the canalside, hopped off, and threw a rope roughly in the direction of a little pillar. Then he went to the bridge to operate the controls that would swivel it to let us through. He apparently had some trouble with it as he continued to stab at the control panel for some time before picking up a telephone handset and shouting into it. We all peered through the little windows to see what he was up to. It was one of the other passengers who first noticed that we were moving, drifting gently towards the middle of the canal and the bridge that blocked our path. We weren’t in any real danger – a small bump into the bridge was about the worst it would get – but it was a bit disconcerting and one of the other ladies got panicky. Thankfully, humor helped, with people wondering out loud if anyone had ever been lost ‘at sea’ while on a Groupon experience day and others responding...

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MatchBook – great news for people who like paperbacks AND Kindles!

MatchBook – great news for people who like paperbacks AND Kindles!

MatchBook – Free/Discounted Kindle Books Amazon have just written to authors to announce a new program they are calling MatchBook. It’s a fantastic idea – and one that my daughter has been asking them to introduce for over a year! They are allowing publishers and authors to offer the Kindle versions of their books at a discount to anyone who buys the print versions. This is fantastic news for both readers and authors. Authors will benefit from more downloads of their Kindle books – the more downloads you get, the higher up the bestseller rankings you rise, so more people see your books, so more sales. Readers will benefit because they will be able to get Kindle versions of their favorite books at a much reduced cost – free in some cases. I think this is the best news I’ve read in a long time and I’m very excited about it, as you can probably tell! Amazon are rolling out the program in the next couple of weeks and – here’s the best bit – it will be available for print books you have bought previously (if their publishers/authors enrol in the program). PS – If you are an author and you don’t have your eBooks available as print editions yet, now is a great time to do that. You may be interested in my course on how to use CreateSpace, which is the quickest way of getting your book into print and listed on Amazon.   You may also like:Writing SoftwareGuest Author Interview: Corey Lynn Fayman, Border Field Blues App...

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Guest Author Interview : Vicki Matthews, The Goddess Letters

Guest Author Interview : Vicki Matthews, The Goddess Letters

Here is a guest author interview with Vicki Matthews N.D. Dr Matthews is a naturopathic physician based in Chicago and is an outspoken advocate for natural healing. The Goddess Letters is her debut novel. It was named the Winner in the Romance category at the 2013 New York Book Festival, received an Honorable Mention award at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards in both the New Age Fiction and Visionary Fiction categories. I was honored to interview her, especially as I’m passionate about natural healing too.   1. What inspired you to write The Goddess Letters? My primary inspiration for The Goddess Letters was a desire to help change the world. I feel the reason we find ourselves dancing so close to the dangerous edge of lost sustainability is that we are missing a dynamic balance our world used to possess. I wanted to share this idea in a way that people would want to read, and was greatly influenced by the success of The Di Vinci Code. I think if you entertain and educate, you have the possibility of reaching more people than you would by writing a purely educational book. 2. The storyline for The Goddess Letters centers on a Chicago economics professor, Rob Harris, and a Hollywood actress, Selena Wilmington, whose dreams of ancient rituals and forgotten knowledge haunt them both. How did you choose the professions of the two characters and are they based on people you know? Much of the beginning of the book is autobiographical. I used my husband and myself as the starting point. Then, since we are told to write about what we know, I kept Robert in academia and economics (my husband’s interests) and placed Selena in acting because, while I’ve never been a serious actress, my father worked in Hollywood so I am familiar with that world. After that, it was just a matter of presenting my characters with the elements of the plot and letting them weave their stories. 3. How would you describe the themes outlined in the book? We are out of balance as a world and a people, and I think this puts us on the brink of real disaster at so many levels. All of our dominant cultures are patriarchies where, by definition, the masculine has a disproportionate share of the power. All of our main religions have a male god at their head, too. It didn’t used to be that way, but we have moved away from the balancing aspect of the feminine principle. That is what I hope people will come to see as they read The Goddess Letters. 4. The Goddess Letters is about matriarchal vs. patriarchal societies as a cause of imbalance in the world. Yet the story is told by a male main character, Rob Harris. How did you determine which of the two main characters, Rob or Selena, would tell the story? I decided to use the Rob to tell the story because I thought his reality would be the easiest to access for the reader. Rob is a male in a patriarchal culture. Selena is different not only in the “other-worldly” experiences she has, but also in the fact that she is a powerful woman in a patriarchy. Rob provided the access point of the story, and Selena provides the movement and motive behind the story arc. I thought that would be a winning combination. 5. Can you describe some of the research you did when you were writing this book? Even though this is a novel, all of the facts presented as part of the story are true. I used over 100 nonfiction books in writing my novel, and they are listed on The Goddess Letters website. There’s a whole lot of truth in this work of fiction. I wanted the book to be compelling and eye opening. I hope it is. 6. Are you working on another novel? If so, what can you tell us about it? Where the edge of today intertwines with forever, there are tales of a place called the Weave. Seamlessly bound to our world, but not of it, this is where the Weavewalkers plan the cultural shift necessary to keep Earth from destruction. No surprisingly, it will involve an infusion of more matriarchal ways onto our planet. The success or failure of the plan rests squarely on a young girl who has been brought to the Weave for one purpose: to travel the Weaver’s Web and change a pattern that unraveled 30 years before she was born. The Goddess Letters is available in either Kindle...

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Doesn’t a bargain make your day?!

Doesn’t a bargain make your day?!

I was having a bit of a, “Meh!”, day. The weather is odd, the Internet is patchy, my daughter is doubled up in pain (happens monthly), one of the dogs is ill, and to top it all the keys on my keyboard are sticking so I have sore fingers from bashing them! Blah, blah, blah. Then I popped onto Facebook while cooking lunch and saw a post by the talented author Joanna Penn. It was offering a coupon code for her eBooks on Kobo. Instead of $4.95, I got one for 99c. It really cheered me up! It doesn’t take much to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step does it? Here’s the coupon code for Joanna’s book: pennsale The link is: bit.ly/10eLOS7 (You can download the Kobo app for computers and smartphones free.)     You may also like:A Little About MeBook Review: Successful Minute...

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Goodreads for Authors now available as a paperback

My ‘Goodreads for Authors’ book is now available as a paperback. Amazon.com – http://amzn.com/1482689960 Amazon.co.uk – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1482689960 Amazon.de – http://www.amazon.de/dp/1482689960. This edition is in English. It is currently being translated into German. Sign up for free updates here: http://www.michellebooth.net/goodreads-for-authors-updates/. Things change frequently on Goodreads!   You may also like:Goodbye To ColaWhy The Last Friday Of Every Month Is Important If You Own A...

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Goodreads for Authors course – whatever your learning style

Back in the day, I used to assess the students at the school I taught in to discover their brain’s preferred learning style. They were generally split fairly equally – a third preferred visual learning (they need to see things in order to understand and remember them), a third preferred auditory learning (they needed to hear things in order to understand and remember them), and a third preferred kinaesthetic learning (they needed to move in order to understand what they were being taught, and remember it). Kinaesthetic learners have been poorly served in many classrooms for years. It just isn’t practical much of the time. Modern learning methods – especially online learning – have made great efforts to cater for all three main learning styles though. Digital courses can be controlled by the learner (making the kinaesthetic brain pay more attention), and can be seen (static images, writing, and video), and heard. If you are relaxed and feel in control of your learning, and that learning caters to your brain’s preferred style of learning, you are much more likely to enjoy what you’re learning, understand it better, and remember it. This helps everyone but especially the poor kinaesthetics, who have had to sit on their hands on classrooms for years! I have been working hard to turn my book, ‘Goodreads for Authors’, into a digital course. I was fortunate to meet the very talented Cathy Presland, who has numerous digital courses available on the Udemy platform. She taught me the ropes and we created the course together. Anyone joining the course gets lifetime access to its 7+ hours of instruction and it’s on a great, no pressure, dip-in-dip-out platform. That means you can just log in to get the information you need when you need it. If you join, you’ll be able to ask us questions and receive quick answers, and will also be eligible for membership of our private Facebook group for authors. The group is fun, we all help, encourage, and promote each other, share tips and ideas, and discuss what’s working and what’s not in the ever-changing world of digital book promotion. I hope you can join us. https://www.udemy.com/goodreads-for-authors-book-promotion-and-marketing/     You may also like:I'm So Glad I Gave Up PepsiBook Review: Homing...

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Is Goodreads good for non-fiction authors?

The question I get asked the most is, ‘Is Goodreads good for non-fiction authors?’. The perception is that the site is heavily fiction-biased. So I took a few minutes to have a look at the groups, Recommendations Engine, and Giveaways to get some up-to-date figures. There are 272 groups with a tag of ‘non-fiction’ and the Recommendations Engine serves up loads of non-fiction books as suggestions if you have a non-fiction shelf. The Giveaways section is also interesting. It has more fiction than non-fiction but the non-fiction books attract just as many entries as the fiction books. So I think we can safely say that Goodreads isn’t only good for fiction. There are a good – and growing – number of non-fiction titles (some of them world-wide bestsellers) and there is certainly an audience for them. Here’s a video I posted to YouTube giving these statistics: You may also like:With A Little Help From My FriendsBook Review: Get Off Your...

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