What Are You Reading in 2015?

readingchallengeAfter traipsing all over Northeast Ohio for sixteen years to attend library book sales, I assembled a nice collection of hardcover books for myself. Other than my Janet Evanovich books, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve actually read from my bookshelves.

Enter the era of the eReader.

Rich bought a Nook for me in 2011. Many of my blogging friends had books available only at Amazon, so I bought a Paperwhite in January of 2013. This past summer, I couldn’t pass up a great buy on a Kindle Fire.

The amount of free, public domain, and purchased books on those three devices would fill a small house. I’ve only read a few of them.

I used to be an avid reader. I always had two or three books going at one time, and I could usually read a book in a day.

I don’t know when I stopped reading. I’ve made a few attempts in the past to read again, but I simply couldn’t find the time.

When I recently logged into Goodreads, I saw the notice for the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. I set a goal of twenty-five books. I thought one every two weeks sounded just about right for me. I had no idea the challenge would light a fire under me to start reading with zeal again. As of this morning, I’ve read eight books this month. I suspect I’ll be increasing my goal soon. (Side bets may be taken now for how soon I’ll peter out.)

books2015I’m finding out some things about my reading habits …

I like reading in bed at night until I fall asleep, which could be after five minutes or after several hours. I read for at least half an hour before I get out of bed every morning.

I keep a hardcover book on my desk downstairs and one on my desk upstairs. Depending upon whether I am editing (downstairs) or writing (upstairs) determines which book I’m reading. For most of my day, I rotate around writing/editing for an hour and reading for twenty minutes.

I tend to drag my Kindle with me around the house. If I decide to take a longer break and land somewhere else for a bit, I have a book with me.

I have no problem whatsoever dumping out of a book and deleting it from my eReader simply because I don’t like it. I’ve tossed three so far this month. One was written in a style I didn’t enjoy. I was gone at the 8% mark. I settled down fully prepared to love the second book. I loved the writing style and the dialogue was great. However, the subject matter was dry and depressing. I managed 32% before giving up. This author has more books in the same series. I’ll probably try another one later. The third started great, but devolved into nothing more than descriptions of criminal acts and a pretty blatant attitude against women. I hit the delete button on this one at 11%.

The only books I’m listing on my Goodreads challenge are books I’m currently reading and confident I will finish. When finished, the book is going to get five stars. I read for enjoyment; I don’t read to critique. If someone is a good storyteller and has entertained me for the few hours it took to read the book, they get five stars from me. Thank you for the good read.

The next book to be added to my list? A fifty-cent book sale find – a 1964 Erle Stanley Gardner hardcover with a dustjacket, The Case of the Phantom Fortune. I love a good Perry Mason mystery.MasonPhantom1

How many books do you hope to read this year? Have you signed up for the Goodreads challenge? What are you presently reading? Do you read more than one book at a time? Do you give up on books that don’t entertain you? What are your reading habits like? Chime in!

 

Is Your Book Cover A Stinker?

I know I’ve had a lot of posts lately about my books, but I promise I have a bacon post coming up.

*** BACON ***

If you are a man reading this, please comment as to if that word caused some type of reaction within you. I’d like to know for my research.

Today, I want to talk about book covers. I’m not an expert, and for as many times as I’ve Imagechanged my covers, I am definitely not the person to be giving you advice.

The look of a cover is not a deal breaker for me, but some definitely pull me in more than others. I do like when a cover gives me an idea about the book – at least the genre. I saw a lovely cover recently that gave the impression of being a memoir, both via the title and the soft abstract style of the design. I was surprised to read the blurb and discover it was a romantic comedy.

I know my covers don’t follow the rules of the experts. They wouldn’t like the font, the placement of my name, or the fact that they are on the “busy” side. They would be critical of my using a clichéd pink theme for chick lit. I don’t care. I wanted pink covers, and I was going to have them.

It was my idea to have Susan in gym clothes with a racquet in Florida. I thought racquetball would play a strong role in all of the books, but it doesn’t. It isn’t even the main theme of Sunshine Hunter.

After the fifth book was published, I knew it was time to make the first one free. Then it hit me – change the cover again! I sent this note to my niece: “You won’t believe this, but I want to go back to Sunshine Hunter. I think the sports theme is keeping people from giving the book a chance.”

The book is chick lit first. There is a mystery, a little romance, and some humor. Having a Imageracquet on the cover was definitely giving the wrong impression. I think I realized this several months back, but I didn’t act on the nagging feelings.

The book went free at Barnes & Noble on February 20. The cover change showed up the next morning. I saw later that the book was promptly listed by two Nook Facebook sites, and the downloads at Barnes & Noble started right away. I didn’t know it at the time, but sales of the other books in the series started the very next day.

I truly believe that changing the cover on Sunshine Hunter to a cuter, more girly cover representing Chick Lit made a huge difference in people choosing to download the book or not. To all of the over 20,000 people who have downloaded the book so far – thank you! Thank you to everyone who has read their download, and another big thank you if you have chosen to read more of Susan’s (mis)adventures. I’m grateful and appreciative.

bacon

Bacon post coming up. I promise!

Have you always loved your book cover? Have you had any nagging feelings about it? Have you changed your cover, and if so, how many times? I know I’m not alone in this.

Computer? eReader? Hardcover Book?

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I’ve set my reading goals for 2013.

This year, I’m going to try to read more WordPress authors. I presently have twenty-four books on my computer that have been written by WP bloggers. I haven’t read sixteen of them.

Do you fine folks know that I have a Nook Tablet? I’m not the only one. Over five million Nooks Imagehave been sold now. I get pretty frustrated with the fact that many titles are only available through Amazon and their Kindle. Even after some authors go through a 90-day exclusivity with Amazon, their books are only at Barnes & Noble via paperback or hardcover – or not at all. My Susan Hunter books are only in eBook format, but they are everywhere, and twenty-five percent of my sales are occurring outside of Amazon. I’m just sayin’.

Not one to be thwarted, I downloaded Kindle for PC, so I could read Kindle books on my computer. In all fairness to Carrie Rubin, it became such a habit to run to Amazon to purchase WP-authored books, I forgot to look at Barnes & Noble first when buying The Seneca ImageScourge, and it was available for the Nook.

I can read blogs all day long. Truly. But reading blogs is interactive. Read, comment, follow links, watch videos, etc.  Reading a book on the computer is not conducive to my personality, and I find it more difficult to “get lost in a book” on the computer.

When I read Tim Dittmer’s The Valley Walker on my computer, I felt terrible that it took me a couple of months to read it. His book is unique in that it has 93 short chapters, and I admit to reading only a few at a time before my hyper personality would send me somewhere else. His book is no longer exclusive to Amazon and is now available for Nook, too.

I just finished Valerie Clarizio’s Cookies for Santa this weekend. I started it at Christmas, and what should have taken me a day or two took a month. The delay in reading was mostly because I was reading it on my computer (where the blogs live and clamor for attention).

You may be wondering by now how I’m going to read sixteen books this year if it takes me Imageso long to read just one. Well, my new Kindle Paperwhite (no ads, thank you) has been ordered and will be here this coming Friday, that’s how. And I’m excited!

What am I going to read first? I’m going to finish two books I started far too long ago. The first is Gordon Kessler’s Knight’s Big Easy. I was enjoying this book, but for some reason, I stopped reading on the computer and never went back to it. The same with Anne Mitchell’s Happy Hour.

Saturday night, I sat down in the easy chair in Rich’s den, threw a blanket over my lap, and started reading Janet Evanovich’s most Imagerecent book, Notorious Nineteen. A hardcover book with a dustjacket, a new book smell, and pages to turn … it was heaven!

I LOVE HARDCOVER BOOKS.

Reading in the easy chair, or even in bed, with an eReader is just fine, and that is what I’ll be doing for most of my reading this year. I’ll be ecstatic to say good-bye to Kindle for PC, and I’ll grab a hardcover book to read when I need a “real book” fix every now and then.

What about you? Any thoughts on who or what you will be reading this year? How many formats do you use for reading? If you read on your computer, does it bother you as much as it bothers me?