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Authors and social media

When new (or experienced) authors look for advice on how to make social media work for them, they find two conflicting opinions: You need to have a solid social media presence in order to sell books, but also that social media doesn’t sell books. Both are true. The gist of all the advice is this: You need to be social on social media in order for it to work for you. It’s not always easy to engage people on various platforms, but some are easier than others. People often comment on blog posts or posts on Facebook, but those seldom lead to conversations that build the kinds of social relationships that would advance the author’s sales. This is mainly because the person commenting is a ’visitor’ on the author’s space; they are not ’equal’ there. Also, people having the conversation are seldom present at the same time. Moreover, it’s difficult to engage more people in one conversation, so they die quickly.



So far, Twitter has been good at making social media social. The immediacy of Twitt…
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Reading recap: September

After a dismal August, September turned out to be a slightly better reading month, but only because I cheated. I finished four books, but I read only two of them properly. The other two I had to skim to finish them. I should probably have stuck with my reading list, as that didn’t fail me. Also, technically, I finished one of the books in October, but since it took me most of the month to reach the end, I’ll write it down as one for September.
First of the books I began to read was Railhead by Philip Reeve. It’s a young adult book – sort of, I guess, though I never figured out how old the main character was – with an interesting premise that hooked me from the start. A distant future where interstellar travel is done by sentient trains jumping through gates between worlds, and a petty thief who loves to travel on them. He’s lured into stealing something important and everything goes wrong, plunging the entire system into chaos. With such an interesting story, I should’ve managed to rea…

Reading recap: August

August was my worst reading month so far and I only managed to finish two books. I have no excuses other than that I was busy working. I did start two more books, but I didn’t manage to finish them in August. And even though I read eight books in July, I’m now two books behind the schedule in my reading challenge of fifty-five books. I’ll have to step up. As has been my habit throughout the year, one book was from my reading list and the other wasn’t.
First book was Ride the Storm by Karen Chance, the long-awaited next chapter in her Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series of time-travelling Pythia and her entourage of vampires, demons and mages. One vampire and one mage in particular. As always, it was a wild romp through space and time – at times a bit too wild. The first part of the book was constant tumbling from crisis to battle and back with no breathers or plot development in between, as if the author was afraid that the reader will get bored if something earth-shattering isn’t co…

My #worldcon75 experience

Here’s the long overdue report from my day at the WorldCon 75, my first ever time attending. The event was held on August 9-13 in my home country, Finland, so it was a once in a life-time chance to experience it with a minimum trouble. I originally thought to attend the entire five days, but life intervened in the form of work, and so I could only attend on Saturday. I tried to make the most of it by planning a full day.

I arrived at the conference centre about fifteen minutes after the doors opened at nine in the morning, and the queue was already at least fifty metres long. It caused me a few palpitations until I figured it was the line for people who hadn’t purchased their day passes in advance. I had, so I just walked past, trying not to look gleeful. Half an hour later I felt bad for all those people when it was announced that the day was sold out, which left most of them outside. The queue for pre-purchased passes was three persons long, the shortest line for me the entire day. I…

Reading recap: July

July was an excellent reading month for me in numbers and mostly in content too. But I pretty much went outside my reading list.
First I finished reading Those Below by Daniel Polansky, a book which I’d started reading already in May, but had put aside for more pressing books. It’s the second and last book in his Empty Throne duology, and I’m not entirely sure why I read it, since I didn’t much like the first book. This wasn’t any better. Like with the first, the episodic chapters seemed pointless. They had little or no character development and only two of the four main characters advanced the plot in any meaningful way; the other two were mere witnesses with ends to match. The culmination of the story felt equally pointless, war and annihilation for the sake of themselves with no hope or redemption for anyone. As a commentary on war it works; as a work of fiction it's a let-down. However, the last two chapters rose a little above the rest, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment.


N…

Reading recap: June

June was a great reading month for me, mostly because I was on holiday, so I had time to read. Also, because it was cold and raining, and I had nothing else I’d rather have been doing. I ended up finishing five books and the sixth was almost done by the end of the month, so I’ll count it for this month too. Three of the books were from my reading list, three were new ones.
First up was a book outside my list and the most extraordinary book I’ve read in a while. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is a story of children abducted from their parents by a strange, heartless, and strict man. He wants to bring them up to make them unique and perfect in their skills, be it languages or killing, by basically torturing them. They grow up to be psychopaths with little or no connection to the real world. But then their teacher – Father – goes missing and the group has to enter the normal world to get him back. Little by little, elements of fantasy are added to the narrative until in the en…

Reading recap: April and May

It’s already June and I realise I’ve completely forgotten to update you on my reading in April, so this is a double feature for May too. April and May weren’t particularly good reading months in terms of numbers read, partly because I read a couple of longer books that took longer to finish, partly because other engagements kept me from reading – I know, right – and partly because I started and then discarded a number of books that I just couldn’t get into. But those books that I ended up reading and finishing, five in all, were all absolutely brilliant. Four of the books were from my reading list, and the last one was an absolutely necessary addition.
First up was one of my favourite series, Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. Book number fifteen, The Chosen, was as good as any in the series, which hasn’t had a weak book yet. I really like Ms Ward’s style of edgy writing, and especially how she introduces characters and their backstories throughout the series, and follows them afte…

Reading recap: March

I had a good reading month last month. Everything I read was delightful and entertaining, on top of which they were good books too. Again, I didn’t quite stick to my reading list; two out of five books were outside it.
First up was A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. It’s the second book in her Shades of Magic trilogy set in a world of parallel Londons that have different levels of magic and which can be travelled between by a special person with enough magic and right words. Grey London is in the Regency England of the ‘real’ world with little or no magic, Red London is abundant with magic, and White London is in permanent winter and constantly struggles to regain its magic by any means necessary. In the first book, Lila gets accidentally drawn from Grey to Red London by Kell who can travel between the worlds, and decides to stay. In this second book, she enters the stage as a pirate and ends up taking part in a tournament of magic. Most of the book is taken by the tournament, and…