Back on it

I decided to add one more layer of accountability this year, so I’m going to be using Goodreads again! It’s so easy to keep track of what I’m doing and what others are reading.

Click here to add me to get near real-time updates on my reading. Cause I know you’re so interested. 😂 

Also, I’m curious to know the reading goals of you guys!

Happy New Year!

Everyone Thinks They Know What you Want to Read

As readers we are constantly bombarded with book recommendations. Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Goodreads. PEOPLE. That random guy in the bookstore who saw you glancing at that book on President Reagan. Book bloggers. The list never ends.

And now there’s a new player in the game. Shelfjoy. Which is so pointless it makes me laugh. Shelfjoy is absolutely no different than any other recommendation you’ve ever gotten. It recommends books based on topics you’ve already shown an interest in. Which is exactly what every other site or person does because obviously if you’re interested in a particular title, then you MUST be interested in what I think is “similar”.

They claim every book is hand-curated, but my understanding is it amounts to a bunch of lists on different topics. It isn’t creative. It isn’t groundbreaking. And it isn’t new. And it’s only available on Facebook Messenger, so there’s that. I think you can send them a message and they reply with a book for you to read. How grand. 

I’m convinced every book recommendation is someone somewhere trying to infiltrate my brain. What do you think?

Goodreads Named THIS Book the Top Fiction Novel of the Year?

Every year Goodreads has its annual Goodreads Choice Awards. They’re voted on by users of the site in a number of categories. There are several rounds of voting to come up with the eventual winners.

I have a Goodreads account, but I don’t use it. The site serves no purpose because I track all my reading on my own, and I don’t care what others are reading or about their recommendations. But I saw the top fiction book and had to talk about it.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Uh, what?

What a joke. The book has a rating of 3.34 on Goodreads. 3.4 on Amazon. 3.8 on Barnes and Noble’s website. So I’m struggling to see how this book has been named as the top fiction book of the year. The math doesn’t really add up. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy going on, but I’m just not seeing where all these people who voted for it have been. Or if they read the same book as everyone else.

Am I the only person who thinks this is a little odd?

Are you a Book Snob?

We’re all honest here. There’s no need to lie. So, are you? Wait, let me first tell you a little about what it means to be book snob in the first place.

Before I start defining things, this is definitely a term that is defined differently by different people. But I’ve come to my definition based on what I’ve seen and read from many different sources and individuals. In the simplest of terms (to me), a book snob is someone who views their reading and the books they read as superior to the reading habits and books read by others.

Here’s a little scenario to give you a little more insight into some book snobby behavior. Let’s say you have two readers. One is working on reading as many classics as he can. The other just finished a five book erotica series. The first reader posts outrageous negative comments on the second reader’s blog because “those books aren’t worthy of reading”.

Everyone can tell who the book snob is in that particular situation. But it may not always be that obvious, and it may be you. One of the things that people have tried to say is that it’s really just people having different reading preferences. But there’s a big difference between different preferences and book snobbery.

Preferences: “I read crime novels and you read YA. We’re interested in different things.”

Book snobbery: “I read crime novels and you should too because it’s better than that crap you’ve been reading.”

Super obvious again, I know. But how many times have you interacted with someone either on here or Twitter or maybe even Goodreads and they seem to be against anything you’re reading? That person is most likely a book snob. Hopefully it isn’t you.

Are you a book snob or not?


On this day in 2014 I published Authors, Tell the Titles of Your Books!.

 

Finding new Books to Read

Just about every one of you reads more than I do. At least I think you do. Which means you likely have to find new books and authors pretty often, unless you’re one of those readers who reads the same books over and over again like you’re living your life in circles. Then I have no idea what to tell you.

But for those of you who like some variety in your reading, I’d like to know how you go about finding new authors. I have maybe 20 different series on my shelves, which means I’m not running out of books in those series any time soon. And even when I do I have plenty of others that I usually have my eye on. Besides the books I’ve read from the Amazon list, I honestly can’t remember the last time I went out searching for a new series to read. Definitely wasn’t in 2015, and perhaps not even last year.

So how do you find new series or authors to read? Goodreads? Amazon? Ask your neighbor? Other bloggers?


On this day in 2014 I published The Handwritten Letter. I wanted a pen pal when I wrote that post and I think I found one. But I ultimately stop replying to the letters because I’m awesome like that. I still think it would be nice to have a pen pal who I don’t communicate with regularly via any other medium. But oh well.

 

2015: The Year of the Reading Challenge

I have a personal reading challenge each year to read 50 books. But this year I’ve seen so many different reading challenges floating around WordPress that I’m growing dizzy. I’m used to seeing people talk about their Goodreads challenges because those are their own goals, but I really don’t remember seeing so many posts at the beginning of 2014 about this challenge and that one. Maybe there’s some reason for this that I’m unaware of or maybe I still had no idea what I was doing on WordPress 12 months ago that I was simply out of the loop.

I’ve looked over a few of the challenges and they’re okay. I don’t think they’d really interest me because I’m not going to let some website or blogger tell me what I should be reading, unless I conduct a poll of my readers, that is. I’d like to think I can accomplish the goal of being well read just fine on my own without a very definitive list leading the way. But eh, I think I’m in the minority here based on the posts I’ve come across.

So, are you participating in a reading challenge this year? I am. It’s called the “John Guillen Finally Reads 50 Books in a Single Calendar Year Reading Challenge.” Here are just a few of the ones I’ve come across, with the PopSugar one easily the most popular.

If I hit my follower goal for the year, then I may just come up with one of these for next year. Wouldn’t even matter how many people actually participated. It would just be another way for me to interact with you all.

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The Best Books of 2014…According to Everyone

I’ve written about the most mentioned books on Twitter in 2014. I’ve written about the bestselling print books of the year. And now I’m writing about the best books according to everyone. Now I’m sure you’re wondering who the heck is everyone. Slow down, I’m getting there.

As you well know, major publications and groups release “best of” lists at the end of every year. Well the folks over at Wired created the ultimate best books of 2014 list by aggregating other lists. They used Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Goodreads, The National Book Awards, and some others to create their list. And points were given to books that appeared on any of the lists they included. For instance, if a book appeared on a top 100 list, then it received one point. But if a book appeared on a top 10 list, then it was assigned ten points. After examining the major “best books of 2014” lists, they were able to determine these books to be the top ten of the year.

Note that these are 2014 releases.

1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

3. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

4. Redeployment by Phil Klay

5. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

6. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

7. The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison

8. Lila by Marilynne Robinson

9. Big Little Liars by Liane Moriarty

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Of course, I haven’t read or even heard of any of these books until now. Whoops. Which also means that I have no little tidbits for any of them. My one little fun fact is that All The Light We Cannot See was the top selling book in the United States the first week of 2015. So there’s that.

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts?

You can read the original Wired article here.

Do Reviews Really Influence Your Book Buying Decisions?

I wrote about book reviews yesterday, so why not today too?

No. They don’t influence mine one bit. Because typically I read a book and buy the next in the series without looking at anything on the product page besides the price. The price influences my decision much more often than the reviews do. Why? Cause I’m perfectly fine spending $7.99 on a book. I’m not always fine with spending $9.99 on a mass market paperback. What is that, like a 25 percent increase? No.

Quite honestly, are reviews really all that important. I think they’re more important when you’re someone like John Green and your books have thousands of reviews that largely say the same thing. But if you’re a nobody like me and your book has 23 reviews, then I think someone not buying the book because of the reviews is just making an excuse not to buy it. Which is fine, but I’ve never known someone who decides which books to buy based solely on the reviews.

And, reviews are completely irrelevant if you go to the bookstore without knowing which book you’re going to get. I mean, if you’re browsing away and you come across a book that catches your eye, are you really going to open the Amazon or Goodreads app on your phone just to check the reviews? You might. But I don’t think so.

To me, the importance of book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads is greatly exaggerated. Because I don’t think readers read them as much as we all like to think.

Do reviews really influence your book buying decisions?

Tracking Your Reading

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Photo Credit: A Day Dreamer’s World

I know most people on here at least keep a list of books they’ve read. But I think I might take tracking my reading a step further. Or ten.

I began tracking my reading back in 2010 by simply listing out the books I read in a Word document along with the date I finished the book. Nothing too sophisticated. But eventually that grew into something more at the start of 2012. I started using Excel spreadsheets to better keep track my reading during each season. Not only would the book and date be recorded, but also the amount of time it took for me to read the book, the book’s page count, and the book’s series. It is because of this information that I know I read more than ten full days in 2012. I know there are people reading a whole lot more than that, but that’s a fairly significant amount of time if you ask me.

Now I generally have a Word document and an Excel spreadsheet for each season of every year. At the end of the year I combine all of the books into a single spreadsheet and take a look at when I had long periods of no reading and how many books by particular authors I read and more. I also of course have my What I’m Reading page on here that also lists the books I’ve finished.

I know Goodreads is an easy way to track your reading, but I don’t use it much. But what about you, how do you go about keeping track of your reading?

December Sales Report

This will be the second and final time I report any kind of sales figures for my book unless my blog tour pushes a few sales my way in the month of January.

So, if you’ll recall, I sold 74 books in my book’s first month of release in November. And had 206 free downloads that same month for a grand total of 280 individual readers getting their hands on my debut novel. There were a few giveaways as well.

The month of December was better and worse. I only sold 59 books but I had 6531 free downloads. You’re probably thinking about the money aspect of selling books, but I’m not. I’d be happy if just ten percent of the 6590 new readers I found in the month of December read my book. I’d like some reviews too, but no need to get picky.

No matter the fact that I’ve decided not to self publish again, I’m still quite pleased with everything that’s happened with my book. Though a number of former professors have grabbed a copy and I’ve yet to hear from any one of them. Yikes. But like they told me before reading it…doesn’t matter if the reader likes it or not, as long as they buy it. I don’t really believe in that philosophy, but it is kind of true.

Lastly, my blog tour starts on Monday! I’ll likely be linking every tour stop to my blog. If there happens to be any WordPress tour hosts then I’ll just reblog the post if not, I’ll just give you guys a link to the post on whatever blogging platform the host is using so you all can see what other book people are saying about my book. I really hope they’re nice. I’m a little scared.

Anyway, wish me luck on my blog tour!

And I added the 2013 Reading List page that lists the books I read last year and updated the What I’m Reading page to reflect my current reading. Take a look!

One last thing. I’ve decided this year to be more active on Goodreads and I just recently posted my first two book reviews! Remember that I am not a book reviewer and will not ever add them on here, BUT I think that being as much a book person as I am that I should share my thoughts on the books I read with other book people. Also, I’m not trying to be super professional with my reviews. They are what they are. I reviewed Valediction (Spenser #11) by Robert B. Parker and Brilliance by Marcus Sakey. The links will take you to the reviews on Goodreads.