This Week in the Blogs, September 3 – 9, 2016

by | Sep 11, 2016

Are you settling back into familiar routines now that the kids have returned to school and summer is winding down? I hope that checking in here each week to read the articles I’ve picked out is one of your routines. There’s been a lot of reaction to this week’s selection of articles which include an post on how blogging can change your life, a couple of perspectives on indie author branding, news on the state of ebook pricing and how self-publishing is impacting the major traditional publishing companies. Enjoy!

Amy Morin on ProBlogger
How I Turned One Blog Post Into a 7-Figure Business (And How You Can Capitalize on Going Viral)
“In 2013, I experienced a writer’s dream come true. My blog post, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, went viral. And not just a little viral, it went mega-viral. … It was read by millions of people in a matter of days. And then Forbes.com picked it up and it reached more than 10 million more readers.”

Hugh Howey on The Wayfinder
A Peek Behind the Curtain
“Major publishers are in trouble. Publishers Weekly reports declines across the board at all five major publishers. What is happening here is not new, as much as publishers would like you (and themselves) to believe. For the past four to five years, publishers have found growth almost exclusively through acquisitions, mergers, layoffs, and the largesse of their primary retail account, Amazon. All of those forces have run out of room.”

Kristen Lamb on Kristen Lamb’s Blog
Author Brands & Book Sales—Why Boutique is BIG
“Normally my blogs are all about telling y’all you are not a special unique snowflake. But yeah y’all are but don’t get a big head about it. We just need to discern the places we are not special (I.e. we all have to do the work) and figure out the places we are and then USE that, especially when it comes to creating an author brand.”

Mike Shatzkin on The Shatzkin Files
eBook pricing resembles three dimensional chess
“The current round of reporting from major publishers contains some danger signs. Their ebook sales are declining (in dollars and even more dramatically in units) in an ebook market that is probably not declining. The “good” news for the publishers is that print sales are pretty much holding their own, or even growing.”

Aimee Coveney on Self-Publishing Advice Center
Book Marketing: How the Cover of Your Self-published Book Influences Your Brand as an Indie Author
“Over the years as a cover designer, I have often spoken with authors about their brand, and on occasions I have received very quizzical looks, but it is in fact something that should be included early in your career plan as a writer.”

Product Review: Solar Book Light

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Quentin Neurisse of the Solar Book Light Company to see if I wanted to review his Solar Book Light. Since product reviews have rarely appeared on my blog, I thought it might be fun. He provided me with a book light free of charge to evaluate.

bookAfter all, writers are readers, and just about any reader who likes to go to bed with a good book has likely looked at, thought about, or owned a book light in the past.

Book lights are good solutions for readers who stay up later than their spouses and don’t want to keep the lights on, disturbing their sleep.

The problem has been that most of these book lights are heavy, they run out of batteries, they fall askew when they are supposed to grip the book and some are just so frustrating they are worse than not using one at all.

Enter the Solar Book Light. I received my review unit from Amazon, and was delighted. Unlike other book lights I’ve used, this one is quite light, and that’s important because it allows the light to stay attached to the book.

bookWhat makes this book light unique in my experience is how it’s powered. Instead of batteries, it can be charged either through a port with a short cable that comes with the light to any USB port.

No USB port? No problem, the little solar cell on the face of the unit will also charge it in a few hours.

How did it work in practice? Both Jill and I used it since we both read in bed and, since we’re not as young as we used to be, the more light on the page, the better.

I did charge the unit with sunlight once by laying it on a sunny windowsill, but it turned out to be more convenient for me to use the USB port, since I have so many USB-powered devices I now have plug-in USB ports all over the house. It charged quickly, although there’s no charge indicator.

There are three main features that make this book light the best we’ve ever used, and Jill and I agree on all these:

  1. Lightness—the Solar Book Light is incredibly light, making it easy to attach to your book with the strong clamp on the back, and it will stay there.
  2. Brightness—by far the brightest book light I’ve used, this has an array of LEDs and a switch to change it from bright to really bright. Love that.
  3. Flexibility—the flexible neck of the book light is very easy to use, allowing you to aim it exactly how you like.

book
All in all, I would highly recommend the Solar Book Light if, like me, a little extra light would be welcome, or if your partner goes to sleep before you do. Here’s a link where you can check it out on Amazon: Solar Book Light

 
Photo: pixabay.com Post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

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