#GrabYourWallet : Another Reason for Indies to Publish Everywhere

Whatever our politics, we should be a nation of readers. Reading increases empathy , creates a mental flow state, and reduces stress. This post is about making sure readers can find the books they want in the places where they choose to shop. For participants in the #GrabYourWallet boycott, Amazon is not among the places where they choose to shop. I’m not telling anyone whether to participate or not, just informing authors and readers of some options.

Some authors I know are always tuned into political news, while others do their best to tune it all out. If you’re in the latter group, you might want to read this, in case you don’t know about a movement that is boycotting companies they have identified as selling Trump brand products. Amazon is one.

If the boycott gets momentum—which it might, since slightly over half the country didn’t vote for Trump—that could make a dent in indie authors’ sales. Readers who are boycotting Amazon need to find our books elsewhere. After all, Amazon isn’t the only place to buy books.

Boycotters (and others) can read on a Nook or install a Nook app on a Kindle or on a laptop. They can buy e-books from the iTunes bookstore and read on iPads, or buy paperbacks from independent bookstores. Or buy e-books from Kobo, Smashwords, Inktera, or ScribD, as long as they have an e-reader that reads e-pub formats or have Adobe Digital Editions software installed on their laptops. But they can’t boycott Amazon and still buy your books if you’re in KDP Select.

I’ve always felt strongly that authors should make their books available widely and not give one company a monopoly on their work. The more booksellers are competing in the marketplace, the better for the health of the book business and the more secure indie authors will be. Being published everywhere, I still might lose some sales if boycotting readers who own Kindles don’t take their business to the other retailers, but some might take one of the routes I listed above. I hope they will. Everyone needs to keep on reading.

Ready for a good book?

All the books reviewed on this site are widely available, and although the lists by genre have not been expanded for a while (I’ve been busy writing, reviewing and doing my days jobs), all of them include books that are published beyond Amazon.

Amber Foxx

One more March #Bargain

LauffeyTimeShifters Ninety-cents everywhere.

Smashwords

Nook

Kobo

 

An ancient people who can move through time or space… A secret that never should have been revealed… One day in a Los Angeles restaurant, Akalya of the Harekaiian witnesses the capture of several of her people and is the only one to get away. Now it is up to her to rescue the captives and learn how… and why… they are being apprehended. The key lies in discovering who is behind the hunt for her people, when no one should have known they existed.
See what else is on sale for all e-readers

How I Choose a Good #Indie Book

Never bought an indie book before? Try it. A lot of readers haven’t, but it’s a low-risk adventure. I’ve paid as much $14.99 for a traditionally published e-book that I didn’t like, and I just paid $8.49 for one that’s only 67 pages. (Fortunately, I like it so far.) The most I’ve ever paid for an indie e-book is $4.99 and I’ve liked almost all of them. The only way I take traditional or indie publishing into consideration as a factor in choosing a book is that I love indie prices. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that go into my choice of a book, and this may explain why I’ve had such a satisfying indie reading experience. The following criteria have helped me find some great writers.

  • Have people whose opinion I respect given it good reviews? These might be people I know well on Goodreads, reviewers I follow on Booklikes, or personal friends, but they are all people who care about quality. I found Martyn V. Halm’s compelling Amsterdam Assassin Series this way. I’ve reviewed on one of the short stories in this series on this site, and all the books and singles on both Goodreads and Booklikes.
  • Is the author a member of Sisters in Crime? http://www.sistersincrime.org This has been a 100% reliable way for me to find good mystery authors. (By the way, though Sisters in Crime started as an organization to support women writing in the mystery genre, we have male members.) The organization educates its members with classes and workshops and discussion groups, and local and national chapter meetings. SinC’s “Guppies” group—short for the Great Unpublished—has many published authors who continue their membership because of the support they get and can give to new Guppies. I’ve never read a SinC member’s book that let me down. SinC members whose books I’ve reviewed on this site include J.L. Simpson, DV Berkom, Anna Castle and Diane Vallere. I’m currently half-way through SinC member Lois Winston’s hilariously inventive cozy mystery, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. Even the title made me laugh. Look for a favorable review coming soon.
  • Did the book earn a B.R.A.G. Medallion? This award for the best in indie writing isn’t a contest—it’s an ongoing process. Books submitted to the Book Readers’ Appreciation group are read and evaluated by numerous people, not just one or two judges or critics. I’ve never read a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree book that let me down. DV Berkom’s and Anna Castle’s books mentioned above earned B.R.A.G. medallions. (So did my murder-less mystery Shaman’s Blues, but of course I haven’t reviewed my own work.) If you’ve never read an indie book before and you like #mysteries and thrillers, you could start with one of these books. I think you’ll get your money’s worth—probably more.

Reviews:

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/two-reviews-the-daisy-dunlop-mysteries/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/review-designer-dirty-laundry-by-diane-vallere/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/review-murder-by-misrule-by-anna-castle/

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/review-the-body-market/

To find the books not linked to reviews, Shaman’s Blues and Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun (and many more) go to

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/books-by-genre-mystery/

Reading up a Sweat Again: the #eBook #Workout Number Two

Have you finished those free download e-books yet? Why not? Too many? No time? Or maybe you’ve gotten bored with the last e-book workout and you need a new one. I like variety and have several options for each major muscle group that can be done while reading at home in my living room. No more excuses to get behind on either your reading or your exercise!

Equipment: E-reader, exercise tubing, stability ball, tables of varying heights for reading in different positions. Exercise mat if floor is not carpeted.

The same guidelines apply as in the last workout, and I’ll repeat them here for those who have forgotten or who missed that post.

If you have an e-reader on your laptop, it will stand up by itself and be easier to look at during standing exercises, but overall a small e-reader or tablet will work best and be more comfortable to handle for some of the walking or lying-down work. Enlarge the fonts before starting your workout. For best results, plan to do this workout on alternate days three times a week. If you’re not sure how to do something correctly, err on the side of safety and caution. It’s hard to read if you’re on painkillers.

A reminder on good form: One rep of an exercise should take four to six seconds. The slower you go the harder you’ll work, and you’ll also read more since the workout will take longer. Rather than count reps—since you are focusing on a book— work to what’s called “voluntary fatigue.” If you feel as though you could go on forever, either it’s a really good book or the resistance is too light.

You sometimes may have to take a tiny break in the middle of a set to turn a page. It’s okay. You’ll be able to do an extra rep because of it.

 Warm-up: Straight-line walking lunges. Make sure the space is clear and then slowly walk, dipping one knee to touch behind the heel of the other foot, bending both knees to around a ninety-degree angle. (You will get really good at flexing your joints to ninety-degree angles in this workout.) You will have to change directions a few times to get a good long set in. Yes, you can read while you do this. You’re going slowly. You’re in your own home. You cleared the space first.

Pushups on ball: Put the e-reader in the floor and the ball under your feet, ankles, knees or thighs, depending on your core and upper body strength. The further the ball is from the working muscles—chest and arms and core—the harder this will be. The ball under the shoelace part of your foot will be the hardest position. Keep your spine neutral and your head in line with your spine as you execute pushups to failure. Don’t fall on your e-book. Stop one rep short of that.

Seated rows: Sit on the floor. Wrap the middle of one of the heavier pieces of resistance tubing around your feet or around the leg of piece of furniture that won’t move, making sure you have equal lengths on both sides, essentially a rope for each arm to pull. If you have tight hamstrings you may need to sit on a cushion or a folded towel to avoid slouching. These two rowing moves should be done with super-perfect posture to avoid lower back strain and to fully engage the upper and mid-back muscles. Prop the e-reader up in front of you. (I put it against the leg of the coffee table and have the tubing around my feet.) Sitting in an L position, pull with bent elbows. For the first set, draw your hands toward your hips with your elbows tucked close to your sides. For the second set lift the elbows and squeeze the shoulder blades together as you pull back.

Lateral raises: Place the e-reader on a higher surface, like a bookshelf or a counter. Tip it up for better reading. Stand in the middle of a length of the lighter-weight tubing and grasp the handles palms down. With your elbows flexed at a 90 degree angle lift the whole arm in one flat piece, without twisting the hands higher or lower than the elbows.

Biceps curls are done in the same reading position, e- reader on the higher surface, though you may need to change to heavier tubing. With elbows tucked and shoulders stable, lift your hands toward your shoulders without any motion in the shoulder joint or the spine, only the elbow joint.

Overhead triceps extensions. With the e-reader still in the same place, stand about one third to one fourth of the way from the end of a length of tubing and hold the long part overhead, with the tubing running up your back. Make sure you’ve got it under your heel, so it doesn’t slide through your arch and snap you. With your elbow aimed toward the celling bend it and drop your hand toward your shoulder blades, then straighten without moving the upper arm—it stays vertical— and pull the tubing taut. Change arms.

Quads: E-reader on the floor in front of you. Elbows on the floor, one ankle on the ball, other leg floating free and straight, lift to a plank position and roll the ball slowly in and out without losing your neutral spine. You are bending and straightening your knee to roll the ball. This is very, very hard and will kill your quads so fast you won’t read much on this exercise. It also works your core. Lie on the floor and read for a moment to recover. Change legs.

Glutes: Place your head and neck and just the very upper part of your upper back on the ball. Keep the fingertips of one hand touching the floor for balance while the other hand holds the e-reader. Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle and keep your spine neutral. Lift one leg. For maximum resistance keep it straight out; for less, place the lifted leg’s ankle on the working leg’s thigh. Now, start the exercise. Lower your butt, almost touching the floor, without rolling the ball and lift back up very slowly. If you can’t get eight reps with one leg, practice with two legs, both feet on the floor, until you can do it one-legged.

Hamstrings: Lie face down with the ball sitting on the backs of your thighs, e-reader on the floor in front of you. Prop up a short way on your elbows so you can read. If you have a small bottom and the ball might roll over it, use one hand to keep the ball in place as you squeeze your heels into the ball, pressing your pelvis into the floor and slightly lifting your knees. The ball will be jammed between your heels and your buttocks. Keep knees and heels and hips in one line, all joints in same plane. It goes like this in four steps: heels dig into ball and stay; pelvis presses down into floor while knees lift an inch; hold the squeeze; release. Your hamstrings will be surprised at how intense this is for such a small movement.

Inner thigh: lie on your back with the ball between your knees, e-book in one hand, other hand keeping the ball from shooting forward into your face, legs lifted, 90-degree angle at the hip joints, knees straight if hamstrings permit, bent if they don’t. Squeeze the ball slowly for a full set, followed by a set with internal rotation, rolling the knees on toward each other. Do not lift your hips.

Outer thigh. Reading is going to be really easy on this one. Stand with looped tubing around your ankles, so it feels tight with the feet slightly more than hip-joint width apart. You can get loops, or make one by tying a knot.(I have some loops that have ankle attachments with Velcro. You just strap them on.) Take four sideways steps right, toes facing front, and four left. Four sets. Then, toes still facing front, waddle forward eight steps and backward eight steps with the tubing at maximum stretch. Four sets if your hips can stand it.

Calf raises. E-reader in one hand, other hand on wall, balance on one foot and slowly rise to maximum height on the ball of your foot and lower slowly. Changes sides.

Shins: Sit with ball on shins, e-reader in one hand other holding ball. Keep knees and spine straight and dorsiflex your feet without letting the ball move. In plain English, pull toes back toward body, pressing the tops of your feet into ball. You will feel core stabilization work on this as well as shins, if you keep your posture.

You’ve done a lot of core work in stabilization by now, but your still need to do rotation:

Lie on your back, arms at shoulder height, one elbow flexed to hold e-reader, the other flat on the floor. Keep both shoulders on the floor. Shift your hips off center to the left, bend your legs at the hip joint and knee joint both at 90 degrees, and slowly roll to the side of your right hip without letting legs touch the floor. Keep your knees in line with your lower belly and hold a true neutral spine—don’t crunch. Untwist even more slowly—that’s the best part. Repeat to failure. To do other side, shift the hips off-center to the right and then with legs in the same position roll to the side of the left hip.

Back : Lie prone with e-reader in front of you. Lift your shoulders, then both legs, and then both arms reaching to the back at first. Carry the arms to the side, then to the front and hold. You’re up the whole time, adding resistance with each part of the move. Rest between, but not for long. You can’t read while your rest on this one.

Stretch every muscle you worked, holding each stretch for fifteen to thirty seconds. Reward yourself with a new e-book. Explore https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com and browse by genre for authors whose work is available on Nook, Kobo, Apple, etc. with direct links for each book.

If you’re not sure how to do an exercise or need some new ideas:

http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-main/

 ***

 Amber Foxx is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, a professor of Health and Exercise Science, and the author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery series. An avid reader, Amber really does e-book workouts. You can find her books on the mystery page and her free short story on the short story singles and series prequels page. The blog Indies Who Publish Everywhere started as her personal Nook book shopping list.

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/books-by-genre-mystery

https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/short-story-singles-and-collections

Reading up a Sweat: the #ebook #workout

Rumor has it that a lot of people have downloaded a huge collection of e-books they haven’t read yet.

Rumor also has it that quite few people struggle to find time or motivation to work out.  So here’s the way to get caught up on your reading and your exercise. At the same time.

THE E-BOOK WORKOUT

Equipment: Dumbbells and e-reader. Your living room floor and a coffee table.

If you have an e-reader on your laptop, it will stand up by itself and be easier to look at during standing exercises, but a small e-reader or tablet will be more comfortable to handle for the side-lying leg work. For best results, plan to do this workout on alternate days three times a week. If you’re not sure how to do something correctly, err on the side of safety and caution. It’s hard to read if you’re on painkillers.

A reminder on good form: One rep of an exercise should take four to six seconds. The slower you go the harder you’ll work, and you’ll also read more since the workout will take longer. Rather than count reps—since you are focusing on a book— work to what’s called “voluntary fatigue.” If you feel as though you could go on forever, either it’s a really good book or the weight is too light.

Put the e-reader on the coffee table and enlarge the fonts. Read while you warm up with a set of squats and a set of back and front lunges, moving your arms through a reach-and-pull range of motion. You’ll have micro-pauses to turn pages, but you’ll get used to this and it won’t break your rhythm. It will simply add an isometric hold to the exercise.

Using a dumbbell, do two sets of bent-over rows, one long lever and one short lever (Arm straighter or at a sharper angle, changing which muscle group in your back is emphasized.) It’s especially easy to read during this exercise, since you have to look down anyway—and you have one hand free for page turning if you have good core strength and don’t need to lean on that arm.

Next, put the e-reader on the floor for a couple of sets of pushups. Don’t drip sweat on it, though.

Put the e-reader back on the table for shoulder work, either overhead presses or lateral raises, or one set of each. It can stay on the table for your biceps curls, triceps “skull crushers” or kickbacks, and forearm curls. You might add some wrist curls to keep up your strength for the occasional hardcover.

For some challenging leg and gluteal work that makes it easy to read, try “superman squats.” Stand on one leg in a position like superman flying, or like the yoga Warrior Three pose. With your weight in the heel of your standing leg, your lifted leg straight out behind you and your arms out in front, do shallow squats that keep your knee back over your midfoot. You may need to put a hand on the table for balance. That’s better than falling over. For a second set, try crossover squats with one foot crossed behind you. Bend to a ninety-degree angle in the front leg. The superman squats will emphasize glutes, while the crossover squats will make your quads work harder.

Next: Lie on your side with your e-reader propped up with one hand, and cross your top leg over, foot in front of the bottom leg’s knee. Use that top leg to press your hip off the floor. Your inner thigh will be lifting your hips and the bottom leg. Then straighten the top leg and bend the bottom one, and press the side of that bottom leg into the floor to make your hip lift up. Your hip and outer thigh muscles will be lifting the lower body’s weight now. Roll over, taking the e-reader with you, for one set of each on the other side. (If these versions of side-lying leg work are confusing, just do the more traditional inner and outer thigh leg lifts.)

Put the e-reader on the floor for planks and one-legged hip-twist planks with the free knee tucked in front, then lie face down to work your back. Lift your head and shoulders, arms in front or to the side. Hold while you read at least half a page, and take a short rest, and repeat to voluntary fatigue.

Hold the e-reader while you do sets of calf raises and heel-walks to work the back and front of the lower leg.

It will be harder to keep reading while you stretch every muscle you worked, but don’t skip your stretches. They will help you relax so you can unwind later and read that book in bed.

 ****

 Amber Foxx is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, a professor of Health and Exercise Science, and the author of one of those free stories lurking in the treasure chest of your e-reader. She has been doing variations on the e-book workout for several years. The protagonist of her mystery series is a fitness professional.

If you’re not sure how to do an exercise or need some new ideas:

http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-main/

Explore https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com if you start to run out workout reading. Browse by genre for authors whose work is available on Nook, Kobo etc.

The Paperback Choice

 

In this guest post, science fiction author Shanna Lauffey reflects on the importance of tangible books.

*****

In today’s climate of easy downloading and cheap e-books, there is still a culture of readers who enjoy the feel of a “real” book in their hands. Sometimes I’m one of them.

As an author of a time travel series, I sometimes look at collections of older authors and note that combined editions in paperback can be even more economical that electronic editions. For example, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, a popular Fantasy series, can be bought in a paperback edition for $16.99 new, not to mention used copies which sell for half as much. Ten books are included in the collection, so the cost per story is very good!

My books are always released in paperback, but the cost of a hard copy novella can add up when you’re collecting a series. Combined editions of my series, consisting of five episodes each, will be coming out in response to this.

I think e-books are here to stay and I do enjoy sitting and reading with one hand free to stroke the cat or look like a real geek with my smart phone in the other hand looking up something on Google that I’ve just read about, but I could never live without shelves of books to enhance my home. There’s something about opening the cover, looking for treasures for the imagination, which naturally appeals to the book lover. I also enjoy looking at my own books on my shelf, watching the series grow volume by volume. This gives me a sense of satisfaction of something accomplished; something I can hold in my hands and say, “I created that!”

Readers still need paperbacks and hardbacks to be available. Have you ever tried to follow a recipe on a reading device? They tend to go to standby. Furthermore, used books have always been a part of the book lover’s world. Shops that buy and sell all sorts of books were a part of my young life and though I seldom have the time to browse as I once did, I think it would be sad if this opportunity were to be lost forever.

I encourage any authors reading this to make your books available in paperback. (I personally prefer Lulu.com over Createspace, but it’s an individual choice and it’s not all that difficult.) There are still a lot of readers out there who do not own an electronic device. Loyalty to paperbacks, or hard copy in some form, is still alive and well. That is why my books will always come out in paperback as well as electronic copy. Although the e-book sales outstrip the hard copy sales, if one reader enjoyed my books because they were available in a traditional form, then it was worth the small effort it takes to give them that choice.

Books: https://everywhereindies.wordpress.com/books-by-genre-science-fiction/

Author’s Website: http://shannalauffey.weebly.com