Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing: Part One

To self publish or not to self publish.

That´s something I never had to ask myself because I´m not a writer, but many others have undoubtedly asked themselves if they should dive into self publishing or not.

Writers from all literature corners have, at some point, thought of the idea of publishing their own work, whether through traditional publishing or through self-publishing.

Both routes are fully acceptable these days, but before any writer choses a path to take they should definitely have a closer look at the pro´s and con´s of both traditional publishing and self publishing. Let´s do a quick breakdown to show the differences between the two and include pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self publishing:

Pros for Traditional Publishing

  • Marketing
  • Reach a wide audience, more exposure
  • Publishing houses often offer a financial advance
  • Publishing houses take care of edits, covers, etc.

Cons for Traditional Publishing

  • A writer hardly ( if at all, depending on the publisher) has a say ( in all areas)
  • Marketing runs at a snail’s pace
  • Royalty rates suck
  • It´s hard to get out of a contract

So basically, a writer´s hands are bound.

 

Pros for Self Publishing

  • You call the shots. You´re your own boss.
  • Publication is almost instantly
  • Royalty rates are higher
  • No rejections ( other than maybe from readers)

Cons for Self Publishing

  • No professional book polish ( no editing, no suitable cover image)
  • You have to do major self marketing
  • Potential for publishing a shitty book
  • Literally, anyone can self publish

It all comes down to having all the freedom in the world but also investing an outrageous amount of time doing self promotion because.. since you´re your own boss you have to do every stinking thing yourself.

If I was in a writer´s position I would definitely go with the traditional route. But that´s just me. Since I´m not a writer it´s not important what I would do, right?

A simple fact is: It´s hard getting a deal with a publishing house and it´s easy as hell to self publish.

Doing business with hundreds of self published writers did reveal an awful lot, but what the years of observation have shown was that many self published authors struggle.

And the struggle is real.

Some authors don´t know how to market themselves or they find it extremely difficult.

Why is that?

Well, for one… most writers who go into self publishing and want to make a name for themselves know that they´re going to have to deal with marketing but they don´t know how hard it is.

Imagine you wrote a book and you set your mind of self publishing. Great. But what steps need to be done?

Is your book edited? If not, it should be. You don´t want to sell crap and no one wants to spend money on crap. A harsh truth alot of self published author´s don´t want to hear.

Is the book cover image eye-catchy and is the quality of the image good? If not, you might want to invest some money and get something that´ll make a reader want to buy your book. Many readers judge a book by it´s cover. ( read my article on book covers )

Once your book is properly looked over and the cover ( incl. the quality) is ready you still need readers.

Do you have fans? Without fans you have little to no sales. And without fans you have no one but yourself and maybe your mother to spread the word about your book.

Your book can be a genius piece of written art or a possible world-wide bestseller but that´s worth crap if you don´t have any readers.

You need a plan. A large one.

From what I´ve been able to learn was that self published authors NEED to interact with people. There´s no way around it. Writers must use the tools they´re given and start interacting with all sorts of people in order to get the marketing ball rolling.

Social media is the best place for that. Millions of book lovers hang around Facebook, Twitter & Co. and are dying to get their hands on a new book. Befriending authors is also a step in the right direction because other, more accomplished self published authors have the know-how and can help with fulfilling a dream of becoming a known writer. Contacting book blogs is another way. Us foot folk know how to spread the word in an effective way.

It sounds so easy. But then again- everything seems easy in theory. Contacting strangers is not always easy. It´s acutally awkward.

„Hey, we don´t know each other but I have a book and ( after a full-blown social media investigation) I know you like to read… So, do you wanna read my book?“

Yes. That´s awkward but with a little more tact there is a high chance of gaining potential readers that way.

When a writer has to do their own marketing that means nothing other than having to sell their own product. In this case, it´s their book. Selling a product involves having to interact with people.

A nightmare for introverts or moody artists.

Another thing most self published authors forget is that self marketing never stops. It´s a constant, never-ending cycle. Once the self marketing slows down or stops then that´s it. Everything else stops too.

It also doesn´t stop at the interacting, either. There´s a whole lot more to self marketing than a writer´s eye can meet. Writers need to become creative and find ways to keep the ball rolling. This can be done with simple posts of teasers from their book or maybe a graphic quote or possibly through another author promoting a new writer. Something that engages other people. There are ways to make self marketing fun and slightly easier but the key is: interaction.

It also can´t hurt to mention how much time self published writers need to invest on self marketing. Yes. Many writers would appreciate a day with more than 24 hours.

The reality of self publishing is completely different from what people might think. It´s not just going on some self publishing platform and uploading a story with over 60.000 words and calling it a day.

Of course, writers who chose the traditional path and get taken under the wings of a publishing house have it bit easier. They don´t have to worry about self marketing because that´s included in their package. All the fun( insert sarcasm) with having to deal with emotional stress, interacting with strangers and working on spreading the word falls in the hands of competent people who know how to work the book mill. It might not always be what the writer had planned but it´s one less thing to worry about.

Self publishing is hard work and we´ve only just scratched the surface of how hard and frustrating self publishing can really be. The only advice I can give to writers who are unsure of which publishing path to take is: Collect as much info as possible and weigh your options. See what works best.

Because if we´re honest- not everyone is capable of marketing themselves or their work. Not everyone is a social bunny. But if a writer wants to self publish then there´s no way around having to do some self marketing. But when someone is good at marketing themselves then self publishing can be a joy and fun all around.

Coming next: Self Published Authors, Part Two: Book Pricing

Review: Breaking Gravity ( Fall Back Series #2) by Autumn Grey

Book Description

I’ve always followed my dreams with ruthless determination.
My life was going well. Success was at my fingertips.
Until it wasn’t.
All it took was three seconds to send my world crashing down around me, 
ripping my dreams to shreds.
Then I meet her, with her large hazel eyes that slay me at first glance.
And everything starts to make sense again.
I try to keep my distance.
To remind myself I am her mentor.
That we can’t be more, 
but every time I push away, I’m pulled deeper into her.
The line between student and teacher is blurring. 
One kiss. 
One taste. 
They’re all it would take to cross the line.

My Thoughts

This student / teacher romance definitely earned a place on my sacred bookshelf.

`Breaking Gravity` ( Fall Back Series #2 ) started out in a devastating light and ended with a beautiful warmth.Breaking Gravity

Nathaniel Rowe´s life will never be the same. Once a well-known professional cellist, now a damaged and crippled has-been who suffers from chronic pain and medication abuse. It took one unfortunate event to change his life and make Nathaniel a walking mess. With his career over and the love of his life gone there´s hardly anything left to live for. Until…

Nathaniel takes up a job as a temporary music professor at Rushmore college and becomes fascinated with a red-haired beauty, Elon… who also happens to be one of his students.

Now, I´m not a huge fan of student/teacher romances because they somehow always end the same way. A story about a forbidden by law love is bound to end in a catastrophe. It´s kind of like watching a train wreck happening in slow motion. You know it´s gonna be ugly. You know the outcome.. Everything starts out as a one time thing. A secret. Then the secret turns into an affair. Soon, a best friend finds out and then others become suspicious. The secretive couple gets exposed. One loses a job. The other gets kicked out of school, yada yada yada.

For some reason, `Breaking Gravity` wasn´t entirely like that. So, the student / teacher story wasn´t new…. but the flair the story gave off was refreshing. Both main characters have dealt with unimaginable pain in their pasts and yet both weren´t completely unwilling to move forward, despite knowing about the consequences of their actions. They had something to look forward to: seeing each other.

I was rooting for the main characters. It took me a lot of will power not to get out the pompoms and cheer for Nate and Elon. I actually wanted the characters to get exposed as quick as possible because they fit so beautifully together.

What I loved most about the story was the fact that the author approached different real life issues, such as: death, abuse and addiction. The author´s ability to let her characters suffer from these issues was wild. It made her characters feel more authentic / realist and relatable. And it made them 100% lovable.

Do Nate and Elon live happily ever after? Or will life force them apart?

Read it and find out for yourself. I can say, without a doubt, that this is my favorite student / teacher romance.

`Breaking Gravity` is a warming, beautiful, swoon worthy, hot and full of hope romance that´ll stick to a reader like glue for weeks after reading.

Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Would I reread this book? I already have…* smile *

The Cover – 5 stars ( I have been gushing over this cover weeks before I even bought the book. Such a beautiful and unique image. There was no way I was not going to have this book.)

The Story – 4 stars ( Student / Teacher romances don´t usually float my boat but this story did.)

The Characters – 5 stars ( Nate was the perfect Hero. Ruined, moody, passionate, hot. Every woman needs a Nate in their lives. Elon was an equally perfect character. Loving, clever, guarded, witty. What more can I ask for? Nothing.)

My emotional state after finishing this read? Totally, utterly, 100% happy and satisfied.

I´m giving `Breaking Gravity` by author Autumn Grey 4 out of 5 stars.

Instagram Book Box Feature

°•○BOOK BOX FEATURE○•° This came in the mail today and I couldn't wait to share this beauty with you guys. 'Breaking Gravity' by the wonderful @autumngreyauthor. This is one of those covers you can admire all night long *dreamy sigh* So mesmerising. If you don't hear or see anything from me then I'm either swooning or reading. Have a fab day and don't forget to share the 📚🖤 . . . . . #bookpic #bookaholic #addictedtoreading #addictedtobooks #bookaddict #booknerd #bookwhore #bookjunkie #bookninja #libraryofinstagram #igreads #igbooks #bookstagram #instaread #iaminlove #booklove #books #paperback #bookphotography #pages #author #outdoor #booksbooksbooks #bibliophile #beautifulcovers #coverpic #prettybooks #📚 #germany #bücherwurm

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This book can be purchased at Amazon.com

Latest Instagram Features from Morgana´s Book Box

It´s time for a few honorable Instagram Book Box Feature mentions!

I proudly present my recent works. Lots of love, sweat, energy, yelling at the dog, telling my kids not to run on the road, fighting with wind, rain and heat were invested in creating these pics. Have a look…. 🙂

Happy Saturday, everyone!🌸 My neighbor caught me examining her flowers today from my kitchen window and invited me to pick a few, even offered me the whole bush as it annoys her😂. So- a purple 💜BOOK BOX FEATURE💜 it is today. Let's give it up for one of my favorite books by @pccastauthor – 'Devine By Mistake' (Partholon #1). Such a beautiful story worth losing yourself in. Okay, chichas… gotta run. Hope you all have a lovely day. Don't forget to share the 📖💜! . . . . #bookstagram #libraryofinstagram #love #fantasy #paranormal #read #book #paperback #series #pccast #partholon #bookworm #bookpic #bookphotography #purple #flowers #bookishfeatures #feature #saturdaynight #germany #bookjunkie #ilovebooksmorethanpeople #bookstagrammer #bookblogger #instablog #instablog #readingissexy #magical #📚

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*waves enthusiastically* Hey all you lovely people! How's it going? Enjoying the heat?☉ I've been hiding in the shade reading one 📖 after another and contemplated on buying a sombrero ( I burn poorly while tanning. Life's such a bitch) Anyways… while hiding i managed to get a ☆☆BOOK BOX FEATURE☆☆ done. ' Verführt' (Colours of Love) by Kathryn Taylor. All in all a nice read. Keeo sharing the 📚💓 . . . . #romance #lovestory #love #books #bücher #lesen #read #leseratte #bücherwurm #suckerforromance #igreads #libraryofinstagram #ilovebooks #bookstagram #bookworm #booknerd #bookwhore #bookjunkie #bookninja #bookcover #📚 #liebe #androidphotography #s7 #bookphotography #bookpic #bookfeature #germany #read

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Happy Monday! 🤓What to do with your kids and their friend when they're bored as hell? You force all 3 to sit and pose for a book box pic😂 Yes. I was deeply hated before/during/after this pic. Was it worth it? Definitely! I'm in love. ( btw- left and center are mine ) Hope you all enjoy your day and don't forget to share the 📚💜! . . . . . #instakids #childrensbooks #kidsandbooks #mygirls #bookbuddies #bookstagram #bookbesties #bookfriends #readingbooks #androidphotography #bookworm #books #booklove #paperback #bookstagrammers #instabooks #igreads #bookphotography #fortheloveofreading #outdoors #kinder #mädchen #lesenmachtglücklich #buchliebe #bookgram #lesenmachtschlau #germany #📚 #lesen #monday

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What do you think?

Feel free to find and stalk me on Instagram under Morgana´s Book Box and leave a like and comment! If not, then I might cry a round or two then I´ll get over it.

Hope you all have a lovely day! Don´t forget to share the book love!

Book Review- The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent

Book Description

Layla Robinson is not crazy. She is suffering from unrequited love. But it’s time to move on. No more stalking, no more obsessive calling. 

What she needs is a distraction. The blue-eyed guy she keeps seeing around campus could be a great one—only he is the new poetry professor—the married poetry professor.

Thomas Abrams is a stereotypical artist—rude, arrogant, and broody—but his glares and taunts don’t scare Layla. She might be bad at poetry, but she is good at reading between the lines. Beneath his prickly façade, Thomas is lonely, and Layla wants to know why. Obsessively.

Sometimes you do get what you want. Sometimes you end up in the storage room of a bar with your professor and you kiss him. Sometimes he kisses you back like the world is ending and he will never get to kiss you again. He kisses you until you forget the years of unrequited love; you forget all the rules, and you dare to reach for something that is not yours.

My Thoughts

I had high hopes for `The Unrequited` by Saffron A. Kent. After one look at that cover I had a feeling the book was going to be an epic read.The Unrequitted

Let´s just say this story didn´t do it for me as much as I hoped it would.

`The Unrequited`- A student / teacher, stalker / teacher story that seemed more questionable than anything else. Did I like it? Not so much.

The opening scene starts off with Layla visiting her therapist / guidance counselor, which is a super interesting scene and a fabulous character introduction. A reader gets a colorful POV from Layla, a lonely and special individual who mourns the loss of her stepbrother / best friend / love of her life and can´t seem to function without him. Layla has an unhealthy obsession for Caleb and without him…her life spirals out of control. The weird thing is- ( BEWARE! SPOILER AHEAD ) he´s not dead. He just moved away.

Not too shabby, right?

Layla, one day, stumbles upon a mysterious, hot guy ( a.k.a The Blue Eyed Smoker ) and follows him across campus and into his class. Yupp. He´s a professor and teaches poetry. Something Layla has no effin´ clue about, yet she finds herself a seat and makes herself comfy.

Okay. So, this is where the story went slightly downhill for me and I fully blame it on both main characters.

As mentioned above – Layla is this lost soul who doesn´t really know what to do with herself because of the one guy she can´t have. Her life looks peachy on the outside but from the inside- she´s an emotional mess. It´s like a thick rain cloud constantly follows her. And, her favorite pastime activity is stalking.

Thomas, the professor, the blue-eyed smoker, the successful published poet- just as depressing only he acts like a glorified dick. BUT, he has his reasons. There´s an explanation for everything. * sigh *

The two together couldn´t have been more different and still, they found a way to be together.

I´m going to be frank, here.

Layla was nuts. Thomas was nuts. The way he treated her was unbelievable and Layla let everything happen to her. Without a word she played the doormat for the professor and it wasn´t pretty reading about it. That doesn´t really put them both in a nice light, if you ask me. But there was a reason for the way he treated Layla. And there was a reason for why Layla let Thomas act the way he did.

But after I was a little over halfway through the story, I didn´t really care if there was a specific reason for their actions anymore. Who in their right mind would treat another person as poorly as the Hero did? For me, he wasn´t worth it. I would have left his class and flipped him off on the way out. Thomas´ mood went up and down, in and out. He wasn´t good with speaking words but boy, did he know how to put someone in their place. I was super close to DNFing the story.

I set the book aside and took a break for a few days. I didn´t want to completely give up but I needed some time away from the crazy. After a few days I reentered Layla and Thomas´ world with a more open mind and finished the story.

I think the main reason why this book didn´t do it for me was me. I´m someone who loves to relate to characters. I love to imagine myself in their position. But with these figures I couldn´t do it. Their actions weren´t anything shocking, to be honest, but I don´t stalk, nor can I imagine myself doing so. I don´t let anyone talk to me in a degrading way and have sex with them afterwards, so their actions weren´t really something to be excited about.

Aside from my dislikes, there were a few things that, indeed, brought me joy.

The writing was impeccable. There was a great reading flow and a perfect balance between action, narrative and dialogue.

The end was really good. I liked how things turned out for the characters, despite me not fully liking them.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. I´m not sure to whom I´d recommend this book to. It does come with a warning that this story is for ages 18+ and also deals with sensitive topics, e.g. cheating.

Would I reread this book? Probably not.

The Cover – 5 stars ( It´s a beautiful cover image with eye-catching colors.)

The Characters – 2 stars ( They weren´t for me. )

The Story – 3 stars ( In general, not a bad idea. Just not my cup of tea. )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

I´m giving `The Unrequited` by author Saffron A. Kent 3 out of 5 stars

Purchase the book here.

A Tale Of Too Many Bookworm Boxes

I´m a huge Colleen Hoover fan. Maybe not THE greatest, most passionate fan in the entire world but I do love the authors books. I´ve been a fan for years and never missed out on anything the author has published.

It was late 2016 when I first noticed The Bookworm Box. A few people I knew were posting pictures of cute little purple boxes filled with all sorts of book related goodies and 2 random signed paperbacks, and that got me curious. I decided to get in touch with a few people and ask what all the fuss was about.

„It´s SO cool!“ One friend said.

„I love the Bookworm Box. And the proceeds for each box go to charity!“ Another friend said.

Now, that got me interested.

So, not only was a person going to receive 2 signed paperback books with lots of swag, the money spent for a box goes to charity? COOL! I loved the idea but still needed more info before purchasing a box.

To make a long story short – I checked the Bookworm Box homepage out. I went through every category like a crackwhore just to see what the catch was, because…. the Bookworm Box sounded too good to be true. I studied the whole website. Turned it inside and out.

How does it work?

Well, it´s really simple. For a certain amount of money you receive a monthly box subscription that includes 2 signed books and swag ( bookmarks, magnets, postcards…. anything that is book related ). The fee you pay per box goes to a chosen charity. 100% of the profit after overhead costs will be donated to different charities each month.

Easy, right?

But there is a catch. A minor one. The signed books you pay for are a surprise. You have no power over which book you´ll receive when you purchase a Bookworm box. I never thought of that as a problem because I did have faith that the owner of the Bookworm Box, author Colleen Hoover, wouldn´t send out just any type of book, right?

Needless to say- I found nothing fishy or dubious about the Bookworm Box. I was getting signed copies, plus I was discovering new authors… AND at the same time, I was giving to charity. BOOM! A win / win situation.

Now,  Bookworm boxes for us folks across the pond are a little more expensive. In the end, I paid around 50-60 Euros for my first Bookworm Box. That´s not really a great deal, considering the fact that I can get roughly 4-6 books from that kind of money. But hey….. We´re talking about the Bookworm Box, here. Good deeds. Great reads!

I dove head first into the system with blind trust, fully aware that I was paying alot of money for a cute purple box filled with book goodies.

bookworm2

The first order went smooth. It took exactly 1 month for my box to arrive and when it did, I was one happy camper. Mine! ALL MINE!

And because I was satisfied I continued my subscription for the following month.

Although I was in love with the Bookworm Box I had to skip a few boxes because not even I can afford to pay 50-60 Euros every month for 2 signed paperback books.

Everything went well and I stayed a happy fan until one day a box I skipped arrived.

Hmm. Okay. Fine. Maybe there was a misunderstanding on my part. Maybe I accidentally clicked the wrong button and didn´t really skip a box. Stuff like that can happen although I´m usually super careful with online stuff ( you can NEVER be to careful, am I right?). I waved the situation off and accepted the box, knowing I was going to be billed for the box I received. That same day I logged into my Bookworm Box account and checked if I actually skipped the box and I did. So why did the mailman deliver one? Who knows. Again, I clicked the skip button because…. I was sort of broke and couldn´t afford the following box.

A month later….

The mailman delivered 3 Bookworm Boxes. 3 (!!!) pretty purple book goodie packages on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My first thought was:

  • The people over in Texas must find me special enough to sent me 3 Bookworm boxes
  • I won 3 boxes
  • Someone messed up
  • The internet was broken

One thing was for sure- I skipped that months box. There was no way I ordered those three. In the websites FAQs it´s stated that if you order more than one box then they cannot guarantee different books in those boxes. Meaning- you can get doubles and triple copies. Knowing that, why would I go out of my way and order more than 1 box if there´s a chance that I´ll receive more than 1 copy of the same book? Plus pay for that willingly? Speaking of paying…. I was billed for 3 boxes. Boxes I didn´t ask for because I hit the `skip` button.

I´m a stay at home mother. That means I have no income because I don´t work. I have 2 kids, a husband and we all live in a house that is under construction work since God know´s when. I´m not someone who complains much because life is what it is- not always easy. We´re not wealthy enough to throw money out the window but we´re not close to being poor, either. I can manage treating myself once in a while without living off of toast and butter for 2 weeks until pay-day.

I cannot buy 3 Bookworm boxes and sleep well at night. 3 boxes would be around 165 Euros for me. Can you imagine what my face looked like when the mailman delivered those packages? I was in tears because I was billed. That´s when I contacted the Bookworm Box. They needed to know that something wasn´t right. Customer service is a treat. The woman I exchanged emails with was a lovely, considerate person and after our brief exchange I was convinced that the problem was solved. I mean- we´re all only human, right? Mistakes can be made. But I was still billed.

A month later…..

3 (!!!) more boxes. I was in tears and ready to set my laptop on fire. That day my husband came home and we had a huge argument over my supposedly Bookworm Box addiction. In hindsight, I can´t blame him for his reaction. He saw 6 books, double, triple copies and thought I had lost it completely. To be honest- I thought I had lost it because I thought the problem had been taken care of. I was billed again.

I contacted the nice folks at the Bookworm Box once again and I was told that I had 3 accounts with each a subscription. I knew that wasn´t possible. I remembered signing in once. Because once is enough. After a long exchange I was promised the boxes wouldn´t be billed and that the 3 accounts would be deleted right away. I even got an apology, but that wasn´t any help because..I was billed anyways.

A few days later… 1 single box arrived. More tears were shed. I fired up my laptop and wrote another email, explaining that I got another box despite the fact that my account (s) has been deleted. I was freaking out. Why? Because by that time my credit card company froze my credit card because I reached my credit limit. One look at my online credit info had me in more tears. There I saw many many Bookworm boxes.

„Pay it forward.“ Was what the nice lady said. That´s a tough act for me to pull off because I live in Europe. No one from my inner / outer circle reads english novels. And doing a giveaway would involve more money from my side. Shipping costs can be a bitch. There was no way to pass the multiple books to someone else without having to pay.

You´re probably wondering about refunds, right?

Well, I was promised a refund for the boxes I received at the time but haven´t really gotten a refund.

That is scary stuff because I´ve never in my entire life reached my credit limit. I´ve never spent so much money on books before. Knowing you´re being billed is one thing. But seeing it with your own eyes will take you to a whole other level of “What the fuck am I going to do!”

In the end, I paid a stupidly, outrageous amount of money for books and swag. Money I don´t have and would never spend on surprise boxes, not even for the cute purple Bookworm boxes. Not even if it´s for a good cause. That´s a month worth of groceries for a 4 p. household. I could also get a complete outfits for my girls including gifts for each.

My point is- the money I unwillingly spent could have been used more productively. Not even the fact that my money went to charity can make me feel better because… Right now? With my bill? I don´t give a hoot about chartity.

Bottom line:

The Bookworm Box isn´t evil. The people at the Bookworm Box aren´t evil. But I do believe their system needs a little over looking and a good polish. Situations like mine shouldn´t happen.

Despite me being temporarily in a financial mess I still am a fan of the author and the Bookworm Box. I think it´s a great idea and will continue to support their cause, if only silently. I´m just going to stay far far away from them, from now on. I´ll admire all the good these people do from afar and hope to God I never receive another package again.

I want to end this on a good note without destroying anyone. I have no wish to purposely ruin anyone´s reputation, either. I just wanted to share my experience with The Bookworm Box, even if it wasn´t as great as I had hoped it would be.

All the best to the people at The Bookworm Box.

Ridiculous Book Sex

Alas, a subject I have been dying to write about. A topic that needs further discussion.

Sex in books.

Romance readers want to have a good time while reading. They want the heartache, the sappy moments, etc. If a romance has the whole package, including good sex scenes, then it´s a total win for us readers.

Reality has taught us that sex can be loads of fun ( If done right, of course. ) and reading about it in a book that has a drop-dead-gorgeous male protagonist in it makes the head theater much more fun.

When I´m reading an erotic romance I´m literally waiting for a good sex scene with great sex. You know- the mind-blowing kind. The kind of sex in books that take a reader to a complete new level of horniness. I´m not talking about reading a porn….I´m referring to a romance / erotica novel that has sex in it. ( okay….maybe erotica novels come pretty close to porn, or not. What do I know?!)

In my opinion – reading about sex cannot be compared to pornography because… Well, characters in books have background stories and go through emotional highs and lows. Porn doesn´t. Although, my husband disagrees with me on that one. Just the other day he tried to convince me that porn movies have an actual plot. * Hangs head * Romance novels keep it real to a certain extent.

ANYWAYS…. Back to book sex:
I bow before any author who writes about sex. Period. I cannot imagine how hard it is to write about 2 people screwing and gushing their feelings for each other. Some authors have so much talent in that department. I often ask myself if those scenes came from personal experience or if it´s just a thought up scene. Imagined. Either way…..I love extremely well written, fully described, sensual, intimate sex scenes in novels. Nothing makes me more happy to know someone put a lot of thought into a scene like that. It´s actually pretty cool if you think about it.

But then there are authors who just write about sex. You know…..the questionable kind. The kind that puts huge question marks on my panties instead of making them change their color.

Now- this is a subject we all can discuss to no end because everyone has a different opinion on what good sex is. Which is fine by me. We all have different tastes, right? I´m not judging anyone if they like to read about any type of bed sports. To each is their own. But in some cases ( no matter what kind of sex I´m talking about) the sex is too much to take in. It´s also almost tacky. Tasteless. 

Authors often over-do it with their sex scenes. I´m not talking about all authors. I´m only referring to 75% of self published writers who include sex in their romances.

I consider myself still young, with being 35. I´m practically living in the best years of my life. But not even I find it sexy to read about characters who screw at every given opportunity. I can´t, by all that´s holy, visualize a sex marathon that goes on and on and on without feeling some sort of mental exhaustion after a while.

You have to keep in mind that I´m 35, not 20. I have a hard time keeping up with fictional characters these days because all they want to do is have sex. Even if I wanted to, I couldn´t have as much sex as book characters have. It´s as if these fictional characters are trying to compete with rabbits.

I know that the stories I read ( especially in the romance/erotica world) aren´t meant to be realistic. Still…..cut me some slack here- At some point, a Heroine has to start walking like John Wayne after she´s been well screwed / shagged / fucked by the sex-God from down the road. I´d definitely need a weeks worth of bed rest if were a female protagonist from any sex loaded novel.

I live in Europe…which means people over here are confronted with sex on a daily basis in a healthy way. Sex is apart of life. No need to shut up about it.   Either people like it kinky, or they don´t. No one is utterly fazed or shocked over here. So, before anyone gives me the ” Prude” stamp- keep in mind that I´m as open-minded as anyone can be. You cannot shock me with sexual acts or dirty talk, or what-not. I just do not appreciate bad / too much sex in a book. That just distracts from the actual plot. Or a terrible dialogue, for that matter.

An author can make their characters as kinky as they want them to be…I still don´t think anyone or anything should have sex 20 times a day, as some authors LOVE to make their characters do. That just…..hurts to think about.

 

And, please, * slamming hands on table, leaning forward, giving the stern look*, what is it with the Dialogue during sex scenes? Has anyone noticed how the majority of romance / erotica heros do the ultimate „ You´re so wet for me“ line?

Or, wait! I got a better one!

“Come for me, baby“  *shaking head* Am I the only one who noticed those two sentences in almost EVERY romance / erotica novel lately?

It´s not the sentences alone that are terrible. It´s the fact that those sentences come up in every damn sex scene. Let´s say characters X and Y are having sex for the first time. And all of a sudden X says: „ Oh, you´re so wet for me.“ Okay. It´s a line that isn´t original, but it´s still okay. If an author believes those words must be included, fine.

When X and Y have sex the second and third time ( in the same night, day, week ), X says the same words to Y. Uuhm… * scratching head * Does Y need a bucket because she´s so wet? Should X fetch the Tupperware just in case?

Obviously, X can´t get over the fact that Y gets wet! Y get´s utterly wet as soon as X touches her! Y is leaking.

And when X commands Y to orgasm ( or better…to come – to cum ) Y magically orgasms. Every single time! Some ladies might find that ” to orgasm ” on command is a hard task to do. But who am I kidding * wave off * I´m thinking way to realistic. What do I know, right?

Let´s rehash-

X is fascinated by the fact that Y gets so wet for him all the time that he needs to announce it.

Y can orgasm on command effortlessly because X is DA SHIT!

Let´s do a real life version of a novel sex scene ( of course, a woman has a few options on how to respond to the magic words)-

Guy: „ oh, Baby….you´re so wet for me.“

Woman: ( option nr. 1 ) „ U-huh.“

Woman: ( option nr .2 ) „ Really? How bad is it down there?“

Woman: ( option nr. 3 ) „ Yeah, I´m so wet for you.“

Or the woman might not give any answer and enjoy what´s bound to happen.

Guy: „ You want to come? Then come, NOW!“

Woman: „ Hold on…I´m almost there…“

Guy: „ No. I want you to come, NOW“

Woman: „ I can´t now. Just keep doing what you´re doing…almost there…“

Guy: ” NOW! Damn it ! N.O.W! Why can´t you orgasm on command?!“

Woman: „ Because I´m NOT  Y from those non-unique sex scenes!!!!“

Do you see my point? A dialogue like that can make whatever feelings I developed disappear into thin air. Poof! Just like that. Gone.

It´s also just as cringe-worthy when the words „moist“ and „cream pie“ are over used. There must be a way to replace those words with something more… fitting? Moist are my kitchen towels after I dry the dishes. And cream pie…. it´s a pie or cake, for heaven’s sake.

And now- while we´re at it… Let us comb through the phrases used in sex scenes. Let´s call it the sex lingo.

Ready?

  • …she tasted like honey…..“ ( I guarantee you, no one tastes like honey down south. Male and female do NOT taste like honey. It´s just a fact. If it were true then you´d be seeing a lot more people going down and having a 3 course meal with „honey“)
  • .. until I finally found her secret center…“ ( A vagina isn´t Narnja. It´s not the rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland. It´s not Barbie´s secret garden, either)
  • …his maleness, passing the petal soft folds of her womanhood…“ ( No vagina lips can be compared to petals. Touch a rose petal then touch vagina lips. It ain´t possible. But touch a turkey´s overlapping skin on his neck and then try touching a vagina. And vagina lips don´t fold. They´re bunched in your underwear. )
  • … I was drowning in her juices…“ ( How many characters are leaking? )
  • …I was blinded as I soared over the edge…“ ( I never went blind before/during/after an orgasm. Maybe I´m doing something wrong? And I never soared anywhere except for the one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to turn on the bedroom light but missed the wall and switch and went „soaring“ towards the floor. That shit hurt.)

Why compare food and drinks to body fluids? Why not stick to the truth instead of misleading the innocent and giving them weird ideas? Am I thinking too realistic here?

Sometimes people don´t smell like Christmas spices when they pull down their underwear. I can already hear you say „ Eeeeew“ after reading that but it´s true. Any person who´s sexually active KNOWS the dark secrets of sex. And no author has interest in coloring out the harsh reality of event.

Most writers would rather have you believe it´s fabulous to give your partner a blowjob after being on the road for 12 hours with 3 bathroom breaks in between ( without the possibility to wash up..like, at all). There are no rose scents involved there, trust me. Yet, authors will have you believing that the sexual drive between their characters is greater than anything else. They let their characters focus on their lust and ignore the wet fox smell.

As you can probably tell by now, I´ve read some crazy stuff over the last few years and I have a strong feeling that nothing is going to change.

Can we just try to call „his sword“ a penis? Use cock, for all I care….but sword? And how about vagina instead of „where she was moist and desperate“? It´s a vagina. It´s a penis. Either you have one or the other. And maybe it´s a good time to mention that sex is fantastic but sex doesn´t always sell. 

I´m just afraid if young women ( who haven´t had sex yet) read those scenes….they´ll think it´s supposed to be like that in real life. * head against table*

Authors should try to come up with better lines. These people aren´t called artists for no reason. Authors have so many ideas and words to work with…. it should be a piece of cake to come up with something better than „You´re so wet for me.“. It´s really not funny anymore to read the same lines in 80% of all books I read.

This is not meant to discourage writers to include sex in their stories. This is meant to help spark their passion for finding better, more authentic words for their scenes.

Review- Dirty Dix (#1 Hard Love Romance) by Monica James

Book Description

I knew she was bad news when she walked into my office, but I just couldn’t help myself… 

Filthy, sexy and full of surprises, Juliet is so hot she has me on fire. I’ve met my match and I can’t help going back for more. 

Then there’s Madison… she’s sweet, funny and awakens in me a fierce need to protect her. 

But I don’t do relationships. I don’t usually do the same woman twice. 

Juliet and Madison: Two very different women have got me completely hooked. 

Who will I choose? 

I know who I should choose, but I never said I was the hero of this story, or even the good guy. And besides, who wants to be good, when it feels so good being bad? 

My tale isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re game, strap yourself in and expect the unexpected. But don’t say I didn’t warn you… 

My Thoughts

Monica James is my GO – TO author. This woman has her writing down to a T. It all started out when I read her very first novel `I Surrender` a few years back. Now, many published books later, I´m sitting here and feeling as happy as any reader could feel.

What can I say about this book?

`Dirty Dix` ( Book #1 in the Hard Love Romance ) is a fun, exciting and intriguing read that´ll put you on a ride you´ll never forget. In fact, this story is so addictive it makes it´s readers long for more.Dirty dix

The story is brilliant. Easy going and playful at first and then everything slowly becomes complicated.

New Yorks top psychiatrist, Dr. Dix Mathews, drowns in two women who are both toxic to his own health.

Both women couldn´t be more opposite from one another and Dr. Dix finds himself in a position he shouldn´t have been in the first place.

What to do, what to do? Dr. Dix is screwed one way or another. Or is he?

This book  reminds me of a time when I dated 2 guys at the same time. I was 16 back then and everything went well before both were standing in my mom´s livingroom. The one guy had a bouquet in his hands and the other wore a confused look on his face. I decided to bail. Crawl my way out of the house through my bedroom window and make an epic escape. But I got caught by my mom outside ( I was a terrible teenager).

I wish Dix had a window to make a grande escape but he wasn´t so fortunate ( neither was I, to be honest. I had to deal with both and ended up alone until I dated my husband 3 years later. What a miserable time!).

ANYWAYS…. Dix.

I loved Dix. His character was something special. A doc who helped others for a living got caught up in his own little personal hell. What´s not to love? Reading his parts brought so much satisfaction. The poor bastard struggled. He was a professional with a broken heart who ignored the rules. And with every step that beautiful man took he unintentionally dug his own grave deeper and deeper. He was fighting an emotional war with his desires, his own personal addiction.

Dix and Juliet were a match made in sex heaven. Dix and Madison were a match made in relationship heaven.

Who will he pick? Both? Neither? Will anyone find some sort of happiness in this book? You´ll have to find that one out for yourself.

All I can tell you is that this story was so good I couldn´t put it down. And the cliffhanger ending… I saw it coming. I truly did. I just hoped it wouldn´t happen. But it did and now I´m left with the awkward feeling of not knowing what´ll happen next until I can get my greedy claws on book #2, `Wicked Dix`.

An enticing, sexy and hot read!

The Cover – 4 stars ( I´m not such a fan of a buffed torso on a book cover but I am a fan of a white shirt and black tie. There´s something sexy about that. And the colors are great.)

The Story – 5 stars ( Way cool. Brings back so many ugly but now funny memories.)

The Characters – 5 stars ( Dix, Madison, Juliet, Finch and Hunter… What a great lot!)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Excited. I just can´t wait to find out what happens next!

I´m giving `Dirty Dix` ( Book #1 Hard Love Romance) by Monica James 5 out of 5 stars.

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To purchase this book  click here

Review For New Branding Design

To brand or not to brand.

Ever since I started blogging I wanted to make a name for myself. The internet is swamped with names and brands and logos. Everywhere you look, businesses (big and small) have symbols that represent their company or their cause. I wanted that. My only problem was – Who to contact?

I spent countless hours on the internet, searching for someone who could make my dream come true. And while I found a ton of great designers who had incredible portfolios…. I didn´t feel they were able to deliver.

What I truly needed was a mind reader. Or someone who would take one look at my social media profiles and say „Yupp. I´ll whip something up.“ I know, that´s not really possible, but I would have preferred that instead of talking to people who don´t know me and my weird, quirky, complicated ways.

It never dawned on me to ask the one person who has been in my Facebook friends list for the last few years.

I stalked her. Snooped on her website and her Facebook timeline. I loved what I saw. I adored her work and I wanted exactly what she had to offer.

Trust me when I say I´m not an easy person to work with. When someone asks me a simple question like „What´s your favorite color?“ then all hell breaks loose in my head. How can I pick a color when the world is filled with hundreds of beautiful shades of everything, right?

Despite my odd self I decided to just go for it. To contact the mastermind that runs Cover Me Darling and see if that woman was able to read minds.

Well, she wasn´t able to read my mind. She didn´t need to. A few simple questions and a fill-in-form was all it took to create what I had in mind. Here´s the info I gave her to work with:

  • I like cool colors ( bold to pastel….as long as it stays in that section of the color wheel)
  • I adore everything from the Art Nouveau era.
  • I believe in „less is more“.
  • I´m not the girly girl type but I do like a feminine touch.

I can´t imagine that description could be any designers dream come true. For me – that screams nightmare.

I sat back, thinking it would take at least a good month to get my branding done.

In less than 2 days (!!!) I was presented with a design. I don´t know how the designer did it but the woman created what I believed was impossible.

SignatureLogo

SecondaryLogo

The font, the elements, the color scheme…. The image as a whole represents who I am and what I stand for. The design is simple and unique. It´s feminine and beautiful. It stands out. I couldn´t have found a better designer.

FacebookProfile

Marisa Shor from Cover Me Darling embodies professionalism with a personal touch. 

I felt welcomed. I felt understood. I felt like my thoughts and ideas were in good hands. 

Would I go back for another design?

I would. Over and over again. This designer has mad skills. Her ability to take what little info I gave her and create something awesome is truly a reason to go back for more designs. 

Would I recommend Cover Me Darling?

Yes. Whatever is needed regarding designs…Cover Me Darling is the place to go to.

Stalk The Designer:

Homepage  Facebook   Twitter  Instagram  cover me darling

Review- Thicker Than Blood (#1) by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley

Book Description

A true friendship never dies. 

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.

My Thoughts

It´s super dangerous for my wallet when I visit a book signing. Once I´m in a room packed with awesome authors then there´s no stopping me ( Don´t judge. It´s an illness ). Within an hour I´m broke, yet, at the same time I´m richer than anyone I know.

That´s how I came upon this little treasure. The RARE ´17 Berlin book signing was my undoing.

`Thicker Than Blood` by authors Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley belonged to the many books I purchased that day. I walked up to the author´s table and asked what she would recommend and VOILA!Thicker than blood

I´m always looking for something new in the book universe. Something a topic that hasn´t been told to death over the last 5 years. I want something that will grab my attention. I need a story that´ll do all kinds of things to my emotional household. I need excitement. I need something that´ll blow my mind.

And right now I need to give these authors a high five for writing such an amazing story.

I was hooked the moment I began reading and I felt like someone hit me with a frying pan when I finished the story.

Perfect! That´s exactly what I´m looking for in a book!

So, what are we dealing with in `Thicker Than Blood` ?

  • a zombie apocalypse

  • a friendship like no other

  • survival

And with that we automatically deal with the whole pallet of emotions. And boy, did I go through some nasty up´s and down´s.

The authors created a new world in such a brilliant way and made me suffer along with their characters until the very last page.

The author´s created a world that felt oddly real.

I´ve watched zombie movies / shows and I´ve read my fair share of zombie books before. They´re amusing and entertaining but they hardly feel realistic. Yet, I never ended up sitting on my sofa, thinking about the „what if´s“ like I did after reading this book. There came a point where I had to remind myself that this was just a work of fiction. A brilliantly written, thought-up piece of madness that stunned me.

And the fact that this isn´t a full blown sappy romance just fills my heart with joy. Of course, there´s a bit of lovey-dovey throughout the story…. but nothing you´d imagine. This is a horror / apocalyptic novel with a focus on friendship and survival and a pinch of romance. And the best part- You cannot relate to the characters because no one knows how they´d react in the same situation.

Would I recommend this book?

I most certainly would. Over and over again.

Would I re-read this book?

You can bet your ass I would. But, first, I´m going to read `Beneath Blood and Bone`(#2) before I do anything else. 

The Cover – 5 stars ( The image, the lighting, the blood…. I like it alot. Something I can look at all night long. A total catchy book cover.)

The Story – 5 stars ( When authors create worlds and are good at it then it´s already a winner.)

The Characters – 4 stars ( Eve and Leisel aren´t the best characters ever but their friendship is truly something special. )

My emotional state after finishing this read Pooped beyond means. Mentally and physically preparing for a possible zombie apocalypse and. I might even text my bestie so she can get ready as well.

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I´m giving `Thicker Than Blood` by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley 4 out of 5 stars.

This book can be purchased over at Amazon.com 

Instagram: Morgana´s Book Box Feature

Review- RARE ´17 Berlin Book Signing Event

There are different types of book signing events. There are the ones we all know from back in the days, where authors had a table at a bookstore and signed tons of books for their fans.(Good thing  is – those signings still exist. They´re rare…but every now and again published authors pop into a bookstore and do a signing. * YAY *)

In this Era, book signing events have become more interesting, to say the least. Due to the massive amount of self-publishers ( and their wildly growing fan-bases ) alot of author events have turned into something bizarre ( and that´s putting it mildly ).

Book signings are said to be a great way to meet your favorite author ( maybe even hold a chitchat with them for 2 minutes ) and get your books, kindle covers, boobs and scrapbooks signed. Some signing events also offer full weekends of drinks, parties, meet & greets, and other fun stuff for readers and bloggers. Which is like- the ultimate thing for any book nerd!

Of course, those events aren´t for free. The prices for tickets can be from $10 – $400 , depending on which signing event a visitor decides to go to. In my opinion… I´d rather buy books worth 400 smackers than go to an event that costs that much, plus paying for a hotel room and traveling has to be taken under consideration, too- Unless you´re up for snoozing in your car. BUT…I was told that those highly expensive events were totally worth the money ( I shall never find out ).

I´ve been to quite a few book signings in my life but none have left such impressions as the last 2 I´ve visited. That is why I´ll focus on the last 2 bigger book signing events, here, and I´ll compare them.

I´m generally a happy person. I love to laugh and all that. And I´m also ALWAYS under alot of stress ( work, family, household, bla bla bla). When I´m at a signing I like to think I´m treating myself. Taking a break from being a highly responsible adult and having some Morgana-time without my babies actually helps me recharge enegery. I don´t need a 2 week vacation away from the family. A day or even a few hours can also work wonders.

But when I´m surrounded by madness it´s hard to think I´m treating myself in any way. It´s also impossible to enjoy my Morgana-time away from the family when I´m in a room surrounded by nearly 500 women who run around like headless chicks ( who also sporadically scream from the top of their lungs from excitement) That´s not book heaven. It´s definitely not my idea of having a good time.

And that´s exactly what happened at my first romance book event a few years back in London. Crazed women rushing from author table to author table in hopes of spending endless minutes with their favorite authors. It felt like I was in the Mean Girls movie with 100 Regina George clones.

After that unholy event I swore to never attend a romance book signing event ever again. I valued my sanity far too much to deal with another day of chaotic book women.

Years have passed and the nightmare from the past event eventually faded until I spotted an ad for another romance author event. RARE ´17 Berlin.Rare

Berlin? My heart melted. There was a romance book signing in the country I live in! I didn´t have to leave the country to visit a book signing and I could get a hotel room and I could….. Then it hit me. No. I swore I´d never put myself through another round of disappointment. But the author lineup for the RARE ´17 Berlin event was AWESOME! There was no way I could stay away.

After a week of back and forth I decided to give romance book signings another try. Why not, right? It´s been a few years since the last one. Readers / fans change. ( or, I hoped they did ). I wasn´t 100% convinced but I kept thinking happy thoughts. Everything was going to be alright.

After all- who would want to miss out on meeting Jodi Ellen Malpas, Monica James, Lesley Jones, Kandi Steiner, etc, etc? No me.

After a gruesome 5 hour drive from Frankfurt a.M. To Berlin I finally arrived. My hair looked like squirrels tried to braid it ( driving with an open window cannot be recommended) but I didn´t care. I was on a book mission, not trying to win a beauty contest. As long as no one noticed the chocolate stains in the crotch area I was good to go and halfway presentable. ( I do not recommend eating a chocolate croissant while driving on the Autobahn, either )

Needless to say- I arrived looking like a crazed forest witch, ready to spend time and money.

3 hours, 10 signed books and 6000 spoken words later I reached my limit and decided it was time to go home ( because I totally forgot to book a hotel room ). I wanted to spend some quality time with my newest reads!

And guess what? My fear was…gone. I was confronted with peaceful, nice people. The authors were wonderful. Everyone was smiling, chatting and just having a good time. I was shocked beyond belief! Hof was this possible? The last book signing event was a nightmare. Rare ´17 wasn´t. RARE ´17 Berlin was civilized, organized and just a great place to be.

Was I happy? Definitely. The event was a total success for me. Would I visit another RARE book signing?

Yes. I would.

Ticket price 36.87 Euros

Location – Hotel Estrel in Berlin

Author count – Roughly around 60 ( give or take)

Atmosphere-  Friendly

The authors- The ones I was able to meet were such sweethearts.

My biggest regret- Forgetting my hair brush at home. Forgetting to take pics with all the authors I talked to.

My mood from beginning to end-  Excited to happily exhausted.

All in all a wonderful event filled with awesomeness! Until next time, RARE!

And now – let´s take a look at what the forest witch looked like with the awesome authors! Have fun!

Event Monica

Left: Monica James. Author of the `I Surrender` , `Something Like Normal` & the `Hard Love Romance` books. Make sure to stalk her on Social Media!

Event Ashley

 

Right: Katie Ashley. Author of the `Proposition` & `Runaway Train` books.

 

Event Halle

Right: Karina Halle. Author of `The Pact` and `Dirty Angels`books.

 

Event steiner

Left: Kandi Steiner. Author of `Weightless` & `A Love Letter To Whiskey`.

 

Event Malpas

Right: Jodi Ellen Malpas. Author of the `This Man`& `One Night`books.