Reading Recommendations Celebrates 2 Years of Promoting Authors and Their Books!

IT’S CELEBRATION TIME!

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this celebration of Reading Recommendations’ 2nd Anniversary with so many of the authors and friends who have made the blog what it is today! Since Nov. 18, 2013, I have been promoting Authors on this blog – more than 250 of you!! – to a readership that is worldwide in scope. What began as a way of getting the word out about a few of us has blossomed into an effective means of increasing awareness of books, authors, reading and writing far beyond what I ever believed to be possible! Thank you to everyone – subscribers, readers, authors, publishers, editors – all of you who have read and/or contributed to this blog in one way or another. Please continue to share the information you find here so that other readers may discover Authors and their Books – Great Reading Selections!

I’ve collected a number of congratulatory messages sent to me by friends, authors I’ve known personally for quite a while, others I’ve only met online since their promotions appeared on RR, and a couple of READERS! Since these are the exact people we all write for, I’ll start out by linking to the Readers …

From Violet Gaspe and Cheryl Schenk …
Reading Recommendations 2nd Anniversary Congratulations From Two Readers!

From Tim Baker
Congratulations Reading Recommendations – and thank you Susan!

Since my first novel was released in 2009 I have connected with hundreds of independent authors, but you stand out as a truly unique individual.

In a world where indie authors must wear several hats, one of them being that of head of marketing, it is somewhat common for authors to place a much higher priority on selling their own work rather than the work of their fellow indies, but you chose to break that mold.

For two years you have selflessly promoted the work of others, asking nothing in return. Dozens of authors, myself included, owe you a huge debt of gratitude – as does the book-buying public for introducing them to such a wide variety of talented writers.

You are truly the unsung hero of many success stories!

From Seumas Gallacher
On celebrating the 2nd Anniversary of Reading Recommendations!

From Betty Jane Hegerat
Two years of Reading Recommendations is fine cause to celebrate. I’d like to use the occasion to celebrate Susan and all that she’s done for writers wherever she finds them. The blog is the essence of Susan Toy’s enthusiasm, generosity, and passion for books. I was launching a novel in 2008 when a woman came up to the table where I was signing books and introduced herself as my sales rep. I didn’t know I had a sales rep! From that day forward I was to learn exactly what a good sales representative could to do to promote my books. But Susan has gone far beyond that initial position that she left soon after we met. She poured her energy into Alberta Books Canada, and became a dynamo in finding places and people and events at which she shone a spotlight on we shy authors who are so very bad at promoting our work. I say — Brava, Susan! And huge thanks for your help and your friendship. Keep on doing what you do so well.

J.P. McLean wrote a blog post to celebrate the anniversary!

Mariah719_edited-1Janice Spina had these kind words to say …
Susan Toy is a talented author, publisher, bookseller, an award-winning publishing sales representative, a literacy teacher, and a promoter of fellow authors and their books through her company, Alberta Books Canada. Susan is also an author and publisher, under her imprints, IslandCatEditions and IslandShorts.

I first met Susan online when I came across her informative and interesting blog. I noticed that she was featuring a new author each day and was eager to be part of this wonderful promotion for my books. Susan was gracious and helpful when I requested a slot and was soon featured with my books and links.

She continued to follow me each time I had a new book published offering to post an update to help promote them. Susan’s support has continued to bolster me and my books and has enabled me to pick up more followers and create interest in my work.

Susan Toy is a kind, generous and unselfish supporter of her fellow authors. I am honored and appreciative of her support and consider her to be my friend.

Thank you, Susan, for all that you do to make things possible for fellow authors. I am honored to take part in your blog and help promote you for a change.

Tricia Drammeh has posted to her blog a lovely tribute to me and Reading Recommendations!

Sally Cronin is celebrating the big day by featuring both my books in her Christmas Grotto – About That Last Summer by Susan M. Toy and an Anniversary blog post!

Book Covers From Lockard (Lockie) Young
I met Susan Toy, in the virtual sense, through the internet. We knew mutual online authors and I was just starting to self promote my book, Ryan’s Legend. I graciously accepted Susan’s invitation to promote on her Blog and website Reading Recommendations. I wish I had the specific numbers of how many bought my eBook because of that exposure, because I know I had a boost in sales around that time. I soon found out I was in very distinguished company, and the Authors Susan has promoted over the years, like me, I’m sure are in her debt.

Congratulations on the Second Anniversary of Reading Recommendations, and here’s to many more years of your friendship.

Kevin Brennan has posted Happy Birthday, Reading Recommendations! to his blog in celebration of this anniversary, and he is also offering giveaways over there …

From Maria Savva
Reading Recommendations is an amazing blog. I’m lucky to have been featured on it a few times. Susan M. Toy is not only a talented writer, but she also loves to read, and I remember her saying that one of the reasons she set up the Reading Recommendations blog was so that she could get recommendations of good books to read. I love the idea that the blog is a way of helping fellow independent authors to promote their books, but it also asks those authors to recommend others. It’s a fantastic idea and it’s great to see that it’s still going strong after 2 years!
Happy 2nd Anniversary, Reading Recommendations!

Susan Holmes is reblogging an earlier post about me, For the Love of Island Dogs, that she published on her blog last summer. Susan has also kindly offered a draw prize of a combo Kindle & Audiobook package of Deadly Ties (#1 in the Waterside Kennels mystery series).

Felicity Harley, author and fellow-Bequian, offers poetry and photography as a way of celebrating!

Lockard Young – Reading Recommendation Revisited

Lockard Young was one of the “early adapters” of promoting himself and his work on Reading Recommendations, and since Dec. 9, 2013, Lockie has been featured twice on the blog, here and here when he published his own books, and here as part of an anthology in which a story of mine was also included. Lockie has become a great friend over these past 18 months since we “met” online. He’s been a terrific support of both my writing and the site as well as of his fellow authors. Here’s Lockie to tell us a bit more about himself!

Lockie-Head-Shotfix

RL_ereader Since my last appearance on Reading Recommendations I have finished the sequel to my first book, Ryan’s Legend. This newest called The Legend Returns, picks up a couple months after the first story ends, and continues with the main character, Ryan, struggling with trying to keep his discovery of a real dragon a secret from everyone, including his friends and his parents.

LegendReturns_ereader The Legend Returns came out this year in the beginning of 2015.

However I was also very fortunate to be picked as a guest Author for Tim Baker’s anthology, Path of a Bullet, which was released in 2014 and has one of Susan Toy’s short stories in it, too. I’ve been asked to submit again for another anthology by Mr. Baker, to be released later in 2015. Path Of A Bullet final

I am enjoying taking some free online courses in Fiction Writing and Poetry and have started a Blog and website where I showcase some of my work. I am currently working on a continuation, but not a sequel, to the The Legend series which is currently just two books. The working title is The Legend Never Dies. This story takes place when the main character is not 10 or 12 but nearly finished university. The story opens with the brothers dealing with family death, so this is not for middle grade readers. I’m aiming for a maturity in the writing, in both style and substance, as the main character also matures. The second book was tested for a grade 4 or 5 level, so a progression from the first. I’m hoping if this book is published, it will also be viewed as a progression in both character development and of course story line. I also want the reader to check out my style of writing now, and in a different genre, perhaps YA paranormal will be the moniker of the next book. I am also compiling a humorous collection of short stories dealing with my life as a service plumber, and yes folks, I have really rescued teeth from the family throne. I’m not saying anything else, but hey! Soap and water or four thousand bucks?

I also have another project I am working on which is tough to write and revisit. I want to tell my story in a memoir, how I smoked for 34 years and thought because I had perfect … well, fairly good, lungs and a strong heart, I would be safe from the big diseases and all the other goodies associated with smoking cigarettes. I want to tell the story of a once busy tradesman, now an amputee traveling a very different road, who didn’t know he could lose his leg because he smoked all his life. I think it’s important, and I think I need to tell it.

I am at the stage of my rehabilitation as an amputee that I have been fitted with an artificial leg, and am finally mobile, and working on losing all the weight I gained while I was not mobile at all. I am still not able to drive a car unless it is fitted with hand controls, but as my range of motion in my good leg returns this should improve and I’ll be back to driving myself around. I have acted as a volunteer coach for Ability New Brunswick in this area for anyone who is going through similar circumstances as mine, just to reassure them there really is life after illness but it is not won easily, and they need to fight all the way. I was asked last week to talk to another person, so this meeting is being set as I type this. My medical circumstances over the past couple years has been food for my writing and has inspired several personal essays about my ordeal.

Unfortunately the marketing of my books has been solely through social media. I say unfortunately because there is so much more that can be done. Of course, money and time are two very big obstacles to overcome when promoting. I am still recovering from a near-fatal blockage in my right leg, and I plan on getting out more in my hometown and do some promoting when I can. I think it’s important as an author to try and get over the shyness of self promoting your work. That is a challenge for me because I was never a type to toot my own horn, but there are so many of us out there, we need to get over that shyness and interact more with our reading public. My target audience is young first-time readers in middle grade. They don’t buy a lot of books, but Mom does, so my real target audience is the mothers (and dads, but still mostly mothers) of these boys and girls. That’s who I need to talk to in libraries and schools if I can get into the schools. Not as easy as you might think, but if that is part of your strategy for promoting your book, I suggest getting an RCMP background check, as you will need one anyway. If the book you authored is a cook book, I’d try to get a table at your local supermarket or farmers’ markets on weekends. My advice in a nutshell: get yourself set up on all the social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. To showcase your book or perhaps short stories or poems you’ve written, you might want to start a Website or a Blog.

Lockie’s Reading Recommendations: I mentioned Tim Baker earlier, and his main character, Ike, is someone the reader can like and respect even though Ike does bend the rules a bit. Tim’s books can be found at his website (and on Reading Recommendations). The second author I discovered recently was Seumas Gallacher. His books also center on his main character Jack Calder, an ex SAS British professional, a ‘00’ if you will. His book links and excellent Blog can be seen here (and also on Reading Recommendations). The third author I have read lately that I want to read more of is actually you, Susan. I know that might sound like sucking up, but I’ve read That Last Summer and Island in the Clouds, and I loved both. I saw your growth in Island as a writer, and I can’t wait for your next book. Both are listed here. (And Susan is the brains and promoter behind Reading Recommendations.)

Aw, shucks! Thanks for that shout-out, Lockie!

There’ll Be Some Changes Made …

I was reminded of the Mark Knopfler/Chet Atkins duet when beginning to write this post about the *NEW AND IMPROVED* Reading Recommendations! Although, I won’t be wearing a toupée anytime soon!

blog logo

After promoting more than 200 authors and their books, I decided to change the focus of this blog. For a few months I have been contacting authors directly – those I’ve discovered through Goodreads, through interviews conducted by other bloggers, Facebook, or authors I know personally. And that’s been working well for me as I believe readers will agree these promotions I’ve presented have been terrific. I know many of you have discovered new favourite authors through this blog, because you’ve told me so. But all of this does take a lot of time in tracking down the authors, getting them to send their completed questionnaires in a timely fashion (tap, tap, tap!), then formatting and scheduling the post – not to mention promoting after that. It’s time to step back a bit and take a rest. (It’s also time to get back to writing my own second novel!)

So I will be very selective about who I promote from here on in. Authors will either be personally known to me or have written a book I especially enjoyed reading or have hosted me on their own blog for a review or interview or been published by a company I know and respect. I think this will mean I only post new promotions once a week or so. Maybe less often than that.

But, in the meantime, I’m going back through the list of authors who have already been promoted on this site and will give some of them a second full promotion. I’ll be sending out a new questionnaire to be completed that I hope will give readers more insight into the authors’ lives and careers and will also allow the authors a chance to update us on ALL their publications. To be fair, I’ll primarily be promoting those authors who, in turn, have continued to promote the site, their fellow authors, and me and my books since they first appeared on Reading Recommendations.

Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to and followed and shared and told their friends about books they’ve discovered on Reading Recommendations! That was the point in creating this blog in the first place – to bring attention to many authors and find them readers, and recommend great books to readers. Because it seems that I’m just a gal who can’t say no to being an Author Impresario!

I also could not have done this without all the authors and readers participating in this blog – Thank You Very Much!