5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know

I strongly believe that to be a better writer, you have to be a reader first. I mean, why would you even write, if you don’t like reading in the first place?! I have a very strong opinion about people who want to write even when they don’t like reading, but I’ll discuss it some other time. Today, I want to discuss the 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know.

I have been reading stories in various forms like comics, storybooks, magazines, and of course, novels since childhood, but studies and life came in the way and, well, I wasn’t able to read as much as I had wanted to. 2012 was the year when I dropped out of my Engineering College and decided to find my calling. Having nothing to do to distract me, I started reading and, to cut a long story short, 2 years and some 50-60 books later I realised that I wanted to write. Fast-forwarding to today, I am a published author with one full-length novel published along with an anthology, 3 books in various stages of publishing and another 3 in various stages of writing and it is all because once I started reading, I simply never stopped.

Today, I read about 80-100 books a year without having affecting my writing (well, sometimes I do leave my writing behind to finish a novel that I really like.) And on this beautiful journey if something remained constant then it was a couple of websites that really, really helped me! In my list of 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know, I have introduced these treasures as well as some recent favourites. So do check out these awesome websites and let me know which ones you already knew about and which ones are new to you.

To sum this video up, here’s my list of 5 Bookish Websites That Every Book Reader Must Know:

  1. Goodreads – The biggest social media platform dedicated to books.
  2. Project Gutenberg – The one place where you can find all the classics available in the public domain.
  3. Librivox – Get all the classics in audio format that are available in the public domain.
  4. NetGalley – If you don’t know what NetGalley is, then read this article I wrote a couple of years back (and which is still one my most viewed articles of all time): Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?
  5. Audible – Amazon for audiobooks (literally!)

If you are already on Goodreads, then feel free to send a friend request to or a follow my Goodreads Author Profile.

If you’d like to explore new books and crave discussing books with other book-lovers, then I’d love to invite you to my Book Club – RMFAO, which stands for Reading my Frigging A** Off.
If you’re not on Goodreads and still want to join my Group then I do have a RMFAO Facebook Group for it and even a WhatsApp one – to become a member of RMFAO WhatsApp group please email me your WhatsApp number along with your name at rmfaobookclub@gmail.com

Please feel free to share your personal favourite websites that help you in your everyday reading as I would love to know about them!

8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

A lot of people love reading but when it comes to practising it on a regular basis most of them fail. Wonder why?

More often than not daily life, responsibilities and “important” things come in between you and your love for the written word. Oft times we get too involved or busy in other things that we have no time for something as “time-consuming” or as “frivolous” as reading. Right? WRONG. All these are nothing more than excuses! If you really want to read, you will read – simple as that.

If you love books then they should be important enough for you to make some place for them in your daily life. Reading is my first love and I manage to read anywhere from 5 to 8 books a month. I am a writer, editor in chief and  a manuscript critic, so sometimes work does come in the way, but so far as I can remember, in the last 7 years I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading something. Being a writer it is kind of a necessity for me, but the truth of the matter is that I would not have been a writer in the first place had it not been for my love of reading books.

Just like achieving anything else in life, it needs a bit of patience, effort and planning, and of course, the will to do it.

This article is for those book lovers who, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to cultivate a reading habit and need a little nudge, and for those who have somehow, fallen out of the habit of reading regularly and are looking for a way back in. This article is also for those parents who want to incorporate a reading habit in their child’s or teen’s routine.

8 Steps To Develop A Reading Habit

Reading should be fun, but sometimes to get into a habit you have to make a conscious effort until it comes naturally to you. As a writer, I have to do the same for writing in order to get work done and reading is no different. Please remember that this is only for those who actually love reading and want to develop a routine that’ll help them in reading the books they long to read and not for those who love the idea of reading and have no particular interest in it.

 

1) Make a reading list

Cultivating a consistent reading habit, or any other habit for that matter takes a bit of planning. Reading list, or as we bookworms call it TBR-list) is a list of books that you want to read. Preparing a list of books ahead would not only help you in knowing what exactly to buy, borrow or issue from the library but will also set the mood for a great start. Write down the names of books you’ve always wanted to read. They can be classics or the latest releases. Don’t forget to add the books whose movie adaptations you like because chances are the book would be a hundred times better than the movie.

Search the internet for the top ten books in genres you prefer and go through the first 5-10 lists you find and note down the books that catch your attention, or simply the ones that are common in all or most of the lists. If you want to research further, then read a couple of reviews of these books but be sure of spoilers. Throw some of these names too in your reading list. This way your list would have a nice mix of new and old books which will make reading more exciting for you.

 

2) Get the books in your reading list:

Check the pricing of the books on your reading list online, if you like what you see then buy the books in your preferred format. If the prices of paperbacks and hardbacks are too much, then try going for e-books; they are generally cheaper and can be read on any device including the most basic smartphones. If you don’t like what you see, then check your local bookstores or get the book from a library in your area (if you are in India, JustBooks is a very good library option and has a great online service too.)

Living in this amazing digital age provides us with so many options when it comes to book formats, so go crazy and try them all! You might love the snazzy new Electronic or Audio versions of books that you might have been sceptical about. Get at least two e-books and one audiobook. You can get free classic ebooks at Project Gutenberg (if you are in India, this link might not work, try this one instead.) For free classic audiobooks, you can visit LibriVox. Audiobooks are horrendously priced in India so this website is a great starting point if you are new to audiobooks. Though, you can try the free trial of Audible as well (I did and liked it so I buy a lot from there as they are pretty good.)

 

3) Create goals

Now that you have the books, chalk out your goals because without goals you won’t get far. Set a simple monthly goal or if you really want to be doing this, go for a yearly goal (once you get into the habit of reading, you can set weekly goals too.) For monthly goals, set the number of books you want to complete in a month and likewise for yearly goals. If you are just starting or re-starting after a long time, start with only one book as your goal. Then gradually go up from there. In setting an unreal goal you would only be setting yourself up for failure.

If you want to stick to one book a month only, then your yearly goal would be 12 books in a year, but that’s rarely the case because on your reading journey you’ll find some books you simply won’t be able to read fast enough and will end up finishing them earlier than planned and there will be some books that will turn out to be not as good as you expected them to be. Also, with each passing month, your speed will increase and so will your capacity, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be reading more than 12 books in the first year itself. I’d suggest setting 15 books a year as your first goal if you are serious about developing a consistent reading habit. A lot of my fellow book readers read 100, 200 and some even 500 books a year, so don’t underestimate yourself.

 

4) Create a routine

In order to develop the habit of reading, set aside anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour daily as your ‘reading time.’ It can be while you have your morning coffee or your breakfast, or in the afternoon just before taking a nap or with the evening tea/coffee or, my favourite, just before sleeping in the night – bed-time reading. Do note that this is the time you will be consciously putting into reading – which means for your ‘reading time’ you will deliberately sit, preferably in a comfortable chair or sofa or bed, and put a conscious effort and read the book you’ve picked up. Initially, you might not enjoy reading this way every time, but it’s okay to feel that way, just make sure to read for the minimum amount of time you’ve set for yourself. As the days will pass by and as you’ll start to take interest in the book you are reading, you’ll settle into the routine nicely. You can even set a number of chapters or pages to read every day instead of setting time.
Note that your ‘reading time’ should not be affected by any other times you might decide to read the book during the rest of the day. Treat these extra opportunities as a bonus.

 

5) Utilize weekends and holidays

Read twice or thrice the number of pages or chapters or minutes you generally read on the weekdays. If you have a book that is not too long, say 100-150 pages, then try and finish it over the weekend. It’ll be a great boost to your confidence and will help you ward off boredom which might otherwise settle upon you if you keep on following your routine for long periods of months.
Same way, try and use any unexpected holidays and vacations as an opportunity to get some extra reading time and finishing the book you started. A great way to make use of holidays is to listen to audiobooks while doing something mundane such as doing the laundry or gardening or cooking.

 

6) Always carry a book

This is like a thumb rule or a ‘mantra’ for all bibliophiles. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to work or just taking a walk to the local park or going to school or college or the mall or the movies; always carry a book with you. You should have a book at hand when you are out in the real world in case if you have to wait for someone at a cafe or classroom or if you get some free time on your commute from one place to another or maybe if the queue you’re waiting on takes a really long time to move? These and many more opportunities will always knock on your doors when you are outdoors and it is the best thing to have a book to indulge in at hand. It can be the book you’re already reading or some other book entirely. If carrying a book is physically impossible, then carry ebooks or audiobooks on your smartphones or tablet.
Most of the time I read more than one book at one time so I always carry my Kindle with me whenever I go out in addition to the audiobooks and ebooks that I can access on my phone through LibriVox Audio Books and GuteBooks Ebooks apps respectively.

 

7) Check off the books read and add new ones to the list

Check off the books you’ve finished on your to-read list – strike them off and I bet you’ll feel ecstatic doing it. Don’t forget to add new books to your list that you find along the way or that someone recommends you, but keep in mind not to add ten new books for every one book you read. It’ll only lead you down a path where you might get unnecessarily overwhelmed. Cut off one book and add another. Stick to this as much as you can. But again, don’t limit yourself entirely.
Once in a while, ditch your to-read list and pick up some random good book that you come across in a bookstore or a friend’s place or maybe a book whose adaptation is going to be released in the coming weeks.

 

8) Explore, experiment and enjoy

Once you have developed or at least have started with a reading habit, try to go for different genres. Explore new genres and revisit the old ones from your past. It’ll add another layer of self-indulgence to your reading experience. Also, try and connect with other readers amongst your friends or join online or local book clubs to be in the know of new releases and to discuss books you’re reading or want to read. I highly recommend that you join Goodreads because it is the best place to be online for any book aficionado. I myself run an online book club on Goodreads – RMFAO, and it has helped me and many others tremendously in reading a lot more and better books. I am also a member of a couple of book-dedicated Facebook pages and groups, such as Did You Read Today, and they are amazing and the interacting makes reading more fun as we share our progress, book hauls and random reading-related thoughts there with other like-minded bibliophiles.
Apart from that, you can even join various reading challenges on Instagram (if you are a regular ‘grammar.) They greatly help in making the to-read lists more fun and diverse. You can also follow book-related accounts and hashtags like #bookstagrammers, #readingislife, and many, many more in order to get creative and fun ideas to make your reading a bit more rewarding.

 

In a couple of months, before you even know it, you’d be reading more than you ever imagined you could and that too without even trying too hard. You’ll just have to put in a little effort at the beginning and then once you develop the habit, you won’t even have to try at all. I followed these steps when I re-started reading 7 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I started with reading 1 book in 2-3 months and now can read up to 10 books in a month.

Reading is a beautiful adventure and it should be enjoyed thoroughly in order to experience it completely. keep these steps in mind only at the beginning, later, when you develop your reading routine, forget all the preconceived notions and follow your instincts. This article is just to get you started on the right track.

If you have any questions related to reading or want any book recommendations or want to share your bookish thoughts then feel free to comment below.

Happy Reading!

Ciao ❤

Note: All the images used in this article are my own (except for the featured image which was taken from Pixabay). Visit me @crazycatwriter on Instagram.

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup

Want to read more classics? Re-read an old favourite? A book you missed by a favourite author? Or just browse and discover a forgotten author? This year we are moving the general guideline up to pre-1950, but there are quite a few later books (mainly from the 1960s) that are also acceptable.

A wonderful bonus advantage for this Challenge is that it is easy on the budget since so many are available free in numerous formats (including audio!) from such sites as Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks and LibriVox. You do not need to choose your books ahead of time, you’ve got all year. Late-comers are welcome.

Please note that Classics Catchup was created and is run by RMFAO’s first moderator, Dagny. You can find here on Goodreads here or at her amazingly bookish blog, Vauquer Boarding House

We have different yearly levels for which you can go for. These are listed below.

Levels:

  • Level 1: Casual Reader: 2 books
  • Level 2: Frequent Reader: 3 – 5 books
  • Level 3: Bookworm: 6 – 8 books
  • Level 4: Scholar: 9 – 11 books
  • Level 5: Professor: 12 or more books

Who’s joining? All you have to do is post here saying you plan to participate. You can choose the Level you hope to achieve now, or wait and see how it goes. Don’t know what to read and need suggestions? Just ask!

RMFAO 2018 Classics Catchup Thread

Other challenges that you can participate in are:

If you’re as crazy about reading and books as we are then go wild combining all or any challenges to spice up your reading lists!

One of the coolest things about this challenge is that the mods are so awesome that they even tell you the sources and links to obtain free books available online legally. What else can a bookworm ask for!?

Join RMFAO

In order to participate, simply announce your participation on the main board of RMFAO 2018 Genre Challenge. Or if you have a blog just do a simple post announcing your participation and sharing details of the challenge (you can freely copy and paste from here with a due credit or reblog this post.) Don’t forget to leave a link back here.

Book Tag: Questions And Answers

It’s been over a year since I’ve done any tags. I love doing them (they’re so much fun), but early last year life got real busy and so many tags piled up on top of other blog posts that I decided to pass on all of them. But recently I was tagged by one of my favorite authors, John A. Heldt, and I simply couldn’t resist.

John, the author of critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series, is a longtime friend, and I always look forward to reading his books. He blogs quite regularly, so if you have a few minutes, do check out his blog and books.

Q & A

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

The Shinning by Stephen King. I’m a big Stephen King fan, but for some reason, I never got around to reading this masterpiece by him. I bought the book 2 years back but still haven’t got around to reading it.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Currently, I’m reading Hanna’s Moon by John A. Heldt. My last read was The Beekeeper’s Daughter and my next read is going to be Under The Dome by Stephen King

What book did everyone like but you hated?

Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I won’t say I hated the book, but I was simply not able to get into it in spite of most of my friends loving it.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James and 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz. Both are horrific reads, first one figuratively and the second one literally.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Life’s too short to wait to read a book, but I do plan on re-reading several books after my “retirement” – ASOIF Series, HP Series, etc.

Last page: Read it first or save until the end?

Always save it until the end. Who the hell reads the last page anyway. If won’t make any sense, to say the least, and it would just end up revealing the end. Two big no-nos for me.

Acknowledgement: Waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Being a writer myself, I know how much hard work goes into a book and that is why I love reading acknowledgments page of every single book I read. It makes me feel more connected to the author and the people involved in the making of the book.

Which book character would you switch places with?

Arya Stark of ASOIAF series. It would be hard, but I’d do it anyway.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Game Of Thrones (ASOIAF #1)  by George R.R. Martin. I won’t go into the details but Ned Stark reminds me of my father a lot and the things that happened to him do too.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I almost always buy my own books, so the most interesting way was getting 3 to 4 books delivered by my library at my doorstep every month for an entire year while I was a member. I’m not a member anymore as I realized that libraries are not for me as I hate returning books I love. So I buy them now.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Yes. I’ve given the first copy of my debut novel to my husband. And will keep on giving him the first copy of all my novels.

Which book has been with you most places?

The World’s Best Fairytales by Reader’s Digest Association. It is a big book of fairy tales passed on to me by my grandfather. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.

Any required reading that you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later? 

I’ve not yet read any of Shakespear’s plays because I never enjoyed them in high school.

Used or brand new?

Brand new only. I like my books to be mine and mine alone.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, I’ve read three of his books: The Da Vinci CodeThe Lost Symbol, and Inferno.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Not better than the book, but equally good – The Hobbit (all three movies.)

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

I love cooking (baking to be specific) and I bought The Chocolate And Coffee Bible a few years back. It has some amazing chocolate and coffee recipes and it still makes me hungry every time I flip through its pages.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

My blogging book friend Kim.

Is there a book outside your comfort zone you ended up loving?

None so far.

Okay, now for tagging others…

Kim at By Hook Or By Book

Phoenix at Phoenix Grey

Galit at Coffee n’ Notes

Kate M. Colby at her Fiction Blog

If anyone other than the above mentions wants to do this tag then feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Hope you all having a great start to your week!

RMFAO 2017 Reading Challenges

Hey, everyone. 2017 is almost upon us! It is December, the most magical time of the year, and more so because this is the month we decide and announce the RMFAO Reading Challenges for the coming year!

If you don’t already know, RMFAO is my reading group on Goodreads and it is co-moderated by my very dear friend, Dagny. We have quite a few reading challenges there and have around 300 members. We talk about books and reading related stuff and recommend absolutely amazeballs books to each other. It is a place to be for all the book lovers as you’ll meet some serious bookaholic bibliophiles there.

Back to the point, we just announced the 3rd installment of our most popular challenge on RMFAO – RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge. In this challenge, we read as per the pre-decided Genre-List that changes every year. This year we’re doing it our old way by having 1 unique mainstream genre per month. The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR.7

The participants will just have to refer their TBRs and pick up the books of that genre for that month. This way you get to read 12 genres in one year while finishing off your TBR. Most of the times we end up reading the new recommendations and our TBR pile grows more than ever, but that’s how the life of a book lover is, isn’t it?

Anyway, in case if you guys want to participate, just join the group (if you haven’t already) and announce your participation on the main challenge thread. It can be found here: RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge.

Apart from this, we have other fun Challenges too:

  • Classic Catchup:
    Hosted by RMFAO’s Classics’ Professor Dagny, this challenge gives you a chance to read the Classics. But the best part for me about this challenge is Dagny’s Classic recommendations. I’ve read so many different classics (so much more than I’d have ever read on my own) since I started joining this challenge. So if you’re a classic lover then this place is definitely for you, but in case if you’re like me who is not into classics and have no clue what to read, then is the place to start.classics-catchup
  • RMFAO 2017 Series Challenge:
    This challenge focuses on completing book series. You can either complete a series your started earlier and never got around to finishing it, or you can start a new one and try to finish it within the year.
    To participate all you have to do is drop by the thread (click the name of the challenge above) and announce your participation.series
  • RMFAO 2017 NetGalley Challenge: This challenge needs no explanation. If you are on NetGalley then you should definitely check this one out! The challenge will help you finish all those books that you requested and were accepted for once upon a time, and as a result, it will help you improve your Ratio. It can’t get better than this, can it?!netgalley

New members are welcome to join any time of the year, so don’t forget to drop by and have a look around! Also, feel free to share about these challenges with your friends and reading buddies. The more, the merrier.

Ciao ❤

Deceived Cover Release!

Hello, everyone. Today is a very big day for me, as it is the Cover Release day of Deceived! Without saying anything else, I’d like to present to you the cover of my debut novel – Deceived.
Please feel free to share the cover image on your social media accounts and blogs. Reblogs are also welcome. 🙂

deceived-final
Designed by Bhavi Mehta

PUBLISHING: FEBRUARY 2017 BY CITRUS PUBLISHERS

Blurb:

How well do you know your loved ones?

A girl who’s trying to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.

A journalist who is chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.

A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughters her parents.

And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

A psychological thriller that weaves its way through the sadistic past of a traumatized child to the snare of dark mysteries of a beloved father.

Add Deceived your Goodreads to-read shelf 


About Heena Rathore P.:

Small oneHeena Rathore P. is a 25-year-old full-time novelist, part-time Social Media Strategist, Novel Critic, Book Reviewer and a YouTube Podcaster.

She draws her inspiration from the works of legendary Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon.

She is an introvert, a thinker, a neat freak, a voracious reader and a GSD-lover. In her free time, she loves watching apocalyptic, thriller and slasher movies and series.

She lives in Pune with her beloved husband in a house full of books, music, and love.

She loves creating fictional worlds, but more than that she loves living in them.

 

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Writing Manifesto – A Gift

Hello everyone,

You can grab a free copy of my e-book Writing Manifesto by subscribing to my Newsletter.

In this book, you’ll find the inspiration to stay focused on your writing and the confidence to call yourself a writer without any hesitation.

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This book is not for sale and has been written only as an exclusive gift for all my Newsletter subscribers.

So what are you waiting for?

Subscribe to my Newsletter today and grab your free copy of Writing Manifesto:

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Have a great day!

My New WIP- Sinister Town

Exactly a year before, Deceived was only an idea in my head which kept on brewing constantly until I finally decided to get it on paper. And today here I am with Deceived getting published and another book’s first draft in hand. This sure has been one hell of a year for me.

Let me start by telling  you a little about my current WIP, which will be my second novel- Sinister Town. I have this irrational liking for the dark side of human nature and, after exploring the themes of psychopaths and sociopaths, I wanted to do something entirely different for my next book. As they say, variety is the spice of life…

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The blub in my brain going pong!

I had a very basic idea last year, that I wanted to work on for my first book, but while writing the FD the entire plan changed and I ended up writing an entirely different plot. But the initial idea stuck with me. So what did I do? I left it at that to simmer on the back stove while I worked on the first book and, after a few months, I had the perfect plot in mind fot that initial idea.

Hence, I present my second novel Sinister Town.

Like last time, I’ve created a cover for this book for my vision board and also to tell my pub. (God, I love saying that!) how the book cover should be like. So here’s the cover that I designed:

Sinister Town-2

Genre: Crime & Thriller Fiction
Words (approx.): 65,000
Working blurb:

After hitting a rough patch of 3 years, Nick and Eva’s marriage is finally saved by the arrival of their first child. In order to forget all the bitterness amongst them, they want to start over their new life by picking up the pieces of their broken relationship and shifting to a small new town.
Nic is ready to make the sacrifice of leaving the luxuries of big city and his drowning career in order to take care of his family and Eva is ready to give this marriage another chance, but what they don’t know is that the Town they want to make their home is waiting for them eagerly… for all the wrong reasons.


Right now I’m working on a new draft as I have to make a lot of changes. So, basically I’m on the FD stage. And from past experience I know that the best way to write a FD is to participate in a WriMo. Fortunately, I received an email 2 days back saying that Camp NaNo is starting in April (next month.)

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So, I’ve already cleared up my schedule for April as I won’t be able to take part in Camp NaNo July this year (I’ll be busy with the publishing of Deceived.) That means I’ll be busy next month like crazy and in order to save myself from added pressure, I’ll be talking a break from WOW posts for 2 months. I’ll rsume with it in May. 🙂 (Bye bye WOW! I’ll miss you 😦 )

Please feel free to voice out your thoughts on the cover and the blurb of my second novel. I’d love to know what you think about Sinister Town. If it creeps you out, I’ll consider myself a winner. 😀

Hope you guys are having a great day!

Ciao ❤

 

The Book Courtship Book Tag

Thank you, Marje, for tagging me for the Book Courtship Book Tag.

Marje is one of my really close (and favourite) blogger buddies and is an amazing writer. Do visit her blog, Kyrosmagica, if you want to befriend an insightful and talented author.  

Here’s a link to Marje’s blog post about the tag:

https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-book-courtship-book-tag/

Phase 1 – Initial Attraction:

A book that you bought because of the cover?

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Phase 2 – First Impressions:

A book that you got because of the summary?DSC05326

Phase 3 – Sweet Talk:

A book with great writing?

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Phase 4 – First Date:

A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?

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Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls:

A book that kept you up all night?

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Phase 6 – Always on my mind:

A book you could not stop thinking about?

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Phase 7 – Getting Physical:

A book which you love the way it feels?

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Phase 8 – Meeting the parents:

A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?

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Phase 9 – Thinking about the future:

A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?

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Phase 10 – Share the love: Who do you tag?

Galit Balli

Phoenix Grey

Molly Mortensen

Bruce

Heather Mostella

Rosema 

Michelle James

Dagny

Please don’t feel obliged to do this tag. And if you aren’t tagged and want to do it, then go ahead and consider yourself tagged by me 🙂

Have a great day!

Ciao ❤

Writing Progress #1

Hey everyone!

After successfully writing my first draft in June (JuNoWriMo) with a little more than 50,000 words (you can read about it ), I joined Camp NaNoWriMo for this month (July) with a target of 60,000 words.

I’ve been writing non-stop from last one and a half month and I’m going to keep writing till I get this book done 😀

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The plan is to revise the first draft and write the second draft along with it. My word count as of Day-13 is 31,415 words and I’m halfway through my second draft. I’m planning to finish 50K by 20th July (fingers-crossed.)

First brief glimpse of Deceived

Deceived 2

Blurb

A girl who’s trying to cope with the murders of her mother and 5 year old brother.
A journalist who is chasing the ghost of a long lost serial killer.
A teen who murders her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

A psychological-thriller that weaves it’s way through the sadistic past of a traumatised child to the web of dark secrets of a beloved father.


Excerpt

I slowed down to a stop, bent on my knees and started to take in big gulps of air. I tried to listen for footsteps over the loud pounding in my head but I heard nothing.

JuNoWriMo 2015 Winner!

And I’m done! Slogged a bit in these past few days but finally I made it!
Total word count: 51,284 words

I’m done with the first draft of my book with chapters in details and scenes in super details. Now, I’ll be joining Camp NaNo for editing my first draft and simultaneously writing the second one. Hopefully, I’ll be done by 15th of July… fingers crossed!

I’m so, so, so thankful to ‪#‎JuNoWriMo‬ for making it possible for me to write the entire first draft in 1 month (considering that I’ve never written anything of this magnitude before!) I’ll be sending out my second draft to two of my proofreader cum beta reader friends (Willow and Dagny) by the end of July. Then I’ll be editing the book again after receiving reports from them. So there is a lot of work still remaining… Hopefully I’ll be able to get my manuscript to the publishers by September…

I’d like to thank Vishal for being such a sweetheart and helping me with everything. I know I was a crazy, emotional mess this month and this book wouldn’t have been possible without you! Love you always!!! ❤

I’d also like to thank all my dear fellow writers at JuNoWriMo (you guys are the best!) I met a lot of beautiful writers here and made a lot of wonderful friends. They helped me stick to my goals and all the pep talks were really helpful! I’ll be dropping by JuNo’s page every once in a while even after the WriMo is over…

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The main badges I earned in JuNoWriMo

And following are the snapshots of JuNoWriMo Word Tracker for this year:

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Reading ‘ascm’ files on MacBook

how-to-open-acsm-filesI wouldn’t have come across this horrific file type had I not been a NetGalley addict. I requested a dozen Graphic Novels and when I was approved, I found out that their format was “.ascm” which doesn’t open in Kindle and most of the e-readers.

I did ferocious Google searches every time I had free time but was mostly mislead. Now that I know the procedure, it seems only too easy, but when I did”t it seemed like the hardest task I faced in the entire year!

jimcarreytypinggif I’m sure a lot of you already know how to read these files and I’m really glad that you do, but there are some (like me) who find it difficult, especially because the links of the concerned software were wrong in all the articles.

Finally I found the correct link for downloading this software and was able to read these seemingly horrendous files with ease.

One of the problems with this ascm  files/books is that the book expires. Yea, it just stops functioning after the date set by the author. Hence, you need to be prepared beforehand with the software and time to read these files if you don’t want to end up loosing them.

I’ve wasted months and lost a lot of books in searching the right article that addressed my problem, so now I’ve decided to write one in hopes that atleast one of my readers will get benefitted by this.

The software that opens ascm files/books is: ADOBE DIGITAL EDITIONS and the link to download the authentic FREE software is here.

As I use MacBook Air, I’ve jotted down the procedure for Mac users only. Though, I’m sure it’ll be somewhat same for Windows users as well.

Steps to read .ascm files on your Mac:

Are you a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley?

Print

“Do you love to discover new books? Do you review and recommend books online, in print, for your bookstore, library patrons, blog readers, or classroom? Then you are what we call a “professional reader,” and NetGalley is for you. Registration is free, and allows you to request or be invited to read titles, often advance reading copies, on your favorite device.”

-NetGalley

First of all, let’s be clear what NetGalley really means. In the publishing world, a galley is the uncorrected or, in some cases, the corrected copies of the books that are not yet printed. And when these galleys are provided on the internet as e-books, you have what we call as NetGalley.

NetGalley offers a wide range of books for reviewers, journalists, librarians, professors, booksellers, and bloggers.

At NetGalley, publishers provide galley proofs to readers in order to get what they call as “feedbacks” and what we call as “reviews.” There are a lot of publishers, including some really big ones like Harlequin Enterprises, Penguin Books, Hachette, Harper Collins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pan MacMillan and many others in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

As a voracious reader and a reviewer (with a book blog, The Reading Bud), I’m a “Professional Reader” at NetGalley. Initially, I was so mesmerised by the whole process and the simplicity with which a reviewer can get books, that I went on a crazy spree of requesting books. I requested pretty much all the books that caught me attention at that time and then I used to happily prance like this:

giphy

Then after a while, I started getting rejected by almost everyone for reasons unknown to me. My inbox started flooding with emails saying your request has been denied and for a very long time I was like:

Love-and-Other-Drugs

Then finally, I decided to get off my ass and learn the proper way of being a “professional reader.” I google-searched like crazy, totally high on my new-found enthusiasm but it took a while before I understood my mistake. My first mistake was that I dove head first into the endless sea of galleys and apparently was hit by a very sharp rock (so to say.)

It took me almost a year of horrible experiences to finally understand how to have a peaceful reading experience on NetGalley. Today, I have around 300 books on my NetGalley shelf and a good enough ratio of around 50% (that I always try to maintain, no matter what.) I have received more than a dozen invitations from publishers for reviewing specific titles and I’m auto-approved by more than 6 publishers so far (out of these 6 a couple publishers limit their books to some countries or continents only, still I made it to their lists.) Slowly but steadily I’ve learned to be very particular about requesting titles and maintaining a minimum ratio of 55% (give or take.). And honestly, now I’m having a lot more fun.

Here’s a screenshot of how my NetGalley profile looks like: (updated 14/07/16)

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.56.20 pm

If you are wondering how to improve your ratio or how to increase your chances of getting approved then read on, I’m sure this article will help clear your doubts.

How to make an impressive profile?

Your profile is the only deciding factor for publishers when it comes to NetGalley. So maintaining a great profile is the key to getting approval.

  • Always mention your email address. “Many publishers will only approve requests if they can view your email address, for future follow-ups,” says NetGalley.
  • Provide all the possible links where your reviews get posted or shared. Following order is considered good: Your blog, Tumbler, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit.
  • Make your Bio look professional, like a resume.
  • Add a good profile photo and not a Facebook photo of yourself eating ice-cream.
  • Don’t hesitate to brag about how many followers and subscribers you have for your blog.
  • Mention that you receive a lot of traffic through search engines.
  • Drop a line about how you are bold and honest about your reviews.
  • Maintain a high ratio (at least 50%)
  • If you are a member of any Professional Associations then don’t forget to mention it.
  • Make sure all the links you provide are working.
  • Make sure not to add a fake link, it may seriously affect your image as a reviewer.

What is it with the RATIO?

As far as I know, Ratio the most important thing to keep in mind for a reviewer. NetGalley Ratio is the Feedback to Approval ratio. The recommended ratio is 80%. So if you want to get approved for the books you really want, get ready to give a feedback for each and every book your read.

This poses a problem for reviewers like me, who take their own sweet time (sometimes even months) to post the review of a  particular book, either because they are lazy or as in my case, have a lot of books to review already (as I schedule review requests from authors and publishers first.) Here are some pointers for improving ratio:

  • Decide a limit for requesting books for each month and STICK TO IT.
  • Get to reading the approved books ASAP.
  • If you take time for reviewing then just write out a mini-review for the time being and submit it. Later on, you can edit it and write a proper one.
  • If you think the book deserves 1-2 stars then don’t waste your time writing a full-fledged review for it on your blog. Just write a short review for the feedback and copy-paste it on your Goodreads and then FORGET about it and move on to the next book. (Don’t do it for the publishers you really like as your blog review link is important if you want to read their books in future.)

Why were you rejected?

  • Territorial reasons- If below the request button some names are specified, like US, UK, etc, and youimages are not from these places, then there’s 90% chance that you’ll be rejected. But, if your profile is solid, there’s always a chance for you to get approved (however small it may be.)
  • Mentioning only Goodreads in your “sites” won’t get you accepted by most publishers unless you have more than a thousand friends on Goodreads.
  • Wrong links, incomplete profile and poor ratio are a recipe for complete disaster.
  • Don’t take the books on NetGalley for a given, they are someone’s hard work and unless you are planning on reviewing it, don’t request it just because you can request it by the press of a button (which almost every newbie does!)

The reasons publishers mention while declining:

  • They may have hit their maximum allowance for that title.
  • No company association.
  • Follower counts and website hit counts are important metrics. They prefer reviewers who have established, regularly updated blogs. They look specifically for blogs that have three months of recent, continuous posting of reviews. If your blog is primarily updated with giveaways, cover reveals, and other promotional posts, they will likely decline your request.
  • They do not issue ARCs to reviewers who primarily review on Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon, and other social media websites.

 How to get approvedapproved

  • Your profile should be really impressive.
  • Maintain a high ratio and your chances for getting approved simply doubles.
  • In spite of the territorial reasons, in my experience, if your profile is strong enough you still have a 5-10% chance of getting accepted. So apply for off-territory books only if you really, really want the book.

To wrap this up here are a few pros and cons of NetGalley:

Pros:

  • Huge range of books per say.
  • You can contact any big publisher and if your profile is good enough you’ll get approved.
  • Serious money saving on some fabulous books.
  • Direct download on your devices (Kindle, Nook, etc.), so no issues of transferring books (check out NetGalley’s device guide here.)
  • You get a cool badge that says “I’m a professional reader” (like the one in my sidebar.)

Cons:

  • Publishers mostly prefer reviewers who have book-blogs with the heavy following.
  • Reviews are a necessity if you want an endless flow of books.
  • Have to maintain the book-blog nicely.
  • Have to maintain the RATIO.
  • You might have troubles figuring out how to read “.ascm” files.

In spite of all the negative things about NetGalley, I really love it 🙂

National Readathon

Hi guys, this is a piece of news I came across on various blogs and Goodreads so I thought of sharing it with you guys and also to announce what I’ll be pledging to read. I read everyday but this feels like being a part of something bigger! So I’ve decided to participate inspite of being from a different country, after all reading is all that matters! I’ll be reading all day today. I’m planning to read Frozen (Heart Of Dread#1) which I’ve recieved from NetGalley upon my request, Duma Key issued from library and Almost Adept requested by author. I’ve already started these three books and I’m planning to finish them for this Readathon.

NetGalley

If you don’t already know about this readathon, then here are the details:

timetoread

Grab your latest book and charge your ereaders, bibliophiles. It’s time for the first-ever National Readathon Day. On Saturday, January 24, join readers nationwide to make #timetoread for four hours in solidarity for literacy. National Readathon Day, sponsored by Goodreads, The National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House and Mashable, is a nationwide marathon reading session on Saturday, January 24th from noon-4 PM (in respective time zones), and a fundraiser for The National Book Foundation’s literacy programs. You can get involved on Goodreads by pledging to read any book you’d like. Maybe you’re in the middle of something so good, you want four hours to finish it. Or perhaps there’s a novel that’s been on your to-read shelf for weeks that you’ve just been waiting for an excuse to start. If you need some suggestions, we’ve also shared our list of the best books of January. Once you decide, select the book you’ll be reading for the readathon on our Readathon Challenge page and click the “Pledge to Read” button to share your selection with the rest of the Goodreads community. We‘ll add the book you choose to your “to-read” shelf (if it’s not already there) and also add it to a custom ‟readathon-day-2015” shelf.

Tweet about this Readathon with #timetoread So are you participating? What are the books that you’re planning to read for this marathon (or otherwise.) Your thoughts are always welcome 🙂 Have a great day. Happy Reading!

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

Hello dear readers,
I’m very excited to announce that I’ve created a reading-challenge: 2015 RMFAO Genre Challenge.
Every year we all think of reading atleast one book from all the genres but as the year progresses everything changes. This challenge will help you make sure that you read all the major genres in 2015.