Category Archives: Convention review

Writing Contests: Deadline 4/1/16

Laurel Anne Hill is the Literary Stage Manager for the 2016 San Mateo County Fair (SMCF) in California. If any of you living in the area would like to participate in a reading or in selling your books at the San Mateo Fairgrounds (June 18,2016, afternoon) please let her know.

Also, the SMCF writing contests are open to those who live IN and OUTSIDE of San Mateo County. That means anyone, anywhere, writing in English. Winners will have their pieces published (if they want to) in the annual SMCF anthology, sold on Amazon. There are also monetary prizes. The entry deadline is April 1, 2016. For more information, go to:

In the past, the most competitive areas have been poetry and memoir. No prizes in any areas, however, are awarded without merit. If a particular contest has no entries with sufficient merit, no prize is awarded. Thus, all awards given have meaning.

There are contests specific for science fiction, fantasy and mystery.

Hope some of you enter. THE DEADLINE IS APRIL 1. No fooling!

Warm wishes,
Laurel Anne Hill

How to Make the Most of Your Time On Netgalley

Making the Most of Your Time on Netgalley

Posting your book to NetGalley is a great way to increase your book's visibility and the number of reviews your book has. However, this isn't just a passive process. There are things you (the author or publisher) can do to increase a book's success on NetGalley. Below are some tips and advice on making the most of your time on NetGalley:

Filling Out the NetGalley Application
• Do make all formats that you have available to reviewers; if you have an epub, always provide that. NetGalley will convert the epub to a mobi file so that both formats are available to reviewers.

• Digital Rights Management (DRM) – many reviews are posted to NetGalley months (up to a year, even) after the book has expired off of NetGalley. Choosing expiring DRM/rights in the application diminish reviewers’ ability to review your book later because they won’t be able to open the file after it expires.

• When filling out the application, be sure to include any special requests to bloggers in the “notes” or “marketing plan” field. Common requests might be to cross post their review to Amazon and/or Goodreads, to sign up for your newsletter, or, if you have an upcoming blog tour, to sign up to join the tour/be a host on the tour (provide a link to where they can sign up). In general, any way you can think of to build relationships and connect with reviewers beyond their NetGalley review is a good thing.

• Series and Sequels - If this book is part of a series (and is not the first book of that series) make sure that is clear in your description (add a first or last line that says something like “this is the 3rd book in a series”) AND offer reviewers the previous books; provide instructions on how they can get the previous books in the “notes” or “marketing plan” section of the NetGalley application (e.g. “This is the 3rd book in the series; the first book is available for free on Amazon and review copies of the second book can be obtained directly from the author by emailing her at”).

• Promote! 1-2 weeks before your book goes live on NetGalley, email your blogger/reviewer contacts and let them know that the book will be available on NetGalley so they can plan their review schedule and make room in it for your book. If the book is going on NetGalley pre-release, then as soon as you know when the ARCs/review copies will be available on NetGalley, email your blogger/reviewer contacts, again so they can make room in their schedule/plan to have time to review your book quickly.

While Your Book is on NetGalley
• Let bloggers/reviewers know your book is available on NetGalley—email your contacts, post to social media, post on Goodreads groups, etc. that review copies are available on NetGalley.
• A few days before your book goes off of NetGalley email and post again, letting everyone know that review copies will only be available for a few more days.

Post NetGalley
• Review the feedback – You’ll receive a feedback report from the BU NetGalley committee with information on how many review requests you had, how many reviews you received, and the ratings your book received. Review this feedback as it will provide critical information on how your book was received.
o For recent titles, NG allows users to vote (thumbs up or down) on the cover art. Take these votes seriously. If your cover doesn’t have a clear “thumbs up” majority, consider changing the cover. Your cover is your prime marketing tool.
o Reviewers can also rate the blurb and this feedback should be taken seriously as well. Consider tweaking your blurb if it receives a low rating.

o Look at how many impressions (people who saw the cover/saw the book listed), clicked to read (meaning they clicked to “read more”/read the blurb), and review requests you received. Do these jive? If you received 450 impressions but only 10 clicked to read (read your blurb) then your cover probably isn’t attracting people. If you got 100 clicked to read but only 10 review requests then your blurb probably isn’t cutting it. If you got 25 review requests from reviewers (not librarians and booksellers, who don’t review books) and less than 5 reviews, then there is very likely something wrong with your book content (editing, characters, or pacing are biggest culprits).

• Follow Up With Bloggers/Reviewers - It’s okay to follow up with book bloggers and ask them to cross post to Amazon, thank them for reviewing your book, and let them know about your newsletter or any promotions you have going on. Ask if they would be interested in being notified about when review copies of future books or sequels are released. Don’t harass them – ONE email to mention any of the above is sufficient. If they want to connect with you beyond that, they will.

• If there are any review excerpts / quotes you can use on your book’s Amazon page, website, on your book’s swag, etc., contact the blogger(s) to ask permission to quote their review. Review excerpts can also be used on your book’s cover and/or interior.

Broads in the Wilds: Illogicon 2016

BroadsSeveral of the Southern Broads got together at Illogicon in Cary, North Carolina for a Rapid Fire Reading on Saturday, 9 January.

Susan Griffith, Gail Z Martin, Margaret McGraw, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Tera Fullbright, Ada Milenkovich Brown, and Samantha Bryant each read for six minutes from their works while listeners enjoyed chocolates.

"RFRs are wonderful events," said Samantha Bryant. "It takes some of the pressure off for the writers, since you read a shorter excerpt and the focus isn't all on you, and it's great for readers, too, since you can attend one event and get a sampler platter of books to find one you want to read the rest of."

Broad Universe Annual Meeting

The Broad Universe Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2015 at 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, and 6 PM Pacific. An agenda and call-in information will be sent to members a few days prior to the meeting.

Thank you.

Roxanne Bland
Broad Universe

Free Star Wars Guide Books!

reyofhopefrontcoverTwo analysis books on THE NEW STAR WARS FILM will be FREE on KINDLE from Wed., Jan 6-Sun., Jan 10. These are:

A Rey of Hope: Feminism, Symbolism and Hidden Gems in Star Wars: The Force Awakens…/…/B01A6OP99Q

We're Home: Fandom, Fun, and Hidden Homages in Star Wars: The Force Awakens…/…/B01A59W4XQ

Suitable for all ages.

Please, download them both and tell all your friends!