New! ‘Shari’s Pick’ Will Highlight Top Recommended Books

Sharis Pick image
Hmmm, which amazing book will I pick to recommend next?

 

“Shari’s Pick will be the cream of the crop, the stuff that sticks in my brain like flypaper, the books that if you have time for nothing else, you’ll want to read THIS.”

 

I’ve decided to launch a new, bookish thang here on my blog and for my Readers Club email list. I’m calling it, “Shari’s Pick.”

This week, I signed up for NetGalley to start receiving Advanced Reviewer Copies (ARCs) from publishers before they hit the bookshelves. And … (deep breath) … I bought a Kindle (yes, to this day, I’d refused to buy an e-reader). Not to mention, I began reviewing already-published books in several places:

Out of everything I review (both published and ARCs), I’ll pick a top recommendation once every few months. I’d love to do this monthly, but with my schedule, I only have time to read one book per month, on average.

Shari’s Pick will be the cream of the crop, the stuff that sticks in my brain like flypaper, the books that if you have time for nothing else, you’ll want to read this.

Why would you listen to little, old me?

Let’s just say I’m picky. OK, maybe that’s an understatement. Critical. Meticulous. Fastidious.

But I’m fair, too. I don’t believe in cruelty, but honesty, on the other hand, you will find.

I also write for a living. I’m a former newspaper reporter. I’ve written for national magazines. I’m a current corporate communications professional. I’ve edited three novels, corporate jargon, e-newsletters, and oh yeah – I’m also a published indie author.

So … my tastes are discriminatory—not by genre or author—but by quality. If you’re looking for quality, you’ll find it from Shari’s Pick.

Be the first to know Shari’s Pick!

Whenever I announce a new Shari’s Pick, my Readers Club subscribers will hear it first! Therefore, if you don’t want to miss the first Shari’s Pick (which I have yet to announce), sign up for my Readers Club now! 😉

Readers Club button

 

Screaming is What We Do Best (As Writers Writing for Nothingness)

8612921803_109fc896f6_z
Photo by Aditya Doshi,, https://www.flickr.com/photos/avdoshi/8612921803

DO YOU EVER FEEL like writing nothing for the sake of nothingness, in a black hole of a vacuum of ideas, pandering and rambling about rambling in pure space and time, because the blank page mocks you into a fury?

BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, I just want to write, and type, and stumble over words, words that I collect and hoard like a dog with bones, words that make no sense of the senseless as they fumble together on this post, and I spit them out in neither passion or indifference, but rather—confinement.

CONFINEMENT OF MY MIND, or of my heart, or of my life, or of my time. Maybe of madness, or genius, or whatever word they throw at us who dream but can find no outlet to scream.

SCREAM. YES, SCREAM.

For screaming is what we do best, in silence, when no one will listen; but quiet now—do you hear?

The voices of a million years …

Are You Being True to Your Writing?

As a writer, this is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT question you need to ask yourself.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post entitled, “The Novel Dilemma: Story No Longer Relevant … Now What?” Many of you commented with empathetic remarks or great advice (thank you!). And now, I’m happy to report that I found the answer to my own question.

I am re-working my original plot line, but keeping the same two characters. I arrived, however, at this final conclusion by asking myself the question:

Be YourselfAm I being true to my writing?

Really, the props in this epiphany go to my boyfriend, Oscar—who, over chicken wings at Native New Yorker one night, said to me (as I complained how I can’t write anything great), “You’re stuck on your book, because you’re not being true to your writing.”

Whoa.

Just think about that for a moment—being true to your writing. What does that mean? Oscar spelled it out for me, plain and simple: “Shari, you’re trying to write about a girl who grew up without a father. But you never lost your father. So you can’t really understand what your character is going through.”

BINGO.

He then went on. “But you know what it feels like to be Jewish and in a relationship with someone who harbors anti-Semitic feelings.”

Are you seeing where I’m going with this yet?

It suddenly dawned on me that I was trying to be TOO CREATIVE with my writing. I was trying to write about things that I thought were exotic or conflicted, but that I didn’t really understand. I was trying to be J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald … all at the same time.

But I just had to be Shari Lopatin. And write about what Shari knows … with some exaggeration.

Suddenly, the book won’t stop flowing from my fingertips. I wrote 10 pages in two days. And I’m going like a train on fire. In addition, those who have read my first few (new) chapters said the story is MUCH more intriguing, now. Who would’ve thought?

Have you been feeling stuck in your writing?

Maybe you should do as I did. Take a hard look at your plot lines, and your themes. Are you being true to yourself, to what you know, and what you understand?

Have You Heard? New Social Network for READERS

If you’re a new author trying to publicize your book, a gold mine just landed before your eyes.

All you have to do, is reach out and grab the riches.

I’m talking about the new “inReads” social network, which celebrated its full launch about a week ago, reported GalleyCat. According to the article, inReads is a social network just for readers. They discuss books, they review books, and they recommend books.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

“After four weeks in beta mode, inReads counted 10,000 page views and 1,000 Twitter followers,” GalleyCat said.

Authors, right here is your target audience! You want to create buzz around your book? You want people to buy your book? Get to know inReads.

Here’s what I thought

I spent some time poking around the site to get a feel for this new social network. It reminds me of a blogosphere, with initial posts written by staff reporters (interview sessions and such). Here are the highlights of my findings:

  • inReads is a production of WETA, the Washington D.C. public television, media and radio entity.
  • The staff’s job (including contributors and advisory board) is to help the conversation along, but the community members are really responsible for driving it.
  • The platform actually has professional editors and writers (I kid you not, people with 25+ years experience in the journalism, publishing and corporate worlds).
  • It reminds me of an online magazine format, with more social and engaging aspects.

Bottom Line

inReads has the ability to be a trendsetter. And because it’s published by such a notable entity, that gives it credibility. It’s still new, and therefore, has the ability to evolve. Will I sign up for an account right now?

No–not yet.

I don’t have a book. But once I do, you bet your behind I’ll be diving–head first–into inReads and mastering it the way I learned Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.

SO TELL ME: Have you seen inReads? What did YOU think of it? Is it too traditional for you, or do you think the future of success lies in an even more social platform?