Transparency in Self-Publishing Series: Extraordinary Book Bloggers

Wow. I am overwhelmed with how amazing the welcoming group of book bloggers (and reviewers) are.

I don’t even know where to begin with the gratitude I feel toward such a generous breed, but like all good stories, the beginning is usually a good place to start.

An Incorrect Prediction

The past is not always an accurate predictor of the future.

At the writing conferences I attended in 2010 and 2011, several workshops on social media wrinkled their noses at blogging. Back then, apparently something I’d not even become familiar with had already run its course. The prediction and advice with regard to an author blogging was: don’t bother.

Blogging was old hat. Not beneficial for an author’s career. A waste of time and effort.

Boy, have things changed. Rapidly.

Thankfully, I chose to look beyond the dated advice of a few and created my own blog in July of 2012. Meant to be a means for sharing publishing adventures and news about my upcoming books, it has grown into an opportunity to reach readers, other bloggers, and make connections and friends.

Fast Forward to Present day

Book blogging today has become a vast network of readers and reviewers connected by one thing . . . a love of books.

A vibrant community of book bloggers has blossomed, flourished, and continues to grow. Not only are book bloggers a trusted source of reviews and book recommendations for readers (and us authors who love to read), for many readers, book bloggers are the only source of recommendations for both self-published and traditionally published books.

The Brave Solicitation

As the upcoming release of Forged in Dreams and Magick approaches, I’m having more and more interaction with book bloggers. Initially, as a naturally shy person (yes, believe it or not it’s true), I felt enormous relief when I’d secured tour and promotion slots with AToMR Tours to gain reviews and exposure for before and through the release. After all, I didn’t have to ask all these people I don’t know directly. AToMR Tours would do it all for me.

Which they have and did, an invaluable service that I’m immensely grateful for.

But . . . I decided to become the brave warrior I depict in my novel and throw myself out there to solicit book bloggers who might not work with AToMR Tours. I crafted a professional letter, but tailored each email to the individual blog I was soliciting. If their interests in books fell in line with my own, I sought common ground with them in the very first paragraph of the email.

A Humble Approach

My request to the hundred and fifty (or so) bloggers I contacted was very humble. Because I was asking busy people, most who have kids and/or jobs and a TBR (to-be-read) book pile that rivals Mt. Everest, for something very valuable—their time and opinion—I was thankful they were even reading my email. I’d be thrilled for them to request my book.

In fact, after carefully reading each and every site’s review policies and scanning through their blog (which took 5-10 minutes, and I believe is the very least a requesting author should do when asking for hours and hours of their time reading your book and crafting their review of your hard work), I didn’t expect a response from many of them. Some specifically stated they would only reply if they were interested.

In anticipating my book request being among thousands they read through with bleary-eyed apathy, I set my expectation bar low.

The Unexpected Response

Replies began to populate my inbox. And it was not only what the overwhelming majority said but how they said it that surprised me.

First of all, a few responded with a line or two telling me how they really loved the book description, but were too buried under books that they were already committed to reviewing to have the time to review mine. I appreciated their even taking the time to respond.

A couple of the blogs said they wouldn’t have the time to review, but wanted to help me with the promotion of my book.

{blinks}

This was my first clue that I was the new kid on the block. I ask them for a favor, and even with their busy schedules, they want to help me. Incredibly grateful for space on their calendar, I resoundingly replied with excitement that I would love to included in a guest post or interview (or whatever they’d suggested) and thanked them for the opportunity.

Those that did reply requesting an ARC copy to review?

Thanked lil’ ol’ me for giving them the opportunity.

Thanked lil’ ol’ me for thinking of their blog.

And many? Asked me to also provide them with links once the book goes live to share and help promote the release to their social media networks. And they hadn’t even read my books yet.

Again, all I have to say is . . .

Wow. I am overwhelmed.

Above and Beyond

A small group of bloggers I’ve become close to over the last year (about six or so) have always cleared a place on their schedule for me. You know who you are, and I love you for all that you’ve done and continue to do to support my writing endeavors.

With other bloggers, we’d followed each other on Twitter for over a year, and although we’d only talked once or twice, the moment I struck up the heart-racing conversation with my request, they pulled me into their welcoming arms like I was long-lost family.

{takes a deep breath}

Wow.

And now that some of those bloggers have reviewed my book? They’re touting it on Goodreads, Twitter, their blogs, and even on other author’s blogs. And together we chat. And laugh. And commiserate. And swoon. It’s so amazing how coming together through a book can bond book lovers. I’m overwhelmed daily by the generosity of strangers who embraced me so readily as a friend.

Wow.

Speechless in Gratitude

Yep. This writer has gone speechless. The repetitive monosyllabic word “wow” keeps coming out. The medical diagnosis for my condition is “mind blown”, but I’m pretty sure they don’t make a pill for being humbled by such awesomeness, and frankly, I wouldn’t want the cure.

I guess that’s what happens when in today’s self-centered society, a class of people show you their hearts first. In my experience, book bloggers are leading by example, rewriting history about how people should treat one another. With kindness, acceptance, and grace.

~~~

So when eloquent words fail, and you try to describe how you feel the best way you can, sometimes simple words become the best.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being the generous-hearted souls that you are.

In my opinion? Book bloggers are awesome! You all rock!

Your greatly humbled and appreciative shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Talk to the Shoe One-Year Blogiversary ~ Celebration and Giveaway

Hello, my friends.

{tosses confetti and streamers}

Shutterstock Celebration with Champagne and Confetti

Happy Blogiversary
Talk to the Shoe!

Has it been an entire year already? So many incredible events happened over the course of these first 52 weeks, it feels like my first blog post went up only yesterday.

To commemorate a bustling year for a blog meant to chronicle my adventures in writing and publishing, I’ve decided to highlight memorable and favorite moments.

{sips champagne with you all and starts the slide show}

My First Blog Post

I was recently asked an interview question by Debra on her blog Words from Across Oceania:
“What do you think about social media as an avenue for getting independent writers out there?”
My answer: ” I think it’s unparalleled.”

On July 20, 2012, I penned my very first blog post:
The Twitter Trap – Social Media: Blessing and Curse.

It’s wonderful to look back at the thoughts and suggestions I gave after being on Twitter for a short six weeks. I’m forever grateful for learning the ropes while trusting my instincts.

Twitter is an unrivaled virtual coffee shop filled with friends just waiting to meet us and chat over a coffee and zero-calorie online danish about the latest web happenings and favorite book boyfriends
. . . or Highlanders . . . or shoes.

And let’s not forget the #StilettoSports discussions!

I’ve made wonderful friends on Twitter in the past year, lasting connections with kindhearted, generous, and supportive people who are there to interact, laugh, and share love.

The Most Popular Blog Post

On August 29, 2012,  something seismic happened . . .
I posted The Lure of the Great Alpha Male.

Wow.

That would be the post that had over 170 hits on my fledgling blog in one day. It also had 46 comments and a fun debate that spilled into Twitter over which of our alpha males was the hottest, resulting in a dead heat between Jericho Z. Barrons and one Gabriel O. Emerson, The Professor. And I still had yet to meet The Professor . . . {laughs}

It was my first post to be reblogged on a fabulous new-to-me back then blog Bookish Temptations. The Lure of the Great Alpha Male is still the most popular daily and weekly post on my blog. It has multiple daily views, and is often the first or second in views for the week. It seems the Lure of the Great Alpha Male is quite undeniable indeed.

Aftershocks from those great alpha males still occurring daily . . . ;)

My First Poem and Utterly Loved

September 12, 2012 brought to the blog and the world a most unexpected development. I created and shared my first poem Heaven… Found. Surprised to have poetry flow from my heart onto the page, I was thrilled when it was reblogged, liked, and shared on Twitter with everyone raving about the sensual poetry.

A burst of poetic creativity followed, which led to the publication of Utterly Loved, a book of romantic poetry for charity which includes a brilliant foreword written by the inspiring humanitarian and New York Times Bestselling Author Sylvain Reynard. Several other poems not included in Utterly Loved can be found in the poetry category on my blog.

A Most Uplifting Post 

On October 17, 2012, I gave a glimpse into who I am and how I live my life along with suggestions on how to increase your optimism in the post Adventures of an Optimist.

Throughout that day and the next, people contacted me on the blog and social media to let me know how my post brightened their day. To know that I helped others by sharing how I strive to be and stay positive made my day . . . and then some.

My First Guest Blog Post

By October of 2012, I’d posted just over dozen blog posts when I received my first invitation to write a guest post on another blog. The guest post, Embracing Sensuality, appeared Tamie’s blog Bookish Temptations for her one-year blogiversary celebration. I was and still am deeply honored to have been included.

A Glimpse of Heroes

In April 2013, in the wake of the devasting bombing at the Boston Marathon, I was invited by Jenn at Argyle Empire to participate in their fundraising efforts for the Red Cross in support of the bombing victims. As a part of those efforts, I shared an experience from my past with the American Red Cross. I revisited that heart-wrenching night and made a plea for donations to the American Red Cross and the Boston One Fund to support those charties in A Glimpse of Heroes. Jenn and Argyle Empire, thank you for wanting me to be a part of such a worthwhile cause.

Charity Support and Awareness Pages

In June of 2013, I became more involved in using my author platform to benefit charities, especially those that fight against human trafficking, by launching the Charity Support and Awareness pages on my blog and website. The page shares my thoughts and feelings, ways we can all help, and links to their various pages.

Highland Legends: Forged in Dreams and Magick

Throughout the entire year, hints and teasers have been posted about my upcoming release, from the series and book names, to the book description, and ultimately to the Cover Reveal on July 9th through AToMR Tours.

Take a peek at the cover described as “lush” and “stunning” and the description one said “hooked me immediately” for my debut Highlander, time-travel, paranormal romance novel Forged in Dreams and Magick.

~ ~ ~

And . . . there’s one more post I’d like to share as we step off memory lane into the future . . .

Teaser for Forged in Dreams and Magick

I’m thrilled to announce that an exclusive teaser for Forged in Dreams and Magick will be posted on Bookish Temptations on Monday, July 22, 2013. In just two days, that teaser post will mark the two month countdown to the release of Forged in Dreams and Magick on September 23, 2013.

Blogiversary Giveaway

I’m giving away a few party favors to commemorate my Blogiversary. Four winners will be chosen by Random.org. Each of the four winners will win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a signed copy of Utterly Loved!

It’s easy to enter. All you have to do is leave a comment on this Blogiversary post OR leave a comment on the Bookish Temptations’ Forged in Dreams and Magick teaser post. That’s it!
And if you leave a comment on each post? You’ll be entered twice! (Only two entries allowed per person.)

Comments until midnight EST on Thursday July 25, 2013 will qualify for entry to win the giveaway.

~ ~ ~

So leave those comments! I’d love to hear about your favorite moments from my blog over the year.

An enormous thank you to all my friends and followers. Your excitement, support, and love along my adventures on the road to published are deeply heartfelt and tremendously appreciated.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

12 Days of Utterly Loved In Time For Christmas Delivery Event & Giveaway

Hello, everyone.

Thank you for helping make the Release Week of Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard a success.  Due to your purchases for yourself and gifts for others, Utterly Loved remained a #1 Amazon Best Seller in New Releases Love Poems almost the entire week.

We have only just begun, my friends.

The mission of Utterly Loved is…

To share love with those who read it…
To inspire those to feel it…
To help those who desperately need it.

Join me in igniting a wildfire of purchases for Utterly Loved and donations for the charities Utterly Loved supports, World Vision and Covenant House.

The 12 Days of Utterly Loved in Time For Christmas Delivery Event & Giveaway

The 12 Days of Utterly Loved In Time For Christmas Delivery Event & Giveaway begins at 12:01am EST Saturday, December 8th and runs for 12 consecutive days.  Each day, a winner will be selected from the eligible entries by Random.org.

The Prizes…

Each day one lucky winner will receive two items:
~ A signed copy of Utterly Loved for which Sylvain Reynard has also offered to send signed bookplates.
~ A $25 Amazon Gift Card, large enough to buy copies of both Gabriel’s Inferno & Gabriel’s Rapture, for instance. ;)

Grand Prize Drawing (one winner from the 12 winners):
One very lucky winner will receive the Grand Prize ~ A Kindle Fire

11 Daily Ways To Enter, Rules & Requirements…

Each day is a separate contest and there are several ways to enter:
~ Buying a copy of Utterly Loved that day earns an entry
~ Donating to World Vision or Covenant House that day earns an entry (Donate to both that day? You get two entries.)
~ Tweet that day asking followers to buy Utterly Loved earns an entry (Tweet again every four hours for separate entries-6 total)
~ Facebook post asking friends to buy Utterly Loved earns an entry
~ Blog post asking others to purchase Utterly Loved earns an entry

11 possible entries each day. Please purchase and donate responsibly:  Give only what you can and share news of Utterly Loved to inspire others to do the same.  Together we will help those in need.

Help me count your entry. @ me on Twitter or comment below with:
~ A photo of that day’s purchase receipt of Utterly Loved
~ A photo of that day’s donation receipt to either charity
~ Tweet your promotion to buy Utterly Loved with my @ AND Amazon’s Utterly Loved Page
~ If your FB posts go to your Twitter timeline, @ me so I can see it.  If not, get creative…like screen shot and send me the pic… ;)
~ If you blog about Utterly Loved,  link this page and comment below so I know about it.

The requirements:
~ You must provide evidence of purchase, donation, Tweeting or FB posting to be eligible for that entry (see above.)
~ When you Tweet, FB or blog post, you must ask others to buy Utterly Loved and provide a link to the Amazon Purchase Page of Utterly Loved << (like this one)

Disclaimers:  Each daily giveaway runs for 24 hours beginning at 12:01am EST until midnight EST that day. The first day of the giveaway is Saturday, December 8, 2012 and the last day is December 19th, 2012.  Giveaway is international where allowed.  Winners of the 12 daily giveaways and the Grand Prize drawing will be chosen by Random.org. (All giveaway prizes, for this giveaway, and all the Release Week giveaways, are being donated by myself and Mr. Bastion.)

The bottom line? 

You help with every purchase.  You help by spreading the news of Utterly Loved so others purchase.   You help by donating to World Vision and Covenant House.  Your small acts of kindness make a world of difference.  Thank you for being a part of the difference.

Thank you for helping make the lost in this world feel… Utterly Loved.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Buy Utterly Loved on Amazon

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

First Winner of a Signed Copy Giveaway of Utterly Loved

Thank you all for your wonderful support of Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard.

Please continue to purchase copies (they make perfect holiday gifts), share the news of Utterly Loved with your friends, family, and social worlds, and give what you can to those in need.

The first winner of a signed copy of Utterly Loved as chosen by Random.org is:

     Drpharmgirl

Please contact me through my Kat’s Connection’s page with your mailing information.

Oh, and did I mention… ? Sylvain Reynard has generously offered to sign custom Utterly Loved bookplates for each receiver of a signed copy.

Still plenty of ways to win a signed copy.  See Utterly Loved Release Week Giveaways & Schedule for more ways to win your signed copy of Utterly Loved.

Thank you again for all your support.  Standing together we can make a world of difference.  We will make those in desperate need feel… Utterly Loved.

Your humble shoe,

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

12 Reasons to Buy Utterly Loved ~ Plus Giveaway

Utterly Loved Book Cover

 

In the season of giving, where abundance trumps the daily grind, Utterly Loved has been released on Amazon to brighten your life and change the world.

 

Are you fond of lists for checking them twice?
Twelve reasons Utterly Loved is so nice…

1.   Charity funding. All Proceeds, less costs and taxes, go to World Vision and Covenant House.  The mission for Utterly Loved is to help those lost in the world, those who’ve never had a chance to know love, feel… Utterly Loved.

2.   New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Sylvain Reynard wrote the brilliant foreword on humanitarianism.

3.   The books make excellent gifts for your loved ones.

4.   There are 21 love poems… 14 have never been published before.

5.   23 inspirational quotes are sprinkled between the poems.

6.   Utterly Loved fits into a stocking… a big stocking…

7.   You’ll have the perfect holiday party exchange gift for under $10.

8.   It’s an Amazon #1 Best Seller. (All the cool elves are buying it.)

9.   The poems touch on all aspects of love.

10. Nature is threaded through many of the poems.

11.  The cover art rocks.

12. Charity awareness.  Every book you buy, every gift you give, every person you share the news of Utterly loved with, sends ripples of love globally.  Your small act will make a world of difference.

Utterly Loved went on sale on Amazon on November 29, 2012.  Due to the overwhelming support for the project, it skyrocketed to #1 New Releases Best Selling Love Poems, hit #4 New Releases Best Selling Poetry and hit #1 Best Selling Love Poems.

No dollar will ever line my pocket. All proceeds, less costs and taxes, will be donated to selected charities. So far, I’ve chosen World Vision and Covenant House.

I hope you find plenty of reasons to buy Utterly Loved.  Please tell all your social worlds and everyone you know about Utterly Loved.

Buy two copies. Buy twenty.

Standing together around the world we each do a small part to have a big impact. United we can help those who desperately need it to feel… Utterly Loved.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

Purchase Utterly Loved on Amazon

And now… For the signed copy giveaway…

There are several ways to enter. The more you participate, the more entries you will earn to win a signed copy of Utterly Loved.  There are 8 possible ways to enter.  Multiple entries are encouraged.

~ Comment below to share about your purchase of Utterly Loved.

~ Copy the below phrase and post onto Twitter or post any comment sharing about your purchase of Utterly Loved (you must include the hashtag #BuyUtterlyLoved)

     I bought Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard. Romantic poetry with proceeds to charity. #BuyUtterlyLoved http://amzn.to/SsmarW

~  Tweet again at least 4 hours later with the same #BuyUtterlyLoved hashtag and you will earn one separate entry per every 4 hour Tweet.

~ Post on FB so the hashtag #BuyUtterlyLoved hashtag appears onto Twitter and earn another entry.

That’s 8 possible entries.

Disclaimers:  The contest runs for 24 hours on December 3rd, 2012 from 07:01am EST to December 4rd, 2012 at 07:01am EST.  Winner will need to email proof of purchase to receive the signed copy.  Giveaway is international where allowed.  Winner will be chosen by Random.org. 

The bottom line? 

You help with every purchase.  You help by spreading the news of Utterly Loved so others purchaseSmall acts of kindness make a world of difference.  Thank you for being a part of the difference.

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Utterly Loved Release Day!

In true Utterly Loved whirlwind fashion, Utterly Loved with Foreword by Sylvain Reynard surprised us all with a release day less than ten hours after submission instead of 5-7 business days.

Please see the new page on this blog dedicated to Utterly Loved, which can also be accessed under Menu on the left sidebar.

On the page you will find the latest information about Utterly Loved, links to purchase the book, and links to the charities Utterly Loved will be helping.

Please share, like, and comment on the page.

Please share the news of Utterly Loved with all your social worlds.  Together we can make those in desperate need feel… Utterly Loved.

Thank you for all your help and support.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Poetic Warrior ~ Power As One ~ Book Title Reveal

Poetic Warrior

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

 

A poetic warrior is what I have become. I awoke on another early morning with fire flowing from my heart, scorching my veins, and commanding my thumbs as they rapidly typed on my iPhone. In my dark bedroom under warm covers, the compelling story ricocheting through my mind and haunting my thoughts had to be released.

I blinked unbelieving at the latest poetry creation. It had become my second riotous tribute in a row waging war to save the fallen that, in ignorant bliss, I never knew existed.

After twenty-one poems of love and countless uplifting quotes, my sword rang out as I withdrew it from a scabbard that, unbeknownst to me, had always been strapped to my back.

A deep lungful of fresh air filled a newly risen warrior with purpose, ready to do battle for the greater good.

{smiles slowly}

In three weeks, a book of poetry will be released that has the ability to change the world.

Do you believe you can make a difference?

Do you have faith that a single book, through love, can reach those in desperate need of it?

I do.

In the perfect marriage of the haves and have-nots, the purchase of a book about love shares our love with the world. In a truly serendipitous chain of events, I’ve been given the inspiration and ability to write poetry and an internal need to share my unexpected gift to help others.

No dollar from the sales of the book will ever line my pockets. All proceeds, less costs and taxes, will go directly to help selected charities. So far, the charities I have chosen are World Vision and Covenant House.

The book title?

It is how one feels when they’ve willingly lost themselves to another.

It is the words you express to the one who captured your heart.

It is how every soul in this world should feel.

Utterly Loved.

How great of an impact can one person have?

Infinite… when you stand strongly together among millions.

Next week, I plan to share more exciting information about the book, as well as the book cover. Meanwhile, please enjoy the first poem I’ve written post Utterly Loved that expresses how I feel in my heart.

 

Power As One

Echoes ripple
Resonate through the heart
Cries from fallen
Helpless souls torn apart

Lightning pierces
Urgent fire fueled from need
Warrior rises
Beckoned to act in deed

Hero searches
Charting land of the lost
Soldier battles
Pays exorbitant cost

Mountain towers
Danger etched in granite
Climber conquers
Needing to tame a planet

Leaders follow
Shoulders forming a wall
Weapons unsheathe
Saviors answer the call

Together we have an amazing power to make a worldwide difference. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements regarding Utterly Loved, and please share news about it with your social worlds.

 

Your favorite shoe,

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion