Blog to Book Project — Look Inside the Book

Look Inside is a tool you can use to your advantage on Amazon. It allows readers to actually look inside (hence the name) your book. It’s actually a piece of cake to get it set up because Amazon does it for you! 

When you publish through KDP, your book is automatically enrolled in the program. Within a week of your book being available on Amazon, you will be able to see the Look Inside arrow on your book’s landing page on Amazon.

Readers can see a preview of both your ebook and print book. It’s a limited number of pages, so don’t worry about giving too much away. The ebook preview shows the cover and several of the first pages, not usually more than 10 or so. At the end of the preview, there is a prompt to encourage previewers to purchase the book. 

On the left, there’s an option to order a sample of the book for free delivered to your Kindle. Again, it’s not a huge amount of material, but it might be enough to prompt someone to buy. 

The print preview shows the front and back covers, copyright, table of contents, first few pages and a “Surprise Me!” option which takes previewers to a random section of the book.

There is also a search option. You can’t actually go to those pages in the preview, but it does list the sentence and page number of each occurrence of the words you searched for. It also helps readers find your book in any search on Amazon. So if a reader wants to find a book about “La Yacata” and searches for those keywords, my books have a higher probability of appearing before his or her wondering eyes even if “La Yacata” is not in the title.

As an author, you can capitalize on this feature by making sure you have no grammatical or orthographical errors in the preview. Nothing turns a reader off faster than mistakes. You could also be creative with your front matter placement to draw the reader in.

Assignment: Check out some books via the Look Inside option on Amazon. How can you capitalize on this feature as an author?

Intoxicating Tango: My Years in Buenos Aires by Cherie Magnus

Intoxicating Tango: My Years in Buenos Aires by Cherie Magnus was a captivating read from the very first page. The author used such vivid descriptions to describe her South American expat life that I could picture the chaotic streets and smokey rooms perfectly. Tango is the perfect metaphor for living abroad, really. The seduction, the nuances, the rhythm, the surrender and finally the disillusionment are the stages most expats go through. 

In June 2014, Cherie Magnus stepped off a plane with a few suitcases to begin her life in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This third installment of the author’s life covers those 10 memorable years in the birthplace of the tango. She tells us how she infiltrated the dance halls of milonguero, mastered the miradas, and tangoed her heart away. What an amazing story!

Although not particularly familiar with the steps of the tango, the author made it come alive in my mind. So don’t let not knowing how to tango keep you from finding pleasure in Ms. Magnus’s accounts as she chronicles the trials and tribulations of learning how to manage in a foreign country.

You don’t have to be well-versed in South American language or culture either to enjoy this particular story. A glossary of Argentine terms was included at the end, which certainly helped on some words that aren’t used in the Spanish speaking country I live in. Mostly though, the Spanish terms were easily understood in the narrative. 

I found no typos or spelling errors, although there was that strange twist of fate (or perhaps lapse in editing) that turned Ramon, the Latin lover, into Ruben briefly in chapter 23. The languorous tone that most of the story was told in changed towards the end into more of an anxious and hurried summary of events. I’m not sure if it was deliberate or an unconscious shift mirroring how the events unfolded, but all in all, that was perhaps my only complaint about this fascinating memoir. 

I’m sure that you too will get swept away by the dips and turns found in Intoxicating Tango: My Years in Buenos Aires by Cherie Magnus.

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

International Book Giving Day

February 14 was International Book Giving Day. Of course, the idea is to get books into the hands of children, but who says adults must be left out of the book receiving fun! 

So, in celebration of this holiday, I’m giving away the ebook version of International Event and Special Occasion List, an especially useful resource for bloggers. You can just head to Amazon and pick it up over the next few days. I’d be so grateful if you would leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads if you’ve already used the book and found it useful but it’s not required.

Blog to Book Project — Genealogy or List of Characters

Although most often found in fiction books, you may also want to include a List of Characters in your blog to book project if it would be hard for the reader to keep track of the people and relationships in your story without a guide. You can organize the list by order of appearance or family groups or overlapping relationships, whichever would be most useful for the reader.

You can eliminate some of the confusion in your book by using the same nicknames or given names throughout the story. Don’t call the neighbor Fred in one chapter and Mr. Miller in the next. Be consistent. 

It might be useful to include a genealogy in some situations especially if there is something unique about the family tree that pertains to the story. For instance, the main characters might be cousins twice removed that had met at a family reunion as children and reconnected as adults. Instead of going through the intricacies in the text, a mere mention with reference to the genealogy at the beginning of the book might suffice. 

There are many free templates available online to help you create an attractive genealogy to include in your book. 

Assignment: Create a List of Characters or Geneology for your book. Review your book to make sure you are consistent in name-use.

Live Your Gift Companion Guide: The Workbook for Creating Your Life Map by Dana V. Adams

Over the last few months, I’ve been concentrating my studies on learning more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in order to become a certified life coach. I have to say that the Live Your Gift Companion Guide: The Workbook for Creating Your Life Map by Dana V. Adams is the perfect complement to my studies.

I eagerly dove into the material. The informative sections were clear and concise. The worksheets were thought provoking and had plenty of space for reflection. The activities build upon each other so that at the end, I had a completed action plan. 

Since I’ve been studying CBT, the concepts weren’t completely new to me. In fact, several of the activities were exactly like those I’ve seen in my courses. The fact that they were familiar in no way detracted from the effectiveness. I thoroughly enjoyed working my way from defining my beliefs and principles to creating goals that aligned with my core values, and so will you!

I was a little leery about the quality of the book since it is meant to be a companion workbook for the book Live Your Gift: Discovering Your Authentic Life Through Life Mapping. However, I found that there was enough explanatory material included for each activity that I had no problems following the reasoning behind it without having read the other book.

There were very few typos, a double ‘the’ and a ‘youself’ were all that I found. The layouts of the worksheets were appropriately designed. The graphics, like the Personal Well-being Wheel, were also large enough to write on. There were duplicate forms included at the end of the book for the development of additional goals and plans. 

All in all, I was delighted with Live Your Gift Companion Guide: The Workbook for Creating Your Life Map by Dana V. Adams and not just because it fit so well into my current pursuits. I would recommend this workbook to anyone that wants to improve any aspect of their life, no matter how small or large. It’s especially good reading when designing those New Year’s Resolutions. I encourage you to pick up your copy today so that you can create a life that lives up to its potential this year.

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery to review this book. You can read my review here.

The Ultimate Women's Wellness Bundle

Do you know what the best thing is about the Ultimate Bundles products? The number of eBooks you get for one price. Of course, the courses, workbooks, seminars, summits, and even documentaries are nice. But, let’s face it. I’m in it for the books.

This bundle will just knock your socks off when it comes to eBooks about women’s health. The Ultimate Women’s Wellness bundle has 32 eBooks–yep, 32! Plus 32 eCourses/audios, 12 workbooks/printables, 2 summits and a documentary for $37.

And that’s not all! You can choose to upgrade and get the Herbs & Essential Oils Super bundle with 29 eBooks, 4 Printables, and 7 eCourses including my book Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico in addition to the Women’s Wellness Bundle. 

This eBook smorgasbord is only available until February 10, so don’t wait too long! I’ve already gotten mine and am ready to dive right in! Books, glorious books!

Blog to Book Project — Foreword

A foreword is usually written by someone other than the author. It might describe the interaction between the writer of the foreword and the author of the book. Or it could talk about the information and relevance of the book on a social, historical or cultural level. A foreword is often fewer than two pages. 

Generally, the foreword is not written by just anyone, but someone that is considered an expert in his or her field. Therefore the foreword serves as something of an endorsement of the author or book to follow. 

If the book is a compilation, the editor may write the foreword. 

If a book has had several editions published, sometimes a new foreword is included before a previous foreword. The newer foreword could talk about how the updated edition differs from the first or why the book has become culturally relevant again if it is a public domain edition. 

This is the only section of the book that is signed by the author of the foreword. Any titles or affiliations associated with the author of the foreword is also listed.

As a general rule, this section is not numbered as part of the book. If it is paginated, it uses lowercase Roman numerals.

In some instances, an author may write the foreword. When this is the case, the section may discuss how the idea of the book was developed and could even include acknowledgments. 

Assignment: Do you know someone that would lend credibility to your book by writing the foreword? Have you made a formal request?

The World is Your Lobster by Lee Mountford

Lee and his wife Nicki decided to take a belated gap year in their 40s and travel the world. Beginning in Melbourne, Australia, they went to 27 countries, covering a total of 77,427 kilometers and sampling 276 domestic beers. Lee recounts the highlights and little adventures in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, with corny jokes, and nearly funny puns. You can’t say the man didn’t try. 

The adventure itself had some inevitable lows, including icky accommodations, being charged extraordinarily high prices, and one instance of denied entrance to the temple for the blatant display of knobby kneecaps. They met some memorable characters on the way, such as the Italian Hamster and Paul, the poetry reciting Russian. 

As I was reading, I kept thinking that I would love to see some of these pictures Lee was yammering on about. Lo and behold, midway through the book, there was a QR code above to view some of the pictures online. Since I may be one of the last remaining people in the world that does not own a smartphone, that feature wasn’t as exciting as the link to their Instagram account. (https://www.instagram.com/worldisyourlobster/). My personal favorite photo was of Lee carting around the hotel safe in Myanmar.

Roundabout the time when the Mountfords arrived in Europe, both trip planning and book proofreading went to the dogs. Random apostrophes appeared in places they had no business being (her’s). Muddled homophones confused the issue at times (who’s vs. whose). Enough inconsistent capitalization sprouted up to drive this English teacher bonkers. (Eiffel Tower, Eiffel tower, eiffel Tower, anyone?) Maybe Maggie-Jane, the orange Brazilian VW camper van that the couple was trundling around in, affected the grammar in some way.

Like all good things, eventually, the journey came to an end. Nicki and Lee took up the yokes of the middle-aged once again, albeit with a gleam of wanderlust in the eye from time to time. So if you are an armchair traveler and enjoy a good travel story, or in this case hundreds of good travel stories, then The World is Your Lobster by Lee Mountford is the book for you!

I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can read my review here.

Blog to Book Project — Preface

The preface is written by the author and addressed to the readers directly. It is more often found in non-fiction books. 

You could tell the readers why you wrote the book. Does it fill a need? Were you inspired by a particular incident? What is the purpose of this book?  

You could also talk about the writing process. Why did you decide to turn your blog into a book? What were the challenges you overcame? How did you change or what did you learn in the process of writing this book? How did you research it? How long did it take you to write this book?

Yet another aspect you could write about is reader assistance. What will the reader gain by reading it? Should it be read in a specific manner?

Finally, you could summarize the material contained in the book. What are the major themes? What are the steps to the final goal? What are the highlights of each chapter?

Choose one of these viewpoints in order to keep the preface short, less than two pages is ideal. 

This section is also paginated with lowercase Roman numerals as part of the front matter. If there are two prefaces, one written by the author and the other by the editor, the editor’s preface comes first.  If there is both a preface and a foreword, the foreword is first. 

Assignment: Decide which aspect you would like to discuss in your preface.