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Finding a book you love

When you become an author, it gets a lot harder to read. You live with a constant ache of hunger for what you’re trying to create: words that can take the mind away from everyday routine. Those words become more difficult to find.dreamstime_m_37529007

Part of the reason is that once you’ve had your work edited, you start to see the errors in other people’s books. This is not limited in any way to works published by independent publishers or those that are self-published. In fact, as the world of publishing settles down from the great upheaval caused by opened channels, I read just as many books with blatant errors and bad editing published by the Great Traditionals as independents. I’ve given up on a few of my favorite authors (John Irving comes to mind) who are published by the established houses because I couldn’t take the lack of editing or copyediting. I haven’t been in book publishing long enough to know why this has happened. In some cases, including Mr. Irving’s, I think the author’s britches got so big, they decided not to let anyone push them around. In other cases, I think budgets have got in the way of traditional good editing, which means the Great Traditionals have become nothing more than the Big Guys.

The other reason my hunger for losing myself in a book is harder to abate, however, is story line. I am tired of formula writing and, believe it or not, I think readers are, too. It’s why I can get into certain well- written series, but only go three or four books before I get bored. The same story told twenty times is not what I seek. Some authors certainly are successful at multiples, and I think that’s because the writer can make you fall in love with the recurring characters while also finding a way to shock you with the crimes or mystery or story line (Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb comes to mind. I can always read one of those books because I love the strong woman hero. The crimes give me the creeps. But they keep me reading because I want my hero to defeat the villain).  The lack of fresh story also is one of the reasons I stopped reading pure romance a while ago. I just got sick of: lonely woman finds man, they fall in love, they get separated or pissed at each other and then they get back together

So when it comes to reading these days, I just look for something that makes me lose myself in the story. We all need this. For me, that means I’m not stumbling over bad editing. It also means the story moves along nicely; I care about the characters. I have tended towards mystery and some mystery/romance the last few years. But I’ve always loved sci fi or fantasy as well. So my thanks this week to C.J. Brightley. I read the first of her Erdeman series: The King’s Sword. And it delighted me. Because I was cheering for the character, understanding his weaknesses and rooting for a new king in a kingdom that doesn’t exist except in a good writer’s mind.–Genilee Swope Parente

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fulfilling our dream

Mom and I have had an incredible fall of book events; We’ve come home from almost every one amazed at how many books we sold. This weekend’s event (Gar-field High School) was no exception, but it was special for a reason not based on numbers sold: It showed us The Fate Series has fans.

women-reader

Dreamstime

One woman rushed up to our table exclaiming that she’d come to the fair only because she’d seen we were going to be there, then bought three of Treasured Fate, the latest in the series, so she could complete the sets she’d bought for friends as gifts last year. She and her friends had eaten those books up.

If you think I’m flat out bragging you’d be exactly right. There is no better feeling for an author than to find out a reader loved your books and can’t wait for the next one. This woman was the highlight of the day, but she was only one example. We had more repeat business than any other book event probably because we sold more books at the same fair in 2015 than almost any other event that year. I started to see a common expression on shoppers’ faces: recognition. The minute fair attendees realized we were the “author ladies” from the 2015 fair, they’d walk up to the table, pull out their billfolds and say, “well, I’ve got to get another of your books.”

You do not write books hoping for fortune and fame—it’s very hard to make any money as an author. You DO write books, however, hoping for that kind of enthusiasm. Our goal is to get people to read—we don’t claim to be the creators of the kinds of books that change people’s lives or make them question their existence. We write books for people who love to curl up on the couch, open the cover, and lose themselves for a few minutes in a story. When we accomplish that, we have given the world a badly needed gift: a way for people to live outside their own lives and forget their worries for a while.

When I arrived to pick Mom up that morning, I could see that she was in pain and wondering whether she could even make it through the day. She’s had some lingering problems with one of her legs and she’d had a bad night. In typical fashion, my trooper co-author took a couple of baby aspirins and dragged herself there.

She was still in pain at the end of the day, but the smile on her face was a gift God gave both of us. I am so happy we had this day together, celebrating the joy of having something we love to do rewarded by appreciation.

To everyone who has bought one of our books this season and to the many people who have stopped by to let us know they like what we do: thank you. You helped us fulfill our dream.– Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Has reading lost its luster? Thankfully NO

A new Pew research study found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of the American public read books today, and this number hasn’t changed significantly in the last five years, though how they read is evolving. (E-device usage has climbed from 17% to 28% from 2011 to 2016.) All of that reading makes an author very happy—until she compares those figures to the 1970s, when only 8% of the American public answering a Gallup poll indicated they’d not read at least one book in the last year. That means up to 92% of us were reading.

Ah well, with so much information and distraction thrown at the public every day from multiple sources, the numbers shouldn’t surprise me. Those of us who put words on a page and hope someone sees and understands them will take what we can get. And some of the other stats from the 2016 Pew study are promising.

For example, the percentage of us who read simply for pleasure (as opposed to work, study or to keep up with current events) has remained steady over the last five years at about 80% of readers. Since mom and I write to entertain others, I’m pleased with that statistic. And nearly 35% of the Pew study respondents said they pursue this passion nearly every day.

I also found the figures on print vs. electronics heartening: people still like to hold a printed book in their hands and that number seems to be holding its own: The same number of people who read a print book in 2012 (65%) read in this format in 2016. What’s more, nearly four in ten (38%) said they read print books exclusively while just 6% read only through digital device.

E-book reading appears to have stabilized at 28% of readers where it’s been since 2014, though how that reading is getting done is changing: many more people are reading on computer tablets and cell phones while e-readers have stayed about the same. Interestingly, young people today are no more likely to read by digital device than their counterparts: 6% of 18- to 29-year-olds read books electronically only compared to 7% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 5% of those over 50.

Americans today read an average of about a book a month, and that number also hasn’t changed in the last five years. College graduates read more books (a median of about 7 per month); those who have not graduated from college are much more likely to use cell phones. The share of people who read to do research on a specific topic appears to be growing: 84% of Americans said they read a book for that reason, and 29% said they do so every day.

But all of these numbers are just numbers. Mom and I are much more heartened by what we discover at every event we attend and that is: readers are passionate about their past-time. Although we occasionally get the person who has no time or desire to look at a book, we get many more that are in awe that we’ve managed to produce five books in a few years. By far the most common comments are: “Of course I’m a reader” and “I always wanted to write a book.”

Join us next week (Sept. 15; 4 to 7, Dumfries Applebee’s) as we celebrate that fifth book: Treasured Fate. We know you’ll find others that share your love of reading.

Genilee Swope ParenteTreasured_Fate_Cover

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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We’ll see you at the fair!

Mom and I are purposely filling up our summer and fall schedules with author events and arts and crafts shows. We’ll soon be busier than we’ve been in years. Unfortunately, that’s because both of us were confined by taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s. We spent many hours making sure Dad was safe, and we did so willingly and with love. We even dragged him to a few of our book events, where we occasionally were rewarded with glimpses of my dad’s great, gentle smile. Alzheimer’s took much away from him, but it did not take his friendliness even when he had no idea whose hand he was shaking.IMG_4108

But we are now enjoying the freedom to attend what we want. With three books under our belts (and two more in the works), we are in another phase of being authors: getting out there and letting as many people know about our books as possible. We’re returning to some of the communities where we started our marketing efforts. We are also pursuing a new venue that began last holiday season and really took off: arts and crafts fairs.

In both cases, we are there to get people to buy our books and it feels great when they do. Selling anything piece by piece is a hard way to market a product, but it can be rewarding: we’re doing something we love and hoping to make some money at it.

Also, selling this way allows you another great benefit: you get to meet your audience. Whether you make earrings, quilts or books, creating something but just sticking it on a shelf never allows you the greatest reward of all: exposure to those who love your art. We are now at the point that we occasionally run into people who have read our books and want to talk about them. We also just love to meet the people that might be potential readers. If they stop at our booth, listen to our story and flip through our books to check our writing style, they have shown an interest in reading and/or writing. They are fascinated by what we’ve done and they validate the hours we spent doing it.

Don’t believe the naysayers that say reading books is a dead entertainment. We’ve been there first-hand and seen the passion in people’s eyes. Unless you’re a reader, it’s hard to understand. But reading is an activity that allows your brain to create the story from within. Even children, who have pictures to help them along, are using their brains to fill in the blanks. They don’t have a giant screen and loud music and noises telling their brains exactly what to think.

So gather up your pennies and come see us at a fair or event. You can spend those cents at another booth, and we’ll be perfectly happy. We are all artists and crafters and we want you to see what we do.

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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