#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations

8 Apr

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations.

By now, you probably know that Clean Teen Publishing is running a Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset. And if you’re involved in the publishing industry at all – and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this – then you already know how widely debated giveaways are. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a reader, or a publisher. I’m sure you’ve seen the debates about giveaways. I’m sure you’ve also seen a few debates about donations as well. We all have our opinions, and both topics are deeply complex – probably too complex to completely cover in this article below – but I did want to try to explain why I choose to participate in giveaways and donations.

I’ve considered both deeply, so much so that I’ve spent hours researching all the pros and cons. I’m sure you can already tell from my website that I am all for giveaways and donations. That being said, I want to start with donations.

Let's start off with this bookstore I found recently - almost all books were donations.

Let’s start off with this bookstore I found recently – almost all books were donations.

Donations:

Some like to call it panhandling. Others – like me – like to call it support. I never consciously started my website with the idea of donations in mind. In fact, two years of blogging passed before I ever added a page. The first time I considered it was when a blogger – who I had gifted one of my novels to – asked if I had a donate page because she wanted to support my writing. She informed me that she had already bought my books and shared them with friends, but she wanted to do more.

I was touched – and a little bit insecure. I didn’t feel like I was worth any extra help. I didn’t feel like it was “right”, and we spoke about it for a while. She explained that she does this for a lot of her favorite authors, and I remembered something. I donate to my favorite authors and musicians. I have, and I still do when I can. But I was always the donator – not the receiver – and the flip of the relationship felt odd and surreal.

That’s when I started researching.

While I can’t share every article I ever found on the topic, I will share THE ONE – the one that ultimately changed my mind. It was a TED talk: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: and I suggest watching it whenever you have the time.

She is absolutely right. The donations become an exchange – a loving exchange. It’s not forced or expected or lazy. I donate to show my appreciation, and when I receive donations, I like to give unique photos of Bogart to supporters to show how much I appreciate them. (Since I’m not a statue actress with flowers like Amanda Palmer).

Now – my addition to this topic is something I’ll never forget. Last year, when I lost my old publisher, my job, and my car at the same time, I was walking around in the rain with holes in my boots just to try to find new work – and you all saved me. Quite frankly, you all kept me on my feet. And you kept my feet dry. Without you, I’m not sure where I would’ve been. But with you, I was safe, and for that, I am forever thankful, and I hope I can continue to move forward and helps others in the way you all helped me. Helping and being helped out of the goodness of your heart – finding ways to support one another when we can – cheering everyone on – and working together for a better future, that is love.

Now, for giveaways: (whew)

The main judgment I see in giveaways is generally worded like this: “Giving away your work for free devalues your work.”

This saddens me. As an author, I trust my readers to bring joy to giveaways, to be positive and uplifting, and to enjoy the event. I do not feel like it devalues my work. To me, that is like saying all presents aren’t valuable because they were given to you for free. Some of the closest trinkets I own are presents. They are immensely valuable to me. If someone handed me a free book – a free trinket or free cake or free notebook – I would never think, “This isn’t valuable.” Instead, when I received a notebook from a reader, my day was filled with warmth, and I have been filling up the notebook with poems ever since – poems I send to that reader, poems we discuss, poems we talk about, poems we build friendship on. That isn’t just valuable. It’s invaluable. Giveaways are gift-gifting opportunities, but they are more than that: they are friendship opportunities.

Now, this is where another concern slides in. Some people sign up who just want to resell your work: no reviews, no reader connections, just people “stealing.”

We choose to give it away. It is a gift. We cannot have expectations for what people do with the gift. That’s just not how gifting works. Granted, I do hope that people stop entering giveaways just to sell work – because yes, that’s unfair to the readers who actually wanted it to read it – but we must trust the readers to come through for authors, and I trust that we can work together to make it a better gift-giving system.

On a side note, I mentioned TED talks earlier, and now I will mention them again. I’m a TED talk junky. I have spent many nights – probably too many nights – watching TED talks. I have learned from TED talks and grown from them and shared them, and guess what? They are all free.

I recently watched a collection of six on forgiveness, and another one about poetry in prison, and the danger of the single story. Arguably, the last one – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – is my ultimate favorite. The single story is damaging, and I think the “single story” theory goes beyond just hearing a single story. It stretches to any type of judgment, and that brings me back to Amanda Palmer’s speech, The Art of Asking.

We are quick to judge things like giveaways or donations and we are quick to praise them as well, but there are always two sides to the story, two sides to the pros and cons of an act, and two sides to debate.

I choose to stay on this side – as a reader and as an author – and I hope to stay on this side, even when things get tough.

~SAT

And in case you haven’t entered the giveaway (and you want to), click this link to the photo below for your chance to win 1 of 3 ARCS of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. Clean Teen Publishing will be picking winners on my birthday! (Because what better way to celebrate?)  bel234

#MondayBlogs: Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

6 Apr

Intro:

I love info graphics. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with them. So, when Cindy Bates – a freelance editor and writer for Best Essay Tips – contacted me with her very own info graphic to share, I just knew I had to share it. Below, you’ll find a photo that outlines the Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers.

Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers 

Being a prolific and excellent writer is never easy. It took years to the world’s most famous and topnotch writers to be able to publish their work. For those who are aspiring to become one, possessing this skill does not happen overnight but you can definitely learn many things from famous writers. To improve your writing skills, constant practice is important. The best way to do this is to have your own journal. When you have your personal journal, you can freely write down your thoughts. You get to have your own space where you can express yourself without restraints and inhibitions. Apart from owning a journal, it is also known among famous writers that in order for you to be skilled in writing you also have to be a wide reader. By forming these habits, you can start having your own personal time for writing and to practice not just writing as a skill but as well as an art.

Writing techniques

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: Turning Dreams into Stories

4 Apr

#SATurday: Turning Dreams into Stories

I hate alarm clocks. I don’t hate many things, but an alarm clock is one of them. Most of the time, I wake up without one – I have my entire life – and I truly believe it’s because my brain is wired to dislike the act of waking up to sudden (and normally blaring) music. It doesn’t matter if it’s my favorite song. I will end up hating the song if it wakes me up every morning. I wish I could like it – I do. The practical use of an alarm isn’t even debatable. Even though I wake up most mornings, I still have those instances where alarm clocks have come through for me and saved me from accidentally sleeping through my day. (Although…accidentally sleeping through my day sounds pretty nice right now…as long as I didn’t have any responsibilities…which I do…so that accident would be pretty awful, but the sleeping part sounds nice.)

Garfield

Garfield

Who doesn’t love sleep? It’s a magical thing. I used to hate that, though, too. If you’ve read any of my interviews, then you probably already know that I had night terrors as a child. And, occasionally, I still do. I also have vivid dreams and nightmares, but I’m finding more often than not that many writers do. Perhaps it’s our overactive imaginations. Perhaps the dreams caused our overactive imaginations. What comes first, the imagination or the dreams?

For me, I believe my dreams came first. Despite the fact that my parents rarely allowed me to watch TV (and had very strict rules about what I was allowed to watch), I had violent dreams. Terrifying dreams. Dreams that hologrammed themselves into the real world, even after I woke up. The first one I recall involved a cheetah. It chased me through a neighborhood (not a jungle), and right before it caught me, I woke up. But instead of my dream ending, I would still see it – lying in wait, sitting at the edge of my bed, half-hanging off the end. I remember its beady eyes blinking, reflecting light in my dark room.

Much to my dismay (and probably my parents’ as well), it kept repeating, and I was losing all hope until art class one day. I can’t say what grade I was in. I can’t recall the teacher’s name. I can’t even – positively – say it was art class. I only remember the art supplies surrounding us, so that’s why I assume my location, but the teacher was telling us about nightmares. And, again, I can’t remember why, but I do remember focusing, listening to her every word.

Her nephew had a reoccurring dream. Every night, a lion chased him through the jungle. I was envious his dreams took him to exotic places – unlike mine – but his lion did something my cheetah didn’t. It ate him.

Now – it didn’t eat him the first time. Our teacher explained that the nephew kept having the dreams until he consciously decided he would stop running in his dreams, turn around, and face the lion. He did. And the lion ate him…And the lion never came again.

I went home, thinking I had finally found the solution to my own nightmare. I was truly excited, ready to be eaten, and I went to bed that night with new hope. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. I stopped, the cheetah killed me (I assume), and I woke up only for the next morning to have it happened again. My dream repeated itself for a few weeks. (Or maybe it was only few days – time is longer the younger you are). But it repeated, nevertheless, and I never defeated it like my art teacher’s nephew did. Instead, my cheetah slowly faded away, replaced by a T-Rex, then replaced by a murderer.

I don’t believe my dreams have ever stopped. It’s every other night that I dream of something violent, and on rare occasions, I can turn one of my dreams into a story. I can meet a character or see a situation or visit a new world – although I have yet to visit a jungle – and I can take readers there by sharing words on paper.

Those dreams aren’t so scary anymore. In fact, overtime, I think I learned to embrace them and learn from them and explore them and create with them – like my dreams were the real art class all along. And who wants an alarm clock to go off in the middle of class?

~SAT

P.S. If you missed it, here is my live interview with Jonas Lee. We spoke about knives, coffee, Clue, and writing tips.

And just to REALLY switch your Saturday up, I have finally returned to my YouTube Channel – Coffee and Cats – so feel free to ask any question on the video and I’ll be answering them during my next video.

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

1 Apr

SURPRISE – This is not an April Fool’s joke

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway April 1 – June 23. On June 23 – coincidentally on my birthday – three ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset will be given away to lucky and awesome readers (such as yourself). Enter here or below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends June 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

This first paragraph is more or less an intro, but I feel like it was important to add it. I don’t normally have an intro for my posts, but this one wasn’t written in my usual, positive self. I wrote it about two weeks ago, which – coincidentally – was also the same day of the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been 12 years since she passed, but the day still affects me in many ways, and I had a day full of doubt. I wrote down how I felt about it, and since I know many writers have many days full of doubts, I decided I wanted to share it on here. Hopefully, it allows fellow writers to feel less alone, more normal, and accepting toward an array of other emotions I think we’ve all had at one point. The photo you see below is of my father and my mother. It’s one of my favorite photos of them, and if you follow me on Facebook, then you already know how much these two people have influenced me by encouraging me to follow my dreams. Encouragement is a never-ending type of love.

parents

I’m having one of those days – you know them, I’m sure. The days where we doubt ourselves can seem like the longest, most dreadful days. I am already counting the seconds between now and tomorrow, knowing that I will, most likely, feel better tomorrow, but for this singular moment in time, I am writing out how I feel because writing has always helped me slow down those overwhelming emotions that drown you with fear and frustration and frivolous ideas like, “why did I ever think I could do this anyway?”

I don’t think I’ve ever believed I could do this – this writing thing – but then again, I’m not sure it’s about thinking you can do something but rather doing it anyway and trying to do your best every day, even during the days where you question it. I love writing. I love sharing my writing with readers. I love connecting with fellow writers and readers. I love everything that revolves around words and sharing them. That’s what matters. And most days, that’s enough to push me forward, but hard days still happened.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this unsure, but I’m sure I had another day just like this not too long ago. I’m only 23 years old, after all. Any life experience in writing I can think of is probably (at most) a little over a decade away. I, hopefully, have many more decades to go, but I know I’ve always believed I don’t have many decades in front of me at all. Perhaps it stems from watching three of my grandparents, three dogs, and my mother die before I was a teenager. I just can’t bring myself to believe in a long and prosperous life, so I’ve focused all of my attention on a meaningful one, no matter how long or prosperous it could be.

I’m uncharacteristically sad today, but that knowledge doesn’t lessen the depression much more. I normally write about continuing forward and confidence and love and a peaceful state of mind. I want this website to be a cheerful place, an encouraging place, and I promise I’m still trying to bring out the inspiration for the day.

There will be days that doubt takes over. There might even be weeks or seasons or years. But there will be another good day if you let it come, and there will always be more to say, to think about, to write about. It’s a matter of picking up that pen, accepting the doubt, and writing down your words anyway. It’s a matter of doing exactly this – expressing it, even if you don’t know if you should – and moving forward into the future, knowing you’re one word closer to meeting a new goal.

My goal today was to continue forward, no matter how much doubt suddenly rushed into me, and I did, and I will, and I do so by reminding myself of the love and passion that goes into my writing career as well as all of my readers who’ve shown support and care to me.

We stick together, and we keep our pens up until we run out of ink.

(And when we run out of ink, we walk to the nearest CVS and pick up more pens.)

Thank you for loving me – I love you in the same way I love this peace that has come by sharing it.

~SAT

servicesAlso, who else is looking forward to writing during the rainy month of April? 

Personally, I write at night, but during the day, I help authors find readers and interviewers. I also edit manuscripts and manage social media accounts. I can even create promo photos for you.

Feel free to check out my services as well as some reviews.

Message me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you have any questions – or even just to say hi!

March Ketchup

30 Mar

March’s Ketchup

Another month has passed, and during the month of March, we were able to meet more guest bloggers, read more news, and discover additional websites for writers and readers.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up”. At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog post, my top referrer, SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this March!

Big Moments:

The new cover for Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, was revealed, and what a delight that moment was! I am so happy you all enjoyed the new cover so much. It only makes the upcoming release more exciting. Because of all of the excitement, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway. Staring on April 1, you can enter to win 1 of 3 ARCs, so look out for that!

My latest publication

My latest publication

In other news, I also received my copy of my first piece of nonfiction that was ever published. My personal essay, Nowhere, was featured in the 23 volume of Fine Lines, and now it sits on top of my desk, reminding me of why we continue to write and submit and share our work with everyone.

Thank you goes out to all of the readers who’ve supported me – novels, poetry, nonfiction, and all.

My #1 Clicked Item was my Facebook page

My #1 Clicked Item was my Facebook page

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. #1 SEO Term: Wattpad

    #1 SEO Term: Wattpad

    The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed: Ah! The excitement. Every day, it’s getting more and more difficult to contain my excitement about all of this. I am eternally grateful that you all are excited as well.

  2. The Lesson of Cats: I’m glad you all enjoy cats as much as I do. Bogart sends his love.
  3. Being Good Enough: Written by Sandra Nyamu, we were all touched when we read this honest article, describing the feelings of every writer who has been discouraged.

Other Blog Posts:

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

Guest Post: During March, I had the wonderful opportunity to guest write for Lit World Interviews. I wrote, How I Found a New Publisher after Losing One.

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Interviews: Writing Room 101, Jonas Lee

Awarders: Kaine Andrews (Liebster Award), Addlepates and Booknerds (Liebster Award)

Calculated on March 27 at 19,420 followers

Calculated on March 27 at 19,420 followers

Website Wonders

28 Mar

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of March’s Website Wonders categorized into Readers, Writers, Coffee Drinkers, and Cute Fun. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Readers:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read: A lot of these books are for free too.

100 Legal Sites to Download Literature

The Best Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2012: A flashback

Writers:

How “Strong Female Characters” still end up weak and powerless (Or, Do they pass the action figure test?) A great article that debates all sides of the “strong” female character

 75+ Paid Writing Opportunities: Because writers can get paid too. 

32 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The English Language: Nefarious has a cat.

Billy Wilder’s Rules for Screenwriters: Yes, screenwriters. I think of you too.

10557215_804346322967523_6886263204870891271_nCoffee Drinkers:

Innovative Alarm Clock Wakes Users with Freshly Brewed Coffee:Who doesn’t need this?

Coffee Jokes: Why are men all like coffee?

Cute fun:

Japan’s Fox Village: The cutest place on earth.

21 Adorable Pictures Of Babies Chilling With Their Kitty Cat Companions: So cute, I died.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed these website wonders! See you with more next month!

~SAT

In case you missed my LIVE interview today at 11 a.m. (CDT) on Google+ with author, Jonas Lee. Here is the video:

#WW: Pros and Cons of Reading Goals

25 Mar

Intro:

Normally, I have guest bloggers on Mondays, but today is an exception. (Shannon accidentally overbooked her website for March). That being said, today’s guest blogger is discussing a topic I’m sure many book bloggers and bibliophiles can relate to: reading goals. We’ve all seen them, the 2015 reading goals, the reading challenges, the reading lists. CL Mannarino is an avid reader who has found herself facing many of these lists, and her enlightening discussion brings up the question of why we read in the first place.

Pros and Cons of Reading Goals

Last year, I had a goal to read 35 books. It was going to be brilliant: I had a whole list of books/series that I would tackle for that year. Each one was designed to either clean out my bookshelf (10 unread books for every 1 book I’d already enjoyed), or round me out into a more aware, well-read person.

Didn’t happen.

Instead, according to Goodreads, I read…maybe 19. There were a few books listed that I didn’t finish. So let’s say 15. That’s generous.

clmannarino_2014editIn the past, this would’ve torn me apart. I would read lists that appeared on Facebook saying, “How many of these classics have you read? Most people read less than ten” and hurriedly go through to make sure I’d tackled at least ten listed. After I could check off at least fifteen, I would smirk to myself and sit back.

Those kinds of things made me feel so well-rounded. Until I followed who would review James Baldwin and Jack Kerouac and I would feel guilty. None of those kinds of writers ever interested me. I was never an Austen person, and the only Bronte novel I enjoyed was Jane Eyre. But because I’m an English major, any post or person, no matter how off-base or high-horsed, telling me “well-rounded people read classics” made me feel guilty for not reading more of them.

It’s why I set my Goodreads goal. These other people – smart bloggers, who enjoyed deep literature that didn’t speak to me but I felt like ought to because I considered myself fairly intelligent – set lofty goals. Read more this year, they said.

They had plans. So I planned, too. And I planned a plan for someone else’s dreams instead of mine.  That, and I’d read about 30 books in 2013, so I thought I could duplicate my success.

I thought I’d be more broken up about it than I am. I thought I’d feel guiltier about reading so much more slowly this year than I do. More than anything, though, I feel relieved.

I didn’t meet the goal, but I didn’t become a less-rounded person because of it. I tackled some pretty important literature, but I also read a lot of duds. And I didn’t finish everything I started. I’d just decided I didn’t want to waste my time with something that didn’t hold my attention.

Don’t be afraid to not finish something, by the way. Often, you’ll wind up coming back to it in the future, when you’re ready to read it.

I think a big part of this guilt-free feeling is that I know more about my ability to fulfill resolutions than I did before. I know my desires better, and I’m not going to beat myself up for not being the kind of reader I expect myself to be. (Or the kind I expect myself to be based on others’ outspoken expectations of “good readers.”)

This year, I’m going to tackle my bookshelf. I’ll widen my horizons a little bit. I’ll read a few things I’ve bought. I’ll read some stories from places I’ve never read from before. Above all, I’ll go where my literary desires take me and keep the pressure off.

Reading was fun for me. It should be, still.

Bio:

CL Mannarino is a fantasy and realistic fiction writer and personal essayist. She works in Massachusetts as an editor while she writes, reads, walks, and bakes on the side. She’s trained in line-editing, extreme shoveling, and home improvement. CL can be found on her blog, her Facebook, or her Tumblr.”

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

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