Tag: bookish question

Have you been to an in-store book signing?

Bookish Question #75 | Have you been to an in-store book signing?

No, I haven’t.

I do have some books which have been autographed by the author—some I won in online giveaways, some I was given or sent as a thank you for editing the books, and some I have purchased from the author at writing conferences. But none I bought at an in-store book signing.

Why have never attended an in-store book signing? This is mostly because I’ve (almost) never been in the same town as a favourite author when they’ve held a book signing.

Almost? There was one time … I was in Brisbane to attend the Omega Writers Conference, and one of the authors (Jo-Anne Berthlesen, I think) was holding a book signing that morning in the local Koorong store. Well, I had a map, but after completely missing the correct motorway exit twice, I gave up and headed for the conference venue. So I missed my chance to attend an in-store book signing.

What about you? Have you been to an in-store book signing? Who was the author, and what was the book?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Have you purchased books recommended by friends?

Bookish Question #71 | Have You Purchased Books Recommended by Friends?


When it comes to books from the major publishers, I tend to be the friend recommending books to others because I get a lot of advance review copies (ebooks. Even the biggest publishers don’t want to post me paperbacks because I live in New Zealand).

But when it comes to books from smaller publishers, or self-published authors, I often rely on recommendations from friends.

For example, I bought and read The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce after Narelle Atkins recommended it. Now I’m anxiously waiting for the sequel (and would love a review copy, hint hint). I was introduced to the brilliant Amy Matayo by Catherine Hudson, while Andrea Grigg told me I *had * to read Bria Quinlan (she was right). Most recently, Christine Dillon recommended Criss Cross by CC Warrens, and I ended up buying and reading the whole trilogy on one wet weekend.

I also get recommendations from fellow book bloggers. One of the best-worst parts of my week is reading the First Line Friday posts. I usually read them on Saturday, because time zones mean most people post after I’ve gone to sleep on Friday night. Anyway, it’s rare that I’m able to make the rounds of my fellow First Line Friday bloggers without downloading at least one Kindle sample, or buying the book because it’s on a limited-time sale.

What about you? Have you purchased books recommended by friends? Which books or authors?

Do you read seasonal-themed books?

Bookish Question #70 | Do You Read Seasonal Themed Books?

Lots of books have seasonal themes. Christmas-themed books (and movies) are probably the most popular, but I’ve come across others.

Summer-themed books seem more popular than winter-themed books.

But that could be because Christmas comes in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, so Christmas books are winter books. Or vice versa. I’m not a big reader of either summer or winter books, and I think that’s because I live in New Zealand. I see summer book advertisements when I’m cuddled up by the roaring winter fire, so a “beach read” isn’t exactly a selling point. Equally, when I’m looking for a summer beach read, all the books show snow scenes and big red mugs of hot chocolate. Yeah, no.

I’ve also seen romance novels with a Valentine’s Day theme, but I have to admit I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. It wasn’t a big part of the Kiwi culture when I was growing up, and not it seems mostly commercial. Anyway, it always strikes me that we don’t have to wait for a specific day to buy flowers or chocolates for the ones we love. Any day the shops are open is a good day to buy flowers and chocolate. And books.

What about you? Do you read seasonal-themed books? Does your answer have anything to do with where you live?

Join the conversation below.

Have you been to a book launch?

Bookish Question #69 | Have You Been to a Book Launch?

A book launch is the low-key equivalent of a movie premiere, a celebration of the fact the book is now out in the world and available for purchase.

I have been to two local in-person book launches.

One was for a book I edited, and one was for a book written by a friend. Both were held in hired halls with catering, and attended by lots of encouraging family and friends.

But those aren’t the only launches I’ve attended.

I stayed up until midnight to watch the televised launch of the sixth Harry Potter books. JK Rowling read the scene where Harry and Ron visit Fred and George’s newly opened magic joke shop.

I’ve also attended several whistle-stop fast book launches at writing conferences, where authors each got five minutes during a meal break to share the story behind their book.

And I’ve participated in a couple of Facebook launch parties, although these tend to be at odd times in my (New Zealand) time zone—either too late at night (or early in the morning), or in the middle of my working day … so I mean to take a break and check out the party, but invariably forget.

What about you? Have you been to a book launch? What kind of launch was it?

Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

Bookish Question #68 | Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

I always have a drink by my side, no matter what I’m doing.

If it’s morning, it’s likely to be coffee—it takes one or two cups to get me up and running each day. I rarely have more than two coffees, although I might have another if I go to a cafe. I might then treat myself to a Chai Latte … but cafes are usually for meeting up with friends or writing, not reading.

I switch to green tea in the afternoon and evening, and water the rest of the time.

My husband works for an international company with operations in China, so I’m currently drinking some Lychee tea he brought back from a work trip. It’s a lovely green tea with a hint of sweet lychee. (Note that the Dragon tea did not taste of dragon—not that I know what dragon tastes like!).

I usually have a glass or a bottle of water with me all the time. I drink a lot of water—I definitely drink my eight glasses (two litres) a day, and it’s often more. Why not? Our tap water is as good (i.e. tasteless) as any branded bottled water, and it’s free. And calorie-free. We have a Soda Stream, so sometimes I’ll have plain tap water, and sometimes I’ll use the Soda Stream to add the bubbles (but no flavour).

My reading times are usually evenings or weekend afternoons, so I’m usually drinking water or green tea by then. Maybe one, maybe the other, maybe both. Often both.

So yes, I always read with a drink nearby.

What about you? Do you read with a favourite beverage by your side?

Does your library stock Christian books?

Bookish Question #67 | Does Your Library Stock Christian Books?

Yes! My local library system has a healthy selection of Christian books.

They do tend to focus on the major US publishers rather than buying books from local authors. They also had more of a focus on fiction than non-fiction.

Unfortunately, they aren’t all free.

My library has two sections—fee and paid. New releases and books from popular authors tend to go into the paid section for several months before finding their way into the free section. This does keep waiting times down (I’ve heard of people being 84th in line for a book, but that doesn’t happen here!).

Anyway, books from the paid section cost $3 for two weeks (compared to around $30 to buy the same book in the bookstore that used to be across the road). That’s a fair price for a new-to-me author I may or may not enjoy, or for a book I don’t think I’ll want to read and re-read (yes, there were books I’d borrow then buy).

But I mostly stopped borrowing the paid titles once I started reviewing, because those were the titles I chose to review.

But the library still stocks a great selection of Christian books.

What about you? Does yuur library stock Christian books?

Do you read reviews before buying a book?

Bookish Question #66 | Do You Read Reviews Before Buying a Book?

This might sound odd coming from a book reviewer, but I rarely read book reviews before buying a book.

Why not?

Mostly because I’m a book reviewer. Reviewing means I get a lot of books free (so I’m not buying them at all), and I’m often reading pre-release or new release books that don’t have many reviews.

When it comes to buying books, I’ll sometimes buy pre-order books (e.g the entire Tuscan Legacy series). Again, I’m often buying before release date, so there are often few reviews if any. Pre-orders are tempting, because many of the books are offered at special low prices for the preorder period only.

I also buy sale Kindle books, such as those advertised through email newsletters like BookBub. These are often free or 99 cent books. I never look at reviews for the free books (they’re free. Why would I). And I rarely look at the reviews for the 99 cent books. If I buy, it’s on the strength of the cover, author name, and book description (and price). I figure BookBub has already checked out the reviews, and they won’t advertise the book if there is an obvious issue.

I do check book reviews most when it comes to buying full-price Kindle books or paperbacks. But even then I’m checking the reviews that point out the faults (so the one-star and two-star reviews), or the reviews from authors, friends, or reviewers whose opinions I trust because we like similar books

What about you? Do you read reviews before buying a book?

Do you visit book stores?

Bookish Question #65 | Do you visit book stores?

Do I visit book stores?

Sometimes and all the time.

This is 2018. There are two kinds of book store: physical, and online. I visit one kind of store all the time (can you guess which?). The other kind? Not so often. What about you?

Physical Book Stores

I rarely visit a physical book store unless I need to buy a physical book or product. The last time I visited one was to buy my niece a book voucher for her birthday. The time before that was to buy my husband and my mother each a book for Christmas. It’s now July. That tells you how often I visit physical book stores.

Online Book Stores

Online book stores are a different story … I don’t spent as much time browsing on Amazon as I used to, but I still visit the site at least a couple of times a week to download a sale book, to check the release date of a book I’m planning to review, or to access the links to add to a review. I also visit Amazon, ChristianBook.com, and Koorong.com.au on a semi-regular basis to post my reviews.

What about you? Do you visit book stores? What kind?

Have you met any favourite authors in person?

Bookish Question #64 | Have you met any favourite authors in person?

Yes! That’s one of the best things about going to writer’s conferences—getting to meet writers.

I attended my first writing conference in October 2012. It was held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, and I got to meet several Australian authors I admired, including Rose Dee, Andrea Grigg, Paula Vince, Meredith Resce, and Amanda Deed. I’ve attended five conferences since, and have had the opportunity to meet other wonderful Australian authors such as Narelle Atkins, Dorothy Adamek, Nicki Edwards, and Mary Hawkins—the author of Search for Tomorrow, an early Heartsong Presents title, and the first Christian novel I ever read that was set in Australia.

I’ve also attended several Romance Writers of New Zealand conferences. I’ve met James Scott Bell (who gave a wonderful day-long presentation despite suffering from the flu), and Kristen Lamb.

I’ve also met New Zealand’s own Kara Isaac. I was visiting family in Wellington, where Kara lives, so messaged her and asked if she’d like to meet for coffee so she could autograph my copy of Close to You. We’ve met again since (so she could autograph Can’t Help Fallling, and so she could pass on my Genesis Award, which she was kind enough to collect for me in Nashville.

The other author I’ve met in person was Candace Calvert. She was on holiday, cruising around New Zealand with her husband. I happen to live in a cruise port, so Ellie Whyte, Angela Bycroft and I met Candace after she’d finished the obligatory Hobbiton tour.

(By the way, if you ever do a New Zealand cruise, look me up. If I’m free, I’d love to meet you for coffee after you’ve been to Hobbiton or Rotorua, the city of boiling mud.)

What about you? Have you met any favourite authors in person?

Do you read author newsletters?

Bookish Question #62 | Do you read author newsletters?

Once upon a time, author newsletters were a rare beast.

That was mostly because of the work involved—it wasn’t just a case of writing the newsletter, but getting it printed, printing off address labels, stuffing envelopes, and posting the newsletters.

I was once responsible for writing, publishing, and mailing a 16+ page newsletter to 500+ paying subscribers for my employer. It took about a week each month—longer on the months when I didn’t manage to bribe the receptionist into helping with the last part. A regular newsletter was a big commitment of time and money.

But now it’s all done by email.

The mailing list is managed by a service such as MailChimp, and all the author has to do is write the newsletter, load it up, and press ‘send’ (or pay a virtual assistant to help with the actual sending). This has meant a proliferation of newsletters. I’ve signed up for dozens (many through giveaways).

The recent introduction of GDPR meant I got to unsubscribe from several using the passive-aggressive method of not hitting either the subscribe or unsubscribe buttons when they sent the (perhaps unnecessary) reconfirmation emails. There is one I don’t read because I’d unsubscribe if I could, but legal details aren’t that author’s strong point because there is no unsubscribe option.

Do I read them?

I read the newsletters of my favourite authors. I read the newsletters of the funny authors. And I read the newsletters of the authors where I know it’s going to be news, not a sales pitch for a book I’ve either already bought, or already decided I don’t want to buy. (I know the email gurus say to ask for the sale more than once, but I’m the buyer who proves all the theories wrong).

What about you? Do you read author newsletters?