Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

46 Top Websites to Promote Your Book for FREE

Alexander M Zoltai:

Promoting A Book? Check out this article :-)

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:

Book Store

Stand out Against Thousands of Books

Added June 23, 2013:

Dear Reader:  This list of websites, which we compiled in March 2012, grew in the meantime to almost 100.  Please visit our two new blog posts with even more possibilities to announce your work for free:

All three blog posts are officially copyright registered.  To link to our blog posts, and let your own readers know about these websites, please use the RE-BLOG link on top of this page. Thanks!  Please learn about re-blogging here:


Original Article from March 11, 2012:

1. Goodreads
Use your free membership to promote yourself and your books. Reviews are essential and reviews on Goodreads site help your book to really stand out to millions of visitors.

2. Wattpad
Wattpad has experienced explosive growth since its inception and has become the world’s most popular destination to publish and…

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Are Libraries Still “Relevant”?

I’ve written 30 posts tagged with the word “Library”.


Image Courtesy of Holger Dieterich ~

That word can mean many things to different folks…

Does it mean “Research”, “Reading”, “Using a Computer”, “Socializing”, “Having an Adventure”?

And, for You, is a library “Significant”, “Applicable”, “Appropriate”, and “Suitable”?

Perhaps the interview with Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and president-elect of the American Library Assocation (ALA), can clarify what libraries are worth…

Just a few of Sari’s comments:

“Libraries’ core values of confidentiality, privacy, and exceptional customer service create an environment of tremendous support for information seekers.”

“I think the next ‘big thing’ for libraries to embrace in support of 21st century information opportunity and lifelong learning is ‘Big Data‘.”

“I also predict that the developed world will be looking to the U.S. when it comes to two key issues that have been a focus in ALA’s advocacy work—policies on net neutrality and federal legislative issues related to privacy and security.”

And, I wonder what you think about this, possibly, surprising statement:

“I believe that we do ourselves a disservice when we allow our communities to view libraries as nostalgic throwbacks—as places that do not or should not change with the times. It’s not always popular to be the one advancing an organization in the direction of a new future when the present still clings to vestiges of the past, but we have to find the strength, look forward, and bring others along.”

And, even though the interview is heavily slanted toward the USA, I’m hoping a few readers from other countries will start a discussion about all this in the Comments…

Also, check out this cool initiative that “invites library advocates to share stories about what public libraries mean to them.

And, if your not one to click on links, check out this video :-)

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Is There Still Space in Our Digital World for Long-form Writing?

What’s a long read for you?

140 characters?

140 sentences?

140 pages?

So much now on the Internet is being squeezed into the smallest space possible…

Is there a future for reading “Long” pieces??

I stumbled on an article in New York MagazineThe Future of Reading, According to Longform.

Here are just a few excerpts: is one of a handful of websites that made an early bet on the survival of feature writing in a click-bait world.”

“Linsky and Lammer [the founders] say they value readers, writers, and publications equally, but the first two are really at the core of their philosophical pitch. Having begun by aggregating their own picks, now they’re giving readers and writers (who’ll share their own favorites) the tools to do the same: every reader a publisher, every writer a magazine.”

And, just a bit from Longform’s site:

“Longform is proud to be sponsored by Pitt Writers, the University of Pittsburgh’s Writing Program.”

I’ve checked out Longform’s site, looked through the titles of the first 120 articles in Arts and Culture (there are many other categories…) and selected three to link to here. There are only three since I wasn’t looking for stuff that would interest me but what I thought appropriate for this blog’s readership:

George Orwell’s Why I Write

An interview with author Joan Didion

And, The Book On Publishing about “…author, Chad Harbach, who had spent a decade on a novel his friends thought he’d never finish.”

Longform has also recently released an App for iPhone and iPad.

I mentioned it to my Best Friend, author Jane Watson, and she agreed to give it a try and write-up her impressions:

“When I first saw Longform I was sceptical. My iPad is littered with apps that purport to keep me in touch with what is happening in newspapers, magazines, the writing world, the tech world, or any other world you care to name. I have never found any of them to really satisfy my needs.  All they really seem to do is push me information that I do not want to read, at that moment, or that I never wanted to read, in the first place. After a brief period of infatuation I usually stop using them.

“So I approached this app with trepidation.  I began tentatively. I started off with ‘Staff Picks’, went on to ‘Explore’ and then moved into the quite foreign area, for me, of ‘Following’ (I don’t tweet and this sounded a little chirpy to me :-) —  but in the ‘Category’ of ‘Writers to Follow’ I was soon browsing through all the recent articles about, or by, Zadie Smith, I was following several other writers,  and I was beginning to enjoy myself. After feeling a little lost, I began to relish walking through a labyrinth with a meaningful surprise just around each corner. Many categories allow you to choose two ways to examine their information by either selecting ‘Publishers’ or ‘Writers’. In this way you can examine a topic in a more two dimensional way – books, newspapers or magazines that deal with it, or writers who deal with it.

“By the time I found myself actually reading an article about a man who, for decades, went through the trash can of John Updike, collecting a treasure trove of his discarded stuff, in a creepy but perhaps fascinating way, that may have totally violated Updike’s privacy,  I knew I had fallen in love.

“I think that this is an invaluable app for anyone who is seeking to gather information and opinions on a topic. I found the tangents it gently lead me off on very inspiring and thought provoking and Longform could be an app which helps seed some very interesting story ideas for a writer :-)

“Who knows? I may write a story about a guy who loves your writing and goes through your trash can to find where your ideas came from :-)”
Check Out Our Latest Poll…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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Friday Poll ~ What Do You Write On, Computer or Paper?

Writing on a computer

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Popov

writing on paper

Image Courtesy of Raphael Pinto

First, last week’s poll…

There are a lot of results so, after the tallying up, this week’s poll will be short :-)

I’m going to start at the bottom and work up:

No one voted for “I sometimes travel out of town to visit a library.”

Each of the following got just over 3%:

I regularly socialize at a library
I never study/write at a library
I sometimes read at a library
I regularly read at a library
I never check out materials other than books at a library
I sometimes check out materials other than books at a library
I never check out books at a library
I regularly travel out of town to visit a library
I never visit a local library

Each of the following got just over 6%:

I sometimes socialize at a library
I sometimes study/write at a library
I regularly study/write at a library
I never read at a library
I regularly check out materials other than books at a library
I sometimes check out books at a library
I regularly check out books at a library
I never travel out of town to visit a library
I sometimes visit a local library
I regularly visit a local library

And, the most voted for was “I never socialize at a library.”

Plus, we had one comment in the poll:
“I wish some folks would not ‘socialise’ at libraries. My local library has become like an extended version of Maccas…, chips, burgers and great conversation – just not a good place to do what a library is for .. research, read, contemplate and work. It is no longer a place of quiet learning :-) “

Now, this week’s poll  >>> “Computer” could be Desk or Laptop or Tablet or Pad :

Something to think about, whatever you write on:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
Cyril Connoly

Read Some Strange Fantasies
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Not Much Time Left To Sign-Up for FREE Creative Writing Course !

I wish I’d heard about this sooner but I’m grateful my Best Friend’s Best Friend noticed this MOOC.

Don’t know what a MOOC is?

A Massive Open Online Course and here’s a link to Lots of MOOCs

The one I’m featuring today is at the University of Iowa, sponsored by their International Writing Program, and called How Writers Write Fiction.

Iowa City, Iowa

Image Courtesy of Google Earth

The course begins Friday, September 26th and runs through Friday, November 21st.

The instructors will contextualize the contributing authors’ video talks, encourage online discussion, and offer writing assignments. A team of fiction moderators will join the instructors in leading discussion and hosting live online fiction workshops.

You will be able to participate in How Writers Write Fiction 24 hours per day, seven days per week, as it suits your schedule. Our course moderators will be actively leading discussion in the forum almost around the clock. No matter where you live, you will be able to interact in real time with your fellow fiction writers.

Each week, we will post a new video class and a new writing assignment. You will be invited to post your writing exercise for discussion with your fellow fiction writers. We will select a small representative sample of the writing exercises for formal weekly workshops led by the moderators.

Here’s the link for yet more details and the place to sign-up

Don’t forget, it’s FREE and you can take part wearing whatever you wish… :-)

And, here’s a video of the professors in charge:

Last Day to Check Out Our Latest Poll…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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