Found: this excellent book of found poetry based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work

Learn more about TimIt’s a question for our modern times: how do you know which self-published books are worth reading?

Since anyone can publish anything these days, there can be a lot of guesswork and luck involved. But at the same time, so many quality books are out there, just waiting to be discovered.

So I decided to go straight to the source, and ask you and other authors to let me know about your well-reviewed books.

I’m keeping track of them all in a big Excel spreadsheet that I call Tim’s Discovery List, and it’s growing by the day! If you’ve self-published a book, and you think it’s worth reading, please let us know about it here, and I’ll add it to the List.

Cover for See a Dream Within: Found "Poe"try Based on the Collected Poetry Works of Edgar Allan Poe by David EllisIn the meantime, here’s this week’s pick:
See a Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based on the Collected Poetry Works of Edgar Allan Poe
by David Ellis

Reviewer Kriti Khare of Armed with a Book gives it 4 out of 5 stars:

“… quick, relaxing, at times thought provoking read …

I would recommend fans of Edgar Allan Poe, and anyone interested in short poetry, to definitely pick up this collection.”

“Have you ever read found poetry?” Kriti writes. “It’s when you take a piece of writing and using the words in that piece, you create a poem!”

Here’s what See a Dream Within is about:

Decades after his poetry and short stories were published in the early to mid 1800’s, we still respect, revere and admire the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, celebrated master of the macabre, suspense and horror.

Within this collection of found poems, David Ellis has examined the collected poetry works of Edgar Allan Poe and crafted new poetry that will move you and inspire you as much as the original works themselves.

In this book, you will find many new ways to appreciate the words of Edgar and his distinguished poetic works, as he influences a passionate poet who is keen to breathe modern day life into his magnificent words.

Poems like The Raven, Annabel Lee, Lenore, A Dream Within A Dream, Alone and many other literary gems are used as foundations that pave the way for a whole different kind of intimate poetic experience that will surprise you time and again.

For Poe fans, this collection is an essential purchase. Edgar Allan Poe may be long gone but within these pieces, his spirit continues to shine and live on.

Read See a Dream Within today! The e-book is available from your favorite bookseller.

Have you read this, or another great self-published book lately? What did you think? Add your own book, book review, or Love Note, and your input will help us keep finding excellent reads!

Indie authors, here’s a brand-new way to get your book in the spotlight!

Learn more about TimAre you the author of a self-published book?

I’d like to put that book in the spotlight.

How? By including it on the Discovery List and letting the world know how good it is.

The Discovery List is a spreadsheet of self-published books we’re putting together, that we will circulate to the authors and readers in our community—including the nearly 5,000 followers of this blog.

Make sure your book is included! You can add your books to the spreadsheet using these forms.

If you’ve got some praise for your book, that’s even better. Share it with us, because we want to hear it!

More books are being added each day, so if you add yours today, you’ll be among the first on this growing list.

Together, we can help readers discover your book—and discover some excellent new books ourselves!

This Week’s Discovery: a young Mexican immigrant leaves her family behind in search of a better life

Cover for Torn Between Worlds: An illegal immigrant's journey to find herself by Nancy Blodgett KleinToday, I’m featuring one of our newest finds that got a rave review: Nancy Blodgett Klein‘s coming-of-age novel, Torn Between Worlds: An illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

It’s a recent addition to the Discovery List—a big ol’ spreadsheet of self-published books along with positive reviews—is growing quickly as new books are being added every day.

Some are added by their authors, some by reviewers, and still others by readers.

And every week, I feature one book from the List that stands out.

Reviewer Mico Leon at OnlineBookClub.org gives Torn Between Worlds a perfect score:

“… well written and edited …”

“… fully enjoyed the story …”

“… I struggled to find any negative aspects to this book …”

Learn more about TimI plan to release the spreadsheet soon—and once I do, you’ll find that it’s filled with excellent books for you & the rest of our nearly 5,000 blog followers to discover.

And since it’s a spreadsheet, you’ll be able to sort the list any way you like, to find books you’re sure to love. Stay tuned!


Have you self-published a book? Add it to the List as soon as possible, and you might just find it featured here.


Here’s what Torn Between Worlds is about:

This is the story of Isabel, a 12-year-old Mexican girl who comes to the United States illegally in search of a better life with her father. A story common to many Mexicans. She has to leave her mother behind and this makes her sad. People demand she speak English, a language she doesn’t know well. She doesn’t feel welcome living with her uncle and his family and is very lonely. How will she cope?

Her kind sixth-grade teacher suggests Isabel keep a journal, where she can pour out the feelings she used to share with her mother. She encourages her to take home the newspaper to read to improve her English and learn about world events and politics. Isabel is horrified by the events that take place on September 11, 2001 in the US, witnesses a political demonstration in Oaxaca, Mexico where people are killed, and is forced to flee to Madrid, Spain to keep her and her mother safe from harm. Will all this chaos prevent Isabel from finding a way to feel connected to the world around her?

This coming-of-age story is written in journal format, spanning three years and three countries. Follow Isabel as she grows from innocent child into confident young woman through turbulent times.

For the reviewer, the story is personal, as we find out when we read the rest of the review:

As I live in Guatemala, this book really hit close to home with me as I know several teenagers who have made the long journey to the USA illegally and alone, leaving family behind with no knowledge of when or if they will see them again. I also liked the fact that Spanish words were frequently and naturally used in the text. Read the whole review!

Be sure to pick up a copy of Torn Between Worlds at Amazon, and connect with Nancy on her blog.

Have you self-published a book? Add it to the Discovery List today.

Together, we can bring the Discovery List closer to its ultimate goal: to find every self-published book worth reading!

Fantastic books are everywhere, we just need to find them!

Learn more about TimYou probably know this already, but they’re out there.

Books, that is. Excellent books and exciting stories that are there for you to dive into, but that aren’t on your radar yet.

Specifically, I’m talking about books that have been self-published by their authors. You know, the books that quietly came into the world, the books that aren’t right in your face when you walk into Barnes & Noble, the books you don’t hear as much about (yet, anyway!)

But books that can be every bit as good, or even better, than the ones that came from the big publishing houses.

The internet is a huge labyrinth of books—along with tons of reviews, discussions, and social media posts about them—the problem is that they’re scattered all over the place, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed while trying to sift through all of this information.

It’s also easy for great books to get lost in the nooks and crannies of this massive maze.

As an author, you may have noticed this.

Perhaps you’ve self-published a book and wish it was easier for hungry readers to find it.

That’s why I created the Discovery List! It’s an effort to make it a snap for readers to find the books that self-published authors the world over have worked so hard to write.

The Discovery List is a spreadsheet of self-published books and reviews—and quick blurbs that I call “Love Notes”—that can be sorted in any order to help readers find just what they’re craving.

Here’s what I see for the Discovery List:

  • I see us digging up all of these quality books (and positive reviews) and putting them all in one, easy-to-find place.
  • I see the Discovery List being the first thing a reader checks when they’re on the hunt for their next exciting book.
  • I see “self-published” being a synonym for “outstanding.”

You can help make this vision a reality!

If you’ve discovered (or written, or reviewed) an outstanding book, we’d love for you to share it with us.

The goal of the Discovery List is to catalog every self-published book out there that’s worth reading. Make sure yours is on the List! Bonus points if you have a review to go along with it.

Self-published author? I want to help your book get discovered!

Learn more about TimYou put in all the effort to write your novel and self-publish it, so now, of course, you’d like people to read and enjoy it, right?

This is where it starts to get tricky.

Many—I think it’s fair to say most—self-published authors don’t have large platforms and big budgets to help their books soar up the Amazon bestseller lists right off the bat. Maybe you can relate.

But you wrote a great book, so why aren’t readers flocking to it?

The problem is that Amazon doesn’t know how great your book is until they see sales rolling in. Once that happens, you’ll be the proud author of a book that’s quickly rising to the top, while Amazon starts recommending your book all over their site. This, of course, brings in all sorts of new sales.

But in the meantime, it can be hard to make sales … until you make sales.

Wait, what??

That’s right. In a catch-22 of literary proportions, you have to make sales in order to make sales.

Now, it’s possible to break this vicious cycle—authors do it all the time—but to do so requires some up-front work on your part to get word out about your book.

And the Discovery List is a brand-new, super-easy way to do this! It’s also free.

The Discovery List is a spreadsheet full of self-published books that are a cut above, that truly stand out from the pack.

It’s all part of my quest to find every self-published book out there worth reading. And I decided the best way to find them was to go straight to the source, and ask readers—and the authors themselves—to add their finds.

The Discovery List is so brand new, in fact, that we’re still welcoming the “First 100.” Once we have 100 books on the list, the spreadsheet goes live, and we’ll all be swimming in a sea of excellent self-published books with the thumbs-up reviews to prove it.

New books are being added every day. Add yours to the List right now—and be a part of the First 100!

That book you wrote? Here’s a new way to promote it

Learn more about TimSo you’ve self-published a novel that, in your humble opinion, the whole world should read.

But how do you get the word out?

Just putting it on Amazon isn’t enough. There are millions of books competing for attention and to stay visible, your book needs to be selling briskly on a daily basis.

Posting on social media can help, of course, but those who don’t know you personally might be on the fence about reading a book from an author they’re not familiar with yet.

That’s why I created the Discovery List. It’s a simple spreadsheet full of book titles, but it gives you bonus points if you have reviews for your book, or if readers add a “Love Note” about how much they enjoyed reading it.

My idea is to go directly to the source—the authors themselves—in order to find out what we should be reading in the vast ocean of self-published books, and collect them all in one place.

In other words, I’m making a list of every self-published book that’s worth reading.

It’s easy to add your book to the spreadsheet. Just go to the Discovery List home page and use the forms to add your book, plus a review if you’ve got one.

Do it today and you can still be a part of the First 100 books. Once we have 100 books, I’ll let our 4,800 blog readers know that the spreadsheet is available for download—and let everyone sort and click to find self-published books they’ll love!

“How to keep a marriage happy and unbreakable”: This 5-star memoir reveals the secrets

Learn more about TimThe Discovery List is off to a great start, and I’m finding solid gold already!

I’ve made it my quest to find every self-published book worth reading, and to do this, I created a spreadsheet that we as a community can add to.

It’s called the Discovery List, and whether you happened across a great self-published book or wrote one, we want to hear about it.

Cover for Twenty Years: After 'I Do' by D.G. KayeI love featuring books that got great reviews, so without further ado, here’s this week’s best self-published book:

Twenty Years: After “I Do”
Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging
by D.G. Kaye

Review: Lauren Scott at Baydreamer gives it 5 stars, and raves:

D.G. Kaye’s memoir, Twenty Years After “I Do” piqued my interest for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been married for thirty-one years to a man who is not only my loving husband but who is my very best friend. I wanted to read what the author had to say on the subject, and she certainly inserted many pearls of wisdom of which I agreed with.

Debby offers snippets of insight from her own experiences on how to keep a marriage happy and unbreakable. She adds how humor can lighten any heavy situation and intimately writes of how sex ultimately changes from dating to married life. Most importantly though, she conveys that love has no timeline. Couples should enjoy each moment together and unconditional love will carry them through the difficult times. I was moved by this lovely collection of stories from Debby’s marriage to Gordon, and how she met true love when she least expected. An enjoyable read and one I highly recommend! Read the whole review

You can pick up a copy of Twenty Years on Amazon, and connect with the author on her blog, D.G. Kaye, Writer.

With your help, together we can find every self-published book worth reading and make the Discovery List a one-stop shop for excellent indie books.

If your book isn’t on the List yet, add it today!

The First 100: Have you discovered (or written) a book we should know about?

Learn more about TimCollecting “every self-published book worth reading” in one place is no easy feat.

Yet, this is my mission. And I need your help!

I’ve set about creating a spreadsheet, which I call the Discovery List, and so far it’s got about 35 books. Once we have 100 books, I’ll make the spreadsheet available for download.

I want to make sure yours is on there!

For self-published authors, it’s hard to stand out in the crowd. These days, anyone can publish anything—and they certainly do.

But often, when a serious author writes a quality book, it struggles to stay afloat in the sea of millions of other self-published books.

This is because if it’s not selling each and every day, Amazon and other retailers won’t promote it on their sites, which, in a vicious cycle, results in less visibility and even fewer sales.

That’s what the Discovery List is for: to break that cycle and make finding these superb books as simple as sorting a spreadsheet.

Have you discovered—or written—a book you think people should know about?

Your book could be part of the First 100!

Share your discovery with us today, and tomorrow I’ll feature one of the First 100 books—for our 4,800 blog followers to discover and read.

The Discovery List: My quest to find every self-published book worth reading

Learn more about Tim

It’s the age-old question: Since anyone can publish a book these days, how do you know which books are worth reading?

In my quest to find the answer, I created the Discovery List.

It’s a spreadsheet of self-published books, and I invite your submissions. As long as a book is self-published and worth reading, we all want to hear about it—even if you’re the one who wrote it!

So why create a whole spreadsheet of books instead of relying on the national bestseller lists?

This is because it can be difficult for self-published books to crack these bestseller lists. Most authors are the sole promoters of their books, and without the proper budget or know-how, it can be tough to get noticed.

Amazon, meanwhile, has its own list where it ranks books by sales. And to be fair, you can assume that whatever is selling well is probably worth your time.

The problem is that unless a book is selling briskly each and every day, it tends to fall down the list and get buried in the big Amazon book pile very quickly.

A shame, really, because there are so many more excellent books out there that no one knows about.

This is what the Discovery List is for! It helps you find books that are definitely worth your time—even before any sales are made.

The Discovery List leans heavily on reviews and “Love Notes”—quick blurbs that let readers know how much you liked a certain book.

Currently, there are 34 books on the Discovery List. Once we have 100, I’ll make the spreadsheet available for download, and you can sort it any way you like to find books you’re sure to love.

Want to let us know about a self-published book that’s worth reading? Help us reach our goal of 100 by adding your book or book review today!

If you’re a Canadian author, you’re one of the luckiest people in the world

Learn more about TimToday we discuss ISBNs. Have you self-published a book in Canada? Color me green with envy.

by Timothy Pike

One of the best parts of my job as a self-publishing assistant (besides working with writers who are over the moon about having just finished their novels) is telling clients that they’re about to save a lot of money as their books go to press.

Angel Maker by Barry B. Wright (Cover design by Bri Bruce)

Angel Maker by Barry B. Wright (Cover design by Bri Bruce)

This is why Canadian authors, like Barry B. Wright, author of Angel Maker, are among the luckiest people in the world.

I’ll get to why this is, but first, let me grumble for a minute.

As Americans, too much of our time and energy is spent thinking about ISBNs. The International Standard Book Number, really just a book’s ID number, is such a simple concept, yet lives rent-free, day in and day out, in our heads. (I’m assuming most people spend their mornings sipping coffee and pondering the finer points of ISBN’s. No? Just me? Okay then.)

ISBNs are easy to spot in the wild. If you were to take a book off your shelf right now and flip it over to the back cover, you’d see a hyphenated number above the barcode. That’s the book’s ISBN. But it’s not just some random number.

Those 13 digits (older ISBNs have fewer digits) identify not just the title, but also the publisher, edition, size of the book, and the format—whether e-book, paperback, or audiobook. The good news is that ISBNs are hardy souls; no matter the agency that issued them, they’re valid and recognized anywhere else in the world, forever. The bad news is … well, it’s not actually bad news, as you’ll see in a moment. To understand why, though, let’s start with some background about the largest bookseller in the world.

The 800-pound gorilla of the industry, Amazon, is widely regarded as the best place to self-publish a book. This is not just because of its massive platform of readers, but also because they are able to print copies of your book—one at a time—and ship them off to your customers without you having to lift a finger, a service called print-on-demand.

Amazon also offers you a free ISBN when you publish your book on their site. Seriously, they’re handing ’em out like Oprah over there (“You get an ISBN! You get an ISBN! Everybody gets an ISBN!”)

Well, not to spoil the party, but it looks like I’ll have to be the one who sits in the corner of the room and tells you that you’d be better off passing on the free ISBN, and instead purchasing one of your own.

This is because—I’m just going to say it—it makes your book look more professional. Your goal as a self-publisher, and certainly the goal of my publishing service, is to make your book look like it just came from a New York publishing house. And the free ISBN, unfortunately, doesn’t help with that—for a variety of reasons.

First, “Amazon” will appear on the record as the publisher of your book (yawn). Also, bookstores don’t like to stock books with Amazon-issued ISBNs (and that closes doors that you want to stay open). But there’s another reason to get your own ISBN, one that you might not know about—and it’s a lot more fun.

You get to create your own publishing house! It’s called an imprint, and that’s the name that will go on the back of your book and be tied to your ISBN, making you the publisher on record, not Amazon. The fun part, of course, is thinking of a name for your imprint (Barry went with “Wright Escape Publishing,” which I thought was perfect.)

So let’s say you’ve taken my advice and decided to get your own ISBN. If you’re an American author, you’ll soon be dealing with a company that traces its roots back to New York City in 1868—and a German immigrant who had a brilliant idea.

Frederick Leypoldt was a bookstore owner who had been in New York for over a decade when he decided the world could use a better system for keeping track of all the books that were being published. So he started the company that would become known as R. R. Bowker, which today is the exclusive provider of all ISBNs in the United States. (Leypoldt, apparently, was a busy man; he also founded Publishers Weekly.)

Upon visiting the Bowker website, American authors are faced with a choice: one ISBN for $125, or ten for $295. This is where strategy and planning come in: weighing your long-term needs against today’s budget.

Most authors are just publishing one book in the here and now, which might leave them tempted to go with the lower-cost option. After all, why spend $295 when you can spend $125? But let me tell you why this is almost never the way to go.

First off, I always recommend publishing your book in more than one format—paperback and Kindle to start with—in order to reach as many readers as possible. Each format requires its own ISBN, so this means you’ll need at least two right off the bat.

Do you plan to write and publish more books? If you pony up the extra dough now, you’ll have eight ISBNs left over that will at least feel like they’re free over the next several years as you continue to publish books. They’re yours to keep until the end of time. Didn’t I tell you ISBNs are hardy souls?

So grabbing the 10-pack for $295 is the best route to take. That’s the “bad news” that actually isn’t bad at all, because at $29.50 per ISBN, it’s significantly cheaper than buying just one, and you’re coming out way ahead. This is what I do for my clients when it’s time for ISBNs.

I should mention that even though the publishing packages I offer are a “done-for-you” service, I don’t just slink off into a cave and emerge 90 days later with your finished book. Most authors I work with love to have input into the process.

For example, they might have a particular vision for the cover, or wish to work closely with the copyeditor. I also like to be there to answer questions along the way, and communicate with authors about their options at each stage of the project. Every book is a lot of fun, and I take great pride in making it look phenomenal.

And with Barry, I had the added pleasure of informing him that he was very lucky indeed for being based in Canada. Why is that?

It’s because for Canadians, ISBNs are free. That’s right, as a Canadian, you can get your very own ISBN for $0 down and $0 a month. The government takes care of issuing and keeping track of ISBNs for all Canada-based publishers, and gives you an online account to manage your book titles and request new ISBNs when needed.

Go Canada!

By the way, you should really check out Angel Maker and pick up a copy. It’s a World War II–era spy thriller with a healthy dose of historical fiction, and characters that feel so … real. Barry’s also got a Fan Club at ChapterBuzz that he’d love for you to join if you wish to throw your support behind one of our most talented authors. You’ll also meet many more.

At the very least, be sure to give him a follow so you can stay up-to-date on his new material!

How about you? If you’ve self-published, what was your experience with ISBNs? Let us know in the comments!


I’m Timothy Pike, founder of ChapterBuzz, and self-publishing coach specializing in helping you publish a beautiful book to the virtual shelves of Amazon—and even the real shelves of your local bookstore.

Sources:

Wikipedia: R. R. Bowker
Wikipedia: Frederick Leypoldt
Wikipedia: Publishers Weekly