For writers, books are oxygen. At least they are for me. There's so much I can learn from other writers, and I'd be foolish not to try to learn everything I can about the art of writing. But collecting books can be expensive. Fortunately, I've found ways to build an awesome collection without breaking the bank.
1. Scour Second-Hand Stores/Garage Sales/Estate Sales
This is probably a given, but I've found some of the most beautiful books at these places. While they're not free, you can get a killer deal. And the fun of it is that you never know what you'll discover. There's something special about that.
2. Goodreads Free Books
Did you know that you can enter to win free books (many times they're advanced reading copies) from Goodreads? It's fantastic. I've received close to ten free books this way. Sometimes they're not great, but then there are other times that you find a new favorite. If you ask me, that's well worth it. Plus, hello, it's free.
3. LibraryThing Free Books
LibraryThing has a similar free book program to Goodreads's program. You can enter to win free books. You just have to scroll through the options and pick the ones you'd love to read and review.
4. Review Exchanges on Author Sites
Some authors offer free books to help spread the word about their published works. Just recently, I came across an offer, and I took it. I just needed to read and review an author's newly published book. I had only a few days to do it, but I can't say no to a free book. I barely made the deadline, and a free book of my choice is coming my way soon.
Start following new authors, and be on the lookout for opportunities of your own.
5. Attending Workshops or Conferences
Attending writing workshops or conferences can earn you a free book, too. Last year, I attended a writing workshop, and after the class, the author gave a free book to each attendee. All she wanted in exchange was an honest review.
6. Free Gift for Webinar Attendance
I signed up for and attended a free writing-related webinar, and the first 100 people got a free book mailed to them, the book covering the topic of the webinar. It wasn't the reason I signed up for the webinar, but it was a nice bonus.
7. Public Library Book Sales
I saved the best for last. This is my FAVORITE way to build my book collection. It's not free, but it's so cheap that it might as well be. I wait all year for this. While you can generally always go to the for-sale section of your library and buy throughout the year, the big book sales will blow your mind.
And this year, I get to go to two! I went just a few days ago, and I bought six books for 3 1/2 dollars. For real. It's pure gold.
How have you built your own book collection without breaking the bank?
This week, I took the time to participate in a free webinar all about starting and growing a successful blog. I saw an ad for it on Facebook, and I thought, Why not? It's free!
Let's just say I was not disappointed. It's actually a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to/is currently writing a blog. No matter what your blog topic, this free webinar gives you actionable items to grow your reach meaningfully.
Out of respect for Jeff Goins' business, I won't go into details about everything I learned, but I will give you a bit of a vague synopsis. Goins goes through three major steps to creating a successful blog. He also talks about the 5 blogging personalities, and it was interesting to try to figure out where I fit in.
What I liked most about this webinar is Goins' honesty. He doesn't try to hide that he will pitch his full class. He's upfront about it, and I appreciate that. After the hour-and-a-half webinar, I feel better equipped to start growing my blog and reaching the right audience.
Here's one of my favorite quotes he shared. After all, everyone has something valuable to share.
"What's obvious to you is amazing to others."
If you have some time to spare or you can free up some time, this is a webinar worth watching and participating in. You'll walk away with a little bit of hope and the motivation to start working hard to achieve your goals.
If you've done this webinar, let me know what you thought! I'd love to compare notes (and, yes, I took 2 1/2 pages of notes).
You can sign up here: https://goinswriter.clickfunnels.com/webinar-registration
Last month, I shared a link to a free, upcoming webinar put on by The Book Doctors. I watched half of it last week, but I wasn't able to finish it all. The first half was great, I took a page and half of notes in 30-ish minutes, and I was sad I couldn't watch all of it.
But ... good news! I didn't have to watch it live to see all of it, and neither do you. It's available now for everyone to watch. You can view it here:
In this webinar, The Book Doctors discuss some of the following:
But what I really loved about this whole webinar is that if you buy their book, you get a free 20-minute consultation with them, which usually costs $100. Once I feel my book is ready, I'm going to totally take advantage of this. What a great deal!
If you're ready, you can purchase their book here:
After you watch the webinar, let me know what you thought of it!
Everyone is given the same amount of time each year to live their lives.365 days, right? But this year, and every four years, of course, we're given one extra day. As it approaches, it has made me think about how I can make the most of it. As I get older, I know I don't want to waste another day not working toward my dream of being a published novelist. If you can relate to that feeling, here are 10 ways to make the most of your extra day.
1. Commit to querying one agent.
That's it. Just one. One extra agent you might not have had time for otherwise. And you never know - it might be the one agent you've been searching for and the one agent that has been waiting for you.
2. Write a new chapter in your book.
Get a little further ahead by using the extra day to write an entirely new chapter, in one sitting if you can manage it. Not only will you feel more accomplished, but you'll essentially be one chapter ahead the rest of the year.
3. Start a whole new writing project.
What's a project or idea you've been putting off? It doesn't matter whether it's because you don't have the time or if the idea is a bit intimidating. On February 29th, tackle it. Don't hesitate. Jump right into it and don't look back for one second.
4. Read a book in your preferred genre.
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to read the work of others. Just because you're not actively writing doesn't mean you're not working on your writing. Reading is just as important as writing. Pinpoint the genre of the book you're writing and take the day to read a book. Take notes - mental or otherwise - and really examine how the author created a successful and publishable story.
5. Read an article about writing.
Pick up a Writer's Digest magazine or even read an online article about writing. It can be about whatever writing topic you prefer. Or maybe you want to read a success story from someone just like you. Use the day to enlighten yourself and better your writing.
6. Improve one skill.
Choose a strength or a weakness and spend the day working on that one thing. For example, does your dialogue need love? Focus all the spare time you have on the 29th on improving the skill. It could include research or practice, or both.
7. Revisit a project you've put in the drawer.
Now's the time to pull that neglected project out of the drawer and see it with fresh eyes. By revisiting something you've never finished, you can use all your earned experience and skills that you may not have had when you originally started the piece. Take a day this month to look at it one more time.
8. Start a writing group.
Reader comments are invaluable when you're creating a story, so why not start a writing group? Find like-minded people to share your work with. If you don't know anyone in person, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to connect with others online. A simple internet search will give you more than enough results to get you started.
9. Participate in writing sprints.
A fun way to boost your word count is through writing sprints. Essentially, you're given a writing prompt and a time limit, sometimes as little as 30 seconds. You can find a number of sprints to participate in on any social media channel. Not only will you have more words written, but it can be a great way to open up your mind to new plot possibilities.
10. Take a step away.
Maybe you need to spend your extra day away from writing. Take a day to rest, rejuvenate, and get ready to come back to it on March 1st. Sometimes. a lot can be said for a rested, fresh mind.
No matter what you decide to do on February 29th, just make sure not to waste the extra day. You don't want to have to wait a whole 4 years to get another.
I'm working hard to make this year my year. And these Christmas gifts were perfect. Not only did I get the 2016 edition of Guide to Literary Agents, but I got 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest. Talk about dreamy!
It's has helped me start this year off on the right foot, and I hope I can continue down this path for the entire year.
If you haven't read Writer's Digest magazine before, you'll love it. Check out your local library first to get a taste. You won't regret it.
I'm an adjunct creative writing professor and freelance writer, but I dream of being a published novelist. This is my journey.