Random Thoughts by Harlie

It’s a very raining Sunday afternoon right now.  I know that I don’t usually have a random thought piece but I thought that it was needed.  This will not be a pity party blog nor a piece about how much I want to quit, step away, recharge, etc.  Instead, I’m going to talk about what is working for Harlie’s Books and what doesn’t.

Things that work:

  1.  Harlequin.  It is still her #1 post.  Especially if she does a  spotlight/review Harlequin Heartwarming authors.  As I have stated before, Harlie’s doesn’t do the hot stuff anymore because her readers just didn’t like it.  I know, right?  I think that since doesn’t she read true erotic/taboo/BDSM, etc., her readers don’t expect it, therefore, they go elsewhere for it.  Harlie’s not a prude but when she started looking at her stats, she adjusted and it worked.
  2. Tweets from the post – She might not get the comments but her Twitter Feed is full of likes/retweets from a post.  And get this…she doesn’t particularly care for Twitter.  Never figured it out.  *SMH*
  3. Accepting that she will never be popular – She used to bemoan the fact that she wasn’t as popular as some of the other blogger friends that she had.  She has been blogging longer and reviewing for other review sites even longer.  As a result, she doesn’t get caught up in the blogger world drama that exists.  Oh yes, it does exist and that’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t and never has gone to a Con.  Too much drama there.  She has found out from peeps going to them that friendships/blogs/author friendships have split because of it.  Yes, peeps…some people can’t hold their liquor.  True story.
  4. No fangirling allowed – Harlie doesn’t play favorites.  She never has and never will.  Everyone is welcome.  Now, she does have a list of authors that she will not allow on the blog.  She was burned badly by them in the old Yahoo groups and found their unprofessionalism discerning.  Harlie comes from the corporate world so she doesn’t understand why authors and even bloggers tear each other down.  We should be supporting each other.  Not tearing each other down.  We all put our pants on the same way…one leg at a time.
  5. Blog tours – Some of the tour companies that Harlie works with are great and she gets plenty of traffic.  Unfortunately, some of the posts don’t get the hits.  She will continue to work with all of her tour companies but she is paring down on who and what she promotes.  Reading/reviewing/putting up the post takes time.
  6. She still likes doing it – She justs like to blog.  Also, she will make a huge effort to blog about her thoughts at least once every two weeks.

Things that don’t work:

  1. Berating herself when a post is late – She used to do this all the time.  Berating herself, not being late.  It stressed her out.
  2. Overbooking – This used to be a HUGE problem.  She realized that she’ll never be popular, have a bunch of peeps helping her out and having the time to spend all day on the computer, she just stopped.  It made her sad in a way but her anxiety level went from a gazillion to about a ten now.
  3. Reviewing indie only books – This also encompasses the publishers that she favors.  She figured out what books/authors/publishers work for her and with her so is being a bit pickier.  She is also starting to review some of the bigger names in romance land.  And she has found out that their assistants are gems to work with.  Plus, the author actually participates, too.  Either by tweeting, liking or even leaving a comment.  Harlie’s had some very big squee moments because of that.  She’s been quoted even.
  4. Daily Newsletter – Not sure if this is working at all.  Harlie uses Mail Chimp and its free.  Personally, Harlie likes a newsletter from a blog.  It makes it easier to scan the newsletter to see what she wants to read.

Things that she still doesn’t understand:

  1. Pinterest – She’s sorry but she just doesn’t get it.  She understands that it’s a pin board with pictures but never figured out to automatically get a picture from the blog to the site.  Or even if there is a way to do that.  Plus, she’s NOT a craft person at all.  She can barely color between the lines so to spend hours on the site…  Trust me on this.
  2. Publishers that play favorites – So she reviews a lot of books.  Some she does for a couple of publishers and has for years.  So please tell me why she’s not an “auto” reviewer with them?  And then there are peeps that don’t even have a blog or even reviewed them but maybe once or twice get on their favorite lists?  *scratches head*
  3. Bloggers that feel the need to steal from authors or tweet about their hatred of either the book or author – Its makes the blogging community look like asshol**!  Stop right now.  It’s not productive and you look like a toddler that hasn’t had a nap.

So there you have it.  Some things that most people already knew but there is a secret that she hasn’t shared with anyone.  She’s NEVER done a blog anniversary.  Harlie’s been blogging since 2008 and never celebrated it.  She’s not big on asking authors for prizes, to be on the blog, to celebrate with her and some authors have told her that next year, she needs to do that.  They have also told her that they are proud of her and will continue to support her.

One other thing…she needs to change the rating graphics.  If anyone can help her out, please email her.  Please leave your comments or concerns down below.  Harlie would love to know what you think about the lists.


Authors, opinion, Samhain, The Wild Rose Press, Thoughts

Reviewer’s thoughts on the publishing world #Samhain


I’ve always loved this but it just never quite fit for the blog.  Anyhoos…

My thoughts on Samhain closing it’s doors.  I am sad.  I’ve met some great authors through them.  Even fellow reviewers that have become good friends.  I even pitched a book to them at a conference.  Nothing but professional and kind.  Even though I was never on their preferred/review list, this blog featured their books often.  In fact, my first ever review was Emma Jay’s Two Step Temptation from February 23, 2011.

I am glad that they are going out with their heads held high and a positive note.  There are some that we are STILL hearing about because their bad behavior and I fear that it will happen again.  Secret Cravings Publishing went out with their heads up and Samhain will do the same.  Samhain is a class act through and through.  From editing, covers, the “warning labels”, authors and especially the groups that I belong to that are associated with them.  I feel for each and every one of you in this trying time.

Most authors, I sense are going more hybrid than anything.  This saddens me and alarms me to some degree.  Not that I don’t love the indie author but as a reviewer, I’ve read some really bad indie books that should have never made the light of day.  From the cover to editing, to being lied to from the blurb to the overall plot of the book…I just shook my head.  This is where the publisher comes in and makes the book better.  I feel as if the indie author just wants the sale and the minions to follow.

In my opinion, that’s not how publishing should be.  Writing is an art, not a NASCAR race.  The author should learn the craft, be patient and try to NOT be the next Nora Roberts.  It took her a few years before she even caught on and she was traditionally published.  Readers will come to you if you put out a quality product and don’t care about the sale.

This is the problem I have with the smaller presses folding.  They had the quality but not the sales.  Readers want instant gratification and the next Fifty Shades book.  Okay, maybe NOT that book but they want the book that everyone is talking about or that the media is trying to hype.  One of my all time favorite small presses is The Wild Rose Press.  Constantly putting out great books from a great company.  They never disappoint, just like Samhain and Secret Cravings.  I never had to worry that the book was going to be poorly written, the cover sucks or that the blurb lied to me in some way.  That goes a long way with this reviewer.

So you can see why I don’t review much anymore.  The quality isn’t there for me and I have a life that doesn’t revolve around publishing and trying to be the biggest and best review site on the block.  I tried that, didn’t work out and it made me sick for a couple of years.  I will stick with the presses that I know and love.

As for the indie writer, I will support you too and you know who you are.  The quality is there for me and you don’t disappoint.

If you want to hear my thoughts as a writer, here is the link to the author site.

Author link