Monthly Archives: February 2015

Amazon to Publish Kindle Scout Books

Amazon has turned to crowdsourcing in order to choose its newest selection of books for publication. Utilizing a reader-powered publishing platform called Kindle Scout, Amazon’s Kindle Press will publish books that have been voted on by readers. If a book generates enough interest and receives enough votes in the thirty day campaign period, the author will receive a publishing contract with Kindle Press.

If a book is selected by Kindle Press, the author will receive a five-year renewable publishing contract, a $1,500 advance, and will receive 50% of all e-book royalties. Although Kindle will have the e-book and audio rights to the book, the author will keep other rights, including print rights to the book. If an author is not pleased with the results that they have received during their time with Kindle Press and doesn’t earn $25,000 within the five year span, the author can stop publishing with Kindle Press. There is also a rights revision period after two years if a book under performs at that point as well. Alongside the publishing contract, Amazon will offer marketing for the books that are being published through Kindle Press.

There have been a slew of books that have been voted upon and the first ten of these books will be published by Kindle Press on March 3. Kindle Scout is continuously accepting manuscripts to be voted on and it does not limit the number of applicants. The number of books published using Kindle Press will undoubtedly grow in the near future.

I think that what Kindle Press is doing through Kindle Scout is really innovative and is changing the way publishing works. Not only is it a great opportunity for unpublished authors who have not been able to secure a literary agent, but it is a new option for an independent author who is interested in broadening their readership with their next book. If an independent author submits their manuscript to Kindle Scout, they may have a better chance of receiving feedback and notice than if they decided to self publish on their own.

I really do like the idea of the readers choosing what books should be published because ultimately, it’s the readers who are going to be purchasing the books. Last month, an independent publishing press called Kensington Publishing Corp. announced that it was hosting a crowdsourced writing competition. The manuscripts with the most votes would have the chance to earn a publishing contract with Kensington Publishing Corp.

Now with this announcement from Amazon, it seems like crowdsourcing is becoming increasingly popular as a new means of publication. Although I don’t think that the major publishing houses will respond to this trend, I will be interested to see if any other independent presses begin to adopt the practice.

If you have any thoughts or opinions about Kindle Scout, please share them in the comments. If you would like to learn more about the Kindle Scout program, click here.

Until next week,


Interested in my book giveaway? Make sure to click here for more information!


Zuckerberg to Take on Vaccination Crisis with Book Club Selection

Product DetailsAt the beginning of 2015, Mark Zuckerberg made a bold resolution to start an online book club. The founder of Facebook created a Facebook page that would serve as the book club’s main site and dubbed it “A Year of Books”. Zuckerberg’s plan for the book club is to recommend books that discuss various topics and cultures. Zuckerberg decided that instead of selecting a book every month, he would select a new book every two weeks before opening it up for discussion.

So far, Zuckerberg has introduced his 31.5 million Facebook followers to books about changes in leadership, violence in society, and sociology. Now, Zuckerberg is recommending a book that will shine light on vaccinations, an incredibly sensitive subject that has become the center of public discussion since the recent measles outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases in 27 states. In 2015, there have been 141 cases in 17 states. The majority of the people who contracted measles were not vaccinated. Although there are several reasons why a person may decide against vaccination, Zuckerberg’s new book selection may change the way these people view vaccines.

Zuckerberg announced that his fourth book club selection will be On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss. The book discusses the rumors surrounding vaccinations and attempts to debunk the myths behind the anti-vaccination movement. Biss writes the novel as an esteemed essayist but also, as a mother who is concerned for her own child’s health. I think that it’s very important that the book is written essentially by a mother for other parents. Since it’s the parents who have control of their child’s vaccinations, I think that this personal approach will be more influential than a scientist who simply lists facts. On Immunity: An Inoculation was one of New York Times Book Review’s Top Ten Books of 2014 and the book is a New York Times best seller.

Mark Zuckerberg reportedly selected On Immunity: An Inoculation because of the timeliness of the subject. He discusses in his Facebook post that he believes that vaccines are important for the health of those in our community, and his book club selection reflects those views. He also states that the book was recommended to him by scientists and friends who work in public health.

I think it will be interesting to see how Zuckerberg’s selection may influence the thoughts of some people who may not know much about vaccines or who may be misinformed about vaccinations. His first book club selection, The End of Power by Moisés Naím, sold out after Zuckerberg announced it as his first choice. If On Immunity: An Inoculation is anywhere as successful, many people are likely to become more informed about vaccinations. I think it’s incredible that Zuckerberg is using the influence of his book club to educate his audience on such a significant topic.

If you have any thoughts on Zuckerberg’s online book club or his latest selection, On Immunity: An Inoculation, please share them in the comments. If you would like to view On Immunity: An Inoculation on Amazon, click here.

Until next week,


Book Review: Wreckage

wreckageTitle: Wreckage
Author: Emily Bleeker
Release Date: March 1, 2015
Rating: 4.5/5

Wreckage is the dramatic tale of Lillian Linden and Dave Hall, two survivors of a horrific plane crash. Lillian and Dave survived on an island in the South Pacific for two years and when they were finally rescued, the press wanted to know everything about their story. As they attempted to fall back into society and reacquaint themselves with spouses and loved ones, Lillian and Dave were careful to harbor away secrets from the island. From fellow castaways and their mysterious deaths to their own relationship, Lillian and Dave have been consistently covering up their lies. Tired of the media, Lillian and Dave agree to one last interview with famous news reporter Genevieve Randall. Throughout the interview, Lillian and Dave learn that Genevieve is attempting to expose their story as a lie and is determined to find out what really happened on the island, regardless of the cost.

The novel alternates between past and present day and between Dave and Lillian’s perspectives. The present day is the day of the interview with Genevieve Randall and it follows Lillian and Dave as they carefully recount their story to her. However, when the novel flashes back to the past, the reader gets to know what really happened on the island. Every time the story flashes back, the flashback correlates with whatever topic Genevieve had brought up in the interview. I definitely enjoyed the past point of view better because I thought that what happened on the island was really intriguing. I thought the world that Bleeker had created on the island was very clear and Kent, a fellow castaway, added suspense and uneasiness throughout their time on the island. That being said, I also thought it was fascinating to read about how Lillian and Dave readjusted to life back at home.

I thought that Bleeker did a good job developing Lillian and Dave’s relationship throughout the novel. I thought the development seemed organic, especially after the incident with Kent. In addition to the relationship between Dave and Lillian, there are several other relationships in the novel. I really enjoyed reading about Lillian’s relationship with her husband, Jerry. She begins her time on the island longing for him, and then there is a stark contrast to this after she is rescued. I really liked Jerry’s character and found his relationship with Lillian to be the most complex. The relationship between Dave and his wife, Beth, wasn’t nearly as interesting and I wish Beth’s character had a bit more depth to her.

Overall, I really enjoyed Wreckage. It was a really easy read and very entertaining. There are a couple of scenes in the novel that are slightly more mature and I thought that Bleeker did a great job of writing them tastefully. I really enjoyed the concept of this novel and found it hard to put down. The only part of the novel I didn’t really enjoy was the excessive amount of mentions of Paul during the interview. He is mentioned many times before Lillian and Dave finally flash back to him, but it is slightly obvious who Paul is once he is originally brought up. It seemed like Bleeker was trying to build suspense to the big secret surrounding Paul, but it was already pretty evident what the secret was. Other than this, I really liked the book and I would definitely recommend it.

If you have read Wreckage, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view Wreckage on Amazon, please click here.

Book Giveaway!

State of Exception cover_edited-1Hello everyone!

This Saturday is Valentine’s Day, a day of the year that we express to others how much we care about them. In order to say thank you to all of those who are following my website, I want to show how much I care by having a book giveaway!

I will be giving away one signed paperback copy of State of Exception! The drawing is completely random and I will notify the winner via email. However, even if you do not receive the paperback book, anyone who enters will receive a coupon code for the e-book!

All you need to do is fill out this form and make sure that you are following my website via email, WordPress, or have liked my Facebook page. If you are following my website and Facebook page, that counts as two entries! I will accept entries for the drawing for one whole month, between February 12 to March 12. I will notify the winner within a few days after March 12.

If you would like more information on State of Exception, click here. If you would like to enter the book giveaway, click here!

Until next week,


What I’m Looking Forward to in Harper Lee’s New Novel

In 1960, Harper Lee released her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel spans over three years and is told from the point of view of young Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout. The novel centers around Scout’s father, Atticus, as he defends a black man who is accused of raping a white woman in the 1930’s Depression era. The novel quickly became a Pulitzer Prize winning work of fiction and was soon deemed an American classic.

This summer, fifty five years after the release of her first novel, Harper Lee will release her second novel. Entitled Go Set a Watchman, this novel will take place in the mid-fifties, about twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird. It sounds like the novel will again be focused around Scout, as she returns to Maycomb, Alabama to visit her father. According to the novel’s summary, she struggles with personal and political issues related to her father, the society she grew up in, and the town she seemed to leave behind.

I am really looking forward to seeing where the characters are in their lives twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Is Atticus Finch still practicing law? From the sound of the summary, he never left Maycomb and I’m curious if he is still working as a lawyer. The summary mentions that Scout is returning home to visit her father, so this leads to the assumption that she moved away from Maycomb. I look forward to learning about the circumstances surrounding her departure and I am curious to see what kind of woman she has become. She was always described as a tomboy and it’ll be interesting to see how she transformed in twenty years. The summary of the novel suggests a strained relationship with her father and I think that this could lead to a very fascinating plot. The novel’s summary does not mention Scout’s older brother, Jem, but I would like to know if he stayed in Maycomb with his father or if he moved away like his sister did.

Although learning about the characters will be intriguing, I am really excited to see how the storyline coincides with real events in United States history. To Kill a Mockingbird focused on race relations in America and I hope that Go Set a Watchman does the same. Go Set a Watchman is set in the mid-fifties, which was a huge turning point in terms of civil rights. In May 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education verdict deemed segregation to be unconstitutional. In December 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a city bus to a white person in Montgomery, Alabama. Her refusal and subsequent arrest resulted in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, a boycott that lasted thirteen months. I hope that Lee incorporates these real events in her novel, especially since the Montgomery Bus Boycotts took place in the same state that Go Set a Watchman is based in.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic and I have no doubt that the standards will be set high for Go Set a Watchman. I really look forward to the summer release of this novel and I intend on reading it as soon as it’s out.

Go Set a Watchman is set to release July 14, 2015. To view Go Set a Watchman on Amazon, click here.