Monday, February 25, 2013

Fat Chance by Brandi Kennedy Blog Hop Tour - Coming Soon!



Hello fellow Junkies,
I'm lucky enough to be helping out a good friend of mine, Brandi Kennedy, who is doing a blog tour with her book Fat Chance. I've read it. It's amazing. I can't tell you anything more about it until April 1st though. You can find the schedule at The O'Raven Chronicles soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sources for indi authors to get promotional materials made up


Hello fellow Junkies,

This is kind of part two in my attempt to help indie authors with self-promotion. In a previous post I talked about using social media (i.e. Facebook) to help promote yourself by running event pages. This time I'm going to focus on sources to get your promo stuff made up.

I have a lot of problems with this since I am in Australia and a lot of the really good companies are in the US. So, what I've done is compiled a list of different websites and stated whether they are 'Australian Delivery Friendly' or not. I've split them into 2 sections:
1) Printing suppliers, and
2) Miscellaneous promotion material.

Just click on their logo to be directed to their sites. I hope you find this helpful!

Printing Suppliers:


1. Vistaprint.com 

Vistaprint are an international company with 25 localised offices including Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. VP can make a whole range of products including magnets, stickers, tote bags, window decals, pens, mugs, iPhone cases, shirts, key chains and mouse pads just to name a few. All of the templates can be downloaded with PS so you can design your own and upload.

There's no minimum purchase so you can order just one of something if you want to. I have bought my bookmarks from there. I was really happy with the quality. I also bought one key chain to see what they would look like before I bought in bulk, and I wasn't happy. The attachment for the top is just a plastic clip which attaches to a metal ring. The actual image was grainy (although that might have been my own fault), but the material of the key chain is made of flexible vinyl which I didn't particularly like so much.








2. Gotprint.com

Gotprint are another international site. The range with Gotprint is similar to that of Vistaprint, but is more focused on the business side of things. They offer bookmarks, rack cards, collectors card, flyers, decals, posters and door hangers along with a whole heap of other products.

I haven't used them (yet) but am planning on getting my next set of bookmarks made up with them. When you select the product you want, its takes you through the printing options step-by-step even giving you the posting costs and options.

***A little update on the bookmark situation...here is a picture of my completed bookmarks from Gotprint.com. I'd highly recommend this site for fast, amazing quality and inexpensive bookmarks.***








3. NextDayFlyers.com

NextDayFlyers are a US-based website which does custom printing with the option of getting it printed and delivered the next day. International orders are possible. All you have to do is call their 800 number to place your order. Some of their products include bookmarks, magnets, stickers and rack cards.






4. zazzle.com

Zazzle do all things custom. I recently ordered my keychains from this website.





5. OvernightPrints.com

Another US company which I've heard great things from. Payment options include the big 4 plus Paypal.










6. PrintSafari.com

PrintSafari.com is another US-based website offering custom printing. They have a great range plus a live chat option should you need the help. They can help you with door hangers, flyers, posters and bookmarks just to name a few. Unfortunately, they are not Australia friendly.

Other Promotional Material:

So, you've already got bookmarks, rack cards and stickers, but you want more. Well, here you go!

Silicone Wristbands


Handband.com is an Australian company that have reasonable priced silicone wristbands. There's a minimum order of 7, and they don't just make bracelets. Other products include watches and keychains.




Wristbandconnection.com is a US company which doesn't deliver to Australia. The great thing about this company is there is no minimum order and you can choose from a variety of different fonts for your own unique silicone bracelet.





Wristbandswithamessage.com offers delivery to Australia. In fact, I recently ordered some silicone wristbands from this website. Production time and shipping to Oz is roughly around the 3 week mark which isn't too long to wait. There are stacks of colour options and combinations to choose from as well as thumb rings.


Amazingwristbands.com is another one of those amazing US-only sites, but boy do they have some awesome products. You can choose colour, width, font--even get a USB band made up. Definitely worthwhile checking this site out. There is also no minimum order.


Wrist-band.com is a US-based site offering a wide range of colours, widths, figured and dual-layered silicone bands. You can also get 100 free bands when you buy 100. They have a pretty good range of fonts to choose from, too. The process is step-by-step and if you mess up, you can simply start over again. They also make lanyards. Paypal verified!




Another US-site. They have stacks of customised bands ready to go. A moderate amount of fonts, but not as many and not as varied as some of the other sites listed.

Miscellaneous Items:

If you're more into the military kind of thing for your promotional items, here are some to check out:

An Aussie company that can personalise dog tags for you. You can choose either embossed or debossed lettering, tag style, silencer and chain type, too. Not too expensive either. All the major cards are accepted, too.


Cafepress.com have an amazing range of custom products from water bottles to mugs, t-shirts to iPhone cases. There are international sites, too as well as the convenience of shopping in your selected currency. Definitely need to check this one out.




 If you know of any other reputable companies to use for self-promotion, please leave the address in the comments at the bottom of this post. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review of 'Reviving Bloom' by Michelle Turner

Hello fellow Junkies,

I don't normally leave reviews of books I've read, but I thought I'd mix it up a little bit. Michelle Turner generously gave me a copy of her book Reviving Bloom in exchange for an honest review, and these are my thoughts:

Synopsis:
 Bloom was abandoned by her mother at birth, but thanks to her dad she never once felt unloved. When he is killed in a car wreck, leaving her without any close family, she spends a year mourning him. She feels as if her heart has been cut out of her chest and nothing is left but an empty hole that she doesn’t think will ever heal. Then one night after work she finds a wounded dog in the woods behind her house and takes him in, not realizing he’s more than just some stray dog but a wolf shifter, who happens to be her mate.
Pike is getting over the loss of his father by running full force away from his responsibilities. He’s getting ready to go back to face his new position as the Alpha of his pack when he catches the scent that can only belong to his mate.
 
When Bloom finds out she may not be the normal human she always thought herself to be, she’s forced to search out the woman who abandoned her at birth.

I used to read quite a lot of YA when Half Blood was initially intended to be a YA series (aren't you glad that didn't happen? I don't think I could have tamed my boys enough for that), but gave up the 'tameness' for books with more blood, sex and violence BUT when I first saw Michelle Turner's book Reviving Bloom via Facebook and I was immediately drawn to the cover and the blurb on the back. The artwork is so beautifully done and I knew I had to read it.

We're introduced to Bloom Daniels who is a young woman still suffering from the loss of her father. With the help of close family friends and her best friend, Bonnie, she is slowly returning to the land of the living. One night she rescues a dog that turns out to be a shifter and also her mate-not that she knows that at the time. All she knows is that she is drawn to Pike, trusting him implicitly, knowing that he will be there for her. When she finds out that she is also a shifter, she needs the answers to the questions running around her head and there is only one person who can do that: her long-lost mother.

Michelle's story-telling is perfect for her YA audience. The characters are likeable, especially Pike whose strong sense of right and wrong dictates his actions. Bloom is so broken in the beginning that you wonder whether she will ever recover from the death of her father, but you realize she is a strong woman-she just doesn't realize it until Pike comes along.

The plot was good with definite potential for further development in the books to come, but I felt like I wanted to know more about Bloom's year of mourning and her self-imposed exile, her wolf and her history with the other characters. There were some other missing puzzle pieces in the story that I was hoping would be revealed in Reviving Bloom, however Michelle has left us anticipating the release of book two by enticing us with the promise of more detail to come.

There were sweet bits, sexy bits and sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat bits, but all in all a plot that can continue on into the next book in the series and characters that draw you in.

I'd recommend this book if you liked Maggie Streifvater's Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls) series.

About the author:

Michelle is a 28 year old native Ohioan. Go Buckeyes! Who now lives with her husband and son in West Virginia. When she isn't spending time with her family you can find her with her nose stuck in a good book. She released her first book (Reviving Bloom) as an independent author in October 2012 and plans to release two new books (Promised & Enlightening Bloom) in 2013.