How to write a Book Review: Workshop Wednesday

  1. Find the book you wish to review and read it. Pay attention to what you find extraordinary about it, either bad or good. I like to take notes while reading to help me remember.
  2. Decide where you wish to post the review. You may have your own blog. This is a great place to start. If you do not have a blog, consider joining book communities such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari. All three of these allow you to add the books to a collection and to review it. You will need an account. This is a good thing for reviewers who buy their own books to keep track of what they have bought and read. Perhaps you may wish to leave a review at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or Kobo.com. If so, you will need accounts for these places also.
  3. Now that you have read the book and decided where to post your review, it is time to write your review. Check what each place you are going to post your review requires. For instance, Amazon requires at least 20 words for the review and recommend approximately a 300 word review. Other places, such as Goodreads ask you to indicate if your review contains spoilers, those things which may give away key elements of the book have are reviewing. Please be truthful when answering that question. many readers, such as myself, do not want to read spoilers.
  4. Write the review, explaining in your own words why you liked or disliked this book, try to refer at least once to the name of the book, and the author’s name. This helps the reader to remember which book review they are reading, and can help you in the same way as you write the review. Explain if there are a few punctuation, spelling, or grammatical errors, or numerous ones that are difficult to dismiss. You may wish to mention if this is a book that is self-published or by a publishing house. This matters to some readers. For myself, it does not normally matter. Be sure to separate your paragraphs and to check your spelling. Walls of text, with no paragraphs or punctuation will have most readers disregarding your review, despite how accurate it may be.
  5. Remember to review the book and not the author. Do not make mean or nasty remarks about the author. Be as professional as possible, even if you are writing your first review. Reviews can help to make or break how well a book does, so be https://heavensgardenca.wordpress.com/category/2-for-tuesdays/ you are being honest ago giving constructive criticism, and not just ragging on a book and/or the author.
  6. Reread your review and edit it as is necessary. Check your spelling, and punctuation most especially. Use a critical eye to see where you can clean up your review so it will cast you and your reviews in a better light.
  7. Go to the places you wish to post your review and do so. Be sure to click save, or enter, or submit after pasting it to the site. If it is on your own blog, you may wish to add covers of the books you have reviewed.
  8. If you would like to see how I do my book reviews, go to Two for Tuesday category, and click on one of the posts. You need to find the way that works best for you, but this gives you the most basic facts necessary to get you started.
Book cover
Happy reading.
Have you written any book reviews in the past or perhaps you do now? Share a link to your blog or review in the comments section.

Some features on hiatus during my illness

Friday Friends, Squb Saturday are on hiatus until further notice. I do not have the energy or stamina to do these plus the Wednesday Workshops and Two for Tuesday Reviews. I am trying to keep the features that I feel most readers will benefit from.

I hope to get the blog back up to muster by December 1st and maybe have some good and necessary changes by then also.

The Color of Description: Workshop Wednesday

Her black hair shone bright in the yellow sunlight of the day. I know, boring. Now try this. Her sleek raven hair shimmered in the pale, lemony yellow sunlight. What is the difference beyond using different words? It is the fact of giving the reader more by describing the shade of the color. Rather than a simple phrase about her black hair, we now know it is the color of black found on a raven. The sunlight is no longer simply yellow but now we are aware that it is likely an early morning sun, diffused by the morning dew, giving it a softer, yellow than if it were the noon-day sun.

Try this little exercise; write down the basic colors. Black, red, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, orange, and perhaps pink. Now, describe these colors to a blind person who has never seen color. How will you evoke an understanding in that person as to what the color black is? Not an easy assignment, I am aware, as I have already done this years ago.

You will discover that unlike with a person who has seen and knows colors, you cannot reference another color to describe, say, orange. You must reach deeper into your ability to describe to bring forth an appropriate response of understanding. Difficult but not impossible. 20120913-135033.jpg

To help you get started with an easier task, I will give you some other words to help describe some basic colors,

Blue: lapis lazuli, sapphire, cobalt, chalcedony
Black: obsidian, coal, raven, onyx, jet black
Green: lime, pine, olive, emerald, jade, khaki
Purple: eggplant, amethyst, violet
White: egg white, antique white, ivory, cream
Red: crimson, ruby, wine, scarlet, burgundy
Orange: tangerine, peach, melon, pumpkin, carrot
Pink: petal pink, magenta, carnation, flamingo pink
Yellow: lemon, gold, Chinese yellow, goldenrod, khaki

Now, go forth and find many more shades of each of these colors and use them to help you in your descriptions of hair, eyes, clothing and much more.

Pinterest: Workshop Wednesday

Welcomed back to another addition of Workshop Wednesday here at Heaven’s Garden. Today’s topic is about what I consider to be the second most under-used social network, and, the most visual one:

Pinterest

Just the past week or so, Pinterest has dropped the need for an invitation to be able to join.  This helps to simplify sign up a bit, and takes away the guesswork of when you will be allowed in.

Pinterest has been somewhat controversial since it’s start but, in my opinion, much of it has been unwarranted though not all. The Terms of Service (TOS) was, and to some point still is, a bit unclear whether one can link or upload ONLY their own original photos or not.

This week, I’m going to give you a short intro into what to do once  you have signed up for Pinterest.

You should have at least one board already, but we’re going to teach you how to add your own board, and what it entails. To access your boards, you can click on your “username” or on the “boards” from the drop down menu.

To create a new board, you will wish to click on “Add+” button at the top right of your computer screen, and then click on “Create a Board.” Type your board name in the area provided and then click the Create Board button.  There are 32 categories to choose from, and you’ll want to consider carefully where your board best fits.This will  help you to stay organized and will help people to find you and your pins easier.

You can set it up to allow others to be authorized to also pin on your board, but unless you are part of a large company, are working on a project, are organizing a wedding or trip, it is best under most circumstances to set the pin authorization to only yourself.

Before  you can allow another person to contribute to your boards, you must follow at least one  on their boards. Group boards seem to be popular, and it could help increase  your follower base. I recommend that you be very judicious in how and whom you allow to contribute. You don’t want someone pinning pornography or illegal information on your account, do you?

You can rename and rearrange your boards at a later time; for now, we just want to get you started so you will know what you are doing. In order to arrange your boards, you must be on your profile page and you will click the little square located in the middle of the page. I consider it to be essential that your most important boards be at the top of your page. For my account, that would be the boards which deal with Heaven’s Garden Productions, angel Art Studio, Twisted Rose Publishing, Heaven-Wide Communications and about 3-5 others.  For most of my boards, I attempt to group them together, such as the recipe boards, which are then sorted alphabetically.  I try to make it as easy as possible for those coming to my boards to find what they are looking for with a minimum of trouble.

You are also able to set a board cover on each board. This is done by mouse-over of any board, clicking on the “edit board cover” and then choosing the pin cover you want and positioning it as you like.There are tools which will allow you to “slice” the image cover such as vitamincr/pinterest. This can help add a little more interest to your boards.  I’ll admit, I have not tried it yet, but when I return to the States and back to my Windows PC, I’ll be looking into giving it a try.

If you are like me, you want to know how to edit a board.  You can do this by clicking on the “edit” button which is located under the board you want to edit. You can change the board tittle, add a description, change categories, set contributors and delete the board. Something I recommend, and try to always remember to do, is to use the # in my board description and in the board name itself. For instance, let’s say I create a new board for WordPress Tutorials. My new board name would look as follows: #WordPress Tutorials. I do this, as it is supposed to help help people in being able to search more directly for the boards or pins they wish to find.  It works in much the same way as the hash-tag # for Twitter works.

There are  places that can teach you how to do pins, but I feel the best one is from Pinterest itself. Therefore, I will not be taking time to explain this to you and will move forward in teaching you a few other tricks and tips.

Let’s talk a bit more about the hashtag # and it’s use in Pinterest. With Pinterest, you can add this to the picture description, and it can not be used more than three times to describe one pin. As mentioned above, it helps to make an easily searchable keyword.

Another familiar sign is the at mention sign @ This allows you to recommend the pin to a specific user, or to notify a particular user about your pin. You must be following the user already. If you wanted to at mention me, for instance, it would look like this;  @angelGraham

Commenting on pins is one of the best and easiest ways to interact with other users, aside from pinning or liking their pins.  It allows you to become more personal with them, and again, this is something which has the potential to help increase your own follower base.

A tip/trick I discovered by accident is the one where you can addd the $ sign to your description and it will allow you to add a price to your pin. I’ve read recently that the £ can also be used in the same way.

Videos may also be shared on Pinterest. It’s done in the same way as pinning images, so no extra explanation is necessary.

So, what’s next? Time to follow and be followed.  I was fortunate when I joined Pinterest, that  a number of people I knew were already there, and was able to follow them right away…and they followed me back.  This may be the case for you also.  After you’ve used up your list of people you know, it’s time to begin searching for people to follow who may be inclined to follow you back.  This is where the #search can be invaluable. Start by searching for other users in the areas you will frequent the most. For me, this is the Recipes and DIY, for my friends, it may be books and sports.  Go with your interest, find people who share your interest, and begin following them.  To get followers, you’ll need to do a bit more work.

One thing, probably the most important thing, is to find a way to garner their attention. Put a Pin Me button on your blog/website page, use links in your digital books, add a Follow Me On Pinterest button to your blog/site, and link it to your profile.

Second, add a “follow us on Pinterest” to your email signature (Wisestamp is a great tool for accomplishing this, more on WiseStamp at another time.)

Third, consider making a “How I Use Pinterest” video on YouTube with a link to your profile and pin your video from YouTube to your Pinterest board. I have not done this yet, but it’s on my list of “Things to attempt.”

Fourth, as I touched on earlier, comment on others pins and blogs. It helps you to gain visibility. I’ve tried to do this, but while in Canada, I’m taking it easy, and will go back to doing this more actively when I return to the States.

There are many other things you can do with Pinterest, much more to learn. Go to Facebook and do a search for some of the Pinterest on Facebook Pages, and you can find a wealth of information, plus it is another avenue to use for finding followers.

Don’t forget to be sure to attribute the original person on the pin in your description.  I like to use the URL from their site not only to pin the image, but also in the description itself. If you know their username, use the @username method to further alert them to your pin. You may end up with a new follower or two.

So, readers, what’s your favorite pin you have found on Pinterest?  Authors, are you using Pinterest, and if you are, how are  you using it? Please come comment and let us know what’s going on with your boards and pins.

Now, go forth and Pin.

Google + : Workshop Wednesday’s

This week, we’re going to tackle Google plus (aka Google + or G+). My feeling is that G+ is one of the two most underused Social Media platforms out there. (Come by next week to see what I think is the other underused one.)

If you have a GMail account already, signing up for G+ is quite easy. Just be aware, that if you have more than one Gmail account, you need to remember which one you’re signed into when you get ready to sign up for G+. You could of course sign up with all of them if you wish.

So, go to Google + home page.  Near the top left of the page is a large read SIGN IN button. Look at the text to the right of it, and find the linked text “Create an account“. (Even more simple, click the link I just made that takes you right to where you want to be. Fill in each box. First Name: Your First Name. Last Name: Your Last Name. Username: Username you wish to use.  This is where you’ll enter the username of gmail to get an account. Now, create your password and verify it by typing it again. Now, fill in your Birthday, Month, Day, Year.  Next is your gender. G+ is one of the ones that gives an option besides Male/Female. If you are transgendered, you can choose other. If you don’t want to tell your gender, you can choose other.

Next is an optional area: Mobile Phone. (I did not use this. I don’t have a text capable cell phone.)  We now are up to filling in your CURRENT email account.  The step after that is fun. You get to prove you are not a robot and enter the CAPTCHA. (Sarcasm alert, I hate Captcha. I have trouble reading them) Now, let’s move on to Location. You choose from a Drop Down menu the country or territory you are from. The last required step is to put a tick in the box stating you agree to G+ Terms of Service. (Make sure you read them!) The optional step is to put a tick in the box that Google may use your account information to personalize +1’s  content and ads on non-Google site. Now, click Next Step.

Google Plus
Follow us on Google+.

I did a test account so I can tell you what is next. What happens when you click Next step is you are taken to a page that confirms your new gmail account. Mine is heavens.11.test.tut@gmail.com. Below the confirmation of your new accoutn is a large blue botton that directs you On to Google+. Click it.

Look at that page. It looks complicated, but it’s really not. Let’s start by creating our actual G+ Profile. Click the link “Add Your Photo.”  Remember, the photo must be at LEAST 250×250 pixels. This is pretty large, compared to many of the other SM sites.  Trim it as needed if you upload one larger than 250×250. Move on to the next step which is to make sure name/gender/birthdate are correct and click on  the blue button to the right bottom of where you’ve been working that says UPGRADE.  You need to use a real name, or one that appears to be a real name. My name is now Heavens angel rather than Test Account.

Now, it’s giving you people to follow from a variety of choices such as Featured on Google +, Causes, Entertainment, Food & Drink and more. You can click to follow one or all of these if you like…or wait for the customized follows I’ll be sharing with you in a moment.  Whether you follow someone from this page or not, click Continue. If you did not follow anyone, it’ll tell you you’re going to be lonely and offer the option to continue anyway or to go back. Choose continue anyway.

You’ve reached a page that shows you your avatar and has some more information you may want to fill out. If you fill it out, the image to the right shows you how it all will look. When you are satisfied with it, click the blue button at the bottom of the white box you’ve been working in, that says FINISH.

For me, it brought back up the ADD PEOPLE. Not sure what it wants you to do. Maybe you can tell me, if you added people during the earlier step. I clicked FINISH again, and recieved my Profile Box to do again if I wish. Click FINISH again and this time it takes you to your own personal G+ Home Page.

For me, the Home Page included posts from NBC, MASHABLE and a few others. You can add your own people you wish in the box that has 10 numbered boxes. How will you do that, when all you can click are links to follow people of interst, etc? By looking to the right of the post area and finding the CIRCLES and clicking on it.

Hey, cool. 5 circles already. One to name plus Friends, Follow, Family and Acquaintences.  Now you need to actually add people so you can add them to your circles. Look up above those circles you see on this page.  Click that + sign that says ADD NW PERSON. It will let you add them by name or email. I always choose email, because I’m more likely to get the exact person I want to add. I’ll add my real account so I can tell you what happens next.

Okay, I entered my real gmail account and it gave me the option of saving it to one of the prepared circles. I chose Acquaintences for today.  I had to redo it, as I forgot to click save. Now, I see a blue box that has angel Graham in it and I have one person in my Acquaintence Circle showing. Do this for each person you wish to add to circles. You can also add a person to the one that allows you to create a new circle and name it. I’m going to let you play with it.

You have now set up your Google+ profile. Congraulations. In a few weeks, I’ll be adding a workshop that deals with setting up a Google+ Page if you  are an Author, have a business, etc. I’ll also let you know some other ideas of how to use G+ to your advantage.

Make sure to read how to set up your Twitter Tab/Stream in HootSuite, and do the same thing for Google+.  One thing that is slightly different about G+ versus Twitter and Facebook is how you share your URL. Instead of having a name such as /angel_graham or HeavensGardenProductions, you have a number. My share URL is https://plus.google.com/113535273848741515795/ . You’ll find yours easiest by going to your Profile page and copying everything BEFORE /posts?hl=en-US .

Go ahead and wander around. Add a Cover Photo to your profile, or choose one of theirs. I left mine as the default for now. I’ll probably make a simple one for this account and use it for doing tutorials and such.

It’s all good everyone. In just a few weeks, you’ve learned how to use Facebook to promote and Market, how to add Twitter to your HootSuite Dashboard, and now how to set up your Google+ account. You’re doing GREAT. Pat yourself on the back!

Now that you’ve congratulated yourself, come comment and share your G+ URL so I can add you to my circle! See you in the CIRCLES!

All A Twitter: Workshop Wednesday

So, today we’re going to discuss Twitter. This is a social media platform that allows you to write status’ of only 140 characters. Not words, characters. One learns quickly to be succinct in their writing with Twitter.

There are SO many places out there to direct you on step by step directions for signing up for Twitter, so I’ll leave that to them. I’m going to talk with you about how to use HootSuite to automate as much of your Twitter as possible. I’ll be dealing more with how to read the feeds you want more than how to auto-schedule tweets, though I’ll cover a small part of that.

If you’ve followed Workshop Wednesday, you’ve already downloaded and begun using HootSuite during our Facebook Workshops.   If not, now is a great time to get it downloaded and set up. Hold on to this, we’ll be using it soon. First, let’s get started with Twitter Lists.

Twitter Lists are lists that you make on Twitter and can place your followers into. The reason you want to do this is to make it easier for yourself to be able to follow and interact with them. Some of the lists I have are “Social Media Contacts”, where people such as Kim Garst, a Social Media Consultant is placed, or Diva’s, where Kristin Painter, one of the Admins of Romance Diva’s  has been placed. This allows me to set up a stream in HootSuite for that specific lists, and to follow and respond to just those who are in the lists. (Remember, I’ll tell you more on how to set this up in HootSuite shortly)

You may also want to take a look at Tweriod, which helps you to find out when your followers are online the most. Or perhaps you’d like to try Social Bro, which does this and much more.

For instance, with Tweriod, it tells me that my best time to tweet to followers is between 11 am.-noon and from 3-5 pm on Weekends.  On Sunday, the times are 9 am and 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm,  3 pm and 4 pm. On Monday, it changes to 9 am and 10 am, 11 am and 12 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm., and for the most part on weekdays, it is 10 am and 11 am, 12 pm and 1 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Your times will likely be quite different, as your followers may mostly be active at night.

Social Bro offers a bit more, including being able to browse users to follow or unfollow, to customize who you are looking for in followers, such as if they have a custom avatar or are an “egghead” (Someone who still has the original avatar of an egg that twitter starts all accounts with.)

Now, let’s move on to HootSuite and those lists you created a bit ago. I’m assuming you still have the Hootsuite Dashboard open. Also, my instructions are for those who are using Pro, as I do not have the free HS any longer. For $10.00/month, it was well worth it to me to go Pro. This is the only program I can remember ever going pro on, and I’ve tried a few. To me, a few dollars a month to make it so much easier to follow your social media, connect with them, schedule posts/tweets, is worth it.

Okay, you want to be in the dashboard and we’re going to ADD Tabs first. The one you want to do now is Twitter (Label it your way, mine is Twitter  for main feed, with all followers. I then have mine broke down into tabs for lists.) Once you have set up the tab and labeled it as you like, you want to ADD Stream.  Look just below the tabs and you should see a small +sign that says +Add Stream

Twitter Tut 1
Step 1 in Twitter Tutorial

After you have selected Add Stream, you will see something that looks like this pic:

Twitter Tutorial Pic 2
Step 2: Includes several steps to do in order, as shown on pic.

Follow each step carefully. Be sure to end with clicking Create Stream, so it will do this for you.

Now you’ll see something that looks like this:

Twitter Tutorial Pic 3
Final step in Twitter tutorial

With the paid version you can add pretty much an unlimited number of tabs and streams. Go ahead and follow the instructions above to create a second stream that is for one of you specific lists, such as for me, Social Contacts.

There are other programs similar to HootSuite, such as TweetDeck, Social Ommph and more, that I have tried and just did not like. You may prefer those, so go ahead and use them. I’m using HS as my Tutorial because it’s what I actually use. Your mileage may vary. (YMMV)

Now that you have the tabs/streams set up, you can start to “listen in” on the twitter feeds. When you see something you want to reply to, hover over the tweet until you see a left facing arrow come up. Click on that to reply, and put your reply in the comment box above the tabs. When you have finished, click schedule. You can send it out now, or auto schedule. Play with HS to see how to do these things.

Perhaps you want to retweet something you see while in the HS dashboard, hover over the tweet again and look at the double arrow directly after the reply button. Click this and then post in the comment box, hit schedule and do the same as above.

Perhaps you want to DM the person. This means Direct Message. It to can be only 140 characters, so be brief. Again, hover over the tweet of the person you want to DM. It’s the last icon, which to me appears to be an envelope. Click it, enter message in comment box, then schedule as above.

For fun, and for business, you can create a Twitter Business Card at twtBizCard. twtbzcard

It has the basic social media sites you can add your link to, and hopefully, we’ll see more, such as Deviant Art and Behance among others. This can be a good way to link all your social networks into one easy place, and give out only URL instead of 3,9, 15 or more. It looks good and is quite simple to set up. Try it, you might like it.

I’ll do a post about Hoot Suite itself  in the next few weeks and give you more ideas on how to use it. For now, go forth and Twitter. By the way, don’t forget to set up your Facebook  and G+ accounts in the same way. Then, you’ll be one step ahead of us in the game.
Are you All A Twitter? That is, do you twitter? If so, do you want to share your @handle? Mine is @angel_graham. Feel free to follow me. If you leave a comment telling me you’ve followed, and your @Twitterhandle, I’ll follow you back for sure.
Come comment and join the twittering and tweeting. There’s plenty of room.