Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things, The Desertera Series

How Books Connect the World


How lucky are we as bookworms today?

At any given moment, we can jump on Amazon (or another website), buy a book, and read it seconds later. Or, if you’re a paperback purist, all you have to do is wait a couple days for shipping or take a quick trip to your local bookstore or library.

That’s all it takes. In a few seconds or a few days, you can dive into a novel’s world. You can learn about a historical event or philosophical theory. You can have a connection with an author and readers whom you may never meet, from nearly every corner of the world.

As the great Stephen King wrote: “Books are a uniquely portable form of magic.”

While perusing books on Goodreads and browsing through #bookstagram accounts, I’ve found myself in awe of these communities. Readers from all around the globe have joined together to celebrate the books they love. It’s so cool to hear other people’s thoughts on books I love, or to discover a beautiful photo of a book in an exotic location.

So, you can imagine my surprise (and delight!) when my friend sent me this photo of The Cogsmith’s Daughter. Unbeknown to me, she had taken a copy on vacation to the Cayman Islands. While reading on the beach, she found this grungy old machine and snapped a photo. Awesome, right?

It got my author brain thinking: I wonder how far the Desertera series has traveled?

A quick email to my Reader List, and I now have a decent idea. The map below shows the countries where I know readers have enjoyed The Cogsmith’s Daughter and/or The Courtesan’s Avenger. (If you don’t see your home represented, let me know in the comments – I’d love to add it!)


For a little-known (read: almost invisible) independent author with only two novels to my name, this map makes me really proud. My greatest joy (outside of writing, of course!) is connecting with other book lovers. To know that I’ve done exactly that on five out of seven continents stuns and humbles me.

I’ll definitely be referring back to this map as I continue writing the third book in the Desertera series. Writing is a solitary process, and sometimes I feel like I’m sending my words out into a void. But this map proves my inner critic wrong. My words are flying around the world – offering escape and entertainment to people everywhere (okay, a lot of places!).

If that isn’t a dream come true,  I don’t know what is.

Where do you call home? How have your favorite books connected you to new friends and fellow readers? Share in the comments!

Book Reviews, Writing & Publishing Articles

Indie Book Review: Audiobooks for Indies

audiobooks for indiesAudiobooks for Indies: Unlock the Audio Potential of Your Book by Simon Whistler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the sake of full disclosure, I need to say that I received an advanced reader copy of Audiobooks for Indies for being a listener of The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast. A review was not a condition of receiving the ARC, but it was requested as a favor. In all honesty, even if I had purchased this book, it would have been worth every cent.

Audiobooks for Indies by Simon Whistler will soon become the definitive go-to guide for independently published authors looking to expand their streams of income by breaking into the audiobook market. Whistler’s guide is comprehensive and clear, and his instructions and advice are easily implemented. Whistler covers nearly every aspect of audiobook creation and his guide truly helps the reader which production methods (if any) to pursue with his/her novel(s).

The core content of Audiobooks for Indies revolves around the various audiobook production methods. Whistler fully explains how to execute each method, provides multiple pros and cons of each method, and even gives a case study detailing why another author chose this method and how it worked for him/her. The chapters are to-the-point but still packed with information, and they empower the reader to choose which (if any) method to implement.

Besides how to produce an audiobook, Audiobooks for Indies also explores why and when to pursue audiobook production. Whistler pulls no punches: he gives an honest opinion on when creating an audiobook will be profitable and worthwhile, yet he remains optimistic to his reader. Likewise, Whistler outlines several options for what to do after the audiobook goes on sale, listing several audiobook-specific marketing strategies and giving honest feedback on how well the reader can expect them to work.

Perhaps the most helpful parts of Audiobooks for Indies are in the details. Whistler begins and ends the book with definitions of important industry terms used throughout the text. This is a huge asset for any individual who is not experienced in audiobook creation and its retailers.

Additionally, throughout the text, Whistler directs the reader to resources that he has created. These include tutorials on how to create the best recording space, a detailed spreadsheet for calculating the financial costs/benefits of creating an audiobook, among others. In short, Whistler does everything possible to educate his reader on the basics terminology and functioning of the audiobook industry and then expands this into more in-depth material that the reader can customize to his/her own needs.

Personally, I only knew the most basic information about producing audiobooks (gleaned from The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast which Whistler runs), but after reading this book, I feel fully confident in my ability to make an intelligent decision regarding when and how I will create an audiobook and what I will do with it afterwards. I even feel like Whistler gave me enough technical knowledge that I could narrate my own books (but I also know enough about myself to know that I will not). My only critique of the entire book is that I wish Whistler would have expanded on the areas he deemed “outside the scope” of the book.

If you are looking for a guide to tell you when, how, and why to create an audiobook, Audiobooks for Indies by Simon Whistler is worth a read. It is the best audiobook production guide that I know of to-date, and it is only a matter of time before it is held up alongside other indie guides as a “must-have” book for all independent publishers.

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audiobooks for indiesIf you are interested in reading Audiobooks for Indies and would like to help sponsor my writing and research, you can purchase it at my Amazon Associates Store. By doing this, you will not pay a cent extra, but I will receive a small commission on the sale. Simply click the book’s title or the book’s image.

Thank you!