Who Writes Better: Men or Women? (INFOGRAPHIC)


The term “better” is highly subjective. I personally prefer writing with short sentences and stories that quickly get to the point, two traits the people polled attribute to male writers. Without going into the gender argument, my preference is to short, quick and concise writing.

Originally posted on Hidden Clearing Books, LLC:


Infographic provided by “grammar checker” Grammarly.

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Ways to Tell Your Book is Being Read


Greetings and salutations!

You published your book. Congratulations! It’s out there available for purchase at online retailers, it’s at your local bookstores and libraries. You’re super excited about your project and eagerly await for the flood of sales and reviews. Weeks go by and you notice you’ve sold some, so you wait a couple more weeks for the reviews to pop up, but there’s nothing. A month goes by. Still no new reader reviews. You start to wonder, “Are people even reading my book?”

Sometimes it is difficult to gauge reader activity. There’s a lot of focus on reviews as the sole measuring stick for readership. There are other ways to tell if your book is being read.

Some readers don’t like leaving reviews, but prefer to contact authors directly. I’ve had readers email me about how much they enjoyed my book and the impact it had on them. It gave me a warm-and-fuzzy feeling that I just don’t get from online reviews. I’ve also gotten invites for interviews because I made myself available for direct contact. Add a contact form or email to your blog/website/bio.

There’s social media, of course. Properly adding your online presence into your book or bio is a way to get your readers to follow you online. If you notice a jump in followers or likes, then there’s a chance people liked your book and want to connect with you.

I publish my eBooks on Scribd, and one of the aspects of that platform I like is that when a reader clicks on your book cover, it opens up to the book or excerpt. That way with their “views” stat you have a better understanding of how many are interested in the title and possibly reading it. Smashwords has something similar.

It might take a while for readers to actually read your book. Bibliophiles, like myself, have the habit of adding more books to their to-read pile than they have time to read. I recently reviewed The Loom by Shella Gillus for Bold Book Blog. I enjoyed the book and recommend it. However, it sat on my digital bookshelf for 2 years! Word of advice: Be patient.

If you know of any other ways to tell if readers are reading your books, please comment below.

Look Upon by A. J. Hayes


Look Upon is my latest poetry project. I released it back when I wasn’t blogging. Look Upon is more than just poetry, but also art, audio and app–all of which are free. There are signed single sheets of poetry and art to purchase for $1.

Originally posted on Hidden Clearing Books, LLC:

Look Upon

Look Upon is a multi-media project from A. J. Hayes. Look Upon is an ebook of art & poetry, an album of spoken word and an app that combines the aspects of the ebook & album.

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Pricing Your Ebook

Greetings and salutations!

The Amazon vs. Hachette Book Group battle has re-opened that can of worms known as the “how much should eBooks cost?” debate. Indie and self-pub writers have to make their own decisions on pricing their eBooks, and the rules for doing so constantly change. So just how much should indie writers price their eBooks?

Notable self-published writer Dean Wesley Smith suggests pricing eBooks between $2.99 – $7.99, depending on length of the title and other factors. Part of his reasoning behind his suggestions is that indie writers are competing against traditionally published books and their prices.

I have never considered my books as competing against traditionally published books because book lovers tend to read more than one book per year; meaning it isn’t a zero-sum game where if a reader buys a traditionally published book then that same reader is unable to purchase one of mine. But that doesn’t mean I disagree with Smith’s recommendations. He has sound reasons behind his suggestions.

I believe that if there is any competition between indie titles and traditional published books, it is not about prices but content. In this article, author David Biddle writes:

You can’t replace one book with another. For instance, I just bought the paperback version of Haruki Murakami’s mammoth 2011 novel 1Q84 for about $20. It’s fabulous. I also have roughly 20 books that I’ve downloaded for free this year from indie authors I know and another 50-plus that I’ve purchased for anywhere from $1 to $3.

But I’ve read very few of those downloaded ebooks. I regularly attempt to, but things keep getting in the way–yet I am reading Murakami, an established literary author, in paper.

I am exactly the same way. When I pay for a book, I feel more inclined to read it–and the more I pay, the more inclined I am. The thing is, I’ll rarely purchase an eBook over $2.99 and have never purchased one over $5. In the same article, Biddle asks a serious question: “Are we trying to sell books? Or to get people to read them–to enter the worlds we’ve created?”

My answer is both. Your answer could be different.

In this interview on Radikalnews.com, writer, filmmaker and publisher behind KUBOA Press Pablo D’Stair explains why the eBooks he publishes are free:

I just can’t get behind selling e-books. Nothing against those who do, but it’s antithetical to my “upbringing”. Unlike a lot of people, I always used to dream of books being cheap enough to produce that I could print them and just give them away, haha. . . . [E-books] are free to produce, people like to read them, and with the variety of “reader devices” for all intents and purposes one looks just as nice as any other so it makes the whole free literature thing workable, no sweat.
So, for me, the e-book revolution was a godsend because one could not ask for a more cost effective way to distribute literature for free. It costs nothing, it gains readers—and even if it doesn’t gain readers…it costs nothing, so what the hell, right?

When it comes to pricing eBooks, it should boil down to writer’s/publisher’s goals and mission. When you try to “follow the rules” the rules will end up change. There’s no wrong answer, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Most importantly: stay true to yourself.


Poem Published: “Our Stories”

Greetings and salutations!

My poem “Our Stories” has been published in the Summer 2014 edition of TimBookTu. I’m excited to have my work appear in this online journal featuring fiction, poetry and essays from African-Americans. I’m glad “Our Stories” was accepted, because it speaks to the power of African and African-American literature and history, especially as a way to combat stereotypes, prejudices and centuries of white supremacist slandering of African peoples and cultures.

Read “Our Stories” on TimBookTu.