Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Author on the Shelves – #Dystopian #Science Fiction -The Outlands by Tyler Edwards

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to welcome Tyler Edwards to the Cafe and Bookstore with his books and today I am featuring his latest release the dystopian, science fiction novel The Outlands

About the book

In the ruins of the world that was lies the city of Dios, a haven protected from the hostile environment known as The Outlands. Ruled by an oppressive Patriarch, the people of Dios are conditioned in fear. The smallest infraction could result in banishment to the Outlands, a fate worse than death.

With his make-shift family of “Undesirables”, Jett Lasting struggles to find his place in a world where drawing attention to yourself can get you killed. His very existence is considered a crime. To survive, he must avoid guards, beggar gangs, and an ever-growing tension that could drag the whole city into chaos.

Jett unwittingly becomes entwined in a plot to overthrow the government where his choices could…

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4 Playful Pet-Peeves with Self-Promoters

Having spent some time on Facebook book promotion and author groups I noticed some trends that I’d like to playfully tease in efforts to help us all improve our promotion game. In the spirit of good fun this is my top 4 self-promotion pet-peeves. Hope you enjoy!

4. If you are looking for a publisher or readers for a biography you wrote about your life and you call it a biography…you need to stop posting and spend some time learning the difference between a BIOGRAPHY and an AUTOBIOGRAPHY. If you wrote a biography about your life…it is not called a biography anymore. Getting that wrong leads me to no other conclusion than that your book will be unreadable. Also, while we are here: don’t look for a publisher for a book about your life.

3. Don’t compare your book to a best-seller. “Forget the Hunger Games”, “It’s the next Twilight”, etc. If the only way you can try to get attention for your book is comparing it to someone else’s you are basically advertising that the reader can expect to find very little inspiration, creativity, or unique thoughts.

2. Please avoid flattering yourself. Calling your own book, a “real page turner” ugh…it makes my skin crawl. If you are telling me, as the writer, that I won’t be able to put your book down, I will prove you right by never picking it up in the first place. This is like telling someone on a first date how they are so lucky to be on a date with you. It’s really off-putting. Pulling a self-serving quote from one of your besties who read it and likes it because they like you is better…but not by a lot. Your self-promotion shouldn’t rely a cherry-picked pull-quote OR your own claims of how good the book is. If it really is that good, share someone’s entire review and promote it that way.

1. My all-time biggest pet-peeve. DO NOT CALL YOUR BOOK A BEST SELLER. Don’t claim it’s #1 on anything. That a serious claim and an honor reserve for those who earned it. Those who earned it, aren’t posting their own promotion on Facebook groups anymore. Someone who has a #1 best seller on any list worth mentioning, is successful enough to have better things to do, like, work on their next book. You’re not fooling anyone. It takes 3 seconds to type your book into Google and see there is no way it was a best-seller on anything but the “books written by people in your family list”. So just, please, do us all a favor. Don’t. I get that you want to draw attention. To hook readers in. Let your book do that.

Top 9 most encouraging things for a writer

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing I start processing the different compliments people give when they engage with your work. I decided to rank the level of compliment based on how flattering I feel it is. To all my writer friends, take a look at tell me how you’d order the compliments.

#9- Commenting on the premise.

This is perhaps the foundation level of any engagement but it’s exciting when someone hears your hook and is interested in it.

#8 – Buying the book.

Let’s be honest, especially from someone who doesn’t personally know you, this is something to appreciate. Of all the things they could spend their money on, or even just all the books they could choose, I find it very encouraging when someone deems my work interesting enough to invest in.

#7 – Comparing it to other great writing or writers.

Not in the sense where it takes away from the originality of the work but when the quality of my writing reminds someone of other captivating stories, I find that encouraging.

#6 – Giving it a good rating.

Not only does this reflect how they felt about the book, it helps other readers who might be interested give it a shot.

#5 – Complimenting specific things or elements they liked.

I find this to be one of the most helpful things a reader can do. It lets me know what’s working, what resonated, and where the strong elements of a story are so I can find ways of putting more of those elements in a story.

#4 – Writing a review.

Taking the time to write a review shows even more investment in the story. Especially in cases where the review is positive, it is one of the most helpful elements in connecting with new readers. Reviews give a book more credibility, can create increased interest, and are great for marketing.

#3 – Sharing it on social media.

When someone likes a book enough to share a post about it on their social media channels, not only are they sharing your work with all their connections, they are using their platform to support your work. This is incredibly flattering.

#2 – Personally recommending it to others.

I think what makes the personal recommendation more encouraging / a greater compliment to the writing is that it’s much more personal. While a social media post has a greater reach, talking with the book and recommending it to others has a greater impact. It’s easy to keep scrolling but when someone is telling you about a book, it can really make you want to read it.

#1 – Wanting to read it again.

To me, this is the highest compliment someone can give. Not only did they invest their time in reading your book, they enjoyed it so much they want to do it more than once. That says to me: not only did you enjoy the story I wrote; you want to get lost in it. You want to go back to it again. That’s a compliment I think is really easy to overlook but truly perhaps the most encouraging thing a reader tells me.

Alright guys, what do you think? Would you rank them differently?

The Outlands

Super exciting news: the pre-order for my first fiction book: The Outlands is now live. Book will be released on January 24th. This is the e-book version. Pre-orders for hard copy coming soon.
Click the link below to order!


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QL3SSYJ/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=the+outlands&qid=1608000029&rnid=2941120011&s=books&sr=1-5

Sorrow of Society

The world is crazy right now. It’s always crazy but 2020 has been particularly bonkers. Pandemics. Racial injustice. Riots. Elections. The one thing that ties them all together? Our disunity in them. Divides happen. We are all different people, with different stories, experiences, pain, and as a result different points of view. Just being bi-partisan makes us a country divided, to some extent. None of this is new or surprising.

Here’s what is surprising: how readily the Christian community can disregard, dismiss, and discount the pain of others because they haven’t shared that experience. I wouldnt fault anyone for not knowing what it’s like to be someone else. My struggle is that when others say: “hey, we are hurting”, “we are being mistreated” how quickly Christians are to debate and argue that. You would think we were being accused of murder.

The escalation of frustration continues: even just encouraging Christians to do the Christian thing and be gracious, sympathetic, and compassionate towards others gets met with intense push back. Why is it so hard to get Christian to do what they say the believe? It shouldnt be hard. Compassion should come naturally to us as children of God who have received the grace and mercy of God. We shouldnt even have to say it’s needed, it should just happen.

Yet it seems to me that we have become a society that cares more about being heard than about hearing. That cares more about making a point than about the person on the other side of that point.

Offering compassion doesnt mean we caused the pain. It doesnt mean we are guilty. It means we care. It means we see the pain of others as a problem and are willing to step out of our own comfort to sit with them in that problem. I wonder, what things would look like today, if instead of everyone trying to yell their point and prove they were right, if we’d just listen to each other. Respect each other. Be compassionate towards those who are hurting. Demonstrate the love of the Gospel. And ultimately, work together to make the world a little better.

The paradox of writing…

When you write because you have something you want to say, the writing is only a portion of the battle. Post placing your thoughts down in some intelligible and orderly manner (which is not always a small feat) you then must battle with finding a home for those thoughts that allows them to be distributed. So many avenues there…most of which are filled with so much noise you wonder if there is any reason to add more sound to the pre-existing cacophony.

Now, if you want your message to be more credible, to carry more weight, to hold more sway, the venue/medium you use becomes even more important. Everyone and their mother (literally in most cases) has a Facebook page. That provides a semi-functional means to get a message to people you already know. What if your desire is to reach beyond that audience? To influence and impact lives not just in a moment but to leave a lasting impact? For this, nothing tops book publication.

Option 1: spend a bunch of money to edit, design, and produce books yourself. Who doesn’t love the idea of funding your own project? But…then where does it go? Oh yea, to the people who already know you. Yay. So many people who falsely chant: I’ll read that, I’m interested, I’ll help and then disappear from the universe when you ask them to follow through.

Option 2: the traditional publisher. No easy task here either. Also, a conundrum. Most publishers who are able to publish books traditionally are so inundated with people sending manuscripts that they have a policy not to accept them at all. Want to get your book to them? Get a literary agent. Guess what’s harder to find than a publisher? A literary agent. Guess what’s easier to find than a literary agent. Big foot. A unicorn. A leprechauns pot of gold. #literally anything.

I have finally figured out how to organize a message that has been on my mind for the last decade. I am diving into it, loving it. And now, having started to raise this little baby book…I am remembering that actually writing a book….is the easy part. -Insert face to palm-

Memorial Day

Today I tried the Murph challenge for the first time in my life. Nothing like diving into an intense workout after eight weeks of social-distancing induced laziness. I had heard of the challenge before but didnt pay much attention to the specifics.

1 mile run

100 pull-ups

200 push-ups

300 squats

and then ANOTHER 1 mile run.

The full version is done wearing a 20lbs vest. I did not do that. I did complete the challenge. Now everything hurts. Mad props to all the men and women who have served and sacrifice for their country. No words can express it, but the next few days of soreness will be a reminder.

Changing the World

I’m finding discussions around what life will look like when this COVID pandemic has passed very interesting. While the world “unprecedented” has been thrown around like pizza dough at Papa Johns, it’s hard to argue with the fact that nothing like this has happened on this scale in our lifetime.

I find myself wondering how many priorities will shift. How many people will remember what it was like to have “down time” and intentionally reduce the amount of things in their lives to build in more “sabbath”. Will this event be something that shocks us into re-evaluating how we are living and reorganizing/restructuring our lives? Or will we return to form in 4-6 months shaking it off like a weird blip on the radar of life?

It seems to me in situations like this we have an iron is hot moment. A short lived chance to make a change before we cool off and settle back into our old habits. I am hopeful, that as a community, as a society we take this moment of opportunity, this chance to change and we capitalize on it. That we stop idolizing busyness for the sake of busyness. That we stop filling out days with things just to feel important or because we think doing a bit of everything will somehow fill a hole that exists in our hearts. I am hoping that, for myself, and the world as a whole, we will take a long look at what really matters and we will start cutting the things that dont.

As a pastor, my thoughts here also drift to how the church may look different. I wonder how many small churches will be able to weather this storm? What will happen to the communities that couldnt? (I think we’d be fooling ourselves to think every local church will make it through this time). Will we see these new “orphaned churches” shifting to other churches that endured? Is this a pruning process where God cuts off some of the branches that dont produce fruit so the ones that do will thrive even more? I think it’s possible. Not to diminish the sadness or loss of any local church. I can’t help but wonder if, somehow, in some way, God will make this a defining moment for the good and growth of the church.

My biggest hope you ask? Community. We have long been a culture drifting from community and connection towards the island of isolation. My hope is that, this forced distance has shocked us into an awareness of how important relationships with others are and drive us to make them a larger part of our lives.

Just my musings. Feel free to share yours in the comments below, I’d love to get your take.

 

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