Indie Blu(e) is Recruiting Member Authors — May 12, 2018

Indie Blu(e) is Recruiting Member Authors

Have you self-published a book or been published by a small independent press?

Is your writing edgy and/or divergent?

Consider joining Indie Blu(e).

Six good reasons to become an Indie Blu(e) Member Author:

  • Content curation by experienced editors who write in the genre
  • Dedicated profile page
  • Thoughtful reviews of your book for use on multiple platforms
  • Access to readers who support indie writers
  • Opportunity to network with other indie writers & indie publishers
  • Strength in numbers

Intrigued? Contact us at indieblucollective@gmail.com

Image courtesy of Jimmi Campkin

Book Review: Kindra M. Austin’s Constant Muses, by Mariah Voutilainen — April 30, 2018

Book Review: Kindra M. Austin’s Constant Muses, by Mariah Voutilainen

Kindra M. Austin’s Constant Muses is a eulogy, a message of comfort and a warrior cry

By:  Mariah Voutilainen

Upon opening Kindra M. Austin’s Constant Muses, I was immediately taken with the  noir-y feel of her poetry.  As Austin’s opening piece suggests, it is “eternally October” in the world that she paints with her rich verse.  Skies are heavy with the weight of autumnal storms, the air thick with cigarettes, tongues dipped in bittersweet alcohol.  Within this October specters lurk: female warriors, a mother with many faces, preserved memories.  It is a séance in which the past is called up to hold hands with the present.

Austin’s verse is brimming with clever language that indicates her command of poetic device as well as quirky turns of phrase.  In some poems the voices conversate; they speak truth through their easy-going innits, sammiches and lookits. In others, o’ers, ‘rounds, ‘tils and romantic description reflect a more formal poetic language.  Throughout, she uses rhythmic and aurally pleasing vocabulary liberally.  This facility with words is a talent that allows Austin to capture her various moods beautifully, and in a manner that can be comforting, melancholy, or disquieting.

The macabre featured in many of her poems shocked me momentarily, but then I came to appreciate the references to blood and teeth (“Regretful Revenge”), viscera bloated with memories (“Bellyful”), the consumption of physical bodies to hold on to the spirits within them (“Garden”), as part of a bigger message of the corporeal tie to the internal and spiritual.  In contrast to that graphic imagery, exasperation predictably oozes from her poems critiquing society; in them she calmly eviscerates the hypocrisy she observes (“Revolution” and “It’s Awful, Isn’t it?”).

One of my favorite poems in the collection is “I Need New Cleaning Supplies.”  Within this short piece I found an exquisite sadness and frustration that is echoed throughout the book:

I sweep you away with my broom, and
wipe the walls clean with bleach.
But recollection
invites re-collection.
You are the dust collected in my corridors.

Anchoring threads are beautifully woven through the collection:  Gin and tonics, menthol ciggies, mothers and daughters.  October and 1987 also appear several times; I wished I could send Austin a note, asking about their importance.  And then I read the prose, discovering that it might have been worthwhile to begin with the memoirs and diary, which shed light on the significance of alcohol and cigarettes, both references to and constant reminders of her mother.  She follows personal memoir with flash fiction; the former details her struggle with a life-changing decision about motherhood, while the latter pulls us into a world of black humor, revenge fantasies and suicide-inducing depression.

The final section of the book, a diary of the month following Austin’s mother’s death, takes us on her journey of mourning.  She is in conversation with her mother throughout, recounting even the smallest details of the funeral preparation with irony: “Funny, I can imagine having a conversation with you, Mom, about the need for funeral luncheon supply stores.  You always did get my humor, and I can hear you laughing at my ranting.”  Austin’s honest delivery and willingness to reveal her complex feelings, from distress and guilt to love and forgiveness, is generous and brave.  It is this bravery and generosity that led me to re-read this book several times, peeling back layers to reveal the sources of such wonderfully emotional writing.

Constant Muses is available for purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, in paperback and Kindle formats.


Mariah Voutilainen is an aspiring American writer who waxes mostly poetic in Southern Finland.  A former teacher and current stay-at-home-parent, she enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry of the medium-dark and romantic varieties.  Daily ruminations on all manner of things can be found on her blog, (re)imagining the mundane.

 

The Value of Book Reviews — April 25, 2018

The Value of Book Reviews

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Book reviews are currency for the indie author, especially when reader feedback appears on Amazon and Goodreads. That makes sense, considering the weight of word of mouth marketing. I read an article on Impact recently that stated consumers are 4x more likely to buy goods and services when referred by a friend, and 63% of visitors are more likely to make purchases from websites with reviews/ratings.

Why then, does word of mouth seem to fail so many fantastic indie writers? Because the number of Amazon book purchasers who go back to leave a review, or even a star rating, are few and far between. Derek Haines at Just Publishing Advice says listing your Kindle book as free for a promotional period can help stimulate readers to leave a review; however, reviews of free books are even lower than for actual sales. This rings true for me. I ran a week long promotion last year after releasing Magpie in August in paperback. I moved a few hundred free copies of my novel for Kindle, and I have earned fourteen greatly appreciated reviews.

An article published on Written Word Media in 2017 states that book reviews play an integral role within the Amazon algorithm. Research showed that the number of reviews is more valuable to the ranking system than the overall average rating, as long as the average rating is over 3.5 stars. I’ve read many articles pertaining to this magical algorithm that goes by the name A9. If I see the word ‘algorithm’ one more time, fuuhhh…


At the heart of it all, I write because there is a visceral need and roiling passion in the pit of me that commands me to create. That said, writing is how I make a living, and book reviews are pertinent to my success, as they are a part of my marketing plan. I am not alone in this—I have the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the most talented indie writers on the scene. Writers who deserve to make it.

In 2016, Amazon reported that only forty self-published authors sold a million or more Kindle copies within a five year space. Forty out of hundreds of thousands.

I have immeasurable respect for my readers, fellow indie authors, and for small presses; it’s an honor to support the writing community and publishing industry. I want to see small publishing houses and self-publishers thrive. I want to be a part of the revolution that’s birthing dynamic, divergent, emotionally eviscerating, punk rock works.

Please join me. Give your favorite authors gold stars, and hearts in the form of honest reviews.

Peace and good vibes,

Kindra M. Austin

Help Wanted: Book Reviewers for Indie Blu(e) — April 20, 2018

Help Wanted: Book Reviewers for Indie Blu(e)

Six good reasons to write book reviews for Indie Blu(e):

  • Free copies of books by great indie writers
  • Advanced access to new releases
  • Further development of your writing and reviewing skills
  • Increased exposure for your writing
  • Opportunity to network with indie writers & indie publishers
  • Opportunity to support & promote indie writers

 

Intrigued? Contact us at indieblucollective@gmail.com

Image courtesy of Jimmi Campkin