Vandelize Your Inbox

In case you missed the announcement last week, my YA novel Into the Fire will be published in 2015.

I’m working hard to get Into the Fire ready for release this spring. I’ve also been working on ITF’s sequel Among the Flames.

My true love has always been fiction, and I’ve dreamed of being a published author. Now that my dream is happening, it’s time for me to step away from blogging and focus on writing fiction full time.

That means I’ll be moving to a newsletter-only format. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for my new and improved author newsletter—“Vandelized.” That’s where you’ll get the latest information about Into the Fire, Among the Flames, and future books. Vandelized subscribers will also be the first to get a look at ITF’s cover and read the back cover blurb.

2015 is going to be a great year. I’m excited to finally be able to share Into the Fire with you!

Vandelized header 2 copy


The Reading Connection

The pleasure of all reading is doubledI attended the annual ACFW conference in St. Louis last week. It was a great opportunity to learn about the craft of writing and get the latest news of the publishing industry. It was also a lot of fun to hang out with my writing peeps. They get me.

We talked about writing books, of course, but we also talked about reading them. When it comes down to it, we novelists are readers first. We write because we love books, and we believe in the power of story. Reading the same book creates a connection. It provides common ground to discuss thoughts and emotions. The pleasure of reading is one of the few things in life that multiplies when it’s shared.

Are you part of a book club? A member of Goodreads? How do you share the experience with other readers?


Top 10 Ways to Show Twitter Love to Authors

twitterI have to admit it. I wasn’t a fan of Twitter when I first joined, but it’s really grown on me the last couple of years. It’s become one of the most versatile forms of social media out there, and that makes Twitter one of the best places to show social media love to authors.

My Top 10 Ways to Show Twitter Love to Authors:

1. Follow your favorite authors. Just keep in mind that an author’s Twitter handle might not be the same as their name. (For example, Jessica Keller’s handle is @AuthorKeller.) If you’re not sure about the author’s Twitter handle, enter their name in the search bar at the top of the screen, and a list of suggestions will pop up. Another option is to start at the author’s website. Most authors will have a link from their website to their Twitter profile.

2. Favorite a tweet. It could be a big announcement or just a random thought for the day. Whatever it is, let those authors know that you like what they’re saying.

3. Retweet. Don’t just favorite that tweet, retweet it, especially if it’s an announcement about something fun like a giveaway. You can generate excitement and get people talking about your favorite authors.

4. Reply. A lot of authors tweet questions for their followers, so take advantage of it and reply! Or maybe an author just announced a book signing event in your area. Tell them you can’t wait to meet them. Let your favorite authors know that you’re out there and you’re listening.

5. Mention your favorite authors. Tweet something fun or intriguing about the author’s book that will encourage your followers to check it out. When you do, mention the author by including their Twitter handle in your tweet.

Twitter mention

6. Use a hashtag. The #hashtag phenomenon originated with Twitter, and it’s one of the most effective (and fun) tools to show some social media love to your favorite authors. When you mention an author or tweet about one of their books, be sure to include a hashtag. It can be a popular hashtag like #amreading, or you can get creative and make up one of your own: #NewBookBoyfriend, #fictionalhottie, #YAawesomeness.

7. Create a list. A list is a group or collection of Twitter accounts that you put together.

Twitter list 1

When you view the list timeline, you only see tweets from the accounts you’ve selected.

Twitter list tweets

Other Twitter users can subscribe to your list, so make it easy for people to find and follow your favorite authors. Create a list and give it a clever (but descriptive) name so your followers won’t be able to resist checking it out. For more info on making a list, go to

8. Give a Follow Friday shout-out. Friday is the traditional day for recommending accounts to other Twitter users, so it’s the perfect excuse to mention your favorite authors. Include a short description like “Must-read YA” in your tweet along with the author’s Twitter handle and one of the Follow Friday hashtags: #FF, #followfriday, or #ff.

Follow Friday tweet

9. Tweet a picture. Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, but “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so post a selfie of you with the latest book from your favorite author. Or how about a shelfie—a picture of your bookshelf with that awesome new addition? Do you have a new book-inspired manicure or tattoo? It’s all good. Just be sure to mention your favorite author when you post your tweet.

Twitter image

10.Tweet a video. Share a book trailer from the author’s website or from YouTube. Or post a six-second Vine showing your reaction to the five-star book you just finished. Don’t forget to mention the author and include a hashtag.

What other ways can you show Twitter love to your favorite authors?

©2014 Kim Vandel

Top 10 Ways to Show Goodreads Love to Authors

gToday’s guest post is by Amanda G. Stevens, debut author and Goodreads ninja. 

If you love books, you’re probably already on Goodreads. It’s the most obvious social media platform for book lovers, and it’s a great place to show love to your favorite authors—in both obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

Top 10 Ways to Show Goodreads Love to Authors:

 1. Rate books. This is a straightforward process. Add the book to your “read” shelf and give it a star rating.

2. Review books. Goodreads reviews vary a lot in length. You can post two sentences or ten paragraphs. Reviews can be text only, or you can get creative with gifs. Be engaging and detailed. So you loved the book—why? What makes this book different from others in its genre? What makes this a book you will remember forever? How did it make you feel? GR Post (Review)

3. Recommend books. Do this thoughtfully: don’t recommend one book to your entire friend list. Choose the friends who read similar books, who would most likely enjoy this one. The more reliable your recommendations are, the more friends will trust them and check them out.

4. Talk about the author and book in discussion groups. If you haven’t joined a Goodreads group yet, why not? This is where you get to chat with people about the stories you all love. Be sure to use “add book/author” when you comment, so readers can click on the book rather than having to search for it. Update your reading progress. Every time you do this, the book shows up in your friends’ news feeds. And don’t post only the page number you’re on. Include an intriguing comment. Make fellow readers curious about the book. Tell them why you can’t put it down (without giving spoilers).

5. Update your reading progress. Every time you do this, the book shows up in your friends’ news feeds. And don’t post only the page number you’re on. Include an intriguing comment. Make fellow readers curious about the book. Tell them why you can’t put it down (without giving spoilers).

GR Post (Reading Progress)

6. Become a fan of the author. Again, this shows up in your News Feed and on your profile page and gives the author a nudge of visibility. And it’s easy. Go to the author’s page and, under their picture on the left, click “Become a Fan.”

7. Interact when you see someone else reading the book. Like their progress updates and ask questions relevant to where they are in the book. Let them know how much you enjoyed it.

8. Vote on lists. In Listopia, you’ll find everything from “Books With Boys on the Cover” to “Sigh-Worthy Kisses” to “Greatest Literature of the Twenty-First Century.” Voting a book onto (appropriate) lists is especially helpful if a few of your friends will vote, too. One vote won’t help a book stand out, but five or six can make a surprising difference. GR Post (Listopia)

9. Share the book’s Goodreads page on your other platforms. Goodreads makes this wonderfully easy with their “Share This Book” feature, which includes Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

10. Create fun stuff! Goodreads allows readers to create quizzes and trivia questions. This is a fun way to engage other readers of the book, and again, when you take a book quiz, your results show up in your News Feed.

One of the most helpful things you can do for an author is simply to remind fellow readers that this book is out there, and you read it, and you loved it. Now it’s your turn: how have you shown Goodreads love to an author?

stevens-LR-4As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Amanda’s first novel, Seek and Hide, will be available September 15, 2014 from David C Cook. She can be found online at her website, on Twitter, and of course on Goodreads.

Congratulations to Amanda on her debut! Be sure to add Seek and Hide to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list today! 


48215_10203599576063825_5868202758901641120_o©2014 Amanda G Stevens and Kim Vandel

A Fictional Vacation

John Lubbock quote

Not everyone has a vacation scheduled for this summer. Maybe it’s due to a shortage of time or money or both. But the lack of vacation doesn’t mean you can’t do some traveling. Books are one of my favorite ways to travel. You can go a lot farther for a lot less money.

Some of my favorite book destinations have been Hogwarts, Alagaësia, and Ravka. Forks, Panem, and Dauntless headquarters. Arrakis and New Beijing. And yes, for most of those, I’m very glad I was only a visitor.

What are your favorite book destinations? What book destinations would you like to visit?

©2014 Kim Vandel

Top 10 Ways to Show Amazon Love to Authors

Amazon Love for AuthorsSocial media is the obvious go-to method when you want to let people know about the books and authors you love. While Amazon might not qualify as social media, it still has some great tools you can use to get the word out. They make it super easy to show love and support to your favorite authors.

Here are my Top 10 Ways to Show Amazon Love to Authors:

1. Buy their books. Obvious, right? But don’t just buy their books. After you make your purchase, you’ll be given the option to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Share the link and let your friends and followers know about the awesome book you just bought. There’s an added bonus if you share it on Twitter. Your followers can reply with #AmazonCart, and the book will be saved to their Amazon shopping cart for easy purchase the next time they visit Without leaving Twitter!

2. Share their books on social media. Already bought the book? No problem. You can still share a link and let people know about the must-read novel. Just look for the social media icons on the book’s “product page.”

Amazon share icons

3. Review their books. Tell potential readers what you loved about a book and encourage them to buy it. Reviews will also help a book get noticed by Amazon’s complicated algorithms. The more reviews, the more Amazon will take notice, and the better the chance of Amazon suggesting that book to prospective buyers.

4. Share your review. Once you’ve submitted your review, you’ll be given the option to share a link on social media. Grab the attention of your friends and followers. Encourage them to check out your five-star review.

5. Post a picture. On the book’s product page (under the cover image) there’s a link to “share your own customer images.” Post a picture of you reading the book or a picture of you with the author at a book signing. Be creative and don’t let social media have all the image-posting fun!

6. Vote on helpful reviews. At the bottom of each review, you’ll find the question “Was this review helpful to you?” Voting “yes” on favorable reviews will bump them to the top and give potential readers a positive first impression of the book.

7. “Like” the author’s Amazon page. To find their page, enter the author’s name in the search bar, or you can access it from a book’s product page. You’ll find the author’s name (with a link to their page) directly below the book title. The “Like” button will be on the right hand side of the author’s page.

Author Keller Amazon page

8. Share their Amazon author page. Right next to that “Like” button are the social media icons that make it easy to share the page and let people know about one of your favorite authors.

9. Share notes and highlights. If you’re reading the digital (Kindle) version of a book, you can highlight text or make notes as you read. Highlight your favorite lines from the novel. Make notes about a scene that really connected with you or one you thought was beautifully written. If you’ve linked your Kindle to Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads, you can share those notes and highlights. They also show up on the book’s product page.

Amazon notes and highlights

10. Start a discussion. You can do this on a book’s product page (below the reviews) or on the author’s Amazon page (under the list of their books). Start a conversation about who you’d pick for the lead role if the book was made into a movie or what makes your favorite author so amazing.

Amazon discussion

What other ways can you think of to show your favorite authors some love on Amazon?

©2014 Kim Vandel

Wanted: Teen Writers

Wanted: Teen WritersThere’s so much to learn when it comes to being an author, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I started sooner. Writing a book is only part of the process. You also have to market your book once it’s released. I know from experience that helping an author with their book release is a fantastic way to learn what it takes to launch a book successfully.

Multi-published author Lesley Ann McDaniel and launch group veteran Mindy Peltier are starting a YA book launch group, and they’re looking for young adult team members. It’s a chance for teen writers to get a head start on the learning process.

If you’re a teen writer, don’t miss out on this great opportunity. If you know a teen writer, be sure to pass along the news. Visit Lesley’s blog for details about their YA book launch group.

A Beach and a Book

beach and book memeSummer has officially arrived. ‘Tis the season for road trips, sunburns, and mosquito bites.

I’ve never been much of a camper. Even as a kid, the “roughing it” thing didn’t appeal to me. I prefer a hotel with a real bed and daily maid service. I’d rather have tiki torches along a manicured walkway than a flashlight along the path to a communal restroom. I like the idea of wearing flip-flops to the pool, not in the shower.

My perfect vacation includes sand on the beach instead of in my sleeping bag. It includes turquoise water and a chair sheltered beneath a palm tree. The soothing rhythm of waves washing up on the beach, a cold drink nearby, and a book in my hand. Always a book.

What does your perfect vacation include?

©2014 Kim Vandel