Blog Tour Rebel of the Sands Bookstagram How To + Giveaway

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You might have noticed that I’m in love with #Bookstagram. Two of my favorite things are books and photography so combining these together to create fun, bookish pictures hits all the right notes. I wanted to show you what my process looks like. I’m including my set-up, an attempt I scrapped later and the picture before and after editing. I hope you enjoy this and please leave any questions you have in the comments.

But first let’s talk about the book- Rebel of the Sands was one of my very favorite books last year! If you haven’t read it be sure to add it (and of course enter the giveaway at the end of this post).

About the Book

RebelnewcoverpngShe’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

My Set-Up

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I’ve had several different set-ups but for now this is working best. I use bead board as my base and that big white thing in back is actually a table top. I found the light bounces nicely off of it so it is now a bookstagram prop. I have collected lots of props from craft stores and also décor I have around my house. Once you start to bookstagram you’ll never look at artificial flowers or random nick knacks the same.

I use natural light for my photographs and recently I’ve started using my Canon DSLR. Until last week I was using my iPhone 6 and had really great results.

What Props to Use

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I try to match my props to the cover- for this one I pulled flowers that had a similar color as the cover and I had to use my hour glass because- sand- Rebel of the Sands. I move things around until I find a set up I like and start shooting. As I go I make adjustments to how things are arranged and I typically take waaaay too many pictures and have to sift through them to find the one I like the best.

Editing

 

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When I was using my iPhone I did a lot of editing in various apps. I’d use Aviary and Snapseed. I also use the editing in Instagram itself. I love how sensitive Instagrams warmth editing is so a lot of the time I use it rather than an apps.

Now that I’m using my camera my editing is much less. I usually just adjust the brightness and do cropping.

If you’ve not read Rebel of the Sands now is the perfect time! The sequel, Traitor to the Throne will be out March 7th from Viking Books.

Tour Schedule

Week One
2/13 – ButterMyBooks – Rebel Scents
2/14 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Reasons to Read Rebel
2/15 – My Friends Are Fiction – Guide to Bookstagram Featuring Rebel
2/16 – The Reader Bee – 5 Reasons to Look Forward to Traitor
2/17 – Fiction Fare – Rebel Recap Part 1
Week Two
2/20 – USA Today Happily Ever After – Excerpt
2/21 – The Eater of Books! – Rebel Mood Board
2/22 – The YA Book Traveler – Fan made Rebel Trailer
2/23 – Lost in Lit – Rebel Book Look
2/24 – Mundie Moms – Rebel Recap Part 2
Week Three
2/27 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Rebel Makeup Looks
2/28 – A Page with a View – Favorite Repackages List Featuring Rebel
3/1 – What Sarah Read – Top 5 Reasons to Love Amani
3/2 – A Book and a Cup of Coffee – Rebel Playlist
3/3 – Once Upon a Twilight – Rebel Recap Part 3

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of ten (10) paperback copies of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (ARV: $10.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 13, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 6, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 8, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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Discussion- Another Blogging Slump?

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I’ll admit it- I’ve been feeling a tad down lately.

Hi there. Today I thought I’d talk again about my blogging slumps. I’ve been at this now for 2 years and 9 months. Looking back I thought it would be interesting to pin point where in my blogging career I had a slump and see if anyone else has suffered near the same times.

Slump 3 months in

My first slump hit about my 3 months into blogging. The honeymoon and excitement tamed a tiny bit and I started to feel a tad less enthused. This was a really short lived dip and I remember coming back from it feeling incredibly motivated.

I hit another meh point about 1 year into it but I think that was due more to the holidays (happened in November) and like the first this was very quickly over and I was back ready to rock out posts and review ALL the books.

Slump about a year and half

My next slump hit around April 2014 (I know this because of this post) At this point I felt that I didn’t have any new ideas to present to the community and my readers. I think at this point I felt like I was just one little ripple in such a huge ocean. I couldn’t ever fathom my opinion or words to matter.

Slump at 1 year 9 months

I wrote about blogging slumps again at 1 year and 9 months (IRONIC one year ago!) I literally wrote this a year ago (minus one day)! Are my slumps predicable?? At this point I felt like my blogger self esteem was super low and again that I had nothing new to present to my readers. And I had a feeling of boredom. I wasn’t as excited or passionate about anything I was reading or writing. I asked you guys what you did when you had low blog self esteem.

Slump at 2 year 9 months

Here I am a year later and again I’m feeling less than stellar about things. This go around I DO feel like reading. I’ve been reading some great books and I’m not at all in a reading rut. But, when it comes to writing those reviews I’m feeling at a loss for words. I stare at my computer and have little to type. I feel like I have a lot of opinions about the books but it just seems impossible to get them all out in the written word. tumblr_myxvw8DzRK1rkeh8to2_500

I’ve not been on social media as often and I feel like maybe I’ve missed things? I don’t know. I just feel a bit disconnected from everything right now. I know for a fact I’m not alone in having these dips in passion and productivity.

I wonder, do you feel like there are certain points of a blogger’s career where it’s common to have a slump?

Will I have another next September?? Seems pretty amusing that I was slumping last year at this same point.

Discussion- Have you always been an enthusiastic reader?

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I got to thinking about my history with books and reading. I was raised with a family of readers. I was able to gauge my growth by how much I could see over the counter at the library. I think we made a trip there and to the bookstore weekly with my parents and sister. I can’t even fathom a moment of my life that wasn’t impacted by books.

I have one sister that is four years older than me. Her and my mother gravitated to fantasy and I’d listen to them talk about all these books they were both reading and discussing. This made me crazy eager to know what they were talking about (first one was Dragonlance). I began my venture into adult fantasy in fourth grade. I was such a reader in fact that my gym teacher actually allowed me to sit out to read. I have no clue how I managed that. It wasn’t an everyday thing but she let it happen on occasion.

My father was a reader of about anything but he always seemed to appreciate science fiction over other genres. I’ll admit, I was much slower to get into science fiction than fantasy. I had such an easier time connecting to a world with dragons and swords than that of space. As I’ve gotten older though I’ve grown more and more in love with sci- fi.

This continued throughout my life- my sister and parents influenced so much of the books I read. I can thank my sister for introducing me to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and George RR Martin. I’m so grateful that reading was such a focus in my family and I wonder if I’d have gotten into it if they weren’t all such fans.

So I wonder, have you always loved to read or did it develop over time?

Discussion- Is our audience also our competition?

When I first started blogging I had no idea that the majority of my readers (I think) would also be bloggers themselves. Ok, to be honest, I never imagined I’d have readers but once that reality set in I began to notice that the folks that comment tend to also be bloggers that I interact with on Twitter.

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Me every single time I get a comment.

I’ve never seen another community* where the base audience seems to also be the competition. What do I mean by competition? For the most part, it seems that we (bloggers) are all going for the same blog tour spots, giveaways, publisher contacts, page views, discussion topics and review copies. Even with giveaways we’re typically entering against our friends and visitors to our blog. These shared goals can lead to some less than stellar feelings and a strange dynamic in our community.

I personally believe that healthy competition is a wonderful thing and helps motivate and push someone to take chances, or keep inspired to keep cranking out content and original ideas. This can lead to a very diverse and creative environment but it can also lead to some not as pretty stuff. I’m not really going to go into much detail about the dark side because anyone that’s been here for a bit knows what can happen. I’ve suffered from it myself and I think that most have. It can turn us all a bit green at times.

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This would be considered UNHEALTHY competition.

Since I’ve been blogging I’ve met some of my favorite people…I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t speak to them almost daily. I’m so happy to not feel a sense of competition** with them and to allow their achievements to give me happiness. I think the biggest thing to remember when you might feel green is that someone else’s success doesn’t detract from your own. Have you ever taken an art class? In high school I had the greatest art teacher and just being surrounded by so many creative types at once helped to inspire me and lead to one of the more creative periods in my life. I think that book blogging is like that too. Here’s a diverse, creative and inspired community all providing unique voices (and amazing book recommendations).

Have you addressed this topic before because I’m pretty confident it’s been discussed a thousand times. If so leave a link in the comments! I’d love to read your thoughts.

I want to know…

First- are you a blogger?

Second- If not I thank you for reading and I’d love to hear your input on this topic.

If you answered yes then…

Do you agree that our community is set up to compete? Does this bother you and do you ever feel yourself feeling green or even down about the constant struggle to keep your blog new, shiny and keep folks visiting?

I love what Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner is doing right now with Spreading Kindness If you are needing a boost of positive in your day head over.

Another beautifully positive event is Alexa Loves Books Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon

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* I’ve not participated in many communities so I am not an authority on community competition.

** I’d be lying if I said that I NEVER, EVER feel a tiny bit competitive. It happens but I have to stomp it out forcefully. You know that feeling when they all get on the tour you’d like to be on? Or get that coveted book before you? But NONE of this is even a tiny bit as important as the friendship and support we provide each other.

Discussion Post- Does having a deadline make you like a book less?

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I’m curious, does having a strict deadline cause you to not enjoy a book as much?

I’ve recently been thinking about this because I got a book off First To Read and it counted down every day until it would disappear off my reading app. It totally stressed me out and I feel like I couldn’t enjoy the book because I kept seeing that countdown. It gave me pressure and stress.

I found myself reading at a snail’s pace and even though I had 20 or so days left I still felt like the clock was ticking. There is rarely a time a book takes me that long to read but for some reason I felt rushed!

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Thankfully, I got a print ARC and I’ve been able to enjoy reading it on my terms and at a leisurely pace. All of this made me wonder-if I’m under a strict deadline if it changes my feelings toward the book?

I’m a mood reader through and through so I think even the idea that I’m being forced to read by a certain date really upsets my reading mojo. I think I’ve learned my lesson and no more First To Read for me. I try not to allow my review books control me.

When I get ARCs I tend to put them all on one shelf in order by release date. When selecting a book I try to grab one that is releasing soon but if none of them work I’ll pick whatever looks the most interesting. That’s how I’ll not have a review for a week but have a few drafted that I can’t publish for months.

Your turn- do you think being on a strict deadline changes how you feel about a book? Does stress detract from your enjoyment of the characters and story?