Category Archives: Etsy

Reviews – Why they mean so much to Authors and Artists

Review: to think again. It’s about considering, assessing, and to offer an opinion, and how many of us love offering an opinion? Social media is all about reviews… we’re posting about our lives, reviewing what we’ve done, where we’ve been, and sharing our thoughts about it. These days, reviewing is just another part of our life.

Reviews - Why they mean so much to Authors and Artists - The Last Krystallos

So, since we’re doing it all the time, how about taking a few minutes – the time to write a status update – to offer a review to those who need them?

It’s my birthday week this week and when I’m asked “What would you like?” – right now, I’d just love a review.

Not a review of me, I think I’m open enough for everyone to know who I am, and I don’t need a rate! I’d love a book review or an Amaranth Alchemy Etsy review.

If you love and buy books, art, and jewellery you will appreciate the time, energy,
love, and passion that goes into writing a book or creating something magical.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

small advertising photos of the Surviving Hope novels by Lisa Shambrook

The Suviving Hope Novels © Lisa Shambrook

Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author or an artist. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing and sculpting, or painting and crafting, with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, unfold, or creating an item of beauty beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write or create. Novel writing and art is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

You will have heard how writers and artists don’t have a choice in their craft, it’s intrinsic, it’s a part of us and we have to do it. Escaping into a world of writing or of intricate design is just what we do to survive. The wonder of it is that we end up with something beautiful and we can’t wait to share it with the world. Whether it’s a novel, or a painting, or sculpted silver, glass, or a piece of jewellery to treasure, we want to share our skills and talents with you.

Time is money, it’s a necessary evil, and we can’t give our talents away for free. Most eBooks are the price of a coffee and they last… your coffee is satisfying and gone within half an hour, but a book can satisfy for years for the same price. Books are significantly cheaper than video games, and comparable with your monthly payment to Netflix or Prime – create a literary library as well as a streaming library.

Review books - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Most authors and artists are introverts, we love hiding away writing and creating, but we also know that to sell our wares we need to market them. Marketing doesn’t come naturally to those of us who prefer to squirrel ourselves away and just create. Our publishers help, but many authors are independent – doing it all on their own – artists too, and we need help to promote our work. Even with a publisher, unless you are one of the very few who have huge Big Five Publisher budgets and promotion, you’ll be doing most of it yourself.

We can shout from the rooftops about our books and art, but visibility is key. If our work isn’t visible, no one knows it’s out there. Reviews on Amazon, Good Reads, Etsy, Ebay, and Blogs, or Facebook and Twitter statuses, photos on Instagram – they all help and offer visibility. The more reviews we garner on Amazon, for instance, will change algorithms and our books will be promoted more. You don’t have to like Amazon, but we have to deal with them, so any help is appreciated – more than you could ever know. On Etsy and other craft sites it’s important to share and help others decide if our products are worth purchasing.

advertising photos of A Symphony of Dragons and Human 76 books by Lisa Shambrook

A Symphony of Dragons and Human 76 © Lisa Shambrook

This is where YOU come in. If you buy our book, and read it, and you love it – or you buy our art, and display it and love it every day – or you buy and wear our jewellery, then the best way you can thank us for those days, months, or years of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book or art is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.

You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say what you loved. That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!

Amaranth Alchemy products

Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

Over the last few years I’ve bought lots of glass beads and jewellery from Etsy and Ebay, the reviews I leave help those artisans to continue and to sell more. I tend to leave photos of pieces so other prospective customers can see them in a different setting too. I also have an Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy and I know just how important reviews are to new customers.

Books I've read and reviewed: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss, Of Lies and Zombies by Angela Lynn, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, The Raven's Wing by Michael Wombat, Dead Sea Games by J Whitworth Hazzard, The Reaper's Bride by A J Richmond

Books I’ve read and reviewed: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss, Of Lies and Zombies by Angela Lynn, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin, The Raven’s Wing by Michael Wombat, Dead Sea Games by J Whitworth Hazzard, The Reaper’s Bride by A J Richmond © Lisa Shambrook

I have read a lovely selection of books and part of my reading process is to leave a review for the authors on the platforms used to sell. I have written blog posts celebrating wonderful books and stories and I am so glad that I can help promote wonderful people sharing their amazing talents.

So, like I said, it’s my birthday week, and all I want is a review…

I know my book sales figures, but the number of reviews I have pales in comparison to the sales. Of course, not everyone who’s bought my books will have read them – I have hundreds of books at home and it’ll take years to read them all, but if you’ve bought and read one of mine, then a sentence shared on Amazon or Good Reads is a gift for me that I will appreciate forever!

Reviews and why they are impostant to Authors and Artists - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Support those who create the art that allows you to escape into adventures
and other worlds, and those who give you beauty to enrich your lives.

Take a moment, just ten minutes, to leave a review for a struggling author or artist
– it will mean the world to them.

Read and Review – How to Save an Author

If you read and love books you will appreciate the
time, energy, love, and passion that goes into writing a book.
This is how you can pay it back and forward…

read-and-review-the-last-krystallos How to Thank an Author

Add to that list angst, frustration, low financial reward, and you’ve got what it means to be an author. There’s plenty of love and passion, days of writing with your muse whispering in your ear and the true wonder of watching a story, an adventure, open up beneath your fingertips, but there are days and weeks when your muse goes AWOL, when your fingers bleed (figuratively), and you hate everything you write. Novel writing is not easy, but it is extremely rewarding.

leave-a-book-review-the-last-krystallos

Raven says “Review…” © Lisa Shambrook

Writing a review can make all the difference. Reviews not only tell the author that their book has been purchased, read and enjoyed, but it tells others what they can expect, what there is to love about the book, and lots more. On top of that online reviews add to the visibility of a book (and an author). It is said, that once a book receives over 25 reviews on Amazon, Amazon will add your book to its ‘also bought’ and ‘you might like’ lists – thereby increasing your visibility. Once you receive over 50 reviews it is thought that Amazon will highlight, spotlight and include your book in newsletters. Of course, Amazon’s algorithm and marketing strategies change all the time, but the more reviews a book receives the more it helps the author.

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Books I’ve written and contributed to © Lisa Shambrook

It can take from between 6 months and 2 years (or more) to write a book, and the process is tough.  We write the first draft in which we hammer out words and we hope it’s a story that makes some kind of sense. Then we’ll go over said first draft revising and rewriting, in an attempt to find that sense we thought we had first time around. Then will come several further drafts of revising, reading, correcting, cutting huge chunks and adding others, and much more.

We will cry, we will laugh, we will love, and we will think all is lost.

We then do another round or two of revising and editing. Then our beloved beta readers will get the draft, the one that makes sense, to read through. They will return it with corrections, notes, errors they’ve found, and plot holes they’ve discovered, and they’ll tell you what they loved. The author will then bite their tongue, ‘til it probably bleeds, and try desperately not to take the critique personally while they, again, think, all is lost.

When they’ve picked themselves up, they will resume revisions, edits, line edits, and more until they send it to their editor, who will pick more holes that no one else noticed, and return it for further work. In the end the writer will, hopefully, have a polished manuscript ready for publication. It doesn’t matter if you’re being traditionally published or independently published at this point, we’ve been through the same things and now we will await cover art and formatting, or do it ourselves, and finally publish.

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Independent and Traditionally Published books – we all need reviews © Lisa Shambrook

It’s not over at that point either. Most authors market their own books, even those published by the Big Five. Those of us without outside help will market, advertise and publicise, even though authors are in general, introverts! And then we wait…

An eBook generally costs about the same as a cup of coffee, or a hot chocolate, yet it takes two minutes to make a coffee and about two years to write a book…Books are great value!

When sales come through we celebrate, even the pennies that come in are welcome and embraced!

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The difference between a book and a hot chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

This is where you, the reader, come in. If you buy the book, and you read it, and you love it, then the best way you can thank us for those months of hard work is to write a review. Let the world know that the book is out there, that you loved it, and why you loved it.

You don’t have to write much, literally, just a sentence or two is worth everything to an author. Just award your stars and say “I loved it!” That works. Or you can write a paragraph or an essay, it’s up to you!

Of course, we want truthful reviews, and we’re big girls and boys, we can handle that our book might not be your thing, feel free to say so, as long as you’re honest and not rude. Don’t be nasty about a book you didn’t like, not every book will suit every reader. And try to judge the book and not the author. On the other hand, we love it if you spread the word when you found a book delightful, or rewarding, or helpful, or fun, or inspirational… Tell everyone.

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I always leave reviews for the wonderful things I find on Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave reviews anywhere these days. Most people when planning to travel will check out Trip Advisor, a very valuable site for companies within the industry. It exists to help. Many will search reviews for technology, cars, movies, etc. We are a society who wants to know what we’re buying and if it’s worth it. I also sell on Etsy with Amaranth Alchemy, and reviews of my products help others to see what quality they are getting. I always check the reviews on Etsy and Ebay before buying anything. Books are the same.

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Amaranth Alchemy Etsy © Lisa Shambrook

You can leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, on Facebook, Twitter, your Blog, anywhere you wish. We share our opinions on politics, TV, and everything else on social media, why not tell people about that book you just read and loved?

I’ve just finished reading Stacy Bennett’s Quest of the Dreamwalker and have left a review on both Amazon and Goodreads. I have been completely enchanted by it and adore the writing. If that’s all I wrote the review would be worthwhile, however, I wrote more than that because I was completely bewtiched! Here’s my Review…

And I have to ask, if you’ve read and loved my books and you haven’t reviewed them, please do… You’ll make me very happy and will help me to further my writing career! ❤

Share your last favourite book with us here…
Why did you love it so much?

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes Lisa Shambrook

The Hope Within Novels and Review Quotes © Lisa Shambrook

Christmas Stocking Filler Amaranth Alchemy Offer

Christmas is only five weeks away,
and if you’re looking for beautiful and unique gifts for the
reader/writer/wordy person in your life
then look no further than Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy…

79-christmas16-offer-collage-nov-2016

And take advantage of our 25% OFF EVERYTHING offer until the 5th December 2016.

Just use the coupon code CHRISTMAS16 at the Etsy shopcheckout for 25% off…

All our products are great stocking fillers and no two items are the same.

We rescue old, worn, torn, damaged and abandoned books from landfill and breath new life into old pages…

The vintage book pages we use in our craft are always ethically sourced and we promise never to take pages from new books unless they are irrevocably damaged.
We will always recycle where we can, reusing envelopes and packaging to help protect the environment, but you can be assured your gift will arrive beautifully wrapped and ready for a new home.

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Take a look at our range and make someone happy with beautiful words..
. Like our Facebook Page to keep up to date with Special Offer Discount Codes and Giveaways!

Get your 25% off today – until the 5th December 2016!

Come and Visit Llandeilo Book Fair 2016

I’m taking part in my first Book Fair on Saturday 30th April
in the picturesque town of Llandeilo in beautiful West Wales

llandeilo book fair 2016

Llandeilo is a gorgeous setting close to Aberglasney Gardens and Gelli Aur in the pretty Tywi Valley. So if you’re local or at a loose end this Saturday and fancy finding some new books by some great authors, then pop along and meet us. We’ll be very pleased to see you!

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I’ve spent some time planning my table and set up, especially as I haven’t done this before, and I think I’m ready!

llandeilo book fair 2016, lisa shambrook, bookmarks, banner, business cards, the hope within novels,

I’ll be there with paperback copies of my Hope Within series. Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak and Beneath the Distant Star. There will be free bookmarks and business cards for the Hope Within novels and you can see some props from Beneath the Rainbow too.

lisa shambrook books, hope within novels, amaranth alchemy, bookspine bookmarks, bookpage bookmarks,

We’ll also be selling bookspine and bookpage bookmarks from my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy, where we rescue old, unwanted and damaged books and breathe new life into their pages.

llandeilo book fair 2016, carmarthen journal, posters and leaflets on Morris Travel,

Article with Christoph Fischer in the Carmarthen Journal Twyi Valley, and leaflets and posters on Morris Travel buses across Carmarthen

We’ve had leaflets and posters up for a while and had some great interest in our competitions and talks and fun! Check out our Time Table of Events.

llandeilo book fair 2016 poster,

Llandeilo Book Fair will be open on Saturday 30th April 2016 from 10.30am to 4.30pm, free entry, and refreshments are by Caffi Iechyd Da from Carmarthen. There will be competitions, prizes, readings, workshops and lots and lots of books for all ages.

Come join us and find your next read!

You won’t regret it!

Christmas Gifts Amaranth Alchemy Offer…

As Christmas arrives…and it will, take advantage of our new offer at Amaranth Alchemy. Use coupon code: CHRISTMAS15 and get 25% off everything until 5th December 2015…

19. Christmas Collection Amaranth Alchemy Nov 2014It’s worth it! If you’re overseas it will help offset the shipping costs, and all our products are priced within £2 and £20. You’ll find original gifts for the book lover and reader in your family, and a plethora of stocking fillers.

 

6. CHRISTMAS Etsy 25 off 2015 JPEGMake your bibliophile happy with a bookmark, or print. Decorate with our Christmas plaques and tree ornaments, and tag your parcels with our beautiful gift tags.

amaranth alchemy winter gifts, etsy shop christmas, christmas shopping, stocking fillers, the last krystallos,Fix your notes upon your fridge with our pegs, and wear one of our stunning Scrabble style necklaces.

amaranth alchemy winter gifts, etsy shop christmas, the last krystallos,Pop over and see what you’d love…0. Logo Complete Rectangle

Halloween – No Tricks just Treats at Amaranth Alchemy…

With Halloween just around the corner,
we’ve recently restocked our Etsy shop and it’s all good!

amaranth alchemy etsy shop, bookpage gifts, bookmarks, scrabble style necklaces, bookspine bookmarks,So pop over and have a look and see if anything catches your eye…at Amaranth Alchemy

amaranth alchemy, etsy shop, halloween gifts, sherlock holmes, the hobbit quote,

We’ve got necklaces, and boookmarks and quotes… Think Dictionary, Sherlock and The Hobbit

amaranth alchemy, etsy shop, bram stoker's dracula, mary shelley's frankenstein, bookmarks, bookpage bookmarks,

Dracula and Frankenstein…bookpage bookmarks…

ravens, amaranth alchemy etsy shop, dictionary necklace, scrabble style necklace, halloween,

Ravens…black as night…on our Dictionary Scrabble style necklace…

welsh language, peg magnets, fridge magnets, peg fridge magnets,

Welsh peg magnets to hold your precious secret recipes and potions…

scrabble style necklaces, halloween, smaug the hobbit, the moon jewellery,

The moon on a dark Halloween night, and Smaug…dancing with fire before it…

Wizardry with Harry Potter, Cheshire Cat's smile, boookpage bookmarks, halloween,

Wizardry with Harry Potter and the Cheshire Cat’s smile…creepy…

the hobbit jewellery, dragon jewellery, scrabble style necklace,

Dragons flying across the full moon…on our Scrabble style necklaces…

We’re gearing up for Halloween and then there’ll be, dare I say it, Christmas…

Like our Amaranth Alchemy Facebook Page and you’ll be the first to know when our Giveaway starts and you’ll always know when we put out our special offers!

Amaranth-alchemy-facebook-page

Find us on Etsy

Amaranth-alchemy-etsy-shop