‘Fair warning….do not read this in public!’ Latest Review of Hysterical Love

“This is aptly named! This novel is HYSTERICAL! Fair warning….do not read this in public. There are places you will laugh out loud!”

I’ve always loved making people laugh… when it’s a book? Even better.

Click the link below for the latest review on Hysterical Love… and much thanks to Reeca Elliott @ “Reecaspieces” book blog!

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“The characters in this tale are a hoot! I love the interaction between Dan and his sister, Lucy. True sibling interactions! And his mother….always wanting her dish back! 😂. But, my all time favorite is the tow truck driver! You have to read this to find out.”


To read full review: Hysterical Love by Lorraine Devon Wilke

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

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A LITERARY VACATION Book Blog Profiles My IndieBRAG Awarded Novels

IndieBRAG is a literary organization made up of large groups of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe. Their mission is to seek out, support, and help market independent authors and their books, and one of the ways they do that is with their BRAG Medallion, an honor bestowed on select books. I’ll let them explain that process:

All ebooks brought to the attention of indieBRAG, LLC are subjected to a rigorous selection process. This entails an initial screening to ensure that the author’s work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content. This initial screening may involve a review of sample chapters available on Amazon.com (or other on-line booksellers), or portions of the nominated ebook. IndieBRAG, LLC reserves the right to reject an ebook during this initial screening assessment for any reason in indieBRAG, LLC’s sole discretion. If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read by a selected group of members drawn from our global reader team. In both the initial screening phase and, if appropriate, the subsequent group evaluation phase, each book is judged against a comprehensive list of relevant literary criteria.

I’ve been honored to have both my novels, After the Sucker Punch, and Hysterical Love, awarded the BRAG Medallion, and with that honor came the attention of a popular book blog, A LITERARY VACATION, who’s just posted a profile on my books.

You can find that profile, with links, details and lots of information on both books, right here: Spotlight on the Books of B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Lorraine Devon Wilke

I’m delighted to have my work acknowledged—thank you, Colleen Turner—and I look forward to connecting to new readers!

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

Sharing Some HYSTERICAL LOVE with IndieBRAG’s Stephanie Moore Hopkins

Photoart by Brenda Perlin copy

Given the many challenges of marketing indie novels in a wild and crazy industry teeming with books of every kind, I’m always grateful for those who step up with true interest and awareness of what I’m doing as a writer. It’s gratifying to not only get noticed in the literary tsunami, but get pulled out for recognition and a little conversation.

My debut novel, After the Sucker Punch, was awarded an indieBRAG Medallion last year and that honor triggered a lot of media attention and a spate of new readers who might not have heard of the book otherwise. So when, this year, Hysterical Love was awarded that same honor, I felt doubly fortunate.

They’re a great organization run by a strong leader, Geri Clouston, with an able and enthusiastic ambassador in Stephanie Hopkins, who is indefatigable in her efforts to promote indieBRAG authors and their books.

Toward that end, she invited me to sit down with her to have a chat specifically about Hysterical Love, as well as my general writing process. Thank you, Stephanie; I enjoyed the conversation, always delighted when my books strike a chord!

Click HERE to read the interview.

Photoart by Brenda Perlin. 

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

Loving A Little Love From Kirkus, indieBRAG, et al.

photoart by Brenda Perlin
OK, remember my
last post, about the “necessary evils of self-promotion”? Well, here we go, right here… sit back and enjoy a little “sonata for horn ensemble”…

When I was prepping for the launch of my latest book, Hysterical Love, I approached it with more forethought than was applied to my first book, After The Sucker Punch. Despite that book doing remarkably well (and still doing remarkably well) via my own little independent author efforts, this go-around I opted to work with a wonderful publicist, Julie Schoerke at JKSCommunications. She and her team were very helpful in sorting out and working on the most effective options available to me, given my indie status.

Because it does get confusing. For every blog, site, “expert” that tells you to do this or that, another slew will say something akin to the opposite. Additionally, (and I’ve written much on this) the unfathomable glut of indie books, along with the subsequent media nose-sniffing and stereotyping, have conspired to make it difficult for any indie author to leap through the burning hoops requisite for success. But still; we are writers writing books and once you’ve written a book you love, you’re obligated to get it out there and market it into vibrant life, come hell or high water. 

But back to the publicist: amongst the many words of wisdom she imparted during our time together, and after I asked her specifically about industrial-strength review sites like Kirkus and Foreward, she expressed an opinion I was not expecting: go for it, she said. She felt those two, of all the like-options, were valid, bona fide; often very tough, but worth the pursuit in that they have great reach and tremendous influence on what books people pay attention to. So I pursued Kirkus, fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get eviscerated. 

But I did wonder about that purported toughness, because I couldn’t help but notice there are few (if any) negative reviews posted, for example, at Kirkus. Then I discovered that every reviewed author has the option to not publish the review they receive if it’s a negative one… which explains the disproportionately jolly outcome of what’s up there! But what a charitable option, I thought. Who wants a gutting review from one of the biggest book/media resources in the world bouncing all over the internet for the rest of time if there’s an option to opt out? I felt at least assured of having some control over whatever Kirkus outcome came out.

And what came out was a lovely, largely positive review that I’d be happy to share with even my mother! I was delighted, because whatever one thinks of such “shallow pursuits” as reviews (something an acerbic blogger snarked to me once), having positive perspective of your book bandied about is much better than the opposite. Here’s the takeaway quote:

“Wilke is a skilled writer, able to plausibly inhabit Dan’s young male perspective… A well-written, engaging, sometimes-frustrating tale of reaching adulthood a little late.”   

I don’t know about the “frustrating” part (they also took exception with my protagonist’s behavior with a bit more verve than I might’ve, but others have also found him such, so likely I’m biased!). And though I didn’t garner one of their “stars” or “prizes,” I was grateful to get what I got. Yippidy do dah day! May floods of Kirkusian readers come rollin’ my way!  

The other “love” Hysterical Love garnered this week was the very lovely B.R.A.G. Medallion from indieBRAG.com. This acknowledgment is awarded by book clubs and readers affiliated with the site, and it really is quite an honor (my debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, is also a Medallion honoree). The site’s president. Geri Clouston, as well as its most public and passionate voice, Stephanie Moore Hopkins, are incredibly supportive and generous with their “honorees,” and the nod from them and their organization is always a welcomed gift… thank you!

To cap off this utterly self-serving but authentically felt trumpet solo, I’ll end with the other two accolades recently received: a wonderful review from Literary Fiction Book Reviews:

Hysterical Love is a deftly told tale about not only the search for love in the 21st century, but about seeking a greater understanding of the intricacies of the human heart, about love in all its various forms and disguises: puppy love, lost love, emerging love, enduring love, and of course, hysterical love.” (Read more…) 

And another from the sweetly enthusiastic Tracy Slowiak at Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews:

“Oh my, oh my! I just finished reading Hysterical Love, the newest novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke, and I must say, I simply adored it! …I loved this book! Loved, loved, loved it. Wilke’s writing style is witty, pointed and funny, even hilarious at times.” (Read more…)

So yes, a good run.

But here’s the thing: none of this matters if you, the readers, aren’t inspired to get out (or get to your computers) to buy and read said book(s)! What ultimately matters most to me is that reviews and awards spark a, “that sounds good… I have to get a copy” kind of response. Because (and I’m not just saying this!), getting my books into your hands to read and enjoy is the whole gig. THE WHOLE GIG. I’m just here doing my part to make sure you know how wise you’d be to pursue that goal. 🙂

And now I’m done. Thank you for listening and go have a great day. (Damn, my lips hurt!)

Photoart by Brenda Perlin

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

My Early Christmas Present: the B.R.A.G. Medallion For After The Sucker Punch

All gussied up with a B.R.A.G. Medallion!
All gussied up with a B.R.A.G. Medallion!

One of the most challenging aspects of being an indie author is the sheer volume of tasks related to marketing your own book. What traditionally published authors look to their publishers to offer, or at least implement, in terms of promotion and marketing, indie authors do all by their lonesome, unless they are fortunate enough to be able to work with a publicist (which I’ll be doing on my next book!). And given the staggering number of books flooding the self-publishing marketplace (reportedly 500,000 in just the US in 2013), finding ways to get your book pulled out of the rumbling pack is a tug-of-war like no other!

So when you get a boost from a group, an organization, that is not only well-regarded in the publishing industry, deeply involved in promoting self-published authors, and very selective about the books it chooses to award their prestigious B.R.A.G. Medallion, you feel a little bit like Christmas came early. Which is how I felt when I got the news this week that my debut novel, After The Sucker Punch, has been selected for a Medallion.

IndieBRAG was founded by Founder and President, Geraldine Clouston, with a mission statement to “to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.” From author Alison Morton’s interview with Ms. Clouston at Roma Nova:

One fearsome, but in a way reassuring, statistic is that IndieBRAG rejects 90% of books that it considers. Not quite two years old, it already has an excellent reputation as a serious “Guardian at the Gate”. At the recent Self-Published Book Expo in New York, IndieBRAG presented an authoritative report on self-publishing and was the only panel out of 17 filmed by C-SPAN’s Book TV

What is the background to you starting IndieBRAG?
Several years ago my husband and I attended the Self-Publishing Book Expo in New York City for the first time. We were, of course, not surprised to find many self-published authors at the Expo who were looking for help. However, we were surprised to discover that after these authors had published their books very few of them knew what to do next. We quickly realized that with the explosion of self-publishing, it is very hard for an indie author to get any attention for their book. And more to the point, given that much of what is self-published is not worth a reader’s time or money, it is a major challenge for a good self-published book to rise above the rest.

Tell us about your process for evaluating self-published work.
After a book is nominated through our website it is subjected to a rigorous selection process. This entails an initial screening to ensure that the author’s work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content. If it passes this preliminary assessment it is then read by members drawn from our reader group. We have over 150 readers in 11 countries who regularly read self-published books for us. They judge the merits of the book based on a comprehensive list of criteria, the most important of which is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. If a book meets our high standards, we award it our B.R.A.G. Medallion and present it on our website.

There are two important things to note about our process- First, we are not agents, literary experts, or publishers. We are simply ordinary people who are passionate about reading books; the same people who buy books. And second, we do not permit any contact between our readers and authors, or other readers. This gives the reader an opportunity to make a decision without any undue influence from anyone.

[To read the read of the interview, click here.]

I’m not only deeply honored to have my book in such good company, I’m delighted to be part of a “family” so passionately focused on independent authors putting out excellent work and raising the bar on what can be expected from artists working outside the traditional publishing paradigm. It’s encouraging to me as an individual author and it’s empowering to the entire indie movement. Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled!

I encourage you to go to the IndieBRAG site not only to check out my page, but to view and explore the work of the many other  authors who’ve been selected for this distinguished honor. I know many of you are avid readers always looking for the best in books  to add to your libraries; IndieBRAG is a great place to find titles that have been carefully vetted and selected with the highest standards in mind.

Thank you, IndieBRAG, for honoring my book. A very Merry Christmas to you too!

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.