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     For a while, I have been trying to figure out how to use media like YouTube to help promote my writing.  First, I thought, maybe I can record myself reading some of my poems or short stories and add music, like an audio book.  I’m not really photogenic though (even less so in video) so that didn’t turn out the way I had planned.  Then, I thought, maybe some still images and text screens like those videos people post of song lyrics.  But I didn’t have the software or resources I needed to do that, not to mention the lack of time to find them.

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     A few months ago, right around the time the thought first came to me, I came across a book “trailer” so to speak.  A NaNo author had created a video ad for her book The Night Circus and I thought See, now that’s what I’m talking about.  If only I was artistic enough to come up with my own visuals.

     Recently, I’ve come across an even more clever book trailer for Life After Life.  This one is even better than the first because while it is still comprised of images, they seem to move and rather than just having text with a soundtrack, it actually has a narration.  Again, my thought is If only I were artistic enough to do something like this.

     I fall flatly under the category of “Jack of all trades, but master of none.”  I know how to create PowerPoint slideshows like the one used in The Night Circus’ video, but at the time that I was originally considering this, the only place I had access to PowerPoint was at work, and as much as I would rather be working on my writing or writing related tasks, my job is not the place for something like that and I had all but put it out of my mind for a while.  Not too long ago though, I used a Google docs presentation file to create a slideshow of my casting wishlist if the Eye of the Vampire series were ever to be made into a movie (of course, given how much work I still have to do before the first book is even published, not everyone will still fit the bill if this were to ever happen.).  I know how to create a presentation, fancy effects and all, and I know how to get free stock photos that I could potentially use, but I still have the slight problem of needing music.

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     And even if I could find music that I’d be able to use, the whole thing would fall flat to me now that I’ve seen the Life After Life book trailer.  No matter how much programming and software I teach myself (hence the Jack of all trades, master of none), I’ll never be able to create something as imaginative and captivating as that.  And my cursed introversion prevents me from venturing out and asking anyone to help me with any concepts I do come up with.  Also, did I mention the fact that I am trying to do all of this while spending as little to no money as possible?  You get what you pay for and right now, I’ve got nothing!

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     Reading is FUNdamental.  But what happens when you get a little too enthusiastic and become backlogged with your list of books to be read?  If you are anything like me, for every book you read and take off your “to read” list, you add another two or three in its place.  What do you do when your list gets so long, you think there is no way you will be able to get through them all?  Thorin Klosowski answers this question in an article on ( Can I Learn to Read Faster and Get Through My Backlog of Books? )  

     Thorin offers five suggestions on how to quickly get through that back log of books.  The first suggestion is to increase your reading speed.  Learning how to speed read will ensure that you reduce the time it takes to read a single book, but you will retain less information using this method.  Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, the whole point of reading is to get pulled into the story.  If you are reading so fast that your mind can’t handle all of the information, aren’t you losing some of that magic?

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     The second suggestion Thorin offers is to skip parts or even whole chapters.  He suggests that you accomplish this by reading the preface or introduction, followed by the final chapter or conclusion and then going back to read the first and last paragraphs of each chapter.  For those chapters that you find more interesting than others, feel free to continue reading.  To me, this is like watching the preview for a movie and counting that as having watched the movie itself.  It leaves so much unknown, so why even bother?

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     The third suggestion is to listen to audio books.  While driving in your car, working out or sitting in front of a computer working all day, listen to the book, leaving your hands free to take care of business.  Okay, so I have to admit that this one is not a bad suggestion at all.  I never really saw the benefit of listening to an audio book, maybe because when it comes to reading, I prefer to have something tangible that I can see and feel.  But I can definitely see situations where I would be able to listen to an audio book.

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     The fourth suggestion is to read more than one book at a time.  This one entails the combination of several suggestions.  Listen to an audio book when you can’t read; when you can, skim through the book, skipping parts or even whole chapters.  In order to keep track of the books and differentiate the stories, Thorin advises that it is probably best to read/listen to different genres so the stories are distinct and don’t blend into one another.  Again, I have to say I don’t think this is a tactic that I personally would find useful, but then, I am easily distracted and having too many stories to think about at once means that I’m not focusing on any of them.

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     The fifth and final suggestion is to abandon a book that just isn’t working.  If you can’t get into the story or you can’t connect with the characters to the point that you are not enjoying it, just stop reading.  I’ve had trouble with this one in the past.  No matter how much I don’t like a story, I feel an inane responsibility to see it through to the end.  But Thorin doesn’t suggest that every book you abandon, stay that way.  He reasons that perhaps it isn’t the right book at the right time and there may come a time where it does fit the bill.

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     Although I don’t think I will personally be using many of these tactics to get through my back log, I did find the article to be informative enough to share with you.  I think I have too much of a love affair with my reading to not give it my full attention every chance I get.  But I can definitely say during my earlier years, when I was forced to read books that I hated during school, I would have jumped on each and every one of these suggestions.  So for those of you, trudging through books where it feels more like a chore than an escape, you might want to check out the article to get more in-depth information on each of the suggested tactics and find what works for you.