Many years ago my wife, Mary Ann, and I had the pleasure of visiting Italy.  In Siena we spent the night at a small, luxurious hotel.  The property dated back to the mid-fourteenth century when the place was a monastery.  Outside the stucco walls of the main building the hills were covered with vineyards.  Each guest room was lushly wallpapered in beige velvet.  In the hush of a bright spring morning breakfast was served on linen-covered wicker tables scattered about a shaded patio.  We were the only guests.

When Nikki and I first started to imagine this website that’s the feeling we wanted to capture and pass along.  Nope, Nikki’s not my wife.  My wife and I have been comfortably married for many years.  Nikki is young and exuberant and full of energy.  She brings to the table a heart filled with optimism and a refreshing enthusiasm for the challenges of tomorrow.  I bring along a toolkit of cybernetic skills garnered over many years of honest labor, along with an appreciation for the hardships and pitfalls encountered while trying to bring self-published books to market.  Together we make a formidable team.

Our mission is to provide a friendly place for self-published and small imprint authors and poets to showcase their work.  We’ll also offer services that’ll put some zing into the tedious process of promoting their products.  Of course you can’t tell a book by its cover.  On the other hand, if a book cover isn’t visually appealing the potential reader won’t bother to look inside.  YouTube videos are ubiquitous in the age of the Internet.  Individual websites abound.  Facebook is everywhere.

You can’t promote a universe of books without readers.  We’ll attract readers by providing them with a library filled with works by fresh new authors.  It’s not that Stephen King isn’t welcome to join our ranks of writers.  But should he choose to he’ll have the same rights and privileges as any other Author-member, like Howard Cohen, who wrote a gritty and yet somehow wonderfully sensitive novel about the Vietnam War (“Vietnam Redux”) or Phyllis Lambert whose memoir “The Fragrance of Lilacs” brings to life a tale of bucolic poverty and rustic innocence where the reader can smell the new-mown hay and feel the harsh sting of the winter wind.

Both Author-members and Reader-members (Authors are Readers too!) will be encouraged to rate the books they’ve read and to fill in Preference Profiles telling us the kinds of books they like.   That way when we find a book that matches their tastes we can tell them about it.  It isn’t quite done yet.  By the first of March we hope to have the basics in place.  Premium Services won’t be ready until April.  The elves will still be working on the wallpaper.

We’ll throw open the floodgates in March for intrepid adventurers who enjoy taking a new buggy out for a test spin.  During March Authors can join for $10 a year plus $5 for each book they want to register.  Readers always join for free.  In April rates go up to $25 a year for Authors plus $15 a book and Premium Services will be offered at a 30% discount.  In May regular rates go into effect.

Our next Blog will offer tips and hints about using the website.  We hope you’ll come visit us in March when we’ll have most of our stuff together.  Thanks for dropping by.  We’re looking forward to having you as a regular visitor and a charter member of the club.

Russ and Nikki

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