CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Laura Spieller on 4/26/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017

HOW TO PROMOTE AUTHORS AND BOOKS AND REQUIEM/DELIRIUM STORIES GIVEAWAY

I received a request to share how I set it up to promote authors and their books. I’m going to focus on how I set up my schedule and decide on the books and authors to promote today. I did a guest post for Stina Lindenblatt at Seeing Creative (a fantastic blog I really recommend you follow) on how I do my interviews that you can read HERE.

First of all, how I do things is a work in progress that has changed as I learn from my experiences. When I began blogging, I knew I wanted to mostly promote debut upper middle grade and YA authors because I love books. And that has always remained my main focus. I’ve picked authors who write in my favorite genres, which are fantasy, dypsopian, paranormal, sci-fi, and some thrillers/mysteries. I’ve occasionally branched out to promote authors who write contemporary and historical fiction and have been glad when I’ve done this. It’s always a great idea to expand your horizons and read something in a completely different genre.

FINDING AUTHORS

My first year, I only knew I’d be Casey’s blog partner a month or two before I started, so I didn’t have much time to plan. I’d already been reading some book review blogs and found many of my authors through the debut author list compiled by The Story Siren for her debut author challenge. This is a great blog you can find HERE.  Hobbitsies is now running this challenge because Kristi is having a baby and you can find this great site HERE.

Once I had a list of authors, I found their e-mail addresses through their blog and e-mailed them requesting an interview. As I got more established, I started including my stats on comments to my interviews and links to popular ones where I got a lot of comments. I really recommend this as the popularity of your author interviews grows because it will help you to get ARCs for giveaways.

I also asked authors whose blogs I follow who had books being released to be interviewed. Elana Johnson, Beth Revis, P.J. Hoover, Terry Johnson, and Janice Hardy were all generous in saying yes. I also got some author requests that I accepted. I mostly only posted on Mondays that year.

About half-way through the year, I realized my stats were growing from 30-35 comments to 50-80 comments and that I could probably get more ARCs for my interviews if I scheduled my interviews six months or farther in advance. So, I used a group debut blog to find most of my authors. That year it was The Apocalypsies. For this year, I’ve used The Lucky 13’s, which you can find HERE.  I also scheduled interviews based on books I heard of that I’m excited about, author requests, and bloggers I know who have books coming out. I got busier, so I started blogging on Wednesdays and some Fridays since the beginning of 2012.

For next year, I have a few things scheduled from books I’ve heard about through Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf and bloggers I know who have books coming out. But I’m looking for an active debut blog group to start setting my schedule. If anyone knows of one, please leave me the link in your comments. I’ll start setting my interviews in July for next January-June and by next February or March, I’ll have the rest of the year planned out for Mondays. I leave Wednesdays open for things that come up and requests for interviews.

It’s important to get a sense of what you and your readers like and pick books accordingly. For whatever reason, self-published books do not do as well on our blog, especially by unknown authors. So I steer any self-published authors who aren’t followers to the Tuesday tips, which is a better fit for the blog and our readers. Now that I’m busier, I am more particular about what I’m willing to promote.

There’s a lot of work just keeping things logistically moving. I have to follow up frequently to be sure the author hasn’t forgotten to get me an ARC or their interview answers.

ARCS

Last year I decided I also wanted to try to get ARCs of books by popular authors that I knew wouldn’t have time for an interview. I’ve gotten some publicist contacts through friends and always take down the contact info if a publicist includes it with the ARC or if it’s on the actual ARC. I keep a master list of publicist contacts for future reference. And I’ve also requested ARCs through Shelf Awareness for Pros, a industry newsletter. You can subscribe to it HERE.

But once I started getting ARCs, the publicists started sending me a lot of unsolicited ARCs, like boxes of them. They’re all good books and I really wish I could read and promote them all. But I can’t with working full-time, having a family, and trying to write. I really don’t want to blog more than twice a week plus the two Tuesday tips I’m now usually posting each month.

I’ve used some of these ARCs for our 3000 follower giveaway and donated the rest to our adoption support group Chinese New Year party and one of my daughter’s middle grade language arts teachers for her class library. But because I didn’t promote all these extra books, I am getting less physical ARCs of the really popular books that I request. I’m okay with this because my reading list is HUGE and I can get most of the really popular ones as e-ARCs through NetGalley or Edelweiss or the books through the library.

BOOK GIVEAWAY HOPS

I’m doing on average this year one book hop a month through I AM A READER NOT A WRITER, another great book review blog you can find HERE. http://www.iamareader.com This is a really good way to promote popular books I can’t get physical ARCs for and to add new followers. They’re my most popular posts and I’m hoping to continue doing 10-12 each year. The trick on getting a good response is to offer a big selection (I usually offer 12) of popular newer released books for your giveaways.

COST

I really only want to promote the authors and books I spotlight with giveaways because I know they will get such a better response. Even popular book review blogs get few comments unless there is a giveaway.

The first year I bought most of the books for my giveaways. But after that, I have gotten 80%-90% ARCS or books for the author interviews I do. However, I gave away 113 books last year and will give away about that many this year as I’ve already given away 63. Postage is very expensive because my giveaways are mostly international and postage costs (and book costs because of this) are going up. Plus I buy the books for the giveaway hops. Last year and this year I probably will have spent around $350-over $400. (Shhh, please don’t tell my husband.)

It’ doesn’t have to be that expensive. With my company closing next year and getting laid off sometime next year, I am definitely looking to cut costs. Not giving away unsolicited ARCs, having authors send out more books for giveaways, and having international giveaways include Canada because of higher postage costs are ways I’m thinking of cutting back. I’m sure you could think of other ways to keep the cost down too. And some book review bloggers have ads and other ways to cut down the costs that we don't do.

TIME

This is a pretty time consuming way to blog. I feel like it’s a part-time job sometimes. But I like helping authors and promoting books. For the summer, I’m planning to try to blog once a week and take some weeks off.

In the future, I’m also not going to commit to reading as many of the books I spotlight. Like right now I have 20 books I could read and give away. This doesn’t include the books I’m waiting to come in at the library. Because I feel like I’m too much on a reading schedule, I’ll cut down some of my reading for the blog.

Even with the cost and how time consuming this is, it’s very rewarding. I’m excited when I get over 50 comments on a book giveaway, which is common, even for the middle grade books I share. And it’s great seeing the enthusiasm for books in the comments. I have many followers now that are readers and book review bloggers as well as writers. So I wouldn’t change what I blog about. But I do want to scale back a bit so I have time for my writing and life in general.

I also have a book giveaway. I’m doing it today because I don’t really have any extra spots till July to spotlight these books. My review will be very short because this post is already long.

 First here's a blurb of REQUIEM from Goodreads:

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

I loved that this was told from both Lena’s and Hana’s point of view. We get to see what’s going on in the Wilds and in the city. And what it’s like to live as an invalid and as a cured. Both Lena and Hana have their struggles to survive and I loved that they both fought in their own ways to survive the world they were thrust into and the choices they made. And they both face problems in their romantic lives too, though it doesn’t overshadow the story. There’s no sitting around thinking and wallowing for either of them, something I really liked. There’s constant problems and increasing of stakes for both of them that get more serious as the story progresses.

I know some people weren’t satisfied with the ending. I won’t spoil it by saying what happens, but I will say that I was okay with it. This is a fantastic end to this series. I wish it could go on and am anxious to see what new series Lauren Oliver comes up with.

I also received a copy of DELIRIUM STORIES: HANA, ANABEL, AND RAVEN and here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

For the first time, Lauren Oliver's short stories about characters in the Delirium world appear in print.
Originally published as digital novellas, Hana, Annabel, and Raven each center around a fascinating and complex character who adds important information to the series and gives it greater depth. This collection also includes an excerpt from Requiem, the final novel in Oliver's New York Times bestselling series.

Hana is told through the perspective of Lena's best friend, Hana Tate. Set during the tumultuous summer before Lena and Hana are supposed to be cured, this story is a poignant and revealing look at a moment when the girls' paths diverge and their futures are altered forever.

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery--a ghost from Lena's past--until now. Her journey from teenage runaway to prisoner of the state is a taut, gripping narrative that expands the Delirium world and illuminates events--and Lena--through a new point of view.

And as the passionate, fierce leader of a rebel group in the Wilds, Raven plays an integral role in the resistance effort and comes into Lena's life at a crucial time. Crackling with intensity, Raven is a brilliant story told in the voice of one of the strongest and most tenacious characters in the Delirium world.

So I’m giving away both these books. Thanks to Harper Collins for providing them to me. There will be two winners. To enter, To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on May 31st. Have any questions on how I organize my interviews and book promotions? Anything you really like that you'd like to see more of? Leave a comment. I'd love to know. I’ll announce the winner on June 3rd.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome, but I’ll only pick one international winner at most due to postage costs.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Monday, I’m excited to interview debut author Natalie Whipple about her book, TRANSPARENT. It’s about Fiona, invisible to the world and herself, in a futurist world, desperately trying to carve out a normal life and escape her dad. I really enjoyed reading about her story and that of her friends who have unique powers too.

Next Wednesday, I’m interviewing debut author Dorine White about her book, THE EMERALD RING. I really enjoyed learning about the powers of the emerald ring with Sara, a smart middle grader, and her friends. And I found the mythology based on Cleopatra to be unique.

I’ll be off on Monday, Memorial Day. Yay! We all need a rest.

On Wednesday that week, I’m participating in HB Bolten’s blog tour for her new book, THE SERPENT’S RING, a middle grade fantasy that will fans of Percy Jackson should like. There will be a giveaway too.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Monday!

49 comments:

  1. This post is terrific! It answered so many of my questions (I have a little book blog myself, and I'm keen to focus on YA authors) and has given me heaps of ideas. Thanks for those links too!

    I'm entering the giveaway. I've tweeted it. And I'm international. ;)

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  2. Fabulous post. I love seeing how organized you are and how you set everything up. I love your site and get so many good book suggestions here and meet so many authors and agents. It does seem like a a good bit of work, if there's anyway I can help let me know! Otherwise I'll keep enjoying your blog.

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  3. That's a great idea about including your stats to popular posts! How and where did you do that, Natalie? Just emails?

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    1. I look on Blogger Dashboard where I post my posts and it shows how many comments and page views I get for each post. I use the comment info for my stats in e-mails. I have a form request to publicists that I revise occasionally. I also include links to popular posts.

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  4. Wow, that is a lot of work! And I can relate about the postage! I did a big give away last year to celebrate three years in blogland and it was expensive sending out all those books, even at book rate. But it was also fun to share and the people who got the books were pretty happy :)

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  5. I wondered how you set the interviews up, Natalie. Wow, you are super organized. I can't imagine being sent box loads of arcs from publicists. That's crazy.

    I understand about the cost of shipping out books. I've done that in the past. Just to send from Canada to the states is pricy. Sometimes it's the same price as the book!!!!

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  6. You bloggers are amazing!!! I am a reader who mainly reads books that I win or borrow since I was recently laid off and books can get expensive when you love to read as much as I do. This giveaway is great considering I I actually just read Delirium and Pandemonium and am very curious how it ends even though I have a feeling I may not like it.

    tweeted: https://twitter.com/TexasBookLover/status/334688794060128256

    Thanks so much!

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  7. This post was so interesting and relevant to me as a blogger. I'd love to have half the popularity y'all have here someday in the future. It's really cool to get a behind the scenes look at how much work and thought goes into blogging and supporting authors. Thank you for putting a lot of time and work into this blog! (I'd also be interesting in reading how you form your interviews and the questions etc.)
    Thank you for the giveaway, I am a follower!
    And as to Requiem, the ending was a good one, leaving the reader to imagine and form their own ending kinda. I thought it was a bit unresolved but still liked it.

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  8. This is an amazing and awesome post!

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  9. This was a great post. There is a lot of effort and energy put into the work you do with this blog - and it shows!

    Jill
    andrewsjill3@gmail.com

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  10. Natalie,

    I've often wondered just how you and Casey do this, and do it so well! Thank you for sharing a snapshot of what all you put into this site. I always figured it had to be time consuming but super organized and supreme multi-tasker are the things that come to mind when I read over your schedule.

    I work full time myself as well as write, and oh yes there is the husband, home, toddler and another on the way. With so much on the plate, unfortunately, my blogs suffer. I found it inspiring that you manage everything else and still have time to read and blog!!

    I'm sure your followers appreciate the time and effort you put in, I know I do :)

    Thank you!
    Kiera

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  11. Great giveaway, and a fantastic post. I'm so impressed with how you and your blogging have grown since you started. Congratulations! (And enjoy your reduced schedule this summer.)

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  12. How many books did you give away last year!?!? Wow! That's just brilliant!!!

    Take care
    x

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  13. Wonderful post, I'm even more impressed with all you and Casey put in to the blog with all the authors visits, tips and books that you highlight.

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  14. Phew! I think I'm a bit tired now after reading all you do here. :) It's great to learn what is working for this fabulous blog!

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  15. I really liked this series and so did my middle schoolers! So much that someone made off with my copy of Pandemonium at the beginning of the year. :( So now I have only 2 in the series.

    Thanks for all you do! No need to put me in the drawing as I already have a copy. Have a great summer!!

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  16. Wow. Just wow. I've been super impressed by the thoroughness of your interviews, but reading about all the work that goes on around everything makes it even more impressive. Keep up the fantastic work!

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  17. Great post, so much to take in, I'll probably bookmark this post and come back and re-read it. I'm entering the drawing as I want to win Requiem so bad!!

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  18. Wow, Natalie! I always really enjoy your interviews (and I think this blog has the best giveaways ever), but I had no idea how much work it has really been for you! This was a great post to read. I didn't know that it was possible to appreciate the work you and Casey do even more, but I totally do.

    Thanks so much for everything you put into this blog!

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  19. Great stuff in this post! Thanks. I'm always looking for new ideas and resources.

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  20. Thanks for all the great work you do to bring us new books and authors! It's always great reading your posts!

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  21. Hi Natalie,

    Promoting authors is something I love to do. I get great satisfaction from spreading the word about great books and promoting reading too.

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  22. I would LOVE to win the Delirium stories!!

    This was a very interesting post, kinda like a behind-the-scenes on blogging and how you review:)

    I'm an email subscriber ccfioriole at gmail dot com

    Thank you)

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  23. I adore you Natalie! Thank you for all the time (and money) you spend promoting other authors. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I can't wait to return the favor and promote your debut one day. I LOVE Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is one of my favorite books. I read Delirium last year and haven't had time to pick up the others, but I really want to. Hopefully this summer! Love this post!

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  24. Natalie, I echo Kimberly. YOU ARE ONE PRECIOUS PAL. I am one who benefited from this and all I can say is THANK YOU. You are amazing.

    Thanks for being my pal. Hugs and smooches.

    P.S.REQUIEM is all that. Lauren is an amazing author with a writerly future ahead of her.

    Someday I'll feature you and you'll feature me. And we'll have grand time watching folks fall all over our writing. :-)

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  25. Yay! This is one of my favorite series! Thank you for the chace to win a copy, I havn't read Requiem yet!
    Such a wonderful post! I love your support for the authors! Bloggers are amazing! Thank you all for your hard work!

    GFC follower: Veronika
    verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

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  26. I'll bet Natalie that plenty of people have bookmarked this awesome post!!

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  27. Wow loved how you shared how you do this! Thank you! And kudos to you for spending from your own pocket to send out books.

    It really is a gratifying feeling to help authors. I feel, anyway. We are all so lucky to have you! Great post!

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  28. Holy Cow, Natalie! You almost wrote a novel for this post. You do spend a lot on postage. I think the one international winner is a good idea. I send things internationally quite a bit and it is expensive. The other idea of asking the authors to mail the winners the book is a good idea, plus then they can autograph it. You are after all promoting them and their writing.

    Sorry to hear about your company. :(

    Great post and thanks for sharing so much with us.

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  29. Let me just say, WOW! I can't believe the amount of work and money that goes into you blog. Seriously, thanks for all you do to help authors. AND, as a reader, I will say that at least half the books I read come from your recommendations. Hope all goes well with your company. Hope you get back on your feet a.s.a.p.! Thanks again for sharing!

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  30. I love Oliver's books! I admire her writing and hope to be a lucky winner of either of these books. That aside, I enjoyed today's post about your "behind the scenes" of your blog. Thank you! Will put on Facebook.

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  31. Dear Natalie,

    Wow...Thank you for that!

    You are amazing! And you're most certainly a writer! Thank you for what you do, making a huge difference in the lives of writers and readers!

    You have my permission to take some time off. :) If (or should I be more optimistic and say when) my book ever gets published, I'll give you a copy. And if you decide to feature it on this fantastic site - I give you copies for the giveaway. Plus, I’ll pay the postage! :)

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    Best,
    Heather Villa

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  32. Amazing post sweetie. <3 I loved reading it all. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  33. You run a fantastic blog and I can see the hard work that goes into it. Thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes workings. It is hard to read and review numerous books. Some things I request and other times an author makes a request. I try to pace myself.

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  34. I believe you do an amazing job and I'm so grateful for this post. You do a lot and I hope one day to be able to help you out the same way you've been helping other authors.

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  35. i do really appreciate you always open your giveaways for international readers .

    what about using Book Depository for international reader ? you might save some money for postage. and maybe ask the authors or publishers to send the books to the winners ? :)

    and i'm so entering the giveaways . A gfc follower, thanks !

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  36. I won bookmarks from the author of Requiem. I'm super excited to read it.

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  37. Super post, Natalie. I am always amazed by how you manage everything so efficiently. So much planning goes into every author interview and book review. Thanks a ton for all that you do to help us writers. Hugs.

    I appreciate the fact that you are open to International Giveaways.

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  38. I'm so looking forward to Transparent ... and Insomnia.

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  39. Wow, Natalie, that sounds like so much work. I know both the authors and your readers appreciate all your effort -- I sure do! :-)

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  40. Thanks for this behind-the-scenes look at Literary Rambles. Had no idea how much work went into it all, and now I appreciate it even more.

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  41. Very interesting! You make me tired just reading all that you do, Natalie!! I worry you're gonna burn yourself out. Good for you, taking Memorial Day off! Thanks for providing a really great service for readers and writers alike. :)

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  42. I read most of this post earlier this week (on my phone, on my lunch break) but didn't have time to respond then. This is a great behind-the-scenes peek at just how much work goes into a book review blog -- not to mention how much money goes into mailing out the books. I think people often forget that!

    Thanks for all you do, Natalie!

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  43. Good, sound advice! Thanks for sharing. And Requeim sounds intriguing.

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  44. Great advice, amazing really!! Would love to win this. GFC follower and I tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/TopsyTurvy_Ash/status/336441085826043904

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  45. Hi Im from the Philippines! :D
    Nice interview as always :3

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  46. Thanks for taking the time to explain how you do the promotions....huge amount of work. And both of these books sound great. I'd love to win.

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  47. I'm from Canada and i follow you on GFC (Vanessa Kennedy).
    I read requim but would really want to have a copy.

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  48. I appreciate your informative site. Thank you for this Requim giveaway. I Tweeted!

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