Review: Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – And the Journey of a Generation

Tonight I watched a new installment of PBS’ My Music series. Founding Supremes singer Mary Wilson served as the host of the program showcasing many classic female singers and girl groups of the 1960s. It showcased seventeen of the singers/groups. Watching it reminded me of the book “Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – And the Journey of a Generation” by Sheila Weller that I read a couple of years ago. Here is a review of the book I wrote in August 2011.

The contents of “Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation” by Sheila Weller will be very recognizable to us who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s. Sheila Weller tells us that King, Simon, and Mitchell pushes back the barriers for women specifically, “one song at a time.”

The enigmatic one remains Carole King, whom Weller just can’t shed light on in any significant way. King’s life was amazing then it stopped being of any interest at all. We learn and hear again and again how she wrote all those Brill Building masterpieces before she was 21. We learn how she broke down under the strain of a troubled marriage to a husband and lyricist, Gerry Goffin whom she at married when she was 17 and pregnant by him. We see how she comes through the divorce with an LP, Tapestry, that everyone loved and bought. After that her life is bad men in abundance. They were attracted to her wealth. King once estimated that every time she divorced a man, it cost her a million dollars. Weller gives us all the facts. One still has to wonder why King did this to herself.

Carly Simon, on the other hand seems nearly normal as normal can be for someone of the upper, upper middle class. Though perceptibly spoiled and protected by wealth, Simon doesn’t seem spoiled. Her reactions are always understandable and sympathetic. This includes her meeting and marrying the drug-zombie James Taylor.

Joni Mitchell isn’t sympathetic. She has the integrated persona of the genius totally in love with herself and obsessed with her own reflection, so she’s great in a special way. The author makes fun of Mitchell’s vanity and enormous self-esteem. Weller still lets us know that, in her estimation at any rate, Mitchell actually is amazing.

Weller is interested in the ways women deal with each other. It’s nearly a biography of five people, not just three, as there is so much about James Taylor you will never need to read another word about him if you have this book on your shelf. There is also plenty of material about Judy Collins. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation is a book that convinces us forcefully in its larger arguments and dazzles with its wide-ranging portraits of artistic life in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Devotional: How Christian Love Works

“How Christian Love Works”

1.   Christian love is thankful for the best in others.

“I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers” – Philemon verse 4 KJV

  • Do you pray for your friends?
  • Are you more concerned about what you can get from your friends than what you can do for them?
  • Are you thankful for your Christian friends?

2.  Christian love seeks the welfare of others.

“I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: ” – Philemon verse 4 KJV

  • Onesimus is a slave.
  • He had run away.
  • Paul lead him to Christ.
  • He is concerned about Onesimus’ safety and welfare.
  • Do you seek the welfare others?

3.  Christian love deals fairly with other.

“Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:” – Philemon verse 12

  • Paul sent Onesimus back to his owner.
  • He interceded on Onesimus’ behalf.
  • He is concerned about following the law and Onesimus’ welfare.
  • Do you deal fairly with others?

 4. Christian love bears the problems of others.

“If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;” – Philemon verse 18

  • Paul pleads for forgiveness of the offense.
  • Paul is willing to takes responsibility for whatever Onesimus may owe his master.
  • Do you bear others burdens?

5. Christian love believes the best in others

“Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.” – Philemon verse 21

  • Paul tells Onesimus that he believes in him.
  • He tells him he knows he will do his best.
  • He encourages Onesimus.
  • Do you encourage and really believe in your friends?

This is an original devotion written by Jimmie A. Kepler on March 19, 2012.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License by Jimmie Kepler.

One Great Way to Promote Your Book: A Blog Tour

Once upon a time

Once upon a time in a century long past when an author wrote a book his or her publisher might send the writer on a book tour.  The author would visit media outlets in various cities promoting their book and conduct book signings.

Oh, this still sometimes happens if the author is enough of a celebrity to merit so large a capital investment on the part of the publisher.  Other authors with outgoing personalities traveled the country promoting their work, sometimes at their own expense.  While this method worked, it was difficult for new authors.   Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations were not anxious to use their copy space or airtime on an unknown writer.

As the age of the Internet developed, many new authors would promote their book through on-line forums, message boards, groups and chat rooms.  These formats encouraged potential reader and book buyers to consider the book.  Many times the author marketed their book through these sites by simply making a short sales pitch as they signed their name to their comments.  While this method is useful and generated grassroots support for a book it was extremely time-consuming and could be disheartening for author and publish because it requires a large amount of work for minimal return.

Today’s realities

Today with the economic recession and minimal dollars available for publishers or even self-published work and for those with family situations which include children or the need to keep their day job other options for promoting their work need to be considered.  A new opportunity emerged with the dedicated book or author website and blogs.

The most exciting of these new opportunities is the blog.  The name blog comes from the word weblog.  This is an online journal.  The purpose of a blog is three-fold.  It educates and entertains the public while allowing the readers the opportunity to provide immediate feedback.  Today professionals also run blogs seeking a targeted audience.  The professional’s goals include building standing and name recognition while making money.  Blogs have the added benefit of being inexpensive, easy to set up and support, and simple to find through search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!

An author promotes their book to get people talking about their book and its message, to make some money, and to sell enough copies of the book for the publisher to keep it in print. A blog tour can be used as a great way to promote your book.

What is a blog tour?

While you ultimately want to increase your book sales, the purpose of a blog tour is to generate interest about your book. A blog tour allows cross-promotion of your book with the blogger’s site. It’s a great way for them to get free content for their blog while promoting your book.  It allows the author the opportunity to target the correct audience.

How do you set one up?

You begin by contacting suitable blogs.  You ask if they would be interested in being part of the tour. If so, a book can be sent to them to give away in a lottery type drawing, and review.  They can invite you to write a guest post or even interview you.   A schedule is created and the book is featured from two times a week to every day of the month. Determine your target blogs.  Make up a list of potential blogs. This will take a little research.  You can search for book blogs with emphasis given to those that focus on the genre you write. I write for three blogs that include regular book reviews.  They are Kepler’s Military History Book ReviewsWriting After Fifty, and Kepler’s Book Reviews.  I have contact information on my blogs for requesting book reviews.   Almost all blogs have a listed a way for contacting the blog.  My blogs are shared as examples.

Next you approach the bloggers via email.  If they have interest preparations are made for a date and an agreement of exactly will be done.  Books need to be sent to them well in advance.  Your publisher may take care of this.  Almost all authors or publisher I deal with do this.

I urge reviews.  When I review a book I always include reviewing it on my site, on Amazon.com, bn.com, Twitter, goodreads.com as well as all my personal sites like Multiply and Facebook.    On my personal site I always include a link where the reader has the opportunity to buy the book.  I like to include the publisher website when possible where the publisher can make largest profit on the sale.

Interviews require less writing than guest posts.  The author and blogger can agree on a set number of questions.  When I ask an author for an interview I send them no more than ten questions.  I draw the questions from the book and the author’s life and interests as I know the author.

Put it on the calendar

Schedule your book blog tour calendar.  You not only promote it on your site, but promote it on the sites of the participating bloggers.  Almost all blogs have calendars of upcoming events.  Make sure you book blog is included on their calendar. Bloggers work hard for free.  They promote what interests them.  They are a key element of the new media.

Don’t stop with one book blog tour.  After your first blog tour is completed make sure you host a second one a few weeks to a few months later with a new group of blogs.  The second time around you can try something different.  Instead of doing a second interview maybe you would want to share excerpts from reviews of your book, maybe post 2 to 3 question interviews conducted by you of the persons who a few of the persons who positively reviewed your book. It could be a fun way to get the reader to see how other readers enjoyed and benefited from  your efforts.  Your personal creativity can come up with other ideas.

Have fun!

Once upon a time in a century long past when an author wrote a book his or her publisher might send the writer on a book tour.  The past is behind us.  Welcome to the future called today. I think Book Blog Tours can be a fun to promote your work.  In the twenty-first century you as the author are going to have to take a more active role in marketing your book.  Why not try a Book Blog Tour? It allows you to talk about yourself, your book and who knows you just might meet some interesting bloggers, develop an audience and following, and sell a few books along the way. That will make you and your publisher happy.

Creative Commons License
One Great Way to Promote Your Book: A Blog Tour by by Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.