Ergonomic Keyboards for Writers: Our Top 5 Picks

When it comes to sitting down and grinding out huge expanses of words, you need to be prepared.

And I do mean prepared.

Get your snacks ready. Ensure that coffee or tea pot is full. Do some stretches--seriously guys, this is crucial in preventing some of those late night charlie horses. And whip out the most comfortable keyboard you've got.

That's right. Break out the good keyboard. You know that one with those sexy angles and a key gap that would make Michael Strahan blush. We're talking abut the Ergonomic Keyboard. Specifically designed to help alleviate muscle pain and cramping during extended use, you haven't really typed until you've gotten on one of these babies.

But which one is right for you?

Let's go over the top 5 best ergonomic keyboards for writers!

The Top 5 Ergonomic Keyboards for Writers

1. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard (Best Overall)

Honestly, this is the gold standard when it comes to ergonomic keyboards. It's split design does wonders for a more natural placement for your hands to prevent undue stress and strain. And the domed part in the middle? That's not a manufacturing default, but a way for wrists and hands to effortlessly float to keep your wrists in a natural position all day long. Heck, even the keys maintain a curved profile in order to maximize the comfort for your fingertips. Top this all off with its padded wrist rest, and you can't ask for much more when it comes to ergonomic keyboards. The Microsoft Sculpt makes for a wonderful gift for yourself or any other long stretch writer.

Check It Out on Amazon!

2. Koolertron Split Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switches (Best Mechanical Ergonomic Keyboard)

If you're like me, then you probably prefer a mechanical keyboard. I just love the feel of the key press, the resistance provided, and that little clicky-clacky when pushed. To me, it's a real writer's style keyboard. And thankfully there's a solid option when it comes to choosing a mechanical ergonomic keyboard. Enter the Koolertron--it even sounds cool. The Koolertron is essentially a keyboard cut in half and connected via link cable. However, this allows for you to place the keyboards at the proper interval for your hands. Now, this version comes with the Cherry MX Browns. I like these as a great middle of the road mechanical switch. But this keyboard can come with heavier black switches or the Cherry MX Reds for those with a more delicate touch. Check out my best keyboards for writers article to get the scoop on mechanical vs membrane keyboards.

Check It Out on Amazon!

3. Kinesis Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard for Mac (Best for Mac)

Although I'm a PC girl through and through, we gotta cover the best option for Mac. It's actually kind of disheartening when you realize there's just not as many options available for the Mac platform. But this particular keyboard more than makes up for the lack of options. The Kinesis comes with a 9" degree of separation between the two keyboards allowing you to position them just where you need them. Not only that, but it also comes in  standard Mac key layout. There are some keyboards out there that can do both Mac and PC. But they tend to fall behind on the Mac side. This one is dedicated strictly to Mac. Oh! Did I forget to mention it's also Bluetooth compatible with all your Mac, Apple, and iOS devices? If you're a Mac user, this is definitely something you should take a look into.

Check It Out on Amazon!

4. Fellowes Microban Split Design Keyboard (Best for a Budget)

There's one thing that these ergonomic keyboards for writers have in common that kinda sucks. They can get pricey. Sure, you get what you pay for, but isn't there something out there for us common folk? Yes there is. The Fellowes Microban is a no-frills plug-and-play keyboard for the PC. It's ergonomically curved--although just one piece sans gap--so your hands and wrists can minimize the dreaded carpal tunnel. It also comes with a 16 key buffer making it ideal for fast typists. And the anti-microbial coating doesn't hurt either. This keyboard is not only great for those on a budget, but if you're looking for a cheap reliable keyboard for the office... This is it.

Check It Out on Amazon!

5. Logitech K350 2.4 GHz Wireless Keyboard (Best Wireless Option)

Now this ergonomic keyboard isn't quite as ergonomic looking as the others. That being said, this is no ordinary keyboard. It does retain the slight Constant Curvature needed to keep your hands and wrists in maximum comfort during long typing spells. Also, the Logitech comes equipped with a soft, cushioned palm rest so you can type with ease. This keyboard is also very unique with its full-on media controls located on the keyboard itself. The fact that this keyboard is wireless makes for an even better reason to look into this. And it's long battery life is sure to impress at a maximum battery life of 36 MONTHS on just a single set of AAA!

Check It Out on Amazon!

Why Choose an Ergonomic Keyboard?

Why go ergo? Because the standard keyboards in front of you were probably not designed to the human body. Not saying it's a flaw, but I've got some pretty large mitts. And typing on most keyboards cramps my hands and fingers. On top of that, my wrists hurt at the end of the night even after periodically stretching them during the writing process.

If a keyboard can be more naturally designed for my hand placement and make my joint life easier... Who am I to disagree? But I'm just one person and there are those out there who tend to disagree.

Either way, I do enjoy a good ergonomic keyboard, and if you do too.... These are my top pics.

Cheers!


Kindle Unlimited Review: Is It Really Worth It?

Before we get into this Kindle Unlimited review, let's talk about books for a second.

If you're anything like me, you could get lost in a library for hours. (Or days. Maybe even weeks.)

As a matter of fact the biggest problem I have with libraries is that there aren't enough hours in the day to properly dedicate to being in them.

Sigh.

But what if you could bring the library to you? Surely, that would solve the issue of lack of library. However, I don't think that my apartment is big enough to allow every book to visit.

Well, my apartment might be, but not my computing devices. And this is because of the power of the internet. The modern world has made information and books easily available. With just a few flashes of my fingertips, I can have some of the greatest works in history right in front of me. And that's just amazing.

Which is where Kindle Unlimited comes in. Kindle Unlimited is one of the greatest libraries available online.

Period.

That's not really up for debate. But is it really worth the subscription? Or are there more cons with KU than Riker's Island? That's what we're here to figure out. So without further ado, let's get to it!

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Here's the down and dirty on Kindle Unlimited. It's a massive online library with over ONE MILLION books for you to check out and read. This includes all sorts of neat books. From classics to independent authors, there's something on here for everyone. Heck, they even carry many popular magazines as well making those light reads wonderfully accessible.

And even better yet, you don't even need an actual Kindle device to view them. Although, I do recommend a few such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis. Amazon allows you to get Kindle Unlimited on just about every single device you can think of. If there's an app store available for your platform... There's probably an app for that.

Pros and Cons of Kindle Unlimited

Now let's get down with the pros and cons. Just as every story has two sides, there's some good and bad that goes along with KU. And no Kindle Unlimited review would be complete without them. So let's talk about it.

The Good

  • Unlimited reads per month: Just as its name suggests, KU is unlimited. You can literally check out every single book available in the library if you had the time. There is one catch though. You can only have 10 at a time. But just to be real... Who actually reads 10 books at one time? Seriously.
  • Indies Available: Call me crazy, but I have a great soft spot for independent authors. Especially when it comes to children's books. So if any of you out there looking to be the next great kids' author, check out this quiz from one of my favorites--the great Eevi Jones-- and send me a copy of your drafts. But I digress. Kindle Unlimited has all those great indie selections you won't find anywhere else!
  • Free Audiobooks: Now, I'm not saying every book on there has a free audiobook available, but there are quite a few. So, if you're into audible books... Kindle Unlimited could be a cheaper alternative to Audible. But if you are looking for nothing but audiobooks, Audible is definitely your best option.

The Bad

  • New releases: New releases aren't as readily available as you would hope. Sometimes it actually take a while for them to come out so... If you're keeping up with the latest trends this may not be right for you.

The Ugly

  • Lack of the Big 5: Kindle Unlimited tends to lack publications from the Big 5 Publishing Houses--Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hachette. Fans of major mainstream authors may find it very difficult to read those of their favorites.

How much does Kindle Unlimited Cost?

Well you may be thinking, "OK, I'm game... But what's the cost?"

In all reality, Kindle Unlimited isn't too cost intensive. Especially if you read like I do. It's a monthly subscription service that costs $9.99 per. Honestly, that's pretty legit. That's essentially 2 books a month--which is a relatively average pace. For us with that book hunger.... $9.99 is a heck of a bargain!

Kindle Unlimited Review: The Bottom Line

If I had to give my honest opinion, Kindle Unlimited is freaking awesome. Sure, I won't get the most popular books right away from here. But I don't mind paying a bit extra to support my favorite author. And with unlimited indie authors for just under ten bucks... It really doesn't get better than that.

Now if you're still on the edge, there's another option. Amazon Prime Reading.

Check out my versus review of the two for more info.

Do you use Kindle Unlimited? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Cheers,


The Best Audiobook Services that You Can Get Right Now

Finding the best audiobook services can be super crucial--especially if you're anything like me.

You see, I just love my audiobooks. For such a sedentary individual, I often find myself on the move. Whether I'm off fan-girling at a book signing or picking up Rhino some new cat treats, life gets busy. But that doesn't mean that this Nerdy Book Girl leaves behind her tales of lust and woe! (I'm actually on a mystery/thriller kick right now.)

Audiobooks help me fill that void. I love listening to books as I'm driving along a great stretch of interstate--just got to remember to be safe and alert-- or zoning out on the bus or plane and truly focusing on the story.

But there's a problem. Although all the rage, audiobook services aren't all created equal. Like... Who has the best selection? Or which service is the cheapest? Or are there any deals, subscriptions, or hidden fees I need to know about?!?

Your girl ain't made of money you know.

But I've narrowed it down to my top 3 audiobook services. So let's jump right in and start with #3.

#3. Kobo Audiobooks

Honestly, Kobo is a great place to start for audiobooks. It may not be as large as its direct Amazon competitor (just like when it comes to self-publishing), but it does have an extremely awesome and relatively extensive choice selection.

Now is it going to have every audiobook out there? No, but if you're looking to listen to some of the more popular titles... Kobo has got you covered.

And it's relatively affordable. Kobo works through a subscription process. Essentially, you sign up for a monthly service starting at $9.99 a month. Just keep in mind that this $9.99 only covers 1 audiobook per month. But if you really look at it... How much does a hard cover copy of a new release go for? Maybe 14-15 bucks or even higher... So not a bad deal. Plus, Kobo's subscription plan is slightly cheaper than our number one performer's. Can't go wrong there.

The one thing I have noticed though is that Kobo does tend to charge more for individual books. If you decide not to go with a subscription and outright buy the book... They do seem to cost more than other book services. So if you're looking to listen to strictly one big release a month, Kobo just might be the right choice for you.


#2. Google Audiobooks

Is there really anything Google doesn't have its fingers in nowadays? Not that I'm complaining. If you were to take away all of Google services, we'd be fighting in the streets. But when it comes to audiobooks, Google offers a unique persepective.

It's a subscription free service.

Google is strictly pay as you go. And there's not a darn thing wrong with that. Let's just say you like your audiobooks, but just don;t have the time needed to really get into them. A monthly subscription might not be best for you. No need stacking books you're never gonna listen to. Or what if you really love your audiobooks and just gobble them up? Paying a premium for an extra audiobook on a sub plan is going to add up quick.

But with Google Audiobooks, you can forgo those issues. And that's not even the coolest part. Google has integrated some of its other services into Audiobooks such as voice commands. Now, there's still only a few commands available at the moment, but being able to start and stop narration is pretty sweet all on its own.

If you're a Google devotee looking for an extensive selection of books or just trying to avoid a subscription service, this is definitely the right choice for you.


#1. Audible

Did you really think anything else would be at the top of this list? Audible is completely dominating the audiobook industry and for good reason. It's still the best audiobook service available.

Like Kobo, Audible is available via a subscription service plan. There's new major options to look out for.

One Book Option: This option is best for those who listen to around one book a month--which is kind of an average consumption. The plan costs $14.95/month.

Two Book Option: Now if you're like me and one just isn't going to cut it... You can opt for the two book per month option. This plan comes in at $22.95 per month.

While the sub rates are higher than Kobo's, the two book option actually saves you a little bit of money if you are a voracious reader. Not much granted, but at least it's something. Plus, the selection available can't be matched anywhere else. There's a pretty good chance that if there's an audiobook available, Audible has it.

And that's not all. Audible has unique offers that rotate on a semi-regular basis. Discounts here and there or a BOGO promotion. And that's not even including their promo for new users.

Audible offers a 30 day free trial for all new users and effectively gives you one free book. They also allow for you to exchange books if for some reason you just don't want the one you got.


Check It Out On Audible!

When it comes to the Audiobook World, Audible is clearly and without doubt king. If you're looking for more info on everything Audible can do for you, check out my full length review on Audible's service! You'll be able to see just why Audible is the right choice for most audiobook listeners.

Oh yeah! It just wouldn't be right for me to leave you hanging without a way for you to get that 30 day free trial.

If you're looking for your next read or want to avail of Audible's sweet deal, just hit the button below!

Check It Out on Audible!

What service do you use for your audiobooks? Let me know down in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts and amend my list for the best audiobook services.

Cheers!

 


Ten Gifts for Writers that They'll Actually Love

Do you need the to find the best gifts for writers?

Whether it's for a special occasion or just to show you care, getting a gift for that writer in your life is always appreciated.

And while it's the thought that counts, not every writer out there is looking for yet another pen.

There's so much more out there than Cross pens--and much cheaper options as well. That's why I've put together this list to make sure that your beloved wordsmith get a gift they'll really enjoy.

Apple MacBook Air

Now I did say that there are some cheaper options than a Cross, but this isn't one of them. But in all fairness, this is one awesome laptop! The MacBook Air models have come with the reputation of being one of the lightest and thinnest models out there. And the latest in the line doesn't disappoint. With up to 16 GB of memory, a 1.5 TB SSD, and back lit keyboard, this powerhouse is ready to tackle any project that may arise. Again, the price point is a little steep, but this could make for a wonderful graduation gift to help prepare your author to take on the world.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Azio Retro Bluetooth Artisan Keyboard

If a whole new computer isn't within your budget, maybe a part of one is. This keyboard is so awesome! It's so funky and neat with its top plate, and the clack of the keys emulates an old-school typewriter. But besides from being super cool. This keyboard is back-lit and Bluetooth compatible with both PC and Mac. The Azio Retro truly puts the funk in functional. Can ya dig? Keyboards in general make great gifts for writers, so if you're looking for more check out my recommendations HERE!

Check It Out on Amazon!

Aqua Notes

I don't know about you, but honestly I do some of my best thinking in the shower. It's just me with my thoughts. But there's on big problem, there's about a 100% chance I'm going to forget every genius idea I came up with. And that's why Aqua Notes is so handy! It's a waterproof notepad where you can jot down all those great ideas.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Ember Temperature Control Mug

I'm very particular about my tea. I like it with 2 sugars, a splash of milk, and hot. Unfortunately, that last one doesn't really stick around as long as I would like it to. But those problems have been solved since I started using my new Ember mug. It keeps my tea at a nice constant temp that way I don't need to slog down a cold cuppa. And given the relationship between most authors and coffee (or tea!), the ember mug solidly makes it onto my list of gifts of writers. Or if you're a water type of person... Check out these sweet bottles here!

Check It Out on Amazon!

On Writing by Stephen King

Every writer needs a role model or a mentor to look up to. And whether you're a fan of his or not, you can definitely learn from one of the most prolific writers of our time--Stephen King. This book is a down-to-earth memoir that gives you practical tools that every writer needs to succeed. This is a must-have for any writer's bookshelf.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Meal Delivery Service Subscription

After a long day's worth of work, writing, or both the last thing I want to do is cook. Don't get me wrong. I love to eat--just ask my ever growing waistline. But after a hard day, I often find myself on the tail end of a Lean Cuisine and some leftover Pinot. And I know I'm not the only one. However, there are some options out there for those hardworking writers out there. Meal delivery services! Now while some provide all the ingredients prepared for a quick cook, others provide fully cooked meals. Just heat and eat! If you're looking for some of the best out there, check out this sweet (or savory) article over at fooddeliveryguru.com

Super Comfy Lounge Pants

There may be some writers out there that just looove to be as uncomfortable as humanly possible while they write. I just haven't met any of them. Now for the rest of us... getting into our comfort zones is requirement for top productivity. And what a better way to do so than by starting out with some super comfy harem style lounge pants! These are breezy, baggy, unisex, and totally ready to rock that couch in style.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Dry Erase Weekly Calendar

If you're looking to give a productive gift for your writer, a weekly calendar is a great one. Many of us writers get caught up in the whirlwind that is known as "lack of focus". It happens. But one great way to prevent that is to set daily and weekly goals. Utilizing a weekly planner can really help you stay on target. Simply write down your goals for the week and mark when complete. This may sound cheesy, but there's nothing better than watching yourself accomplish a goal. This is absolutely one of those gifts that will stand the test of time and get maximum use.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

Instead of giving a gift that keeps on giving, why not give a gift that taketh away? Noise cancelling headphones may soon become your writer's new best friend. These work great for empty the sound space around you to help center your mind. This can definitely lead to a more productive workday. Plus these are great for airplane travel, public transportation, or any other time when you just need to zone out.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Scrivener 3.0

There's a few things out there that can really help take a writer's work to the next level. One of which happens to be to use pro tools. And if I had only one tool that I could recommend to any writer... It would be Scrivener. It's an absolute game changer. Scrivener helps you start from square one to complete your writing project all the way to formatting and publishing. It's an all inclusive planning, organizing word processing software that does damn near everything but the dishes. I cannot stress just how great this software really is--so head over to Kindlepreneur and see that Dave Chesson feels the same way I do. Except he's got a super neat review and discount coupon.

Gifts for Writers All Wrapped Up

Now, a super sweet pen or a bunch of fancy Moleskines definitely will make this author happy. But we writers are complex creatures that look beyond the simple tools of our trade--like a great custom tote or drawstring bag. If you're really trying to show that special author in your life that you really care, you don't need to really go all out. Maybe all they really need is a hug, a thank you, and some home delivered meals.

Cause honestly... Ya girl here could eat!

Cheers,


Publisher Rocket Review: Is It Worth It?

Before this Publisher Rocket review, I want to tell you a story.

A story of a burned out writer.

This writer is me.

Many moons ago, my primary focus was not on books and book marketing. Not on gizmos and gadgets for writers. But Information Technology. Web development and programming to be more exact. I studied hard and practiced long to become a top-notch coder. I had learned all the tips and tricks. All those secret little back doors to coder's paradise. And then it hit me... I should write a dang book about this stuff!

And you know what? I did.

I was soooo excited! My first book was complete! Now, it was time to share it with the world.

I figured, "Heck, I'm an awesome writer. I know things. People will love it, and the book will sell like hotcakes!"

Oh boy. I had no idea just how wrong I was.

I posted it on Amazon like a giddy self-publisher would threw some random keywords into my publication campaign and called it a day. Well, that day turned into a week. Which turned in a month. Then two. And before I knew it... I had sold one single copy.

Seriously. Thanks Mom.

My hopes were dashed, my inkwell ran dry, and my confidence was at an all-time low.

Until one day, I stumbled across something that would change my life forever.

KDP Rocket Review: This isn't my kind of thing!

When I first heard about Rocket, honestly, I blew it off. I figured it's just snake oil. No way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks could it work. After all, I've been burned before from programs and services telling me they'd help me sell more books.  Oh, please!

But, then a fiction author friend of mine told me, "It saves me sooooo much time!!"

Huh...time is important and I'd prefer to spend more time writing than working on my book marketing.  Plus, they have a 30 day money-back guarantee, So, I figured I'd at least give it a try. After all, if it saves me even a couple of hours of tedious book marketing work, it would be worth it.

And after that... well, here I am. And KDP Rocket's evolved into something much more powerful and determined.

In this Publisher Rocket review, I'm going to let you know exactly what Rocket can and can't do for you.

What can Publisher Rocket 2.0 Do for You?

Well, that's the million dollar question isn't it?

The best way I can describe Publisher Rocket is this:

The Best Damn Book Marketing Tool Available!

(Exactly.)

Publisher Rocket helps you to lift that veil of ambiguity that Amazon's presented and see what actually is going on--what people are looking for, how they buy books, how much money they are spending, and how your competitors are doing.

It does so through four majorly distinct features.

  1. Publisher Rocket helps you find your keywords to target or for new book ideas!
  2. It helps you find categories that help you to have a better chance at being a bestseller
  3. Rocket analyzes the competition to give you an advantage (but it doesn't tell you what keywords they are targeting because Amazon doesn't provide that info)
  4. If you do AMS ads, it helps you create AMS campaigns more effectively and efficiently.

(U/I and Display Score: 10/10)

Is Publisher Rocket just some lame extension or what?

It operates as a standalone application meaning you don't need to be signed into your Google or Amazon. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. Now, I've heard some people say that other guys are a built-in extension so it's easier to use. And I have a response to that... They must be crazy. Do you know what the least remembered things are in programming or the Internet in general are?

That's right! Plugins, extensions, and widgets! These go straight to the back of the line. Why? Because there is always something bigger and badder around the corner. Like a standalone platform. From a programming perspective, standalone databases and query tools are the best because they don't have to rely on anything else to do their job.

Keyword Analysis with Publisher Rocket 2.0

So, let's tackle that first feature from earlier...

Remember how I told you about how I just threw down some random keywords in my Kindle campaign? Well, if that wasn't a giant frickin' mistake. Some of those keywords were just too general and couldn't compete in the great Amazon bidding wars. Or they were just randomly obscure and specific. These words were worse. At least people were searching for the other ones.

But Rocket helped me solved that issue after the fact. (Wish I had a Publisher Rocket Review like this one earlier...) It allowed me to hone in onto my keywords and choose the ones that Amazon BUYERS were actually looking at! And if you've ever gone through the pain of manually searching and selecting keywords... You understand just how much a pain in the butt that is. Literally hours of research and time in front of a computer.

Rocket turns hours into seconds. And that's no joke. Just head over to their Keyword Search function and--Voila! You are on your way. And it can also help you find just the right niche to start writing your next book!

(And look how beautifully clean and well-designed it is...)

Let's put it to the test.

Finding a New Book Idea with Publisher Rocket

First, we need to select Book or E-Book. That's right. Publisher Rocket now has information for print OR E-Book!

We'll go with e-Book. And now we need a subject... Cats it is. :)

Ok, so we'll enter that in and push "Go Get Em Rocket".

And these are our first results. Now, before we get into our keyword, let's address the elephant in the room.

Why the heck are they blank?

I'm not a Rocket programmer, but if I had to guess... It would be for a few reasons.

With the exceedingly large amount of keyword hits I got from the phrase "cats", it just might crash Amazon's API with all that data. Like that's seriously a huge data pull.

And also, it just looks cleaner. Less on the page I have to worry about. Obviously, I wouldn't want a world without cats, and that keyword would never apply to me. So why clutter up my screen. Just saying.

Now, let's go ahead and push analyze and see what happens.

After pushing analyze, we end up with some useful data.

First, I can see just how many competitors I have in the "cats" department. And that's a whole heck of a lot. And there's also a competition score of 42. Yikes. I better be ready for that stiff competition.

But maybe there's another keyword that would be better suited for me.

Cats and Robots. Now... we may be onto something here. I like cats. And robots. And just maybe...the two together would make for an interesting story. Now, let's look at the numbers.

Less competition. Easier competitive score. Higher average monthly earning.

Guess who has two thumbs and just found her next book idea? This girl!

That took all of 30 seconds. Publisher Rocket can seriously cut your keyword research time way down.

But besides keyword analysis, what else can Publisher Rocket do?

Well, the next major area of concern is Amazon categories. And boy does Rocket come in clutch here.

Finding the Right Category with Publisher Rocket

Back when KDP Rocket was released, they didn't have category searching data. It actually came out as a later feature. And truth be told, KDSpy was the better option. It excelled at providing you with the best category. This was something that neither Kindle Samurai or  Rocket could do. But then, Rocket grew up. It started providing awesome category data.

But it was very different from KDSpy. Have you actually taken a look at the interface for KDSpy? Not trying to dog on it too much, but honestly... It needs some serious work. It's very cluttered and hectic at times. It reminds me of looking at old lines of scrolling DOS back on Windows 3.1. (Sorry for showing my age...)

(Reminding me of my coding days and not in a good way.)

Don't get me wrong though. KDSpy does have the category data. And for one point in time, there was no other option. KDSpy was king of the categories. Until Rocket came along with their categories. And their signature ease of use. SO... when given the opportunity to choose, it's a no-brainer.

Rocket for the win. But this is a Publisher Rocket review, so let me get back to the point. (For more on KDSpy vs Rocket, click HERE!)

Now, in Publisher Rocket, there has been a major overhaul to the category system. If I'm not mistaken, it looks like they are completely current with Amazon's database of categories.

But what does this mean for you? You have the best opportunities to find the right categories for your book to help you sell more books.

Imagine if you had the ability to openly explore all of Amazon's 22,000+ categories at your fingertips. No signing in. No trying to see just how far the rabbit hole goes from window to window.

Just raw data there at the click of a button. That's remarkable.

Let's check it out.

Category Exploration with Publisher Rocket

Just like before, the Category Hunter can be accessed from the home screen. Here's where the Rocket team has implemented a super cool new feature! You can actually start to search and explore categories as never before.

Let's explore categories for our robot cat novel from above.

After clicking typing in the word "robot", Rocket gives you a whole list of relevant category suggestions.

As you can, the best bet for our book would probably be the number one on the list. And it's really neat that the ABSR data and sales to top ten are clearly presented. With 14 sales needed at this time to get there...This looks like a great category to niche into.

But this new screen isn't the only thing that changed. Previously, this category information tended to be a bit stale. Like updated every so often. But I've heard it from Dave Chesson himself that such is no longer the case. They have implemented a revolutionary new system that updates every single Amazon category 3x a day. Folks...That's over 12000 categories updated three times a day everyday!

This category hunter is a definite upgrade from their previous version. And sets a new precedent for future Category Hunters to come.

Getting to Know Your Competition

Another one of the Rocket's major features is its competition analyzer. This is truly an incredible feature. It can let me know exactly who I need to beat as an author and who I need to look out for.

Now, it doesn't show your competitor's keywords. (Found out why through another email dialogue with Rocket's support. Apparently, Amazon doesn't release that information. Good Guy Amazon? This must be a new thing.)

But it does show other important data such as:

  • Monthly Sales
  • Daily Sales
  • Keywords in Title or Subtitle
  • Age of the Book
  • Book's ABSR number

It also gives a link to the author's sale page. This way you can really grind in. Read your competition's reviews. Find out what you need to do to be the best.

Let's take a look at my robot cats' competition.

Same step as before. Head back to the homepage and click Competition Analyzer.

Next, select E-Book.

Publisher Rocket Review Gripe #1

  • Honestly, the folks behind Publisher Rocket should definitely think about adding a fiction/non-fiction filter here. If you're competing against fiction... you should have the opportunity to only pull fiction titles.

(Well folks, seems that this ole gal jumped the gun... I had the awesome opportunity to chat directly with Dave Chesson himself--creator of this awesome program. Turns out that you aren't necessarily concerned about fiction or nonfiction when it comes to competition. Because the competition isn't about your target audience. It's about the keyword itself! So ranking above all genres is even better. Gripe resolved.)

Back to business... I'm going to be using the term "robot cat". I'll go ahead and click "Go Get Em Rocket!" and BOOM!

The results are in.

So, this is my competition in the E-Book realm. As you can see from the scroll bar on the right, there are more titles although not very many. Seems like robot cats might be a good topic to get into after all!

But what's next? What happens after you make the decision that robot cats are the ones for you?

You write the dang ole book!

Creating Awesome AMS Campaigns with Publisher Rocket

For the sake of continuity, let's say I wrote a book on Awesome-tron the Robot Cat. (Copyright and Trademark pending.)

Now, it's time to get Awesome-tron out there in the great big world of Kindle! But will he be received with glad tidings or crash and burn? One thing is for certain. Awesome-tron has a much better chance of survival and prosperity with a great AMS ad campaign.

And Publisher Rocket can help us achieve just that.

One last time, we head to that beautifully crafted homepage and click on AMS Keyword Search. This time, we are told to enter in a book title, keyword, or phrase and Rocket will generate for us a list of keywords. But before we do this, let's stop for a second.

The creator of this software--Dave Chesson-- has provided a series of tutorials and lessons on just how to select AMS keywords.

As a matter of fact, he has released an entire free course on how to find AMS keywords. So, before searching for said AMS keywords, this Nerdy Book Girl recommends taking that course first.

AMS ads are for intermediate to advanced users and I would do them a disservice to be crudely explained on this Publisher Rocket review. Dave does it just perfectly in his free course.

But the AMS features run just as smoothly as the keyword, category, and competition features from above.

Do any "Top Authors" use Publisher Rocket?

You'd be surprised at the sheer amount of support that Publisher Rocket gets. It's not just us little guys here that are looking to get invested in Publisher Rocket. Here are just a few of the more prominent clientele:

What do I as a Rocket user want to see from this program?

Every single thing has room for improvement and Rocket is no exception. It is still early in their transition period between the old KDP Rocket to this new Publisher Rocket, and I'm eager to see what lies ahead. Personally, I'm looking forward to international markets. KDSpy has them, and I believe Rocket should too. I spent the early part of my childhood in Germany actually (Mannheim represent!) and would love to be able to market there.

Another change I would love to see is more filter and search options. This might seem like more of an opulence than a necessity. And you know what... you're right. But doing so would help to soften the blow when purchasing. Add these to my Publisher Rocket Review gripes.

Bottom Line: Is Publisher Rocket worth it?

Without a doubt, this is the best Kindle and AMS assistance software available. And it looks like it's gonna be a while before the King gets dethroned.

Sure, there are some hiccups. Especially in these early stages of Publisher Rocket. But each passing week since its release, I have experienced nothing but excellent service from the Publisher Rocket support team. They are kind, understanding, and patient even with a Obssessed Nerd such as myself. Honestly, if you can't communicate peacefully with them... You're probably not a nice person. HAHAHA!

Just kidding. But they really are awesome. They also seem to be well trained in book marketing and self-publishing as well and all my questions were answered in turn. Not only that, but they directed me to another nifty tool...the Kindle Sales Calculator!

OH SNAP! I never told you the end of my tale from the intro. Anyway, long story short... Rocket helped me get that orange Bestseller ribbon. And for that, I can't thank Dave Chesson enough for. Now, I'm not gonna make any guarantees that this is for everybody. That's just naive. However, it truly helped me. And I think if you put just a little effort and faith into the program... it can help you too.

Well, that's a wrap for me on this Publisher Rocket review. So, go out and get your copy today!

Go Get Publisher Rocket Now!

 


The Best Laptops for Writers and Authors

So, you've decided to throw away the old typewriter and enter the 21st century.

Now it's time for you to start your next novel on a sleek, new machine. But not just any machine... You should opt for one of the best laptops for writers!

But aren't all keyboards the same? Nope.

What about the screens? Double nope.

There's actually quite a bit to look for when looking for laptops especially when choosing your next writing platform. But don't worry, I got you covered. I've gone out and done the research on what I find to be the 5 best laptops for authors!

Let's check it out.

The Best Laptops for Writers Ranked Best to Worst

1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Best PC)

My top pick of the best laptops for writers is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. This Lenovo claims to be an Ultra-No Brainer choice.

Serious words there, Lenovo. But they back every one of them up. It weighs in at just under 2 and a half pounds putting it in contention for the lightest laptop around. And it's power... Oh boy. It comes available with an 8th Gen Intel Core vPro. Couple that with 16 GB of memory and 1 TB of SSD storage, and you have one heck of a machine. But it isn't just all muscle. It comes with some awesomely awesome features including:

  • Intel Thunderbolt 3 Technology
  • Rapid Charge Capability--Go from 0 to 80% Battery in just one hour!
  • Voice Command capable with Cortana Premium
  • ThinkShutter
  • and much, much more!

There's definitely a reason this PC takes our spot at Numero Uno!

Check It Out on Amazon!

2. Apple MacBook Air (Best Mac)

Now this girl, she ain't a Mac user or Apple fanatic. I had an iPhone 4s back in the day and that was it. (And yep. I had a Zune.) But you got to give credit where credit is due. Apple's MacBook Air is so awesome, it's making me thinking twice about buying a Mac. These laptops pride themselves on being the thinnest and lightest full function laptop around, and the newest model isn't any different.  But that's not it, the MacBook Air boasts some seriously luxurious features. It comes equipped with Touch ID--meaning all you need is your fingerprint to unlock it. Or it's newly revamped backlit keyboard for your darkly lit pleasure. And with up to 16 GB of memory and 1.5 TB of SSD storage, this laptop will be sure to handle any task thrown its way.

Check It Out on Amazon!

3. Microsoft Surface Go (Best for On the Go Writers)

Powerful enough to be a laptop. Portable enough to be a tablet. What exactly is the Microsoft Go?

It's an amazing hybrid that finds its way onto our list of the best laptops for writers.

The Surface Go comes with a ten inch Pixel Sense display that provides touch screen capabilities and touch pen use. Or simply connect the keyboard and it turns into a mini-laptop. Since the case and the keyboard are one in the same, this is an awesome laptop for writers who tend to work away from home. Whether you're adventure blogging from Cebu or writing that screenplay at your local coffee shop, the Surface Go is perfect for you.

Wrapped neatly inside its Gorilla Glass shell is up to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD storage. A unique and awesome tablet/laptop experience.

Check It Out on Amazon!

4. Lenovo Yoga c930 (Best Battery Life)

Are you into Yoga? Cause I sure am!

Well, the Lenovo Yoga anyway. This girl can barely touch her toes. But I digress. In our second entry from Lenovo, the Yoga is another one of those unique platforms of the computing world. It's another hybrid. One part laptop, one part tablet, and all parts awesome.

The Yoga really focuses on its audio and video quality. With the elite models using Dolby Atmos tech and 4k Dolby Vision, the Yoga more than provides an adequate A/V experience. They can also come equipped with fingerprint recognition and Cortana voice commands. But maybe the coolest part is its battery life. The Yoga can last up to 15 hours on a single charge. Now that's some real power.

Check It Out on Amazon!

5. Acer Chromebook (Ballin on a Budget Award)

If you're looking a machine to get the job done on a budget, then the Acer Chromebook is the one for you. It's lightweight and portable. It has the computing power to get your writing work done. And... it's substantially cheaper than most options on the market. It runs on a homegrown Google OS which performs well enough as is. However, this Google OS does cause some problems for writers or users. Most of the third-party tools that writers may want to use such as Scrivener and Publisher Rocket do not support Chromebook. There just isn't a market for it yet. But perhaps with the growing popularity of Chromebook and Google's OS, changes could be just around the corner.

Check It Out on Amazon!

 

What to Look for When Buying a New Laptop

Buying a laptop isn't a decision you should run head first into. It's a major purchase that requires care and thought. You need to make sure you have enough for your current needs. And maybe some future needs as well. Do you plan on holding video conferences or need webcam capability? Do you plan on using your computer as a hardcore gaming platform or for casual writing? Or are you going to be doing some hardcore writing?

Coordinating your needs should be your first step.

Important Tech Specs for a New Laptop for Writers

Let's take a look at some of the specifics that  writer would need to analyze prior to purchase.

OS (Operating System)

In our list of the Best Laptops for Writers, there are three different OS's. Windows. Mac. and Google. But which do you prefer? I've clearly stated my love for PC, but many writers actually prefer Mac. Macs are known for their caterings to creative and artistic folk such as authors. They also have exclusive programs for authors such as Vellum! Most writers using Google normally do so because they've purchased a Chromebook based on our next reason.

Budget

When purchasing a new laptop, you definitely need to consider your budget. Look, here's a truth bomb. Not all of us writers end up as Stephen King. And some of us can't necessarily leave our day jobs to pursue writing just yet. But that doesn't mean you should give up on a new machine. Just be wary of your budget. Now, Chromebooks are generally the least expensive option you'll find. They're not terrible and easy on the wallet. But they lack certain luxuries provided by other platforms. Macs, on the other hand, tend to be on the more expensive side of things, but that's not to say PCs aren't expensive either. They can definitely get up there. But they also have many more cheaper options than Mac.

Keyboard and Touchpad

If you didn't think that the keyboard would be a major factor when choosing the best laptops for writers... You might be in the wrong field. Test out the keys before you pick it up. Are they tactile enough? Is there enough vertical space for the keys to travel? Some keyboards have wider sets between individual keys which can be better (or worse) for smaller (or larger hands). Also, if you're a full-time writer, you don't want a flimsy keyboard. Trust me. I've been through enough keyboards to realize this. Another thing that I made sure my laptop has when it comes to keys is... a backlit keyboard. Seriously, this has come in handy more often than not.

Another thing to check is the touchpad. If you don't plan on using an external mouse, your touchpad will be your chief way of navigating your screen. Macs are famous for their awesome touchpads and the different commands that can be executed from them. Me... I find them to be too complicated for my taste. I actually prefer to use an external mouse.

What Laptop Should I Get?

Well, I can't necessarily answer that for you. Everybody has different needs. For example, I have a very heavy hand and spend almost 6 hours a day on my keyboard. So, I needed something that could handle my oafishness. I also needed a backlit keyboard and many plugs for external devices such as a mouse, phone, and others.

I'm also not a fan of Mac. Just my personal preference. I've just been using Windows since the DOS days and reuse to head over to the light side of Mac. That's why I'm on Windows. I also need a heavy graphic card for web design and video editing. So, my setup will probably be worlds apart from a casual writer's.

But that's just my two cents. Either way, let me know what setups you're running in comments below! Love to hear what going on with my fellow writers.

Cheers,

 

 

 


20/20 Insight on the Best Reading Glasses

BEST READING GLASSES. (just making sure you're in the right article.)

Do you get frequent headaches when you read? Or do the words just disappear into the page? Maybe, you're like me, and the whole world is just one big, hazy mush.

If these are the case, then you just might need reading glasses. And look (or don't), if you're worried about glasses not being cool or being a burden...

Don't be.

Have you seen these kids nowadays? They're running around with glasses without graded lenses! See (or don't), glasses are the things to have today. Plus, for those of us who actually need them, it's pretty awesome to walk around without fear of things such as lamp posts or walls.

So what are the best reading glasses for you?

The Best Reading Glasses Ranked Best to Worst

1. DoubleTake Pocket Readers with Clip Case (Best Overall)

These pocket readers are exactly what I want for reading glasses. Although they are slim and stylish, they perform their function perfectly and come with an equally slim and stylish hard case. These fit in every pocket your phone will (Sorry gals, we still out here fighting the good fight on pockets.) and come in a variety of magnifications. The readers also come with a pen clip. This way you can just clip them alongside your pens in your front pocket and always have them at the ready. They come in packs of two. Two minimalist designs that are ideal for unisex wear. Seriously. These are a great deal.

Check It Out on Amazon!

2. Success Eyewear Compact Folding Reading Glasses (Best Foldable)

Let's face it. Some of the best things are foldable. NY style pizza. Motorola RAZRs. But what about reading glasses? These glasses from Success Eyewear are also pretty awesome! They neatly fold so they can be tucked away almost anywhere. Keep them in your glove box, your office drawer, or a pocket to stay at your reading best!

Check It Out on Amazon!

3. ThinOptics Reading Glasses with Pod Case (Best Thin Model)

I lose everything. My keys, my hats, socks (just one only...dang old sock gremlins), my sanity. You name it. But there is one thing I hold on so dearly to. My phone. So, when I heard about a pair of glasses so thin, they could actually attach to my phone case... I had to check it out. These glasses are just as thin as two credit cards and come in a neat equally as minute case. A case that can be attached to the back of most modern phone cases. This way you can take your readers any where. Never struggle with menus or movie showtimes again!

Check It Out on Amazon!

4. Gamma Ray 5 Pack with Sun Reader (Great Value Award)

If you're looking for a bit of variation with your value packs, this is the choice for you. The Gamma Ray 5 Pack comes with 4 awesome reading glasses of your magnification AND one Sun Reader. That's right. Whether sitting at an outdoor cafe or reading a book on the beach, you can enjoy sunlit reading once again.

Check It Out on Amazon!

5. Lurglasses 7 Pack (Best for Glasses Destroyers)

So, story time! Back in the day, I had this roommate. Honestly, she was the sweetest, most kind and caring individual I have ever met. Now, she wouldn't hurt a fly, but her glasses... Now, those were a completely different story. 100% of the time they were completely destroyed. Heck, the smudges had smudges. Better yet, they had cracks so deep the Grand Canyon went on vacation to visit them.  She always just said, "Oh, they're just readers. I can always get another pair."

If this sounds familiar to you or someone you love, this is the deal to go for. There are 7 of these bad boys in a single pack. Wear for a week then toss em, and grab another pair. Disposable contacts meet the Lurglasses 7 pack.

Check It Out on Amazon!

Should you Get Reading Glasses?

Do you even need reading glasses? In all reality, if you think you do... You probably do.

Why?

Because you're probably seeing (or not) all the signs!

Here are just a few ways to tell if you need reading glasses:

  • Are words and images blurry when you are reading? Do you need to hold the book farther away to see them?
  • Do you find yourself struggling to read small print in dim light? Or are you purchasing large print books?
  • Are you experiencing headaches when reading?
  • Or do your eyes hurt when doing anything up close such as typing or sewing?

These are classic signs that you need to be looking for some reading glasses.

What to look for in Reading Glasses

There are many factors you should check before buying a pair of reading glasses.

Style

There are two primary styles of reading glasses.

Full Frame

With full frame glasses, the entirety of the lenses are made with the prescription. This is useful for those who spend a lot of their time reading or doing up close work.

Half Frame

These are the similar to the bifocals Old Ben Franklin created. These are useful for those who only need to look at up close things sparingly. Afterwards you can look above or around the lens for clearer vision for far distances.

Prescription Strength

Reading glasses are normally much less intensive than your standard corrective lenses. They often graduate in terms of .25 power grades starting at extremely low strengths. The lowest is at 1.00 diopter whereas the strongest is at right about 4.00 diopters.

The goal is to choose the one with the lowest number that works for you.

You can determine this by trying on a few pairs and attempting to read a magazine. Hold it about 14 inches away from your face and put on the glasses. Do they help? Is it sharp enough or do you need a little more oomph?

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but... Your vision is more than likely to only get worse as time goes on. If you start experiencing some of the previous signs again... It's probably time to up your grade.

When to Go See a Eye Doctor

Once you start experiencing these signs, go to the doctor.

I can give you advice all day, but I am not a medically trained professional. Alas, I am but a Nerdy Book Girl on the internet. So, head over to your nearest ophthalmologist and get checked.

Your eyes will thank you.

Cheers,

 

 


Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis: Which is Best for You?

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis?

Does it really matter? I mean there's still print!

What’s more cozy than snuggling up with a good book in front of a crackling fire?

Doing so from the comfort of your favorite leather bound armchair and a glass of 1985 Castello di Ama Merlot.

However, if you’re like me… the glow of the crackling fire has been replaced by the soft tint of street lights from my apartment window. The armchair… an old futon (remnant of a younger time). And that wine… replaced with a hot mug of Earl Grey-- two sugars and a squeeze of lemon.

But the book. That stays the same right? The crisp turn of a page. Creaking of a leather spine opening to reveal the adventure inside. The smell of paper turned more than its fair share of times.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

As much as I would love to own a library full, realistically, I just don’t have the space. Or the cash. Now, I do keep a few of favorites in print form. BUT… when books are a major part of your life, a scant selection of print does not for a very merry life make. So, I have turned a lot of my book reading towards the 21st century.

That’s right. Ebooks.

Now, there are a ton of e-reader devices out there. And when it comes to e-readers, Amazon Kindle is leading the charge. The word Kindle has become synonymous with e-reader just as Coke has for really any carbonated beverage. (Southern folks, I’m looking at you.)

And when it comes to Kindles, there are two major options in my eyes. The Paperwhite and the Oasis. In all reality, both of these devices get my seal of approval. Each have the quality you would expect from an Amazon product and the ability to access Amazon’s Kindle store. But it’s their differences that set them apart from one another. That being said…

Let’s take a closer look at these two industry leaders and some features to help determine which one is right for you!

Kindle Paperwhite

vs

Kindle Oasis

 

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis--Price

The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s flagship top of the line e-reader. And for good reason. It comes with many unique qualities and features. But along with those top notch features comes a price to match it. Starting at $249.99, the Oasis does boast a pretty steep price point.

The Kindle Paperwhite, on the other hand, is much more budget friendly. Coming in at $129.99, the Paperwhite is substantially less expensive than the Oasis.

These prices may seem to be a little steep--especially that of the Oasis. But things do need to be considered. Your average NYT Bestseller costs around $15 for a hard cover and $8 for a paperback copy. E-books on the other hand are usually half the price.

For avid readers, e-books are much more cost effective than print. Investing in a quality reader may be worth your while.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis-- Design Construction

Price isn’t the only difference these two have. (Well duh, Samantha!) But their are key differences in the actual construction of the two.

The Kindle Paperwhite isn't all too heavy. Weighing in at 191g, it is constructed of a thick plastic body with a soft back coating. While the Paperwhite doesn’t feel flimsy… It lacks that certain premium touch.

That’s where the Kindle Oasis shines.

The Oasis has swapped out the plastic body for that of aluminum. And a sleek looking aluminum as well! Its beveled edges give it a sleek, angular design which holds great in your hands. Not only that but, the Oasis clocks in at 194g (another great lightweight option) making this a great holding experience.

But the materials used aren’t just it. The Paperwhite uses the industry standard touchscreen. Simply tap and swipe your way to a happy ending. But Oasis is not so run of the mill. It comes equipped with PagePress buttons.

PagePress buttons seem kind of wonky at first, but you will get accustomed to them very quickly. They work to replicate the feeling of real buttons. These are actual found on the back bezels. They are activated by placing appropriate pressure on the applicable bezel. It takes a few minutes to learn, but in the end… They are really comfortable and help keep your screen smudge-free.

Speaking of…

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis: Screen and Display

A screen’s a screen right? I mean, they can’t be that different.

Or can they?

The Paperwhite is equipped with a 300ppi (Pixel per inch) display. This is the same pixel resolution that was debuted with the Oasis. So… the Paperwhite does have an absolutely wonderful resolution. But… once again the Oasis has some tricks up its sleeve.

The Oasis comes equipped with a micro-etched glass screen (unlike the plastic display of the Paperwhite). This is an awesome feature! The tempered glass is more resistant to scuffs and scratches--especially useful if you happen to have a few cantankerous cats running around who love to jump on everything… But I digress. And the micro-etching… That helps to prevent reflections.

Not only does the Oasis have a glass screen, but adaptive light technology. This makes transitions from dark to light and vice versa extremely useful. And this is done with 12 separate LEDs compared to the Paperwhite's 5.

IMHO, both displays are just great. But the Oasis takes the cake.

Tech Specs

Now, most of this is pretty much the same.

Both have the same battery life--a staggering 6 weeks! I wish I had other batteries that lasted that long…

Each come with 8 or 32GB of internal storage. This might not seem like much in today’s day and age, but remember that ebooks don’t take up much space. As a matter of fact, each reader can hold thousands of book on their internal storage. If for some reason you need more space, you can always avail of free cloud storage.

So What’s the Bottom Line?

The real question here is:

So, Paperwhite vs Oasis?

And the answer is…. Not that clear.

For those who are full on dedicated to ebooks, the Oasis is probably your best bet. It has so many great features and wonderful specifications. The major setback here is the price.

But no need to worry, the Paperwhite is also a wonderful option! Although the Paperwhite lacks some of the bells and whistles of the Oasis, that does not make it any less viable an option. The Paperwhite is ideal for casual readers looking to enter the world of ebooks.

Well, that’s my take! If you have any experience with either of these, feel free to comment below and let me know what you think. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,

 


The Best Light Bulbs for Reading, Writing, and Comfort

The Best Light Bulbs for Reading.

This article may seem a little pointless. It's dark. Then it's light. Tada!

But lighting is super important! What would you do if I just came and stole all the light bulbs out of your house? (Besides go to the store and get new ones?) I can bet you'd be pretty angry. Or what if I just rearranged your light bulbs?

Many times we use different light bulbs for different things. Let's say I took your outdoor flood lights and put them above your dining room table. A peaceful meal now becomes an interrogation--like dinner at your in-laws or Thanksgiving. Or what if we transferred your bright white bathroom LEDS or fluorescent and put them in your reading nook? Again... things wouldn't be as they should.

SO without further ado, let's come out of the dark and step into the light with these best light bulbs for reading!

The Best Light Bulbs for Reading

1. Phillips LED Dimmable A19 Light Bulb (Best LED)

These Phillips LED bulbs are this girl's top pic for Best LED. They provide 800 lumens of soft white light which is about equal to a 60W incandescent bulb. This means that they aren't overbearingly bright, but provide enough light to ensure that you can see whatever you are reading. It's just plain comfortable light. Comfortable might seem a little pretentious when describing light, but that's exactly what you need. Comfort. No straining. No squinting. Plus, these bulbs are dimmable and the more you dim... the warmer the light becomes. Keep it festive and bright or warm and cozy. The choice is up to you.

2. Sylvania 13W CFL T2 Spiral Light Bulb (Best CFL)

The Sylvania 13W CFL is an awesome choice for those of you into CFL type bulbs. These energy savers only use up 13W, but they pack a punch. They can replace a 60W incandescent bulb and provide up to 850 lumens. This falls into a comfortable light range keeping your eyes shielded from undue strain. Being CFLs, these bulbs cannot dim, so look elsewhere if that's what you need. However, they do provide a whopping 10000 hours of light. So they got that going for them which is nice.

3. GE 3-Way Light Bulb Soft White (Best Incandescent)

If you're old fashioned and prefer your light bulbs to be as well, these GE's are the pick for you. They get the job done and are cheap. Nothing too fancy. What sets these apart from other incandescent options is the 3-way capabilities. Use these at three different wattages--50W, 100W, or 150W. However, these will use more electricity than CFL or LED bulbs. And they won't last nearly as long. But if your lamp just won't support LEDs or you are looking for that iconic incandescent glow, here's a solid option.

4. Vintage LED Edison Light Bulbs (Best Vintage Option)

Whoever said light bulbs couldn't look cool probably wasn't very cool themselves. These are awesome! These dimmable LEDs produce up to 400 lumens of soft amber glow. They are also expected to deliver up to 30000 hours of light per bulb! These bulbs are just perfect for a cozy little reading nook or intimate setting like a formal dining area. Plus, they add a cool bit of ambiance to whatever room they light up. They're sure to be a conversation starter for any who see them.

5. Novostella LED Light Bulbs for Smart Lamps for Alexa and Google Home (Best Smart Bulbs)

With things such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, the smart home revolution has taken off. Not only can you control your speakers and TV, but you can utilize smart tech for your light bulbs as well. However, in order to do so, you need to make sure you have the compatible bulbs. And this bulb is one of the absolute best out there. At only 7W it can produce up to 600 lumens in almost any color you can imagine. Yep, there are right around 16 MILLION different color combinations that this single bulb can output all from the sound of your voice. You can also app control away from home. This means you can "Roxanne" your room when coming home from a hot date prior to arriving. Or put it at a nice warm glow for reading.

6. Yangcsl LED Light (Best Remote Control)

On a scale of 1-Nerdy Book Girl, how lazy are you? Well if you're just like me, the remote control feature of this light bulb is all you need. But that definitely not all this bulb can do for you. This bulb can bring the party. When utilized to its fullest potential, you can set it on different colors or functions--such as strobe--with just the simple press of a button. If you want to use it for reading, it's also great! I tend to fall asleep when I read (which is why I have to find a position where the book doesn't drop directly onto my face). By using this light bulb, I can actually set a timer for it to turn off after a specified amount of time. This definitely qualifies them as one of the best light bulbs for reading.

What are the different types of light bulbs?

As we have seen above, light bulbs come in many different flavors. (This being said I just prefer a light meal. Ba-doom Tsss...Still waiting for my comedy career to kick off.)

And each of these have their own advantages and uses. Let's explore them a bit more.

Incandescent

These are the OG's of light bulbs. Contrary to popular belief, Edison didn't invent the electric light bulb. This honor can be bestowed to Humphry Davy back in 1802. But it's shine was short-lived. Extremely short lived at that and way too bright for any practical purpose. Over the next 70 years, other inventors tried to create a viable product but to no avail.

This is when Edison stepped in. Using a charred bamboo filament, he and his team were the first to create a viably commercial electric light bulb. Thus the credit goes to him. (I still have my reservations about this Edison guy.)

Either way, these early bulbs were considered incandescent bulbs. Bulbs which are still around to this day, albeit much more modernized.

Incandescent bulbs work by transferring electric current through a specialized filament. The filament--which is in cased within a glass or quartz bulb filled with inert gas--then begins to glow and... Voila! Let there be light!

As simple as these bulbs are, they still hold some pretty great advantages when compared to its LED or Fluorescent counterparts. These include:

  • Great for providing warm light to small areas
  • Cheap cost for consumers
  • Reliable even lighting with no flickering
  • Safe with no toxic materials
  • Dimmable
  • Come in universal sizes

Fluorescent

Developed in 1934 by General Electric, these bulbs are still highly relevant today. You probably see them everyday or even have some inside your home.

You know those long skinny tube bulbs? The ones found commonly in office spaces and vanities? Those are fluorescent light bulbs. But they don't necessarily have to take those shape anymore. Modern day CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are now commonly found in home lamps and overhead fixtures.

I am sure you've seen those tornado-like or twisted style bulbs. More than likely, those are CFLs. The twists and turns provide an extra length needed for the bulb to operate instead of just a long straight path.

The advantages for fluorescent bulbs include:

  • Much better energy efficiency when compared to incandescent bulbs
  • They are relatively cheap
  • Their energy efficiency leads to long term cost savings on electricity
  • Often provide for a better light distribution over incandescent bulbs
  • Less heat production due to its use of less energy

LED

If incandescent bulbs are the original gangstas of light bulbs, then LEDs are the new kids on the block. They're normally small, but extremely bright and durable. Most modern light sources are making the swap over to LEDs and for many good reasons. You can find them as light bulbs, computer screens, smart phones, televisions, etc.

Here are just some of the advantages of LED light bulbs:

  • The most energy efficient of light bulb choices
  • Extremely long life
  • No flickering or warm-up time
  • Solid state--this makes them super rugged
  • Awesome color rendering means colors are more true under their light
  • Easily directed to specific areas
  • Brightness and Color control is made easy

Just beware though. LEDs do have one hidden danger.

Blue light.

Excessive blue light can be detrimental to your eye health. In order to find out more info on blue light, check out THIS article on the best blue light blocking glasses.

What do I actually use?

Honestly, I'm a huge fan of LEDs. I believe that they are among the best light bulbs for reading. Incandescent bulbs are essentially phased out in the US and for just a few bucks more than a CFL, I can get a quality LED. Plus, I love the adaptability of LEDs. CFL's just can't do that. But, if you're on a tight budget, CFLs will work in a pinch. I would just reserve incandescent bulbs for antique lamps in order to get that authentic glow. However, LED tech is providing that glow now.

That's just my two cents anyway. Let me know what you think. What bulbs are you using and why? I'd love to hear from you.

Cheers,

 

 


The 7 Best Desk Lamps that You Can Get Right Now!

I love lamp.

And no. Not in a I'm just looking around the room, seeing things, and saying I love them sort of way.

Seriously. Lamps are awesome. They cannot only illuminate your room, but make it look more complete as well. And desk lamps are an absolute necessity for any who spend their time at a desk reading or writing.

But not all desk lamps are built alike. Some outshine others, while some are just left in the dark.

SO... before I can make another lamp pun, let's shine some light on the lamp situation (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) and take a look at some of the best desk lamps you can buy.

Best Desk Lamps Rated from Best to Worst

My Choices for the 7 Best Desk Lamps

1. TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with Qi Wireless Fast Charging (Best All-Around)

This is my number choice for best overall lamp. It comes equipped with 5 color temperatures with 7 different brightness settings. You're sure to find the right combination you need for whatever lighting needs you may have. The lighting fixture swivels a full 90 degrees and left and right to ensure your light in directed in the proper direction. It also comes equipped with a sweet night light setting and one hour shut off timer. But wait there's more! The TaoTronics has the Qi Wireless Charging system to wirelessly charge your compatible Apple or Samsung devices. But if you'd rather utilize wired charging, feel free to plug up to two devices into this lamp's USB ports.

 

2. COZOO LED Desk Lamp (Best for Limited Sockets)

The COZOO is a great lamp for those who are in a pinch for electrical sockets--such as dorm rooms. The lamp not only comes with 3 brightness levels with 3 lighting modes, but also with 2 wall outlets! So now, you can plug in your lamp, laptop, and coffee warmer all at the same time! Need to plug in your phone? Well the COZOO has you covered there too with its 3 USB charging ports. Looking to give a great college gift? This is the lamp for you.

 

3. Wanjiaone Desktop Lamp (Perfect for Students or Writers)

This lamp is the perfect selection for writers and students. It's an all-in-one lamp sure to fit all your needs. Need a pen? Check the pen holder. Need to know the time? Check the alarm clock. Need to charge your phone? Check out the fast charging USB port. Its actual lighting feature is pretty standard with 3 different brightness levels , but its other features are what really make this great.

 

4. TaoTronics TT-DL16 Desk Lamp (Best All-Metal Option)

TaoTronics' all metal TT-DL16 is an awesome choice for those looking for a sleek, yet robust lamp. It comes with 5 color modes and 6 different brightness levels. The lamp also boasts an advanced memory system. Just set your favorite settings and revert back with the press of a single button. It's also fully adjustable from all joints so you have the superior angle for whatever your situation calls for.

 

5. Alera Traditional Banker's Lamp (Best for Traditional Styling)

Do you have many leather bound books on your desk? Or does your apartment smell of rich mahogany? Then, this might just be the lamp for you! It's antique finish and decorative pullchain will make you feel more luxurious and studious. The shade itself can also pivot slightly for a better light direction. Although this lamp is pretty standard as far as lamps go, the look and class it adds to your room is second to none.

 

6. HAITRAL Industrial Desk Lamp (Best for Funky Modern Design)

Without its ability to shine, this lamp would be a one-trick pony. But... it does that trick well. Its awesome industrial design lends creativity and style to any room it is placed in. It comes with a standard bulb socket to accommodate any light bulb of your choosing. And since it is shadeless, the HAITRAL can definitely light up a room. Lamps don't have to be just for illumination, and this one proves just that.

 

7. Newport Home Goods Tree Lamp with Bluetooth Speaker (Best Ambiance)

If you're looking for a centerpiece for a room, look no further. This lamp is it. Its super cool, elegant design is sure to capture anyone's eye. But it can also grab their ear as well. With its built-in Bluetooth speaker, you can do just that. Put on some light jazz, dim the light with its easy touch slider, and relax away with a nice glass of Pinot (Noir or Grigio, your choice).

 

Factors to Consider when Buying Your Ideal Desk Lamp

When it comes to choosing anything, there are considerations to be made. This is especially true with desk lamps. After all, it is a light or dark situation!!! (I swear I'm not a comedienne, folks.)

But all joking aside... There are some key elements you should look for including:

Light Quality

Believe it or not, not all light is created equal. Some light can actually be harmful to your body--i.e. blue light. (If you're looking to avoid that... I got a whole article on it!)

But when it comes to quality, there are two major things to look at.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Simply put, this is how true colors look underneath the given light source. This rating is super important for desk lamps. Imagine working at your desk as a cartoonist. When you go to color fill, you want to make sure that your light source is able to properly convey the color you want. Or else, your greens may be more blue than you think. To avoid this, look for LED bulbs with a high CRI rating. A rating of 85-100 would be best for color contrast situations.

Color Temperature

This measures how a light source's emissions look based on a scale of "warm" and "cool". Warm light tends to have a yellowish, or even orangey hue to it. Whereas cool light produces a brighter, clearer white light.

 

The Right Size for Your Desk

Imagine buying a tiny little clip on desk for a huge Cocobolo desk. How goofy would that look? Plus, it wouldn't even begin to cover the surface area. But put that lamp on a roll away desk in the corner of your dorm room, and you're doing it right. Likewise, don't buy a giant swing arm for a tiny desk. It could over saturate your workstation with light. And you don't want it hanging off your desk either.

When placing your lamp, make sure that the light source is above your eye line, and you can navigate your desk comfortably.

Adjustable

Another key factor to consider is how adjustable the lamp is. Can you swivel it? Does it bend at more than one angle? If you are a strict typist, this may not be too much of a factor. But doing other tasks such as crafting or drawing, a non-adjustable lamp can cause a problem. Make sure to find a lamp that best suits your needs.

My Final Take on the Best Desk Lamps

All of these lamps listed above are awesome! Just remember to shop what you need. Every lamp is different and special. Sometimes, what works in the office doesn't work in the living area. So, be mindful into what you are buying. Welp, I hope I was able to shed some light on the situation and brighten up your day!

Cheers,