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. And again, you are given the option between Book or E-Book and Fiction or Non-Fiction.

Let's explore fiction E-Book categories for our robot cat novel from above.

After clicking "Go Get Em Rocket", we are presented with a list of main categories that this E-Book can fall under. I'm feeling youthful after that DOS reference so let's go with a children's book.

I'll just click the "Check it out" button and see what happens.

WOW! Ok. That's a lot of sub-categories...

Publisher Rocket Review Gripe #1

  • Now, this is something that kinda perturbs me right now. This list is long and extensive. And it seems that I have no way to filter them out. This definitely seems like something that should be amended. (After an email convo with Publisher Rocket's exceptionally courteous support, it seems that there will be a search filter released in a soon upcoming patch. Stay tuned folks.)

But until then... let's scroll with it. (LOL. I crack myself up.)

Ok! Here's one that looks promising!

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children's eBooks > Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Science Fiction > Action & Adventure

Let's check out the data first.

It actually looks kind of inviting. With only 11 books needed to be sold to become the #25 book? I can probably reach that!

But if you have higher aspirations, 114 are needed to hit that coveted Bestseller spot and get that sweet, sweet orange ribbon.

What happens if we click that little "check it out" button though?

It takes us straight to the home page of that category! This way I can scope out that number one spot.

Hmm. Hunger Games. I'm coming for ya, Suzanne. I'm coming.

But all jokes aside, 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 #2

  • 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,

 

 


Best Backlit Keyboards

It seems that this Nerdy Book Girl is obsessed with keyboards. But this time, I want to talk about a very specific type of.

Backlit Keyboards.

These are pretty sweet in their own right. They're often a popular choice for the gaming community (Shout out to my fellow WoW Nerds! Lok'tar Ogar!), but that doesn't mean we writers can't take advantage of their awesomeness!

So, I've gone ahead and compiled a list of my top ten backlit keyboards for writers. And if you don't see your favorite on here, reach out to me and let me know! As authoritatively concrete this list is... It can be open for change. ;)

Now enough babbling, it's time for the best backlit keyboards for writers.

The Best Backlit Keyboards for Writers

 

1. Corsair K70 Lux with Cherry MX Blues (Best in Show)

In my opinion, this is the keyboard all the other backlit keyboards want to be when they grow up. It is the true definition of a luxury experience. Encased in a rugged, yet lightweight aluminum frame, this mechanical keyboard can handle all the love that you are going to want to throw at it. The K70 comes available with all Cherry switches, however I prefer the MX Blues for their tactility and audible clickity-clack. Not only that, but it comes with multiple backlit options including the ability to color sync with other Corsair components you may be using. It's also a dream to read with large print font type on the keys making this ideal for late-night typists or for the visually-impaired such as myself. It also comes well-equipped with luxury options such as:

  • Dedicated Multimedia Keys
  • Detachable Soft Wrist Rest
  • USB Pass-through Port
  • and more!

This keyboard is the real deal Holyfield.

 

2. Logitech K810 Wireless (Best Backlit Wireless Keyboard)

This keyboard isn't about all the frills. The Logitech K810's smooth minimalist design focuses more on functionality. But as Ric Flair would say... Whoo! That's a clean keyboard! It's very neatfully arranged and it's compact, low profile arrangement makes for a great placement on any desk. Not to mention the way it handles its illumination. The keys are laser etched to ensure that only the keys' characters are illuminated providing much needed focus on what really matters. On top of all that, it has an auto-adjustment illumination protocol. This means that the keys adjust their brightness due to ambient illumination. It also has a hand proximity detector, so the keys only illuminate when your hands are ready to type saving you power when not typing.

 

3. Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard for Mac (Best Backlit Keyboard for Mac)

The Matias is the keyboard Apple never made but should have. Keeping with true Mac style, it provides the user with a sleek and modern design. But don't lets simplicity fool you. Because this is far from your ordinary keyboard. It has a full 2mm of key travel allowing for the tactile leanings and responsiveness you have come to expect form a Mac. The back light can be 100% adjusted via a color wheel enabling either pure white at night (avoiding that blue light) or different hues in order to match your personality. Simply scroll the color wheel and the rainbow is at your fingertips. Another handy feature is that the keyboard has a USB 2.0 port built in. This is great for a mouse, smartphone connection, or jump drive containing the nuclear codes.

 

4. Azio Large Print Backlit Wired Keyboard (Best for Tired Eyes)

I don't know about you, but my eyes aren't as good as they used to be. Which--for the record--wasn't really that good to begin with. But this keyboard really alleviates extra strain on your eyes allowing you to type at your very best. The back light comes equipped with three different colors: red, blue, and purple. And while it is simplicity at its finest, it does have multimedia control keys to give you a better user experience.

It's also winner of our NBG Ballin' on a Budget Award for Keyboards. So, those looking not to break the bank should definitely consider the Azio as a viable option.

 

5. UtechSmart Saturn Rainbow Gaming Keyboard with Wrist Rest (All the Bells and Whistles)

This UtechSmart keyboard is definitely geared more towards the gaming community. With the Saturn, you can choose between 7 different color settings to maximize your gaming experience. Another awesome feature it has is the ability to lock Windows/Context keys when gaming which prevents interruptions. There's nothing as frustrating as when you're wrecking kids in Arena with that Disc Priest and you accidentally press that little windows key. Next thing you know, you reenter your game to the sneers of a ten year old and your team asking WTF? But, I digress. Another frustrating thing that can happen is multiple key rollovers accompanied by too many keys pressed at once. Many times your keyboard can totally crash, and that's no bueno. The Saturn allows for up to 19 keys to be pressed simultaneously and not break your gear. While I'm at it, I should mention those neat little drainage holes on the side just in case you spill any sweet gamer fuel or Emergency Author Initializer (Coffee.)

 

6. Logitech K740 Illuminated Ultrathin Keyboard (Best Ultra-thin Backlit Keyboard)

This Logitech is very similar to the K810 above. The main difference between the two is that the K740 is wired. This means no more waiting for it to charge. I personally am a fan of wired keyboards because my needs don't warrant wireless. But I do love the ultra-thin design of the K740. I believe that a thinner keyboard provides a more comfortable writing experience. My number one wish for both Logitechs is that they came available as a mechanical option with Cherry MX Blues.

 

7. Artech HB030B Universal Portable Bluetooth Keyboard (Best Backlit Keyboard for Travel)

If you like to travel and write while doing so, this could be the perfect backlit keyboard for you. With its ultra-thin frame and extremely lightweight build, the Artech is perfect for carrying around in a backpack, messenger bag, or purse. (Yes. Purse. Don't lie ladies... you know we got those Mary Poppins purses.) Plus it comes with an industry high battery life of 6 MONTHS! That's just nuts. It also works for the big 4 platform and OS's (iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Android), so typing onto anything becomes a breeze. It's backlit capabilities also make it awfully convenient when typing from inside a tent in the middle of nowhere.

 

Why Choose a Backlit Keyboard?

There are definitely some advantages to using an illuminated keyboard. However, it boils down to two major pros.

  1. You can totally use your keyboard in the dark.
  2. It looks flippin cool!

Let's talk a bit about the former. Honestly, I am super lucky to have my dream job as my full time job. That is... I write for a living and mostly during the day. However, I know that's not the case for everyone. Some of you are sneakily trying to write your first novel while the kids are asleep. Or are pursuing writing as a hobby. And mostly...at night.

I still remember the struggle of trying to write on my old laptop when I was first starting out. The keyboard was not backlit and I was trying to angle the glow from my screen to illuminate my keys. It hurt. It hurt my neck, my eyes, my head, AND my feelings. There needed to be a better way. As my needs grew, I could no longer take the inconvenience of a non-backlit keyboard. I made the switch years ago, and never looked back.

As far as looking cool goes, it true. It totally rocks. As I mentioned above, I like to game. And doing so with my fingers glowing red as I rain down destruction kicks ass.

5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Backlit Keyboard

Just as any major purchase goes, you should put some thought in to choosing the right keyboard for you. So, here are five different things you should consider before making your purchase.

Brightness and Adjustability

How bright does the keyboard illuminate? Are you looking for a soft glow or a full-on cornea assault? Make sure you understand just how bright you are looking for. The best option would be to go with a keyboard that can adjust. Or even better one that auto adjusts due to your ambient light.

Programmable Lighting

This may be more for gamers, but... Can you program what parts of your keyboard are illuminated? This can help you zero in and focus on the proper keys.

Lighting Bleed

This refers to how much light bleed is coming from your keys. Is the back light illuminating just the keys? Or everything else? Are there borders between colors or does it look like a dysfunctional rainbow. Look for minimal bleed. Crisp, sharp keys not only feel professional, but reduce the stress on your eyes.

Key Layout

Do you have teeny hands? Or are they soooo YUGE! Like the Yugest hands ever? Either way... How the keys are laid out on a keyboard can really affect how you type and your comfort level. Be sure to choose the appropriate size to prevent hand cramps in the middle of long form typing.

Keyboard Type

Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboards. That is the question. Well, it all depends on your preference. Many writers--myself included-- just love a good mechanical keyboard. Sometimes when writing, I get lost in my senses and I miss keys. Lots of them. But with an audible switch and a higher key resistance, I can actually hear and feel what I am typing.

Membrane keyboards are nice if you have a light touch or are casually writing. They allow for a much faster overall experience out of the box. This is because instead of mechanical switches on each key there are a series of membranes and pressure pads. This means less effort is required when depressing keys. But it leads to many more mistypes (at least for me anyway). I can definitely tell the difference when typing on my laptop (membrane) vs when using an external keyboard (mechanical).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqN3kxbhePE

 

Backlit Keyboards: Are they right for you?

In all reality, unless you have some personal vendetta against them or you are overly proud that you can touch type on your keyboard in the dark... A backlit keyboard is a good choice. Like I said before, they literally changed my whole writing experience and for the better. But to each their own I guess.

If you have any questions concerning backlit keyboards or if I left your favorite out of my list, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear your opinions on the matter.

Cheers,

 

 


The Best Keyboards for Writers

I just love the feel of holding a pen and letting it free flow upon my favorite Moleskine. Seeing the words pour out upon the paper makes me feel like one of the great classic writers of old. But... Let's be real for a second. Writing by hand is a thing of the past. And when doing some serious long form writing... Thank goodness. I just don't see how those Old Masters did it. Hand cramps for days... Yikes. Luckily, we're in the 21st Century and have awesome word processing capabilities and keyboards that make our writing lives easier.

But are all keyboards built the same? They're just a bunch of plastic keys. Can't be that different, right?

Wrong. Some are mechanical. Some are backlit. Each one is unique.

So, let's jump in and take a look into some of the best keyboards for writers!

The Best Keyboards for Writers Ranked Best to Worst

1. Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo (Best in Show)

Not to play on the whole Vulcan thing, but this keyboard is like the Starship USS Enterprise of Keyboards. Its futuristic look and feel make you feel like Captain Kirk boldly typing what no man (or WOMAN!) has typed before. And it's not just the look of this keyboard that sets it apart from others. It's the keys themselves. The keys are Roccat Titan Switches that claim to be 20% faster than any other mechanical keyboard on the market. The keys provide maximum bounce back with minimum chatter allowing for a smooth typing experience. On top of that (literally), the Roccat comes equipped with an aluminum top plate. This adds a lightweight durability to this awesome typing experience. The biggest drawback to this keyboard is its price. It's not necessarily the cheapest option on this list, but definitely one of the best keyboards for writers.

 

2. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for Business (Best Ergonomic Keyboard)

When it comes to ergonomic keyboards, it's one of two things. You either hate them or love em. Their unique split design can be confusing to some. But those that use them love the comfort they provide. This keyboard has all the bells and whistles of a premium ergonomic keyboard. Contoured palm resting pads, domed keyboard design positioned, angled keys, the works. If you're looking for an ergonomic keyboard... This is your best bet. Just like the Roccat above, the Microsoft Sculpt is not cheap. But... well worth the money for those who spend the majority of their time on a keyboard.

 

3. Logitech K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard (Best Wireless Keyboard)

Are you a Mac owner? Or perhaps you're a PC person? Do you use a tablet or smartphone to write? Doesn't matter This keyboard is like the one size fits all of keyboards.  It is compatible with nearly every device you can think of. And... it's wireless! Just connect via Bluetooth and you're ready to go. The keyboard takes only two AAA batteries and claims that it can run up to two full years on a single set. Now, that's impressive. When it comes to wireless capabilities and compatibility, this Logitech should be your top choice.

 

4. Azio Retro Bluetooth Artisan (Ms. Congeniality Award)

Now, if you're like me this might just be the keyboard for you. For me, writing isn't just a hobby. It's a passion. A total experience. And... I may just be a little extra at times. This keyboard is a full on package. It's funky and retro, but high functioning and practical. The clicky clacky of the keys emulates an old-school typewriter. And it may have one of the coolest top plates around. Leather framed by a zinc aluminum alloy. But as far as practicality is concerned, it comes equipped with Bluetooth so it can be used as a wireless device. It is also supported on both Mac and PC. So good looks and great function... This thing reminds me a lot of me. But like some of the others on this list... It can be a bit expensive.

 

5. Razor Huntsman Elite (King of the Keystrokes)

The Razor Huntsman Elite definitely lives up to its name as being an elite keyboard. It has one of the fastest response times available on the market today. The keys are super lightweight and easy to press, but provide that clicky assurance that we are all looking for. Oh, did I forget to mention its durability rating? The Huntsman Elite boasts a durability of up to 100 MILLION keystrokes. Jeez Louise! That's insane. For professional writers, the Razor may be the perfect choice.

 

6. Microsoft Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard (Best Keyboard for Travel)

Are you a writer on the go? Or perhaps a travelling blogger? You need a keyboard that works great and travels better. That's why this foldable keyboard is just so awesome! The keyboard can last up to three months on just a single charge--or less if you use it often. Now, the thing is... This keyboard works awesome with mobile devices. And that's about it. So no hooking your laptop or desktop up to this one. But for those on the go, this can be an invaluable tool.

 

7. CORSAIR K68 (Most Balanced of the Bunch)

This keyboard is just a great all around choice. Not too fancy, but definitely high quality. It comes fully equipped with Cherry MX Red Keyswitches which allows for optimum performance and silent running. However, the best feature of this keyboard is (For me, anyway) is that it is spill and dust resistant! I am so terrified to keep my teacup near my computer as I type. This could be a great option for klutz such as myself and one of the best keyboards for writers.

 

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Keyboard

There are several factors you should look into before buying a keyboard.

Wired vs Wireless

This is a huge quality of life decision you need to make before purchasing. Each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Wired keyboards are awesome for their response time. Because the keyboard is directly hard wired to your device, there is much less response time lost than with wireless keyboards. Plus, if for some reason you don't have a good wireless connection...you're still good to go. Also, there's no need for you to charge or buy batteries.

As far as wireless goes, the freedom of being away from your device can be liberating. Anybody else use a smart TV or monitor to cruise Netflix? I know I do. And being able to change between binge worthy shows from the comfort of my own couch... Priceless. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and what purpose you will use your keyboard for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-kk5KMhD74

Mechanical vs Membrane

So... what in the heck does this even mean? Well, it refers to the way the keys are actually pressed. With membrane keyboards, a series of membranes and pressure pads transfer data for the keys to be pressed. These membranes are often very lightweight in nature leading to a lighter overall keyboard. They are also much quieter than typing on a mechanical keyboard and definitely cheaper to boot.

A mechanical keyboard on the other hand uses an actual mechanical device such as a switch to actuate the key press. Whenever you see a missing key cap on a keyboard... it's probably a mechanical keyboard. The removable key caps makes the keyboard much easier to clean. Mechanical keyboards also tend to be sturdier than their membrane counterparts. All in all, mechanical types make the best keyboards for writers. However, they are a bit noisier, heavier, and more expensive than membrane types.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVtjCbpW7as

Durability

Before purchasing a keyboard, you should definitely look to make sure that the durability is rated for exactly what you need it for. For hardcore writers, you should look for the highest durability you can. This is often measured via keystrokes. But sometimes, this can be a little misleading. So when looking for durability, I would recommend that you assess your usage. If you are gonna need that extra ruggedness, be sure to look into picking up a mechanical keyboard.

In Summary

Choosing the best keyboards for writers may seem like a simple decision. But... don't be so hasty. If you're a simple writer with simple needs, choose what you like and what's within your budget. But... if you're a serious writer, be sure to take into consideration all other factors before jumping to a decision.

Cheers,


Audible Review: Is It Really Worth the Hype?

I love snuggling up with a good book. A comfy chair, a glass of wine, and the feel of the pages between my fingertips… Doesn’t get much better than that.

However, I don’t always have the luxury of that kind of comfort reading. Thankfully, I can still get get my read on through another means.

Audiobooks.

And when it comes to audiobooks, there’s no place I’d rather check than Audible. It is hands-down the most dominant audiobook marketplace available today and for many reasons.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Why you should choose to listen to audiobooks
  • How Audible has the right selection for readers of all types
  • How does Audible work
  • Pricing options available with Audible
  • About Special Promotions with Audible
  • How to get your first 2 books free!

Before we begin, I would like to state an open disclaimer. I will be using affiliate links within this article. However, that does not change my opinion in any way. Those links just help keep hot tea a-brewin so I can keep bringing you these sweet reviews. Now… Let’s get on with the article!

Why Should You Listen to Audiobooks?

Before we jump head first into all things Audible, let's tackle the big question.

Why audiobooks? Isn’t that cheating?

In all honesty, listening to an audiobook is very comparable to reading. You are just focusing your input in a different way. And there are many reasons why choosing an audiobook over a regular book is the right decision.

Accessibility Reasons

Accessibility isn’t a luxury. It’s a human right. There are many readers out there struggling with traditional books due to the difficulty of reading print. Instead of hoping that your favorite author’s latest novel is available in large print text, just grab an audiobook and enjoy. Those who are blind and visually impaired oftentimes find difficulty in getting special Braille books. Audiobooks can easily solve that problem.

Great for On-the-Go Readers

Many times bringing along a book when travelling seems like a great idea. But let’s face it… Just how much quality reading can actually get done? Sure, you can bring along some noise cancelling headphones. And you might be great at ignoring potential visual distractions. But with audiobooks you don’t have to worry about those. Simply put on some headphones, kick back, and enjoy a good story.

Better Comprehension

There are three majorly accepted ways to learning. Reading, doing, and listening. For all you readers and doers out there, thumbing through pages may help you soak in the information better. But what about the listeners? Audiobooks can help you with your comprehension and retention.

Convenience

There’s nothing more frustrating than picking up a new book and having zero time to read it. My shelves are full of books I’ve picked up but have never really had the time for. With audiobooks, you don’t have to go through this. Listen to your book at the gym, on the bus, or at the office. The possibilities are endless.

Greater Engagement

Text is just that. Text. Words on Paper. When we read, it’s up to us as readers to provide the voice and emotion for them. However, such isn’t the case with audiobooks. Those narrating often provide appropriate tone and timbre for the matter. By hearing this aloud, you can actually start to get more into what’s being read and engage even deeper into the story.

As you can see, listening to audiobooks can benefit everybody. But is there an audiobook for everybody out there?

Audible’s Massive Audiobook Collection

Do thrillers and horror stories keep you up late at night? Or is it steamy romance novels that scramble your eggs in the morning? Or maybe you’re like me and enjoy epic space marine battles that save the galaxy from the throes of destruction?

Either way, there’s an audiobook for that. And they can all be found on Audible.

Audible has the largest database of audiobooks available with over 475,000 options! It’s mathematically improbable that Audible doesn’t have an audiobook that’s just perfect for you.

How Exactly does Audible Work?

Audible works on a credit based system. This means you subscribe for credits and trade those credits in for audiobooks.

For instance, with Audible’s Gold Monthly plan, you receive one credit per month. This equates to one audiobook per month. Upgrading your plan can garner you more credits monthly, thus more audiobooks. Simple. And if you’re curious what happens if you don’t use those credits… They do rollover, so you never miss out on getting your new audiobook.

Once purchased, accessing your audiobook is a breeze. They can be listened to on any PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, or Alexa device. Your audio library is always readily available at your fingertips.

And once you purchase an audiobook, it’s yours for life. Even if you cancel your subscription. But if for any reason you don’t enjoy your audiobook, refund for a no questions asked money back guarantee. Through Audible’s Great Listens Guarantee, you can return any audiobook purchased for any reason within 12 months of purchase. Talk about customer service.

Audible Price Guide

PriceCredits EarnedRollover Credit Limit
Gold Monthly$14.95/month1 per Month5 Maximum
Gold Annual$149.50/year12 per Year6 Maximum
Platinum Monthly22.95/month2 per Month10 Maximum
Platinum Annual$229.50/year24 per Year12 Maximum

Special Promotions with Audible

Aside from audiobooks, there is another thing Audible has no shortage of.

Sales, promotions, and deals.

Seriously. Audible is constantly offering something interesting. Whether it’s a 2 Books for 1 Credit deal or receiving a discount on an annual membership, Audible always has something to offer.

They also place certain audiobooks on sale that you can just purchase outright.

These offers do change up however. But don’t be discouraged. Maybe the next deal offered is an even better one for you.

How to Get Free Audiobooks from Audible

Yep. You read that right. You can get free audiobooks from Audible. Here’s how.

First, head over to Audible and register for their 30 day free membership. Next, download any two books that you desire.

That’s it.

After thirty days, your subscription will automatically start at $14.95/month. However, you can cancel your free trial at any point within those 30 days. And the best part is… You get to keep those two books you downloaded!

Doesn’t get much better than that.

Is Audible Worth It?

If you are into (or planning on entering) the world of audiobooks... Audible is absolutely worth it.

Audible’s extensive selection, exclusive promos, and awesome refund policy make it a hard service to top.

If you are a casual reader, perhaps it’s best if you stick to one of their Gold plans. But if you have a much more voracious appetite for reading, the Platinum plans should definitely be considered. As far as price is concerned, these plans are a pretty affordable venue for audiobooks.

Plus with the two extra free books from the trial… Consider me sold.

Cheers,

 


Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading: Which is Best for You?

Take look at your bookshelf.

It’s probably organized to your little quirks. Maybe it’s arranged alphabetically by author title? Or simply book height. Or it’s like mine… Disorganized as all get out.

Seriously. My shelf starts with the I Ching and ends with Stephen King’s memoir on the craft (On Writing, seriously a good read.) with a few comic book omnibuses peppered throughout. But I do have a few set-aside.

The ones I haven’t read.

We all have those books that we are just gonna get to later. But what happens when we don’t?

If you’re a voracious reader such as myself this can pose a problem. However, it doesn’t have to be.

Thanks to the world of online communications and eBooks, a literary universe lies just beneath your fingertips. And there’s one major player.

Amazon.

Along with their ever-growing assortment of goods and services, they have two specific items of interest to us “Bookaphiles”.

Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading.

Awesome, huh? But you might just be thinking…”But why two? Surely, one would suffice. What’s really the difference?”

Trust me. Before I got into it, I was asking the same questions. However, a close examination concludes that each of these two services has their own merits.

Let’s take a closer look into each of them and find out which option is the best one for you.

Kindle Unlimited

Could you imagine holding the keys to one of the greatest libraries ever amassed? That wonder and imagination is now a concrete reality.

Kindle Unlimited provides you access to over ONE MILLION different titles and options! This not only includes ebooks but cookbooks and magazines as well.

And for less than your daily cup of coffee, you can indulge in this literary heaven. For a monthly subscription, you pay just $9.99!

That’s insane. Like seriously. I have paid overdue library fines bigger than that. (Don’t judge me. The Brothers Karamazov can become a lot longer of a read than expected.) But really, that’s a hell of a price.

They do offer prepaid packages in 6, 12, and 24-month increments which make for great gifts for other like-minded individuals.

Still on the fence though? Amazon provides a free one month trial for those interested. So… there’s no need to hesitate.

Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself… “Yeah yeah, what’s the catch? There’s got to be some kind of limit.”

And you’re not wrong. You can only check out a measly 10 books at a time. (Although that time is unlimited.)

I hope you were able to catch that sarcasm coming through the font. But other than that there are a few points of concern you should look at.

Kindle Unlimited is lacking in what some like to call the Big 5 of Publishing.

THE BIG 5

Hachette
Macmillan
Penguin Random House
HarperCollins
Simon and Schuster

If you have a favorite author, there is a good chance that they are not available on Kindle Unlimited. But if your appetite for reading extends to independent authors and self-publishers, this is an awesome resource!

This leads to the next major pitfall of Kindle Unlimited.

Most indie titles cost under $5. So if you aren’t as hungry of a reader, maybe Kindle Unlimited isn’t for you. But instead our other option…

Amazon Prime Reading

So let me preface this by saying that in order to utilize Amazon Prime Reading, you must first be a subscriber to Amazon Prime. And if you do anything at all on Amazon on a semi-regular basis… You should be on Amazon Prime. Nuff said.

Now. Amazon Prime gives you unlimited access to a rotating selection of top Kindle books, magazines, comics, and audible options.

When pit against Kindle Unlimited, the amount of books available pales in comparison. But… the books are much different. As stated above, Kindle Unlimited is missing the Big Five and focuses primarily on Indie authors.

That restriction does not apply to Amazon Prime Reading. With Prime Reading, you get full access to Kindle top-selling items. So, if you’re one to gravitate to New York Times bestsellers… this might be a better platform for you.

Just as with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime (thus Prime Reading) comes with a 30-day free trial.

Sounds great huh? But there is no such thing as perfection. (Unless we count my Granny’s peanut butter cookies. But I digress…)

Amazon Prime Reading can only be used by those based in the US. So for all you international readers… I’m sorry. But Kindle Unlimited has overseas locations. But you will be limited to selections from your particular location.

What’s Best for You?

Given this information, what’s the best platform for you?

There are definite perks and pitfalls to each. So, only you can make that choice. What I can tell you is this. Having one or the other is a wonderful way to not only enhance your library but your reading life as well.