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!


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.

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. 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,


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,

 

 


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,


Best of 2018 (so far) for Self-Publishers and Book Marketers

We’re already almost a quarter of the way through 2018.

This year has seen a wealth of amazing content aimed at helping self-publishers and book marketers succeed and experience the best return on their time and effort.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the valuable content published amidst the never-ending stream of blog posts and social media content. As a result, it’s often easy to overlook some of the most useful blog posts.

To help you out, we at NerdyBookGirl have gathered together some of the best content from 2018 so far. We’ve extracted a key quote and a few takeaways from each article, but would urge you to read the full piece of content. Each site is also a quality resource in and of itself, so if you like any particular article, please check out the rest of the site.

Without further ado, here are the highlights from 2018 so far.

Writing.ie – ‘On Blank Pages and Being Inspired’

To start off, we have an inspirational piece from Writing.ie on the importance of remaining inspired no matter what your personal situation happens to be as a writer.

The article reflects on how even the most successful writers started out with a humble beginning. No one makes it overnight and the early struggles that writers experience are just part and parcel of the road to success.

KEY QUOTE –

“Why am I telling you this? Because every writer who is published, whoever hit a list or won an award or went to a fancypants publishing party was, once upon a time, struggling and aspiring, staring at a blank page and – quite possibly – weeping into their eighth cup of coffee that morning. I was so that soldier.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*No writer makes it overnight

*Struggling is part of the process

*Inspiration can be found by mixing with other writers

Draft 2 Digital – ‘Book Launch Best Practices’

Launching a book is one of the hardest things to get right. It also happens to be one of the key success factors which can make or break your book’s success in the long run.

Draft 2 Digital present their take on the best practices to keep in mind when launching your next title. They emphasize taking the time to learn and focus on the launch practices which produce the best results for your book, in order to only expend effort on activities which produce a tangible return.

KEY QUOTE –

“When it comes down to it, you’ll need to test and experiment and learn and grow, and ultimately do the things that get you the best results, consistently and with as little investment on your part as possible.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Defining a target market, and writing to market, are keys to launch success

*Sunday is the best day of the week to launch a book

*Your marketing activities need to be consistent

Jane Friedman – ‘Launching Your Second Book and Beyond’

Jane Friedman is one of the most reputable names in the self-publishing and indie author community and her blog is a treasure trove of useful information.

In this post, a focus is given to long-term approaches to author marketing, with a particular focus on book launches after the first. This is an essential read for any book marketer who sees their publishing career as being a long-term endeavor.

KEY QUOTE –

“Before you publish their first book, your marketing plans are mostly speculative. But once you’re a year or two in, you’ve seen which efforts were successful in terms of generating publicity, boosting your social media engagement, and converting into sales—in other words, what worked for you and what didn’t.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Know what worked and didn’t work from your first book launch

*Understand what makes your new book unique and interesting

*Focus on targeted forms of social media that produce results for your niche or genre

The Book Designer – ‘9 Types of Pitches to Use When Promoting Your Book’

Pitching your book to the various key players in the publishing world is a key skill you need to develop as an author. However, for many writers, it does not come naturally, and this guide from The Book Designer will be much appreciated. This article looks at nine types of pitches you can use. It caters to the specific nuances of pitching to different types of people and the things to keep in mind and focus on when doing so.

KEY QUOTE –

“Before you pitch anyone, you must identify your ideal readers, journalists and other people and organizations who you will be pitching. They must be a perfect fit. Your pitch must explain what’s in it for them or their audiences.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Know who you are pitching to and what their interests are

*Think outside the box and consider pitching to less obvious people such as radio

*Ensure your follow up pitch is well thought out

BookWorks – ‘Authors: Don’t Put All Your Eggs In The Facebook Basket’

In this article for BookWorks, the recent Facebook algorithm changes are explored, and it’s emphasized that authors should diversify their marketing channels and not rely on any one platform for results.

This is a useful reminder guide to the fundamentals of building an author platform and the different marketing channels that can be used in doing so.

KEY QUOTE –

“Consumers (readers!) use keywords to find a new book or to locate information on a topic they want to learn more about. Learning about keywords and how they work is a great way to build your audience and sell more books.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Don’t rely on any single marketing channel

*Your mailing list is a worthwhile long term investment

*Optimize your blog posts to gain organic search traffic

Write To Done – ‘How I Went From Being Scared Witless To Being a Published Author’

This article from Write To Done explores how authors gain confidence, self-belief, and discipline to help them along their author journey.

This is a heartfelt guide to finding time for writing and saying no to the things and people that hold you back from getting where you want to go. If you struggle with confidence or feel that you could use a boost of inspiration then this is a great place to start.

KEY QUOTE –

“Your biggest challenge in writing is the belief that you can do this. Lack of belief causes you daily problems in discipline – the discipline needed to be a successful writer. It stops you sitting each day and writing the words you need to hit your target and finish that post, or book or screenplay.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Give yourself permission to take time to write

*Say no to negative people that don’t believe in you or your work

*Believe in yourself over the opinions of others

Adazing – ‘The 6 W’s of An Awesome Author Network’

It’s an old but true saying that it’s not what you know, but who you know, that helps you to succeed.

This is very true in the case of authors. Having a strong network of fellow writers and book marketers is a key factor to help you learn and get to where you need to go. This guide from Adazing teaches you everything you need to know to build the author network you need and to do so in the right way.

KEY QUOTE –

“A successful network is a web of mutually-beneficial relationships.  They say that a rising tide raises all ships. You want to be able to contribute to others just as much as you want to find ways that your connections can help you.  If you approach building your network with a “what’s in it for me” mentality, you’ll struggle.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*You have to contribute as well as take

*You can build your network both online and offline

*Author networks can provide mutual marketing opportunities

The Write Practice – ‘How to Write a Brilliant Twist Ending’

If there’s one storytelling device that audiences have proven to love time and time again, it’s the twist ending.

A well-executed twist ending is a kind of thing which gets readers talking, both online and offline and generates an incredible word of mouth buzz. If you want to learn to write an effective twist ending, check out this guide from The Write Practice, along with a practical writing exercise at the end.

KEY QUOTE –

“But it’s totally worth it. For many of us, great storytelling twists motivate us to tell our own stories. We long to recreate the catharsis of an unpredictable twist.

So do it right. Focus on choices and the seemingly contradictory reasons why characters make them. Don’t simply hide backstory, but use it to complicate the difficult decisions every character has to make.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*A twist ending can generate word of mouth buzz

*A twist ending works well when revealing a hidden motive

*Don’t rush your twist ending as it takes time to find the right end

Location Rebel – ‘How To Wake Up Earlier, 3 No-Brainer Tactics’

As book marketers, there are endless demands on our time, and it can be difficult to find enough hours in the day to get everything done that we need to.

This guide from Location Rebel offers three practical ways to get up earlier. This allows for more time in the day to work and the opportunity to take the entire afternoon as a period of leisure and socializing.

KEY QUOTE –

“Once you get past those first few excruciating minutes, and throw the covers off, turn the lights on, and get the coffee pot going – you’ll be treated to the very best hours of the day. The hours that many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world swear by.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Waking up even an hour earlier can create room in a packed schedule

*Waking up earlier will require an adjustment period

*Planning out activities the night before can assist motivation upon waking

Independent Publishing Magazine – ‘Millenials Market: How To Promote A Book on Snapchat’

Although it’s come in for some criticism lately, there’s no denying the fact that Snapchat is one of the most popular apps and social networks among millennials.

Many authors are outside of the target demographic and don’t know how to use Snapchat. As a result, they are missing out on a unique form of marketing and an effective way of staying in touch with younger readers in particular. This guide from The Independent Publishing Magazine will turn even the least familiar author into a savvy Shapchatter.

KEY QUOTE –

“Even if your products are amazing, they’ll be a wasted value if nobody gets to read them. Sometimes you have to stop thinking as an author and start thinking and behaving like a marketer. Snapchat’s the key to generating buzz among millennials. Use it wisely and skyrocket your book’s sales performance in no time!”

TAKEAWAYS –

* Millenials prefer Snapchat over Facebook as a social network

*Cross-promote your Snapchat profile on other social media platforms

*Use the ‘stories’ feature to market your book creatively and artistically