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Friday, March 30, 2012

First, Love Yourself

As an author, I'm stirred to create by myriad things:  the elevated emotions from a movie, an unknown woman in an open jeep, a one-page color ad photo in a magazine.

Today, it is a quotation. 

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."  Eldridge Cleaver, U.S. civil rights leader, writer (Soul on Ice, 1968).

My main purpose with my blog is to share whatever exhorts my fellow authors.  I've posted before about self-esteem being our fundamental foundation.  The Bible speaks about how we cannot possibly love our neighbor without loving ourselves first.  The Good Book goes on to state that the most important commandment is to love.  That love defeats evil.  That love covers every sin.  I could go on.  But that should be enough examples.

What I took from the above quote is the confirmation that we must love ourselves, value ourselves, treat ourselves well.  This is not about ego, not about selfishness, but about a wholesome acceptance of ourselves as the works of wonder that God made us.  

Yesterday I enjoyed watching again one of my favorite movies, The Replacements.  It is the story of a pro football team on strike for higher wages and a temporary team is called in for the final four games of the season to try to win a position in the Super Bowl.  It's a great flick and full of laugh-out-loud moments.  What struck me last night was how optimistic the coach was, finding the silver lining in any black spot.  Until . . .

The one time the coach was harsh was with his doubting quarterback.  Coach preached a severe sermon to him.  In the end, the quarterback finds his self-esteem.

So should we.  We are children of God.  The Bible says so.  We should remind ourselves of that birthright daily.  

One final thought.  The Bible speaks of anything that is not of faith is sin.

Have faith.

Have faith--in yourself.  It leads to success.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Take the Job that Fills Your Heart--Not Your Wallet

I don't have all the answers, but I do have some, along with many questions that should pique your brain, rouse your curiosity.

I'm an entrepreneur at heart. As an author, I'm All-Indie. I'm one-hundred-percent Indie. But each of us needs to choose our own way. We cannot follow another as our individual paths will differ. However, each success inspires us, spurs us on, encourages us.

One of my wisest precautions to high school and college graduates would be to seriously consider your first job. It is that initial step into your future--highly important on its own--but could also entrap you. I was making good money as a legal assistant. The term is "golden handcuffs" because it is hard to leave a high salary. More difficult for some than others.

But that job was not feeding my soul.

My second career fulfills my heart. That is where my happiness lies. Being an author. Self-employed. Entrepreneur. Creative. Another arm of that is my freelance copyediting work. What could be better? I get paid to read and improve another author's work using my somewhat photographic memory, my knowledge of English grammar and spelling, plus my love of the written word.

Remember Newton's First Law of Motion? A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion ("inertia") at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.

Based on Newton's findings, one person can remain at rest or that one person can be in constant motion. One.

In order to change that state, "one" needs to be "acted upon by an outside force." A second. Whether person or thing.

What if there is no "second" to knock you into your purpose or to knock you out of the wrong purpose for you?

Watch out for your first job. It could set you up for life in the wrong place. Do some research. If you hate being on the phone and that is what the job is about, then you will be one miserable soul. If it is a rare position, there would be not only the intense competition to get hired, but then no place to go, right? No advancement opps.

You spend so much time at work and, no, it is not forty hours a week. That is some huge misnomer. There is the commute. For me, it was three hours daily at the worst. One-and-a-half hours at the best. Then the "lost" hour for lunch--you don't get paid for it and you can't exactly earn other money at this time.  So we are up to forty-eight hours (or more) a week.

Calculate your salary based on forty-eight hours a week to get a truer picture of what you are earning an hour. And we aren't even going to look at after-tax earnings.

I haven't begun to count overtime hours, or the time getting ready for work, including dry cleaned suit and tie for you guys and heels and hose for us gals, after the showering and shaving and blow-drying hair. Another hour a day. Fifty-three hours a week is the tally now.

Then the associated time involved in having such jobs: dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, buying new hose because the others have runs, putting gas in the car, self-study in connection with your job and what about dropping the kiddos off at school or day care?

There are added costs: the aforementioned childcare services or a maid or a cook or service that provides premade dinners, etc.  Not to mention the added exposure to buy your lunch instead of brown-bag-it, or for those coffee drinks every time you pass a kiosk.

My life has so simplified the moment I quit working for others and began working for myself.

No more buying a tank of gas every four days.  Now is it more like every three to four months.  Even during those times when I need a day job to make ends meets, I still only fill up my tank once every thirty-four days because I find local work, no more than five miles from my home.

No more oil changes every quarter.  Now it is every three years.

No more pantyhose. Hallelujah! I wear comfy clothing.

No more 9-to-5. I work everyday--weekends and holidays--because I am having so much fun. But I get to do it at my choosing, whether 6:00 a.m. to noon, or 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

No more three-hour commutes in the dark. I walk eighteen steps to my home office.

No more evil alarm clocks. I wake to the sunlight pouring into my bedroom, or a paw of a hungry cat on my cheek.

This works for me. Seek out what works for you. Happiness trumps more money.

Every time.

Don't have regrets while you are retired, reviewing your life, judging how you spent your time.

Don't die wondering.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Purposes for Used Softener Sheets

I'm five years into my second career, but still on a very strict budget.  Here's some tips I'd like to share with others on reusing softener sheets.

1.  Use them to tie up your trash bags, especially if you are like me and using plastic grocery bags in lieu of purchasing trash can liners.  Yes, I have my own cloth grocery bags that I don't use often enough.  But I still need something to line my garbage cans to avoid having to clean each daily.  Yuck!  Plus, I find if our refuse isn't bagged up before placing in the city-approved cans, that single pieces of someone else's rubbish ends up in my yard.  Double yuck.

2.  Use them to wipe up floor spills.  I'm loving my washable microfiber towels instead of the paper ones.  But sometimes you just need a Bounty.  Like for draining bacon.  Like for wiping gunk off your floors.  Like for cleaning grease splatters from your stove top.

3.  Use them to stuff a pillow, whether new or old, or to make that longed-for quilt.  I envision my squares of used softener sheets as a substitute for the one-piece batting.

Go Green!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop Waiting to Be Picked

Here is a post by Jeff Goins that says succinctly what I feel.  Enjoy!


A Chilled Mocha Recipe Sans Dairy

Since I'm avoiding dairy this week, had leftover coffee from yesterday and wanted a cold sweet version after my breakfast, I decided to make a chilled mocha.  It turned out really well without milk, cream or half and half.  Or maybe, on Day Three Without Cream, I'm more accepting (ha!).

Take 1 heaping tablespoon of each of the following:

Powdered cocoa
Cream of coconut (chilled)
Thai coconut milk (chilled--just the liquid part, not the solids)
Stevia in the Raw

Slowly heat all to mix.  Add to about 1-1/2 cups of cold coffee.  Stir.  Add ice.

In fact, I wasn't paying close enough attention to my heated ingredients and was beginning to make a pudding.  Next time, I may try that, on purpose.

Also, after using them yesterday, I refrigerated the opened cans of coconut milk and coconut cream.  Today, the chilled milk turns richer, thicker--more like cream.  Since I add dairy cream straight from the fridge to my coffee, why not add chilled-thick coconut milk straight from the fridge to my coffee?  I'll try that next . . . .

Hope Trumps Fear; Hope Overcomes

There was a great quotation from within The Hunger Games and, while my title tries to recreate it--twice--if not word for word, the essence remains.

Hope trumps fear.  Hope overcomes.

Probably my number one quote.  Ever.  And I collect them.

Enjoy the movie, y'all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Manuscript Formatting Tips Before Uploading to Nook

Let me say up-front that I have not yet conquered the beast, but wanted to share some tips with fellow Indie authors. Even though I already have five e-books online at B&N, this particular one I am uploading now is longer, a novel, which compounds the errors to be fixed as I preview my work.

1.  Because I recently upgraded to 2010 MSWord, I ended up with my fiction document in "compatible" mode as I tried to upload to B&N. I found hitting "convert" saved some time and left me with less formatting snafus than from my previous tries.

2.  Beware of the default within the PubIt! site that lands you in the COLOR Nook preview. Because my offering has no color, except for the cover, and since I'm guessing there are more black-and-white Nooks in use right now than color, I'm working off the older Nook version and will so state in my Description. Although once I get the first "publication ready," then I may see if it simultaneously aligns within the color Nook as well.

3.  Styles. Use styles within MSWord. It was the only way I could get a Page Break to stay put so my chapters all ended up on a new page, along with my back matter.

4.  Extraneous spaces. I found that a paragraph ending with a period or question mark or closing quote followed by any extra spaces and then the return paragraph symbol lent all sort of havoc to my uploaded preview of my MS. Just a warning here.

And just to be clear, the resulting problem showed up pages before, pages after, no rhyme, no reason.

5.  FYI: On one of the LinkedIn communities, I saw a comment that the first paragraph of every chapter should be flush left with the large initial cap on the first word.  Yes, this does show up in many of the paperbacks I have in my personal library, no matter which traditional publisher. But, it shows up indented in regular type in others also. 

In my freelance copy editor life, I work for a large NYC publishing house with well over thirty individual lines and each one has a particular look (design) assigned to it. Some repeat. Some are different. Some are flush left, large initial cap. Some aren't. I guess I said all that to say this: I'm not sure where I sit on this particular fence. Whatever you decide, make it consistent throughout each of your books.

For now, I'm just trying to get my debut e-novel uploaded to PubIt! without one single glitch. And still working on it. Afterward, I may think about pretty-fying my work with some design elements.  Hey, I made all my chapter headings bold, so I'm getting there.

6.  Another LinkedIn community complaint was about the double space between sentences.  I learned to type on a manual typewriter therefore, yes, I continue to put the double space between sentences when I type anything--a blog, a novel, a letter, a recipe, whatever--and having a dickens of a time untraining myself.

I had to go back and delete the extra space at the end of each sentence in this very blog talking about it. Grrr.

I know. Times have changed.  I also know because, as a freelance copy editor, I am very familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style.   Per CMS 2.12: Line spacing and word spacing.  . . . A single character space, not two spaces, should be left after periods at the ends of sentences . . . . 

I'm really trying on that one. 

Hopefully this helps you and saves you the hours of frustration I have dealt with every other day this week. The days in between were to regroup.

Should I find out more, I'll report back.

Thai Coconut Milk in My Coffee (Today)

I may have a milk allergy.  On three different occasions, incredibly itchy eyes were the main, irritating symptom, which calmed down fairly quickly and was gone in a couple hours as long as I was drinking tons of water.  So I'm living without cream in my coffee since yesterday, and plan to do so for a week.  If you can call that "living." 

Anyway . . .my powdered nondairy creamer container is confusing me.  First, it states "non-diary" on the front (and is incorrectly spelled per Webster's 11th Edition), but yet confirms "CONTAINS MILK, SOY" under the ingredients.  Hence my confusion.

Besides, I. WANT. CREAM.

Okay then.  To head off any potential cream-withdrawal angst fermenting into something even less pleasant, I decided to seek for a substitute.  Previously tried almond milk which was okay but I'm presently out, then those individual bottles of coconut milk, which are too watery for use in my java. 

Therefore, I searched my pantry and found a can of Thai coconut milk, which was solid--Great!--so I just allowed it to melt in my coffee.

Now, granted, the blend isn't as honey blond as I like my coffee with the real thing--and there is definitely a flavor of coconut coming through which is nice; however, I prefer the more savory flavor of full-fat heavy whipping cream--but this will do in the interim.

I'm sincerely hoping I don't have a milk allergy because that covers other things I really, really, really like, such as ice cream, cheese, half-and-half, berries and cream . . . can you see the potential problem? 

I can.

Here's hoping after a week off the cream, I'm miraculously cured and can return to my regularly scheduled eating habits.  I think I could even be encouraged to give up some cheese servings to have the cream back in my coffee.

Ha!  I'll let you know.

The Hunger Games

Returned home a short while ago from seeing The Hunger Games on the big screen, based on the book by the same name from Suzanne Collins.  Wonderful, haunting movie.  Have not yet read the trilogy, but now want to more so than before.

Thank God for three characters played by Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and, OMG, is that Elizabeth Banks?  This hilarious trio helped me get through some of the sad deaths.  Granted, the others dying was probably a good thing.  They were evil to the core.

Anyway, great movie.  A longer one, clocking in at 2:20, I believe.  Also enjoyed the futuristic hair, makeup and clothing a la The Fifth Element.

Looking forward to parts two and three.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I have.  Two.  Yesterday.  Having finished one copyediting job and awaiting the next, I had some time to myself.  I should have been formatting my debut novel, Good Ole Boys, for Nook but for whatever blasted reason, the last ninety pages are giving me unexplained and as-yet-uncorrectable problems.  The first one-hundred-forty pages contained few formatting snafus, easily fixed.  Anyway, I set aside all that and decided I needed to escape into someone else's book--preferably someplace with laughter.

So I read (first) A Tale of Two 3 Witches by Christiana Miller and Barbra Annino. I loved the quirky cast who came to life really fast and the lighthearted tale.  This is a shorter read, taking less than two hours which is great for even 9-to-5ers who get home at 7ish, eat dinner and can finish this funny paranormal tale instead of watching TV, getting to bed before midnight.  I will definitely read other offerings from these two entertaining authors.

Making full use of my downtime, I read another.  This next one was longer, taking five to six hours to read and I read it nonstop until 2:00 a.m. this morning.  The book was Pink Slipper, "a Fun, Flirty Novel" by Gina Robinson.  The tag line says it all.  Plus I would add that I laughed out loud in three places, which is not usual for me.  The whole idea of Leesa, our main character, looking for a job was rather current, useful info for these days, huh?  The author's writing style was witty with graceful turns of metaphors.  Loved her voice and must read more of her.

IMO, both of these books would garner a PG rating, with very little violence in the first and none in the second.  So a wide audience range could enjoy each.

Happy reading, all! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Indie Publishing Is "The New Black"

This is gonna become my newest, most favorite quote of all time, courtesy of Angela James, Carina Press editor: 

Indie publishing is . . . "the new black." 

Read about it and more in author Terry Odell's blog post here:  http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2012/03/indie-publishing-is-it-right-for-you.html.

"Theory of Mind" - Reading Fiction Improves Our Human Interactions

Just read a great post by author Annie Murphy Paul to The Opinion Pages of The New York Times Sunday Review.  Read it here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-neuroscience-of-your-brain-on-fiction.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2.

As you have probably heard before, the mind cannot distinguish between a dream and reality.  Thus explaining how repeated mental affirmations and mind movies can influence our real life.

Just like enacting with your child the conversation where s/he turns down the drug dealer, or the ride from a drunk friend, or to have unprotected sex, reading fiction accomplishes the same.  It is mental rehearsals for real-life occurrences.

The couple studies referred to in this NYT article detail findings from MRI studies.  One:  fiction narratives can prepare our readers for real life.  Two:  the use of our different senses lights up different portions of our brains, even to the extent that a perceived arm movement lights up a separate part of our brain from our leg movements.  Pretty cool, huh?

Smells light up a specific brain area, whereas "chair" or "key" did not.

Cliched phrases caused no brain reaction.

The sense of touch brought activity to another section of our wonderful mind.  Metaphors using our senses are pleasing to our brains.  Hence use more descriptive terms, like "leathery" instead of "strong." or "velvet" instead of "pleasing."

All things we have been reminded of in many a writing class or book, right?

Reading fiction gets us into the heads of others so that we learn about their thoughts and feelings, making us more empathetic, and labeled "theory of mind" which phrase I totally love and will now be using all the time forever--ha!  Akin to a simulator teaching a pilot to fly a plane before he ever enters a real working cockpit.

Love this . . . the merging of science and emotions.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wonderful Blogspot

With my Pinterest activities, I keep running into the same internet locale.  If you like Victorian-themed decorating ideas, then you will enjoy this site:  http://www.betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com.

I've also added it to my Favorite Links on my side bar.

Happy pinning!

ABUNDANCE: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Steven Kotler and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis

Just reading the first chapter (it's free on Amazon) will change you forever.  Take fifteen minutes to do it now.  http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Abundance.

Abundance has been added to my Amazon Wish List.  I also saw a free video going around in one of my online communities where Dr. Diamandis astounded me with his global mind-set.  He has an X Prize established which provides contests to encourage developments in areas of concern.  Also, he has built a university where like minds can share and interact.

His Abundance Pyramid consists of each of these needs:  food, water (and air), shelter, energy, education, information/telecommunication, health, freedom.

Just from the free chapter and video on this brilliant book, I have learned so much.  In summary:

1.  There are four ways to drive breakthroughs:
  •  fear
  • curiosity (but weaker than fear)
  • wealth creation (huge motivator) and 
  • the desire to matter (the most powerful influence upon us).  
[SIDE NOTE HERE:  Yes, I agree that fear is a motivator and, thus, on the list.  And thankfully is not one of the ways Dr. Diamandis utilizes.  However, others do.  IMO, fear-based ads should be banned.  Can't advertisers think of a more constructive way to hack their wares?  I unsubscribe from such "promoters."  Don't we have enough real uncontrollable fears to motivate us without the human race creating more?  Examples:  the car that has fallen on a loved one and the woman lifts it off.  The near-death escape from plane crashes, wild animals, Mother Nature.  So, please, no man-created fear is needed.  Use the other motivators Dr. Diamandis lists above.  Elevate your sales approaches and my guess would be that your sales numbers will follow.  Your customers are smarter than you give them credit for.]

2.  A crazy idea of yesterday could become a breakthrough of today.

3.  Innovation = a State of Mind

4.  To create innovation, you need:
  • A strong belief, an audacious vision.
  • Risk is an absolute requirement.  Yes, it took great risk for America to break away from England.  It took risk to create this wonderful country I am blessed to live in.  The potential for risk includes loss of life, money, time, reputation.
  • Small diverse teams.  Groups of individuals, not corporations.  The solution usually doesn't come from the experts in THAT field, but from budding experts in another.  
  • Mind-set.  You must be of the "crush that goal" mentality.
  • Clear objective goals.  A target.  Measurable.
  • Open participation.  You never know where the answer will come from, so keep the options open.  It may be one (Russian?) woman who is a secretary by day that ends up being the best protein folder at night.
  • Willingness to fail.  Fail often, fail early.  [I am reminded of a quote that goes something like this:  if you're not failing, you are not trying hard enough.  The purpose here is to TRY!]  Trying the unheard of things to get the breakthrough needed. His 5 + 5 + 5 plan, which goes something like this:  five people, five weeks, try at least five ways to create X (whatever the needed solution is for this moment) and winner gets $5,000.
  • Constraints.  [This is like the ticking-time-bomb-on-the-bus technique that us authors use to create conflict, up the ante.]  Such as asking for answers for your project/problem, and demanding them in two weeks!  With that two-week deadline comes a penalty built-in for NOT trying something bold.
  • Super-credible birth.  [Not addressed in video I saw.] 
  • A supportive environment.  [That goes without saying in any endeavor.  I've posted before:  if your family member laughs at your dream, avoid them, don't talk to them (hopefully you are not living with them).  If your boss thinks you are strange to have your dream and be working toward it, find another job.  Quick.]
Dr. Diamandis said that in the next thirty years, every man, woman and child will have a life of possibility.  Not a guaranteed life of luxury, but a life of possibility.  What a beautiful thing.

Recommended reading per Dr. Diamandis is Matt Ridley's book The Rational Optimist.  Here is the Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Rational-Optimist-P-S-ebook/dp/B003QP4BJM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1331987106&sr=8-4. 

[NOTE:  I also found another Matt Ridley book entitled The Rational Optimist:  How Prosperity Evolves.  That link is here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Rational-Optimist-Prosperity-Evolves/dp/0061452068/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331987243&sr=8-1.]

Dr. Diamandis states technology removes the "scarcity" problem.  It is not a problem of lack, but of access.  Like being able to capture the sun's rays and turn it into solar energy.  We have more sunshine than we do energy needs.  Like finding and using processes that change the ocean's salt water into pure drinking water.  After all, the earth is seventy percent ocean water.

With the growing use of the internet, by 2020, he estimates there will be three billion new minds jumping into the discussions, buying things, learning from it, sharing with us all. 

Here are a few final thoughts from him that are amazing:

Create the future you want, influence one billion people, make the world better.

And a glorious quote to end on:

"We want to change the global conversation one person at a time."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Good Ole Boys' Characters Visualized

With my new addiction to Pinterest, and my Dream House topic maybe, kinda, sorta, almost covered, I was going to start working on more author-related boards:  pictures of faces of (nameless?) men and women who are just yelling at me to write a book about them, plus the fancy destinations where their particular story will play out and all those interesting careers they can don and I can experience vicariously through them.

But . . . the only downside to Pinterest--from an author's point of view--is the total emphasis on pictures and not words.

So this post is to picture-fy my cast from my debut novel, Good Ole Boys, using only text.

If I can narrow down my cast of characters to one actor for each, I may be able to create a Pinterest board, as well.

This idea may or may not be a good thing.  I know I've read many a book with my visualizations of the characters anchored in my mind only to go to a movie based on the novel and wonder why the director or casting agent chose those people to play those parts.

Yes, we all have our own takes on those nebulous folks that inhabit our favorite readings.  Like Eve and Roarke in J.D. Robb's In Death series--with movie deals bought and paid for, but none in production (that I know of).  I have a dead-certain image of both and will likely be disappointed by the two chosen to play the roles.  However, if the physical fails to align with my vision, hopefully the inner character of both resolves that.

Now, on with my particular persuasion as to my main couple in Good Ole Boys.

For Holt Seville, he is described to look like Sawyer from Lost.  However, I hope he reads and acts like a gentleman rogue--think Cary Grant in Charade or Keith Michell or more probably Len Cariou (right side of the law, mostly) both of Murder, She Wrote

For Geneva "Neva" Tate, she's exotic looking but the hard-working American entrepreneur.  With looks and smarts, but hardly cognizant of her beauty and diligently using those brains of hers.  A Megan Fox or Olivia Wilde stop-traffic face and build, with a serious and subdued underbelly, like Jordana Brewster.  In fact, Jordana--or Ashley Greene--would serve well on all accounts if induced to wear vivid blue contacts.

For the others, Pops and Diana and several minor characters, I'd need study time to contemplate who best embodies these individuals.  Pops would be the hardest because I have very distinct renderings of him personality-wise and not so much physically.  Will think on that.

Anyway, I almost did a roster of my characters matched up with the actor most attuned to my imagination and put the cross-reference in the front matter of my debut novel, Good Ole Boys.  Then I nixed the idea.  As a reader myself, I like conjuring up my own version of the people I am reading about.  And thought my own readership might want first crack at it, too.

With this post, I can indulge my whims and sally forth with my idea.  Add the words here where Pinterest prefers pixels.

I love it!  I can do both . . . .

P.S.  Ooh, I just thought of Claire Forlani, which her exotic looks and blue eyes, would work perfectly for Neva.

Read Joe Konrath's Post Entitled "Presumed Inane" and Dated 03.16.2012

Here's the link:  http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/03/presumed-inane.html

Joe makes valid points.  His reasoning is rational.  Whereas the flaws in Turow's (aka Author's Guild) interview seem fatal.  Over and over.

And I really like the cartel image. 

Amen to Joe for everything he said in this blog post, for filling in the blanks, providing links/examples, setting the record straight and standing behind Amazon.  Why all these Amazon rumors filled with negative press are flying now seems both late and odd to me.  Regardless of the timing of these attacks on Amazon, I'd like to add my vote on the Amazon side.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Marketing Plan

1.  Keep writing great fiction and nonfiction.  
2.  Continue learning about my craft through books and/or classes and/or other authors.  
3.  Daily refilling my imagination with both life experiences and enjoying the wonderful entertainment of excellent movies and written stories.

That's it.

I realize my lack of marketing in my marketing plan seems to be a terminal error.  But it really isn't.

At the heart of it all, I believe a well-written book will find its intended readers.  At whatever speed.  The "if you build it, they will come" mentality.

On the flip side, marketing, IMO, is about increasing both the speed and the number of sales.  In other words, it is about making additional bucks faster.  Which is great if you can mold and mix your social media into doing that for you.  And everyone's situation is different, to me.  Therefore, the marketing must be different.  Which means you (or the expert you hire) still need to do some maneuvering of the components to get the right recipe for you.

I find it a tad frustrating myself, so I don't do it.  I just do not do it.  I'm not into torturing myself.

I prefer to wait one year or so while the readers find me, with nominal marketing efforts on my part, rather than making myself go slowly mad while I discern the marketing maze.  I've decided to chuck all that and do what is fun, thereby giving my days more peace, more freedom, less stress, less pressure.  

That said, there are two ongoing social media avenues that captivate my soul.  Pinterest, my newest one, is great as I find I am actually creating those dream boards I have been meaning to do for decades.

My older love is blogging, which serves some deep-seated needs:  my need to teach (in my teens, I first thought I should become a college math professor) coupled with my innate irrepressible need to share what I've learned from reading--the best of the best--for my fellow authors, whether traditional or Indie.

Last month, I took advantage of a one-time-only promo (per quarterly enlistment?) within Amazon's Lending Library by giving away my debut novel, Good Ole Boys, a love story, for the five days leading up to and including Valentine's Day.  You can view my earlier posts about that exhilarating (and exhausting!) ride.  Some 2096 readers here and abroad have an e-book with my name on it.  I'm still amazed.

I am reminded of a quote courtesy of Jim Rohn:  " . . . escape is easier than change."  Of course, to escape (literally or figuratively, as to be entertained) takes less effort on our part and shorter time frames.  Examples:  To watch one movie, two to three hours.  To read one novel, five or more hours.  To make drinking eighty ounces of water a daily habit, at least twenty-one days, if not a year (or a lifetime).

So, my focus this year is on novels (the escape/entertainment portion of the above quote).  Yours may be on self-help How-To books (the change part of the above quote).  Go your route.  Even a combo of both, as I did last year.

With novels in mind, it helps to have more than one to offer to your readership (so keep on writing).  See my earlier blog post on Joe Konrath's success.  Series or not, have something else to offer your followers.  It may take us three months to imagine, NaNo write, edit, polish and upload a new book, whereas it only takes five hours to devour it.  Much like cooking, the time spent preparing a meal is far greater than the time spent eating it.

But worth the effort still. 

So here's my theory.  After about a year, it seems that other Indie-published authors have been making some decent sales on their fiction.  Note:  my first novel released December 19, 2011, so I have a ways to go before I reach the twelve-month mark.  Meanwhile I'm focusing on getting more novels completed of my eight WIPs. 

I am willing to wait for that year, keep on writing, do minimal social media (the kind I really like and my personality seems made for), even if that means I take a day job here and there to make the freelance fees and book royalties meet my monthly obligations.

This works for me.  You need to detail what works for you.

Since March 27, 2011, I've uploaded six e-books (one fiction, five nonfiction, more of both on the way).  All the nonfiction works were created within 2011.  The debut novel was created around 2009 with the Final Edit done within 2011.  I hope to sustain or exceed this number of e-books released each year hereafter.

Again, I have a mind-set that may rock the status quo.  My books are not for everybody.  My books are not even for half the readers on this planet.  I happily accept this.  Of the estimated seven billion populating Earth, I don't need even one million readers to become self-sustaining (living totally off my writing royalties).  

In fact, if I did have one million readers (at the 70% royalty rate on a $2.99 sale, or about $2.10/e-book), I would never need to sell another book in my expected 120-year lifetime.  

If these up-and-coming readers total two million (this time all at the 35% royalty rate on a $0.99 sale, or about $0.34/e-book), I could still pay off my house and live quite well until age 100 or so--and never need to sell (much less write) another book.

However, I'm an author.  I write.  I cannot help but dream up new stories, engaging characters.  It is my purpose in life.  So I would continue to create, just with no worries ever about paying the mortgage or this month's electricity bill or finding the $3,000 to meet insurance deductibles.

Yes, I realize I don't have a celebrity lifestyle.  Still, you need to figure your "pay off" figure.  What would it take for you to have no bills except for utilities and food and gas for the car?  Knowing this can relieve a lot of stress.  Gives some much-needed details to your goal setting.

Plus recognizing that you don't have to connect with all readers, just your fans for your particular voice, for your select genre(s), allows you to breathe that sigh of contentment now.

Like the Bible tells us, our gifts will place us before kings.  So count your costs, then do what brings peace in your heart.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Freebie Campaign P.S.

In an earlier post re the inclusion of my debut novel Good Ole Boys within the Kindle Select program, I raised a question about whether my "sales" counted during my "Five Days Free" around Valentine's Day garnered any sharing of the February Funds.  For other Indie authors, here's the answer as found within Amazon's online site.

If you choose to use any of the five "free" days within the Amazon Select Lending Library program, then all those author giveaways do not take part in any of the month's dollar allocations, just as I thought.  That splitting of the pot is based solely on those reader selections within Kindle Select only, choosing your book as their one for that month.  Not when the author goes "freebie" for any of those five days.

It is now clear within the Amazon Reports section for us authors as designated by the two new headings:  "Free Units-Promo" and "Free Units-Price Match" with explanatory footnotes to distinguish the two.

(Author) Promo = no price match.  (Reader) Select = price match. 

Good luck to all you Select authors.  Read my earlier posts on the rush and high of the whole ride.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pinterest, Day Two

My Pinterest site (DeniseABarker) is still under construction with more empty boards than not.  Still, I woke up today, checked my emails and found two from Pinterest showing how twenty-three people liked my one and only quote picture.  Amazing!  No "likes" but interest still.  Now that is some fast social media that I did not have with FB, Twitter or my blog (which may be user-related).  Yet I know people read my Tweets and my blogs.  There was just no empirical data like I'm getting from Pinterest.  Very cool.

On my blog, I have a counter for visits but I'm wary about its accuracy because it seems to jump in threes.  Maybe that's the way it is setup--to change the count after each third visit?  I have no clue.

But with Pinterest, I'm seeing fellow pinners' names attached to these people who viewed my quote and loved it as I do.

Can you tell I'm an addict early on to Pinterest?

The only "drawbacks" for me in using Pinterest is that I'm word-based:  an author, a quote collector, a recipe hound.  So, for example, I'm having trouble getting my blog visualized to attach to a board.  My sidebar includes the cover to my debut novel and my NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner emblem, yet that doesn't seem to work in the pinning part.  I'm sure it is the human's error and I'll figure out how to circumvent my own lack of information, maybe with pictures embedded in my posts.  We'll see how that works out.  I'll report later.

And with tons of textual quotes, I would have to picture-fy them (do I sound like Mal from Firefly?) to pin them to my boards.  Again, I'll share when I have lift off.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I love this idea of pinning photos of our fav things to online cork boards per category.  Basically that is what those twenty bankers boxes in my utility room represent--just not organized yet.  As an author, I've saved mountains of story ideas for places, people, plot lines, pets, etc., to be incorporated into a novel at some future time.

As a cook, I collect recipes.  Am working on an e-cookbook to release "soon."

As a person, I collect quotes.  You can see my volume one collection online at Amazon and B&N.  Already working on volume two.

This is like those dreams boards I meant to create for each of my goals, but never did.  Pinterest is easier in the sense you don't need poster boards and glue, plus magazine and catalog clippings from years past.

This newest social media is addicting, as I can find myself hunting up stuff to pin to my under-construction Pinterest boards, then reminding myself I have work to do.

Again, as a novelist, I could create a story board for a WIP (work-in-progress book).

Plus Pinterest represents probably our most utilized sense and brings our visualizations to life.  How amazing that this one site combines so many things touted within the self-improvement mind-set.

Repinning several pics from another's boards can be done much faster than one tweet.  Certainly in less time that one of my posts can be published here, or adding to our FB wall.

Not sure when it was first birthed into action, but I initially saw it mentioned within a thread in NaNoWriMo 2011 and more recently among LinkedIn.

Anyway, I've been good about avoiding online games so I can spend my hours more wisely.  Yet, not so good about my Pinterest time.  However, this is the learning curve induction and I'm enjoying getting acclimated to the new setup.

What do y'all think of Pinterest?  Been playing with it, too?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Authors, Need Some Inspiration?

The link below shares inspiration to authors, written by Noelle Sterne from Trust Your Life.  Although her title has to do with blocked creativity, the solutions offer a positive influence when you most need it.  I hope y’all enjoy this as much as I did.  You can find it at the Write To Done website which contains “unmissable articles on writing,” by clicking here:  http://writetodone.com/2012/03/01/creativity-blocked-heres-the-solution/