Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?

Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?

Or how you got there? What kind of algorithm are they using? AND, do you think your Sales Rank is achieved through reviews?

The good news: It’s not.

The bad news: It’s not.

 If you’ve self-published and are beating your head against the wall trying to market and promote your book by badgering friends and relatives to post a review, you can relax.

According to Rob Nightingale in his April 2014 article, “8 Things Most People Don’t Know About Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank (Sales Rank),” Amazon won’t specifically state how the Bestsellers Rank is calculated.

Rank Your Products on Amazon.



So What Is The Amazon Bestsellers Rank?

  Continue reading “Do You Know Your Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank?”


Do You Know Your “Readability Stats?”

If you know your Flesch Reading Ease scores–bravo!! The concept of a readability test is new to me. Whether you had formal training and are familiar with the application or stumbled upon it yourself, the option of Flesch Readability is hidden within Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and apparently the new version of Word 2016.

Very simply, the test rates text on a 100-point scale. This is important because the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For blog purposes, my objective is between 60 and 70. There are two readabilityFlesch tests:

  • Flesch Reading Ease
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

If you are familiar with the application, can you guess where this article scores?*

Continue reading “Do You Know Your “Readability Stats?””

The Golden Persuader – By Michael Reisig

Michael Reisig, no newcomer to combining whimsical sci-fi with past-faced dramatic action-adventure, has done it again in his new release, “The Golden Persuader.” In his words, it is the story of “modern cowboys, American Indians, big city hoodlums, and some seriously illegal aliens.”


Dax Dryder was trailering his horse to Abilene with his massive German Shepherd/wolf mix, Smoke, when rain, the dark of night, and his exhaustion forced him to take a break. That night would change his life forever.

Dax and his sister had been raised by wealthy parents. Being groomed to take over his father’s political life, he seriously questioned that role and took the opportunity of his father’s fall from grace to go his own way. It was shortly thereafter both parents were killed in a private plane crash under mysterious circumstances and it sealed the dissolution of what was left of his family’s estate.

What he witnessed before daybreak in the little hollow on that moonless night, however, left him shaken, feeling lucky to be alive, and headed in another direction.

Continue reading “The Golden Persuader – By Michael Reisig”

The 4th Annual Phoenix Festival of the Arts-Coming in December

The Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, Arizona, is home of the fourth annual Phoenix Festival of the Arts on December 11 – 13, 2015. Jointly sponsored in part by APS and Lou & Evelyn Grub, the arts festival hosts a weekend-long event showcasing arts, entertainment, exciting food trucks, and over 125 vendor booths! And, of course, there will be a beer and wine garden.

I love craft fairs, art festivals, or book signings, either private or with a group.

Phoenix Festival of the Arts

Presented by the Phoenix Center for the Arts, the event is free.

This park, dedicated in 1992 and named for Phoenix’s first female mayor, covers over 32 acres. It is actually situated over a freeway tunnel and is part of a major cultural center that includes a Japanese Friendship Garden and Irish Cultural Center.

The Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion group now consisting of over 582 members will have two booths strategically planned for two hour intervals in each of the three days. I will be posting the times for my participation at a later date.

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

The dynamic organizer, Laura Orsini, has a full spectrum of marketing and promotion planned from banners with author’s book covers to MeetUp T’s.

I’m especially excited over the postcard that Laura is planning and having printed that will include a QR Code linking the participating authors to their websites, books, social media addresses, and 10 pages of content.

The Meetup typically meets twice a month that may include seminar type meetings with handouts or guest speakers. The wide range of topics cover everything from creative writing, publishing, self-publishing, eBooks, marketing, and social media. Within the social media spectrum are discussions covering “Life Beyond Facebook,” and other related sites.

Additionally, there is also an informal Meetup to match names to faces, network, and exchange tips. Laura has set up a group blog to keep us actively writing to which we contribute once a month (and we’ve volunteered to do so–mine is the 12th of the month). We’ve recently completed a grueling 35 day Author Blog Challenge!

This Meetup has met my expectations of finding help in the marketing of the books published for my grandfather–my responsibility even if they had been traditionally published–and I’m really looking forward to the Phoenix Festival of the Arts!

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A Great Source of Writing Prompts

Writer’s Blockugly words–but something that happens to most who would be authors. So it is that I am always looking for “prompts,” those lovely little ideas that would prompt an article, story, or more. It was when I downloaded “The Authors Publish Compendium of Writing Prompts by Emily Harstone that I finally thought I’d found Nirvana.

This was a free for the download fount of prompts and is divided into a number of different categories:

  1. Quick, simple prompts
  2. Classic prompts
  3. For novelists
  4. For poets
  5. For creative non-fiction writers
  6. Focused on craft
  7. For groups

Rose Point Publishing

The first group includes ideas such as first sentence, last sentence and a 10 word short story.

The prompts are laid out in a clear, easy format, describing the location, character(s), and possible action scenarios. For instance, the prompt for “Castaway” (classic prompts #2 above) sets a main character on a small island with only three items. How the character ended up there is part of your own idea as well as whether the focus will be escape or survival. Continue reading “A Great Source of Writing Prompts”

Time To Learn About Flickr and Creative Commons Licenses

Screen ReflectionDays of research on the computer have left me blurry eyed with the dizzying array of hosts who would love to have you upload all your pictures large and small to their storage reservoirs. This, in the fervent hopes you’ll upgrade and get all that stuff off your own limited computer, laptop, tablet, and cell capacities. (Okay–there’s another Oxford comma!)

There is everything from MyCloud to ZipCloud and JustCloud. I signed up for the 10 gig free cloud storage for my files. These could comprise all kinds of files–including videos, financials, spreadsheets and taxes. My Dropbox is currently at 45% of 5.8 GB capacity. I take double pictures of everything–never sure the first will be acceptable. Because this is the digital age, I can take a gajillion pictures–(and do!). I never have to wait and they never have to be developed. I have the power of the “delete” button AND I need photos for my posts.

I like YouTube for video, and other than the one html file, the remainder of my “files” are photos. But I have not found one cloud that will store my html file unless it’s within a website.

I’m a senior: I need it simple. Old Lady With Computer

My Weather Bug is programmed with at least seven locations, all of which when checked come with a beautiful background and usually have the photographer’s name and the notation “©[photographer] on flickr“. I’ve been looking at those pictures and wondering where in the world those were taken. But I keep seeing “Creative Commons” and “flickr”……

Great! Another photo storage host! Flickr will host up to a capacity of 1 TB. WHAT??! Not 5 gigs or 10 gigs–1 terabyte.

According to the internet: “One terabyte is one trillion (short scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the terabyte is TB.” Which is 1,000 gigs! Va Va Voom!

Waiting for the other shoe to drop, I signed up! Why not? I won’t be buying any more little flash drives, the last one of which I’d ordered from Amazon to back up all those files. It came apart after the third use.

You knew it’d get complicated somewhere though, right? Now we have the option of offering any of these photos through a Creative Commons license. There are attribution options out there. And many more photos to share! I love it and I’m sharing two I found today. Hope these have the proper licenses. Resource Box

How to Give Feedback … and Avoid Killing the Writer

thank you! guess i was using an “Oxford Comma” and didn’t know it. also go by the “breath” rule, tho i’ve also noticed the propensity to eliminate any and all commas anymore. still–i like the breath rule.

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

How to Give Feedback … and Avoid Killing the Writer

by Mary Ellen Stepanich

Before I retired, I was a professor of Organizational Behavior. I always said to my students, “I’m very organized, but my behavior leaves a lot to be desired.”

Once upon a time, during my tenure at the university in the late ‘90s, I was called as a criticprospective juror. When I told the judge I was a professor of Organizational Behavior, he asked me, “What is Organizational Behavior, anyway?”

I replied, “It’s the study of human behavior in organizations of work with a view to improving the performance of individuals and groups so as to increase the performance outcome for the organization and satisfaction for the members.”

The judge said, “I don’t want you organizing my jury. You’re excused.”

One of the topics we discussed in my classes was the tricky issue of giving feedback

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Free WordPress Blog Theme

This is a free WordPress Blog Theme–titled “Twenty-Fifteen”. Given that it was actually fairly easy to change out of my old theme, “Beach,” I feel now that I have the power, this theme will be short-lived–no doubt until the end of the year! I know white space is supposed to be a good thing–but this much?

Having been crushed that the clickable file I tried to upload, wouldn’t, I’ve scouted for most of the day for a free host where I could park some html files. This was not a huge file. Frustrated woman

I’ve tried uploading a gif before and noted that the action I had programmed in, didn’t. This is getting very frustrating!

Today, I found a number of free html file storage hosts, offering anywhere from 1 to 10 gigs FREE storage with up to a 250 mg upload capacity. Most are geared towards businesses wherein they hope to snag an upgrade or premium account later. Having checked everyone from HiDrive to Box, I finally went with Box only to discover it doesn’t really hold my html file as I’d hoped either. Google Drive is another (obviously giant) host driven toward businesses hoping to get bigger and there is always “the Cloud.” It’s out there–somewhere.

So, apparently, I’m back to the self-hosted website. ARGH! Gotta be an alternative! There must be something I haven’t thought of or tried yet. I will continue to tackle that problem and now I’m thinking it’s time to look into FREE (there’s a recurring theme here as well) #twitter hashtag analyzer/tracker out there. Suggestions? No, not Yoast–apparently this blog (at my level anyway) doesn’t support that app either–I’ve looked.

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Wanted: Free WordPress Themes

I Need a New WordPress Theme! (I think)

I liked the (free) theme of this blog, so much so it’s dominated the background since I created the site (and that’s been awhile).

However, I keep getting assailed with bigger and better–that’s what led to publishing my grandfather’s 2nd (and more) novels in the first place; created this WordPress blog, opened (or resurrected) accounts for Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Etsy, Facebook and Pinterest. Is all this really necessary?

Link Images
Yes, these were all clickable–but WordPress doesn’t do html?

I’m still mainly clueless regarding the purpose of half of the above and as I’ve alluded to previously, really don’t know what I’m doing. So it goes that there is a constant need for more knowledge, ever more studies into making the present, better. Yes, I’m one of those that must learn from my mistakes!

Behind the desire to make something more desirable, more topical, create a larger readership, open more channels, craft a better product, I’ve been looking into converting this WordPress blog into a “self-hosted” website. Having read what I could, I’m still not sure of the benefit other than to infuse the coffers of others with my hard-earned Social Security money–all those years contributing my portion of those pitiful paychecks into that which is now being called the “entitlement.” (Guess I missed the benefits–don’t get me started).

Do you have a compelling reason for converting from a regular WordPress blog into a self-hosted website? (Maybe getting it to accept an html graphic?) I’d love to hear it! Since this is not “big business,” I’m thinking maybe I should just do more with the blog I have:

    1. Keep up the writing commitment
    2. Offer a wider content
    3. Continue with reviews (I do still love reading for fun)
    4. Change that old theme

New WordPress Theme

WHOA! I know what you are thinking! (I almost snuck that one in!)  “But it has served so well!” Or perhaps, “It was obvious at a glance the blog’s subject.” Okay, the last, arguably so.

Therefore, in keeping with the aforementioned warning [she] “doesn’t know what she’s doing,” I’ll only say this–I’ve been surveying some new theme ideas. Uh Oh.

Commitment to Blog Posts

Day 35: What are you going to do to keep the blogging momentum going? What plans do you have to continue your connection with other Author Blog Challenge participants and the new readers you’ve generated for your blog?

Keep the Momentum Going? Huh?

Dash To Christmas
Can I really add one more commitment to this pile?

This time of the year, I can think of few things I’d need to add to the chaos of the on-coming Christmas-time rush. No doubt it’s my daughter’s fault. Born in the middle of October, she upped the start of the season as her birthday quickly heralds in Halloween, followed closely by Thanksgiving, and in our case Christmas, though I know most people celebrate this time of year in their own way.

My celebration these latter years is just getting through it. For too many years, I tried doing the multi-tasking thing–keeping my regular-time job, but also the decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, and cleaning in prep for company (LOTS of it–my hubby is from a large–need I say, Catholic family?). And then in reverse, the clean up, get ready for New Year’s Eve–again clean up. Thank heaven his sisters married, had families of their own, and started taking over the whole routine!

Now my goal is to do as little as possible.

Holiday Shoppers

The Author Blog Challenge is being completed with this blog. 35 days.

In the meantime, I published the anthology, which was decided would be the last of the books published for my grandfather. However, in view of the over-whelming need to keep the momentum going and the necessity for continued marketing and sales promotion, I will keep the blog active, but on a scaled back version.

The daily thing was pretty significant–huge contribution of time–and most of the new subscribers were, indeed, participants of this challenge. I greatly enjoyed reading everyone’s posts and subscribed, so they have grown into personal links and will be on-going.

The history with the blog had been extremely spotty–and getting to it was not at the top of the priority list. Realizing the importance of a schedule, however, I will commit to at least two blog posts per week. I’m responsible for one blog post a month to this MeetUp, and as everyone else, will be keeping a separate writing schedule as well as participating in a copywriting effort for ice cream money.

It’s good I have a dog to walk–exercising the fingers doesn’t constitute a complete work-out routine and my back-side doesn’t need to grow (any larger). Resource Box

How Many “Do-Overs” Do You Have?

How many “do-overs” do you have in your life?

How many of us would choose a “do-over” if the Genie got out of the bottle?

Incredibly lucky, I seemed to have gotten the right life partner right out of the chute–luck–and guidance from above–as I really wasn’t that smart. I met him when I was 17 and only knew what I didn’t want. My first and best decision.

However, when I think of do-overs, mine would be incredibly miniscule compared to the big picture. And mine would mainly have to do with money. Growing up in poverty, I learned to be very careful with money early and, for the most part, guided our family budget. That isn’t to say my hubby didn’t make some of his own grand decisions, leading to several extremely poor financial choices. Do-Over–don’t give away the store!


So I thought in the do-over world, money might be right up there at the top.  I was wrong. It goes much deeper.

What about completely changing your destiny?* Wait to get married. Finish school. Choose a different career. We are certainly not the first to want a second chance–the chance to do it “right.” How many books have been written about the subject? Too numerous to count. One of the final works by Jane Austen, “Persuasion,” might be an excellent example.

A quick look into a short poll regarding regrets (not necessarily in order):

  1. Too shy about taking risks (squandering opportunity).
  2. Not having married the right person.
  3. Not having children.
  4. Not keeping your mouth shut about something.
  5. Drugs and/or alcohol.

And the good news about several regrets–some things are never too late to change:

  1. Education–go back to school.
  2. Leaving the downers–you’ve heard the song, “Don’t Bring Me Down”
  3. Standing up for yourself.

We all need and deserve a second chance, a do-over, from time to time.

Carpe Diem

*When further asked if the do-over would change who they are–would they still do-over? The answer was no.

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The Mynah Birds Are Mocking Me

Good Grief! Those sounds–what are they?

Every day that I walk my dog, I am greeted with myriad sounds of birds that are way beyond my ability to identify. Every area has it’s contingent of indigenous birds–but in Goodyear, Arizona, what would they be? Guess I’d have to bring in an avian expert as even perusing the web for some idea, I’ve still come up with no clue.

Because of the water features associated with the golf courses, I see a number of water related birds, but these don’t have the call I’d like to identify. I’ve confronted a pair of ornery (burrowing?) owls on more than Burrowing owlone occasion. They became rather aggressive when they spied Frosty from aloft, but circling and landing just feet away apparently decided against tackling her as she came with strings attached (me).

Perhaps if I could catch a glimpse of them, it would help to identify if they have a squatty body with short tail, or slim body with long tail, short beak, long beak, colorful body or black. They make a dreadful mess of the sidewalks, but trying to spy them in the branches has been futile. Of course, we have our sizeable population roadrunnerof doves, pigeons, quail, hawks, killdeer, hummingbirds, mocking birds, mud hens, widgeons, blackbirds, sparrows, finches, and even roadrunners. cactus wren

The cactus wren is the state bird of Arizona. That certainly makes sense, but what sound do they make and are they actually in the neighborhood next door where the cacophony near evening is almost deafening?

Which bird is it that is making me wonder if I’ve teleported to Africa? The only bird I can imagine making all those sounds might be a mynah bird. But is that even possible? Surely they aren’t common or wild around town. Or are they?

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Exclusive Content Management Classes

I’ve mentioned before my love of reading, including historical fiction, but then I enjoy most books except porn and vampire–or are those pretty much the same genre these days–not sure. I’m also one who enjoys taking an occasional class, customarily at my local community college where generally the fees are quite reasonable and the courses widely varied and JUST what I’m looking for in an effort to further whatever interest is being pursued at that moment. I usually do quite well in them–except for that JavaScript class previously noted in which my grade of B (not A) was deserved. I struggled with that one! If they awarded  graduate-hat2“Miscellaneous Degrees,” I’d have won one long ago, taking everything from real estate classes to computer and graphics classes, though it’s become obvious I need to update my graphics programs which would necessitate new classes. It’s a never-ending cycle, this life-long education.

So it was determined recently I needed a few more classes–this time in Content Management, SEO, and Marketing and Social Networking. Mercy! These in addition to the aforesaid graphics programs would set me up fairly well with this blog, as well as give me additional background for the copywriting I’ve tackled on the side, along with the regular promotion of my grandfather’s books which have now been published.

I’ve never had time to get bored–there is always plenty to do!

I popped on the Estrella Mountain Community College website and found that I’d missed enrollment for the Fall Semester, but Spring Semester would be opening in October. Super! Estrella Mtn Comm College

I set up an account, checked for classes and found the perfect two, one online, to begin and added them to my “wishlist”. Of course, then I had to wait until payday to complete admissions and registration.

Online registration is as complicated as at the physical location, however, there is no one to advise you with the proper answers (online) and so began a convoluted effort at filing the appropriate paperwork in which at one point I realized needed to be a year-long Arizona resident to qualify. Additionally, they required you to verify you’d be an Arizona resident through the end of the class. Well, no problem (I thought), as we were living in Yuma in our RV prior to moving here and eventually leasing this apartment for a year, which will be next July. I had to go in to present the appropriate documents.

First, these days you must verify you are a U.S. citizen. That done, I armed myself with lease papers, receipts from our RV rental lot in Yuma, and the U.S. Post Office transfer of permanent resident address to Maricopa County. None of that mattered, however, when they asked for my ID. I presented my driver’s license, which is from Idaho and is valid through March of 2017. On that basis, I was denied the class as an in-state resident ($35.00); but could pay the out-of-state resident fee ($387.00). On Social Security, I had waited until I could pay the $35–but $387? That’s probably our food budget for the month. I’m disappointed and needed to vent. Thank you for listening!

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Writing Dialogue That’s Natural

Talking just seems to come naturally–long conversations–no problem. There is the usual he said/she said argument about who talks the most, but I’ve heard men on the phone long enough for it to take root and grow (not that women don’t converse just as long–just that it seems more of a tie).

So what is it about writing dialogue that gets us typewriter-tied?

The problem seems to be one of making it flow naturally or come off as contrived. We’ve all read books in which the dialogue just isn’t believable–others where you might be a fly on the wall listening in to the Conversationconversation.

It was suggested that one of the ways to really get into writing dialogue is to go to a very busy place and politely eavesdrop (a shopping mall or Starbucks?). The suggestion was to take down some of the dialogue or create “prompts” to help you remember the conversation. Perhaps in my world, I’d have to take a recorder (the cell phone would do nicely), and just hit the record button. Who knows the tidbits you’d get if you weren’t caught and busted for being a weirdo.

We all have “self-talk” and usually have no problem with the running dialogue. I can carry on a real conversation and answer quite naturally when I’m on my walks with the dog. But to remember it and write it down later; again, just won’t happen. I’ve tried the cell phone thing and recorded dialogue thoughts, plot thoughts, and ideas to research and verify or clarify. Well, admittedly, the latter worked as, again, it would have been forgotten otherwise by the time I got home to pencil and paper or keyboard.

The nice thing about going to a very busy venue is that along with the bits of conversation you’ll catch the accompanying accents, facial expressions, and body language. Those are wonderful to help add real, engaging dialogue. The quiet groans, giggles, hand waving gestures and head shaking, head nodding, eyes closing. The expressions all go a long way in authenticating the dialogue.

There’s an art to painting the picture and creating that conversation. Add the nuances and you have completed the scene in the mind of the reader. It’s about more than just the words. It’s a stage and the characters, the actors. Set them free.

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You Won’t Believe Who Is Starring in This Movie!

DAY 30 PROMPT: If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of a glowing Rotten Tomatoes review of your film.

Who stars in the movie of your book?

First, and of paramount importance, would be the heart attack I’d have to survive after the man explained why he was there!

But if we are talking fantasy, then the next question would be “which book?” Since I’d have to assume one of the sailing adventures, I might well imagine that the same actor might be more than capable of making lead character in any of the three. Or….

Harrison FordSO! If I were to save some money (titter titter–in Hollywood–right!), might I combine an actor and producer in one fell swoop with either Clint EastwoodHarrison Ford or Clint Eastwood? (Well, you didn’t say it had to be a present day actor and this is my fantasy–right?) The free-wheeling Ford would make a fine Captain Dan McChesney (Cocos Island Treasure); strong, vigorous, with  fair-minded intelligence in his soft doe eyes. At the same time, Ford might have to find another island, as Cocos Island is uninhabitable, thus forcing the search for a more equitable location. (Maybe the insurance wouldn’t be as high on, say, Tonga, which appears to share many of the same attributes as Cocos Island.)

Clint baby, of course, brings that fierce presence to the screen, creating a no-nonsense compliment of men, capable and strong, but still willing to jump when Clint yells “Frog!” Yes, he could work as well……but maybe not for “Lucky Joe.”

“Lucky Joe” would require a separate producer–perhaps George Lucas–and actor. I like Johnny Depp. depp Depp, of course, would have to have his stowaway mate, Joe, who could be played by a much easier going Brad Pitt. Then the problem might be the continual fights between Depp and Pitt–but perhaps Lucas could keep them separate for the duration of the film–set to be a short one.

Sean ConneryDid I miss Sean Connery? Oh my no! Connery would make the protagonist in “Sons of the Sea,” Captain Beasley (he even has the beard!). Not sure that Connery would want to double duty as producer for this, though I know he is quite capable. The love interest (and yes, McShane did manage to include a love interest; whether or not he knew what to do with it is another question), Edith, Natalie Portmanmight be played by Natalie Portman. Why not, you ask, Jennifer Anniston? Oh, puleese, the over-used Anniston couldn’t make it more than one day in that bug and snake infested environment and in that heat her make-up would be a nightmare. No, I think we’ll stay with Portman. She might be able to pull off innocence a little better as well. Connery might be a tad old for Portman, but they are ACTORS–right?

Rotten TomatoesRotten Tomatoes says of the new film just out, Lucky Joe, “Depp does it again with quiet intensity, saving a weak rewrite of the original historic adventure by Stanley McShane. However, with Brad Pitt serving up redemption with the assurance that he is being guided by a force stronger than he, together all will survive whaling in the Bering Sea in 1901. Whether or not his angel saves his dopey ass in the wilderness of the Sierra’s is another question. You’ll have to see this whole thing to believe it. And you might! If Lucky Joe can bend a bawdy band of seasoned seamen to his will, nothing is impossible.”

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These Books Designed Their Own Book Covers

These Books Designed Their Own Book Covers

Describe your process for choosing and designing your book cover. Who created your cover? How did you find him/her? What do you love about your cover? What might you do differently next time?

It’s assumed there is a process for designing book covers and I must admit to being a bit behind the times as at my age, sensibilities were formed a long time ago and things have changed. My process began by studying book covers–LOTS of book covers. What did I like–what didn’t I like?

I like colorful covers and those that hint at what the book is about.

Book Covers

Out of the six covers under the author name Stanley McShane, it may be obvious that none are particularly heavy in romance. That alone may limit interest, but not everyone is a millennial. Urged to seek the help of my cousin’s daughter, three of the covers were designed by Christine Armstrong. Two of the covers feature ships painted by McShane for his manuscripts and the western uses part of another painting. My Titles

I particularly enjoyed the story that Cliff Johnson, retired Idaho Chief of Police, told regarding the cover he hadWrong Side of the River in mind and went about utilizing the son of a friend for his cover knowing exactly where and what he wanted the cover shot. The problem is, it took forever, and it was only after the boy became so tired and bored with the whole thing the picture was made perfect–just what he wanted–and doesn’t it speak volumes!

I love the cover Christine made for “Sons of the Sea”. I’d noticed a statue the town of Grimsby installed to honor their fisherman–and sent that to her. She incorporated it beautifully and I was thrilled with it. Most of the other covers have been changed at least once, several at the suggestion of veteran Quartzsite AZ naked bookstore owner, Paul WinerPaul Winer (who bought several), at the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore. The man knows his music AND his books!! Talk about an unusual venue!

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Promotion Through Social Media

The Day 28 prompt is: How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps? Social Media

Since I’m currently using nine of the ten pictured in Laura’s example, I guess I’m not doing too badly. Probably won’t be doing Instagram and use several of the others to a more or lesser extent.

Really, I’m not sure whether the reach through these social media outlets is successful, though I do believe the name of Stanley McShane is getting out there.

Familiar with the term, “Jack of all trades, Master of none?” Guess that’d be me or more appropriately put, “Mistress of None.” I’ve taught myself Word (and a very old version at that), and opened accounts in Facebook as well as the other media platforms, but have only a basic knowledge; none of manipulation in any of those programs. I know the associated access of personal info by Facebook and try not to “give away the store”, though it’s obvious now that ANY information whatsoever can lead to further denigration of personal information.

Spoon-Feeding PublicI have a major problem with Google+ and given it’s greater participation on the “Richter” scale of social media standings should be doing more there, though it’s feared the same relinquishment of personal information as Facebook. I’m being blackmailed on a larger, more grander scale than ever before, and it’s all legal!!

Given all that–I’d love to be able to use both Facebook and Google+ to gain better name recognition and sales advantage. For that matter, I’ve barely tapped LinkedIn and Twitter. I’ve enrolled in an SEO class, but where are the classes in reversing the information highway through FB and Google+? I’m not interested in paying for ads (Social Security doesn’t allow for more than a few meds). I need common practices and tips that most under the age of 40 freely peruse.

I’ll continue to read, read, read–but the time to write is being consumed by the time required to read, interpret, and digest and I’m no longer blond. OH! The next step then would be the “how to” CD’s. Yes?

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Building the Platform

The Day 27 prompt is: What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

Having started this process with NaNoWriMo in 2011, I’ve been through the gamut of ideas, following rules and advice, and letting the creative juices flow until they became a trickle.

Several initial ideas were dumped: Garbage

1) Forget salt-water taffy at book signings. The kids grabbed a handful and the adults weren’t into taffy.

2) Started with inventories of flyers, bookmarks, postcards, and business cards. It was a toss up how many were found floating around the store, left quietly on a display shelf, or at the check-out. I’ll finish out the current stores, then redesign the business cards.

3) Laminated posters–found difficult to display without investing further in an easel (and I found irritating those authors who had as they captured the eye and blocked the traffic).

What were the three suggestions acted upon and still being implemented? Branding

1) Reading about the idea of “branding”, I went back to my book covers and changed the author’s name font so they were all consistent.

2) I’d established a blog and paid for custom domain. I’d created several very simple websites (including one for my Women On Wheels® chapter and this would presumably involve a shopping cart).

  1. A) Decided instead to create an Etsy and Pinterest account.
  2. B) Opened a separate Facebook account for Stanley McShane with a Rosepoint Publishing page and a Stanley McShane page on my personal FB account.
  3. C) Opened a Goodreads account in the name of Stanley McShane.

Would a database or email marketing list be effective? Possibly, but difficult  for me to consider or implement. I haven’t wanted to muddle a book sale with further requests assuming my ever-growing twitter followers and blog subscribers have first shown the interest and made the contact.

Other than the above, the current push for promotion and marketing strategy will have to solidify the platform, one which is hoped sufficient to provide a solid base for the current launch: “Sole Survivor-A Fiction Adventure Anthology” (released Monday).

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The Dark Art of SEO

Excellent, relevent, and extremely timely content since I just signed up for an SEO class at my local community college!

Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion

The Dark Art of SEO

SEO - Search Concept.If you’ve studied online marketing, you’ve most likely come across the acronym SEO. But what is it and how does it help?

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimization, which is the process of optimizing a website so that it ranks well in search results on Google and other search engines. The idea is that the higher your site ranks in the search engine results, the more traffic your website will get and the more sales you will make.

There is some truth to that thinking. If someone searches for your name, your company name, a book your wrote, or a product you sell, you want your website to be at the top of the list, or at least on the first page of results.

But if your name is Betty Jones or you wrote a memoir titled My…

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If I Had The Money, I Could Sell More Books

If I Had The Money, I Could Sell More Books

DAY 26 PROMPT: What would be the ideal NON-bookstore venue for selling your book? Why? What is your plan to reach out to such a venue to ask about having them carry your book?

As with most things in life, if I had the money, I could sell more books!

Three of the manuscripts I’ve published have dealt with sailing–stowing away, being shanghaied on a whaler, accounts of carrying cargo around the Horn. They would certainly appeal to a particular crowd, and it occurred to me years ago that one good venue might be a boat show. Looking into that, however, quickly discerned the cost was prohibitive. And the logistics–aye–don’t get me started! Boat ShowJack SparrowOne of the MOST fun festivals attended, if not successful or lucrative, was the Pirate Festival in Rockaway  Beach, Oregon (although there are many, including a larger one in Portland). I suspect, depending on the year, and the rain, it would have been an excellent venue given two of his sailing adventures involve pirates.

There is a large tourist market in Seattle called Pike’s Market that given enough time I’d have gladly hunted for appropriate mom and pop shops who would have been interested in the historical fiction books. There was Godfather’s Books and Espresso Bar in Astoria, and I noticed the “bar” had all the accoutrements of a Starbucks–comfortable social seating, wifi availability, affable sea-going crowd, and enough books to surf through 60 cups of Java. I’ve tried libraries, including the one in Cannon Beach, Oregon, where I’ve mentioned before the jewelry shop called Cannon Beach Treasure Company that featured treasures from the deep as well as videos of his dives.

Except that the Maritime History Museum was closed and we couldn’t alter our timing or route, it had sounded promising when I spoke to the manager. Gray’s Harbor in Aberdeen has a wealth of history and maritime related establishments. Aberdeen has also claimed notoriety as the home port of the tall ship Lady Washington, a reproduction of a smaller vessel used by the explorer Captain Robert Gray, featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean film The Curse of the Black Pearl. Obviously, the best venue for his sailing adventures is the coast–either left OR right.

As far as his mining and penny stock certificate tale, in addition to bookstores, there are a number of historical societies, including the one in Tonopah, Nevada, and the library in Pahrump. I suspect the anthology would also be an appropriate addition to those locations as well.

All to say, if I had the money, I’d sweep the Pacific Coast shoreline north and south and every old mining town with a bar and restaurant in Nevada. I don’t. What’s that old saying, “It takes money to make money?”Resource Box