REBLOGGING: “Locally Grown #Book #Marketing for #Indie #Authors” from Author Marketing Expert

REBLOGGING: “Locally Grown #Book #Marketing for #Indie #Authors” from Author Marketing Expert

https://www.amarketingexpert.com/book-marketing-locally-grown/

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14! Start Planning NOW!

#Indie #Author Day 2017: Saturday, October 14!

TODAY (September 16, 2017) were events at our local library’s main branch (St. Louis County) for “Indie Author Day,” but YOUR library may have other plans! Check!

The second annual Indie Author Day will be held IN SOME PLACES on Saturday, October 14, 2017. This event brings together libraries and local writers around the world for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authorship.

Registration for Indie Author Day 2017 is officially open. Visit the Indie Author Day website, https://goo.gl/6HJZG3 . to learn more information about this year’s event and how to get involved in IAD programming near you.


From the Indie Author Day website:

HOSTING AN EVENT

In addition to a selection of on-demand video workshops that will be available from Indie Author Day sponsors, there are many activities for your #library to offer as part of its Indie Author Day 2017 event.

To get you brainstorming, here are some suggested activities that #libraries have done at past events:

—An #author panel featuring traditional, hybrid and self-published #authors from the community
—Presentations from local indie authors about writing, marketing and more
—Book readings and / or signings from local authors
—Presentations from local industry leaders
—Writing workshops
—Presentations and workshops to inform the writing community about tools available for them to use through the library
—Author readings and open mics, featuring short segments of each author’s works

Check out our Brandisty page, https://brandisty.com/indieauthorday . for logos, web banners, posters and postcards to help you promote your Indie Author Day!

Alert the media with our Press Release templates for Authors and Libraries [there are downloads for each on this website].

Are you a #library hosting Indie Author Day? Spread the word with these pre-written social media post. http://indieauthorday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Indie-Author-Day-Social-Media-Posts.pdfs [there are downloads for images, logos, more, on this website, such as the Partners’ Logo, below]!


Here are their sample posts (you can add your own hashtags and other info, such as “RT,” to these):
— Calling all #indieauthors! Join us as we celebrate our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct.
14!
— We’re hosting an event for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14! Join us if want to support our local
#selfpub and #indieauthors!
— Are you an #indieauthor? We’re #indie you! Join us for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!
— We’re excited to support our local authors for #IndieAuthorDay on Oct. 14!

Week TWO Info for “The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017,” run by Lisa DeSpain

“The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017” is hosted by:
Lisa DeSpain, “The Successful Author’s Book Coach” (her own eponym), who can be reached at: lisa@book2bestseller.com, and who can be found (and more info, also) at: http://book2bestseller.com
[I am not endorsing, recommending, or benefitting, myself. I have attended worthwhile webinars/workshops online led by a few of these presenters. Sharing, therefore.]

Lisa sent this note and schedule, below, to those of us who subscribe to her newsletter and who signed up to be notified of this coming week’s events in the The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017 (which runs May 8 – 19, 2017).

Sign up here: http://www.book2bestseller.com/authors-adventure-summit/ to get on the list, access the free events, or decide to pay and access more (I am not paying).

Hi – just a quick note to let you know what’s happening this upcoming week. I’ll be sending a daily schedule with links so you can easily click through to the summit interviews for the day. Here’s an overview of the week:

WEEK TWO SCHEDULE

Monday, May 15
Derek Murphy, “Fantastic Fiction Promotional Strategies” http://book2bestseller.com/derek-murphy
Jill Celeste, “The Director of Marketing for Your Book Business” http://book2bestseller.com/jill-celeste
Elena Rahrig, “Traditional Publisher or Self-Publisher?” http://book2bestseller.com/elena-rahrig

Tuesday, May 16
Eric Van Der Hope, “Finding Your Tribe & Building Your Platform” http://book2bestseller.com/eric-van-der-hope
Lori Hardegree, “Facebook Secrets for Authors (The Red Hot Edition)” http://book2bestseller.com/lori-hardegree
Penny Sansevieri, “Offline and Online Marketing Strategies” http://book2bestseller.com/penny-sansevieri

Wednesday, May 17
Shari Stauch, “Fun Ways to Build Your Author Platform” http://book2bestseller.com/shari-stauch
Kiki Chatfield, “New Publicity Methods You’ve Never Heard Of” http://book2bestseller.com/kiki-chatfield
Kimberley Grabas, “6 Essential Elements of a Flawless Book Launch” http://book2bestseller.com/kimberley-grabas

Thursday, May 18
Sharon Hamilton, “Becoming a Bestselling Author” http://book2bestseller.com/sharon-hamilton
Alinka Rutkowska, “Why 72% of Self-Published Authors Never Sell
More Than 1,000 Books” http://book2bestseller.com/alinka-rutkowska
Jen Levitz, “5 Keys to Writing a Lead Generating Business Book” http://book2bestseller.com/jen-levitz

Friday, May 19
Judith Briles, “The Book Shepherd” http://book2bestseller.com/judith-briles
Lisa DeSpain, “Summit Wrap-Up” http://book2bestseller.com/lisa-interview

WEEK ONE SCHEDULE (may need to pay to view older shows…)

Monday, May 8
Randy Peyser, “How to Get a Book Deal with a Publisher” http://book2bestseller.com/randy-peyser
Tamara Monosoff, “Adding Interactivity and Working with Affiliates” http://book2bestseller.com/tamara-monosoff
Tenita Johnson, “Beyond the Bestseller List” http://book2bestseller.com/tenita-johnson

Tuesday, May 9
Valerie Gangas, “Going Pro on the Path to Enlightenment” http://book2bestseller.com/valerie-gangas
Laila Ali, “From Traditional to Self-Published” http://book2bestseller.com/laila-ali
Rocky Callen, “Learning How to Bleed Ink” http://book2bestseller.com/rocky-callen

Wednesday, May 10
Amanda Young, “Finding Clarity as You Write Your Book” http://book2bestseller.com/amanda-young
Ellie McLove, “Editing: When to Change it or Leave it for Style” http://book2bestseller.com/ellie-mclove
Nina Amir, “Inspiration to Creation” http://book2bestseller.com/nina-amir

Thursday, May 11
Tamara Dever, “The Selling Power of Book Design” http://book2bestseller.com/tamara-dever
Joel Friedlander, “Secret Ways that Authors Really Make Money” http://book2bestseller.com/joel-friedlander
Robin Cutler, “Getting Ingram Distribution through IngramSpark” http://book2bestseller.com/robin-cutler

Friday, May 12
Steven Spatz, “Distribution + Service = A Winning Combination” http://book2bestseller.com/steven-spatz
Kristin Steele & Dan Verdick,”The Top 4 Things You Need to Know About Book
Marketing” http://book2bestseller.com/kristin-and-dan

The Presenters for both weeks of The Author’s Adventure Summit 2017

Lisa ended her email with a few cute lines, then this info:

P.S. If you think you’re going to have trouble watching the interviews on their live dates, you might want to get a VIP access pass (if you haven’t already). Here’s the link to become a VIP: http://www.book2bestseller.com/masterclass-vip/

Indie Author Fringe’s 2nd online conference, “Fringe to BookExpo,” is Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

2017’s Indie Author Fringe 2nd of 3 online conferences, “Fringe to BookExpo,”, happens in a few weeks, on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. Click here for more info and to register: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/what-is-indie-author-fringe/

This year’s conference “features 24-hours of self-publishing sessions for authors with an independent spirit. The agenda we’re developing will help you reach more readers and sell more books, and includes tips, tools, and techniques for marketing and promoting yourself and your book.”

I am a proud member of Alli, and this message is from one of the three organizers, Orna Ross, of Alli (the Alliance of Independent Authors)(David Penny and Jay Artale are the other two):

SPEAKERS

We’ve added more speakers and you can click here, http://selfpublishingadvice.org/bookexpo-indie-author-fringe-2017-speakers/ , to view the bios we’ve published so far.

COMPETITION

It’s free to enter our Book Cover Competition here, http://selfpublishingadvice.org/indie-author-fringe-2017-cover-competition-submission/ , and you can check out the competition entries we’ve already received [on that site as well].

Over the coming weeks, we’ll let you know about the Sponsor deals and discounts, and reveal the changes we’re implementing for this upcoming Indie Author Fringe event.

Until then, happy writing and publishing…

Next Alli Indie Author Fringe online conference: October 14, 2017.

#Book #Marketing Buzz Blog’s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!

BookMarketingBuzzBlog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!
Posted: 26 Nov 2014 10:45 AM PST

Brian Feinblum posted this on his site, Book Marketing Buzz Blog, which I highly recommend that you subscribe to if you are an #author.

Brian’s blog is “A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.”

buy-books-and-feel-good

image from http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot.com

I link to the full post here and quote a bit of it. Thanks, Brian!

Brian offered his own intro, then asked: “How can we spread the word about the power of books?

Here are some of his answers. Read his post for the entire, excellent list.

· Start by gifting [books] this holiday season.

· Read more books

· Serve as a literacy tutor to young kids or ESL adults

· Keep buying books – don’t settle for free ebooks

· Form a book group or join one

· Attend author signing and speaking events

· Donate more books to schools, libraries, and chairties.

· Discuss books with others. Don’t ask your friends if they saw the latest movie. Ask what they’re reading.

· Read to your kids and then discuss what was read. Learning becomes fun this way.

· Reproduce your favorite book covers, frame them – and hang them on your walls

Link to full post: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-books.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bookmarketingbuzzblog+%28BookMarketingBuzzBlog%29

Brian Feinblum can be found:
on Twitter @theprexpert
via email brianfeinblum@gmail.com.

His post is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2014

#Book #Marketing Buzz Blog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!

BookMarketingBuzzBlog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!
Posted: 26 Nov 2014 10:45 AM PST

Brian Feinblum posted this on his site, Book Marketing Buzz Blog, which I highly recommend that you subscribe to if you are an #author.

Brian’s blog is “A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.”

buy-books-and-feel-good

image from http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot.com

I link to the full post here and quote a bit of it. Thanks, Brian!

Brian offered his own intro, then asked: “How can we spread the word about the power of books?

Here are some of his answers. Read his post for the entire, excellent list.

· Start by gifting [books] this holiday season.

· Read more books

· Serve as a literacy tutor to young kids or ESL adults

· Keep buying books – don’t settle for free ebooks

· Form a book group or join one

· Attend author signing and speaking events

· Donate more books to schools, libraries, and chairties.

· Discuss books with others. Don’t ask your friends if they saw the latest movie. Ask what they’re reading.

· Read to your kids and then discuss what was read. Learning becomes fun this way.

· Reproduce your favorite book covers, frame them – and hang them on your walls

Link to full post: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-books.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bookmarketingbuzzblog+%28BookMarketingBuzzBlog%29

Brian Feinblum can be found:
on Twitter @theprexpert
via email brianfeinblum@gmail.com.

His post is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2014

NOT DOING #NaNoWriMo Writing Plans

People keep asking me: Are you doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)?
I say, “No.”
They seem surprised.

I decided to explain.
Here are my NOT DOING #NaNoWriMo Writing Plans:

    1. Job-hunting. Must do. Have to get some income besides the trickle of pennies my 2 ebooks currently provide. Hope to add GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT to my list of November activities by November 30, which is more important than adding thousands of words to my computer. For me. This involves writing: cover letters, emails, queries. Hundreds of words. To people (or ‘bots….).

    cover-letter-words

    image from http://www.nerdwallet.com

      2. Marketing Ongoing. Trying to upgrade my trickle of ebooks’ sales’ pennies to a stream to a flow to a… .well, you get the idea. Includes blogging, tweeting, commenting on others’ blogs, guest blogging, reblogging with comments added, promoting my ebooks in The Spanners Series, begging for more reviews for my ebooks, writing reviews on Goodreads and posting them to Amazon of books I may get a chance to read and review, promoting my G+ HOA, *CHANGES*, and hosting the almost-weekly talk show on Wednesdays (10 AM EST USA).
      This involves writing: blog posts, site posts, tweets, comments, reviews, promos, emails (mostly to *CHANGES* guests and reviewers). Hundreds and probably thousands of words. For social media.

      begging

      image from http://www.rexrobotreviews.com

        3. Writing novels Ongoing. I am about half-way through Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change of The Spanners Series and wish to finish it this fall. I had planned to finish Vol III and work more on Vol IV, which I’ve barely started, by the end of August but a serious accident/concussion postponed achieving these goals by many months. I also have to finish collecting and reworking the researched bits that belong to these Volumes and perhaps future ones. This includes coming up with and agreeing on a cover design for Vol III with my cover artist, Aidana Willowraven.
        This involves writing: For the rest of Vol III and I hope some of Vol IV, Changes in Attitude/Changes in Latitude, as well. Tens of thousands of words. For novels.

        Cut pieces of paper with text on SEO theme. Isolated on white.

        image from http://thenovelfactory.blogspot.com

          4. Editing/Proofreading All of the above require both, and perhaps I will do some for hire (I hope). I’m available. Will negotiate: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com
          This involves writing by rewriting, hundreds and thousands of words, many times. For improving all writing. Everywhere.

        needs-to-be-edited

        image from http://hsquiresnovels.com
        (“edit” should have quotes around it…)

        Why am I not doing NaNoWriMo? I’m BUSY writing!

        I wish I could take a month and work only on ONE novel/project!

        Good luck to all who are doing NaNoWriMo!

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES: CLEAN INDIE READS (#CIR) Fall #Book #Sale Blog Tour

cir-fall-sale-graphic
http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES
Clean Indie Reads, the home of Flinch-Free Fiction, is having a #Fall #Book #Sale 

October 5 thru October 11!

Check out all the sale books HERE! http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

Or, if you would like to go directly to Amazon and peruse the sale books by genre, check out these on Listmania: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A1DSK2JI3W8GDJ/ref=cm_aya_bb_lists

To celebrate, we are having a #blog #hop where you can learn more about some of our authors and their books. Our bloggers will also be answering the question: “Do the changing seasons influence your writing and/or choice of books to read?”

Please join the discussion on this site by commenting, below, and please visit all the participating blog sites: you might win a prize or two! Happy Hopping!

My post:

The Sirian Experiments‘ Take on Changing Seasons

The best science-fiction series I have ever read that utilizes the idea of changing seasons is Doris Lessing’s The Sirian Experiments, which won the Man Booker Prize in 1981. It is Volume III of her Canopus in Argos: Archives Series, a masterwork of new ideas in philosophy, gender identity, sexuality, social relationships, ecology, geology, psychology and so much more. I highly recommend you start at the beginning and read the entire series. Then, start over. Really.

The main premise of The Sirian Experiments which relates to today’s thematic question is this: Humans and Earth itself are an experiment conducted by those from the planet Siria. Part of that experiment was to tilt Earth on its axis, creating seasons in most parts of the planet, and then to track the effects of this tilt on humans.

The main way that humans responded to this tilt was that we developed varying emotions. According to the Sirian experimenters, humans’ becoming emotionally labile, meaning quite reactive, sometimes inexplicably positive or negative, was a direct result of the planet’s switch from having temperate, monochromatic climates to having changing/seasonal climates.

Fascinating, right? After many centuries of observation, the Sirian experimenters further theorized that the more extreme the climate seasons changes were, the more radical the changes in the emotions of the humans living in those latitudes became. Those that lived closer to Earth’s equator and therefore experienced fewer and smaller annual seasonal changes were the least emotional, for example.

With the more recent understandings of the ways reduced sunlight affects many people, bringing to our attention extreme reactions, such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and high rates of suicide in latitudes of Earth that have fewer annual days/hours of sunlight, we now have support for Lessing’s “far-fetched” propositions.

Interestingly, SAD wasn’t “discovered” until after Lessing’s books had been published (SAD was formally described and named in 1984). Hmmmm…..

I recently moved from a more monochromatic climate (the San Francisco Bay Area) back to a more temperate/seasonal climate (Missouri). I wonder if I will become more “emotional”? I grew up here and I lived in temperate climates for most of my life, only inhabiting the more monochromatic climates for the last 15 years or so. However, that time also coincided with intensification in my Buddhist meditation practice, higher attendance at more and longer meditation retreats, many periods (years, not months) of unemployment, and fewer intimate relationships, so the experimental “controls” fail for THIS experiment.

All that being known, I am interested to find out how returning to a place that has actual seasons affects me. I’ll let you know!

First: have to buy some new winter boots. Mine rotted and molded from lack of use. LOL.

Second: get some more good books!

If you, as I do, like to curl up with a good book as we sit by a warming fire or other heating source as the weather gets rainier, colder, snowier or frosty, please consider getting the volumes in Lessing’s Sci-Fi series.

Then, for even more fun, download the first volume of my own sci-fi/ romance/ multiverse/ utopian Spanners Series, This Changes Everything (which is free) and then, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, as well. Also, please try some of the others’ books in this CIR Blog Hop!

Here are my books. All links can be found on my website: http://www.sallyember.com Look right and scroll.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Now PERMA-FREE everywhere ebooks are sold.

final cover print

Now $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

logoAuthorsDen

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, due out early in 2015. Volumes IV – X in process.
All Spanners‘ cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven.

As always, REVIEWS ARE APPRECIATED!

Blog Hop Schedule
(please note: not all bloggers will be offering giveaways):

Check out all the sale books here.

Disclaimer: Comment by 11:59:59 PM Central time on October 10, 2014 for your chance to win. Please leave your email address with your comment. Winners will be contacted by the blog owner by October 13, 2014. Only one entry per ISP address. The contest is open to international readers unless stated by the blog owner. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. The giveaway is the sole responsibility of the blogger. Clean Indie Reads is in no way responsible for providing prizes during this blog hop. Void where prohibited

 
Please visit the other sites in this Blog Tour! Schedule/URLs above and here: http://lindacovella.com/events-news/clean-indie-reads-fall-sale/

Many thanks to Linda Covello for organizing this and to all who participate as bloggers, all of you who visit, and especially all of your readers who comment, buy, download, read, and review our CIR books!

Enjoy your Clean Indie Reads!

Share /reblog this post!

Proud member of Clean Indie Reads!

CIR_Logo
 

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES: CLEAN INDIE READS (#CIR) Fall #Book #Sale Blog Tour

cir-fall-sale-graphic
http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES
Clean Indie Reads, the home of Flinch-Free Fiction, is having a #Fall #Book #Sale 

October 5 thru October 11!

Check out all the sale books HERE! http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

Or, if you would like to go directly to Amazon and peruse the sale books by genre, check out these on Listmania: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A1DSK2JI3W8GDJ/ref=cm_aya_bb_lists

To celebrate, we are having a #blog #hop where you can learn more about some of our authors and their books. Our bloggers will also be answering the question: “Do the changing seasons influence your writing and/or choice of books to read?”

Please join the discussion on this site by commenting, below, and please visit all the participating blog sites: you might win a prize or two! Happy Hopping!

My post:

The Sirian Experiments‘ Take on Changing Seasons

The best science-fiction series I have ever read that utilizes the idea of changing seasons is Doris Lessing’s The Sirian Experiments, which won the Man Booker Prize in 1981. It is Volume III of her Canopus in Argos: Archives Series, a masterwork of new ideas in philosophy, gender identity, sexuality, social relationships, ecology, geology, psychology and so much more. I highly recommend you start at the beginning and read the entire series. Then, start over. Really.

The main premise of The Sirian Experiments which relates to today’s thematic question is this: Humans and Earth itself are an experiment conducted by those from the planet Siria. Part of that experiment was to tilt Earth on its axis, creating seasons in most parts of the planet, and then to track the effects of this tilt on humans.

The main way that humans responded to this tilt was that we developed varying emotions. According to the Sirian experimenters, humans’ becoming emotionally labile, meaning quite reactive, sometimes inexplicably positive or negative, was a direct result of the planet’s switch from having temperate, monochromatic climates to having changing/seasonal climates.

Fascinating, right? After many centuries of observation, the Sirian experimenters further theorized that the more extreme the climate seasons changes were, the more radical the changes in the emotions of the humans living in those latitudes became. Those that lived closer to Earth’s equator and therefore experienced fewer and smaller annual seasonal changes were the least emotional, for example.

With the more recent understandings of the ways reduced sunlight affects many people, bringing to our attention extreme reactions, such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and high rates of suicide in latitudes of Earth that have fewer annual days/hours of sunlight, we now have support for Lessing’s “far-fetched” propositions.

Interestingly, SAD wasn’t “discovered” until after Lessing’s books had been published (SAD was formally described and named in 1984). Hmmmm…..

I recently moved from a more monochromatic climate (the San Francisco Bay Area) back to a more temperate/seasonal climate (Missouri). I wonder if I will become more “emotional”? I grew up here and I lived in temperate climates for most of my life, only inhabiting the more monochromatic climates for the last 15 years or so. However, that time also coincided with intensification in my Buddhist meditation practice, higher attendance at more and longer meditation retreats, many periods (years, not months) of unemployment, and fewer intimate relationships, so the experimental “controls” fail for THIS experiment.

All that being known, I am interested to find out how returning to a place that has actual seasons affects me. I’ll let you know!

First: have to buy some new winter boots. Mine rotted and molded from lack of use. LOL.

Second: get some more good books!

If you, as I do, like to curl up with a good book as we sit by a warming fire or other heating source as the weather gets rainier, colder, snowier or frosty, please consider getting the volumes in Lessing’s Sci-Fi series.

Then, for even more fun, download the first volume of my own sci-fi/ romance/ multiverse/ utopian Spanners Series, This Changes Everything (which is free) and then, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, as well. Also, please try some of the others’ books in this CIR Blog Hop!

Here are my books. All links can be found on my website: http://www.sallyember.com Look right and scroll.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Now PERMA-FREE everywhere ebooks are sold.

final cover print

Now $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

logoAuthorsDen

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, due out early in 2015. Volumes IV – X in process.
All Spanners‘ cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven.

As always, REVIEWS ARE APPRECIATED!

Blog Hop Schedule
(please note: not all bloggers will be offering giveaways):

Check out all the sale books here.

Disclaimer: Comment by 11:59:59 PM Central time on October 10, 2014 for your chance to win. Please leave your email address with your comment. Winners will be contacted by the blog owner by October 13, 2014. Only one entry per ISP address. The contest is open to international readers unless stated by the blog owner. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. The giveaway is the sole responsibility of the blogger. Clean Indie Reads is in no way responsible for providing prizes during this blog hop. Void where prohibited

 
Please visit the other sites in this Blog Tour! Schedule/URLs above and here: http://lindacovella.com/events-news/clean-indie-reads-fall-sale/

Many thanks to Linda Covello for organizing this and to all who participate as bloggers, all of you who visit, and especially all of your readers who comment, buy, download, read, and review our CIR books!

Enjoy your Clean Indie Reads!

Share /reblog this post!

Proud member of Clean Indie Reads!

CIR_Logo
 

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success by Anne R. Allen

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success
by Anne R. Allen

This is an excellent post with pertinent, supportive, specific information for indie writers. Please read the whole article on her blog (link is below).

My favorites of Anne’s 10 points:

#1: Do we really need paper books to be “successful”?
Apparently not: “EVERY SUCCESSFUL INDIE AUTHOR YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS HAS MADE THE BULK OF THEIR INCOME SELLING E-BOOKS.”

ebook sales to 2013

image from: http://blog.nathanbransford.com

#4: Does book “swag” sell books?
Apparently not: “Toys don’t sell books. Word of mouth from readers sells books. Especially word of mouth online, where people can simply click through to a buy page.”

book swag

image from: http://lizcoley.com

and, best of all, #10 (and previous ones relate to this as well):

“So what’s the best way to launch a book in this new publishing world? Nobody really knows. Sometimes books take off and the author doesn’t have a clue why…”

Imagine this next image with a big red line diagonally running through it!

EbookLaunch_guarantee_Badge2

image from: http://ebooklaunch.com

What do I keep reading/hearing, repeatedly, sells more ebooks? QUALITY and QUANTITY, both. Write well and publish a lot!

never quit

Please go to Anne’s site, read and comment/thank her for the rest. Great post, Anne. Thanks!

posted 8/24/14 and STILL HELPFUL every day!
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/08/10-obsolete-beliefs-that-can-block-self.html

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success by Anne R. Allen

10 Obsolete Beliefs that Can Block Self-Publishing Success
by Anne R. Allen

This is an excellent post with pertinent, supportive, specific information for indie writers. Please read the whole article on her blog (link is below).

My favorites of Anne’s 10 points:

#1: Do we really need paper books to be “successful”?
Apparently not: “EVERY SUCCESSFUL INDIE AUTHOR YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS HAS MADE THE BULK OF THEIR INCOME SELLING E-BOOKS.”

ebook sales to 2013

image from: http://blog.nathanbransford.com

#4: Does book “swag” sell books?
Apparently not: “Toys don’t sell books. Word of mouth from readers sells books. Especially word of mouth online, where people can simply click through to a buy page.”

book swag

image from: http://lizcoley.com

and, best of all, #10 (and previous ones relate to this as well):

“So what’s the best way to launch a book in this new publishing world? Nobody really knows. Sometimes books take off and the author doesn’t have a clue why…”

Imagine this next image with a big red line diagonally running through it!

EbookLaunch_guarantee_Badge2

image from: http://ebooklaunch.com

What do I keep reading/hearing, repeatedly, sells more ebooks? QUALITY and QUANTITY, both. Write well and publish a lot!

never quit

Please go to Anne’s site, read and comment/thank her for the rest. Great post, Anne. Thanks!

posted 8/24/14 and STILL HELPFUL every day!
http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/08/10-obsolete-beliefs-that-can-block-self.html

Book Sales are like PotLucks: You Don’t Know Who Appreciates Your Creation

Authors and potluck cooks have a lot in common. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, especially since I set Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, as permanently free.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 

How does any author know who actually reads our ebooks, much less appreciates them, as opposed to going by assessments based on the raw numbers of how many people now have it on their ereaders? Do sales figures really equal popularity and does popularity actually correlate to appreciation? How could we possibly know that?

potluck dishes

image from: http://1000awesomethings.com

I, as a cook, would bring a homemade dish to a potluck feeling a mixture of pride, anxiety and hope, my mind brimming with questions as I lay my dish on the table: Will anyone take any? Is it pretty enough? Does it taste good enough? Who will like it? What if there are others similar to mine, but theirs are taken while mine is left mostly untouched?

casserole with small portion taken

image from: http://www.allfreecasserolerecipes.com

This Changes Everything now has about 2000 combined sales and free downloads since its release in December, 2013. However, it only has a dozen or so reviews (mostly positive, especially by those who actually read the entire book!). Unfortunately, sales/downloads and positive reviews of Volume I do not seem to be leading to sales or reviews of Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, which released for $3.99 in early June (after selling in pre-orders for half-price for two months).

final cover print

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

People at a potluck line up to look at the food offered in casserole dishes, baskets, pans and plates. Rarely does anyone list ingredients or even names of the food/dish, so it’s all a guessing game. Hungry, we ask: What is it? What is in it? Will I like this? Will it taste good along with the other things I’m taking?

Furthermore, knowing that the cook will rarely, if ever, know what I think of his/her contribution, I can safely leave it on my plate after one taste if I do not like it. Likewise, readers who download ebooks never have to report to anyone, much less an author, whether or not they even looked at the ebook, much less offer their opinions after reading an entire book.

The remains of potluck dishes’ portions taken and not eaten are not evaluated: they are invisibly trashed. Similarly, ebooks on ereaders can be stories that the owner never reads or only glances at, but the author will never know. Readers may like the ebook, even love it—eat it all up (I’m liking this metaphor) and even share it, rave about it to friends—if we’re lucky, they’ll review it. Or, readers, like potluck eaters, may feel any of a dozen ways about what they take in but never say a word to anyone about their reactions.

Yes: I’d very much like to sell a lot more books, but even more importantly, I’d like to have a lot more reviews, enjoy the positive comments, interactions and feedback from happy readers, be certain that at least some owners of my ebooks are glad to be in possession of my creations.

I “cooked” for you: I want to know if you tasted my concoction. How much of it did you ingest? Tell me what you think of it. Will you come back for more “food” from this “cook”?

Cooking-up-a-Tasty-Story

image from: http://www.towriteastory.com

A plea to readers
If you like a book, PLEASE respond to what you read. Put comments on Goodreads, rate/rank the books, post reviews on book sales sites (Amazon, nook, iBooks, Kobo) or Shelfari, BookLikes, etc. We authors (cooks) will be forever grateful to hear your opinions, even if you don’t like what we create. You help us become better “cooks.”
THANKS!

My Blogaversary and 1st year of Book Marketing: Report Card

First of all, thanks for financial and technical support to my niece, Sarah Miranda, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann, and my son, Merlyn Ember. Thanks, also, to WordPress.com techhies and Q & A and fora participants.

Second, but equally important, I am grateful to all of my readers, responders, rebloggers, guest bloggers and/or followers for your interest, suggestions, support and interactions. My site would be dead air without you!

On my one-year Anniversary of my Blog, what many call a “Blogaversary,” I am summarizing and analyzing my accomplishments and progress, to date. Let me know what you think!

My Blog Stats

I ended my first full year of blogging with 243 Followers. 208 followers are on WordPress; 35 are on Tumblr.
THANKS, all!

I started with a site that was new and unknown so it wasn’t even rated by ALEXA. I had zero “backlinks.”
Today (8/9/14), I have 128 Backlinks. My ALEXA international rating is 419,061 out of over 4 millions sites.
For the USA, sallyember.com is rated 68,034 out of over 2 million sites.

If you want to check your site’s rankings on ALEXA, get the free extension to your toolbar and check about once every few days by going to your main page/splash page, then clicking on that icon on your toolbar.

I aspire to have a Google Page Ranking: yet to be earned.

followed-blog-200-1x

Total Number of Visitors/Views: 8326

I figured out early on how to cross-post each of my blog entries to my personal/author’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although I mysteriously have to “refresh” this connection periodically, according to prompts from WordPress).

Later, I added Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, BookLikes, and Google+ as well as my Spanners Series page on Facebook as automatic recipient posting sites.

About twice a month, I utilize one of the images in each of my original content entries and put those posts on my Pinterest “My Blog Posts” board, which then automatically cross-posts to Twitter and Facebook, again.

Mostly due to these cross-posting, my Followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads have all increased dramatically. When I started my Blog, I was brand-new to Pinterest, Author Central, and my series’ pages, and mostly inactive on LinkedIn and Goodreads; and had only 7 Twitter Followers. Here are the Blogaversary comparison stats.

FOLLOWERS/LIKES/CIRCLES TALLIES, August 10, 2013 – August 10, 2014
(all links are on the right sidebar of my website)
Twitter 7 to 3441
Pinterest 0 to 208
LinkedIn 200 to 500+ (LI maxes out the count at 500)
Facebook personal 232 to 1438
Facebook Series page 0 to 937
Google+ personal 0 to 1301
Google+ Series page 0 to 29 (not much action, here; can’t get blog to cross-post)
Goodreads author page 110 to 1113
Amazon Author Central page 0 to 142

PAGE/POST VIEWS

My highest-ever number of views in one day was 197, spread around several posts and pages.

Month-by-month Views/Visitors:
Aug, 2013 = 114 (first day was August 10)
Sept. 200
Oct. 307
Nov. 528
Dec. 535
Jan., 2014 = 999
Feb. 1,144
Mar. 740
Apr. 580
(concussion/accident 4/6/14; offline a lot April – June)
May 830
June 872
Jul. 1,161
Aug.(to date) 326

Highest single-day Views = 197

Average Views/Day
for 2013 (5 months): 13
for 2014 (7 months): 30

Blog Posts
200 of my 357 posts (about 40 are reblogs) had 10 or fewer views. These include ALL of the Serialized Excerpts of my sci-fi series, Volumes I and II, most of the reports of these books’ reviews, and many others that I thought were more popular than that.

Freshly Pressed

One of my posts was featured on “Freshly Pressed,” the elite selection gleaned from among all daily blog posts, highlighted for that day in WordPress’ Blog Reader!

Views by Country
Views by visitors from 111 countries
Highest = USA, with 5,909
2nd = UK, with 484
3rd = Canada, with 354
4th = Australia, with 155
5th = Germany, with 128
6th = India, with 125
The rest are 60 or fewer; many are just 1 or 2, so far.

Highest page views were for my site’s main pages:
–ABOUT (my blog’s splash page), with 2,001
–the Home page’s Archives, with 1,703
The Spanners Series page, with 492

For individual posts, the highest number of views were for:
#Buddhism and #Science: the Facts, the Yogis, the Practices , with 232
My #Literary #Meh List 2014: 15 Plots, Devices, Characters I’m BORED with, with 205
Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists, with 185
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 160
Pros and Cons of #Writers’ Critique Groups, with 112
When #Spiritual #Teachers Respond with #Countertransference, with 110

Total number of comments (and half or more are my replies): 202

Setting aside the two posts with the most comments that were part of Blog Hops, the next-most commented-upon post was
15 Points about the #Effects of #Concussions on #Meditators’ #Brains, with 12

BLOGGING and BOOK MARKETING ASSESSMENTS

I learned a lot about how to assess my book marketing efforts from many people. I excerpt from PROMOTING MY BOOK , by Lee Gale Gruen, with my commentaries as to my progress/use of these ideas and link to Lee and her sites at the end of this section.
(I first saw this article posted in “Funds for Writers,” compiled weekly by the wonderful Hope Clark: http://www.chopeclark.com Thanks, Hope!)

I am therefore scoring myself on Book Marketing for my first two self-published ebooks according to Lee’s great list, below, of marketing tips and ideas. Let’s see what I learned!

Lee recommends these activities, below, and I agree:

  • 1. Read websites and books such as APE by Guy Kawasaki and Michael Kremer’s books. I also join and watch many free webinars, teleseminars, and Google+ Hangouts On Air regularly for more tips.
  • 2. Join writer’s organizations. Learn from your peers. I joined several here in California with great successes. I will be looking for writers’ groups/clubs in St. Louis in September. Any recommendations?
  • 3. Network at writers’ groups, conferences, online forums, etc. I’ve only been to one conference, so far, but may go to more. How are they worthwhile?
  • 4. Check writers’ websites, materials, author talk/book signings. Learn from their examples. I need to more of this but I do follow quite a few writers’ blogs and learn from their posts.

Lee also talks about “creating” one’s own marketing “tools,” and I get an A+, here! I’ve done them all and I hadn’t even seen this list prior to doing them!

  • 1. Have a website to refer interested people. I have that via my blog, http://www.sallyember.com
  • 2. Purchase your website name (domain) immediately. Thanks to my niece, Sarah Miranda, I did this right off! sallyember.com is MINE!
  • 3. Print flyers with your book cover, synopsis, photo, and bio to hand out at events. I have done this and gotten some new readers from it by handing them out at my writers’ groups.
  • 4. Get business cards. I got free ones from KLOUT, at first, then ordered almost-free ones from Vistaprint.com.
  • 5. Compose a cover letter to email to prospects. I have done this for, in my case, book reviewers.
  • 6. Post a video of yourself discussing your book on http://www.YouTube.com. I did this by accident: the Q & A for my Book Launch talk didn’t work, so there is a 2-hour monologue of me on my youtube channel. Also, 2 more vids of me reading chapters from each of my ebooks and book trailers are on that channel. Starting August 6, almost-weekly episodes from CHANGES, my Google+ HOA, are also there.
  • 7. Add an electronic signature to your emails with links to your website and video. I had done this, but then my son said a signature with many links after it is viewed as “spam” and “shouting” at email recipients, so I removed them. What do you think?

Lee’s advice for how to “Promote Yourself” caused me to realize how much I still have to accomplish here. The BOLD ones are TO BE DONE.

  • 1. Sell yourself as well as your book. Develop a useful message other than just “buy my book.” I mostly do this by curating interesting content and creating it on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. I also repost on some sites like Suvudu, StumpleUpon, Reddit, etc. I’ve also joined and interact with folks in a lot of Groups on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn and Communities on Google+
  • 2. Give author talk/book signings.
  • 3. Volunteer to speak at book clubs, speakers’ bureaus, panels, etc. I have volunteered to some book clubs, but no invitations have arrived, yet.
  • 4. Mention your book in conversations using your “elevator speech:” a one-minute synopsis of your book with a hook to grab the listener. I don’t do this as often as I should, but I do it.
  • 5. Ask readers to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. If I could find my readers, I would do this more! I wish readers could “opt in” to “author can find me” lists.
  • 6. Submit articles. I’ve been published in my local newspaper and my retirement newsletter. I want to do this.
  • 7. Join HARO (http://www.helpareporter.com) to submit yourself as an interview subject for writers and journalists. I’ve had 6 interviews and will be in an upcoming book. I’ve started my own Google+ Hangout On Air, submitted responses as an Expert on Quora and Ask an Expert, and am considering joining this org, next.
  • 8. Write a blog of interest to your target audience. http://www.sallyember.com is mine. Is it of interest?
  • 9. Look online for similar blogs. Submit guest blogs. Links to my guest posts are on my site. Look to the right and scroll down.

    guest-blogging-image

  • 10. Build an email address list. Email a notice of each appearance, blog, etc. I’ve been slowly building this list, but many commenters or followers don’t provide and I can’t find their email addresses, only Twitter handles or website URLs. How do I get email addresses without paying to get them via a service?
  • 11. Host a book giveaway on http://www.Goodreads.com. Goodreads still doesn’t allow ebook giveaways. SNOBS.
  • 12. Network or search online for professional reviewers. I submitted my book to http://www.midwestbookreview.com for small press publishers. I only do this when there is no fee. I refuse to pay for book reviews.

BIO: Lee Gale Gruen is an actress, author, speaker, and blogger. Her book website is: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com. Her blog, “Reinventing Myself in My Senior Years” is at: http://LeeGaleGruen.Wordpress.com

My Overall Grade/Score for Year One in Blogging and Book Marketing

Well, I give myself an A+ for effort
I earned about a B- for effectiveness, I think (but it’s difficult to make comparisons since I don’t have others’ stats nor know their efforts).

If I’m going by the numbers of books sold (Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, just went on sale June 9) or sold and downloaded since Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, went permafree on April 1 and went on sale December 19, 2013, the dates don’t jibe and the numbers won’t be impressive (to me, anyway). We all have Hugh Howey to thank for that, right?

Plus, even though I can get rankings or paid sales stats from some sites, I can’t get sales or free download numbers from all sites. So, the numbers below are not all-inclusive; they’re just what I can get. Here are the stats for book sales and downloads:

12/19/13 – 3/31/14 Sales and 4/1/14 –> Free downloads for
Volume I of The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything
66 books sold
2296 free downloads
(about 40 for reviewers)

6/9/14 –> Sales for
Volume II of The Spanners Series, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever
4 sales
4 free downloads
(all for reviewers)

I look forward to becoming more “visible” via this and other parts of my “author platform” in my second year blogging and being a fiction author.

Please comment and share your experiences! Best to you all!

Sally Ember’s CHANGES Google + HOA (Hangouts On Air) Start August 6

Sally Ember’s G+ HOAs 60-minute shows, CHANGES

G+ HOA with G+ logo

from ncedchat.blogspot.com

are going to be on Wednesdays, 9 AM CST (Central Time, USA), about three times/month. Premier show: August 6.

Next shows: August 13, 27, Sept. 10, 17, 24.

CHANGES‘ topics will vary a lot, including insights, humor, information, reviews, tips, personal/professional stories, and more. Sally and special guests will provide whatever we believe is useful and interesting to authors, writers, thinkers, readers, social marketing newbies and others.

I will also be learning how to and then posting these as podcasts as well as on YouTube so the CHANGES HOAs can be accessed as archived videos/audios any time.

If you’d like to be a guest or suggest a topic or guest for CHANGES, please contact Sally: sallyember@yahoo.com

google-youtube

from http://www.webinarsonair.com

Guests must have access to Google+ Hangout On Air/You Tube video tech (webcam, appropriate camera and audio quality, bandwidth) and be comfortable with being on camera and on the air before being on this show.

Suggestion: if you’re a newbie to HOAs or a bit camera-shy but want to get involved and be a guest on Sally Ember’s or anyone else’s, first get acquainted with all the great help available for free “out there.”

Check out some of Sally’s mentors and ongoing inspirations:

Meloney Hall‘s “Lights, Camera, HOA” http://bigupticksocial.com/overcome-live-camera-shyness-introducing-lights-camera-hoa/ Here is a link to the episode that features me, Sally Ember, and Michael Daniels’ and others’ great info, with many laughs! You can then get to the new episodes from that channel. Every Monday, 1 PM PST. https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/ciouo2m50c6vrror6eeei9105hc

Denise Wakeman‘s “Adventures in Visibility” http://denisewakeman.com/hoa

Ryan Hanley‘s “Content Warfare” http://www.ryanhanley.com/

Shawn Manaher‘s “Author Hangout” http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/category/hangout/

Mia Voss‘ HOAs http://themiaconnect.com/

Ron Bincer‘s youtube tutorials http://www.thehangouthelper.com/

Martin Shervington‘s YoutTube tutorials and PDFs, http://www.martinshervington.com/

Rebekah Radice‘s tips and posts http://rebekahradice.com/

Mike Daniels‘ “User2User-Live!” G+ group https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459

Rayne Dowell has her own site and info on it, such as this:
“Your YouTube Channel & HOA Practice Sessions”

If you’d like to practice HOA’s to improve your Hosting skills these are a few things to keep in mind.

You can host an HOA from your personal profile or your Page, each one can have its own YouTube Channel.

There are 3 basic types of HOA’s:
1. SHOAE (Scheduled Hangout On Air) – created from the Hangout option under the Google+ menu
2. Event – created from the Event option under the Google+ menu and can be created in a community
3. Public Event/Private HOA – created from the Event option under the Google+ menu

There is another option, a CCHOA (this is a community centred HOA, which is created by a page and is more advanced (+Heather Kraafter +Michael Daniels and +Andrew Hatchett are the experts on this if you’d like more info)

► In each case, after you’ve hosted any one of these types of HOA’s, your YouTube channel will hold the end product (video).
► If you are planning on using your personal profile or page in the future to host your own HOA shows, you may decide to mark your practice sessions as ‘private’, giving only a circle access to them.
► You cannot assign access to a g+ community on the YouTube side, only a circle.
► For example, I’ve been practising the Public Event/Private HOA-type of HOA, I’m not able to enter the url and add this video to this post, because the video is marked ‘private’ and shared with a circle (those people in the circle will be able to watch the video, those not will see a black screen).
► If you add or remove a name from your g+ circle, YouTube will then give or remove access to that video based on your circle.

This is what I’ve learned so far about HOA’s and YT. If I’ve come to any conclusions you haven’t, please do let me know – questions are welcome!

Here is a link to Rayne’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNh4hA1l5mW_DoM2qtDlVKQ

There are many others who generously and spectacularly teach us/show us how to use G+ HOAs. I honor them all!

If you are a newbie to the entire world of Google+, there are many who can help you learn about it. Here is one link to a great guide: http://www.scottbuehler.com/social-media/beginners-guide-google-plus/

Remember: the only constant is CHANGE!

impermanace Buddha changes

from meditationstreet.com

Are YOU ready for CHANGES? What will you do with CHANGES?

Sally Ember’s CHANGES Google + HOA (Hangouts On Air) Start August 6

Sally Ember’s G+ HOAs 60-minute shows, CHANGES

G+ HOA with G+ logo

from ncedchat.blogspot.com

are going to be on Wednesdays, 9 AM CST (Central Time, USA), about three times/month. Premier show: August 6.

Next shows: August 13, 27, Sept. 10, 17, 24.

CHANGES‘ topics will vary a lot, including insights, humor, information, reviews, tips, personal/professional stories, and more. Sally and special guests will provide whatever we believe is useful and interesting to authors, writers, thinkers, readers, social marketing newbies and others.

I will also be learning how to and then posting these as podcasts as well as on YouTube so the CHANGES HOAs can be accessed as archived videos/audios any time.

If you’d like to be a guest or suggest a topic or guest for CHANGES, please contact Sally: sallyember@yahoo.com

google-youtube

from http://www.webinarsonair.com

Guests must have access to Google+ Hangout On Air/You Tube video tech (webcam, appropriate camera and audio quality, bandwidth) and be comfortable with being on camera and on the air before being on this show.

Suggestion: if you’re a newbie to HOAs or a bit camera-shy but want to get involved and be a guest on Sally Ember’s or anyone else’s, first get acquainted with all the great help available for free “out there.”

Check out some of Sally’s mentors and ongoing inspirations:

Meloney Hall‘s “Lights, Camera, HOA” http://bigupticksocial.com/overcome-live-camera-shyness-introducing-lights-camera-hoa/ Here is a link to the episode that features me, Sally Ember, and Michael Daniels’ and others’ great info, with many laughs! You can then get to the new episodes from that channel. Every Monday, 1 PM PST. https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/ciouo2m50c6vrror6eeei9105hc

Denise Wakeman‘s “Adventures in Visibility” http://denisewakeman.com/hoa

Ryan Hanley‘s “Content Warfare” http://www.ryanhanley.com/

Shawn Manaher‘s “Author Hangout” http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/category/hangout/

Mia Voss‘ HOAs http://themiaconnect.com/

Ron Bincer‘s youtube tutorials http://www.thehangouthelper.com/

Martin Shervington‘s YoutTube tutorials and PDFs, http://www.martinshervington.com/

Rebekah Radice‘s tips and posts http://rebekahradice.com/

Mike Daniels‘ “User2User-Live!” G+ group https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/101944073205735325459

Rayne Dowell has her own site and info on it, such as this:
“Your YouTube Channel & HOA Practice Sessions”

If you’d like to practice HOA’s to improve your Hosting skills these are a few things to keep in mind.

You can host an HOA from your personal profile or your Page, each one can have its own YouTube Channel.

There are 3 basic types of HOA’s:
1. SHOAE (Scheduled Hangout On Air) – created from the Hangout option under the Google+ menu
2. Event – created from the Event option under the Google+ menu and can be created in a community
3. Public Event/Private HOA – created from the Event option under the Google+ menu

There is another option, a CCHOA (this is a community centred HOA, which is created by a page and is more advanced (+Heather Kraafter +Michael Daniels and +Andrew Hatchett are the experts on this if you’d like more info)

► In each case, after you’ve hosted any one of these types of HOA’s, your YouTube channel will hold the end product (video).
► If you are planning on using your personal profile or page in the future to host your own HOA shows, you may decide to mark your practice sessions as ‘private’, giving only a circle access to them.
► You cannot assign access to a g+ community on the YouTube side, only a circle.
► For example, I’ve been practising the Public Event/Private HOA-type of HOA, I’m not able to enter the url and add this video to this post, because the video is marked ‘private’ and shared with a circle (those people in the circle will be able to watch the video, those not will see a black screen).
► If you add or remove a name from your g+ circle, YouTube will then give or remove access to that video based on your circle.

This is what I’ve learned so far about HOA’s and YT. If I’ve come to any conclusions you haven’t, please do let me know – questions are welcome!

Here is a link to Rayne’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNh4hA1l5mW_DoM2qtDlVKQ

There are many others who generously and spectacularly teach us/show us how to use G+ HOAs. I honor them all!

If you are a newbie to the entire world of Google+, there are many who can help you learn about it. Here is one link to a great guide: http://www.scottbuehler.com/social-media/beginners-guide-google-plus/

Remember: the only constant is CHANGE!

impermanace Buddha changes

from meditationstreet.com

Are YOU ready for CHANGES? What will you do with CHANGES?

How to STUPENDIFY my #Ebook’s Release with a Virtual Book Tour

Thanks to Dvorah Lasky and many others, especially Nina Amir and her Virtual Book Tour advice and tips, I am better prepared than ever to release my next ebook in The Spanners Series, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, 6/9/14.

Buy links, reviews, interviews, excerpts, more: http://www.sallyember.com

Thanks, all, in the Book Marketing Challenge 2014! Great month of activities, events, blogs, webinars, teleseminars and more. Much appreciated.

Today, 6/7/14, we culminate this month of learning and sharing among #authors by asking you to visit each of the sites in our Blog Hop and learn more!

blog-hop-150x150 BMC 2014

Here is Nina’s checklist, in case you were wondering:

Virtual Book Tour Checklist

Before you begin your virtual book tour, be sure you have everything in place to ensure your appearances build your mailing list as well as sell books. Here’s a checklist you might find useful:

  1. Place the cover of your book and the links to the online bookstores where it can be purchased in a prominent location on your website.
  2. Create a free product, eBook, report, or autoresponder series.
  3. Sign up for an email service.
  4. Create an email subscription form that promotes your free product.
  5. Get the URL of your email subscription form from your email service provider.
  6. Place your form on your blog or website (or both).
  7. Create a page (or pages) on your website to offer a free downloadable gift only redeemable after filling out an email form.
  8. Create a teleseminar, webinar, or social media event related to your book.
  9. Find strategic partners who might be willing to promote your event to their list or joint venture with you in other ways.

Nina also offers 5 ways to build one’s email list during this virtual tour. Read more of her posts, get her books, learn from her experience: http://ninaamir.com/

For a complete list of articles and experts gathered for this great month: http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/author/dvorah/

However, this author is behind the curve and hasn’t set up to capture followers’ emails, yet. WILL DO SOON!

Best to all you #authors! Check out the other blogs on this HOP (partial list below):

Destinations on the Blog Hop Trail

Hop 1: Sara F. Hathaway: Survival in The Changing Earth’s Book Publishing World
Hop 2: Connie Dunn: Blog Hop Fun
Hop 3: Astrid Nicholls: The Book Marketing Challenge: An Important Lesson
Hop 4: Anne Lorene Tezon: Baby, We’ve Just Birthed a Book Business!
Hop 5: Gina Briganti: Welcome, Book Marketing Challenge Blog Hoppers!
Hop 6: Peggy M McAloon: A Concise and Proven Book Marketing Plan
Hop 7: Donna Winters: Goodreads for Authors
Hop 8: Moreen Torpy: Organizing a Book Marketing Project
Hop 9: Pam Fitros: 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge – A Literary Antipasto
Hop 10: J.Q. Rose: Time to Celebrate at the Book Marketing Blog Hop
Hop 11: Roxanne Smolen: Marketing Equals Visibility
Hop 12: Elizabeth Armstrong, Ph.D.: Lifestyle Transformation with the Help of Author Ecosystem
Hop 13: Marilynn Dawson: Blog Hop Stop Wrapping up The Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 14: Desiree Cox: Write it and They Will Come, Right?
Hop 15: Kateryna Kei: The Book Marketing Challenge: a Lucky Coincidence for Authors 😉
Hop 16: Gloria Oren: I did it! I complelted the 30 day Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 17: Loretta Alvarado: Facebook Fanpage First Friday Artwalk
Hop 18: Hayley Clarke: ‘Bribe’ Idea’s That can be Used to Build an Email List
Hop 19: Kate Loving Shenk: The Book Challenge is a Rewire
Hop 20: Patti Tingen: I Have a Plan
Hop 21: Renee Alter: A Book Marketing Challenge
Hop 22: L. Shoshana Rhodes: The 30-Day Book Marketing All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!
Hop 23: Kim Miller: Why You Should Blog (It’s Not Just About Marketing!)

3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree

Before I put my first sci-fi/romance/multiverse/paranormal/speculative fiction ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, up for sale, I attended free webinars, read guidebooks and blog posts and did a lot of research to find out how other fiction ebooks authors managed this journey. I discovered many techniques, procedures and tips which I employed, including what price to use for sales, how to use a pre-order period, and when to offer a book for free (and why).

I have blogged about some of these topics already, but I haven’t written, yet, about why I decided to make Volume I “permafree” last month. I just did it. Now for the explanation, which is then going to be further explained and augmented by the article I’m including a link to, below.

As a new fiction author, I do not yet have a significantly sized “following” or “fan base.” So, I spent a lot of time finding out how one acquires readers and keeps them coming back for subsequent books, since I planned a 10-Volume series. I read others’ stories of their journeys, articles about successes and failures, and took extensive notes I still refer to, from the many webinars I attended.

    Here are the 3 reasons that This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is permafree:

  1. Well-timed permafree works. Pricing is variable year to year, but market research has shown that series authors have been doing well to make the FIRST volume free, forever (permafree) AFTER later volumes come out. This brings in new readers consistently.

    logoAuthorsDen
    cover art for all covers by Aidana Willowraven.

  2. Permafree brings in the curious and good content keeps them coming back. If the first volume in a series is good enough evidenced by its having a sufficient number of UNPAID and UNFAKED reviews showing that the book is well-written and worth reading, more and more readers will come to download it. This creates the beginning of the author’s fanbase and followers. There will also be those readers who just download anything free, which is also great (but works best if they actually read the ebook after downloading it, like it, and decide to look for and purchase subsequent volumes.

    This Changes Everything cover

  3. Diversified authors attract new fans constantly; permafree gives them as easy way “in” to a series. If the author continues to offer good content BETWEEN books (via a blog, postings on social media sites, email newsletters, author interviews on others’ sites and/or Blog Talk Radio and the like, podcasts, Google On Air Hangouts, and perhaps short stories or other genre fiction) and continues to come out with good writing for each subsequent volume, by Volume III or IV, that author will have a solid following, loyal fans and great sales, all still being “fed” by the permafree Volume I.

final cover - digital and web

So, The Spanners Series now has Volume I, This Changes Everything, in permafree status everywhere ebooks are sold because Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, entered its pre-order period @$1.99 on April 1 and goes on sale June 9 at $3.99.

Since Volume I went free, the number of potential readers (reckoned by the number of downloaded volumes) has gone up 4000%. I am not joking.

I can’t see how well the pre-orders are going for Volume II, yet, or know what the sales figures will be. Reviews for it are due any day, now, and will keep coming in over the next several weeks, if all goes as planned.

I plan to post Volume I on more freebie sites and keep doing interviews, blogging, “creating and posting good content” as I work on Volume III, This Is/Is Not The Way I Thought Things Would Change, which is due out late in the fall of 2014.

I will check in periodically here to let you know how sales and downloads are going and what else happens.

Until/unless I become a gazillllllionaire author who doesn’t need to “bring in new readers” (when does that happen?), Volume I will remain free.

All downloading and purchase links for The Spanners Series as well as links to bloggers’ reviews, interviews and my archived blog posts are at http://www.sallyember.com on the right side panel.

If you want to learn more about Book Marketing, #authors, http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/access/aff/go/sallyember It starts this week/weekend!
Silver passes are FREE. Gold passes cost money, but I’m on Silver and it’s great! Lots of blog posts, interviews, videos, and more to help us do better with marketing wherever we are in our process. Check it out! Here’a a list of what’s offered just via the blog, just week one!

Sharon Williams: Developing Your Author Platform and Social Media Presence
Deborah Bateman: Building Your Online Platform as an Author
Eric Van Der Hope: 5 Steps to Developing an Effective Author Platform
Gina Akao: Marketing Your Book with a WordPress Blog
David Wogahn: SEO for Books: Optimizing Your Amazon Book Listing
D’vorah Lansky: Harness the Power of Your Amazon Author Central Page
Ellen Violette: How to Market Your Print Book or eBook in Just Minutes a Day
Penny Sansevieri: Harnessing the Power of Goodreads
Leeza Robertson: Quote Yourself on Goodreads
Amy Harrop: Leveraging the Author Tools of Goodreads to Promote Your Books
Michael Bloom: Promoting Your Book on Your Facebook Author Page
Bryan Cohen: Sixteen Heads Are Better Than One, on Facebook

Want to know more about making books permafree and see if these principles apply to YOUR books? Check out this article, linked to below.

Best to you all!

Why Free Is Your Best Marketing Tool And How To Harness It from The Future of Ink by PENNY SANSEVIERI

Great ideas, examples, and info as well as links to other helpful articles for authors like me who are doing our own marketing:
http://thefutureofink.com/free-is-best-marketing-tool/

3 Reasons That This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is Permafree

Before I put my first sci-fi/romance/multiverse/paranormal/speculative fiction ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, up for sale, I attended free webinars, read guidebooks and blog posts and did a lot of research to find out how other fiction ebooks authors managed this journey. I discovered many techniques, procedures and tips which I employed, including what price to use for sales, how to use a pre-order period, and when to offer a book for free (and why).

I have blogged about some of these topics already, but I haven’t written, yet, about why I decided to make Volume I “permafree” last month. I just did it. Now for the explanation, which is then going to be further explained and augmented by the article I’m including a link to, below.

As a new fiction author, I do not yet have a significantly sized “following” or “fan base.” So, I spent a lot of time finding out how one acquires readers and keeps them coming back for subsequent books, since I planned a 10-Volume series. I read others’ stories of their journeys, articles about successes and failures, and took extensive notes I still refer to, from the many webinars I attended.

    Here are the 3 reasons that This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series, is permafree:

  1. Well-timed permafree works. Pricing is variable year to year, but market research has shown that series authors have been doing well to make the FIRST volume free, forever (permafree) AFTER later volumes come out. This brings in new readers consistently.

    logoAuthorsDen
    cover art for all covers by Aidana Willowraven.

  2. Permafree brings in the curious and good content keeps them coming back. If the first volume in a series is good enough evidenced by its having a sufficient number of UNPAID and UNFAKED reviews showing that the book is well-written and worth reading, more and more readers will come to download it. This creates the beginning of the author’s fanbase and followers. There will also be those readers who just download anything free, which is also great (but works best if they actually read the ebook after downloading it, like it, and decide to look for and purchase subsequent volumes.

    This Changes Everything cover

  3. Diversified authors attract new fans constantly; permafree gives them as easy way “in” to a series. If the author continues to offer good content BETWEEN books (via a blog, postings on social media sites, email newsletters, author interviews on others’ sites and/or Blog Talk Radio and the like, podcasts, Google On Air Hangouts, and perhaps short stories or other genre fiction) and continues to come out with good writing for each subsequent volume, by Volume III or IV, that author will have a solid following, loyal fans and great sales, all still being “fed” by the permafree Volume I.

final cover - digital and web

So, The Spanners Series now has Volume I, This Changes Everything, in permafree status everywhere ebooks are sold because Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, entered its pre-order period @$1.99 on April 1 and goes on sale June 9 at $3.99.

Since Volume I went free, the number of potential readers (reckoned by the number of downloaded volumes) has gone up 4000%. I am not joking.

I can’t see how well the pre-orders are going for Volume II, yet, or know what the sales figures will be. Reviews for it are due any day, now, and will keep coming in over the next several weeks, if all goes as planned.

I plan to post Volume I on more freebie sites and keep doing interviews, blogging, “creating and posting good content” as I work on Volume III, This Is/Is Not The Way I Thought Things Would Change, which is due out late in the fall of 2014.

I will check in periodically here to let you know how sales and downloads are going and what else happens.

Until/unless I become a gazillllllionaire author who doesn’t need to “bring in new readers” (when does that happen?), Volume I will remain free.

All downloading and purchase links for The Spanners Series as well as links to bloggers’ reviews, interviews and my archived blog posts are at http://www.sallyember.com on the right side panel.

If you want to learn more about Book Marketing, #authors, http://buildabusinesswithyourbook.com/access/aff/go/sallyember It starts this week/weekend!
Silver passes are FREE. Gold passes cost money, but I’m on Silver and it’s great! Lots of blog posts, interviews, videos, and more to help us do better with marketing wherever we are in our process. Check it out! Here’a a list of what’s offered just via the blog, just week one!

Sharon Williams: Developing Your Author Platform and Social Media Presence
Deborah Bateman: Building Your Online Platform as an Author
Eric Van Der Hope: 5 Steps to Developing an Effective Author Platform
Gina Akao: Marketing Your Book with a WordPress Blog
David Wogahn: SEO for Books: Optimizing Your Amazon Book Listing
D’vorah Lansky: Harness the Power of Your Amazon Author Central Page
Ellen Violette: How to Market Your Print Book or eBook in Just Minutes a Day
Penny Sansevieri: Harnessing the Power of Goodreads
Leeza Robertson: Quote Yourself on Goodreads
Amy Harrop: Leveraging the Author Tools of Goodreads to Promote Your Books
Michael Bloom: Promoting Your Book on Your Facebook Author Page
Bryan Cohen: Sixteen Heads Are Better Than One, on Facebook

Want to know more about making books permafree and see if these principles apply to YOUR books? Check out this article, linked to below.

Best to you all!

Why Free Is Your Best Marketing Tool And How To Harness It from The Future of Ink by PENNY SANSEVIERI

Great ideas, examples, and info as well as links to other helpful articles for authors like me who are doing our own marketing:
http://thefutureofink.com/free-is-best-marketing-tool/

Reblogging: “10 Tools to Make Your Social Media Management Easier” by Andrew Jenkins

“Execnote” “Nimble” “Commun.it” “Pocket”

If these sound like foreign terms, you’re not alone. Indie authors and many others doing our own marketing and outreach are inundated with tasks, content, tweets, posts, blogs, podcasts and videos until we’re ready to explode.

We have to get our social media to be more manageable, don’t we?

Let Andrew Jenkins explain and provide reasons for you to learn about and start using these social media management tools!

Thanks, Andrew!

Social media icons\

http://arcompany.co/10-tools-to-make-your-social-media-management-easier/

SUPPORT-INDIE-ART

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14!

swlogo

READ AN #EBOOK WEEK AT #SMASHWORDS, 3/2-9/14! Please consider including MORE #EBOOKS in your library!

RAEW 2 girlreading

KS67Q is the coupon code for 50% off through March 9, 2014, for my first ebook, a sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian series, Volume I, This Changes Everything, usually $3.99. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes Everything cover

is from The Spanners Series, which is for adults, NA and YA,

logoAuthorsDen

and prepares you for the more YA/NA Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, coming out in June! Thanks!

Many other deals for free or very discounted ebooks all week. https://www.smashwords.com/ebookweek

RAEWbanner1

http://www.sallyember.com/spanners

Why My First Experience with Using #Pre-Orders Will Help Get My NEXT #Ebook Higher on #Best-Seller Lists

Thanks to Mark Coker, Founder/CEO of #Smashwords, #indie #authors have lots of information in FREE slide shows and several webinars to help indie ebook authors succeed in self-publishing.

Mark provided excellent instructions, tips and support for my first ebook’s publication last fall, the sci-fi/romance which has been getting great reviews, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, including persuading me to engage in a “Pre-order” period prior to full sales release.

In his post (link to full post, below), Mark defines Pre-orders:
preorder defn

Mark gives great info on how to schedule a Pre-Order, here:
preorder timing

Furthermore, he details the benefits of Pre-Orders for Authors and Readers:
preorders 5 benefits 1

A great realist, Mark also provided great info as to what to expect, a “Reality Check”:
preorder reality check

So, how did my first experience with pre-orders go?
Not so well.

Let’s review the Tips Mark provided and my own experiences:

Tip One: Plan and implement AGGRESSIVE, multi-week marketing campaign
This was my first time as any kind of book marketer, but luckily (?), I was laid off in August, 2013, which gave me family support (thanks, Ellen Fleischmann, Merlyn Ember, Sarah Miranda, Lauri Stern and Carole Harris) to move my unpublished book forward into self-publication. I began immediately to learn, via Mark Coker’s and others’ Google Hangouts, free webinars, blog posts, groups’ posts and articles, all about the publication and marketing processes for indie authors.

I did it ALL, except pay for PR (no extra funds): I started a new website and blog; I became active on Goodreads and Twitter; I opened Pinterest Boards; I became more active on Facebook, both on my personal and Series pages; I became more active on LinkedIn; I joined Google+ and began to use it more. I joined many Groups/Communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as Goodreads. I engaged a professional cover artist (thanks, Willowraven!) and started tracking my KLOUT, SNAP and ALEXA scores.

I had OUTSTANDING results (I thought) in the first few months, bringing my KLOUT score from 31 to 61 by release day (12/19/13) and my website went from no ranking at all to being in the top 3.5 million via ALEXA. I gave up on Snap. My Twitter #FF went from 7 to over 1600; my blog gained almost 40 #FF (NOT my family, either!). I had almost 300 LIKES on my FB Series page and over 300 contacts personally there and on LinkedIn and Goodreads. 60 were #FF on Pinterest. Seemed good, to me.

I also worked hard networking on Wattpad, Goodreads, and Authonomy as well as the above groups and individuals’ websites to garner several very positive pre-sales day reviews which were posted on/into my front matter, my website, Goodreads and all other social media.

I joined Shelfari and BookLikes, Authors’ Database and other sites with author and then book pages. I created and updated my Author’s book page on Amazon (which doesn’t do Pre-orders, but I already had a nonfiction book authorship, so I could do this prior to uploading my ebook). I provided copy for and linked to postings of several author interviews on several websites and BlogTalkRadio’s IndieBooks show. I gave public readings and then videoed myself doing them and posted these on youtube, to start my Series’ Channel.

Using the Cover, I printed up 50 flyers (second time I spent money on this endeavor, first being the cover) and gave them out everywhere I went (which wasn’t many places, but I tried!).

This Changes Everything cover
cover and logo art by Willowraven

I talked it up everywhere I went, also. I sent out FB and GR reminders of the release date and planned an Author Q & A on Google Hangout and Goodreads for release day as an “EVENT,” which I extensively promoted, along with the pre-orders themselves, for weeks prior to sales date.

I believe I did everything I could to create a strong “Author Platform.” But, being a new author to sci-fi/romance and to ebooks, and an indie, self-published author in a very crowded field, the “splash” I was making, despite KLOUT’s encouraging stats, was not feeling large.

Social media icons
from http://www.bakerviewconsulting.com

Furthermore, I had no way to gauge the success of either my Pre-order marketing via the numbers of Pre-orders, because Smashwords, iBooks, KOBO and nook do not provide ANY kind of info as to the numbers of Pre-orders accumulating to authors, EVER. This is very frustrating and I wish this would change.

It is now two months since TCE’s release date, and I still have no figures, other than ranks on nook and KOBO, to tell me how many actual sales TCE has had.

Smashwords does provide “sales” numbers, but mixes “free” or coupon-use downloads with cash sales. This is mixing apples and oranges since my ebook is only free to reviewers and a select few others. Even with a cash total, this is a net profit figure, not a gross sales total: I have to do the math myself to estimate actual cash sales numbers, something else I wish would change.

iBooks sets up threshold before it puts out even a ranking that my ebook hasn’t met up to now (and neither the gate nor my sales number is known, which is frustrating; also needs to change).

As a regular Kindle (KDP), not Kindle Select, author, I did not have the option to do Pre-orders on Amazon, but at least I can check in on any day, any hour and get not only several different sales and author relative ranks, but go look at my actual sales figures online, including total sales, gross cash intake and net royalties. Yeah, Amazon!

Going solely by Amazon’s and Smashwords’ sales figures (the only ones I have), my Pre-Order and regular sales periods have not yet been huge successes, to say the least. I just got my first royalty checks, from Amazon (since Smashwords only pays quarterly and includes all the other vendors in one check). The total would not even pay for one tank of gas.

BUT, I am now a professional, paid ebook author, nonetheless! Woohoo!

My Recommendations: Every book sales site should provide real-time and accumulated stats to authors during Pre-orders as well as regular sales updates if not hourly, then daily, with no “qualifying” threshold to become eligible to see stats. AND, please do not mix free downloads with paid sales in the figures.

Tip Two: Mobilize fans
I tried to first gather fans (see above) and then mobilize them. However, as a first-time ebook author with no other fiction sales before this, my “fan base” is minimal even now, two months later, and nonexistent prior to Pre-orders. So, great tip, but I couldn’t use it for TCE.

I plan to use my growing fan base extensively for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, however, which goes into Pre-Orders in April 15-18 (because of policies and schedules not in Smashwords’ control, other ebook vendor sites do not open Pre-orders on the same days as each other) and on sale June 9, 2014.

Tip Three: Special pricing
I took Mark’s advice about pricing all the way. He suggested lower prices or free for Pre-orders, but strongly suggested NOT offering it free if the ebook has no others before it in the Series.

Mark also suggested, based on his extensive research, the “sweet spot” balancing sales with profits for ebooks, currently is set at $3.99.

So, I set TCE’s Pre-Order price at $1.99.
The sales price for TCE has been $3.99 and will stay that way until Volume II goes into Pre-orders, 4/15/14, at which point Volumes I and II will both be set at $1.99.

On Volume II’s release date, 6/9/14, TCMF&MLF will go up to $3.99 and Volume I will become FREE forever more, to all, as recommended for series authors.

When The Spanners Series ebooks start selling well and my fan base has grown even more, I will bump up Volume II’s price to $5.99 during Volume III’s Pre-order period, November – December, 2014, making This Is/Is Not the Way I Thought Things Would Change, Volume III’s Pre-order price $2.99.

Volume III’s sales price, starting in mid-December, 2014, will then probably be $5.99.

If sales aren’t great (YET), I’ll follow my previous pricing plan for a while longer for upcoming Volumes (the series has 10, total).

I do not believe the exact pricing made that much difference, but I really can’t tell. I also don’t know about the switch from Pre-order’s lower price to the higher sales price regarding sales impact. See Tip One: I don’t know, yet, about any sales figures, except on Smashwords, for Pre-orders, and those were not strong the first time, an understatement.

Tip Four: Use your other books to help
Wish I could. Will do for Volumes II onward. Good tip!

Tip Five: (MY TIP): Do it better each time
Yes, I plan to do it all better, as mentioned above.

CHANGES and IMPROVEMENTS:
1) I’m doing more about getting Beta readers for Volume II.

2) I’m turning reviewers for Volume I into reviewers for Volume II. I have more fans, I am involved in several networks of authors and others that help with promoting each others’ social media sites.

3) I now have 3 Book Trailers ( which I created myself, free, via Animoto) so that my youtube Spanners Series Channel GROWS. Each time I released a Book Trailer, my sales went UP on Amazon. Don’t know about the other sites, but my ranks did go up slightly.

4) I now have 50 more flyers and first, via KLOUT, free business cards via MOO, and when those ran out, got inexpensive ones via Vistaprint which I designed. They have my links, TCE book cover and Series logo on them. I give them out EVERYWHERE.

5) I joined and attend workshops with several local writers’ groups.

6) I comment on and re-blog/re-post others’ blog posts instead of always writing my own

7) I use StumbleUpon, Reddit, Quora, AllExperts.com and other sites to raise the visibility of my “brand” and drive traffic to my website (via WordPress.com). My website now has over 120 #FF, which I know is still small, but it’s a 300% increase since launch date 2 months ago!

8) I set up cross-posting and opened a Tumblr website that receives all posts from my WordPress blog, so my blog posts are re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, Goodreads, Shelfari, BookLikes and Amazon.

9) I use JustUnfollow to keep my Twitter #FF useful, active and not ‘bots. Now up over 2300!

10) I continue to use author networks to share and collaborate for increasing each other’s visibility, rankings and comments. All of my numbers are fairly high and staying there on the book and author sites mostly due to these efforts.

So, with all the above, I am READY for the next Pre-order period much more than I was before. I hope this one ROCKS!

Links to TCE’s Reviews, Author Interviews, Book Trailers and more on http://www.sallyember.com

Link to Mark Coker’s full Pre-order Slide Show post here, which is well worth viewing: take notes! Please share, tweet, USE!
http://www.slideshare.net/Smashwords/hit-the-ebook-bestseller-lists-with-preorders-a-guide-to-preorder-strategy

Thanks, Mark. Next time, I’m ALL OVER IT!

Please Vote: “Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition” 2014!

Please, Please reblog and share in any way you are able!

Vote for #THISCHANGESEVERYTHING, Volume I in #THESPANNERSERIES, new #Booktrailer in the Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition. The winner gets exposure on Twitter & Facebook (see below for details).

Voting closes March 23, 2014.

The Winner of the Get More Exposure Book Trailer Competition will reach a potential audience of 20,000 readers on Facebook, and 10,000 people on Twitter with their winning trailer!

You may have to sign in to vote, but it’s free. Scroll down the entries to find the trailer for This Changes Everything if you want to watch it, first. I’ve also embedded it here so you can watch it right now!

If you’ve already seen it or you already know you want to vote for it to support ME, Sally Ember, the author, you may vote as soon as you get to the page linked below. THANK YOU, and thanks to HMC, whose Official page of Australian author, Hayley M. Clearihan, is running the competition.

http://www.hmcwriter.com/book-trailer-competition/

Twitter This and Twitter That: Tips, Tricks, and Basics to Get You Off the Ground and Running

Twitter for Newbies: BEST explanation and instructions/tips for for authors EVER! Read and use! Thanks, Anmarea (Melodie Ramone, #ASMSG leader)!

Anmarea Writes

Twitter. It’s reminds me of the Tardis. Only because it’s so little on the outside and so HUGE on the inside. And, depending on who’s managing the thing, there might be a mad doctor at the helm. Ah, Twitter. It’s like a little home away from home. 

People don’t like Twitter. “It’s too hard to say what I want under 140 characters!” They say. I say, “Oh, come on now! Are we not writers? Have we never mastered the art of using just a few words to express many?” I also say, “HAIKU, People! HAIKU!” but that’s beside the point. 

140 character limit messages or not, Twitter is a platform that, undeniably, can be more than massive effective if you use it right. Sure, it’s just another social media trap to get stuck in and not be able to pull yourself away from to finish your writing, but…wait. No. No…

View original post 5,573 more words

Author Interview Blog Talk Radio 12/27: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Maybe you’re able to be near an online source to listen to Sally Ember, Ed.D., sci-fi/romance ebook author, talk about her newly released ebook, series, writing, and more on Friday, 12/27, 11 AM EST. Spread the word! One-hour live call-in/comment online show.

Listen live or archived. Sally Ember, Ed.D. will be interviewed by Will Wilson on Indie Books, Blog Talk Radio’s weekly indie author spotlight.

Call in by phone, chat online with comments, questions, suggestions about The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, Volume I, and Sally’s ideas, writing, and science-fiction/multiverse/romance/paranormal themes, Buddhism, Judaism, family: whatever you’re interested in talking with Sally about, this is YOUR hour!

Readers of this post who FOLLOW http://www.sallyember.com may email her to request a coupon for a FREE download of her ebook via Smashwords, good through 12/31/13.

Visit her site or https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197 to download free excerpts, read reviews/interviews, and more.

This Changes Everything cover

Go online (link below) to listen live and type in questions/comments via Chat, or call in to speak with the host, Will Wilson, 11 AM – noon, 12/27, EST, New York, USA, time, Friday: (646) 595-3951 in the USA

Or, if you miss it, it will be archived, same link, ever after:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks/2013/12/27/indie-books-show-15

Blog Talk Radio

1/5/14: Today, Will Wilson, the host/interviewer emailed me that this show with his interview of me, Sally Ember, author of “The Spanners Series,” now has Indie Books’ 2nd-highest listener ranking, with over 350 listeners since the 12/27 broadcast! it’s archived, so listen any time and share! Thanks, Will, and thanks to all the listeners, past and future! 

Gratitude Day!

Today marks the completion of my first ebook’s official first Launch into retail sales. I have many to thank for helping this happen. Here is my SPEECH in written form.

thank-you_gratitude_maui

First, I want to tell my son, Merlyn Ember, how much I respect, love, and appreciate him. His insights, lexicography, tech assistance, re-posting on Facebook and support have been invaluable to me as an author and as a mom. THANK YOU, Merlyn! And, THANK YOU to his partner, Lauren Harrison, my newest family member and friend, for her support and wonderful warmth.

Then, my second-oldest niece, Sarah Miranda, deserves her own special mention. Sarah is my first and most reliable Beta reader, my website developer and maven, on-tap tech help and Facebook quality control “friend” who re-posts on Facebook and corrects my mistakes. Sarah has inspired, supported, amused and informed me continually. THANK YOU, SARAH!

Next, my sister, Ellen Fleischmann. Without her generosity and support, there would not be such an amazing book cover. She has also supported, encouraged, re-posted on Facebook, and inspired me and my writing in numerous ways, including being THE instigator and prime mover of this entire push to publication and marketing since I was laid off from a trad job this summer. THANK YOU, ELLEN!

Special thanks to my cover artist, Willowraven, for helping me understand and develop my cover design with feasible and affordable guidelines without losing my vision or missing my deadline by too much! Visit her site! Give her your business (but not when I need her!): willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com

Next, my youngest sibling, Lauri Fleischmann Stern, for her ongoing support, re-posting on Facebook, and encouragement, ideas, and laughter. She is currently reading my book and I eagerly await her comments. THANK YOU, LAURI!

My mom, Carole Harris, in spite of technical hurdles, continues to leap over them (or knock them down) to support and encourage my authorship. She has also been a great friend, on and off Facebook. THANK YOU, MOM!

My sister-in-law, Laura Weis Fleischmann, even more hampered yet determined to overcome technical obstacles, remains a staunch supporter and is about to be a new reader of my ebook. THANK YOU, LAURA!

My brother, Jonathan Fleischmann, while mostly quiet about it, has nevertheless been a support and help to me and I THANK YOU, JON!

My long-time friend (since 1978!), Mario Cossa, has been a supporter and cheerleader for my efforts. I expect his enjoyment and critique of my ebook to start floating over the oceans and airwaves via SKYPE from Bali any day, now. THANK YOU, MARIO!

My newer friend (since 2011), Diana Ruiz, who drove all the way from Sonoma to Hayward yesterday, my ebook launch day, just to celebrate, encourage and support me, also treated me to lunch and then proceeded to post on Facebook and her own org page to support my ebook’s visibility. THANK YOU, DIANA! Send support to Women’s Global Leadership Initiative, her org: http://www.wgli.org

My recently departed but never-forgotten, long-time friend, Jaye Alper, figures into this ebook and series as the inspiration for one of the characters. She was too ill when I was drafting this to read any versions of it, but we did talk about it before she passed and I know she’s laughing and critiquing away and sharing it with her librarian contacts from wherever she is now. THANK YOU, JAYE!

Thanks also to many other friends, family members and supporters, including but not limited to: Christopher Ember Briggs, David Garelick, Pema Lama, Jim Shucart, Edward Elbers, Pamela Faith Lerman Gluck, Katie Schwerin, Bill White, Sandra Mellander, Heidi Henkel, Diane Stolar, Edina Adler, Helen Perdue, Suzanne Yeomans, Jennifer Foltz, Jennifer O’Donnell, Wendy Boldizar, Bill Weiss, Randi Weiss, Leo Weissman, Jody Serkes, Pat Lenobel, Bonnie Mulliken; Jeff Kravin and Julia Wersema; Debbie and John Paggi; Don and Fatima Frazier; Jeremiah and Elijah Kneeland; Emily, Noah, Amanda and Jamie Stern; Malka, Yakov, Akiva and Shaya Fleischmann as well as Adina, Talia and Estey Fleischmann; Ron and Scott Cytron; David, Michael and Kathy Rosen; Hillary, David and Adrienne Levin; all my colleagues and friends on Goodreads, #ASMSG and other FB, LinkedIn and Google+ groups’ members.

Thanks to those on Twitter whom I follow and who follow me. Especially grateful for the Retweets! #FF @sallyemberedd

Very important thanks to those who offered and then posted Author Interviews and read pre-pub editions/wrote and posted reviews: Pippa Green and others at the Science-Fiction Romance Brigade; Andrea Barbosa; Debbie Brown/Amethyst Eyes; Skye Callahan; New Book Journal; Shah Wharton; Bits, Bytes and Books “owner” and new author-friend, Ria Stone, author of Gina’s Dream; Zach Tyo; Lynda Dietz; Janice G. Ross. Links to all of these are on this website: http://www.sallyember.com Look to the right and SCROLL!

Thanks to Will Wilson for inviting me to his radio interview show which will air live on BlogTalk Radio, 11 AM EST, Friday, December 27: http://blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks

Special thanks to my first pre-pub reader and reviewer, fellow sci-fi author, Mary Josephine O’Brien, and best of wishes to her on the publication of her ebook, Shared Skies.

Thanks to all the groups, sites, book clubs, librarians, independent bookstore operators online and in person, and bloggers who post, re-blog and support indie authors and indie books. I can’t possibly name you all, but I hope you know how much your support and help with increasing visibility mean to us authors, typing all alone and creating who knows what in our little writing caves.

Special thanks to the Fremont, Redwood Empire and Hayward, CA, writers’ groups for critiques, support, inspiration and opportunities to do public readings, and encouragement.

Very special thanks to Jordan Rosenfeld, author/editor/blogger, for her professional information, inspiration and energy for improving my writing and for revision after revision.

Thanks and a tip of the hat in amazement to Mark Coker, Ted Summerfield and the entire Smashwords team for all your support, great instructional guides and videos, tech support and encouragement for my becoming and many millions of others being able to become ebook authors.

Thanks to Author U, Judith Briles and the team and invited marketing mavens there, for great webinars and advice for authors/writers. Take advantage of their “Mentoring Mondays”! Free! http://authoru.org/

Last and certainly not least: my spiritual teacher and long-time (since 1983) friend, Lama Drimed (Alwyn Fischel), who is the inspiration for many themes and topics in this series and for one of the characters (guess which one?), has my heart-felt devotion and eternal gratitude for so much, including all of his teaching, support, guidance and encouragement for my spiritual and professional paths. THANK YOU, LAMA DRIMED!

May all beings benefit.

Appreciating Lia London’s: “12 Things You Should Know about Indie Authors…”

I was NOT going to go the indie route. I was an indie snob, myself, having grown up around “Vanity” presses and other such unprofessional ways that previous self-published writers had become authors. Their books were objects of scorn, their accumulated unsold volumes gathering dust in their garages, basements and storage areas, testimonials to their misplaced pride, I thought.

Then, the internet and ebooks led to this revolution in publishing. In the last several years, according to many reports, ebook sales have gone through the roof and indie publishing has more than quintupled x 100. Really.

This explosion, which has made available SO MANY books written, edited/proofread (or not), and distributed outside of or alongside of (often, while using) the traditional publishing houses’ and online stores’ routes, means several things:

1) My sci-fi concept, The Spanners Series, which languished in my computer and as various printed-outs in boxes of drafts that never made it past the query stage, is now getting PUBLISHED (well, ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I is, and I plan to publish the other 9 Volumes as well, via Smashwords.com: thanks, Mark Coker!) mostly due to my own hard work rather than waiting for luck.

2) There is a lot of variety in what is being distributed. Quality is hard to detect. You CANNOT judge the book by the cover, since many indie authors are on tight budgets and covers are expensive. Also, authors purchase or accept only “good” reviews. Paid armies of PR people or an author’s family and friends game the rankings’ and stack the reviews’ “ballot boxes.” PR hacks generally mess with readers. Authors can buy Twitter followers. Marketers blow many other false trumpets to herald a book that is actually HORRIBLE (or might be wonderful). How can any reader separate the wheat from the chaff?

3) Many millions of ebooks are now available. MOST are made free or ridiculously low-cost (under $5) for some or all of their “sales” periods. The sheer quantity and bewildering array flooding the market with cheap and free books make it even harder for any one book or author to get noticed, even those of high quality.

4) Getting our books noticed is made both more and less difficult by the fact that the author has to do all the marketing. I can tell you: it’s exhausting. And, doing all the marketing means it’s hard to carve out time to write, which is ironic, at best and extremely frustrating, at worst. Yes, we are motivated. Yes, we know our book best. Yes, we are committed to its success. However, most of us DO have (or, in my case, SHOULD soon have) other paying jobs and other books or stories to write!

Please read this great article (link, below) by Lia London about the trials and tribulations of and reasons to admire indie authors like me.

THEN: Help out us indie authors! Read reviews, read excerpts, shop around, engage with us. Finally, BUY OUR BOOKS! We need readers to rank us, write comments, recommend and refer to our books. We need readers, reviewers and bloggers! Thanks!

http://lialondon.net/about-indie-authors

BookSmart,Newark Park Mall, CA

What fun! Thanks so much to the Fremont Area Writers, especially Carol Hood and Tony (Anthony) Pino for organizing and to Tony for moderating this “Open Mic,” and to BookSmart at the Newark Park Mall, which provided a venue for my first public reading.

Some reactions from the audience, all fellow writers:
“YOU are a WRITER!”
“That was amazing! I really want to hear more!”
“You really know how to get us involved. It was so real!”
“That dialogue sounded so natural and you read it so well!”

It was a lot of fun to be there and very inspiring to hear the poetry, short stories and excerpts the other writers shared. Plan to go monthly, if you can: 4th Mondays, 7 – 9 PM. See you there!

BookSmart, Newark Park Mall, CA

First public reading from This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, Sally Ember, Ed.D. author/reader

More photos on Facebook: The Spanners Series by Sally Ember page and my personal page. LIKE my page or become my friend! Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember is my FB name for my personal page.

http://www.cwc-fremontareawriters.org/events/ leads you to their calendar and possibility of becoming a member of this and the California Writers Club, of which FAW is a branch (which I have done!).

More about living in a “God Realm”

Yesterday my at-home #Buddhist #meditation #retreat, week one, contemplating living in a “God Realm,” took some interesting turns due to “regular life.” That’s the beauty and the challenge of having a home retreat: life keeps on happening, and not very far away or able to be ignored. Need to deal with my car, keep connecting with some people, job-hunt and apply, have a job interview (when invited), shop for essentials, tend to chores.

As a writer who is finishing Volume II, This Changes My Family and my Life Forever, and marketing (release date, December 20) Volume I, This Changes Everything of The Spanners Series, I am also writing, marketing, learning about ebook publishing, indie pub networking and methods, editing/revising, weighing in on cover art for Volume I (thanks, #Willowraven!) and learning about this whole ebook process for the first time from Mark Coker of #Smashwords (thanks, Mark). My days and some of my nights are quite full, already. Adding in 3 – 6 hours of meditation each day (sometimes more) is quite a feat. I’m not bragging; just explaining. Something’s gotta give.

So, yesterday, the meditation time “gave” to the car repair and friend times. However, I did walk and meditate/contemplate while my car was being assessed (one hour). During that hour, I walked around downtown Hayward to do errands (bank, library) and then sat in an rarely-used chess-players’ seat at a small city park.

No one else was in the park. In fact, it was officially “closed,” but the walkways were open. I and a dog-walker were the only park users when I was there. I could picture the park on busier days, ghost figures filling the space: the traditional-old-men-playing-chess images, some teens hanging out on the benches, a stroller-pusher or two, a dog-walker or two. But, since it held no other appeals, with no playground, no fountain or pond, no climbing structures, no other places to sit, I ran out of ideas. Besides the two chess stations and two park benches, there were a few patches of grass (well-trimmed), some flowering shrubs, one tree: that was the corner park.

Meditating/contemplating living in a God Realm caused me to look around more closely as I walked and then, sat. I discovered several aspects of this downtown that struck me as relevant. First, there are a lot of abandoned or empty, unmarked buildings and vacant lots among some seemingly open ones or those not due to be opened, yet (it was before 11:30, so many places weren’t open, yet). In this particular moment, one day in 2013 in Hayward, California, I could see evidence of better days.

One large, brick building had odd-shaped and oddly placed spaces high on one wall facing the busiest intersection. I puzzled out that these were vacancies left by large, individual letters which must have been adhering to the brickwork to display the owner’s or business’ name. Gone. But, before that era ended, those people must have been very wealthy to have owned such a large, prominent downtown structure. Most owners live in a God Realm, until they don’t.

They would have had servants and workers under them, surplus income to spend on themselves. They would have indulged themselves and their family members in luxuries and vacations, had most every whim fulfilled. Fancy clothes, fast and expensive cars, jewels, lavish parties, food and beverages, entertainment, sex, exotic pets, travel to beautiful locales, music and art would have filled their lives. Let’s give them good health, love and intelligence, too. A perfect human existence, probably in the latter part of the last century or earlier.

Where are those owners now, if any of them are still even in those human forms? Assisted living or nursing homes? Scattered from Hayward, younger family members out of touch or estranged? Dead already? Where are their money, those luxuries, that business? What happened to their residences, cars, clothes and other possessions, friends and colleagues? Gone to others or just completely gone. Empty. Abandoned, like this building.

Even when “everything is perfect,” it can’t last. Even if the outer pleasures continue, the enjoyers do not. These “Gods” age, get infirm, die; or, die suddenly. But, die they must, taking none of that gilded life with them.

I returned to retrieve my car (can’t be fixed until part arrives. I chose Halloween for my next foray into town, since I have a medical appointment that day, anyway). Driving the short distance home, I contemplated the ephemeral nature of all life and the futility of accumulating wealth, possessions, pleasures and such.

We may be living in a God Realm or not, but what we all share is impermanence. Whatever ways we are enjoying or suffering through our existences, our pleasure or pain is just a moment in the great span of time. Whatever we have, whatever we want: Feel it, live it, then go on to the next moment. That is the merry-go-round of samsara.

Prayers for all beings to recognize the illusory, temporary nature of samsaric existence and to buckle down (or ratchet up) to be on the path to individual liberation. Bodhicitta and gratitude for my path filled my heart as I re-entered my home, my retreat space.

#Buddhist #retreat happening at home 10/18/13 – 3/2/14 Day 2

At the direction of my amazing teacher, Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed, or LD in these pages), of the #Tibetan #Buddhist #Nyingma Longchen Nyingtik #Vajrayana school/lineage, to whom I am eternally grateful, I began a partial retreat at home yesterday, on the day of the lunar eclipse/full moon, 10/18/13. I plan to continue for parts of almost every day through Losar (Tibetan New Year, 3/2/14) by spending at least 4 and usually 6 or more hours per day meditating and studying.

What will I be doing? Special daily practices, including “The Heart Sutra,” Prajnaparamita; the preliminary practices, Rushan, for Thödgal, which is part of Dzogchen (Great Perfection) in the Nyingma school; reading about the Rushan practices from teachings of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (both of our root teacher, who passed from that body in 2002) about how and why to do these practices; contemplating CTR’s and LD’s teachings; doing the exercises related to those teachings; and offering full moon tsogs (ritual meditation practice with food/alcohol feast offerings).

So, yesterday was the first full moon of this retreat period, the entry day I chose, for the first tsog. For various reasons, mostly personal preference, it has been several years since I offered a tsog, but it all came back to me (except the melodies, but that’s all right; I mostly chanted/read in English rather than Tibetan, to feel the meanings of each part, anyway). It was very comforting, soothing, moving: like coming home to familiar friends and sacred locations, words and experiences. My emotions, thoughts and mental states were uplifted by doing these practices and offering tsog.

For those unfamiliar, a Tibetan Vajrayana ritual tsog has several parts in the Nyingma tradition, and each has many layers of meaning and intention. First and foremost, the tsog is a generosity practice. Included in it are recognition of one’s true nature, repeatedly, so that all the rest of the ritual occurs with more success and depth: we make auspicious wishes for the benefit of all beings, evoke gratitude to and devotion to our teachers (the lineage masters), going all the way back to the Buddha; chant/read many reminders of our highest motivations and how best to practice and conduct ourselves in our lives; we are constantly pointed to the illusory nature of all phenomena and ways (“skillful means”) to pierce the illusions to see absolute truth (“wisdom”). Throughout the ritual are repetitions and images in great detail that lead one’s mind to focus its attention on the “four immeasurables”: compassion, rejoicing in others’ fortune (sympathetic joy), love and equanimity.

Quite often we are led to rest our minds in the spaciousness of awareness (rigpa), which includes all four of these, all in nonduality. The candle light (“butterlamps”), bowls filled with water, flowers, incense, ringing of the bell, snapping of the drum, mudras (ritual hand gestures), posture, arrangements of items and order of the sadhana (written text for the ritual) are all offered for these purposes with nothing withheld, and even more are offered in and via our imagination, to benefit all beings. We acknowledge and feel remorse for (“confess”) our mistakes in practice and in life, pledging to do better in the future with the support of these truths and methods.

We ask for the help of all enlightened beings who exist in every form by inviting them to partake of this tsog and all of our offerings. Over and over, musically and mentally, chanting and visualizing, we give and give, everything we are and have.

By the end of the four-hour tsog ritual, I felt cleaned out, refreshed, re-opened, delighted, anchored and ready for the commitment I’m making to this sequence of mini-retreat days and their activities. My mind sparkled.

The eclipse wasn’t visible (too much sunlight in this part of CA at its peak at around 6 PM), but I felt the energy of my tsog and the rightness of the timing in every cell of my being. I slept better than I’ve slept in I don’t know how long and awoke energized and happy.

These next several months bring many challenges: I’m still job-hunting; still marketing Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series, which goes up as an ebook via Smashwords next month (as soon as cover art is completed); still writing and hope to be finishing first draft and several revisions of Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever; starting Volumes III and IV and pieces of the others up to X of The Spanners Series; still swimming almost daily at least 45 minutes; still trying to improve my health and maintain improvements gained.

Even so, this is the best time: I just received the teachings and instructions from Lama Drimed earlier this week for the first time; I am alive and relatively healthy; I can make my own schedule (at least, until I get a job); and, I have the leisure and luxury to put myself into this retreat.

So, I’m doing it.

For those of you who have read this far, thanks. This retreat and my writing schedule are the reasons I will not be answering the phone or email, not be online or available, for many hours over the next several months. I dedicate the merit of my practice to the benefit of you: my friends, my family, my readers/viewers, and to all beings.

I plan to write about my retreat (to the degree I am allowed; most of the details and experiences are not for the public) here on my blog.

Stay tuned! Be well and best to you all!

#Buddhist #retreat happening at home 10/18/13 – 3/2/14 Day 2

At the direction of my amazing teacher, Padma Drimed Norbu (known as Lama Drimed, or LD in these pages), of the #Tibetan #Buddhist #Nyingma Longchen Nyingtik #Vajrayana school/lineage, to whom I am eternally grateful, I began a partial retreat at home yesterday, on the day of the lunar eclipse/full moon, 10/18/13. I plan to continue for parts of almost every day through Losar (Tibetan New Year, 3/2/14) by spending at least 4 and usually 6 or more hours per day meditating and studying.

What will I be doing? Special daily practices, including “The Heart Sutra,” Prajnaparamita; the preliminary practices, Rushan, for Thödgal, which is part of Dzogchen (Great Perfection) in the Nyingma school; reading about the Rushan practices from teachings of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche (both of our root teacher, who passed from that body in 2002) about how and why to do these practices; contemplating CTR’s and LD’s teachings; doing the exercises related to those teachings; and offering full moon tsogs (ritual meditation practice with food/alcohol feast offerings).

So, yesterday was the first full moon of this retreat period, the entry day I chose, for the first tsog. For various reasons, mostly personal preference, it has been several years since I offered a tsog, but it all came back to me (except the melodies, but that’s all right; I mostly chanted/read in English rather than Tibetan, to feel the meanings of each part, anyway). It was very comforting, soothing, moving: like coming home to familiar friends and sacred locations, words and experiences. My emotions, thoughts and mental states were uplifted by doing these practices and offering tsog.

For those unfamiliar, a Tibetan Vajrayana ritual tsog has several parts in the Nyingma tradition, and each has many layers of meaning and intention. First and foremost, the tsog is a generosity practice. Included in it are recognition of one’s true nature, repeatedly, so that all the rest of the ritual occurs with more success and depth: we make auspicious wishes for the benefit of all beings, evoke gratitude to and devotion to our teachers (the lineage masters), going all the way back to the Buddha; chant/read many reminders of our highest motivations and how best to practice and conduct ourselves in our lives; we are constantly pointed to the illusory nature of all phenomena and ways (“skillful means”) to pierce the illusions to see absolute truth (“wisdom”). Throughout the ritual are repetitions and images in great detail that lead one’s mind to focus its attention on the “four immeasurables”: compassion, rejoicing in others’ fortune (sympathetic joy), love and equanimity.

Quite often we are led to rest our minds in the spaciousness of awareness (rigpa), which includes all four of these, all in nonduality. The candle light (“butterlamps”), bowls filled with water, flowers, incense, ringing of the bell, snapping of the drum, mudras (ritual hand gestures), posture, arrangements of items and order of the sadhana (written text for the ritual) are all offered for these purposes with nothing withheld, and even more are offered in and via our imagination, to benefit all beings. We acknowledge and feel remorse for (“confess”) our mistakes in practice and in life, pledging to do better in the future with the support of these truths and methods.

We ask for the help of all enlightened beings who exist in every form by inviting them to partake of this tsog and all of our offerings. Over and over, musically and mentally, chanting and visualizing, we give and give, everything we are and have.

By the end of the four-hour tsog ritual, I felt cleaned out, refreshed, re-opened, delighted, anchored and ready for the commitment I’m making to this sequence of mini-retreat days and their activities. My mind sparkled.

The eclipse wasn’t visible (too much sunlight in this part of CA at its peak at around 6 PM), but I felt the energy of my tsog and the rightness of the timing in every cell of my being. I slept better than I’ve slept in I don’t know how long and awoke energized and happy.

These next several months bring many challenges: I’m still job-hunting; still marketing Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series, which goes up as an ebook via Smashwords next month (as soon as cover art is completed); still writing and hope to be finishing first draft and several revisions of Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever; starting Volumes III and IV and pieces of the others up to X of The Spanners Series; still swimming almost daily at least 45 minutes; still trying to improve my health and maintain improvements gained.

Even so, this is the best time: I just received the teachings and instructions from Lama Drimed earlier this week for the first time; I am alive and relatively healthy; I can make my own schedule (at least, until I get a job); and, I have the leisure and luxury to put myself into this retreat.

So, I’m doing it.

For those of you who have read this far, thanks. This retreat and my writing schedule are the reasons I will not be answering the phone or email, not be online or available, for many hours over the next several months. I dedicate the merit of my practice to the benefit of you: my friends, my family, my readers/viewers, and to all beings.

I plan to write about my retreat (to the degree I am allowed; most of the details and experiences are not for the public) here on my blog.

Stay tuned! Be well and best to you all!