Archive for November 2019

What Are You Grateful For?   Leave a comment

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Posted November 26, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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Open Book Blog Hop – 25th November   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop the topic is all about the best way to market our books.

I don’t really think that book launches, cover reveals and blog tours help too much with marketing a book.  There can be an overkill where people get sick of the sight of a book and turn away from it if it’s marketed on too many social media sites and for too long.  Hey, this is just my opinion, but feel free to comment if you think otherwise.

To start with I’d ask on WordPress whether anybody would want to review an ARC copy of a new book.  When the review is done and corrections made I usually put the book up for pre-order for a few weeks at a reduced price (usually £0.99/$0.99) and advertise the book on my website.  I will usually send a message about the book to…

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Posted November 25, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Market Magic   8 comments

What’s the best way to market your books?

Rules:

1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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If I Knew That, I’d Sell More Books

Seriously, I think there’s a magical formula … or maybe a novel fairy … that chooses who will be blessed among all indie authors to be “discovered”. For the rest of us, there’s just a lot of hard work and vagaries that work for some and not for others, and works some times and then not at all the next time.

Meanwhile, the advice is contradictory. Go to five book marketing blogs and you will find five different answers to that question. Some will say, “working with book bloggers” is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your books. Yes, book reviews and interviews are essential to promoting an indie book. Blog tours can really help to get attention from a wide audience.

According to Penguin Random House:

Online exposure is the main benefit of using a blog tour to promote your book. It hits a different audience than, say, an NPR interview or local newspaper review. Sure, an unbiased review from a huge publication is fantastic publicity, but what the fans are saying can have a similar impact.”

Others will tell you to write guest blogs, a dedicated piece to be published on someone else’s site. It gets your name out there, drives traffic back to your website, and helps you build anticipation for your book. So “they” say.

Does it work? Sometimes. I’ve seen bumps in blog traffic when I write a guest post. Have I sold more books? Not really. Sometimes and not others. Why? I have no idea. And there in is the problem. I am not psychic and I just don’t know why a strategy works today and doesn’t work tomorrow. Maybe I need to invest in fairy dust.

How About Bonus Material?

Standard bookish merchandise ( otherwise known as ‘swag’), such as bookmarks, are often touted as excellent and relatively cheap promotional tool for indie authors. I know more than a few indie authors who have stuff to give away because they fell for this marketing ploy. It’s mining the miners. It’s a way to get indie authors to spend money they probably don’t have to try and sell books that probably won’t sell … that way. Always pause and ask yourself – am I being mined? Would I buy a book because the author gave me a free coffee cup? Yeah, maybe if the author was face-to-face with me to make me feel guilty, but through the Internet? If the answer is “No, I wouldn’t”, then the answer is “I’m being mined.” Formulate your own conclusions from there.

There are other “bonus materials” that might work better.

Related stories

I’ve written short stories for an annual anthology with an agorist/libertarian bent. Does it drive purchasers to my novels? Yeah, it appears to do so because I write books that appeal to agorist/libertarian/anarchists. I’ll usually see a bump in sales a week or so after they publish. I say “usually” because the bump was real weak once. Was that because I wrote a bad short? I don’t know. Where’s that fairy dust?

Although I haven’t done so yet, many authors offer a short or prequel for free as a reward for signing up for their newsletter, or as a bonus item for a book purchase. I’m developing a YA/NA book series that will have a prequel available for free on my website, if you sign up for my newsletter. We’ll see if it works.

Book club kits

That YA/NA series is a departure from my usual audience, so I plan to create a set of questions and discussion points that readers can use to talk about my books in a book club setting. I’ll make the list available on my blog. I’m told by friends this is an effective way to attract readers. Do I know it works? No, but it’s something that doesn’t cost me money that is worth a try.

Team Up With Other Creatives?

We creative types have to stick together, don’t we?! That’s what this blog hop is all about, right?

Doing the research for this post, I discovered a few creative collaborations I hadn’t thought of.

Bookstagrammers

I’m not on Instagram and I really don’t want to be, but I probably need to overcome my reluctance because many bookstagrammers are also reviewers, so sending out a free copy of my book(s) for some gorgeous promotional shots could kill two birds with one stone if they publish a review as well.

Podcasters

I had a great interview with a podcaster about two years ago, and there did seem to be a bump in my book sales for a while, but I’d rather write books than talk about them. Still, if you don’t flinch in horror at seeing yourself on the screen, do some research, reach out to podcasters and see what you can arrange.

Saturate Social Media?

That’s a lot of work. Before my books started paying for themselves, it was really my only choice because I couldn’t justify the financial outlay of most other options. I still post to my blog, Facebook (come join some of my liberty conversations), Twitter and MeWe, but I spend less time there than I used to and it’s likely I’ll spend less time there next year too. It’s hard to be heard on Social Media, so it’s a lot of effort for a little bit of return. It’s “free”, but man, what a time-suck!

I also think that it is counterproductive to keep waving a sign that says “Buy my books.” It’s annoying and I tune out that posts myself. Which is why I started the liberty conversations because libertarian/anarchist/voluntaryist topics (and the allergic reaction statists have to them) fascinate me and sometimes there will be a bump in sales or readership after a good one.

Become a ‘book fairy’

Okay, I’m not talking fairy dust here. Have you heard of Emma Watson’s ‘Book Fairies’ project? The Harry Potter actress began an international book-sharing movement, which involves leaving free books in public places for people to find and take home. The finder is encouraged to pay it forward by leaving the book for someone else to find once they’ve finished reading it. It’s not exactly a new idea. Something like this has existed in the Fairbanks community for as far back as I can remember. Go to any laundromat in this town and you’ll find a few dog-eared “left” books, some of them with handwritten notes inside say “Take This Book and Enjoy It.”. It’s a good idea that should go viral.

There are people participating in the Book Fairies project all around the world or with similar initiatives like Melbourne’s Books on the Rail. It’s a great way to do a good deed and promote more reading in the world – but have you ever thought of using it for promoting your own book?

I haven’t tried this yet, but there’s a fine madness in the thought of leaving copies of my books in public places for people to discover. Why haven’t I tried it yet? Why do I think it’s a little mad. It involves a cost outlay for me to essentially giving away several physical copies of one of my books for free. Would it work to drive traffic to my other books? I don’t know – which is why I’ve not tried it – yet.

Advertising

My father-in-law, an experienced businessman, will tell you “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” He’s right. Just make sure you spend money on things that make money. Advertising helps. I’ve tried Facebook ads and, yeah, I sold some books. I’ve tried the book advertising sites. Sometimes I’ve seen some sales conversions. I’ve tried Amazon ads recently. So far I’ve spent about as much money as I’ve made, but I’m not bidding very high and I just started, so I haven’t got enough data to be sure it’s working. Ask me in three months.

Write the Next Book

Honestly, I think the best marketing technique I possess is writing the next book. My readership goes up with each book I write in the Transformation Project series. I can now see that on KDPs KENP Reads. People appear to be binge reading the entire series. The best thing about that is it doesn’t require me to put on pants to set up a book signing at Barnes & Noble. I’m doing what I would be doing anyway and so, it is essentially free and not a time-suck. My self-imposed Transformation Project break since the publication of Gathering In is now officially over, so get ready for Winter’s Reckoning next year. And, possibly that YA/NA in Spring 2020 IF the betas think it’s ready to go to the editor.

So, I don’t know what the “best way” to market books is. Book marketing is a lot like playing Pin the Tale on the Donkey. There’s several ways and they work to varying degrees at times not necessarily of my choosing. Good luck and if you have any tips ….

Posted November 25, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Prodigal Saved   Leave a comment

A Plethora of Two Cows   Leave a comment

I have loved this explanation of Political Philosophy since the first time I read an example, which was considerably shorter than this version of the list. Which, I have tweaked where I felt it was needed.

All examples of the Two Cows Scenario of Political Philosophy begin with two cows.

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

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FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

BUREAUCRACY:You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

APPLIED COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

MILITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”.

BRITISH DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.

SINGAPOREAN DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors will stop buying your milk and you will be forced to sell them the cows to someone who understands how capitalism works.

CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. You expand it to a herd, selling the milk, buy more cows, sell more milk, causing the economy to grow. You then take your dairy herd public as a Fortune 500 company. People will then complain that you are exploiting whoever is buying the milk.

HONG KONG CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly-listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows’ milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the fung shui is bad.

ENVIRONMENTALISM: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

TOTALITARIANISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

THERAPYISM: You have two cows. One is a metaphor for your inner child. The other is the manifestation of anger toward a parental figure. You take one of the cows on walks through grassy fields by the gentle ocean waves. The other you beat with an anger bat.

INSURANCISM: You have two cows. The Federal regulator requires you to hold one cow in reserve because they predict a shortage of milk. The Provincial/State regulator requires you to drop the price of milk because they predict a surplus of milk. The courts deem your cows inherently dangerous and order you to provide free milk to anyone who has ever been frightened by a farm animal. The marketing people are promising chocolate milk at an enhanced commission and you discover your own actuaries have been building pricing models assuming goats instead to save on the expense line.  (©2007 Mike McLoughlin, Executive Director, Memphis Recovery Centers)

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CORPORATISM: You have two cows. You sell one, force the other to produce the milk of four cows and then act surprised when it drops dead. You blame the startup venture that is pressuring your profit and demand the government regulate the milking of cows and the selling of milk. You help to write the regulations which assure you will remain the largest producer of milk.

PROGRESSIVISM: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point that you must sell them both in order to support someone else who already got a free cow from the government.

REPUBLICAN PARTY: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.

FRENCH CORPORATISM: You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

JAPANESE CORPORATISM: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.

GERMAN CORPORATISM: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

ITALIAN CORPORATISM:

You have two cows but you don’t know where they are. You break for lunch.

RUSSIAN OLIGARCHY:

You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 12 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

SWISS CAPITALISM: You have 5000 cows, none of which belongs to you. You charge for storing them for others.

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TALIBANI CORPORATION: You have two cows. You turn them loose in the Afghan “countryside” and they both die. You blame the godless American infidels and the Jews.

CHINESE STATE FASCISM: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the hell out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a democracy.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITALISM: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Posted November 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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The Antifederalists Were Eerily Prophetic | Gary M. Galles   Leave a comment

Everyone knows about the Federalists who pushed the Constitution. But far less known are the Antifederalists who warned with good reason against the creation of a new centralized government.

Source: The Antifederalists Were Eerily Prophetic | Gary M. Galles

Posted November 20, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

#Openbook : Open book blog hop – 18 November   Leave a comment

Roberta Writes

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How many hours a day do you write? How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I work full time during the week, maintain my blogs and also look after my family, in particular, I assist Michael with his homework. As a result the word hours in “How many hours a day do you write?” is not even a remote possibility for me during the working week. I snatch time to write by making 30 minutes here, and on a very good day, an hour there. I write when I get the chance and I am not fussy about the where of it either.

I can  write anywhere including in my car while waiting for children to finish school, on an aeroplane while travelling, during my lunch hour if my work load isn’t unduly heavy and any other conceivable place you can think of. I am…

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Posted November 18, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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