Buyers/Authors #Beware when Purchasing #Amazon Gift Certificates



With the upcoming holidays, no doubt many gifters will be thinking about purchasing gift certificates. This particular article is written specifically to create awareness when purchasing gift certificates from Amazon. Be careful which site you purchase them on because they are not interactive – meaning, if for example you’re American and want to send a gift certificate to a Canadian friend, or from any other country, your US gift certificate will be no good to us. This information is especially important for authors when doing promos and sending readers a gift certificate to purchase a book they’ve won from the author.


How do I know this?

I know this because I’ve run into this problem as a gift certificate receiver in the past and just recently again. But this time I spent over 2 hours on the phone with Amazon trying to get to the bottom of it.

An author friend was recently running a Black Friday promo (which I posted HERE). She offered, buy one of her books, and get 2 free. I purchased one of her books, and she emailed me an Amazon gift certificate. I went to Amazon to load the coupon, and without any options available, just ‘click to redeem’, and my US certificate is now sitting in in my account where it is not of any use to me. Even though I’m Canadian and must purchase books and/or items from .ca, Amazon took the liberty of loading that coupon to .com – no option, no warning, no offer to convert US funds, and no availability for me to even download a kindle book from .com. So the coupon is useless sitting in my account in US funds.

I was fortunate to have a lovely rep answer my call, we’ll call her Amy for the purpose of this post. I initially called to move that money over to .ca account where it should have gone in the first place. Amy couldn’t believe the troubles she’s encountered with Canadian complaints on many fronts besides the certificate problems, and in the two hours on the phone, we became fast friends. She said she was going to try and get to the bottom of things and find out an option to give me the money, or at least have Amazon let me choose the books for the value and load them on to my kindle for me.

After our lengthy talk and her putting me on hold many times in efforts to keep trying different resolution departments, she told me she’d call me back instead of keeping me on the phone. When she did call back, she apologized up and down for taking me through the hoops over money that was mine but not able to use. She told me, she was told that if the certificate was in US funds, it went directly into .com, end of story. She and I were both appalled, and she said she was going to make it her mission to stand up for Canadians who get short-changed in the Amazon system, including bringing up to her superiors, my biggest Amazon peeve, that when I pay for advertising to promote a kindle countdown and advertise it to my readers, Canadians don’t count, we’re not eligible to purchase a countdown deal. Seriously, what era are we living in? I can’t even see my own books on countdown when I’m running that promo, I have to message an American friend to go to my page and see if the book is on sale!

The bottom line here is that anyone purchasing gift cards, especially authors buying them for promos for readers, MAKE SURE YOU BUY THEM FROM THE AMAZON SITE OF THE COUNTRY THAT RECEIVER LIVES IN.

After Amy did all she could to reverse the US download, to no avail, she felt so bad, she sent me a Canadian gift card from herself! Then she stayed on the phone with me to make sure it would download and I was able to use it. This experience was new for her too and she wanted to make sure the process worked because when I loaded the new gift card to my .ca account, we wanted to make sure I was able to have access to the funds. So I proceeded to purchase a book, and when I purchase books I’m always offered the ‘one click to buy’, and I was concerned that it would still charge my credit card and not use the funds in my account. There was no pop-up or info asking if I wanted to use the credit in the account or if it would automatically charge my card. But with a little sniffing around I did the test and it worked.

I downloaded a book, then I clicked on the top bar ‘my account‘ then this screen opens


Then I look under Gift Cards and click on ‘View Gift Card Balance’, sure enough the price of the book I just purchased was deleted off total of the gift card used, showing a remaining balance. I had proof my purchases were coming out of the amount deposited from redeeming the gift card. And so I purchased a second book and repeated the steps to make sure the charge wasn’t going on my card.

Now for future purchases of any gift cards, all you have to do is go to the Amazon site of the country you wish to purchase a gift card for, for example, and when the page opens, on the top black bar, just under the search bar, you will see headings, and one of them is ‘gift cards’. You can click on that and you’ll be taken to this page:


Now you can choose how you want to purchase your gift card and then forward to someone.

I hope this post helps many of you to not waste your precious dollars buying gift certificates in your own currency to give to others in different countries. Not only does the recipient lose out, but for authors who use these certificates as part of promos on a regular basis, this will save you dumping your money in the garbage, because once the certificate is downloaded, there is no recouping the amount back for the buyer or the receiver. Unfortunately there is nowhere else to find out these surprises until they occur. When in doubt before purchasing, call Amazon customer service to find out the rules because often times they aren’t presented to us without doing a major search and still sometimes finding grey areas.

Have any of you had this situation where you received an Amazon gift card you could never use?


How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Time on #Social Media?



Social marketing


As writers and authors, many of us use various social media channels to help brand our names and blogs. The age old question that seems to plague many of us is, what’s working for us in terms of gaining more following and readership?


The question may seem simple, but the fact is, different platforms seem to be more and less effective for each one of us. I’m no SEO expert by a longshot, but from what I’ve gleaned from my own experience, and from reading about some experiences of others, certain platforms just seem to work better than others, depending on the type of posts made and sometimes depending on the genre we write in.

The first step to success in gaining followers is to engage with readers and commenters when they do visit our posts. Depending on the genre we write in, and the particular social site we’re posting in should dictate what types of things we should post. We can all try out different sites to see what the feedback is, but keep in mind the more sites we’re on, the more sites we have to babysit.

There’s nothing wrong with posting on many sites and weeding out where we’ll find our most engaged readers are. From there we can decide where to focus more of our attention. Remember, readers want informative information, entertaining posts, and posts pertaining to writing. And when posting about our books, we should be focusing on an interesting element of our book, or perhaps a promotion we’re running to inform readers about the opportunity. Also keep in mind that social media works by informing and sharing. This means, sharing posts from others too because that will bring us more connections with others, and in turn, these people will eventually become willing to share back our posts on their channels.

Every platform seems to have their own niche and focus. The main thing to keep in mind is not to push people by constant posting to ‘buy our books’. Nobody wants to be sold to. If we put out good info and engage with our readers and they like what they see, then we can talk about our books, share a promo on our pages and gain more interest because once a follower enjoys our posts they may very well be interested in our books and letting them know our books are on sale is a good thing.

What and where should we post for effective engagement?



I recommend posting things  that are relevant to the things we write about, and gear the posts to the type of social media we’re posting on. When I say this, I mean, take Linkedin for example, Linkedin is a site to make connections with others in our field, ie: writers, editors, publishers, artists, promoters, etc. Linkedin is also a place that anybody can look at our resume and works and take opportunity to contact us for a potential job or interview related to our expertise, etc. So I post my blogs there and articles of interest related to the writing field that I come across. You can also write, post and publish your own articles on your page there. There are numerous groups we can join and interact with others there. I’ve met many new interesting people on that site. Another important aspect of Linkedin is that connections can endorse us for skills. That can look attractive to someone who is sniffing out our profile. When I first began learning about self-publishing, I spent a lot more time on Linkedin participating in group forums with other writers, and I can say I learned a lot from them. I find now that I don’t have the time to spend in forums, but I still check in every day, as new people request to connect with them frequently, and I also receive messages from connections, sometimes asking to participate in a group or an invitation to connect or to an event. Linkedin should be a site that all professionals join. One never knows what opportunity may be offered us from there.



Twitter is great for sharing posts to bring blog traffic over to our site. It’s a great site to gather like-minded followers who like to read what we’re putting out. We can link to anything from there and using the appropriate hashtag to gain specific readers to the type of content we’re posting is just one way of gaining new readers of our content. We can advertise our books sales, post quotes and add links to our websites for those who like the meme or quote we posted the link to, to draw them over to our blogs, just to name a few things to do there. The point is to respond to tweets, share back by tweeting posts of others who take the time to retweet us and follow. I spend 20 minutes every morning catching up on notifications and checking out new followers and sending out tweets. That’s all I can manage in my busy days, but there are apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer that allow you to pre-schedule posts at various times. Those are apps I haven’t mastered very well because I’m not a pre-planned tweeter. But throughout the day and evening, when I’m reading an article or blog of interest, I’ll always hit the ‘twitter’ button to tweet out the post I’m reading, so in essence, I still tweet intermittently through the day and night, but I only go there once a day to respond and check out new followers, and after looking at their profiles, decide if I will follow back. I say this because, we all get those ‘followers’ who sometimes have no connection to our writing world. We’ll all learn how to sniff out these followers by clicking on their profiles and most of the time they have no avatar, no website, and an ‘egg’ is representive of their avatar. That’s usually a flag for me not to follow.



Facebook is an interesting platform. Before I began writing books, I had de-activated the app because I didn’t enjoy the world seeing my posts, but that all changed when I wanted to start selling books and had to put myself out in the public eye. If we’re writing books, we should have a Facebook author page, and in order to get that you must first open a personal page. Personal is a word I now use lightly because once upon a time, that’s what my page there was for, personal friends and family to share family photos, events, milestones, etc. I opened my author page to post my blogs, articles pertaining to writing, promotions, anything to do with my books, you get the picture. What happened? Well it seems that many of my followers from my author page had found my personal page and began ‘friending’ me and I felt I had to friend them back. So ultimately, over time, my postings have changed on my personal page to more posts related to the things I believe in, and things I write about. I post memes that are funny pertaining to women, aging, menopause, etc. And I post many quotes and memes on kindness and justice. I usually go there in the evenings when I have some time after blog reading to check out other posts, see who has ‘liked’ my posts and thank them, and scour around to some of my favorite pages on Facebook to find some inspiring or funny post to post on my page. I also tend to use my page as a sounding board for little incidents I encounter occasionally that I want to rant about or share a laugh with others about. Facebook is also good for creating an event page when we’re running a promo, and you can pay for ads where they will ‘boost’ your post to get more eyes on it. The ad thing isn’t always a success for everyone. Some authors say it was a waste of time, some like it. From what I gather, depending on the genre we write in and the audience following us is what makes those ads more or less successful. I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m no authority.



Instagram, I feel, is a more personalized type of site geared toward people’s passions. I am by no means a pro on that site but I was curious to join because I’d heard that many writers like that site to post personal pictures, book photos, quotes from their books, and snippets of personally liked things there. Apparently, many readers love to get to know more about their favorite authors and snippets from their everyday life. I believe Instagram has recently begun allowing us to make short little videos now we can post there as well as letting us post live links. I haven’t tried the videos yet. Instagram is mostly a mobile based app. So it’s quick and easy to add a photo from your phone or a video you’ve made on your phone, add a caption or a link to your post or book, or your website, etc. to gain more followers of your work and make friends. I often send a photo from my Facebook page over to Instagram and write a caption with a hashtag because just like Twitter, if you hashtag your posts, people who follow those hashtagged categories will be able to see them. I don’t go to Instagram nearly enough to use it to its full potential, but I am there and so are hundreds of my photos. Once or twice a week I go there to see how many ‘likes’ I’ve received and to check for messages.



This is another interesting app I use. Again, I don’t spend much time going to my actual site but I have 40 boards set up there with categories I like to post in. When I come across a blog post I enjoyed and think it would fit one of my boards, I always ‘pin it’ to one of my Pinterest boards. I send all my own blog posts there. I have a board where I send all my author friend’s book covers to, and a board with everything to do with my own books: excerpts, interview links, book covers, etc. There is a myriad of things you can pin there, and other people who enjoy our pins sometimes invite us to be able to pin articles to their boards. It’s great because we can create our own boards of interest and those who are interested in our board topics will see our posts. Again, don’t forget to edit before pinning with your website or a link, it’s just another outlet to draw readers to our work.



I send all my posts and many blogs I read to Google. Besides being another place where readers can find us, Google is one of the biggest search engines in town, and the more you feed it, the more discoverability you will have on the web. When I Google my name, D.G. Kaye, I come up on the first 19 pages of Google, that’s good stuff!


So these are the sites I use to send my posts and other interesting articles I come across, to. There are many other social sites around, but I have my hands full keeping up with these, and for now, I have my time allotment system in place for all of them. But I know in the near future I am going to want to revamp my system and probably delve a bit more into getting more out of social media than I’m currently taking from it. At least I’m linked up and gathering followers in the mean time and that’s a big plus for us to keep building our platforms.


What’s working for you?


If you aren’t already connected with me, please visit me at any of my sites and let’s connect!


Author Page:


About me:

Twitter:   (yes there’s a story)









Book #Promotion #FREE Download! – Have Bags, Will Travel


news alert

In honor of the upcoming travel season, I’ve decided to put my book, Have Bags, Will Travel on promotion for FREE, starting today November 28th through December 2nd! The book will be available Free to all countries and I am putting up The Universal Link Here that will take you directly to the Amazon book page of your country to download it.


If you haven’t read this little travel log and memoir of mine, please feel free to download your copy today. It seems that based on some of the reviews I’ve received on this book, people have been reading it on airplanes while traveling, so I thought it would be a good time to give some free copies away for the holiday season.


Have Bags, Will Travel D.G. Kaye


Get This Book FREE on Amazon November 28th through December 2nd. 




D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.




on October 15, 2015

After years of working in the travel industry I can only second many of Kaye’s pointed observations and comic descriptions of travels past and present. Much of what we endure to travel these days seems to defy logic and Kaye has a qitty way of putting things as well as a sharp, observing mind.

There are many hilarious moments as the author is stuck in customs at an airport in Venezuela, Canada or out in London and the Champs Elysee. Very enjoyable, pretty accurate and useful, thanks to the many tips at the end of the book.

Compelling and essential travel reading.


5 Stars – Great Airport Read –

on October 7, 2015
Be prepared to have your heart chuckling and your lips smiling as you read through D.G. Kaye’s delightful travel adventures. Although the main theme of the book is on her affection for shopping it’s also a memoire like no other as she holds your hand and guides you through her trips to Paris, London, Greece, Venezuela and Vegas. You meet her friends who are almost as zany as she is while she ponders on the good old days of travelling and her sadness to see the old charm of her beloved Vegas fade away. Oh, but the girl can get into trouble, especially when it comes to exceeding the airline’s weight limits on luggage.

For those of you who are familiar with D.G. you will recognize her quirky sense of humor and her authentic voice in this travelogue. It’s refreshing and relaxing. I dare anyone to read it and not laugh at how she gets out of her cross border shopping dilemmas.
A great airport read!

Feel free to visit my author page while you’re shmoozing around Amazon! Happy trails! Oh, and please share around, thank you. 🙂 

Sunday #Bookreview – Plateau by Inspirational author Tina Frisco


Book reviews

Today I’m sharing my review of a wonderful and thought provoking book by Tina Frisco, Plateau, Beyond the Trees.

Tina is an author, singer/songwriter, RN, activist, and a student of Shamanism. Her writing is always full of compassion and offers insights to helping the world in justice, peace and harmony. Her first book, Plateau was written before the doomsday prophecies were to take place in 2012, which the Mayan calendar had predicted.


Get this Book on Amazon!


The protagonist in Plateau is a 15-year-old tribal female who, through great adversity and while honoring the wisdom of her elders, discovers her strengths and destiny. Her will is relentlessly tested, daring her to face her fears and trust blindly without fully knowing why she was born the Keeper of the Crystal Heart, the key to the Great Mosaic of Life. She ultimately comes face-to-face with herself in a battle that would shrink the will of the most intrepid warrior, unaware that realizing her destiny will irrevocably impact all beings on earth and beyond. Her people inject humor and wisdom throughout this tale of mystery and adventure. Will love prevail over fear? Millions are asking this question. Plateau offers hope with its underlying message: We must keep our hearts open and act from love instead of reacting from fear; and we must practice gratitude and compassion within every moment and with every breath, so that we might help elevate the human species to a higher consciousness and facilitate both personal and global peace.

My Review: 5 Stars


Plateau is an imaginary world inhabited by a tribe called the E’ghali. This is a place where kindness prevails, where nature is honored, no technology exists, and where the people live in peace and live solely off the land. W’hyani is a young girl of 15, whose life we follow as she takes in her life lessons and demonstrates the power of love, wisdom, healing, and facing fears. As we become engrossed in W’hyani’s world, we too will be reminded about the value of natural resources, the importance of compassion and gain a sense of faith that all these elements factor into a better world. In the end, after W’yhani has found the meaning of the Crystal shard she carries with her and made to understand the Great Mosaic of Life, she will set forth for the outside world. We are left with hope, and wondering if she can spread her wisdom into the outside world. This is an inspirational read, beautifully written in storyline and prose.

Visit Tina at her blog and her Amazon Author Page 

Christmas Gift Shopping in 15 Minutes? | Savvy Book Writers


I had to reblog this, as I just came across this great deal! My friend, Doris Heilman of is offering an amazing deal for Black Friday Weekend! In case some of you aren’t familiar with Doris’ blog and newsletter, she blog is well-known for informative article directed to writers about everything publishing!


Until this Monday, Doris is offering if you purchase one of her ebooks, you email her the receipt of purchase and she will send you 2 other FREE ebooks of hers. Her books are valuable and informative resources for all writers. Have a look below at her article, where she slipped in this gem of a sale and also include some ‘SAVVY’ tips for Christmas shopping.


Why spend time and money – and stress yourself out when heading to the mall?  I gave it up years ago and never looked back.  Christmas shopping this year took me exactly 10 minutes.

For the loved ones I will meet during the holidays I ordered wonderful books, and for those I can’t meet in person, I got Prime Membership cards, which will be send exactly on the days I chose – some via mail in gift wrapping, some via email.

The Time I Saved…
Precious hours that I gained can be used for even more holiday pleasures: Visiting a Christmas Tree farm to cut my own tree, stopping by at friends or family members place for a cup of coffee. . . Continue Reading 

Source: Christmas Gift Shopping in 15 Minutes? | Savvy Book Writers

Who Has a New Book? Terri Webster Schrandt – Better #Blogging with #Photography

New book


Today’s guest is Terri Schrandt, blogger and author of her first book, Better Blogging with Photography. You can find Terri’s blog at


Terri is a girl who loves the outdoors and likes to partake in many leisure sports and shares her lifestyle on her blog. She uses beautiful photos for her blog, which she takes from her own adventures and decided to write a book about the different ways to use photos for blogs, where to obtain them if you’re not using your own, and what to beware of when it comes to copyright issues when using photos from the internet.


About Terri:

Terri is a non-fiction writer and retired recreation and parks practitioner living in Northern California. As a university lecturer teaching leisure education in the recreation and parks major, Terri takes leisure very seriously because it involves one-third of our lives…really!

Obtaining a Master’s Degree at age 50, Terri wrote her thesis on the Four Generations in the Workplace, sparking her love of writing at midlife. In addition to writing and blogging, she offers consultation services and conducts and presents workshops for a variety of organizations.

Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is her blog about living a leisure lifestyle.

Terri has two successful adult daughters, one an aerospace engineer and the other a recreation therapist working at a state hospital. Her husband since 2013 was someone she knew in high school and found on Facebook in 2009. He introduced her to the crazy sport of windsurfing (at age 49) and is currently building a new deck for their recently remodeled house.

Her active lifestyle involves windsurfing, stand-up paddling, camping, reading, writing, walking the dogs, traveling, and…


Get this book Here on Amazon! 

Better Blogging by Terri Schrandt

The Blurb:

There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?

Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.

While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post.

What will you get out of this guide?
In each chapter I give easy but important tips for maximizing the use of images on your blog’s website and within each blog post.

Seven informative chapters walk you through–
-the importance of using images;
-the real dangers of using others’ copyrighted images;
-easy ways to edit your images using free programs and apps;
-building unending inspiration and content around your own images;
-attracting readers with images used in quotations, blog link-ups, and other tools;
-how social media sites link your images, and why you need them;
-a list of image resources available.

After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!


Thanks Terri. You’ve already offered a wealth of information here, now let’s go a little deeper getting to know more about you and your process of creating this book.


Can you tell us how you came up with the idea to write a book on how to blog with photos?

When I began consistently blogging over two years ago, I noticed that most blogs had an interesting photo to illustrate their post. After I participated in the WordPress Blogging University Photography 101 and learned some easy tricks, I immediately started adding my own photos to all my posts. I have a digital camera and Samsung phone and have over 5000 photos!

I wrote a few posts on how to use images to help get more readers, and these posts were well-read and shared. I got interested in the idea of writing a non-fiction eBook, and writing about “How to maximize your blog using images” seemed the easiest way to dip my toe into the world of self-publishing. This book started out as a short free PDF to give away to new subscribers, but morphed into the eBook you now see.


Do you plan to write more books about blogging?

I am still thinking of a couple of more blogging help books. However, there are a LOT of them out there! My next eBook, for which I have a decent outline started is “The Better Blogger’s Lifestyle” which will become the prequel to my current eBook. In this book I describe all the types of blogs out there and what it takes to write and maintain one. More ideas for the series will include short topics like “Getting Results with Social Media,” “Advanced Photography for Bloggers” and “Turning Your Posts into eBooks.” These topics may be my summer projects!


Are there any other genres you may be interested in writing about in the future?

I am glad you asked this! Another professor with whom I work suggested I write a non-fiction book on the subject of leisure education. I had never thought about writing any type of book, but that seed was firmly planted.

This book, tentatively titled “How Midlife Women Are Reclaiming Their Leisure Time” is based on my background as a leisure practitioner and educator, and includes case studies of real midlife women who struggle with finding time for their favorite leisure pastimes. It’s based on the premise that anyone can find 3 hours a week for leisure within a 168-hour week. This book will take some time to research and write which may feel like I’m writing a thesis all over again. But don’t worry, the book will be readable and enjoyable for anyone of any age who wishes to learn how to carve out more leisure time for themselves.

I had intended to write that book last summer, but the Better Blogging with Photography eBook needed to get written first. It was a great experience to go through the writing, editing, cover designing and publishing process, so no regrets!

I also am toying with the idea of writing a book on fitness and eventually a how-to book on the basics of stand-up paddling.


What types of articles do you like to post on your blog?

My blog originally focused on professional development but once I retired I did not want to discuss the work world anymore! I blog a lot about leisure experiences, and leisure education, using photography as a basis for inspiration. My favorite events include the WordPress weekly photo challenge and I rarely miss an opportunity to share a photo of that week’s theme! Amazing to see the creative photos others share! I also enjoy participating in Norm 2.0 Thursday Doors, and Part-time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share.


Can you share with us what avenues you’ve taken to promote your first book?

As Indies we’re always interested in learning what works best for some authors when it comes to promoting. After reading umpteen Kindle books on the subject as well as an endless number of blogs, I came up with the basic fact, that just reaching out to fellow bloggers and writers (such as you, Debby), and simply asking them to read and perhaps leave a review, was a good way to start.

When I was self-hosting my blog, I became stressed out trying to “lure” in more readers with subscriber incentives. I came up with some great ideas, but then…I asked myself why the he!! am I working so hard. I try to use social media to my advantage and simply continue my connections with my online friends.

I joined GoodReads and made quite a few connections there.

Am I going to get rich as a self-published author? I doubt it. But the thrill of writing and seeing my name as an author is unmatched!


Tell us a little about your new book, and what can readers and bloggers expect to learn from it.

Anyone who publishes on their own website, whether it is a simple blog, or a full-blown business website, should factor in how important images are in conveying information. After all, most of us are visual people and react to the images we see. A picture really is worth a thousand words, so the right image is critical to the message, whether it captures the reader’s imagination in a blog post, or is selling a product.  Too many people just grab an image off Google and plop it into their website which may unknowingly and innocently lead to a lawsuit. Images on the web are intellectual property, and knowing how to watermark your images is just one important and easy skill to learn and use.


Please share an excerpt from your book with us.

From Chapter Two “How to Curate and Use Your Own Images”

Putting Your Smart Phone or Digital Camera to Work

In this section I will describe the simple process for taking your own pictures using your smart phone and/or your digital camera.

Did you know digital cameras can be purchased for less than $100 now? That is cheaper than many of our mobile phones! and Target have basic “point and shoot” digital cameras that price for $80.

Before I started blogging, I had a digital camera. With my active, outdoor lifestyle, over the years, I have taken thousands of photos. My digital camera is currently lost, so I have relied on my Samsung Galaxy phone. Between these devices I have over 5000 digital images. Recently, I started the slow process of deleting the junk and have created files and folders for certain images.

But, you say, “Terri, I am just starting out and I have only a few photos.” Or, “all I have are old, hard copy pictures.”

Let me address those concerns.

Smart Phone

Perhaps you take terrible pictures or don’t own a good digital camera? Most of us have a smart phone with a camera. Use it. Since it likely goes everywhere you go, if you are inspired by something, shoot it…with the camera, that is! Digital photos from your phone are simple to upload a number of ways.

Shoeboxes of Pictures

I am old enough to have collected my fair share of old photos in my life. Literally shoe-boxes of them. Many have been transferred to photo boxes with lids that keep them neat and tidy, still in their envelopes. Since you need a digital copy, here are some ways to save these photos as digital images.

With a printer/scanner/copier, simply scan each photo (or sets of photos) and save on a flash drive. Some scanners are linked with computers so that the files load automatically onto a file on your desktop or laptop. Either way, you now have a digital copy of the photo. Now you can edit as needed.

Borrow from Friends

Do you have friends, colleagues or family who are photographers, or take lots of photos? Ask to use their photos. Simply e-mail them asking their permission to use their photos in your blog or website. I have never been turned down yet.

Borrow from the Pros

I have several friends who are professional photographers. One close friend allowed me to download as many of her photos as I wished and gave me written permission, as well as encouragement to do so.

The key to this is getting the permission in writing. Again, a simple e-mail message asking to use the photo works fine. Keep a file of the e-mails you get stating that you have permission to use their images. By doing this, you actually have documented their permission to do so.


Thanks for guest posting here today Terri. As you know, I’ve read your book. I love that it’s not a big book to have to sift through lots of pages. The information is concise, relevant, and clearly set out for readers.


Visit Terri’s author page at Amazon  


Find Terri on Social Media:

7 Things You Need To Know to Master Your Genre’s #Book Cover | Sacha Black

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In case you’re not aware, Sacha Black runs a blog and a newsletter with a wealth of information on just about every topic you can think of on the art of writing.


Every week Sacha shares her discoveries, thoughts, wisdoms and critiques. She also posts writing challenges, and is currently working on several books for publication, at the same time. She’s brilliant, funny, quick with words, and doesn’t hold back with her emotions or her saucy language sometimes, and those are all wonderful attributes that comprise Sacha Black.


Now, for this edition of Sacha’s, I thought I’d share her logic and wisdom and research on the art of choosing covers for your books. Go grab a coffee, sit back, scroll and enjoy!


Book cover




Book covers are without doubt, THE most important marketing decision you’ll make. F**k it up, and you can watch your readers Foxtrot Oscar into the sunset, never to return to your bookshelf! So, I’m sharing my research and the lessons I’ve learnt in preparing to have my book cover designed.


Know your genre. I know. Sounds like I took my stupid pill this morning cause of course you know. But seriously, think about it. You go into a bookstore and you can identify ‘your’ spot, you know the exact location your fave books will be in, just by looking at the shelves. No one reads the signs anymore, we just look at the covers! Continue Reading 


P.S. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to her most informative and NEVER boring newsletter while you’re there!


Source: 7 Things You Need To Know to Master Your Genre’s Book Cover | Sacha Black

#3 Useful Apps for your Writing #Toolbox



I’ve written a few posts before about how I’ve found a few Apps particularly useful to my writing arsenal. Lately, I’ve noticed people sending me inquiries about the use of some of these Apps, so I’m going to go over them here today, and tell you why Blasty, Dropbox and Evernote are some of my best picks.

  • Dropbox is a cloud based App that allows you to store copies of anything from documents to photos in a folder for safe keeping and easy access. Sure you may be backing up and/or saving your work on a flash drive or a hard drive, but extra back up with a handy retrieval system is crucial for me. With Dropbox you can access your stored files from anywhere, anytime, even if you aren’t on your own computer. You can pick up a file on your mobile devices as well, all by just signing in to access to access them.

  • Evernote has become my best pal of all. Evernote is similar to a virtual library where you can add anything to it to be saved in a cloud file. For example, when I come across an article I’ve found in a newsletter pertaining to something I want to have on hand for future use ie: publishing matter, editing tips, etc., I clip it with the Evernote clipper installed on my computer toolbar and the box will open up asking me which file I want to save it to, or give me the option to create a new file. You can also download it to your mobile devices, again, to have handy access to refer to your notes on the go.


  • Blasty is starting to garner more attention lately, and I’ve previously written 2 posts on how the process works. Blasty is still in beta stages which offers a FREE subscription while still new. I recommend every author sign up for Blasty if you’re concerned about your books being pirated. So far, I’ve ‘Blasted’ almost 300 sites that were pirating free downloads of my books. Don’t ask me how they get there, but Google sure knows how to search out these crafty criminals. And by letting Google do the work of finding these sites, it saves me hours on end of searching myself.




Dropbox is FREE to sign up to. They will start you off with 2 gigs of free space. If you go over this limit, there are 2 options to obtain more storage. One method is to upgrade to their Pro version and pay a few dollars a month, which I’ve managed to avoid doing. The second option has been working great for me, and here’s the deal. Dropbox will allow you 500 mbs (half a gig) extra space for every person you get to sign up with your invitation link. And not only 500 for the person whose link you join from, but 500 mbs EXTRA for YOU too! It’s a win, win by sharing. I can tell you that I have thousands of files, photos, and even all my book’s manuscripts filed there for safekeeping and easy access. I joined Dropbox 3 years ago at a most opportune time, only weeks before I published my first book and my computer CRASHED! If I hadn’t put everything I write in those files, all my work would have been lost! Flash drives are great, but they can get lost, and you may not always have them handy when you’re somewhere and need to have access to your files or photos. Get Dropbox today by going through My Invitational Link here, and help me add more storage to mine as you build extra storage space for yourself!



Evernote is a FREE App to sign up to. It will give you up to 60 MB of space to save articles per month. Believe me, that’s a lot, and enough for me, and I’m an avid clipper. But for those looking to store mega volumes of files, notes, photos, etc., they also offer a low annual cost to purchase. They’ve recently changed their usage from the ability to sync across all your devices to syncing to up to 2 devices for the free usage, but this hasn’t hindered my ability at all as I can clip articles or photos to save from my desktop and laptop, as that’s where I chose to have access to clip to. You can virtually sign in from anywhere on any device and log in to your account to find things if you’re not on one of your 2 devices you signed up to the App where you’re able to use the Clipper. Now, when you sign up, you’ll also download their WebClipper, which gives you the little elephant icon that represents their site, on your top tool bar. This is where you’ll click when you come across an article you want to save to a folder, which ‘clips’ the article and files it for you. I use this App as my bookmarking system. It’s like a virtual filing cabinet with easy access. Visit Evernote Here and start building your own file finding system.



Blasty is FREE while in beta stages now. It works with Google to search your content on the web that flags suspicious postings. When you sign up and become accepted, Blasty will offer you a place to add your content to be flagged. You can add each of your books, and you can also add your website. When your membership becomes accepted you will be notified and a little ‘B; icon will be available on your toolbar for easy access to their site to check on updates of your work found that seeks approval to be blasted or not. The site explains the procedure well with numerous short videos. Because this App is still in beta, their sign up procedure goes as follows: Once you sign up, your information has to be verified through them and Google, to make sure you’re legitimate copyright holder of your own materials (makes good sense!) The process can take from 3 days up to 2 weeks until your accepted OR if you can share your join up link with others, and once you get 3 others to sign up, you will be approved the same day! When I joined, I wrote 2 posts about this site and had many sign up immediately, so my books were listed the same day once approved. I’m still getting people signing up through my link, and although I’m already a member, I’ve been getting frequent correspondence from the CEO of Blasty, asking my opinion on certain features. It’s a great tool and time saver for authors to check up on their book’s piracy activity as often as you like. Just visit the site and you will have notifications of suspicious activity and be given the opportunity to ‘blast’ the site off Google completely, or to approve that a site is okay to promote your work.

Here are my invitational links again. Join through using these links to get your extra storage space on Dropbox and your quick approval on Blasty.





Let me know if you’ve joined any of these sites and if you’re loving them like I am!