It’s the last Friday of the month where bloggers participate in the #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest to take a time out from all the negativity in the world and shine the spotlight on some of the goodness going on in the world.
For this month’s edition, I’m sharing a Random Act of Kindness project an 11 year old boy began in efforts to lessen the hurt, pain, anger and sadness, and to teach others lessons about compassion and kindness after the tragic mass shooting earlier this month in El Paso, Texas. He named it the El Paso Challenge where he encourages people to give back to others by performing 20 acts of kindness – good deeds.
Campaign for Kindness: Boy Creates His Own ‘El Paso Challenge’
A young man found a way to overcome the pain, the hurt, the anger and all the sadness after the shooting tragedy that occurred this past weekend.
A young man in El Paso, Texas, is teaching others lessons about kindness, caring — and positivity.
The boy, an 11-year-old, saw people grieving and upset after last Saturday’s mass shooting and tragedy in his city and told his family he wanted to find some way of helping people heal.
So he and his mother started what they’re calling the “El Paso Challenge.”
It’s a social media campaign that is encouraging people of all walks of life to give back to others — and to spread kindness wherever they can.
“Rose Gandarilla shared a photo of her son, Ruben, on Twitter, as CBS News noted — along with a photo of his plan for the challenge.”
“Let’s get this done, El Paso,” she said, among other notes.
Sally Cronin has written a detailed ‘how to’ on how to set up your Amazon Author Page and how to fine tune your page. Some authors aren’t aware of how much more we can do with using Author Central. As many of you already know, Sally hosts a bookstore and cafe at her blog – Smorgasbord Invitation. Are your books in Sally’s bookstore? If not, and you’d like to be part, visit the bookstore to find out how to be part.
I began promoting authors and their books back in 2001 and then it was all about splashy book launches, press releases and getting local coverage. Indie authors had it tough in those days trying to break into the establishment and get the attention of national press, but could do very well locally.
It is very different today in many respects, but certainly you can still make a big splash in your own local area, especially if our books are relevant to the history of the area. Press releases and going door to door to established businesses such as bookshops, cafes, art galleries and holding book signings can certainly launch a book and possibly get the attention of a wider audience and the national press.
Six years ago I began promoting my own books (particularly Ebooks as I tend to still go local for my print books) and a handful of authors here on Smorgasbord, which over the next two years developed to become The Cafe and Bookstore. This celebrated three years of book promotions earlier in the year and there are between 150 and 175 active authors with new releases and reviews at any given time.
Taking my experience of the ups and downs of book marketing over the last 18 years I feel that if I can give a helping hand to other authors, it might help them navigate the marketing process a little more effectively. Especially when we have a global marketplace at our fingertips.
I am delighted that I am in a position to showcase authors here on my blog and on social media. And for me it is important to provide this FREE as I know how tough it was back when I started, and even more so now, to get noticed.
However, I have over the years found some stumbling blocks that are common to many authors.
It would be lovely to think that we write a book and readers will then flock through the doors on the online bookstore and grab a copy. Unfortunately today you are in competition with the many thousands of other books that are published that week, particular in a popular genre on a worldwide basis.
So everything you do online has to have one clear goal, and that is to encourage readers to buy your book. But all the promotions in the world with wonderful blurb and reviews are not effective unless they address one very important question.
Where do you want potential readers to end up?
Somewhere they can buy the book immediately.
For most of us, whichever publishing path we have taken, Amazon is our primary bookseller. Some of you will publish through Amazon’s own Kindle and Print publishing services, others like myself are independent and do our own formatting and design before signing up for a seller account.
But, you do need to meet the technology and worldwide opportunities at least halfway and one of the most effective tools at your disposal, even with one book, but certainly with multiple releases, is the Amazon Author Page.
There are a number of book promotional sites available, mine included, who will promote your book, but we need to put a buy link for your book so that readers can head over and purchase. That link is usually Amazon as it is the largest online bookstore in the world. More importantly it is where those who live online, such as other authors and bloggers have set up accounts to buy their books.
That being the case, I always put the Amazon author page in the bookstore so that when the potential buyer heads over they can see the authors bio, photograph and more importantly, not just one book, but all of them. They can then choose which book to select, but you never know, they might just pick up another one or two at the same time.
The majority of authors that are promoted here have an Amazon author’s page, but you will be amazed how many do not who ask me to promote their books.
This is one of the most important book marketing tools that you can use as the link should be on all your correspondence, from the signature on your emails to your profiles on all the social media sites you are using. Certainly on your business cards and also at the back of your books, along with the covers of the other books you have written.
From the perspective of a book promoter, it makes it very difficult when an author has five or six books and no author page.. I have to spend considerable time tracking them down and I then do not have one central link to put them under.
This loses you sales.
Amazon is your bookstore, your bookshelf and your author page needs maintenance from time to time.
When was the last time you checked your bio. I see many that are at least a year and a couple of books out of date.
Would a new profile photo give your author page a new look too?
Have you added your blog link so that your posts will show up on the page encouraging readers to visit you there.
Are all your books, including your latest listed on your author page?
Is all the information correct about your books?
Even if you only have one book, it is a good idea to set up your Author Page and you can do so on both the UK and the US sites as when they list your books on one they might not carry over your bio or other information, including the photograph. Often if you do not manually update your author page on the other country’s site, you will find there is no bio or the photograph is missing so you do need to keep an eye on both.
Even if you have not been the person who uploaded the book, as the author you can sign up for the Author Central or as many of you are a KDP author you can use that identity to log in.
I have taken some screen grabs to illustrate the process. If you feel that uncertain about creating your own author page or need assistance then I suggest you enlist the help of a member of your family who is tech savvy and that you are happy to share your Amazon password with, to do the online side for you.. Just make sure you have prepared your author bio in advance and have a photograph ready.. pass that around friends and see what they think too.
As you can see there is a question in the bottom left hand corner.. Are you an author?Click on Learn More at Author Central.
This will take you to the log on or sign in screen and click the relevant option to you. If you are signing up for the first time you will need your email address and a new password. Or you can use an existing Amazon identity. CONTINUE READING AT SALLY’S BLOG.
Today’s Sunday Book Review is for Marina Osipova’s short put powerful novella – Order Number 227 – From Stalin with Love. Don’t be fooled by the subtitle, this is no satire…….As many of you know, one of my favorite genres to read is historical fiction, as I’ve always been fascinated at history. Marina has become one of my favorite historical fiction authors to read, because she knows how to bring out the humanity in characters despite some of the ugliness her characters live in. I find her stories unputdownable.
About the Author
Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.
From the Author
The story is based on my grandfather’s history and one of the events of the Great Patriotic War as it was and is called on the post-Soviet space. The main facts are accurate, but they are presented through fictional characters except for my grandfather. I took the liberty to give names to thirteen of the Soviet people who among 427,910 men shed their blood in defending their motherland in punitive military units. In Matryona, I hope I have conveyed a collective image of a Russian woman who, despite her difficult fate and the life full of hardship, retained her humanity and tenderness.
“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.
Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.
427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.
My 5 Star Review:
Short and powerfully, Osipova once again takes us into a story of war – 1942 Soviet Union fighting the Germans. The story is initially told through Jakov Antonovich as he led one of the penal batallions to ready them for war. The penal soldiers were men who had committed lesser crimes in their country and doing jailtime, recruited to war – some had never even held a gun. The story moves through what the men endured awaiting their time to be called to the front, their training, and their built up loyalty for the man Jakov who trained and nurtured their humanity, and what came of these men as they were eventually sent off to the front.
Although the story is historical fiction. Jakov was not a fictional character, blended well into the story he told of those who worked under him. Later in the story we meet a woman, a rare human who chose to stay behind in her hut and do what she had to do to survive, despite everyone else in her village who had aleady fleed – feeding and nursing soldiers who banged on her door – whether Germans or Russians, her compassion was big enough for all. Later in the end we find how the two stories of the soldiers and the woman would meld. A good reminder in our current world of what war does to man and a woman, and how despite the evil and despair, how humanity can still exist all in the name of fighting for one’s country. #Recommended.
I’m reblogging a sweet deal Stevie Turner is offering at her blog. Send her your manuscript for grammar and typo edits and buy one of her books and review! Check it out!
My New Service for Authors
One thing I’ve always had to be mindful of in my many years as a medical secretary is good spelling and grammar, as doctors read the letters I’ve typed and they can be quite scathing if letters are not up to standard.
Therefore using these talents, I’ve had an idea that might help me promote my books. Goodness knows we authors try so many ways to market our novels, and this is a new one. It might work or it might not. I’ll let you know in 6 months’ time…
If you’d like to post your (anything up to) 50,000 word manuscript to me, then I’ll check it for spelling and grammar. I won’t alter the story at all, so rest assured there. I prefer to mark a physical manuscript rather than work online, as my eyes do not fare too well if I stare at a screen for long periods of time. So … send me something you don’t mind me writing on with my red pen.
What about the price? Well, all I’ll charge is the price of one of my books and a review. You can buy an eBook, paperback or audio version of whichever of my books interest you. I’ll work on the plan that one review will equal up to 50,000 words of your manuscript. Books from 50,000 – 100,000 words will … continue reading at Stevie’s blog
This week’s edition of Writer’s Tips features some great info on creating book trailers, how to protect your blogs, writing tips, instructional on downloading fabulous fonts, Writers Beware, and knowing and breaking writing rules.
Fantastic How To on creating videos for our books with Canva
I was 6, walking home the 3/4 mile walk from school. We’d recently moved into a new 3 bedroom backsplit. Our house was situated on a cul-de-sac where new homes were still for sale, and some were still being built. In order to shorten the walk to and from school, I’d learned a new trick – cut through old and grumpy Mrs. Hankowitz’s backyard to shave off a 5-7 minute walk around 2 streets.
I discovered some neighborhood kids taking this short cut so I joined in, only I feared the old woman seeing me and yelling like a banshee to GET OFF her property. It seemed Mrs. H who lived with her already adult children didn’t appreciate children or just didn’t appreciate children stepping on her grass and using her backyard as a gateway and shortcut to public school.
This one day in particular, the weather was nasty and I ran most of the way home to get out of the wind and pouring rain. Dashing through the final stretch past Mrs. H’s backyard, I headed directly for my front door and stepped inside. I stood for a moment in the front hallway as a chill ran up my spine. Where was my mother and my younger siblings? WHERE DID ALL OF OUR FURNITURE GO? At first I was stunned by what I was seeing – or not seeing in my house. I quickly ran into the kitchen, only to discover our kitchen appliances were gone too. I sat down on the empty linoleum floor and began to cry my little heart out. I don’t know how much time passed while I sobbed, but I do remember thinking really hard as to where did my family and all of our furniture go, and why did they leave me behind? I cried and cried, wondering what had I done so bad that my family abandoned me, then I finally stood up and proceeded to dash up the few stairs to the bedrooms for a last search for my family.
I entered my parents’ master bedroom first. Again, I found no sight of anyone or any furniture, and noticed that even 2 walls were missing. All that stood was some wood framing. Once again I plopped myself on the dusty floorboards and began to cry. As my mind wandered to some very dark places and I rattled my brains trying to figure out where I should go for help, I heard a clanging noise. I followed the noise into the master bathroom ensuite and found what turned out to be a plumber, banging away on some pipes. He must have heard my crying over the clanging and stopped what he was doing.
“What’s the matter little girl?” asked the plumber. I managed to tell him, in between sobs, this was my house and everybody left me, adding, they even took all the furniture. The plumber smiled and told me that nobody was living in this house yet because it wasn’t finished. I was in the wrong house!
Wiping away my streaming tears I thanked him and darted back outside to have a look at where I was. I’d never realized the house next door to us was a replica of my house one driveway over, then I made a mad dash for my own front door.
The fear of the whole event had me crying all over again as I ran to my mother with a face laden in tears and I proceeded to tell her what happened to me while gasping for air in between my continuing sobs. I told her how I thought she took the family and moved away without me. She had a few chuckles and hugged me just for a moment, telling me she’d never leave me behind, she loved me.
I don’t know if she thought the incident warranted chuckling at, but looking back, I also don’t know why a mother with such strict rules about riding my bike off the cul-de-sac had no quams about letting her little girl walk herself to school and back alone at age 6.
I’m reblogging Sally Cronin’s Promotional Opportunity Alert for authors to get their books promoted with interview questions Sally is generously offering at her Smorgasbord Bookstore and Cafe. I’ve already jumped at this wonderful opportunity to be featured. What are you waiting for authors?
Welcome to the new Sunday Interview series, and this time, the focus is on the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.
At any time there are approximately 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore who have new releases or recent reviews. My focus for the rest of the year is going to be on those authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and on promoting new authors who would like to join them on the shelves.
If you are a new visitor to the blog and an author with recently published books or reviews then please pop in to the Cafe and find out how you can submit your books. It is completely FREE, and all I ask is your participation when your books are promoted. This includes responding to individual comments on your posts and sharing on your own social media.
I would like you to select five questions from the twenty I have prepared, and please use as many words as you need to answer the questions fully. It is an example of your writing and therefore should be considered as book marketing.