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Monday, January 26, 2015

ROLAND'S 8 SIMPLE RULES_Share Your Thoughts Blog Hop




Hosted by Jamie Ayres to celebrate the release of 18 Thoughts, the third installment in the "My So-Called Afterlife trilogy."

 Jamie says:

"Each person participating will post a thought (belief) that has defined their life, their way of thinking. Post up to 18 if you’re feeling adventurous and post any time between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28. I’ll pick 2-3 winners each day."



Upon reading about Jamie's bloghop on Alex's own fine blog:
http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-to-z-challenge-list-open-what-are.html

I decided to write about my own 8 Simple Rules -- not for reward --

Like my hero, Victor Standish, I run for the fun not the glory --

lucky for me, considering my dismal sales!!



Some years back, I read an article entitled "Rules That Warren Buffet Lives By."

 No, not the guy who sings "Margaritaville." 

Though I suspect Jimmy has more fun than Warren despite Warren being one of the wealthiest men in the world.

There was obvious merit to them. He didn't get the wealth he has by chasing the wind.


 But the phrase "lives by" bothered me. As King Solomon wrote: 

"Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter. The advantage to wisdom is that it also remains when all else is gone."

And in thinking about that quote, the time came to mind when my home had burned to the ground. 


My dog, my cat, my possessions 

{the most dear being the Bible my mother had given me with her thoughts, doubts, and funny one-liners scribbled in the margins} were gone. 

My savings had been wiped out by trying to pay my mother's medical bills from her fatal struggle with cancer 

so there had been no home insurance. 

My face and hands were badly burned from crawling back into my house in a vain effort to save my cat. 

I was living in the back of a massage school, courtesy of a good friend.

I remember sitting on the corner of the bed, after having talked to my best friend, Sandra Thrasher


She and I had our stores next to one another for years in the Mall. 

After she had moved out of the Mall, we remained close friends. She helped save my sanity in that black time. 

And another thing saved it: remembering something Viktor Frankl had learned in a Nazi concentration camp :

 

"Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
 

I also remembered reading in that day's newspaper that the TV show EIGHT SIMPLE RULES had just gone into pre-production. 

And it puzzled me what I would say were my EIGHT SIMPLE RULES to live by. 

I took out the only scrap of paper I had to my name, a Hallmark store envelope from the "Thank You" card I had bought for Sandra. 

I thought for a good bit, then I wrote them down.

I thought you might be interested in what they were. So here they are.
 

Roland's EIGHT SIMPLE RULES:

1) Since everyone is having a harder time than they appear, 


be as kind as you can to each person you meet. You'd feel really lousy if you had made a bad day worse for someone who had been through the wringer, wouldn't you?


2) When faced with two paths, the more uncomfortable one is usually the right one to take.  


And try not to hurry so down whatever path you take. If you're heading in the wrong direction, going faster won't get you where you want to go any sooner.

3) When faced with a major decision, take overnight to decide.  


If pressed by someone to make an immediate one, always say "No." If they don't want you to have time to think it over, guess to whose benefit that is?

4) No battle goes as planned. Especially the Battle called Life.  



Expect things to go wrong. That way if they go right, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

 Commit yourself to staying flexible. Bouncing is better than breaking. And as no battle goes as fast as you'd want, learn to be patient or you'll become one.

5) If you treat people as extensions of yourself, you will always be lonely, 


for you will become the way you look at life -- alone in the sandbox of life with unfeeling toys called people.

6) Don't get mad at the sun for being hot. 


People will always be true to their natures. It's not their fault you mistook their iron for steel. So don't get mad at the rust in the lives of others. 

Don't blame the rain for being wet. Just get an umbrella and get on with it already.

7) Always keep your walk in sync with your talk. 


Divorce your ways from from your words, and the alimony payments will be bitter indeed.

8) Always stand up to a bully. Always deny him what he demands. 


Yes, you will get beat up more times than you want. But physical bruises heal. Some emotional ones never do. 

If you let them, bullies steal that which is difficult to replace: self-respect, pride, affection for yourself {and in turn, for others - one stems from the other}, and inner peace.

*) What did Susan Sontag say? 


"I envy paranoids. They actually feel people are paying attention to them." 

Hope someone is paying attention to this list and gets some use out of it. If only to laugh.  

For Chrys Fey:


* Hurricane Crimes (short story)

* 30 Seconds (novella) NEW!

Read Six Pages Now - http://bit.ly/1yiFdqz

PSSS! CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? THERE'S A NEAT CONTEST TO SNARE AN AGENT'S EYE!







Marisa Cleveland is hosting a first page critique contest!
https://marisacleveland.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/promoted-so-contest/

Literary assistant Lane Heymont has been promoted to junior agent with The Seymour Agency! 




You can read his new profile here:
 http://www.theseymouragency.com/About-Us.html.

 The rules are simple.
– Polish your first page
– Enter the Rafflecopter contest




It’s that easy! But it’s also completely random.

Here are the details:

– At the end of the contest, Rafflecopter will randomly generate five winners
 

Marisa will email the five winners with congratulations and specific instructions on how to submit their first page to Lane
 

Lane will provide a detailed critique on that first page

including what caught his interest, if he’d like to read more, or why he would pass on offering representation.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  ENTER!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA IS FOR THE BIRDS!

[Graphic by Hallie Bateman]

Platforms that began as a way for regular people to write honest reviews and interact with fellow readers 

have slowly mutated into tidal waves of BUY ME! 

Yes, I know I am guilty with my requests for reviews but I actually write about other things ...

like helping my fellow strugglers in self-publishing not get the bruises I've gotten!


 Are you getting burned out by the 
SOCIAL MEDIA TREADMILL?


The problem however, is that simply showing up is rarely ever enough. 

And with so many things that need to get done, it’s easy to end up back on the treadmill—

doing enough to make being on social media worth your time 

but never enough to get the type of results you were hoping for when you got started.


Hope is not a marketing strategy.


Being the last tier in a pyramid scheme is poor positioning for success.

Anne Allen had a guest post by Google guru and SEO expert Johnny Base in a Google Plus tutorial.

The Cliff Notes Version:

1) Once you join, you want to turn off most of your "notifications" or your inbox will be glutted with them.

2) If you put a + in front of somebody's name on Google+, it works like an @ symbol on Twitter. Use it and the person will be notified that you're talking to him.

3) If you go to your profile page and click on the big "G+" it brings a dropdown menu with all sorts of great options, like "communities."


Ratatoskr, the Asgardian squirrel, and I read the whole article, and my nose started to bleed, 

and Ratatoskr's head threatened to explode!




The fact was that I was overwhelmed by what I call the social media treadmill. 

I just could no longer keep up with the forever changing social media trends

and I did not want the responsibility of managing yet another platform.


I was burned out.


There are literally hundreds of social media platforms.

  We are constantly bombarded with information and requests to be part of them. 

It makes us feel as though we will fail if we are not part of each and every platform.

 As a result, we end up joining every site available hoping to get our personal social brand “out there.” 


The reality is it will give you the 
exact opposite result.


When you look at it this way you will begin to understand:
  • There is no way that you will become the top contributor on all social media sites, there are simply too many to manage.

  • When a new social media site is introduced, if you are one of the first persons to join it, you will master it before others do.

  • There are some social media sites that unless you are the owner of Facebook, you will never be part of the VIP status on it. It is just the nature of the business.

  • If you spend your days focusing on keeping up with current trends instead of writing engrossing novels, how will you ever make a social site work for you?

Don't forget FEB. 1st!!

Please Pre-Order
RETURN OF THE LAST SHAMAN

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S7HOCVG

And on Feb. 2nd!!

Catch my guest-post 
about the Lakota Way of the Warrior

on Lara Schiffbaur's 
MOTIVATION FOR CREATION
 http://motivationforcreation.blogspot.com/

Ratatoskr wants you to see where he 
and Hibbs the cub with no clue
spends their days:


Saturday, January 24, 2015

I miss THE BLACKLIST









Move over Hannibal Lector ...

    There is a new criminal mastermind to rival your genius and wit: 

Raymond Reddington.

 Home on Deranged - Chasing Rabbits: Why must you play with my TV shows like that?


The opening, for example, is straight out of Seven,”

with James Spader’s one-time government agent turned master criminal, Raymond “Red” Reddington,

walking into FBI headquarters, dropping to his knees as officers surround him and giving himself up to authorities.

“For the moment, our interests are aligned,” 

he tells the skeptical feds, headed by Harry Lennix,

before insisting that an obscure young female agent serve as his conduit and chief contact, for reasons he won’t divulge.

“I’m gonna make you famous, Lizzie,” 

he tells  newbie Agent Liz Keen.



QUOTES

Elizabeth Keen: You have a suburban housewife printing fake money out of her garage. 

Raymond 'Red' Reddington: Mary is an artist. She has a tremendous gift.

***
Raymond 'Red' Reddington

I finally had a chance to see her, Sam. There's a fire inside she got from you. She's volatile, unpredictable, soft, and hard, and... soft again. Stronger than she knows. You gave her an incredible gift, Sam. Taking her in and loving her as your own.

Sam
They've given me six weeks. For what? So I can lay here and watch them take me apart. I wish they'd said six hours. And I told them, I said, "You can get rid of those damn machines. Go monitor somebody who's actually got vital signs." I need to tell Lizzy.

Raymond 'Red' Reddington: No

Sam: I know what we agreed, but before I go I have to tell her.

Raymond 'Red' Reddington: I can't let you do that.

Sam: She deserves the truth

(And then, Reddington smothers his friend, Sam, with his pillow.)

 Raymond 'Red' Reddington
You will always be her father, Sam. I can only hope to... love her and protect her as you have.

***

(Outside the hospital on a bench with Liz's husband, who is not what he appears to be either.)

Raymond 'Red' Reddington
It's hard to... not say goodbye. I have lost so many people. Never seems to get any easier.

Tom Keen
I don't know what I'm gonna say... to my wife. I've been sitting here for I don't know how long, trying to... figure out how to tell her. My wife and her dad, they had something... He took her in when she was four-years-old. Adopted her. And raised her as a single parent. She's gonna be heartbroken.

Raymond 'Red' Reddington:
 Yes. It'll undoubtedly take some time. But I'm sure she'll be fine. He'll always be there with her. Standing in the shadows to keep her safe. Laughing with her in the light. Watching through her eyes, all those who get close. He'll always be there. She will be fine.

Tom Keen
I hope you're right.

Raymond 'Red' Reddington: I know I am.

***

Do you watch THE BLACKLIST?  
If not, then it is time, you did.  :-)


Friday, January 23, 2015

AMAZON IS AGNOSTIC_ This Just In!


THIS JUST IN!


Greg Spence:
 http://paper.li/marketingcoachg/1372495060#!headlines

has included this article in his newsletter: ONLINE BOOK MARKETING!




AMAZON IS AGNOSTIC



It is touted by “experts” that authors need Social Media.


Most of those “experts” make a nice bit of change from desperate writers who buy their books and attend their seminars.


The only things we need are to breathe, eat, and sleep – the rest is negotiable.


WHAT AUTHORS TRULY NEED IS 
A VERY SPECIAL WORD OF MOUTH.


We authors have to break out of the Author Blog Ghetto to reach the larger world of READERS who wander the internet. 


Otherwise, we are just singing to the choir.


Did you know that the publishers of those books you see face-out on a bookstore’s front table paid a sizable fee to the store for that spot?


It is known as “Co-Op.”


Amazon is slightly different.  Sure, it has its own blackmail form of “co-op,” but that is a topic for another post.


Amazon’s basic philosophy is simple: they want you to buy a book you like from them – then, you will keep coming back.


Amazon will always try to show its regular customers the book they are most likely to buy.


In essence, Amazon is agnostic. 



It doesn’t care if that bought book is published by you or Random House.  It doesn’t care if the book costs .99 or $14.99.


IT JUST WANTS TO SELL.



Amazon will show you the book its algorithmic system, based on your browsing and buying habits.


That’s where their “Also Bought” line of books is decided upon.


Those personalized Amazon emails come from that system as well.


Amazon’s recommendation engine is eerily accurate and is considered by cyber experts to be the best in the e-commerce world.


Amazon is honing in on customers with every browse and purchase they make.


Amazon’s digital “front table” is open to everyone … with a catch.


We self-publishers get only TWO categories to choose.   

The traditional publishers get FIVE.  OUCH!


BUT OUR STRENGTH IS THE TRADITIONAL PUBLISHERS’ WEAKNESS:


They don’t always use those five categories well.


We have only two and we must use them wisely.

  
So opt for two DISTINCT  categories to maximize your visibility to those ALSO BOUGHT line of suggested titles.




Have a Techno-thriller?


You only need a Sales Rank of 26,000 to hit the Best Seller list (or about 5 sales a day!)


But that category is not selectable from the KDP interface unless …

    
You think outside the box (or interface in this case.)


Select “Non-Classifiable” for one of your categories 

and email KDP through the dashboard with the FULL PATH of the CATEGORY you wish.


EXAMPLE:



Kindle Store>Kindle ebook>Literature & Fiction>Genre Fiction>Mystery & Thrillers>Technothriller


It usually takes a couple of days. 

 So if you have a book in a specific genre you cannot find in the KDP interface, try this.


It can’t hurt to try, and it may help … a lot.

Do any of you like audio books? Want to give one a try?

Jeff Chapman has promo codes from Audible that will get you a free copy of Last Request. Use the contact form if you're interested.