Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Fifty States of Pray and IWSG - How to Stay in Writing Mode During the Holidays

For the holidays, I am joining in Mark Koopman’s Fifty States of Pray.
I also posted Monday at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site - How to Stay in Writing Mode During the Holidays.

I wanted to share the lyrics to a beautiful song called Bless Us All from my favorite Christmas movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol. We watch the movie every Christmas Eve and every year, we end up crying over fuzzy felt.

Life is full of sweet surprises
Everyday's a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam
Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love each other
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams we ask You
Bless us all

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Cats!

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I'd bring back some Christmas cat favorites, including a couple of Spunky. Enjoy!

I will be back on Monday at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group site and then here on Tuesday for Mark Koopman’s Fifty States of Pray.

And of course, Spunky the cat is here for the holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Are Discounted and Free Books Still Effective?

There was an interesting article at The Digital Reader this weekend - “Are Deep Discount Sales Blasts Like Bookbub’s Still Effective Sales Tools?”

Several points were raised in the article and I thought of a few more:

  • Is the glut of free and 99c working against itself? Are there so many discounted books that they just aren’t drawing attention anymore? 
  • Are buyers merely hoarding without reading?
  • With more large, traditional publishers discounting, will that hurt self-published authors?
  • It still works well for some authors - what is the deciding factor?
  • It encourages buying without reading and little reader to author connection, which is vital in developing fans. Is it then just a short term solution and one that may not really work?

I’ve never been a fan of KDP Select and those days of giving away one’s book, although it was more because of the exclusitivity that’s required. I’ve already read several articles this past year that stated the free aspect was not as effective as it once was due to the amount of authors using it. With sites like Bookbub, you are also paying hundreds more to promote your free or discounted books.

How would you answer those questions?

Last Friday I participated in Milo James Fowler’s ‘Tis More Blessed book giveaway event. And the winner of a copy of The Circle of Friends, Book V...Heather is...

Helena at Becoming Layla

Congrats, Helena!

Friday, December 13, 2013

‘Tis More Blessed Giveaway and Tornado Warning Book Trailer Debut

Today I am participating in Milo James Fowler’s ‘Tis More Blessed giveaway event. Dozens of authors are participating today - see the full list below.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of my NA/YA book, The Circle of Friends, Book V...Heather.

When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball and Heather’s ready to focus on her duties. Sadly, her triumph is hampered as her father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience. Her life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

“Heather deals with real life and real situations.” 5 Stars - Teens Read Too

“Wolfe has created amazing characters with believable attributes and flaws… a true gem.” - Donna M. McDine, Write What Inspires You Book Reviews

“I am haunted by these characters… This is the power of Wolfe’s writing.” - The Book Pedler

Comment to win! Open to everyone - USA receives print copy, International ebook.

Visit others giving away books today:

I’m also helping to debut a book trailer for fellow DLP author, Tamara Hart Heiner. Tornado Warning will be released on May 6, 2014.

Monday, December 09, 2013

A Quarter of all Amazon Ebooks Sold Now Are KDP Books

There was an interesting article on The Guardian’s site last week, and it touched upon several interesting things regarding the publishing industry.

Amazon announced that a fourth of all eBooks sold were by independent publishers. The term independent covers any publisher or self-publisher who has used Kindle Direct publishing to publish ebooks. Writer.ly Tweeted a picture of the top 100 on Wednesday with a quarter of the books highlighted - all published via KDP.

This is good news for small publishers and self-publishers. It represents a leveling of the playing field and sales driven by consumers rather than advertising and bookstore placement. While the percentage probably isn’t as high for Barnes and Noble and other ebook retailers, the change is occurring there, too.

Many traditional publishers are annoyed that Amazon lists KDP titles alongside traditional and large-publisher titles, though. They want Amazon to list those separately. In the past, the big publishers have used their marketing dollar to sway Amazon. Now it looks like that power is finally shifting to the smaller publishers and self-publishers as their books sell more and more titles.

Where do you fall in that equation? Are you benefitting? Any predictions what the big boy publishers will do to regain some of what they are losing in sales and visibility - and can they?

On a side note, this paragraph in the article caught my attention:

“CreateSpace topped the league of self-published print book producers in the US, registering 131,460 ISBNs in 2012, an increase of 123% on the previous year, and of 3,300% compared to 2007, according to figures from US ISBN agency Bowker.”

Note that CreateSpace registered those ISBNs with Bowker - meaning they were the ones to purchase the ISBNs and are listed as the publisher. ISBNs cannot be sold or transferred, so the authors who purchased an ISBN from CreateSpace are actually “renting” the number and are NOT listed as the publisher in the Books in Print database or with Bowker. If you use CreateSpace to print and distribute your book, be sure to purchase your own ISBNs from Bowker if you want to be listed as the publisher.

Be sure to check out the contest we are holding at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today Im also the featured Wednesday Writer at The Writing Nut.

After almost a month’s break from the Internet, I am finding it a challenge to crank up the engine again. While we might never forget how to ride a bicycle, getting back into social media is more about rebuilding momentum than remembering a skill. Anyone who’s pushed the boulder uphill knows what happens when you stop pushing. The boulder starts rolling backwards and takes you back down to the bottom again.

So here I am, trying to push that boulder back up the hill again. Trying to get back in the habit of writing blog posts and using Twitter. Planning ways to get the word out about my books and my services. Contemplating the next thing I should write. I know what I need to do. Mostly it’s finding a place and a way to do it.

If any of my blogging and writing friends know of an opportunity or two, I would sure be thankful!

Be nice to get the boulder over the hill and let it roll. But I might fall off at that point or get run over.

Be sure to check in with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website today for a contest announcement.

The next posting for the group will be on January 8 due to New Year’s Day being on the first Wednesday.

Find us on Facebook, too!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Adobe Creative Cloud, Freebie Fridays, Dragon Award

Welcome to December! My month-long hiatus is over and I am back, refreshed and ready to go. I’m sure I missed a lot, so I will be making the rounds and catching up on everyone.

Everything seems to be going to “The Cloud” these days. Your music, photos, movies - even data - stored there. I’m old fashioned and prefer physical or downloadable copies, and I’m leery of any Cloud storage unit. However, the Cloud does provide some really innovative changes and advancements in technology. One of those is the Adobe Creative Cloud.

What is Adobe Creative Cloud?

In the past, you purchased Adobe software and physically installed it on your computer. Now you can pay a monthly fee to access their products in the Cloud - and more:

“You'll always have access to the very latest Adobe desktop apps, including Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and more. Simply download the latest updates when you're ready.
“Your entire creative world is synced and organized for you across multiple devices. It’s now integrated with Behance, bringing your work and your creative community together for the first time. Find inspiration fast. Post work in progress right from Photoshop to get feedback from other creatives around the world.
“You can build and publish websites, mobile sites, iPad apps, and other content for any medium or device.
“You'll have access to every Adobe creative tool and service, along with a growing library of video tutorials to help you explore new tools and ramp up fast.
“There is also Creative Cloud for teams. Add or reassign seats in minutes. Give everyone the latest versions of the same tools. Never worry about compatibility. And seamlessly share files from any device with 100GB of cloud storage.”

Annual plan is $49.99 a month for access to all of their programs and apps. The individual program is $19.99. (20GB of cloud storage.)

One of the biggest advantages is in the upgrades. Their software updates every 12-18 months. Rather than paying hundreds for the upgrade, you simply download it for free. It’s all part of your monthly plan. If you’re looking at a program that is $300 and upgrades every year, the Creative Cloud single program plan will cost less than $240 during that same year.

If you are an Adobe program user, check out Adobe Creative Cloud!

Has anyone else signed up for Creative Cloud?

I was also honored by Father Dragon Al with the Golden Scale Award. He is a wise old dragon and I’m thankful he thought of me during his one year celebration.

Milo James Fowler is continuing his Friday freebies with Tis More Blessed.
I will be offering several books in a giveaway on December 13. Thank you for this giveaway opportunity, Milo!

See you Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post.