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Monthly Archives: January 2016


It’s Video Friday again. The day that I share a writing YouTube video that someone else designed..Today’s video Friday video relates to tips that improve your writing. Remember though, write your first draft AND then use this advice. You can’t edit what you haven’t written

So what was the best take away you got from this video? What do you already do? What will you include in your writing now that you have watched this video?

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 

 

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My friend Susan at my first book signing.

My friend Susan at my first book signing.

There’s a lot of talk online about online book marketing especially ebooks. For a number of years e-books have been in the spotlight a the main way to build a writer’s platform. The big problem with e-books is that they are often poorly written so that readers are leery of buying e-books because they do not always live up to the hype of the book description.

In 2015 there was a resurgence of the print book. This is true for me as well.  i found that as many people bought my print books especially when they saw me face to face as readily as they did my e-books. A print book seems to have more credibility than e-books for most readers especially when I presented my books to my intended live audience directly

The Bookstore Flop

Everyone has heard of book signings and having a book signing at a book store seems to be the model for every author who is trying to market their books. Whenever I saw an author online at a book store, people lined up out the door to get one of these author’s books. I personally have found that not only are book signings not profitable, I sent out press releases, I put out flyers, and I was even on the radio, but  the bookstores were a waste of my time and effort. No matter how much publicity I have had for the book signings that I have had, I have had virtually no sales at all book stores and especially at the  book store signings. And yet, I sell more physical books than e-books why is that?

Targeting Audiences beyond the Bookstore

Though I had resistance to book buyers at book stores, other stores offer me a far more lucrative opportunity. I found that locally owned  farm and garden stores are quick to not only display my gardening books, but they are quick to buy them at retail prices rather than making me put them on consignment like the bookstores do. This year, I plan on doing more of this type of activity. I need to start this soon because gardening season is rapidly approaching.

Participating As A Vendor at a Conference or Other Event

Books sell great at live events where there are numerous attendees who have a tendency to impulse buy. Usually at a live event, I give a discount to anyone who buys that day. (This price is above what I sell my books for wholesale, but below what they sell for retail.) I smile. I talk to people. I complement people’s children and pets. I answer questions. I give advice on writing or gardening. If anyone talks to me, even if they don’t buy a book that day, if that person will take one of my business cards, I feel that I have made at least some success. I remind people that even if they aren’t readers, they might have a reader (or gardener) on their gift giving list who would love reading one of my books.

This past weekend I spent at the Ozark Sustainable Living University.This event was created for preppers and other individuals interested in sustainability.. Speaker topics included Surviving Disaster on Nothing, Self Defense, Energy Self Reliance, Radio and Communications, Stocking your Medical Bag and GMOs and heirloom seeds.

My church was not only the host of one day of the annual event, but  since I am also the president of the Oregon County Writer’s Group, I allowed the writing group to hold a book sale at the event. Three of the books that I am personally selling are directly related to the subject matter of the event.

It is very important that our books relate to the conference that is being held. For instance, my historical novels are not likely to sell at a Star Trek Convention, but this series might sell during a historical event in Boston that relates to the Revolutionary War. At the same token, my gardening related books do far better at prepper conventions than they likely would at conventional agricultural shows primarily promoting the latest in farm machinery or chemical insect control.

Exploring Opportunities for Live Events

As I am writing this blog I am thinking about all of the possible events that I can participate in during the year.I intend to take a few moments right now and write down different types of events that would be conducive toward book sales. Also, I should be thinking of events such as the one last weekend where I could not only only sell books, but where i could also speak at the event.  I have talked to the writer’s group and we are discussing ways that not only can we get our books to live events, but that we can also work together toward making our writing even more successful than ever before. I hope to let you know in a future post more about how our writer’s group is working together and how successful this is for us. By pooling our resources and information, we will be able to attend more than one event during a weekend when various schedules collide as well as defer the costs of the events between more than one author.

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


God First Loved Us

cross

 

When was the last time you considered God’s love for you? In John 3:16 it says, “For God so Loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Verse 17 goes on to say, “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though him might be saved.”

Another place in the word it says that greater love has no man but to lay down his life for a friend. Another verse says that in Christ we are no longer servants but joint heirs with Jesus.

God Demonstrates His  Love for Us.

God wants us to have his love and he gives it freely. You can’t earn it, you just have to accept it.  In other words, We are sinful creatures. We don’t deserve God’s love, In Romans 3:23, it says that we all have sinned, but God gave his son as our substitute.  There are no big sins and little sins. All sins cost came with the same penalty and all cost the same, They all cost Jesus Christ his life. He has made the first move in giving his son for us. Our turn is next in that we need to accept his offering of love. He gives us love and if we are sincere and humble in receiving that love.

But I Don’t Deserve it, You Don’t Know What I have Done!

None of us deserve God’s love, but he has offered it to us as a gift. He loves all of us that much. In John 17, Jesus said that he prayed that we all would believe so that we all could be one with him and the Father. He doesn’t want you punished! He wants fellowship with you and me and everyone! Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now that’s love! All sin whether great or small came for the same price. The death of Jesus Christ.

Once We Accept his love, We Are Compelled  to Share It

How do we know when we have this gift of love? We know we have it when we are able to share that grace with other people. When we accept Christ, we receive his love and we realize its value and how much he values everyone around us, we have to share his love with others..

A few years ago a friend gave me an aloe vera plant and now I have ten such plants that I need to transplant and share with others. I could leave those plants in the same pot, but I know that by sharing those plants, I will have even more plants growing in that pot. Love is like those plants. If I don’t share that love, it will not thrive as it should and might even die. It is only through sharing that love will continue to grow. If I share it, it multiplies. When hard times come, the love that I have given to others will come back to me, just as if my aloe vera plant dies, I am certain that one of my friends would have a plant to share with me if I needed it.

We share his love by sharing it with others when we forgive them. We give them forgiveness, not because they deserve to be forgiven. We forgive because he has given us his love. Their forgiveness is not merited, but we give it because he first gave us the gift of his love.

Say You Love God? Have Compassion For Others

 I John 2:4-5 says

He that says he knows him (Christ) and keeps not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoso his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected, hereby we know we that we are in him”

What then is the commandment?

And that this is his commandment-that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another as he gave us commandment. And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him and he in him. And hereby we know that he abides in us, by teh Spirit which he has given us” I John 3:23 & 24

If we have God’s love in our hearts, we will share it because it is the nature of God’s love in us.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com


Working on new articles on a different site. The reason for the articles isn’t to make nichels and dimes as much as they are to show my expertise on specific subjects such as gardening, novel writing, and Christian beliefs.

Updating Hubpages

For a number of years I have had Hubpages. Recently i have been reworking these “hubs” as they are called and fixing any typos (very few to be found) and updating information. I worked on a number of hubs because they weren’t getting the traffic they need to “stay featured”, so I rewrote a number of them and improving their SEO. SEO doesn’t have the mystic that I used to think it had. Basically I use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find words that have more traffic, but little competition. Google has the system worked out where online articles will be docked if they have more keyword terms than they deem necessary. Using the keywords in titles and sub headlines and aa time or two in paragraphs is plenty.

No More Bubblews

Last year I had put a lot of time and effort into Bubblews and before the year ended, the site was shut down. No warning to the contributors, just one day I went to go on there and the site was taken down.

E-Zine

In addition to updating Hubpages, I have been adding articles to a site called E-Zine. Basically it is an advertising site that isn’t exactly an advertising site. It is more of a site for business people to show their expertise in specific areas and then in the end pitch themselves or their own products. (No affiliates please). Currently I am working on a number of articles that relate to my expertise  related to my nonfiction books. As it stands right now, to become the top expert in gardening, I need to write almost five hundred articles. Just 497 to go! translate that: (I wrote three so far.)The first ten articles are carefully scrutinized after that, I have more freedom in my writing. because these are picked up by various sites around the internet, learning SEO has been an essential component of my learning curve so far.

Doing More With My Website and Blog

Lately in my studies of online marketing, I have seen where some people are having great success with email marketing campaigns as they relate to their books. Last week I started working on my own e-mail marketing. I started by contacting a group of friends on Facebook and asking them if they would give me their address so that I could send them information regarding my books, my blog, and my online articles. In addition, I will be sharing various events that I will be attending or having. Most of the people that I have contacted so far are friends and relatives of mine that I have known for a long time. These are people that have developed a relationship with. me. I will be talking more about this as I develop this project.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


When someone on Facebook has a birthday, I make it a point to give each person a blessing. I give the same one to everyone, but just because everyone gets the same one, doesn not mean that each one isn’t heart felt. The blessing goes like this, “May the coming year bring you peace,prosperity, good health, and happiness.”

I came up with this greeting right after my sister died. I really loved here and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss the phone conversations that we used to have. Whenever I post that on someone’s birthday greeting it is as though she is right there with me blessing that person with that greeting. I feel as though I am honoring her memory when I do.

The first part of the blessing is that I pray that you have peace. Although the Bible speaks of “peace” as a fruit of the spirit rather than a gift of the spirit, it is a bi-product of the gift of love that God gives us.

May the peace of God richly bless you (Needs reference).

When we realize God’s love for us, we know that he wants the best for us. In this realization, we understand that he has our back so we have peace when we know him. It s is like a baby who knows that when he or she cries out, the baby’s mother will come running to comfort the child. This baby is secure in the knowledge that the baby’s mother will come. This baby is content and grows into a happy childhood. A baby that does not feel this security, that has had his or her mother not there when the child needed her is less likely to feel secure and will fuss a whole lot more. This is not to say that every child whose mother comforts the child will always feel security however. The mother may be there and yet for some reason the child does not feel that security. There is something else going on in that child’s life.. God is always there for us, but even though he is always there, we do not always feel it for some reason.It is only in the realization that we know we can trust him that we are confident in that peace.

If we do not recognize God’s role in our lives, we however cannot have any real peace. There is a peace that is deceptive. Like the peace of someone on a river but is getting ready to go over the falls. The only way we can obtain lasting peace is through our acceptance of Christ’s love gift on the cross.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


In my previous posts, I noted that some of the reasons that I am able to be a productive writer is that I have a specific place and time to write. In addition, I have a specific minimum length of time (and word count) that I write every day. My minimum words per minute is based on how many words I could write if I were writing using the search and peck method of typing right into the computer. This is about the same speed that I would also be able to write out the same information long hand as fast as I can.

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Focus on Writing First, the Edit

“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
― Raymond Chandler

If there was one lesson that I learned from my experience in NaNoWriMo was that writing whatever is in my head and getting it down on paper had to be done before I ever started editing. As I see it, I have two conflicting writer’s helpers in my head. One is the inspiring Muse and the other is the picky Editor. The muse is the playful child that likes to create new things. To illustrate the attribute these two conflicting aspects of the writer, we can use the ego states of the child and parent. The creative child needs to be allowed to play creatively. Otherwise, the child will lacks dimension and creativity. . Same goes for the muse. Allowing the muse to make a mess for the editor to clean up is a good thing because by doing so, your writing, or at least my writing has better flow. Once the muse has grown tired for the day or has at least been put down for her nap, the editor, like the parent that cleans the playroom, so the editor cleans the content that the creative muse has done. A writer may not want to wait until the end of an entire project like NaNoWriMo recommends, but waiting until the end of the writing session will prove to be much more productive for a writer just as waiting until a child is put down for the night is better than trying to clean the playroom while the child is still playing in it.

In NaNoWriMo, the writer is instructed not to edit at all during the whole month of November, but rather to go through every day just writing and without editing until after fifty thousand words are written. This may be an uncomfortable and impractical suggestion for many writers. There internal editor is just too determined to work. These writers would do better to work through their daily word quota and then allow their editors out to their magic and quit at the end of the day. If a writer can write for a while without a the internal editor’s interference, then this method might be effective for some writers.

Composing Directly on the Computer Screen

Back when I first started writing, I did most of my composing in long hand and  on paper, then transferred ti to the computer to edit it further. (Sounds almost like my Dad’s story of walking seven miles to school, up hill, both ways, doesn’t it?) This process took longer than it should have, so I decided that I would learn to type my thoughts directly onto the computer screen. Then I thought, what if I just composed directly onto the computer screen? Talk about a leap forward! Now I could type away and get my thoughts directly onto the computer where I could easily make changes and edits. This is so much easier to day than it was back when I first started. Not only can I do this directly onto my computer screen, but if I have new ideas that come to me when I am away from the computer, I can put the information into my phone or tablet and have an email sent to myself that I can pick up directly to my laptop where I can cut and paste and add it to my work in progress.

Learn to Type Faster and More Accurately

Another thing that i learned to do was to type faster and more accurately. I went from thinking about typing a single letter to where now I think in words as I am typing. There are a lot of programs online where individuals can hone their typing skills. One of them is Goodtyping. com http://www.goodtyping.com/test.php Even practicing one lesson every day, a writer could improve his or her typing abilities over time. Still using search and peck typing? Then its time that you learned to use five finger typing. Start with a free online program like Peter’s Online Typing Course .

Speak Your Writing

Rather than taking the time to learn to type, if you are a better speaker, you might want to speak your content into existence. You could speak into your computer and then transcribe into your computer, or  send it to someone else to transcribe for you. A free program that I have used is Audacity. 

With Audacity, you can not only record your voice for transcription purposes, but you could also use it to create and edit your audio version of your writing material.

Another program that I have used is Dictation, Naturally Speaking. With program you speak and your computer types it for you. Like with any program, there is a learning curve and it is not free. You also have to give the program grammatical instructions when to use a capital and when to include punctuation. Although I have used both audacity and Dictation Naturally Speaking, my own personal style is typing directly into the computer. I type fast enough so that I practically think into my fingers so the learning curve required for these programs and the added cost of transcription or paying for the program isn’t worth the effort to me personally. For others however, these programs are a God-sent.

By learning to separate my muse from my editor, composing directly on the computer screen, and learning to type faster and more accurately, I went from having written one book in twenty years of work to last year I wrote three. The faster I can produce good content, the more likely I am to make it as a full time author.

 

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Something new for Fridays-Video Fridays

Since I have moved my dates of when I am doing my blog posts, it gives me a long stretch of four days when I don’t have anything posted. I don’t however want to write another blog so I decided that I would put a video blog up of a video that someone else has done about the writing process or book marketing. This way, you will be hearing writing ideas from a different perspective. These perspectives may or may not reflect the views of this blogs author.

This week, our video will be about improving the writing process.

 

So What did you think? Comment below on what you think. What are your writing goals for this week? What is your biggest take away from this video?

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Now available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 

 

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