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Monthly Archives: May 2017


Spring Cleaning My Website

 

Monday, May twenty-second was the last day of school for my daughter and I have just another seven days left at the school before my school year is over as well.

Time sure is flying by  I have three books coming out in the next three months so I figured that it was time to give my website a facelift.

Therefore, I am now taking the time to reflect what I want to accomplish in my writing business. I have been looking at ways to increase the effectiveness of my book marketing online and have decided to start by cleaning out my website.

Even though anyone can click on the home tab on the navigation pane to go back to the homepage, the first thing I did to upgrade my website was to add a return to the home page on every subsequent page on the website. I put a connection at the top of the page and at the bottom of the page, making it super easy for anyone to navigate the website to look around at any of the pages.

 

Spruced up the Home Page

 

Next, I cleaned out the home page of the website. I have started to realize that the home page of my website is like the reception area of a large corporation. Imagine for a moment how a corporation with files and supplies littering the lobby would be perceived. It wouldn’t be considered a professional establishment, would it? Well, neither is a website cluttered with text. To clean it up I took most of the text portion of the webpage and moved it behind the navigation tabs and onto other pages.

I wish I could show you what mine looked like before I cleaned it up. Take my word for it, it looks much better now. In addition to moving most of the content onto other pages, I put the photos of all of my books onto slide shows and put links to the descriptions on other pages. Just click on a book and there’s the description.  Again, I wish I had a before photo to show you, but take a look at what it looks like now. Click here.

 

Made Book Pages More Uniform

 

After I got the home page spring cleaned, I moved onto the subsequent book pages. Before, I had designed each of the pages at different times and used different design structures. They needed to be set up in a more uniform manner and gave them all a facelift and formatted them the same.

What I am currently working on is that I am turning the book descriptions into slideshows so that the pages had movement. It isn’t video, and I may upgrade to that at a future date, but it’s a start and should the overall performance of the site.

 

What’s Left?–Beyond This Clean Up-How I Plan to Keep a Website Updated

 

No website is ever completely done. Every website should be updated from time to time. In order to make certain that I make changes on the website from time to time, I plan to do a few things that will guarantee continuous tweaks and additions. .

 

One of the ways that I intend to make continual changes on my website is that I intend to add a lead-in to each of my weekly blog posts. This is where I will write a short tie in to my blog and then add a link to the full post on my blog site.

 

In addition, besides adding weekly blog posts, the possibility that I will eventually replace the slide shows with video, there are other things that I will do to further improve the website. In the not too distant future, I need to create a signup meme for the newsletter and have the newsletter meme on every page of the website.

 

In addition, I am going to further develop the media kit by adding future press releases for In the Shadow of the Mill Pond which was just released as well as my next books Living Today, the Power of Now and Write a Book to Ignite your Business.

 

Scheduled Time to Review Website Again

In addition to making planned additions to the website, I will need to make additional reviews of the website in the future to make certain that the website doesn’t get cluttered. The important thing that I have learned about keeping up with all of this, especially if I want to do it right, is to schedule time to make it all happen. I intend to make this happen again in three months in the week of August 20-26.

 

Your Turn

 

How about you? Do you have a website? Have you made navigation around your site easy? Does your home page look like a lobby or a warehouse? Are your other pages uniform? Do you have a media kit so that others can know more about you and your books and most importantly how to contact you? Are you adding elements beyond photos and text to make your website more interesting? Do you schedule maintenance time to update your website? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.

 

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The Title is:

Living Today, The Power of Now

This is the Description of this book:

What if you only had one day to live? The truth is, you only have one day to live and that day is today.

Today, and only today, you have the power of now, and it is strongest when you know that you are on the right path.

From Living Today, the Power of Now, discover how to:

  • To Focus awareness on the present moment.
  • Tips for obtaining fire starting focus
  • How to change bad habits to good habits
  • Create a Time and a Place to dream
  • Take Worry Out of Your Life
  • Learn How to Build on Past Experiences
  • How to Overcome Fear
  • How to Let Go of Regret
  • The value of forgiving yourself and others
  • And much more

Now Please Help Pick Out the Right Cover!

Cover A

 

Cover B

Cover C

Cover D

Cover E

Cover F

Would You Like to Win An Autographed Copy?

If I can get more than ten people to vote, I wil put the names of the voters into a hat and choose one to receive an autographed copy! Will you be that person?

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Who hasn’t heard the knock-knock joke about the interrupting cow?

Me: Knock, knock

You: Who’s there?

Me: Interrupting Cow.

You: Interrup. . .

Me: Moo.

That, of course, is a joke, but we’ve all had interrupting cows, often every day. Interrupting cows come in many forms.

Distractions

One form of interrupting cow that we have is distractions. We can be working on a project when our phones, online games, the telephone, texts, social media, our families or our pets demand our attention and interrupts our flow of thought. One seemingly minor distraction can cause us to lose twenty minutes or more in productive time. Major distractions like internet games can distract us for hours.

Often the best we can do with these types of distractions is to try to avoid them at all costs. To avoid distractions from our phones is not to have them on while we are working.

To avoid being interrupted by those around us, we also need to plan try to avoid this type of distraction as well. For instance, we can get up early so we can work before our family demands our attention. We might instead stay up late for the same reason. We might simply find times to work when we know that we won’t be distracted like when family members are out of town or simply taking a nap. We might also choose to shut ourselves off in a room with instructions to those around us to avoid interrupting us except for emergencies.

I have a love-hate relationship with the solitary game called Freecell. I can go mind dead for hours playing Freecell. I made a vow to myself that I would not play Freecell this entire week. If all goes well, I will do the same next week. Not that there is anything wrong with playing games in general. Just that when I am supposed to be working, I shouldn’t be playing Freecell.

Another Type of Interrupting Cow

The other day I experienced another type of interrupting cow. This time I was working on my book Write a Book to Ignite Your Business, The Why-to and the How-to. I had been working on it for about an hour and had gotten to the point in my book where I was talking about sitting down and doing the actual writing when I had this idea of calling flashes of inspiration “interrupting cows”.

There are two things that I don’t want to do with this type of interrupting cow. The first is that I don’t want to ignore this flash of inspiration. I learned a number of years ago that great ideas are easily forgotten, therefore, if I didn’t write it down, I would forget what I thought in that moment of brilliance.

I didn’t want to do the opposite either and to allow it to take all my time from my work.

I can’t avoid this type of interrupting cow, nor do I think that I want to avoid it. Instead, as quickly as I can, I write down just enough about this flash of inspiration so that I can save it well enough to remember it later when I went back to it. That’s exactly what I did with the interrupting cow that became this blog post. It is also a section in the book that I was writing when the interruption came. As you can see, sometimes interrupting cows are not so annoying. Sometimes they actually serve a purpose.

 

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 Can you believe that Book V is finally out?

 

The long-awaited next volume of the  Locket Saga, Book V of the Locket Saga: In the Shadow of the Mill Pond is now available in print and on Kindle.

Thank you, everyone, who helped make this book possible!

ifteen-year-old Lacey Mayford has been infatuated with Matthew since she was a little girl. Matthew, a half-breed Indian, doesn’t see her as anything more than a little girl cousin. How can she convince him that she is growing into a beautiful young woman he should consider?

In the frontier town near the turn of the century, Matthew Thorton is blamed for Luther Hannibal’s murder after an altercation with Luther over stolen furs. Lacey defends Matthew with the help of a teacher, Felix Grackle. They look into other suspects who could have killed Luther Hannibal. Matthew’s father Luke and his best friend Jacque Pierre are looking for the person responsible for stealing the furs. They believe the thief might have something to do with Luther Hannibal’s murder.

Will Lacey be able to clear Matthew’s name? Will Luke and Jacque Pierre find the man who stole the furs? Will the vigilantes stop the Whiskey Rebellion without bloodshed? The truth is far more sinister than anyone could imagine.

AVAILABLE ON KINDLE

AVAILABLE IN PRINT

 

Haven’t Read the Rest of the series? Get the whole series on Your Kindle Today for one low price!

If you have read them, would you be kind enough to write a good review on Amazon?


 

This is a photo of a shoe last. To make shoes, a pair of these have to be made first and then the shoe is formed around it.

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I am getting ready to put out another nonfiction book called Living Today, The Power of Now. Currently the book is in the editing process and should be ready in a few weeks. I have also been working on a book about how to write a book for business called Write a Book to Ignite Your Business, A Why-To and How-To Guide. It will include a lot of the methods in book writing that I have learned over the years. Here’s a few of the things I learned works well for me as I am getting started writing nonfiction books

Putting a Fence around Content–Making the Last First

The second most important thing that I learned about writing better and faster was to outline my book before doing much of the work in writing it. .

When I was growing up, Dad used to have a saying which was “when you make shoes, you have to make the last first.” He said something about it being the wooden part of the shoe that was the basis of the shoes. I still didn’t understand what he meant until I actually saw a shoe last. The shoe last is the wooden form that you stretch the leather around to form the shoe. Having a last makes making shoes a lot easier. Without a last, your shoes are nothing more than moccasins because they won’t have that shoe like shape. The same goes for writing a book. Having a structure within the book helps a person write a book better and faster.

Putting a Fence around Content-Know–Your Book’s Conclusion

One of the most important things that I have learned about how to write better and faster is to begin with the end in mind. This reminds me of a story that I heard a number of years ago about an elementary school in New York City where for a number of years, the school didn’t have a fence around the school yard. In the book, the children would hang close to the entrance to the building and didn’t spend any time on the school equipment.

Finally, the school board agreed to put up a fence. An amazing thing happened. The children no longer hung out around the entrance, but played in every corner of the building up to the edge of the fence. When they had boundaries, they felt they had more freedom to play rather than less.

When I write my books, I like to know the end of the book soon after I start. I have learned that when I know the end of the book early on, I feel as though I have more freedom to write. If I don’t know the ending, I ramble in generalities. However, if I know how my book is going to end, I write more from the heart. I know where I am going with my book. In this case, I am less likely to go down rabbit holes.

Start Your Book’s Description Earlier Rather than Later

It used to be that when I wrote a book’s description, I would write it AFTER I wrote the book. Now I start writing it BEFORE I begin writing the book. As I write the book, I go back and edit the book’s description until I have exactly what I feel works best to hook the reader into reading that book. I write the description first by coordinating it with my book’s outline. Then as I write the book, I continue to edit and upgrade the description to make it more interesting. I do my best to hook the reader into reading the book. I do SEO research and find the best words to include in the description to make it search engine friendly. As I move into the editing stage of writing my book, I begin editing the description as well. By the time my book returns from “extra eyes editing”, I no longer frantically try to figure out what to include in the blurb on the back of the book. Instead, I have a well written description that does all the work that a description is supposed to do. The description is a short synopsis that doesn’t give away too much information that hooks the reader and supplies the right words that people use to find the book’s information from search engines.

Create Your Book’s Title

Another thing you should determine before writing my first draft is to determine a working title for my book. A number of ways exist for writing a book title. One thing that helped me decide what title to give my literary baby is to give it a name as see how well it fits. I know that my book’s title is important because it is my first tool for hooking the reader into reading my book. A good strategy for figuring out how to name a book is to go to Amazon and examine the titles of the current best sellers in that category. One technique that I sometimes use is to use is to use a catchy, even trendy title as the main title and then tell what the book will do for the reader. For instance, in my newest book, Write a Book to Ignite Your Business, A Why-to, How-to Guide, the book’s main title and subtitle work together to create a title that hooks the reader by telling it what the book will do for them. The title provides information about the book will teach the reader, without sounding boring. Boring titles often a a sign of boring books, at least that is what readers often think.

Begin Your Book with the End in Mind

Just as a shoemaker should make the last first, for lasting success, you as an author need to determine your book’s end audience from the beginning of the writing process. Start your book by knowing how your book will end, knowing what your book is about, having at least a rudimentary outline, designing a good book description and creating good working title not only make writing your book easier to write, doing all of these things also make it easier to sell copies of the book when it is finally done.

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