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October 30, 2017

My Research Uncovers Story

During the past several weeks I have been researching for the first draft of the next book that I am writing which I will be writing during November 2017 in NaNoWriMo. This book is about Andrew Mayford, the son of Jonathan Mayford, Lacey’s younger brother. During this past week, I found a legend that I had never heard before about how the Welch Prince, Madoc came to America in 1170, over three hundred years before Columbus founded the West Indies.

The Welch Account

Madoc sailed west from Wales in 1170, allegedly becoming one of the first Europeans to reach the Americas. At the death of Madoc’s father, Prince Owen Gwynedd of Wales, saw his brothers struggling over the throne. He desired no part in the conflict, so Madoc sailed west across the ocean with a small fleet of ships. Sometime later he returned to Wales, telling of an unknown country, pleasant and fertile. Convincing some of his countrymen to accompany him, he set sail again and never returned. This is the story as it presents itself in Wales.

The American Account

The story does not end here, however. With the colonization of the Americas, the legend of Madoc was renewed. It became common belief among the early settlers that Madoc’s explorers had intermarried with local Indian tribes. Their descendants were said to still reside somewhere in the country. Stories emerged among the colonists detailing encounters with the Welsh-speaking descendants of Madoc. According to historian Reuben T. Durrett, the Madoc tale was especially popular among the early settlers of Kentucky and was often told on long winter nights.

 

The Falls of the Ohio area became connected with the Madoc mythology. A story related to early settlers by local Indians meshed with the Madoc legend. A tribe of “White Indians,” remarkable for their light hair and blue eyes, was said to have resided in the falls area at one time. However, hostilities broke out between the “White Indians” and another neighboring Indian group. A final battle between the two tribes occurred on Sand Island at the Falls of the Ohio where the “White Indians” were massacred. Contemporaries to this account soon connected the story of this “White Indian” tribe with the Madoc legend, believing they had found the descendants of the Welsh voyagers.

Further Discoveries

Further discoveries seemed to confirm this conclusion. A large burial ground was found on the North side of the Ohio, opposite the Falls, with the haphazard arrangement of the skeletons indicating they may have been the remains of the “White Indians” who were massacred. Earthen fortifications discovered at Devil’s Backbone were also believed to be the work of the “Welsh Indians”. Most intriguingly, an account circulated of six skeletons found near Jeffersonville, Indiana in 1799. Each skeleton was said to have been encased in a brass breast plate emblazoned with the Welsh coat of arms. Where  this armor is now unknown, if indeed, it ever existed at all.

True or Not, A Wonderful Story

Perhaps the story struck a chord with a group of people who were inhabiting a new country—a people who were delighted to find something familiar in a strange land. Perhaps the story also served as an explanation for evidence of advanced civilization among the Indian societies of the Americas—evidence that did not mesh with the prevailing view of the Indian as barbaric and uncivilized.

Whether this story is true or not, I think that the Madoc legend is a good story that was included as one of the main forms of entertainment at the time. The Madoc legend is a compelling story with an element of mystery. Like the tale of the lost colony of Roanoke and Viking civilizations, the ending is unknown. One can only imagine what might have happened to Madoc and those who sailed with him and incorporate them into this or her own stories. This is exactly what I intend to do.

 

 

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Write a Book and Ignite Your Business

October 23, 2017

Are you a business owner looking for surefire way to get the edge over your competition? Thanks to social media, the advertising world is changing. People can connect with you and your products like never before. They want to see the face behind the product. In addition, people want to know what is in it for them. They don’t care about the features so much as they want to know how what you do will benefit them. Writing a Book related to your business opens doors like nothing else can.

 

Writing a book can help you:

  1. Offer more than just your business card to your high end clients
  2. Demonstrate to your clients that you are an expert in your industry
  3. Go places you would never have dreamed of going
  4. Provide numerous chances for free publicity and even publicity that pays you!
  5. Find the ultimate marketing tool!

 

No longer is it necessary to send your book out to a traditional publisher to publish your books. You don’t have to depend on vanity presses either. Today, it is possible to publish using a system called self-publishing where you do the work of writing your book then prepare it for publication, have copies printed using print on demand technology, then market the book yourself. This book not only tells you why you should write a book to ignite your business, but it gives you a step-by-step guide that shows you how to go through the self-publishing process from an author who has been through the process numerous times.

 

This is the tenth self-published book by Cygnet Brown. She is the author of the historical romantic fiction series depicting the trials of an early American family: The Locket Saga. She has also written several nonfiction books which include: Simply Vegetable Gardening, Help from Kelp, Living Today, and Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard.

 

Get your print copy today.

 

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Recently I read a story about a young realtor who wrote a book about “What every ‘for sale by owner’ homeowner needs to know to sell their house”.  He self-published that book. He gave instructions on step by step instructions of everything that an owner needs to know to complete the sales process on their own. He then would go around town looking for “for sale by owner” properties and knock at the door, introduce himself and give them one of the books. Although he eventually sold a number of books, his goal wasn’t to sell books but to promote his expertise as someone who knew how to sell a house. Many of the homeowners, who he gave his books to, did actually use the book to sell their own homes. When their friends wanted to sell their own homes, but didn’t want to sell it themselves, the homeowners who had the book knew that of a realtor who knew his stuff and recommended the one who came to their door and gave them the book.

Others, however, after reading the book many homeowners realized that they couldn’t go through the red tape needed to sell their house so they knew that the realtor who gave them the book with no strings attached was their realtor of choice. This realtor ended up with more business than he could handle himself.  If you own a business that you would like to grow, having a book out that is related to that business may be the marketing tool that can also put you over the top.

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing for Business Owners

At first, a business owner might think that their best bet might be to go with a traditional publisher, but there are advantages in self-publishing. Self-publishing has its benefits: more control, more agility and speed than traditional publishing. You can focus on writing and publishing, instead of waiting around to hear if somebody wants to publish you.

But it also has its risks: you need to have a well-designed book, a nice looking website, and you need to set up a marketing funnel, but if you’re already in business online, you’ve already got a start. You also have some idea who your readers are and how to reach them. Luckily, it’s never been easier, so if you’re willing to learn and spend some money, you can give your book every chance at success. That said, the average author spends $2000 to $5000 to publish their books, and few authors earn any money. (Books get cheaper to publish the more you learn. Publishing doesn’t cost me anything, because I format, edit and design myself… but I am also in the author business). Less than 10% of independent authors sell more than 1000 copies in the lifetime of the book.

You can spend much less if you want to, but it’s hard to get quality work done on the cheap. However, it’s also possible to have a smash hit with a mediocre cover. A lot of that depends on how you intend to use that book to market your business.

What Book is in You?

Now that you know that self-publishing is an option for your book, it’s time to start thinking about what book topic would best serve you and your business. What do you wish your customers understood about what you do? Pay attention to the questions that your customers ask you. Those questions could be the keys to the subject of your book. More about this later. For now, just think about what your book’s subject.

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October 9, 2017

Is Your Year on Track?

I am certainly trying to keep mine on track! Can you believe that three-fourths of the year has already passed? Have you done three-fourths of everything that you wanted to get done this year or are you behind? As far as my writing schedule goes, I am still on track for getting what I intend to finish by the end of this year. However, regarding my business and book marketing, I am not where I want to be right now. I have improved since the beginning of the year on almost every level.

Now here it is already the second week in October. This week I start a new part-time job. In addition to substitute teaching, I am part of an afterschool tutoring program for elementary children. I could put my writing goals aside to spend all my time into teaching, but I am not going to do that. Instead I am going to see how much I actually can get done in the time I have left.

Gearing up

In November NaNoWriMo starts again. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month. It is a month long event that occurs every year where storytellers write down the first fifty-thousand word first draft of their first or next novel in just thirty days. This year will be my ninth year and I intend to win again. (Everyone is a winner who writes the 50K)  If you too have ever thought of writing a novel, participating in NaNoWriMo is a fantastic way to make amazing progress in a single month by finishing the first draft.

Start the Pre-writing Process Now

Though there are a lot of people who start their novel from scratch on the first day of November, I personally like to do some prewriting in October in preparation for getting the actual event in November. The two most important aspects of the novel writing include developing characters and the plot. Although I think that it is important to develop realistic characters, I like to start with a basic plot with which to give those characters something to do.

The Seven Universal Story Lines

Do you know that all plots fall under seven universal story lines? These universal story lines include: overcoming the monster, rags to riches, the quest, the voyage, comedy, tragedy, and rebirth. Every story line you could imagine falls into one of these seven categories. If you can’t think of a plot, examine these story lines and take your imagination and run with it.

Overcoming the Monster

Hero learns of a great evil threatening the land, and sets out to destroy it. Many war stories, apocalyptic stories, or political thrillers fall into this category.

Rags to riches

Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero slowly blossoms into a mature figure who ultimately gets riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate. Oliver Twist and The Prince and The Pauper are rags to riches stories.

The Quest

Hero learns of a great MacGuffin (a motivating element in a story that is used to drive the plot. It serves no further purpose) that he desperately wants or needs to find, and sets out to find it, often with companions. Go no further than the Lord of the Rings Trilogy to understand this universal story line.

The Voyage and Return

Hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home far more mature than when he set out. The Odyssey would be an example.

Comedy

Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form. Every romance novel ever written falls into this category.

Tragedy

The flip side of the Overcoming the Monster plot. Our protagonist character is the Villain, but we get to watch him slowly spiral down into darkness before he’s finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are examples.

Rebirth

As with the Tragedy plot, but our protagonist manages to realize his error before it’s too late, and does a 180 degree turn to avoid inevitable defeat Think of a character like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol or The Ginch in How the Ginch Stole Christmas.

Not Sure Which Universal Plot to Use?

There’s a good chance that you have either a plot idea that you want to use or you have started to develop a couple of characters and a setting. You might already see which universal story line you want to use. However, perhaps you don’t. There’s nothing to keep you from playing around with several different story lines.

 

As I am reading this, I realize that with The Locket Saga series, I could fall into a predictable pattern of using just one or two of these story lines. However, as I look over the list, I see several different ideas that I could use to create some variety. I hope you do too as you consider your first or next work of fiction.

 

 

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Beat the drum and help potential readers find your book with a better than average book description

In my upcoming book: Write a Book to Ignite your Business, I demonstrate not only how writing a book  can provide an awesome marketing tool for your business, but I also show business owners how to actually write the book. One of the first things I recommend they do is to write their book description.  The seven elements needed to nail it include: having a compelling hook, having a great thesis statement, putting it in present tense, writing in the third person (most of the time), using the right key words, using power words, and making the reader want  to read more by providing a cliffhanger.

  1. The Narrative Hook

Whether you are writing nonfiction or fiction, a hook draws the reader in, encouraging the reader to invest time in reading your book description.

Here are fourteen types of hooks:

Advice

Words of advice that will make an impact on your reader.

 

Anecdote

A short and amusing story about an incident or a person, usually famous.

 

Bold Statement

A statement or assertion that arouses an opinion or response from your reader.

 

Contradiction

A pair of concepts that don’t go together.

 

Definition

A definition (Caution—don’t quote the dictionary) of a term or concept that is relevant to your work.

 

Dilemma

A situation where a choice must be made between two or more, usually undesirable, outcomes.

 

Fact

An interesting fact from a reliable source.

 

Famous quote

A quote from a famous person that is relevant to your work.

 

Humor

A joke, quip, or scene that arouses laughter or amusement in your readers.

 

Personal experience

A short story about an experience in your life that is relevant to the writing topic.

 

Rhetorical question

A question that inspires curiosity, but that cannon be simply answered (but it should be addressed in your essay).

 

Setting

A description of a scene or setting that stimulates any of the five senses.

 

Simile or metaphor

A comparison of one thing to another, usually unrelated, thing.

 

Statistic

A startling statistic from a reliable source.

 

 

  1. The Right Thesis Statement

The right thesis statement is essay 101 and is basically being able to say in one sentence what your book is all about. If you can’t, then you don’t know your book well enough.

 

  1. Present Tense

Present tense means the action in the description is happening now and you want your reader to actively feel that your book is relevant now rather than in the past or even in the future.  Use words like “is” rather than “was” and “what people are saying rather than “what people have said” to emulate the idea that this book is a book for today.

 

  1. Third Person

In the case of most books, write in the third person “he” or “she” is doing this rather than” I did this” or “you did this”.  One exception is the how-to book where you might want to use second person in your description.

 

  1. Key Words

Do you know which keywords are frequently put in the search bar but are seldom written and that relate to your book’s topic?

 

Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field. Ranking for the right keywords can make or break your website. By researching your market’s keyword demand, you can not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.

 

It’s not always about getting visitors to read your book description, but about getting the right kind of visitors. The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated; with keyword research you can produce the content that web searchers are actively seeking.

 

Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. Are there search advertisements running along the top and right-hand side of the organic results? Typically, many search ads means a high-value keyword, and multiple search ads above the organic results often means a highly lucrative and directly conversion-prone keyword.

The key though is not to just throw in keywords that just have the best scores however. It is most important that the key words relate directly to what your book description (and book!) is all about.

 

  1. Power Words

Power words are words that excite the reader. The most powerful word is because. We will be more successful at doing whatever it is that we say because  we offer this reason.

 

Some words have been overused, however. “New and improved”, “more”, “free”, and a few others have become spam because they have been written a little too often and are no longer as powerful as they used to be. This is because of their over use and abuse.

 

One of the greatest ad campaigns simply used the ‘if then’ duo to sell its message. If you spend only five minutes a day then you will…..fill in what ever success you could imagine. Surely your have five minutes you could spend every day?

 

Simply put if and add an appropriate reasonable action with a resulting then. Use this power word duo and take note of how it improves your power of persuasion.

 

Let the evidence or the authority speak for you. Let the higher authority leverage what you say. Use the power words to act as the pry bar to give you that leverage. Use an anecdotal authority story as a group of power words in your book description to create a set of power words.  A story about how you did something that is in your book or a story about how something didn’t work and how you had to fix it.

 

More power words exist. A study of these words by googling “power words” can help you develop stronger reasons in your description for readers to buy your book.

 

7. Cliffhanger

Just as the hook draws the reader in to invest time in reading your book description, the cliffhanger encourages the reader to purchase and read your book. Put a cliffhanger at the end of your description that leaves the audience in suspense, wanting more than what the description offers and looking to the book to provide the answers that the description doesn’t .

Different Types of Books Require Different Applications of the above elements, therefore it makes sense to study how effective other authors have used these elements in their descriptions of the books within your genre and good luck your book!

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