Book Promotion Tip

Decorate your front yard by creating a poster of your book cover, laminating it and placing it in your front yard.

 

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Is your book about a virus or pandemic?

The World Health Organization announced the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic.

When I first heard about COVID-19, my thoughts went immediately to the movie Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman.

Does your book deal with a virus, a pandemic, a plague, etc.?  If so, brainstorm ways you can tie it to COVID-19.

Is your book categorized as a health genre? Can you tie it to COVID-19 and what people should be doing to prevent the virus?

Maybe you wrote a zombie story. Did zombies come about because of a virus?

While this pandemic is not something to celebrate, it is at the forefront of customers’ minds.

Just sayin’…

 

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Filed under Authors, Books, Fiction, Genre, Non-Fiction

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March 9, 2020 · 6:33 am

Book Promotion Tip

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March 2, 2020 · 6:17 am

The Word Perfect

I am tired of being perfect. (In my humble opinion.)

Recently, I saw a Facebook post where a person wrote, “I am tired of being perfect. I am tired of being a perfect Mom. I am tired of being a perfect Wife. I am tired of being a perfect Housekeeper.” And a list of other things they were tired of being perfect about.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines perfect as “being entirely without fault and defect.”

I wrote a comment on the Facebook post that read, “I am glad you are tired of it. Nothing is perfect. It is an illusion.”

You might disagree with me and that is okay. You are entitled to what you consider is your perfect.

In my humble opinion, this is my view on perfect.

You see the perfect brand new vehicle and you purchase it. It is the perfect color, the perfect make and model, it has the perfect horsepower, it has the perfect wheels, it has the perfect interior, it has the perfect new vehicle smell. Everything about it is perfect.

Now take a closer look.

How many miles does the odometer read? It probably has less than twenty, if it is a brand new vehicle. Yet, it has mileage. It has already been used.

You say that is okay, that is to be expected. After all, they had to drive it off the assembly line, then drive it onto the delivery truck, then drive if off the delivery truck, and then park it on the dealer’s lot. Still, that perfect brand new vehicle is already used.

You drive your new vehicle to work or to do errands and you park it in the parking lot. The driver of the vehicle next to you is not so careful and they put a scratch or dent in your perfect vehicle. The dent or scratch is now a defect; an imperfection. Again, your new vehicle is not so perfect. Remember the definition of perfect is without defect.

***

As an author, you write the perfect story. Your characters are perfect. They have the perfect looks, the perfect hair color, the perfect eye color, the perfect mannerisms. Everything about your characters is perfect.

Readers want warts and all when reading a story. They want to know the good along with the bad. All of a sudden, your characters are no longer perfect.

The flawless skin now has a scar because one of your characters was in a battle and got injured. They now have a flaw, a defect to their once flawless skin.  Another character in an abusive rage murders someone. Your perfect character now has a fault. They are no longer what society would call a perfect person. (Yes, I totally get it. The character is then the perfect person to commit the murder in your story.)

***

Every flaw, every defect is what makes something either okay or not okay.

If you get a scratch on your new vehicle, you get upset. If you have the money, you might even take it to the auto repair shop to see if the scratch can be buffed out or touched up with some matching paint. After all, you want it to be perfect. If you don’t have the money, you will probably sigh, grimace, say a four-letter word, and eventually, you will live with the scratch on the paint telling yourself now the vehicle has a little bit of character or has a battle scar.

So, what makes it okay for you? Why do humans keep looking for that perfect something? Why do we keep telling ourselves everything has to be perfect?

Remember the definition of perfect, “being entirely without fault and defect.” In my humble opinion, it doesn’t exist.

We can tell ourselves that everything is perfect, when in fact we know deep down inside there is no such thing. It is an illusion and we are each happy with our own illusion of what perfect is.

If you are tired of being perfect or feeling that everything has to be perfect, I challenge you to think about what the word perfect really means to you.

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February 24, 2020 · 5:15 am

21 Things a Writer Can Write-Off on Taxes

Tax Season and Questions.

Tax season is upon us and if you have been holding off on doing your taxes, don’t wait too long. Just dive in and get them done.

As a writer, you might be wondering what you can write off on your taxes.

This is not a complete list and if you have additional questions, please consult with a tax preparer.

  1. Office Space – if you have a designated office space in your home you can deduct this.  Please consult with a tax preparer as to what this means when you decide to sell your home or if you are renting.
  2. Equipment – a laptop, a business phone, a desk, a chair, a printer.
  3. Hired help – if you pay anyone to help do research, design a book cover, make a book trailer, proofreader, editor, etc.
  4. Travel/mileage – if you travel to a conference or to do research, keep track of your mileage.
  5. Professional development/Conferences – keep a receipt of your conference registrations, educational classes, etc.
  6. Meals – if they are business-related. Again keep your receipts.
  7. Lodging – if you go to conferences or travel for business and spend the night in a hotel, etc., keep a copy of your receipts.
  8. Software – if you purchased any software to use in your writing business, this can be deducted. Again keep your receipts.
  9. Subscriptions – the cost of magazines, journals, and newsletters are deductible if they related to your writing business.
  10. Books – books purchased for research purposes can be deducted.
  11. Cell phone – if you use your phone only for the business you can deduct the whole cost. If you use the phone for both personal and business you can deduct a portion of the bill.
  12. Business cards can be deducted.
  13. Advertising – websites and paid for online advertising.
  14. Promotional materials that you giveaway – bookmarks, postcards, etc.
  15. Printing and copying – flyers, rough drafts, office records, etc.
  16. Parking – anytime you pay for parking while conducting research keep your parking receipts.
  17. Tolls – any tolls paid while traveling on business are deductible.
  18. Memberships – you can deduct the dues when you enroll in writers groups or professional organizations.
  19. Submission fees – from small journals to large contest entries.
  20. Office supplies – pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, notepads, printer ink.
  21. Internet – like the phone if you use it strictly for the business you can deduct full cost. If you use it for both personal and business you can deduct a portion of the bill.

When in doubt about what you can and cannot write-off on your taxes, check the IRS website and/or contact a local tax preparer.

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Write a Press Release to Promote Your Book

You have heard it all before. You need a website, you need a blog, you need to be on social media, you need to promote your book, you need to build a tribe, etc. All of this is true.

Have you tried writing a press release to promote your book?

If you don’t know how to write a press release, you can Google how to write a press release and will come up with various examples.

Once you have your press release written you will need to decide where to send it.  Here is a list of sources.

U. S. Newspaper List – write a press release and send it out. This will take time on your part. You will need to review the places you wish to send out your press release.  Small, rural, newspapers are almost always looking for news or are willing to sell you advertising space.

OpenPR Worldwide Public Relations.

PRFire – Free press release distribution in UK.

PRZoom – a free distribution service.

NewsWire Today – a free distribution service.

I can hear you now. This is just a waste of time. Maybe, maybe not. The choice is yours. Do you take a chance or will you whine about the fact that your book isn’t getting in front of enough people?

 

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

 

 

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February 17, 2020 · 4:45 am

The Legend of Valentine’s Day

Tomorrow, February 14th is Valentine’s Day and I wanted to share the legend with you before the big day arrives!

 

In the days of ancient Rome, the fourteenth-day of February was a pagan holiday that honored Juno. Juno was the queen of the Roman gods as well as the goddess of women and marriage. The next day, the fifteenth was the first day of the festival of Lupercalia. This festival honored Juno and Pan who were two Roman gods. Fertility rituals were held on this day. On the night before the festival started, it was customary for the names of the Roman girls to be written on slips of paper. These slips were then placed in a container and then each boy drew the name of the girl who he would be coupled with for the entire Lupercalia festival.

Rome was under the authority of Emperor Claudius the Second, and he was a vicious warrior, not to mention the fact that he was insane. His armies lacked the sufficient number of soldiers it needed, and Claudius could not figure out why more young men didn’t want to go to battle. Finally, he determined that the young men didn’t want to leave their wives, families, and girlfriends. In order to remedy this, the Emperor instituted a new law and canceled all of the marriages and engagements in Rome.

In the meantime, there lived a priest in Rome by the name of Valentine. He did not believe in the Emperor’s new law, and he refused to abide by it. He continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. He lived in constant fear that he would be caught by Emperor Claudius’s soldiers, but he persisted in doing what he knew was right. Finally, the day did come when Bishop Valentine was caught uniting a man and a woman in the bonds of holy matrimony. The soldiers dragged him to stand before Emperor Claudius’s throne. The Emperor condemned the Bishop to be put to death for his violation of the law.

While the priest was imprisoned, waiting for his execution, many young couples threw notes of thanks along with flowers and other gifts into the window of his cell. Among these young people who admired the priest for doing the right thing was the prison guard’s own daughter. Her father allowed her to visit Bishop Valentine in his cell. During these visits, the two would talk and laugh and share each other’s thoughts. Finally, the day arrived when Bishop Valentine was scheduled to die. It was the fourteenth of February in the year 270 A. D. While he was waiting for the soldiers to come and drag his away, Bishop Valentine composed a note to the girl telling her that he loved her. He signed it simply, “From Your Valentine.”

Finally, in the year 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius did away with the pagan festival of Lupercalia, citing that it was pagan and immoral. He then chose Bishop Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honored at the new festival on the fourteenth of every February.

Over the years, Valentine’s Day has evolved into a holiday when gifts, cards, flowers, and candy are given to the ones we love or would like to start a relationship with. And it is all because of a brave, righteous man named Valentine.

 

While the above legend depicts Valentine as all love, Lisa Bitel, historian of Christianity, tells us that it all just a legend. Bitel wrote, “…I can tell you that at the root of our modern holiday is a beautiful fiction. St. Valentine was no lover or patron of love.”  In her article “The Gory Origins of Valentine’s Day,” Bitel stated, “Valentine’s Day, in fact, originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So, how did we get from beheading to betrothing on Valentine’s Day?”

To find out the answer read Bitel’s article here.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

 

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