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poetry thoughts writers

Book Marketing: Spend money, make money?

The other day I was updating some information on my Amazon book page and I noticed this:


   Then yesterday: 

It’s just my free sample book, but #5 in the free-short-poetry-reads-45- minutes category is pretty cool. I wasn’t happy with the cover resolution so I did a full revision on the book and republished. adding a better cover and updating some of the links.

I had finally decided to spend some money and purchased Publisher Rocket. It is a tool that compiles Amazon Ad search terms, category rankings, and book keywords.

You can use this information to position your book into the popular searches, or into ones with less competition. in the case of the latter, you have a better chance of being on the first page of reader searches.

I don’t think that I would have been able to come up with all the terms on my own, or it would have taken me a great deal of time.

My Amazon ad impressions have gone up and have translated to a few more sales. The #5 ranking for the free book is probably due to the increased visibility. Is it worth it? Well, I do have to sell more books to recoup the cost of the program, and you know my view on Amazon ads ( Amazon Ads: Here, Mr. Bezos, take my money and run). But I can’t argue with more people seeing my books.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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music music Monday

Music Monday: Opus 5 Playing and Recording

Now that I have written a piece of music, what next? Music, like other forms of artistic expression, is meant to be shared. Not always—some of what I have created will only be seen and heard by myself. Not that I’m selfish, some things are just too personal.

There are two options: Live or recorded. Live music has taken on a whole new meaning in the last year, with streaming performances becoming the new live. I’m not a performer. I have performed, but it’s not my forte.

I suffer from the classic stage fright. If you’ve never experienced it, you are lucky. Imagine playing a piece and all you can think about is “don’t make a mistake” or forgetting the next part—the proverbial “drawing a blank”—and so on. It really sucks.

One thing about learning to play a piece of music is memory: Mental and muscle. There are pieces that I learned early on in my college and university years, I can still remember. And some, if I don’t think about it, will come back like water from a faucet. It’s pretty amazing. It’s also about consistency. Can you play it right the first time (you don’t want to learn mistakes) and can you repeat it correctly?

When I try to learn a new piece, it seems to be more difficult to do those things, and it feels like more work than enjoyment. Since I’m only doing it for myself, there’s not much accountability when I say, that’s enough. Often when I do learn a piece, if I don’t play it on a regular basis, I need to relearn many of the parts. I love to play. I used to be better. I don’t like when it feels like work.

It also takes me a while to record. I can play a piece perfectly (or perfectly enough) until I press the record button and bingo—mistake city.  I’ve been trying to record two of my earliest compositions, so maybe now is the incentive to finally finish them. Since I made a separate page on my website for all my music (plus I put them on SoundCloud), I might as well put those on as well.

Before the availability of computer programs to record, there used to be home 4-track cassette* recorders. Small, compact, and easy to use. Basically, it had four recording heads that divided the tape into four parts. Perfect for voice / guitar / bass / drums. But what if you wanted to add more instruments? Easy! Record tracks 1, 2, and 3, then put those on track 4. Now you have 3 empty tracks. So now you can record on 1 and 2, put those on empty track 3, and voila, you have 2 more tracks.

OK. Not so easy…

I use a free program called Audacity to record. You can have as many tracks as you need, add effects, and edit countless other aspects. Now, that’s easy.

What’s next for this series. Well, I have to finish the composing piece that I started. There are still parts that need to be connected, and parts yet to be created. Don’t ask me the timeline. I have no idea. It still needs a name as well. Stay tuned.

-Leon

*Remember cassettes? Then you also remember when they jammed, and you pulled out lengths of crinkled brown tape. You also remember having to use a pencil to rewind them.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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writers

SOC Saturday: -sty

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where this week’s prompt is to find a word that ends in “-sty”. While trying to find the best word, I kept thinking about the pros and cons of each. I would have continued, but the phone rang…

Frosty. Good for the snowman. Bad for the inside of your house.

Rusty. Good name for an old truck or a really old man. Bad name for the fiancé you brought home to meet your parents.

Crusty. Good for the bread you just baked. Bad for the leftovers in your fridge.

Hasty. Good to be when time is of the essence. Bad for decisions.

Nasty. Good when the weather gives you an excuse to stay home. Bad when you taste the crusty leftovers in the fridge.

Toasty. Good when it is a warm bed. Bad when—Wait. there’s nothing bad when it’s toasty, right. It’s the perfect adjective. Stay toasty!

-Leon

Want to participate?


 Here are the rules:
 1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
 2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
 3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.
 4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
 5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.
 6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
 7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
 ​8. Have fun! 
Categories
readers

Week-end Wrap Up: Feb. 27

Here are my posts this week, in case you missed any:

I came across a few good blogs as well:

And always good for a chuckle…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-extra-host-sally-cronin-we-are-all-going-to-the-dogs/

Here’s a question: Why do some embedded links show up nice and “linky” while others show up as a URL address?

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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poetry readers

Lines by Leon Paperback

I finally figured out how to accept payments, so here is your opportunity to win a free book. I have 40 copies left from my original order. Anyone who purchases my book directly from me until the end of March (in preparation for National Poetry Month) will be entered to win their book for free. I can only ship to Canada and the US.

linesbyleon-1

Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Signed paperback and bookmark direct from author US Orders (free shipping)

$15.00

Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Signed paperback and bookmark direct from author Canadian Orders (free shipping)

CA$15.00

I appreciate your support!

-Leon

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funny friday humor

Funny Friday: Debates Redux

Note: I wrote this post in November, but since added a few more items to this earlier post so that I could call it: New and Improved or is it New or Improved? Maybe it’s just regurgitated…

The Great (and not so great) Debates 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion (that’s my opinion), but does that mean we are free to give our unsolicited opinion whenever we want? You know, free speech and all…

I’m sure that I just opened a huge can of worms, methinks. So, just for fun, let’s crank the opener of these great dividers: Religion and Politi—Whoa! Hold it! Not those debates! This is “Funny Friday”don’t ya know?

Without further delay, let’s step up to the podiums, shall we?

Peanut Butter: Smoothy vs. Crunchy

Can you sit on the fence and say both? Of course you can! Will you? Probably not.

Crunchy hurts to eat, smoothy sticks to the roof of my mouth, crunchy rocks on toast but not on bagels, though. Smoothy: good for making fudge (unless you like crunchy fudge…)

What about natural? Woah, hold it right there, Bucko. This is not a ____vs.____vs.____

Kirk vs. Picard

No contest. You know I’m right…

Dogs vs. Cats

If you don’t care about loyalty or the return of affection and you want to be able to just leave for a few days without worrying…well, you know.

North Pole vs. South Pole

Santa, good. Penguins, cute! But what about the narwhals?

North pole: Pack ice South Pole: Packed ice

Coffee vs. Tea

I look forward to my morning coffee and my afternoon tea, but I have on rare occasions had a morning tea and I do enjoy an afternoon shot o’ espresso…

Ale vs. Lager

Beer lovers are either loyal or experimental. I see people beeline straight to their brand and get out of the store before I have even started to window shop. But that has nothing to do with the Ale vs. Lager debate does it…

PC vs. Mac

Endless updates and glitches, or should I just spend the damn $$$$?

Zoodles vs. Alphagetti

You know that they are pretty much the same thing, but what can you spell with Zoodles? (Psst. Hieroglyphs.)

Two-ply vs. Three-ply

I didn’t include one-ply because it becomes two-ply since you know you’re going to fold it.

Coke vs. Pepsi

Both sweet. Both kinda caramelly. Both bubbly. Only one of them should be mixed with rum.

Classic Coke vs. New Coke

Remember that fiasco? Who wins? See previous.

The Turkey: Light meat vs. Dark meat

You might as well call this dry and bland vs. moist and tasty. Gravy is good for both

Star Trek vs. Star Wars

(See Kirk vs Picard)

McDonald’s vs Burger King

Isn’t the title “King” self explanatory, you clown?

Honorable Mentions:

Ren vs. Stimpy, Rick vs. Morty, Magellan vs. Cook, AM vs. FM, The Far Side vs. Non Sequitur

Well, I’m absolutely, positively, sure that I missed some real doozies, but like debating politics or religion, there’s no way that I’m touching those topics….that’s as volatile as discussing what pick-up truck is best.

 (It’s Chevy, BTW…)

-Leon

What are some of your funny dividers?


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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writers

Thursday Thoughts: Book Bub Ads

Last week I complained a bit about Amazon ads, so to be fair, I’ll give BookBub some airplay.

BookBub operates in much the same way as Amazon does, it that you have to win bids to get your ad shown, and if someone clicks on your ad, you get charged that amount. So, you have to know what your profit margin is for each book and price your bid accordingly-you don’t want to pay people to read your book. But if you don’t bid high enough, your ad doesn’t get shown. Also in the mix is that if someone clicks your ad, the likelihood that your ad gets shown goes up.

Their ad design is straight-forward and there is no vetting like Amazon does, so once you create your ad, it’s live. There are many variables for the ads, so it’s difficult to compare one author’s ad to another. If your ad is not doing well, they email you and suggest that you either up your bid (of course) or redesign. I’ll show the ad that BookBub uses as an example of a successful ad, along with the one I created.

One of the suggestions was to use BookBrush to create ads. I suspect they are owned by BookBub. What is nice about it is the ad is the correct size (300 x 250), so no tweaking required, and you can layer text and images for a professional look.

They give you a chart to show how well- or poorly- your ad is doing:

The best I achieved was 5 clicks on ~2000 impressions. Not great. As you can see, this is ad #14.

There are many variables for success. The popularity of the genre, bid amount, etc. The one controllable variable in all this is the cover. People do judge a book by its cover. Since I like my cover, it’s hard to step back and critique, so what do you think? Let me know.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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cartoons humor Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: Cartoons and a Guessing Game

I post “The Miniscules” on Instagram @lines_by_leon every Monday, but I’ll put them here on Wednesday as well.

Monday’s “Miniscule Monday” continuing the fairy tale theme.

I came across my Inktober sketches, but I have no idea what word each was supposed to represent. Do you?

Feel free to guess. I really don’t know.

I introduced a new cartoon two weeks ago. It didn’t have a name then. Let us welcome:

The Untitled

Part three:

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” If you are thinking that the humor has a familiar weirdness to it, you wouldn’t be mistaken. Any idea of the target of the homage?

Thanks for stopping by!

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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Uncategorized

Introductions — From Cave Walls

Originally posted on From Cave Walls: Day 98 One of my writing lessons today was all about getting the reader interested in the story you have to tell. It made me think about what makes me want to continue reading. Of course, the first line is key. I found this great infographic from Scribendi.com which…

Introductions — From Cave Walls
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music

My Music

I finally put all my video and audio files on one page. Music, like writing, is meant to be shared, so I hope that you appreciate my creations. Emotions inspire me to write music, so while some of my compositions hopefully will make you smile, there is a sadness in a few, while others may cause you to reflect.

-Leon

My Music and More


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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