Tuesday Tidbits: On the right track!

It’s been a while since I wrote about reviews. It’s also been a while since I received any. Coincidence? Probably.

I decided to run a promotion with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits (IBBB) for my poetry book after reading some Goodreads forums on marketing sites. They do rely heavily on social media presence, along with their pool of reader/reviewers. I’m not that active on social media, so I’m probably not taking total advantage of the package, but so far, while it hasn’t translated into any sales, I have received more reviews.

The underlying theme of many of the reviews mirrored one of the reasons for publishing my poems as the forward in my book stated:

I hope that my writing and drawing makes you smile, think, wonder, reflect, laugh, and cry (in a good way-we all need to cry sometimes. It’s not as good as laughing but it serves a purpose). If you can relate to something that I have said, and it makes sense to you, or at least you are entertained, then I have accomplished the second thing that I set out to do.

That was my intent and reason, and these are some of the comments:

“Being a beginner with poetry, this was a great book to start with…The personal points of view which are portrayed are easily relatable and resonates with me on a personal level.

“It is certainly on book that will make you stop and think… also injecting humour making me laugh. If you are up for something a little different then Leon’s book is just the thing.”

“I have read books of poems before but Lines by Leon touches on topics that really make you think.” 

“This is an easy to understand… I know you will find something in one of these poems or short stories you will connect with.”

“These speak to me at this time in my life… You will be amazed as I was at how these short works will grab your heart.”

“… there is something that will connect with everyone.”

As you can see, that goal of my decision to publish has been met, and it warms my heart to get such wonderful feedback. Now the next goal is to reach more readers.

  • If you live in Canada or the US, you can get a signed paperback copy of my book, Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose and Pictures directly from me: https://linesbyleon.com/books-and-merch/
  • You can purchase a copy from most major online retailers: Universal Book Link
  • You can tell someone about the book on your social media

Here is a link to the IBBB promo page: https://itsybitsybookbits.com/2021/07/lines-by-leon-poems-prose-and-pictures-by-leon-stevens/

All of your support is appreciated!

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Fundamentals of Grammar: seven basic rules of punctuation #amwriting

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

Mark Twain famously said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

MarkTwainEatAFrogQuotLIRF04042021Many authors  are just beginning their careers and trying to self-edit their NaNoWriMo manuscript. The problem is, they don’t know how to write a readable sentence or what constitutes a paragraph. If they are hoping to find an agent or self-publish, they have a big, ugly job ahead of them.

Most public schools in the US don’t go into depth in teaching creative writing, so the majority of students leave school with only a cursory understanding of basic mechanics.

We know good writing when we read it, but when we are just starting out, getting our thoughts onto paper so others enjoy it eludes us.

Learning to write in your native…

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Monday Musings: Out of Touch

No cell service, no Wifi.

In the middle of nowhere? Not exactly. Just an hour and a half drive from where I usually wake up.

I stand on the rocky shore of the unusually calm lake. The rounded rocks slip under my feet and a few steps into the water they become slippery. The water is not very cold, probably because we have had such a hot summer. I crouch down and push myself out over the glassy surface.

The next morning, coffee in hand, I once again make my way to the lakeshore. The smoke in the air gives the rising sun a sinister blush, but also gives it a crisp outline as it begins its day’s journey. It’s captivating, and I take quick side glances at it. The reflection seems to swim toward me the longer I remain.

The island on the horizon is barely visible, and it seems to float above the once again calm waters. Birds flit through the trees, and ducks, annoyed by my presence let me know in language I suspect to be…well not so nice.

That afternoon, after 10 long hours of labor on the cabin (not mine), it’s time to pack it in. The rain came down in a torrent for five minutes earlier—it’s the first rain I’ve seen in a month (that would explain the low water level on the lake)—and it was over so quickly that I missed standing in it.

The wind has returned the water to its normal angry self, but not belligerent enough to prevent another foray to clean the day’s sweat from my body. I would like to stay here longer, but it’s time to pack up.

Leaving the lake behind, the gravel road gradually widens until it reaches the highway. Five minutes later my cellphone pings, alerting me to the presence of connectivity. I look for missed messages. No texts, no calls. Nice. Everyone I care about already knew where I was.

Now to tackle my email in box.

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: July 10

On my way out the door to be out of touch for a few days. Back on Tuesday.

From my blog this week

Free Book Friday: July 7 – Is free a good thing?

Thursday Thoughts: Cruisin’ at 30 000 (words that is) – How’s the novel coming you ask?

Weird Wednesday: July 7 New Followers

Tuesday Tidbits: It’s a Small World

Monday Musings: Motivation

From other blogs:


Spooky Goings-on
– Maybe Stevie should lay off the paranormal books…

What I’ve Been Reading: Short Reviews – I reblogged this already, but it mentions me, so hey, here it is again!

Today’s #Picture 08/July/21 – Stuart always has great photos.

Blogging: Content Is King – Yes it is!

Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First?


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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Free Book Friday: July 7 – Is free a good thing?

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Don’t give away the farm.

Despite information that free books is a good marketing strategy, I still struggle with the thought of giving away my hard work as a writer. Oh, I’ve done it, but my finger hovers over the button for a long time before I make the commitment.

Book royalties are not very high with self publishing unless you are able to sell directly. I make more/book if I sell my paperback directly to a reader. Much more. And you get it signed by me. Oh, and you get a free bookmark that I designed. Even with shipping – which isn’t cheap, if I sold all my books that way, I’d be happy.

So, most indie authors are making a small amount with each sale, and it is hard to give up that amount when every little bit counts. But if you want to there are several options:

Free books for reviews: There are many ways to get your book into the hands of readers that will hopefully leave a glowing review that will boost your credibility as and author. I’ve had limited success with most, although my review rate I have discovered is typical. I recently started a two week promotion with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits which includes making my book available to their pool of reviewers. My previous forays can be read about in this post: Review Platforms: Take my free books, please.

Free days on Amazon: If you publish with KDP (Amazon), you have the ability offer your book for free. The benefit? If enough readers download your book, it can catapult it into the Best Sellers lists, which in turn increases exposure. I’ve done this as well as $0.99 sales.

Reader magnets: If you have never heard of these, I’ll let you in on a secret— [Tap on shoulder] “What’s that? I can’t? OK. you can leave now.” [footsteps]

Most authors offer up free samples of their books to readers, usually in exchange for their email address. It’s a win/win really. The author gets their writing into the hands of a potential reader (hopefully a potential purchaser), and the reader gets a chance to discover a new author and use their “junk” email address so they don’t have to deal with constant spam from authors. Yes, I know you have one. I’m talkin’ to you doodlepoodle57_hahaABC@yahoomail.crom. I only send out a weekly email that hopefully entertains and informs the subscribers of sales and free offerings that I am participating in. It is also the only way I can direct my parents to my blog without fielding a call like an IT call center. So yeah. Win/win

Writer’s platforms: There are various platforms for budding writers to post their creations. Last month I wrote about them: Free Book Friday: June 18 .

Nothing is guaranteed in the publishing business. Free books do not always equal more sales, and many readers will not leave reviews even if that is the expectation.

I appreciate everyone who has reviewed my books. I get excited when I see a new review posted. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy my writing, but most readers have always said something positive. For the readers who have purchased one of my books, I thank you for supporting me on my writing journey. I’ll leave you with this question: Where do read for free?

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

Speaking of free, do you want to review either of my books? Drop me a message telling me why (and the format).


Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: Cruisin’ at 30 000 (words that is)

I did my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November. The goal is to write 50000+ words in one month. I didn’t think that I would accomplish this since I am a slow writer, but it did get me started writing longer works.

Most of my creations are poems or short stories. I joke that I write short stories because of my attention span, but my stories seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Deciding to write a novel definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone.

When I read, I’ll often skim over longer descriptions and dialogue that I deem unnecessary (no offence to my fellow authors). Sometimes I am forced to go back if something doesn’t make sense, and my reading habits are usually the culprit.

So, I write how I read. Just get to the point and move on.

My novel started as a continuation of one of my short stories. At the end of November, I wasn’t even close, but I was pleased with what I had written up to that point. My characters were developing through their actions and words, there was suspense at the end of each chapter, and I had a good idea what the ending was going to be.

Sometimes I can write quite a bit in one sitting, other times, not so much.

I hit the 30 000 word mark last month. It’s been slowly creeping ahead ever since. The problem is that the ending is written, the characters have had their adventures and adversities. They have solved their problems (oops, spoiler alert…). The story in essence is finished.

So now I go back to fill in descriptions I feel are necessary, not for boosting word count—ok, maybe a little—but to create an engaging story for the reader. I am also going over the dialogue, trying to make it informative while keeping it realistic. Sometimes I find that extended speeches by a character seems unnatural, as most people need time and breaks to formulate their thoughts. I personally am not usually a prolific conversationalist, so that may have a lot to do with it.

I guess the question is: Would you like to read a novella or a novel?

-Leon


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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weird Wednesday: July 7 New Followers

If I read my schedule correctly, my author showcase with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits Promotions is entering its 5th day and my website will be highlighted. Along with all the readers there – and my new followers here, I’d like to welcome you the my Wednesday blog I like to call, Weird Wedne—

Oh, you probably read the title, didn’t you. Many days have themes: Music Monday, Tuesday Tirade, Thursday Thoughts, Free Book Friday (very popular), Week-end Wrap-up, and Second Chance Sunday.

On Wednesday, I’ll usually write a humorous piece or commentary, and post my two cartoons: The Miniscules and The Untitled.

Now that I have set myself up to have to write something humorous…or post something humorous

One of the weirdest things I have come up with since I started writing is a series of interviews I did with myself. I still smile when I read them, so I think it’s worth posting. I hope you will too. I’ll wait till you get back.

Leon Stevens Interviews Himself

Welcome back! On to the cartoons:

Cartoons

The Untitled

You can see them all here: https://linesbyleon.com/some-of-my-favorite-writings/

.

The Miniscules

Far too many for one gallery, but you can read about them here: https://linesbyleon.com/2020/11/23/miniscule-mondays/

That’s all the weirdness for today.

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Newest design! “Peloton”

Tuesday Tidbits: It’s a Small World

When I first went to Disneyworld (or is it Disneyland? I can never remember which one is which), anyway, the one in Florida, I went with a college buddy and his parents in an RV. Now I know what you are thinking—that sounds like a fun time, but hey, it didn’t cost me anything for travel/lodging, and I wasn’t old enough to buy booze (he was though😊). Did I mention it happened to be Spring Break?

It was the first time out of the country for me, young adult, with people of no relation to me, no passports required. Wow. Times change.

Disneyworld at the time was just doing its first major expansion. The only attractions available were the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. A few highlights were: Seeing the Space Shuttle take off as we ate breakfast, going on my first rollercoaster, hitting the German pavilion and drinking beer, then as a joke we went on the “It’s a Small World” ride. That’s an earworm you won’t get rid of quickly.

We convinced (begged) his parents to go to Daytona Beach. We had one day to get Spring Break out of our system. I don’t remember much—not from drinking, but because it’s a long time ago. Anyway…

Fast-forward to today—and the crux of today’s post:

Land travel hasn’t changed much over that last 50 years, but the time it takes us to fly somewhere sure has, although the delays at the airport security and customs usually negates those gains. Soon, we will have sub-orbital fights that will whisk travelers from one side of the world to the other (talk about jet lag).

We have instantaneous (almost) communication with anywhere on the globe. News travels fast, bad news travels faster. Although, I do find it odd when local news anchors talk to local reporters and there is a 3-4 second delay.

Like it or not, the world is almost completely connected. No greater example was the pandemic which spread throughout the entire globe within months. One the plus side, the reverse is true with vaccine flowing, just not as fast.

Viruses don’t have to deal with bureaucracy.

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Monday Musings: Motivation

Did you really write that you ask? I think I did. I did my research (*cough* Google…) and nothing turned up.

On Tuesday I wrote about quotes (Tuesday Tidbits) and while looking through my notebook, I came across an old post that I thought I had used. Well, I couldn’t find it in my 237 previous posts (wow!), and since it kinda fits the theme (I used part of it in Tuesday’s post), and I didn’t have anything else planned, and I also didn’t feel like writing a whole new one (you’ll get the irony shortly). Here it is:

Motivation

Do or do not. There is no try.” Hold it right there Yoda. I’m going against my adoration for you and your (well, Lucas’s) universe and it pains my heart to when I say that I have to disagree with you. There is always a “try” in doing. It’s like telling a child that they can be whatever they want to be in life. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. But by trying, they will better themselves because they will fail at times (usually more often than succeed) and hopefully learn more about what they can and cannot do.

If someone wants to be an astronaut (Pick me! Pick me!) and winds up becoming a doctor or mathematician because they couldn’t hold down their lunch in the “vomit comet”, then the world has another person to be proud of, and they have learned that you shouldn’t eat a heavy meal the night before training. Maybe math or school in general wasn’t their strong suit and they go on to customer service, the arts, public service, or become a laborer. I hope they asked themselves, “Did I try my best?”, and if the answer was yes, then the next question should be, “Am I still trying my best?”. If the answer was “no” to either of those then we must look at, you guessed it: Motivation.

I’m not an expert on the M-word. Far from it. Do I try my best? Usually, but then again, I’m a pretty good procrastinator too.

[Pan to figure slumped on a couch, bowl of potato chips in their lap, TV remote in the other…]

(But I won’t leave dirty dishes on the kitchen counter overnight)

A few quotes come to mind: “Commitment is doing what you said you would do long after the moment you said it in has passed.” I credit this to Bear Grylls, the adventure guy. If you don’t know, he was in the British Special Forces when on a training exercise, his parachute failed, and he broke his…everything? He then (not right away) became the youngest person to scale Mt. Everest. Wow.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to suffer some life-changing injury, but often things happen, and we just say to our self, “That’s it, I’m going to do something/I’m going to stop something/I’m going to try something.”, or along those lines. It’s not easy making big changes or deciding to accomplish a task, and lack of motivation is a real killer of dreams.

Where does one get their motivation? There are many motivating factors to choose from and what works for others may not be right for you. Will what you do:

  • Improve your life or the lives of others?
  • Bring joy or happiness into lives?
  • Raise self-esteem?
  • Contribute positively to society?

I think that if you can answer yes to the question, “Will I be a better person if I can accomplish this?” then it is worth doing, even if there is a risk of failure.

So, do I watch TV and eat too many chips or finish this blog? Easy choice…

Ta-Da!

(Now where is the remote…?)

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!