Free Book Friday: New giveaway platform

After waffling for months, I finally decided to join BookFunnel. The biggest obstacle was price. It’s not expensive, buy I’m am already using StoryOrigin, so It’s kind of like paying for cable and Netflix. And I’m cheap. Well, maybe thrifty, or money-conscience.

The main reason to bite the bullet was to reach new readers (along with connecting with other authors). I joined my first campaign and created my first poetry promo which immediately received 2 participants. I’ll do a comparison between the two platforms in the future.

Anyway, time to pour a second cup of coffee and finish watching the Olympic athletes procession.

Free Sample from Shane Shepherd

Featured author

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

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.

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!

Monday Musings: Author’s Comments

I recently ran a promo with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits which gave their pool of reviewers free access to my poetry book. I unfortunately did not see any sales, but the reviews that I received put my BookBub total to 21, Goodreads to 37, and Amazon to 14. This made me ponder the appropriateness of author’s commenting on reviews.

There was a post about this a few months ago. I posted two questions in some Goodreads groups, but have had little feedback.

Authors: Do you comment on the reviews that you receive?

Readers: Do you like when authors respond to your review?

I have replied to many of my reviews in the past. My thinking that it is a personal touch that connects the two parties. In some reviews there have been questions or comments that I thought deserved a follow up. I have “liked” some reviews in the past, but maybe that’s bordering on arrogant?  

I don’t think that it is appropriate if an author retaliates for a poor review. It has probably happened, though I have never seen it. If a reader pans an author’s book, they are not expecting a scathing retort, they are voicing their opinion—which is the purpose of reviews.

The other dilemma is if you comment on one and not the other, does that hurt a reader’s feelings? If you are an author, you probably re-read your reviews, but as a reader, do you post and forget or do you look at other’s reviews after the fact?

Just some thoughts to mull over. What do you think?

-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!

Free Book Friday: The Little Library that Could

Neighborhood Lending Libraries

You have seen them. Those little houses on posts with the glass doors next to the sidewalk. There are several around that I frequent. Since many public libraries were closed during the pandemic, they did come in handy. I always wonder about the etiquette though.

Do I:

  • Return the book to its original home?
  • Put a different book in its place?
  • Put it in a nearby library?
  • Sanitize?
  • Spend some time and organize into genres? Alphabetical order?
  • Leave a note complaining of the lack of reference books?
  • Write a review and leave it in the inside flap?
  • Use them as a dumping place for all the books I don’t read anymore?

Do you make use of these book depositories?

Free Samples from Various Authors

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

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.

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: To be(ta) or not to be(ta)

Are you a beta-reader? Have you ever used one?

I think it is time to open up my newest work, a novel based on one of my science fiction short stories, to readers to gain some feedback on the story so far.

In essence, the story is finished, the characters have had their adventure and are…[spoiler alert]. It has been a stretch for me to write something longer than 4000 words. It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong. I’m amazed at what I’ve come up with and it has exceeded my expectations.

I write like I read. I don’t like long drawn out descriptions or seemingly endless dialogue, but part of that is the way to immerse the reader in the story. I probably need to be more descriptive in my writing, but I like to give out the basic ingredients and let the reader form their own picture because that’s what we all do when we read, right? Go to a movie based on your favorite book to see someone else’s interpretation (that wasn’t what Hogwarts was supposed to look like…)

I’ll usually go for brevity over elaboration. I use vocabulary that most people will recognize or be able to understand based on context. When I’m reading, I don’t want to have to look up the meaning of a word.

I admit that I am a new writer. Twenty years from now I’ll be a better one. George Lucas reworked Episodes IV-VI because more tools were available. I’ve gone back to earlier chapters to add dialogue and scenes because ideas have come to me. I’m adding to my toolbox with every page I write.

All the more reason to write more.

-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!

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!

Free Book Friday: July 2

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.

My poetry collection is available to read on Wattpad or Inkitt

Free Reads from Story Origin

Horror and Post-Apocalyptic books available for review:

Not technically free, but kinda:

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

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!

Free Book Friday: June 25 – Finally free. Now on to categories.

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.

Free. Finally. But for how long?

After what felt like weeks, Amazon finally reset the price of my sample book to $0.00. Yay!

Now, how long will it stay like that…

Categories: Want to be #1?

When you publish on KDP you get to choose two categories for your book. What they don’t tell you is that you can list your book in up to ten categories. The benefit is that some categories are very (and I mean very) specific. Here are a few examples:

Fiction:

  • Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Christian Fiction > Romance > Western & Frontier
  • Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Fantasy & Magic > Mystery & Detective

Non-Fiction

  • Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science & Math > Medicine > Alternative & Holistic > Mind-Body Medicine (Psychoneuroimmunology)
  • Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Education & Teaching > Teacher Resources > Education Theory > Contemporary Methods > Language Experience Approach

How do you get your book listed in less competitive categories? Email them and they will get right on that – just like how well they did with the pricing issue….Stay tuned for updates.

Free Reads from Story Origin

Not technically free, but kinda

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

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!

Free Book Friday: June 18

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.

Testing…testing.

If you read my Tuesday post, you will know that I am having difficulty keeping my sample book free on Amazon. I was told it would be fixed in 24 hours. That was 72 hours ago.

I checked the regions that it should be free and guess what? It’s not. Surprise, surprise. If you have a moment, please visit the link and let me know if it is in your region.

Writer’s Platforms

There are quite a few platforms for writers to post their works. WordPress is an obvious one, but there are some specifically designed to ‘publish’ works as a book online.

The first one I tried was Wattpad. I haven’t used it as a reader. It had a pretty decent forum, but it was difficult to promote your work without getting flagged for self-promotion. The forum closed for other reasons, so I left it for a while. I decided to give it another go for my NaPoWriMo poem collection:

https://www.wattpad.com/story/270379568-30-poems-30-days

My next one was Booksie: https://www.booksie.com/, then Commaful : https://commaful.com/ . Both were just to much work to post on with very little traffic. It relies on social media to let you get new readers.

There are two sites that pay writers for articles, Vocal: https://vocal.media/, and Medium: https://linesbyleon.medium.com/. Both of these need a lot of self promotion on social media in order to drive readers to your page, and I’m not that active on my platforms. I do repost some of my blog on Medium from time to time.

Free Reads from Story Origin

I didn’t have any new selections but current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

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: Words and Letters

I was cleaning my keyboard the other day (Why do I insist on eating crackers and scones while I write?) and I noticed that there are some keys that are nice and shiny, while others are in the same condition as when I purchased it. Rather than do any solid research, I decided to let this train of thought go for a trip.

There is a reason certain letters are worth more in scrabble, and why Wheel of Fortune finally gave contestants the letters they always chose.  

The keyboard configuration that is most common is the QWERTY keyboard, but there are different ones out there based on the frequency of keystrokes. I don’t think the QWERTY is the most efficient, but I don’t know which one is—I’m sure it would be hard to get all businesses and industries on board to change it, just like ignoring the metric system (Yeah, I’m talking to you, USA).

We used to call it typing class in high school. I know! Remember typewriter drills?: aaaa ssss dddd ffff… Don’t you dare make a mistake. That was one loud room. There is a concerto written for typewriter and orchestra.

Do…you…read…every…word…individually…or…can …you…look…at…the…sentence…as…one…unit?

Didyouevernoticethatwhenwyouhearsomebodyspeakingthatthereareveryfewifnotanyspacesbetweenthewords?

T s ls pssbl t rd mst wrds wth th vwls rmvd. Lngr wrds r lss chllgng.

The only word that you can spell with all the letters of anagram is: Anagram

Palindrome isn’t a palindrome

And finally, here are my Top Ten most used keys (in no particular order):

10. A
9. S
8. C
7. E
6. D
5. R
4. O
3. N
2. T
1. I
0. M (I miscounted, so here is a bonus)

What does it spell? Ascedrontim – sounds like a pharmaceutical, doesn’t it?

-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!