Categories
readers writers

Free Book Friday: May 14

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 new page will showcase the promotions that I am involved in, and will be updated every Friday. I hope that you will find something new.

Featured Freebie:

Last week’s offers:

Do you have an eye for details? I compiled all my NapoWriMo poems into one volume, but it needs a once over to check for errors. Send me a message below. I’ll send a word doc. for editing.

Use contact form below

Try your hand at reviewing!

Those are just the new ones! Click the link below for currently running promotions!

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Question: Is the italic font annoying? I’m up in the air about it…

Another question: Do you have a free book you would like featured?


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!
Categories
thoughts Uncategorized writers

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging Questions?

I’m relatively new to blogging, only doing it since 2019, and I’d like to get your thoughts on a few things.

Do you blog more than you read others, or are you primarily a reader? I suspect most people on WP write more, but maybe there are more that just enjoy the various offerings.

How often do you update your web pages? I have been working on streamlining my landing page, trying to keep it uncluttered and easy for visitors to find what they need while showcasing my work.

How much storage space do you use. Oh, I still have plenty, but there are a lot of photos and such. If I delete them, then the posts that use them will have the little “image not available” on them.

Do you find the block editor “yell at the screen worthy”?

And now he dirty word: Monetizing

I use my blog to: exercise my writing skills, entertain, inform, and to let people know that I am here. Through my blog, readers can visit my website if what I write is interesting to them. While there, they can: purchase any of my books or merchandise, receive free samples of my books when they sign up for my newsletter, listen to some of the music that I have written, and look for free offerings from other authors I promote. 

I notice that some posts are partial, which if you wish to read the rest, a link is provided that will take you to the writer’s website. Obviously, this will boost the traffic there, but do you tend to pass those over in favor of staying within the WP feeds? I could probably put my posts onto my Medium.com page and get more reads there, but that feels like I’m trying to control where the reader goes.

Do you use your blog primarily for revenue, or is it for the love of writing?

There you go. Discuss.


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

Categories
writers

Tuesday Tune-up: Writing Tools / Programs

I thought I would share my experience with the tools and programs that I use for writing.

Grammarly

I sprung for Grammarly last year. I didn’t always agree with the Word editor, so it was good to get a second opinion. It does make me aware of some of the common mistakes that I make, and I definitely have improved with my punctuation and clauses.

I do get emails like this that make me scratch my head:

OK. 99%? Is nobody else writing?

Money well spent, I suppose, or I paid attention in English class.

Me do good.

When I write, I’ll usually do a page, then go back and turn it on to check, otherwise I’m constantly looking to the right.

Shaxpir

I was looking for a way to organize my drafts and ideas, and Shaxpir seemed to fit the bill. You can create folders, chapters, idea pages, character and setting sheets, and the basic level was free after the 8 week trial of the full program.

Once you put work into it, it saves it on their cloud. I was wary of this but I continued to use it…until…it stopped working.

I tried the community forum but found it a ghost town, and took way to long to figure out how to contact with a CS agent, Finally, someone got back to me saying there was a problem and they’re working on it.

Still waiting.

Luckily, I did not have much new work on it, but enough that I’m not pleased. My NaPoWriMo poems were all written on it; those were all reposted on my blog.

I had moved some older work to it, which thankfully I did not delete any originals.

You know how they say good news travels, but bad news travels faster?

Run!, Run away!

Kindle Create

Pretty easy to make a Kindle ready book for free. But don’t think you can use it for anything else. What you make can only be opened on your Kindle readers (no MOBI here), or uploaded to KDP.

Calibri

Free eBook converter. Upload your word doc. and create EPUB, MOBI, of PDF. Then open what you made and realize that Word docs are not “what you see, is what you get”. It takes some experimenting and googling to get the right formatting (hint: page breaks are your friend – sometimes), but overall it is pretty easy to use.

Just remember, readers can set their font and spacing on the reader to what they want, not what you necessarily had envisioned.

Publisher Rocket

I figured that I was going to write more books, so rather than spend countless hours on keywords, just spend money. It’s just money, right? (I dislike spending money, BTW)

It’s a one shot cost, so I’m set. I used it to update my keywords and to maximize my Amazon ads.

Inkitt

Yeah. Not a program, but worth a mention. I had tried Wattpad last year, but got frustrated with the lack of being able to even mention a piece of your own work. I know it’s to limited shameless promotion, but it got a bit too restrictive.

So I turned to Inkitt to see if I can reach new readers. Not much better.

I tried to weigh the positives and negatives.

Cons:

  • Wouldn’t let me single space my poems
  • Formatting is one size and only has bold and italic options
  • You can import your word doc. but even with page breaks, you still have to manually separate chapters and because of the previous point, no other formatting is transferred
  • Reaching readers. After posting on some of the community boards (which there are very few), I’m still unclear why the book that I published doesn’t show up on the recently published list.

Pros:

  • Hmmm. Haven’t found one yet.

Other tools worth mentioning:

My Brain

Not recommended. Too scattered and full of glitches. Very steep learning curve (Think years. Many.) Some good ideas if you search through the weird stuff.

My Fingers

Visually dependent and index dominated, despite repeated training. Tend to miss “a” in favor of the “CAPS LOCK”. Visually dependent.

-Leon


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

Categories
readers writers

Free Book Friday: May 7

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 new page will showcase the promotions that I am involved in, and will be updated every Friday. I hope that you will find something new.

This week’s new offers:

Try your hand at reviewing!

Do you have an eye for details? I compiled all my NapoWriMo poems into one volume, but it needs a once over to check for errors. Send me a message below. I’ll send a word doc. for editing.

Those are just the new ones! Click the link below for currently running promotions!

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Question: Is the italic font annoying? I’m up in the air about it…

Another question: Do you have a free book you would like featured?


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!
Categories
thoughts writers

The Purge: Redux

I periodically purge my email subscriber list. I have done three since I started with my mail host. The last purge email was opened by 3 subscribers, so they remained on the list. The others? Well, they get archived and are not counted in my stats. Which means my open rate goes up. I rather have 50 subscribers who are interested in my writings than having a large list and low open percentage.

I do state in my sign-up that subscribers should check their spam folder if they don’t receive the welcome email. Often, the welcome email is the only one that is opened and sometimes it is not even that.  I assume that most of the addresses that have no opens are the secondary ones that people use to sign up for free stuff.

Here is what I send:

Dear Subscriber,

Ever see the movie, The Purge? Don’t. It’s a terrible movie. I can’t believe they made more than one, two more actually. Anyway, this email is going out to subscribers who haven’t opened any emails for at least 2 months. I may have made a mistake and accidentally added you to this list, so I apologize and you can stop reading now. 

I am glad that you wanted to read my books and subscribe to my newsletter. Part of being a writer is to entertain readers. I hope that I have been doing this on a weekly basis.

However, nobody likes unwanted email, and I don’t want to contribute to the digital trash folder. If you no longer want to receive my newsletter and updates, please let me know by unsubscribing at the bottom of the page. If you have any comments or feedback, I would love to hear it.

I’m sad to see you go, but hopefully you will drop by my website from time to time, or follow me on social media. Cheers!

Yours sincerely,

Leon Stevens

I add “Important Unsubscribe Information” to the subject line. Does that get more opens? If it is opened by a subscriber with no previous opens, then yes. I probably could put “More Free Stuff!” but that would not be nice, would it?

One of the marketing tips I hear over and over is to build a mailing list. That makes sense because the readers of your books are the buyers of your books and have an interest in your career. Just like blogging, it’s a way to make a connection with people who are genuinely interested in what I am doing.

Do I hope my subscribers purchase my various offerings? Of course. Will I continue to inform and entertain regardless? You bet. That’s what I enjoy doing.

-Leon


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

Categories
poetry readers thoughts writers

Monday Musings: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme

Reading over the thirty poems that I wrote in April allowed me to assess my writing style. Verdict: Haphazard.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of poetry—more now than before—for various reasons. I have more preferred genre preferences, and I suppose I don’t want to be influenced by the style of others. When I began to write poems, I didn’t set out to write a particular form or have a rhyme scheme in mind. It was all about getting my thoughts down in a way that I thought accurately represented the concept. I let the process dictate the final outcome.

As children, we learn rhyme from nursery rhymes, primer reading books, and word families. It becomes second nature to rhyme, and sometimes it is hard not to.

From the very start, I found that rhyme placement was a way to grab the reader’s mind, and too many often detracted from the imagery or idea that I was trying to convey. So, some of my poems have very few, but when they occur, it’s effective. I guess you could call it fluid form poetry or floating rhyme.

I try not to use an unfamiliar word or words that can’t be immediately understood by the context unless, of course, that important rhyme gives exigence to incorporate the word “reticent” (or taciturn, for that matter).*

Learn the rules so that you can break them or make up the rules as you go along. If they don’t work—change them.

I’m not saying that my writing is unique, but it is mine from my heart and mind. I chose to share these words with the world because they help me put things into perspective, and I hope that they can do the same for others along with providing entertainment in this world we all share.

– Leon

*exigence (n.) – demand, requirement

*reticent (adj.) – discreet, restrained, taciturn   


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

Categories
readers writers

Free Book Friday: April 23

Only one addition this week:

Free sample books from SF&F authors:

National Poetry Month: Five authors submitting sample books for you to try.

Want to review my poetry book? Write me a poem or a paragraph telling me why and I’ll send you a free review copy. Or you can support me by purchasing your own signed paperback copy (US/CND) for a chance to win your purchase.

All the older opportunities are on this page:

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Are you an author with a free book you would like me to add? Send me a cover picture and a link and I’ll add it to the page.


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!
Categories
humor poetry readers writers

Weekend Wrap-up: April 17

Wow. Sixteen poems so far. Has it been difficult? Yes and no. Sometimes the prompts from NaPoWriMo seem a bit too specific, but they are just suggestions and I have taken some liberties with them. A few of them I knocked out fairly quick, most took a bit of brainwork.

Here are the first 2 weeks. If you have a moment you can read them on Medium or on my Poem Page: National Poetry Writing Month

NaPoWriMo : Day 7 – Poem with strict syllables 😀
NaPoWriMo : Day 6 – Poem based on line from a book 🤔

NaPoWriMo : Day 5 – Imitation 🤔
NaPoWriMo : Day 4 – Odd transitional spaces (think Escher)  🤔
NaPoWriMo : Day 3 – Use of random words to inspire 🤔
NaPoWriMo : Day 2 – The road not taken 🤔
NaPoWriMo : Day 1 – April fools 😀

NaPoWriMo: Day 14 Name Origins 😀
NaPoWriMo: Day 13 A news story you wish to see 😀🤔
NaPoWriMo: Day 12 Past and Future 😀🤔
NaPoWriMo: Day 11 Letter from the Cat 😀
NaPoWriMo Day 10: Junk Drawers 😀🤔
NaPoWriMo Day 9: A to-do list 😀
NaPoWriMo Day 8: A monologue from a deceased person 🤔

As for regular posts:

Sunday Catch-up: Tools of the Trade – My tool/injury escapade (Yes, I’m fine. Thanks for asking.)

Weird Wednesday: It’s Been Awhile – Yes! Weird Wednesday returned.

Oops, I Did it Again: Author Interview – Another self interview. This time for Lunarian Press

Book news: If you have been reading my posts this week you will know about my book sale. If you haven’t heard:

Two weeks left to get your copy of Lines by Leon!

Click to go to my book page

Notable Posts this week:

Story Info: How Much is Too Much? – Kinda why I mostly write short stories

Writing the short story part 3: extremely short fiction – Sensing a theme?

Alright. Now to write another poem…



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

Free samples? You bet!

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!
Categories
readers writers

Free Book Friday (and a 99 cent Book): April 16

There is a dollar sign easily found on the keyboard, but the cent sign? I googled it and this is the instruction:

Here’s a quick way to add the cent symbol to your word doc. On the number pad on your keyboard, make sure the NumLock key is on. Press and hold down the [Alt] key and then press 0162 on the number pad. Then release the [Alt] key.

A quick way? So I follow the instructions and get this: à. OK. try again:☻. Nope. Number lock on. Check. ◙ What the..? Wait. not all at the same time? ¶. Arrrgh! OK.OK. Relax. Alt. 0. 1. 6. 2. (drumroll) Release Alt:

¢ Success!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s kinda small though. Whatever. Good enough.

I did add another author’s poetry book to the review list, but other than that, no new promos going on.

Except:

Feel free to pass on the link to any sci-fi fans you know!

National Poetry Month: Five authors submitting sample books for you to try.

Want to review my poetry book? Write me a poem or a paragraph telling me why and I’ll send you a free review copy. Or you can support me by purchasing your own signed paperback copy (US/CND) for a chance to win your purchase.

All the older opportunities are on this page:

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Are you an author with a free book you would like me to add? Send me a cover picture and a link and I’ll add it to the page.


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!
Categories
readers writers

Oops, I Did it Again: Author Interview

Leon Stevens interviews Leon Stevens for Lunarian Press!

Hello. I’m Leon Stevens, and I’m here with the author Leon Stevens. 

  – So, we are doing this again?

Do you have somewhere to be?

  – No, not really, unless you forgot something. Who is this for this time?

Lunarian Press.

  – Ahh, yes. Fine folks. OK, go ahead.

Read the rest at: Lunarian Press – Author Interview

Thanks to Alexis Lantgen for the opportunity!