Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- Ben Howard


There is a radio show on CBC here in Canada that occasionally does a feature called SYNTH: Songs You Need To Hear.

Now, I can’t say to someone, “You’ll like this song” (or book for that matter) because I can’t presume that others will share my taste in music (or books), so it is safer to say, “You might like this” and if they don’t like it, so be it.

Maybe you will find a new favorite.


Some songs make me stop what I’m doing and just listen. Thankfully this song doesn’t get a lot of airplay when I’m driving. Although the last time I heard it was on a 4 hour drive to visit my parents after not being able to for over a year. Each curve and straightaway on the highway, framed by the trees passing the window against a clear blue morning sky felt like my own private video. I didn’t remember all the words, but no one was there to judge.

UK residents will be more familiar with Ben Howard. I’m glad I am.



In book news:

The View from Here – Now Available

What would you do if you found yourself on or in another world? Do you have the skills and knowledge needed to survive or to make sense of what you see?

Thomas sets out on a hike he has done many times before. Taking only what he needs for the three or four hours he expects to be gone, he passes a vehicle in the parking lot. The handwritten note on the dashboard read: Not Abandoned. The view at the end of the trail was not what he expected—neither were the friendships.

Two people with adventurous spirits, heading off into the unknown with only their physical fitness and combined knowledge to get them through everything they may encounter.

How far would you make it?


I hope you enjoyed my selections today.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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Time Machine Tuesday: Lists

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 15 380 words, 22 cups of coffee, one cup of Earl Grey, one cup of tea (unknown), two glasses of Rum & Coke, one glass cabernet, and a half pint of Session IPA.


Just a short one from about a year ago:

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Time Machine Tuesday: Reading and Watching

NNaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 11 400 words, 15 cups of coffee, one cup of Earl Grey, one cup of tea (unknown), two glasses of Rum &Coke, one glass of cabernet, and a half-pint of a Session IPA.

Here are two reading related posts from early in my blogging … Journey? Foray? Venture? Career? —no, definitely not career.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Tuesday Tirade: Yet Another Aggravation Courtesy of Amazon.

Everyone likes free.

Free books bring readers into your world, and introduces them to your writing at no risk. Sure, they may have to sign-up for my newsletter—depending where they have heard of it, but that’s marketing.

The first place I published my free sample eBook was on KOBO (now Rakutan-Kobo). It was pretty easy and it allowed you to set your price to free—no questions asked.

Then I did the same for Amazon/KDP. Not as easy and the lowest you could set your price was $0.99. I did some research and found many self-publishing sites that recommend you set your Amazon prize to “Perma-free”. I thought that this was a good idea to be able to get the book into the Top 10 of certain categories (that took another line of research).

I searched: Perma-free, permafree, and permanently free on the KDP site with no luck. So, back to the other publishing sites to discover that all you have to do is notify Amazon of a lower price elsewhere and they will match it.

Done. (Wait for it.)

Nope. After several months, I just happened to notice that the book was back at $0.99. Long story short:

It’s happened four times, and each time I email I get the same cut and paste message: I’m sorry that you have been facing this issue. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We need a little time to look into the problem with technical team.

The last time I received this message: Thank you for your information on pricing. From time match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions. Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99 as shown on the picture below:

 What was the picture? My full volume. At its full price. Not the sample book…

Arrgh.

There are lots of free books on Amazon. I wonder if they have the same problem. At least it gives me something to write about.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Review Platforms: Take my free books, please.

I have written several posts about reviews. It can be one of the most frustrating aspects of being an author. Many platforms are set up to guide readers to free review copies, and even though they say that reviews are not guaranteed, one would think that if someone downloads your review copy from a book reviewer site, there should be some expectation of a review. So, I have tried a few sites with limited success. More on that later.

I always sent out a welcome email, thanking the reader. Here is what I say:

To all reviewers,

Thank you for your interest in reviewing my books. As readers, you are so important to new independent authors as your reviews allow us to compete with the multitude of other authors, signed and unsigned. We have found each other through various book platforms. Some of my early subscribers are taking advantage of my free book offer for reviews. 

Reviews do not have to be long. Even one or two sentences can attract new readers, and at the very least, a star rating would be appreciated. As for the timeline, I’m hoping that they can be done within 4 weeks of receiving your review copy. (Note: I don’t think 4 weeks is unreasonable)

For some of you, that 4 weeks is getting close. Let me know if you need more time. If you had any difficulty downloading a book, please email me with your preferred format: PDF, ePub, Mobi.

When you have completed your review, please let me know so that I can link it to my website. If you choose not to leave a review for any reason, could you please inform me, and I will remove you from the list.

Here are the review links. Please leave a review on any (or all) of the sites. As my science fiction book is only available on Amazon at the moment, that would be my preference if you are just going to post on one.

I put direct links here to make it easy!

Final Note: Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so if you enjoyed the books, please tell your friends and family and share the review on your social media!  

End of letter.

I think that it covers my expectations and empowers the reviewer to submit whatever form they wish. I added the part about not leaving a review because it is frustrating to not hear from them and I don’t want to keep sending reminders. I appreciate honesty over being ‘ghosted’.

Here are the results:

Platform A: Voracious Readers
Round One - Free trial
20 readers = 3 reviews

Round Two - 6 week promo, now pay/reader
30 readers  = 2 Reviews so far

Platform B: Booksprout - Free
3 readers = 1 review

Platform C: StoryOrigin - Free Beta version, transitioning to paid
8 readers = 3 reviews

Platform D: Library Thing  -Free
12 readers = 3 reviews

Platform E: Sandra’s Book Club - Free
3 Readers = 0 review

Platform F: Reedsy - Paid
1 review

Platform G: Goodreads – Free
7 readers = 5 reviews  - GRs takes a lot of work, finding the review groups and threads.

I suspect that most readers are in it for the free books (as you can see by the stats), which is disheartening, as it does feel like you are getting taken advantage of.

What has your experience been?

-Leon


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C’mon, space stuff!

Second Chance Sunday: March 28

Today’s serving is originally from my very first website/blog. I was new at everything, so many of the posts were short, and I seemed to always come up with a amusing survey to end each of them. I believe that this one was inspired by a Goodreads thread. Enjoy!

Reading: Paper or eBook

-If you haven’t already, please visit: Book Covers Part 3: The Finalists to vote for my new book cover.


Support independent authors!

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Book Covers Part 3: The Finalists

After some feedback and design tips, I decided to go with a more monochrome/B&W concept to emulate the early days of science fiction writing.

I have narrowed it down to five choices.

Which one catches your eye?

Take the Survey: Book Cover Survey or make your comments below.

Your input is appreciated!

-Leon

You can see what my old cover was below:

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C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up: March 13

In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:

Beth at BEFOREWEGOBLOG ran one of my self interviews: #indiespotlight of Author Leon Stevens

Finally, some other notables:

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – March 11th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – KFC and Shepherds

Dealing with negative reviews by Jan Sikes 

(oops, missed one): Tender Is The Rain – Poem from Denise Baer

Do you have any posts that could use a boost? I’ll include them in my “Second Chance Sunday” blog tomorrow.

Don’t forget the Book Sale and Poetry Book Contest below!