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
poetry

Weekend Wrap-up: May 8

What was I up to this week? Well, I finished putting all my NaPoWrMo poems into an Ebook, got back to writing my novel, and writing non-poetry related posts.

Free Book Friday: May 7 – A few offerings of sample books and review copies.

The Purge: Redux – My way of dealing with my mailing list

Weird Wednesday: Cartoons – Just cartoons this week – I think.

Decisions, decisions – Shampoo shopping

Monday Musings: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme – OK, I lied. there was a poetry post. My analysis of my poetry style.

I didn’t read many posts this week but here are a few you should visit:


Addressing 9 Myths and Facts About Sleep For Better Insight

A Blog Milestone – I had a guest post there last week, so I’m going to take some of the credit.

Two bloggers sharing their platforms:


Friday Click & Run – 7/5/21 – Stevie Turner

Promote Your Blog! – Phoebe Chi

Hey look! A book ‘o poetry!

Want a copy to hone your editing skills?


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
poetry

Month/Weekend Wrap-up: May 1

I did it. Thirty poems in thirty days. I don’t think I will change to much when I go back to revise them. Even though some were rushed (I tried to write them before a certain time in the morning to keep my posts consistent), they did benefit from the time constraint.

I’m not happy with how I set up my poem page, so my next task is to put them all into a book. Looking back, I should have done that as I went along. let me know if you would like a copy.

What’s that? Do I have a favorite? I can’t say that I do.

I didn’t read as many posts this month but here are a few you should visit:


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Music Monday: So Many Genres by Leon Stevens – Sally has a great following of engaged readers. Thanks again, Sally.


Guest Post: Leon Stevens – Thanks to beetleypete for the opportunity to share my thoughts with his readers.

To embark on my next challenge:

Poetry Prompt from NaNoPoWriMo:  Don’t write a poem today.

Done.

Wait. I have one more:

Mom

Sometimes we didn’t see eye to eye
Except for the year I was as tall as you
It was long ago in years
And since then I’ve grown
It’s true
Your experience I oft ignored
Thinking I knew better
Not true I realized
You will always see and do
More than me
Without your love
I wouldn’t be…here
I apologize for any grief
As a no-it-all teen 
Or caused by my stupidity
Looking back on all that time
The trips we took
The glasses of wine
Some of the best time spent
Oddly when it didn’t seem
The next room they can hear us bitchin’
Sharing what we think is best
You and I fighting in the kitchen

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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

NaPoWriMo: Day 30 (Destinations)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  Write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

Here it is. The last day of the challenge. I want to thank you for stopping by and reading my daily creations. I hadn’t poetry for a while, since I shifted my focus to my science fiction writing. It was a good incentive to get back to what started my writing journey, and looking back on the last 29 days, I’m happy with what I wrote.

Here From There

No two people
Will arrive at the same place
Given directions and a numbered pace
We line them up
And teach the skills
Then release them with free wills
Learn the basics
So you can make the choice
Everybody has a voice
Start at Reading Road
Make sure you don’t miss Comprehension Boulevard
Turn at Writing Avenue
Left or right it’s yours to choose
You will see Math Street coming up
Spend time at the Basics block
If you miss it
You may get lost
Don’t hesitate to ask for directions
Everybody there 
Is extremely helpful
And each has a different perspective
You can try to climb the hill 
Of  You Can Be Anything You Want To Be
For some it’s better to go around, you’ll see
There is no shame to turn around
And start again a second time round
Sometimes it will be best 
To ignore the GPS
You will find your destination 
Changes as you travel the nation
But when you arrive
Take a look around
This will be the place you’ve found



Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 30


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

NaPoWriMo: Day 29 (Windows)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene.

One more day to come. I think I’m going to miss the routine.

Looking Back

My childhood home disappears 
Behind the climbing tree
My first college dorm fades
Into the brownstone facades
My apartment with the narrow stairs
Slowly hidden by its neighbor  
The rented house seems smaller
Even though I’m not the last to leave
The waving line dwindles
While the music plays 
I must have missed the point
When the mountains yielded to the prairie
I looked away for a moment 
The ocean gone when I return my gaze
I am sometimes filled with envy that
The rear window has seen the last 
Of all my firsts



Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 29


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.