Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Moment of Grace

Hubby and I experienced a heaping moment of grace on Sunday. It wasn’t as if we went looking for it. It just happened and we both recognized it for what it was for it touched us as a sign of hope and possibility.

The weather was glorious that day and we decided to go to a local park in the afternoon to rent a boat for an hour. Hubby prefers the paddle boats. I prefer rowboats because I know how to handle them. However, the paddle boats give arthritic knees a good workout and so that’s what we chose. We donned our life vests and spied our ship. I got in first. Then hubby lifted the ropes off the cleats and hopped in with me. Off we went.

There were many people in the park that day and as we drifted around the lake we saw an amazing array of humanity. There were women in hijabs, Orthodox Jews, Indians, Hispanics, and those who are descendants of former immigrants—like us. Families were picnicking, fishing, or cruising around the lake as we were. Everyone was sharing the same park. Everyone was enjoying the day. Everything was peaceful.

While it is true that these groups were not particularly intermingling, they were all in the same space and walking along the same paths. The children were playing in the same playground.

It was beautiful and hopeful. If everyone can share a park in peace, then surely we can share the entire world in peace. At least, it's a possibility.

With our rental hour nearly over, I attempted to pull up to the dock. I am not as agile as I once was. I no longer leap. I did not pull up close enough to the dock to feel secure in jumping out of the boat. Hubby tried the same maneuver and also failed. Fortunately, a much younger Jewish woman, with a skirt that reached to her ankles, asked if we needed help. We gratefully accepted. She easily reached down, grabbed the ropes and attached them to the cleats. We thanked her profusely. Without her help, we may have been there for a while longer.

Our moment of grace has stayed with us We saw not just that park, but the world as it could be. Pray for peace. It's a real possibility.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Experience With Book Promotion Sites

Writing books is fun. Selling books is difficult. When I reissued Sea of Hope, I believed readers would be compelled to download it just because it had a spiffy new cover. Nope. A good cover helps, but it's nearly impossible to get noticed these days in the book world.

I tried Facebook ads, but they were not very successful. So I opted to try as many book promotion sites as possible. I was not lucky enough to get into Bookbub. Robin Reads also turned me down, maybe because at that point I priced the book at $1.99.

Still, Booksends accepted the book at $1.99. The ad ran on April 7th. I sold a few books and that was that. I figured I had to drop the price to $0.99 if I wanted to sell more books--even though I would not make up the price of the ad.

On April 27th an ad ran in Ereader News Today with the book at $0.99. Sales were terrific! The book's rank on Amazon soared. 😃

On May 12th, I ran an ad on Bargain Booksy with my book at $0.99. I sold about twice as many as I did with BookSends, but not anywhere near what I sold with Ereader News Today.

My ad in Fussy Librarian ran on June 4th. I sold about one sixth of the books I sold in Ereader News Today. Nevertheless, new readers discovered the book. In fact, which each of these promotions, I was able to reach people who were willing to take a chance on my book.

On June 16th, Sea of Hope was featured at BookGorilla for $0.99. I sold roughly twice as many books with BookGorilla as I did with Fussy Librarian, but only one third of what I sold with Ereader News Today.

Meanwhile, I went begging for reviews--since the reviews from the first edition of Sea of Hope no longer exist.

Marketing is very tough work, but book promotion sites do help in getting books into the hands of readers. Maybe one of these days, I'll get into Bookbub. Wish me luck!

For a list of book promotion sites go to Best Book Promotion Sites 2018.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

How Do You Deal With Stress?

The North Beach at Sandy Hook, NJ

I stress, you stress, we all stress. When I am stressed I usually have one of two reactions. Either my eye starts twitching or I get hives. Neither of these reactions are much fun.

Last week was a difficult one. One family member underwent major surgery. Daughter #1 and her beloved celebrated their her first wedding anniversary at our house. (We were going to have a cookout, but--of course--it rained.) The edits for Patriot’s Courage arrived with a ton of things to fix. After three tries, hubby and I failed to find a pair of shoes that fit his mother. Then I learned my cousin, who is only four years younger than I am, had open heart surgery. And there were no more Christening caps for baptisms at our church.

Of course, some folks have things far worse and many people point out that I am technically retired. Most days it doesn't feel like I'm retired.

At any rate, I was busy. I dove into the edits whenever I could. I planned a very simple gathering for the small anniversary celebration so that wasn't really a problem. I crocheted whenever I could--in the car, while visiting our family member, or while visiting my mother-in-law. I finished four caps that way.

The week ended well. Our family member is recuperating well from the surgery. The party was delightful. I just printed out the manuscript so I can see if everything is fixed. Yesterday morning we went to another shoe store and found a pair of shoes that not only fit my mother-in-law, but that she likes. My cousin will be staying with her folks until she's well.

But I'm itchy. Red welts have appeared in several location on one leg. I'm hoping that since things have calmed down, the rash won't spread. The bright spot is that my eye isn't twitching. 😉

There were a few things that would have calmed me last week that I didn't take the time to do, mostly because I didn't have any time. If I had taken a walk at the beach or in the park, I would have felt better. If I had taken the time to paint or draw, it would have settled my mood.

Prayer would have helped, too. Not that I didn't pray, but my prayers were quick and desperate. I didn't sit still and spend much time with the Lord. I find meditative prayer far more effective for me.

How do you deal with the stress in your life?