Facebook Sharing Connundrum

Have you read the new policies on Facebook?

If you're like me and have a profile page and a "readers fan" page or other special interest page, you're probably scratching your head in confusion.

On one hand, Facebook is telling you to post to your network about yourself, your life, etc. For writers, that means, we'd be posting about our daily lives.

But that apparently  is forbidden because we'd be talking about writing our books, reading, publishing, and the pain of promotion, etc. because our lives revolve around all that.

Facebook considers all of that commercialism. That means if we put that on our timeline, our posts might not reach anyone but a fraction of our followers. FB seems to be saying they will censor what goes out from us.

Same thing with our fan pages I guess because it's hard to separate our writing and our personal lives. They always overlap. Yet, I get emails from Facebook every day telling me my followers haven't heard from me in a while or asking me to boost my posts on my fan page.

So what are we supposed to say when books are our worlds and overlap into our personal lives? I'm pretty sure no one wants to know how many cups of coffee I had this morning (2 and I'm going to make some more in a minute) or what I'm wearing (still in my pajamas since Darling Hubby left early to go to the country.)

Facebook is trying to get people to network more, like they did back in the day before they started selling our private information so they could rake in even more money. *LOL*

I still think Facebook is a good place to pass along information about good books you've read, blogposts you love, information you've found, music that speaks to you, and videos that are fun. So go ahead and do that.
Just ignore the hoopla & focus on writing.

What you share may be exactly what someone needs to give their day a lift or make them smile or tell them about a book they'll want to read.

If your followers LIKE, COMMENT, and then SHARE your post, FB will expose your post to a wider audience according to what I read.

Of course, if you do all that, on every post you read, you'll spend a lot of time, and time is a scarce commodity for writers—for just about everyone in fact.

Takeaway Truth

There's a fine line between judicious social media use and a giant time suck. See if you can find the balance you need.

Cruise America's Rivers

I want a relaxing vacation where I don't have to lift a finger and can sleep all day if I wish. I was thinking of another cruise.

Maybe a river cruise, but I didn't want the long flight and expense to get to the European port not to mention the rather pricey river cruises there.

I heard about American riverboat cruises and looked them up. Wow. I was surprised.

If you like to cruise and you've been on all of ships plying the Caribbean, Mexican coast, and the glaciers, maybe you're looking for something a little different too.

American Riverboat Cruises

I've never thought about cruising America's rivers and bays nor have I spoken to anyone who has. American Cruise Lines cruise all of America's well-known waterways from east to west. You can do the glacier thing too if you like that.

With 12 ships and a wide selection of dates and destinations, chances are you can get a great river cruise vacation for a good price and without the higher airfare expense of traveling to Europe.
Yes! They're paddlewheelers! Amazing.

Their ships are the newest and most environmentally friendly small cruise ships and riverboats in America.

They say that "attentive and personalized service is the hallmark" of their cruise line, and they offer "exquisite cuisine from highly trained chefs" with locally sourced ingredients.

From what I read online, they offer complimentary experiences like evening cocktail hours, pre-cruise hotel stays, and exciting shore excursions on select cruises.

Private balconies have sliding glass doors to spacious private balconies with panoramic river views from every angle, daily entertainment, a large selection of staterooms, and their ships are American built, flagged, and crewed.

With 35 cruise itineraries, they visit 28 states in America. The final deciding factor? They have free WiFi.

Have you taken one of these American Cruise Lines vacations? Leave a comment if you have or you'd like to.

Takeaway Truth

By the way, this is not a paid endorsement, but something I checked into and am adding to our vacation wish list. However, I wouldn't be opposed to getting a free trip to try out a riverboat cruise! *LOL*

Give Me One Reason: 3 Ways to Hook Readers

Remember the song by Tracy Chapman, Give Me One Reason To Stay Here?

I think of that song when I'm writing book promotion copy.

In the song, Chapman sings that she'll turn right back around if she just has 1 reason to stay.

Now, think about your Product Description on your Amazon book page. Is that first sentence a reason for the visitor to stay there?

In the song, Chapman wants one reason. On your book webpage, you better have more than one reason, or the book browser will exit and move on to the next book.

Always make sure everything on your book's webpage is a reason to stay there, reading it all, checking out the reviews, checking the price, and finally clicking BUY.

What makes a reader stay on the page?

3 Ways to Hook the Reader

1. Create excitement about your book.

Does the first sentence make you read the second? Does the second make you read the third, and so on? If it's boring, poorly written, grammatically incorrect, contains misspelled words, or its confusing and muddled, you'll lose the potential buyer.

2. Tell the reader what kind of book it is.

Don't be wishy washy and try to make the book sound as if it appeals to every reader or to romance and women's fiction readers or mystery and romance readers, or any combination thereof. That won't work.

You'll lose romance readers because they'll think the book is too much women's fiction. You'll lose women's fiction readers because they don't want that romance stuff. There's a reason traditional publishers always labeled every book specifically.

That's so readers could find the book in stores. Romance readers knew to go to the romance section. Mystery readers went straight to the mystery section. The only authors who successfully wrote mixed genre books were talents like Dean Koontz.

Remember, Amazon is just a giant bookstore. Romance readers want to find a romance easily. They don't want to guess whether it's a real romance or not.

3. Use a marketing hook, like a trope, when writing the book.

A trope is a common literary device or motif that is universally popular with readers.

Start thinking about what kind of marketing hook, or trope, you can use before you write the book.

When using a trope, be sure to emphasize the trope in the product description and use it as a keyword especially in your marketing copy.

Here's a short list of the most popular romance tropes. There are many others.

* runaway bride
* secret baby
* ugly duckling
* amnesia
* debt of honor
* Cinderella
* evil twin
* love at first sight
* bad cop
* ripped from the headlines
* woman in jeopardy
* marriage of convenience.

Other than the 3 marketing hooks above, the rest is more or less a guessing game because there's no consistent evidence about ROI.

Authors roll the dice and try these marketing protocols with varying success.

* Give away copies in the hope of getting good reviews. Unfortunately, readers hardly ever leave reviews for various reasons. Also unfortunately, good reviews don't translate into good sales.

* Buy ads on websites and newsletters with lots of dedicated genre readers. The ads that work are usually very expensive. You can easily drop almost a grand on BookBub.

* Blog about a book. If you write an entertaining post that hits the reader's imagination, this actually can pay off by gaining you a reader for your posts.

Chances are if your posts are found interesting, readers will keep reading you. Soon they'll experience the "I know that author" feeling and are more apt to give one of your books a chance.

Takeaway Truth

Consistently use the 3 Marketing Hooks listed. Using a trope wisely and well is a good way to gain readers for your brand.

Best Advice for Fathers: If by Kipling

Happy Father's Day.

If you're looking for advice on how to be a man of integrity, look no further than today's "guest" post.

Actually, my guest author died many years ago. His works are now in public domain.

I'm quoting one of my favorite poems, If by Rudyard Kipling.

This inspirational poem was first published in 1909 in his collection, Rewards and Fairies.

The poem has been quoted often, and some of the lines are inscribed on buildings, like over the players' entrance at Wimbledon.

Lines from it often appear in pop culture today, like a password used in the 2015 movie, Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, a song performed by Joni Mitchell on her 2007 album Shine, a video tribute to Boston Red Sox retiring player David Ortiz, and so many more.

If is inspirational—one might say it's rules for being a grown-up or a blueprint for integrity.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Takeaway Truth

If and other works by Kipling are in public domain and can be found in Public Domain Poetry.

Little Known Achievements By Women

I had to take a calming breath before writing this!
Over lunch, my husband told me he heard a man on TV commenting about the recent women's soccer team victory.

Darling Hubby shook his head in disgust and told me what the [profane noun deleted] man said.

It went something like this, "Face it. An average 15-year-old boys' soccer team could beat them."

Misogyny Is Alive & Well

Do you know the precise definition of misogyny? It's the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.

Misogyny manifests in many ways: social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, male privilege, belittling of women, disenfranchisement of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification.

The male talking head mentioned above certainly fits that definition. I won't go into the emotional and psychological reasons some men are misogynists. I'm not a shrink. I'm just a woman who recognizes a misogynist when one rears his arrogant, entitled head.

Women shouldn't have their achievements denigrated any more than men should have theirs belittled. Yet, women have often seen their triumphs ignored.

Little Known Achievements By Women

These are just a few of the many achievements by women that may surprise you.

A team of six women programmed the first digital computer. The female mathematicians participated in a World War II program coding instructions into what was then a revolutionary machine: the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer better known as ENIAC.

Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper for automobiles in 1903. By 1916, windshield wipers were standard equipment on all cars.

The two highest IQ scores ever recorded were from women. Standardized testing changed the commonly-held belief that women were intellectually inferior to men.

The top score came from Marilyn vos Savant, an author and columnist. To this day, she is the Guinness World Record holder for highest IQ.

Margaret Heafield was the director of software engineering for NASA’s Apollo space program.
She wrote the mathematical sequence that enabled the Apollo mission to be successful. She was so good at what she did, NASA had her double check equations done by computers.

Eliza Zamfirescu was the world’s first female engineer. After being rejected in her home country of Romania due to prevailing misogyny at the time, she attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Technology Berlin in 1912.

American chemist Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, the material used in most bulletproof vests and body armor. In 1995, she became the fourth woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall Of Fame. Only 4 women out of so many female inventors!

Katharine Blodgett, the first female engineer at General Electric's research laboratory, invented the process of making non-glare glass in the 1930's by discovering how to transfer mono-molecular coatings onto glass. Her discovery was used to improve cameras, cinematography lenses, eyeglasses, and military periscopes.

Takeaway Truth

The story of women's achievements is often the story of fighting for the right to participate and overcoming the barriers placed in front of women.

Summer Playlist: Happy Songs

Summer is here, and that means road trips if you live in Texas—or you just like taking summer vacations by car.

We've been waltzing across Texas since last week. We've listened to audiobooks and lots of music from singers entertaining at the wineries and restaurants to the playlists I put together for drive time.

Everything is grist for my writer's imagination. I'll probably listen to this playlist as I'm writing my next book.

Summer Music

Here are 18 songs that are perfect for summer road trips. They're songs the entire family can sing along and seat dance.

This playlist is heavy on the 80's hits because Darling Hubby and I watching Stranger Things 1 and 2 again before we left.

We're prepped for Stranger Things 3 which hits Netflix on July 4. We can hardly wait!!

(If you don't subscribe to Netflix, Stranger Things is a very good reason to start!)

Back to Summer Music

Anyway, back to music. These tunes will make you whistle, sing along, snap your fingers, and generally feel good all over.

I'm giving the Amazon link to each song so you can easily click to listen to each one.

Many of these are in albums, but you can usually buy just the individual song on Amazon or from iTunes. (I think Kokomo is the exception. It only comes on an album on Amazon.)

Many of these are on Amazon Prime music so they're free to listen to if you're a Prime member so make a playlist.

If you're car is equipped with the latest tech, you can play any Amazon Prime playlist you create merely by having the Prime Music app on your phone.

Just connect your phone via Bluetooth. (Data charges may apply depending on your plan.)

1. In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry, 1970. I've loved this song since I was a kid. It just makes you want to dance and move with the beat.

2. California Girls by The Beach Boys, 1965. Still a cute, fun song.

3. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts, 1972. Smooth and laid back like you feel after a frozen margarita.

4. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran, 1958. A real oldie but it's a goodie if you ever had to work in the summer.

5. All Summer Long by Kid Rock, 2007. Country rock with music that's very reminiscent of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

6. Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow, 2002. Hope you get to soak up some sun too.

7. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini by Brian Hyland,1960. I like the French version, Itsy Bitsy Petit Bikini sung by Richard Anthony on the original soundtrack for the movie A Good Year.

8. Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx, 1987. Solid beat for a good "singing" song from the 80's.

9. Shout by Tears For Fears, 1985. Another solid beat "singing" song.

10. Hot Stuff and Bad Girls by Donna Summers, 1979. If you look up sultry disco in the dictionary, you should see a picture of Donna Summers. Both songs just a guilty kareoke pleasure

11. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eye Peas, 2009. Everybody sing!

12. Macarena by Los Del Rio, Bayside Boys Remix, 1996. I don't think I've ever been to a wedding reception in Texas where we didn't dance to Macarena.

13. One of These Nights by The Eagles, 1975. I have every song The Eagles ever recorded—in vinyl and digital. Best band of all time.

14. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston, 1987. Great chorus that's an anthem! Great "singing" song.

15. Honky Tonk Women by The Rolling Stones, 1969. Got to have some Jagger in the playlist.

16. Bye Bye Bye by Nsync, 2000. Aw, come on. Who doesn't love this song?

17. I Love Rock N Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, 1982. You hear this and you have to move your feet, hips, or another part of your anatomy.

18. Kokomo by The Beach Boys, 1988. Makes me want to jump on a cruise ship and go to Kokomo.

Takeaway Truth

I love summer music!

Wending Our Way Home

Does anyone ever say "wending" in today's world?

It's a perfectly good word with a specific meaning.

Here's how the dictionary defines wending: "Go in a specified direction, typically slowly or by an indirect route."

Meander is a good synonym for wending, but it doesn't have the panache of wending.

We're heading home—meandering all over the place to see whatever strikes our fancy. Thus, I choose to say we're wending our way home.

Takeaway Truth

Adopt the word wending. Use it in a sentence or in your writing.