Thank You

A Birthday and a Book Launch Milestone

What a ride and nothing made me happier than to share my Book Launch journey and my birthday  with my internet family.

A Birthday Wish and a Milestone

 

To thank you for following along and providing comments and support,  below is an excerpt (Sorry for the formatting.  I tried every which way to format the excerpt but I guess WordPress has a mind of its own).

     A Grand Mexico Tour. 

To: Mailing List
Date: December 28th
From: Sharon, John and our fur baby, Rex – The Crazy Canucks
Subject: Somewhere in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range in Mexico
I’m composing my e-mail by long-hand until we reach an Internet Café.
We’re staring at a makeshift bridge spanning a twenty-five foot drop. Five vehicles, overflowing with Mexicans chomping at the bit for us to advance, are lined up behind us. Their shouts and cheers fill the air. The unraveling panorama is the reason for our predicament: a collapsed bridge – a mudslide, I suspect. John has this incredibly intense expression on his face. More like a crazed man on speed rather than a man secure in his ability to maintain his sanity while balancing us on a high-wire. Seriously, I’m wondering why I ever let him talk me into pulling a forty-foot fifthwheel into the depths of Mexico.
I’m writing to distance myself from the situation. I can’t call anybody since there’s no phone service in the boonies. Why am I not screaming and yelling? Because, we’ve just spent six grueling hours crossing over a mountain range, and I’m numb. Besides, I dare not add more stress to my typical calm English husband. LOL.
Anyway, my hope is you’ll receive this snippet in the weekly trip-around-Mexico briefing and that you’re picturing yours truly basking in the sun with a piña colada in hand. Or, you’ve been contacted by a Mexican Official (just know I haven’t sold your contact information), and we’ve probably plunged.

                                                                                   ***

The pen flew out of my hand when John screeched, “What are you doing?” and Rex weighed in with a guttural wail.
“I’m writing an email to our family and friends.”
“Are you absolutely-bloody-nuts?”
“Would you prefer I join you and Rex in a howl fest?”
He whipped his head from side to side. The clicking of his stiff neck muscles made me wince. “There’s no way I can position the rig on the bridge or reverse. We’re buggered.”
“And whose fault is that? We could be enjoying winter in a luxury Texas campground. Oh noooooo! Not us. Like idiots, we had to explore Mexico.” I said, thinking about the way I had let him talk me into taking to the road.
“Do we have to deal with this issue now?”
I slouched in the seat, a litany of directionless ramblings competing for my attention. I rubbed my forehead and brushed my hair from my face. Only the sound of Rex licking his private parts breaks the quiet. This challenge is but one in a long list of challenges we had faced since entering Mexico three months earlier.
-1-

In the predawn hours of a nippy autumn morning, John pulled into a parking lot across from the US-Mexico Bridge. Variegated layers of violet and pink radiated through the cloud cover, and with each passing moment, light overtook the darkness, exposing the landscape’s silhouette. He tapped the steering wheel like a professional piano player, waiting to cross the Rio Grande for our eight-month Mexico adventure.
His eyes darted from the clock to the floodlit entryway. Odors of antiperspirant mingled with gasoline fumes hung in the cabin air. A jade green jeep sped by.
I gazed at my folded hands on my lap, my brain spinning like a kaleidoscope of intertwining degrees of high and uneasy emotions. “We’re leaving behind everything familiar–family, country, language, food, and culture,” I whispered.
“I’m as chuffed as nuts I dragged you this far.”
The floodlights switched off as the fiery orange sun rose higher into the sky. John finished the last drop of his coffee and placed the empty cup next to mine in the cup holder. He laced his fingers together and stretched upward. “I promised you winter in Mexico, and I’m going to deliver. It’s time. Ready?”
I nodded, patted his shoulder, and released a long sigh. “A little late for second-guessing. We’ve probably faced everything traveling in an RV could throw at us.” I reached for his hand. “I wouldn’t hold a change of heart against you. Even if we stopped RVing today, we have wonderful memories to last a lifetime.”
John swung around and faced me. “Hang on. You’re kidding, right?”
“Yeah, I’m kidding.” I changed the subject for both our sakes. “We’ve rehearsed three dry runs to the border. You’ve worried yourself sick with what-ifs.” I waved a copy of Camping in Mexico in his face. “We’ve read this book cover to cover, bought every Mexican map, and even learned a bit of Spanish.”
He bit his lower lip and half-smiled. “I know. I want to guarantee I’ve covered the bases and anticipated every conceivable glitch. Also, I can finally find someone to repair the generator. All set?” He looked over his right shoulder and stroked the dog’s head. “Ready, Rex?”
Rex shook his silky white coat and released strands of fluff into the air. He scratched at the seat like his effort might soften the leather, found his perfect spot and curled himself into a ball.
“The agents have assumed their posts,” John shrieked. “The border is open for business.”
A yellow eighteen-wheeler passed us and halted at the open wicket. A white Chevrolet pulled in behind the truck and a blue Range Rover behind the car. John flexed his fingers in readiness, glanced my way, and touched my hand.
“We’re next. Viva Mexico.”

 

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Meet and Greet Weekend @ DBDO: 1/29/16

Meet and Greet. How Cool.

Dream Big, Dream Often

dream-big image credit: the love shop

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend at Dream Big!!  I hope everyone’s January has been productive!  Hard to believe it is almost February!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  The more people that see and participate in the MnG, the more potential new followers!  So, share, share share!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times each day!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules…

View original post 18 more words

Book Launch

Follow my Book Launch Journey Part 5

Perspective – The Wind is not Always  at your Back

A Grand Mexico Tour

 

In Part 4, I promised to share the answers to  three questions that quelled my fears for marketing   “A Grand Mexico Tour” .

I found a free tool  The Book Marketing Canvas , a business plan of sorts  designed by Tom Morkes to help me in this process.  I tried to insert the completed Canvas here, but WordPress doesn’t accept PDF files.    Instead, I’ll give you the gist of what I  discovered.

Question 1.  What is your goal for writing your e-books and  how will you measure success?

My goal is to share  our  experiences  with as many people as I can and I measure  success not by the number of  sales but from their feedback.

We turned our lives upside down and traded suburbia for life on the road in a forty-foot fifthwheel.  We traveled across Canada, the United States and Mexico.   Faces lit up when John and I shared our RVing stories.  Each adventure brought out laughter and curiosity.

I  kept a hand-written journal of our travels and It just made sense to create a permanent record  and place my books in front of as many people as possible.    I welcomed the challenge.     I discovered I loved helping people to  understand the RVing  lifestyle  and that discovery  led to long-lasting relationships.

Question 2.   Who  are these e-books for?

Travelers and adventures was my first answer but when I  brainstormed a tad more, I came up with a more defined group of folks.

People who want to live the adventure from the comfort of their armchair.

People who have camped for fun and are thinking about the full- time RVing lifestyle.

People with a five-year plan. “When I retire in five years, I’m going RVing.”

People who RV and stay fixed in one campground and are thinking of traveling to Mexico.

People who want a true life version of what RVing is all about.  No fluff

 

Question 3.  What is the  problem  my  audience has and how do my books solve it?

My reader is likely  curious but reluctant to take risks.  The biggest pain is the fear to make the decision to RV and  taking the steps to venture out.

My husband and I did what most people can only dream about.    A person will decide to either travel to Mexico by RV or not  after reading my newest e-book, A Grand Mexico Tour.  But even if they only want to travel from the comfort of their armchairs,   my hope is readers will  travel with us throughout Mexico and live our experience.

To sum up:

love

Two more days to launch and I’m busy updating my social media accounts and tweaking my website.    The excitement is building . . . . . . .

 

Book Launch

Follow my Book Launch Journey Part 4

Marketing Dilemma

Marketing Dilema A Grand Mexico Tour

 

Ten Reasons Why I Find  Marketing so Darned Difficult

  1.  I’m an unknown author.
  2. Why should I think anyone would be interested in my subject?
  3. What if readers don’t like my book?
  4. What if  I receive a one-star rating?
  5. Where do I start?
  6. There are sooooo many books competing for readers on Amazon.
  7. Exposure scares me.
  8. Can I handle becoming  a successful author?
  9. Will I have to speak in public?
  10. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

Writing the book is a personal triumph; selling the book,  a private nightmare..  I had to do a lot of soul searching and boiled all the above reasons  down to………drum roll…..

A Grand Mexico Tour

FEAR

Yes, self-promotion sucks, but to share my -E-books,  I needed to get real.  So I did what I do best.  I researched and digested everything Marketing on the Internet.  I joined several free self-publish marketing e-courses.     The main message I took away from each of these courses  has been summed up best by  Todd Sattersten, former President of 800-CEO-READ :

“Every book is a startup.”

In other words, to be successful in the dog-eat-dog   marketing arena,  I had to treat my E-books like  a business.  Do you know that sinking feeling  in the pit of your stomach when what you hear doesn’t fit with your moral fiber.  I cringed at the idea of treating my creations like a business.

Social media I could handle.  Soliciting emails,  not so much.  Once I stopped panicking,  I rationalized I didn’t have to implement every one of their strategies.    I could pick and choose the strategies that best suited my personality like introducing readers to  my world by offering  E-Book one in my series, On RVing Time,  for free in line with  the goal I shared with you in Part 3 of this journey.  I hope you grabbed your copy and enjoyed the adventure.

My goal for marketing my e-book is to have fun by sharing information with my readers.

My infamous and pragmatic  English husband,  John,  pointed out the obvious to me.  “Free.    You won’t keep us in  choccy biscuits offering your hard work for free, my love.”

Digestives

 

I explained.   “Have you seen all the Star War movies? Or the Harry Potter movies? Did you line up for hours in freezing cold temperatures?  No, you waited a week or two for the crowds to die down.   You might remember bits of  each movie but if you’re anything like me, I can’t remember one from the other. That’s where TV comes in.  To elicit buzz for the upcoming release,   the franchise schedules, for free, the back episodes to bring viewers  up to date.  Well, I copied their strategy.”

“You’re the author,”  he said,  stomping off with the last of the biscuits.

In my next post, I’ll share with you  three questions that helped me put Marketing into perspective.

What are your favorite marketing strategies?

 

Book Launch

Follow my Book Launch Journey Part 3

In Part 2 of my journey, I set a goal to format my book and upload to KDP Select.  Why did I choose KDP Select?  Exposure.  Plain and Simple.

The following GIF says it all.

Book Launch A Grand Mexico Tour

 

Imagine the happy dance I did when I received this email from Kindle:

Congratulations! Your book “A Grand Mexico Tour” is available for pre-order in the Kindle Store. It is available* for customers to pre-order here.

Publishing Stage completed.

Switching  hats from publisher to the Marketing Stage. 

Marketing is far more than the act of selling your book. Instead, it is a process that helps you build a relationship with your readers, and greater excitement for your book.

My goal for marketing my e-book is to have fun by sharing information with my readers.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement. Oh okay.  I can’t wait!!!  The entire northern hemisphere is bracing for freezing temperatures and major snow tomorrow and that means  “Snow day”.

Starting January 22 to January 24, you can download a free copy of my e-book   In A Long, Long, Trailer, Too!,  the first book in my series On RVing Time.  Don’t have a reader,  not to worry.  You can download a free Kindle Reader for PC .  Feel free to share this link.

Okay you marketing gurus out there.    I’d love to hear from you.  Share your experiences with marketing self-published books.

 

 

 

 

Book Launch

Follow My Book Launch Journey Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1,  free resources abound on the internet to walk you through each step of your journey and I’d like to mention  one in particular that  I’ve found invaluable to keep me on track.

 BookFuel,  a website specializing in all aspects of  editing, publishing and marketing  a book for a fee ,  offers  a free tool called Launch Pad for the hands-on author with a limited budget like me.  A brief description   follows:

LaunchPad assembles all of the knowledge and tools you need, right in one place, and offers an interactive publishing experience. Step by step, we walk you through everything you need to do to prepare your book for market, publish a top-notch product, and market it. What’s more, LaunchPad tracks your progress in every area of your project, helping you stay organized and on task.

My LaunchPad, created once I set up an account, is divided into three major stages–  Editing, Publishing and Marketing.

Editing Stage completed.   My manuscript  survived critique reviews, peer reviews, and  I’ve gone back to the drawing board and burned the midnight oil on more than one occasion writing and rewriting.   For this book, I hired a   professional editor and I can rest assured I’ve done my best to present to my audience a product worth reading.

Author

Switching  hats from author status to the Publisher Stage.   For this stage, I will use an amazing free digital resource created by Amazon titled  Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing,   a guide that covers everything from  Tax Information to Content Rights,  Royalty Options to Lending Rights  and  Amazon’s Help Section, to  format and upload my  title for sale in the Kindle Store.   I successfully followed these detailed  instructions to publish my first two E-books .

My Goal this week:

Format and Upload my Book.

I’d love to hear from you.  What is your experience with self-publishing?

Stay tuned.

Book Launch

Follow My Book Launch Journey Part 1

I’ve scheduled the release of my new e-book for January 31, 2016.

 

Third Book

To launch a book without a plan is like sending your kindergarten-aged child to University.  I know because I launched two e-books the hard way.   But I am committed to send my third e-book into the Amazon world with the tools for success.

My journey thus far.

A  ton of work has  gone into writing this e- book.  But the work isn’t finished.  You now step into the world of  publishing,  marketing and promotion.   If you have funds, you’re in luck.  Gurus abound.  If you don’t,  you  do what every entrepreneur  does. You scour the internet for people who have succeeded in pivoting their book launch for success and you study  their strategy for success..    Like a new employee on the job, I wrote oodles of notes,   and   hit the motherload.

I stumbled into a free course hosted by D’vorah Lanksey  For a full month, I listened to  top-notch marketing gurus sharing their expert advice on everything from author platforms to writing a book in thirty days.

Blog Hop

Each week’s theme built on to the next and at the end of the month, I had  a clue about the marketing required to sell books.

For  my final challenge, I wrote a blog, The 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge and shared my experience.    The short excerpt below is the action step that most resonated with me.

Develop Your Author Platform, my favorite marketing strategy; put marketing my book into perspective for me. I learned valuable techniques to help me increase my visibility as an author. I enhanced my author central account on Amazon, set up Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and  participated in my first Fan Page Friday. What a hoot!   And, I created a blog.

Not feeling comfortable with writing blogs,   I discovered Scoop it.   What’s that, you ask?   The founders of the website say it best.

A robust content curation technology to save time finding the content you need.
An intuitive publishing platform.

Over the moon,  I curated five subjects,  but in the end,  I didn’t attract many visitors to my blog and couldn’t figure out why millions of bloggers didn’t find my stuff.    I scratched my head and researched blogging for an answer.   Wow, what an eye-opener.  It wasn’t enough I found great content and let people know of my milestones, like being No. 1 in Australia or hitting Best Seller’s List in the United States for my first two books, I had to communicate and engage  with real people.

Luck was on my side.  I  stumbled into a blogging course hosted by WordPress and discovered real-life blogging is a two-way street.   I tried.  Oh, I tried.  As soon as my fingers hit the keys, I froze.  Being exposed scared the beejeebers out of me.   Once I  mastered my fear and opened myself to this wonderful group of people who shared their wealth of information, inspiration and wisdom, I felt empowered.  All the months of learning will now be put to good use.

Stay tuned…..