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Monday, March 31, 2014

My Thoughts On Book Blog Tours

Recently, I just finished a blog or virtul tour for the release of Baby Girl Book 2 Moonlighting in Paris.

I had participated in a couple tours, even using thetroubledoysteras to participate. I think any exposure to an authors book is good and a blog tour does that. Each site that hosts the author's tour has its own set of viewers and followers so the book is seen by a large viewing audience.

I also ran a Facebook event at the same time, playing games and getting to know my fans. I loved it and can't speak enough about how great the experience was.I would definitely consider having a Facebook or Google+ event. You and your fans get to know each other and the author can run more giveaways. I used trivia having to do with elements of the book and gave a few more books away.

At the same time I had a giveaway going on which also turned out successful, only I wished I'ld of had a few more entrants but either way my books went out to new people who were just hearing about me for the first time.

What I recomend to any authors contemplating whether they want to complete a blog tour or not, go for it! Here is some advice:

1. Study blogs-find blogs that interest you and contact the bloggers. Have material ready for the bloggers but make it something that caters to their sight, talk with them. I ran a short blog tour of only 5 days and talked with friends of mine who have blogs or people I have blogged for; reciprocity is a great quality. Consider this when contacting the blogger, give them a reason to feature you such as freebies, bragging on the excellent job they did, or bringing in a lot of views. Many people make money on their blogs so more viewers means the possibility of more money. Don't be pushy though and remember thetroubledoyster is willing to host you.

2. I ran my tour for 5 days, and that just isn't enough time. Try 10-15 days with or without weekends, maximum exposure. You may also have a greater turnout in a giveaway.

3. Have a giveaway. Goodreads is a great place to run a giveaway, you can even pick the countries. When I ran mine in February I gave away 5 autographed books worldwide. Here is the catch you are responsible for mailing the books. I spent quite a bit of money on postage but it was well worth it. For my blog tour I tried rafflecopter. This was my first experience with running a giveaway through them and I chose them because the Baby Girl books are only available in Kindle (Goodreads you have to give away paper or hard copies). I would suggest at least one giveaway, maybe run a rafflecopter and Goodreads.

4. I kept up with the tour here and posted daily the events. I would say daily was too much. Twice a week would be better for a longer tour.

Blog tours are a great tool! I gave away a lot of books but even without the giveaways I sold more books and I got more reviews for both the Baby Girl books. I have a few more fans as well and a few people have already told me they can't wait for book 3!

Will I do another one? Definitely, I plan on one for As Snow Falls one year anniversary coming up in August. I am seriously considering releasing her name as well.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Meet Shalu Sharma author and blogger

I don't do a lot of reviews for children's books hers are worth the read. Shalu has such an in depth knowledge of India and the ability to write the information in an easy flowing book. Shalu has several other books. She is also a successful blogger, take a few minutes and read my interview with her, and gain some helpful tips.
Click pic to visit at at Amazon

India for Kids: Amazing Facts About India by Shalu Sharma is an interesting and captivating book full to the brim with all types of information imaginable about India. She covers all topics such as geography, religions, culture, language, clothing styles, Indian epics, weather, climate and so much more. I learned more about India in 30 minutes of reading than I have known in my entire life!

Shalu's words make this a great read for children The sentences are tailored to the readability level of young children, although older children and adults may enjoy this book as well. The book is organized into several short chapters with a font size comfortable for kids. The style of her writing is warm and inviting, don't be surprised if you want to jump on a plane to India after reading.

India for Kids: Amazing Facts About India is a must read for children.

Hindi Language For Kids And Beginners Speak Hindi Instantly by Shalu Sharma is a well written, helpful guide to learners who are interested in learning a new language whether it be for travel purposes, fun, or curiosity this is the book to start with.

Shalu has organized the book into easy to reference groups starting with the alphabet and ending with basic conversation. She has clues as to how to pronounce the words, and at the end of the book is a link to her website where the reader can go and hear the words in order to make sure they are practicing correct pronunciation. She doesn’t throw in any confusing language semantics but strictly sticks to the most spoken words and phrases in the Hindi language.

A most helpful book!

Interview with Shalu

Elle:  Tell us a little about yourself.

Shalu: My name is Shalu Sharma and I am a blogger. I blog about India and traveling to India on my blog ShaluSharma.com. I am also a social media enthusiast. This means that I am trying to figure out
how to promote things on social media, love spending time and interacting on various social media platforms.

Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment?

Shalu: My latest writing accomplishment is my book called, “Hindi Language For Kids And Beginners: Speak Hindi Instantly” (ISBN-10: 1497535832). This is a language book for children. There are many parents around the world who wants their children to learn Hindi which is the main language of India. This is book for them. Someone who wishes to learn more or a traveler to India will also find the book useful. The book is on Amazon in both the ebook and paperback format.

Elle: What is your inspiration for writing children's books?

Shalu: I am always teaching my children and then it occurred to me that why not write them down for other children. Hence the inspiration comes from my own children and the fact that other children will find these books useful. 

Elle: Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Shalu: So far I have 9 books published, most of them in both the ebook and paperback format. You can take a look at my Amazon author profile: Shalu Sharma's Amazon author page
I will list the books here for you. 
They are: 
India For Kids: Amazing Facts About India
Hinduism For Kids: Beliefs And Practices
Essential India Travel Guide: Travel Tips And Practical Information
India Travel Survival Guide For Women
Essential Hindi Words And Phrases For Travelers To India
Life and Works of Aryabhata
Hindi Language For Kids And Beginners: Speak Hindi Instantly
How To Start A Travel Blog And Make Money
Mahatma Gandhi For Kids And Beginners

Elle: How long have you been writing and blogging?

Shalu: I haven blogging for several years now but writing books is fairly new. I started writing books in 2013. 

Elle:  Besides being an author you are also a blogger. Please give us about your blogs? 

Shalu: I have several blogs. The most important of them all is 
Blog about traveling to India: http://www.shalusharma.com
Blog about my home state of Bihar in India: http://www.bihar.ws
Other than these 2 blogs, I recently started a book promotion website called BookMuni.com which I use to promote books of my own and others who approaches me. My main aim here is to help others by writing my own experiences.
I have some other blogs but I do not spend a lot of time on them. 

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Shalu: To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to format the books. The next was trying to figure how where to get the covers and so on. Once you have figured these out, it’s fairly easy. Promoting the book is far the greatest challenge of them all. Some say that writing is easy; getting people to buy your book is the hardest thing of them all. 

Elle:  Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Shalu: Promote, promote and promote. Use all possible methods to get the word out. As mentioned above, writing is the easy part, getting customers to buy your book is harder. Why should anyone buy your book, there are so many of them on the Amazon market place. Hence to get people to buy your book is all about marketing. Market hard! I have even detailed how to promote books here from my own personal experience. So keep an eye on the blog. Currently, I am trying Facebook ads and will detail them out soon. 

Elle: Do you have a favorite author?

Shalu: There are a few. But the books from Dan Brown seem very interesting. 

Elle:  You have done a lot of travelling do you have a favorite place to visit?

Shalu: I have traveled to many countries but I find Delhi, the capital of India very interesting. Not because it’s the capital of the India but it really fascinates. It seems to have a lot of history and I love history. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Screwed by Big Business: A Plea For Help

As of today 4/17 I received the rest of my deposit! The point to all this is of course, I want my money, but I also don't want to see this happen to other people. Don't be afraid to fight it. Don't businesses always tack on late fees? My payment was 6 weeks late, where are the late fees they owe me? Anyways, my battle is over, the little gal won.

As of today it has been 18 days since I was called and informed that I would be receiving the remaining $484 of my deposit and still no check. It has been 5 weeks since I moved out. They never had to wait 5 weeks to get my rent? In fact they never had to wait at all because I paid it on time. So why am I still waiting? I will be mailing out letter two tomorrow. This is not the company to rent from. My sincere advice, steer clear of any community rented by MAA (Mid America Apartments). 
I just filed a complaint with the BBB. It seems most of their complaints are similar, hmm... Here is the link. BBB complaints against MAA Memphis Dvision

Recently, I moved out of a two bedroom apartment I was renting no longer needing that much space or the need to pay so exorbitantly for it. I moved in with one of my best friends and hope to save some money to travel the world. Here is my story of how the apartment complex which I won't yet name, although I will say it is located in Fleming Island Florida and is one of the nicer apartment communities with a large pool, many lakes, gym, hair dresser, and more.

I moved into this particular apartment 3 years ago. According to them new carpet had been laid; I had never been shown a receipt to prove that claim. For the next three years I was a model tenant, always paying my rent on time, and moving out at the end of my lease. After moving out, I thoroughly cleaned the apartment, the carpet, even the appliances which I knew they were going to "upgrade".  I even faxed them the carpet cleaning bill I had paid. Imagine my surprise when I received a certified letter from them stating they were going to keep $484 of my $760 deposit. I was floored!

I made a trip to the office where I asked for the charges to be explained. I got a story about we keep the carpets 7-10 years (bullshit) and I was deducted some wear and tear plus my carpet cleaning fee. I asked to see pictures that showed the carpet damaged beyond three years wear and tear. I was fed an excuse that their pictures were on the maintenance man's phone and he was busy, so she was unable to show me (double bullshit). She also informed me that I could file a dispute. At this point I'm thinking many things but kept my cool and walked out. I have mailed them a certified letter explaining my dispute as well as sending a certified letter to their main offices in Memphis Tennessee. I was sure to mail it certified with a signature return.

I am completely disgusted with my treatment and wonder how many others they have done this too. If they had handed me my deposit I may have considered renting from one of their communities in the future, most certainly not now. I will never recommend them either, in fact I will suggest people stay clear of them. I will also tell my story. They have lost future potential customers. Obviously, lacking business 101 skills.
I will keep my nightmare updated here. Below are my pictures. What do you think, does my carpet looked damaged?

Help me by sharing this with as many people as possible.

Update number one while I was typing up this blog post. Personnel at the office of "said" apartments called me and informed me that I would be receiving my $484 because the picture I sent in the letter displayed no damage.

Final Day of Baby Girl Series Blog Tour

Today we travel back to Jeniann's promoting poets and authors blog for the final blog post. Click here to read.
Click the pics to visit the books on Amazon

It's been an eventful, exciting week. I have participated in blog tours in the past but never hosted one, until now. Authors, bloggers look forward to a future post on what I found worked and what didn't work so well.

Today, I want to take a moment and thank all the authors and bloggers who assisted, and supported this endeavor. Thank you Jeniann Bowers, Terri Klaes Harper, KayCee K, Pamela Foreman, and John R. Dizon.

I also want to thank everyone who participated in the Facebook event, shared this event, and participated in the Rafflecopter giveaway. 

Next, I want to review the all the blog stops.

Stop One
Stop Two
Stop Three
Stop Four

Last, I encourage everyone to look further into these blogs and see what these authors are about and take a look at their accomplishments.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jeniann Bowers Expressions and Letters: A Collection of Heartfelt Poetry

I have raved more than once about Jeniann's poetry. She is both an amazing person and an extraordinary author. Below is my review of Expressions and Letters.

Click pic to find on Amazon

  Expressions and Letters Kindle

Expressions and Letters by Jeniann Bowers is a heartfelt collection of poetry. Her poems are impressions from pieces of her life from being an innocent child to the heartbreak she felt over losing loved ones. Each poem is a tiny story that elicits a variety of human emotions the reader can identify with. Jeniann has a special ability to capture snapshots of the soul and bring them to life in full color.

Having now read three of Jeniann’s poetry books her words flow with ease off the tongue and mind. Through her poems she expresses so eloquently and honestly the love and compassion she has for life and all things in it as well as the cruelty she see’s in a sometimes dark world. Her inner strength shines through as each poem unfolds as well as her desires and weaknesses. There is also a playfulness in her words heard through the love she feels for her children.

Expressions and Letters along with Jeniann’s other poetry are a collection of remarkable poetry that is in a single word honest.

Where to Find Jennian:

The Special by J.E. Pendleton: A Most Unforgettable Read

A while back I did an interview with J.E. Pendleton and recently read The Special. Below are my thoughts.
Click pic to visit Amazon

The Special by J. E. Pendleton is a novel reminiscent of times past, a country rich in innocence teetering on the edge of war. Billy Pendleton hitchhikes his way to California, where he becomes intrigued in the race car scene and meets a beautiful woman Sally, who he falls for hook, line and sinker. He hooks up with Carl and his son, Frank (Babe) and they not only build a race car but become the best of friends. It is Babe who narrates the story many decades later to Billy Pendleton's nephew. 

The Special is a special book reminiscent of one of my favorite all time movies Pearl Harbor. A love story ensues as Sally and Billy grow closer. She is wealthy and Billy is a simple working man. The backdrop is San Diego, beautiful sunny, leisurely days; the perfect setting for innocent young love to bloom. The sparks between them simmer as they grow closer. As the plot gains depth with the threat of WW2 hanging in the balance. Lovestruck Sally can't stand the separation and crosses the ocean to be with Billy after he enlists, where they later marry. 

This novel is most eloquently written. J.E. Pendleton's style captures the essence and hearts of his characters, the times, and the building of the car as well as the heart of the reader. In layman's terms he is able to cover the entire construction and design of the special and make it understandable to a reader who has no concept of the difference between a drive train and a transmission. His words delve the reader into the hearts and minds of each character, giving them life and dimensionality.

The Special is an impassioned, powerful novel.

Click to play Youtube Book Trailer

Where to find J.E. Pendleton

Giveaway Ends At Midnight Tonight! Blog Stop Four

My big thank you today goes to KayCee. A young women who has been supportive of my writing endeavors, and who herself is an aspiring author. Click the link and visit her page, read Baby Girl Book 2 blog stop four and continue reading some of her writings.
KayCee's blog

Click pics to visit Amazon

Be sure to jump over to the Facebook event page. A Baby Girl Books 1 & 2 giveaway will be going on all day. Justine in Baby Girl 2 makes a trip to Aruba as a model for a swimsuit calender so in honor of Aruba there will be trivia on Aruba from 6-7 p.m. EST.

I chose Aruba because I love the Caribbean. The islands there are some of the most beautiful I've ever laid eyes on. Justine (Cleo) is quite taken with them as well. Not to give away too much but she doesn't ever forget the breathtaking sights.

Google pics Aruba

Giveaway ends at midnight! Enter now!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Party on! Day Three

Today my thank you goes to someone I have known all of her life and most of mine. She is the author of Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: The Middle-ish Ages, editor of my Baby Girl series, and my sister.
Click pics to go to Amazon page.

Yes, two published authors in the family. I blame our mother's side for the overactive creativity gene combo. From the time my sisters and I ( I'm the middle child) were young we made up stories. Go way, way back and envision the bulky tape recorder, the one with the microphone. The three of us would sit around it making up wild stories that we would later laugh so hard over our bellies hurt and our eyes were dripping in happy tears. Then we'd do it all again. But writing is more than creativity, it's being able to plan and organize not only coherent sentences but the ability to string them together. The efficient, organization gene was inherited from our father's side.

Visit Terri's blog for tidbits about me, us, her thoughts and read Chapter 3 in Baby Girl 2.
Terri at Amazon

Stay tuned on Facebook for tonight's festivities at 5 p.m. EST. First up will be French history trivia. At 6 author John Reinhard Dizon will be joining as a guest author and he has promo copies of some of his books to give away. We will also get to learn a bit about his latest novel Transplant.
John at Amazon

At 7 p.m. Terri Klaes Harper will be joining as a guest author. I'm not sure what she has planned although I'm sure it will be exciting. I am just going to add here that Terri's sequel will be out soon and I got a sneak peak and it's every bit as lovable and laughable as the first.

If you missed days one and two they can be found on the left side bar. Click away!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! (found below) It ends in less than 48 hours.  And tell your friends.

Another google search pic.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Stop Two: The Party Continues!

My thank you today goes to an author and friend I met only a few short months ago. If my memory serves correct it was a Facebook event we were both participating in. Anyways, she is one of the most talented, considerate, and caring persons I have ever met. She has also been a great supporter of my literary career, Jeniann Bowers.

Jeniann's writing can be found here and follow the links to the right.

Click the pics to find on Amazon
 To visit Jeniann's blog and read anecdotes about me and chapter 2 of Baby Girl Moonlighting in Paris click here.

The party doesn't end there. Visit the Baby Girl event page for fun and games. Last night was literary and wine trivia (Cleo becomes quite a wine coniseur while in Paris), spooky Parisian stories and a guest author. Tonight Jeniann will be another guest author, Jeniann, along with more games, and Parisian delicacies.

Enter here for the book giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you missed day one and want to catch up, click here.

Thank you all. I love to see how all the visiters here from around the world. It makes me realize even though we may he seperated by oceans or mountains we can all come together on the internet.

Again pics are from Google search

Monday, March 24, 2014

Baby Girl Tour begins!

Check here for daily blog stops and a different chapter of Baby Girl Moonlighting in Paris. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway :-)
My first thank you today goes to Bookmuni.com for the wonderful spread Shalu posted yesterday. Click here to read.

My next thank you goes to Pamela Foreman for being the very first blog stop on the tour. Click Here for Stop One

Next, I want to invite everyone over to the Facebook Event for this tour. Pamela Foreman author of the Nebraska Holds Series is my guest author this evening. 
Pamela at Amazon

Of course everyone is invited to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Since Cleo (now Justine) is in Paris here are some fun tidbits I found about Paris http://kickassfacts.com/30-kickass-interesting-facts-about-paris/

I borrowed these pics via Google. Beautiful!