Branding and Marketing

When I first started attending conferences for writing…I discovered how much I didn’t know about writing. And then the journey of learning more about writing began. One of the items that was shared was to make memes for Facebook and other social media to help with branding, marketing, and promoting books. So I jumped on and created memes every week. Now I have a bunch to pull from if I need one…but I still love to create new ones. And as with the writing, I have learned so much more about creating memes since my first ones!

To design memes, my business cards, bookmarks, banners, posters for events, book covers, and the list goes on…I use https://www.canva.com/ . I get my pictures from https://pixabay.com/ . These two sites have been a gigantic help for me in developing a brand and marketing my work. They are very user-friendly sites, and I find them fun. If you have a creative side, you should check them out! Canva has updated and you can now share directly to social media sites rather than downloading, etc. What will they think of next?

So now you have two great tools to go out and design for yourself. One thing that was pointed out…when making a meme, sign it as you would art work. I use my website, and I use the same font each time. People remember that. For example, what comes to mind when I say any brand name? You think of their logo. Great branding and marketing right there. Coke anyone? 😉

Remember, this week A Place to Call Home is being promoted as a free ebook. Get your copy today! Yesterday, this book was doing this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

It’s pretty exciting! Below is one of the first memes I did. I’ve learned a little bit more about downloading, etc. now, but I still love the picture I found on Pixabay. Have a great Thursday everyone!

 

Rubyville - A Place to Call Home

 

Review, review, review please!

Today is the last day you can get your free ebook for my newest release, When Faith Begins. It’s been a lot of fun having the book promotions for the When series of books. By far, When Love Grows was the most popular in the giveaway. I think it’s the cover…which goes to show, your cover matters…a lot! I love the color red, and it looks as though many others do.

If you are a writer, trying to get your book published, and then branding, marketing and hoping to sell your work…well you know it’s a long, difficult process. Most of us don’t hit the New York Times bestseller list the first time out, if ever. It takes daily contact with readers, your target audience, and places to promote your work. Some writers may use a blog, website, newsletter, Facebook, etc., to do this. Many use all of those listed and then some!

My WIP is a manuscript I wrote in 1998. It’s 124,000+ pages long, and I wrote it on a typewriter in two weeks. I had four children at the time. I got them up, got them dressed, tossed some food at them and then sat about five feet away from them to write. Repeated two more meals each day, and then did the reverse at night for bedtime. Those were the days when our oldest was 12 and our youngest 2. Those were the days when I still made bread every day, and we had healthy smoothies for breakfast. We didn’t eat out. I relied heavily on my 12 year old, who is now my editor.

But that book had to be written at that time, and I wrote 24 hours a day for those two weeks. I wouldn’t recommend that, but we artistic people can be strange at times. Maybe most of the time! Now, I am rewriting and editing that book, and the three others in that series that I wrote several years later. It will take me a while, because it is a mess. And when I hand it over to my editor, proofreader, etc., it will probably still be a mess.

I have so appreciated the feedback from my readers during this book promotion! But I want to clarify a couple items. Those that write and are trying to sell books, will understand. Today, my rating for When Faith Begins is here:

If you go to the above links…you have to go to the FREE section to see mine. Not the paid.

That is huge for me! My books are usually in the thousands, if not millions. But this is for the FREE ebooks. Not the paid list. I’ve had several people comment about my royalties now. I’ve made under $10 dollars this month. The book promotions are about me getting my name out there, and loving that people are taking the time to look at my covers, read a portion of my books online, and then even downloading them. If I can earn money off my books at some time, that will be super fantastic!!! But right now, people don’t know me, and that’s where all of you can help…and writers should be helping one another.

Authors LOVE reviews, even bad ones. It helps them tone and tweak their craft. Please ALWAYS leave a review when you read a book. My books are desperately in need of reviews. The other huge help to authors, and anyone promoting a business, is to SHARE on Facebook and other social media. Again, it gets their name and business out there for all to see. There can be so much wrong with social media, but sharing a business for someone is a great opportunity to help. (An apology here to an editor that told me I shouldn’t cap words, but…) 😉

Again, thank you for all the support. Prayers and best wishes for those of you struggling in this writing market. And of course…be looking for my next book promotion, because there will be one!

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Free!

I’m having so much fun with my free ebook promotion for my When series of books! The first book in the series, When Hope Blooms garnered a lot of attention, many people ‘purchasing’ it. Right now, the free ebook promotion is on for the second book in the series, When Love Grows!

Get your copy until October 25th, midnight, right here: https://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Grows-Deborah-Dykeman/dp/1978088914/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=1571850701&s=books&sr=1-3

When Love Grows - Tuesday Teaser

Be watching for the third book in the series and my newest release, When Faith Begins.

Happy reading everyone!

Truth Be Told

When I first began this blog in 2015, my goal was to write about me and my family, and light issues that would help my readers connect with me as a person. I didn’t want to bombard  with just writing topics. For one thing, I don’t have a master’s degree in writing anything. I rely heavily on my editor to fix all that I do wrong. I don’t know much about branding or marketing. I go to others and read lots of other posts about it to broaden my knowledge base. And considering sales of my books…I have lots more to learn in those areas! 😉

So now, four years later…I’m still a little mired down in this blogging world. I read other sites that are really successful. I try to figure out what they are doing right, and what I’m doing wrong. I wonder if my scope of topics is too large, or the site just not interesting. I’ve even considered starting over, but what would my focus be?

Truth be told, my knowledge base is marriage and family. It’s what I’ve done for all of my adult life. Sunday, the 20th will be my husband and my 35th wedding anniversary. It’s one I’ve looked forward to. Others celebrate by going on a cruise, having another ceremony to rededicate their married lives, or going out for a nice dinner. I thought that by this time in our marriage, we would be doing the same. We won’t be. I think spam is on the menu this year.

My husband and five children have always been the world to me. It’s what I invested all my time in. Some may say that was crazy, and that I didn’t plan for the future. I always thought it was the best way to plan for our future together. But children grow up and have families of their own, they move away, and they make their own choices in life. I am no longer in control of all of that…and maybe I never really was.

So, here I sit at almost 55 years of age. This past year as been beyond difficult in so many ways. There are days when I feel as though the rug has been yanked out from under us, and we haven’t hit the floor yet. But when we do, it’s going to be bad. My faith has taken a serious hit, and there are more days than not that I would like to run away and be a different person.

This Life is Real…and so are the Answers. I truly believe that. None of us live in a fairy tale world with light and laughter, flowers and fun, around every corner. Many of us deal with darkness and tears, an inability to breathe because of all that has been dumped on us. The flowers in our lives are dead and crumbled, blowing away in the wind, and a smile is hard to summon.

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I don’t have a master’s degree in anything. Just a lot of learning through difficult experiences. I try to share that in my books. In my books, there is an answer for that struggling character. Writing helps me work through all that has been allowed in my life. This blog has been a release for me to express all that bottles up…whether it be good or bad. I pray that my books reach people and the struggles they have in their lives. I pray they find an answer.

So for now, I’ll stick with what I’ve been doing here, and I welcome any suggestions to improve.

Philippians 4:6-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

New Release!

It’s autumn here in the mid-west! Yay! Cooler weather, leaves turning, and that autumn aroma of damp and wood smoke. I’m loving it! What better time for a new release?

When Faith Begins - Love

When Faith Begins is the third book in the series that began with When Hope Blooms and When Love Grows. It is available in paperback and e-book right here: https://www.amazon.com/When-Faith-Begins-Deborah-Dykeman-ebook/dp/B07Z28984V/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=when+Faith+Begins+deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=15712

If you haven’t read the first two, or need a refresher, they are available on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million (BAM). Or, right here: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_8&qid=1571243983&sr=1-8

It’s autumn! Pick up a great book and snuggle beside the fire with a hot drink. Have a great day!

The Eye Of the Beholder

 

Well, it is the day after. Always a bit sad for me, but I do look forward to the New Year’s Eve celebrations and the first day of the New Year. So it’s not completely over yet! And I always leave the decorations up until after New Year’s Day. It keeps that holiday feeling for just a little bit more.

I don’t do a lot of book reviews on here. I really don’t do much of anything on a consistent basis on this site. I mean, this is not a food, health or parenting blog. It’s a ‘whatever pops into my head’ blog. So for those of you that stop by, it’s always a surprise. Rather the way it is for my children when they stop by our house. They never know what project I’ll be working on! Back to this post…

I first began this blog back in May of 2015. One of my first followers/likes, and a blog that I did the same for was this one: https://eyedancers.wordpress.com/

I was intrigued by the cover of his book, The Eye-Dancers. I also enjoyed his posts, and insights into life, the stories he shared. It reminded me of my teenage years living in upstate New York and Vermont. But since I don’t read Young Adult, I really didn’t think of reading his book. Well, after a year or so of struggling with getting my own books out there, and understanding how very important it is to have reviews of any kind, I decided I would read it. I had purchased it a while back, and then I finally began reading last July.

I don’t normally take so long to read a book, but I’ve had several on my nightstand for a couple years now. I made it a personal goal to read 25 books this year on Goodreads. I reached that goal and reset it to 30. Now I’ve read 32 for 2017…and that feels really good! At one time I loved to read. It was better than watching a movie, or having friends over. But marriage and children put that love on the back burner. Unfortunately I’ve read some not-so-good books lately, and that makes it hard to forge ahead. Just a bit of advice if you are going to self-publish. If you don’t have a degree in journalism, etc., take some writing courses, attend some writing conferences, or have a really fantastic editor. The typos, bad research of a topic, head-hopping and boring plot-line really lose a reader’s attention…and quickly! 

On Christmas Eve morning, I finished reading The Eye-Dancers, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I literally went into it with the idea that it was a book for Young Adults, and just not my cup of tea. What turned it all around and kept me reading was the great writing, well-researched topic, well-developed characters, and the believe-ability of a time-travel book. Me, a 53 year old woman could enjoy the story, and look forward to more. Because I’ve heard there’s another one coming! 😉 Because of all the above, I wanted to share my thoughts here, and support a fellow author and their writing. Below is my review for Goodreads and Amazon:

I don’t normally read YA, but I do enjoy time travel-type books and movies. So I thought I would give this one a try. I rated it a 5-star because ‘it was amazing’ since it was well-written, very thought-provoking, and well-researched. That is saying a lot after some of the books I’ve read lately with the head-hopping, plot holes, etc. The author didn’t ‘dumb-down’ the characters as I’ve seen so many times in YA. The author also nailed the teen years of angst and thought patterns. It made me think of my own years and the struggles I experienced and felt. And somehow, the author made this story feel as though it could really happen…which is fantastic in my mind, considering the plot! It is what I loved about the Time Traveler’s Wife and Somewhere In Time. I read the books behind those movies, and I loved the books even more. Thank you for a very good read! 

You may purchase The Eye-Dancers right here: https://www.amazon.com/Eye-Dancers-Michael-S-Fedison/dp/0692262784/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514136399&sr=1-2&keywords=the+eye+dancers

From the reviews the book has received so far, readers are thinking the same as me.

 

*I purchased the book and wrote the review on my own with no encouragement from the author. These thoughts are my own. Did I cover all the bases? 😉

Shifting Down

This is a post I’ve debated about writing for several months now. For the month of October, I tried some different things, just to see what that would result in. Some of you gave me feedback. A few people really liked the Monday One Liners and the Friday Trivia. A couple people said they would just rather read a post. To be honest, I’m rather lost in this blogging world. I just don’t know what works...for me.

I’ve blogged regularly for over two and a half years now. For those of you that blog, you know it is a time investment. Some bloggers seem to be able to take the world, (literally) by storm and within a few months they are off and running with thousands of hits and followers. That has not been the case for me, and I’m not really feeling that I’ve found my corner in the blogging world…or if I’m even supposed to.

As a writer, I love to write. I have written most of my life in some form or another. I will continue. But right now, I feel as though I should concentrate more on my novel writing, and those stories I need to tell. And I need time to do that.

So, I will be doing some reconstruction with my social media. My goal is to have more of a website, maybe a section that I blog in once a week, or once a month. I might offer a newsletter every three months or so for those that are interested in my books, and new releases. I have four books written several years ago that are badly in need of edits and covers. So, I want to make those a priority. I also have a little bird whispering to me about a fifth book in the Rubyville series. I also need to concentrate more on events, and speaking engagements.

The most difficult part of this decision is not having the daily contact with those of you that have become a part of my life on here. I so appreciate you! For sharing your lives with others, for the encouragement you have given me, for all the interesting stuff I’ve learned from all parts of the world.

This is not good-bye, but a pulling back and regrouping. I will still be here, and I will still share my life with all of you, just at a slower pace. You can still find me on Amazon right here: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1509656300&sr=1-2-ent and my author’s page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deborahanndykeman/?fref=ts

I check Goodreads daily as well. It’s a great place to encourage others, as well as authors. If you’ve read a book of mine, or another author, please leave a review there and follow them. You don’t need to purchase their book to do those two things. Every little bit of encouragement helps an author get their stories out there. It’s not only about purchasing their books, which is wonderful of course…but about getting that author’s name known around the world.

Until next time…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOY0C5F8dfw

 

 

Thanks to Editors

Editing, a very slow and painful process in my opinion. But it is a very needed one. It gives the writer and the editor a chance to find all those little mistakes and typos. Some that would have been read over by a reader engrossed in the story, or others that would have caused a person to come to a screeching halt.

I appreciate my editor. She is also our oldest daughter, so that is unique in the editor/writer experience. We are able to sit down together, and she reads my book out loud. Those mistakes jump to attention then. We are able to rewrite, correct, and talk about changes immediately. And that is also unique. I have a very good set-up for my writing, but it is still…slow.

And all of the above is the easy part. After we finish going through the book, reading it out loud, Britta Ann will then spend hours going meticulously through each page, checking sentence structure, word usage, and spelling. She will format and make the interior look pretty. Yes, I have the easy part!

Thank you to all editors out there. You are greatly needed by us writers. We appreciate you, even if we think you are a bit crazy with the red pen at times!

So, just a quick note to let you all know that I am here…just a little overwhelmed right now. Have a great evening!

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

I have just returned from a fantastic writer’s conference in Pittsburg, Kansas where I had the privilege to be a part of workshops taught by Kathy Ide and Twila Belk, or Twila Belk and Kathy Ide. (Now they each have first billing!) If you’ve been around writing, editing, publishing groups at all, you’ve heard their names. I learned so much! I am very thankful that editors, authors and speakers are willing to teach these workshops. So, when I read this post this morning, I just had to share it. More great information and so many helpful tips. Get out your notepad!

Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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Expression of Who You Are

Do writers feel more than other people?

Do they have more pain, more emotional trauma, more joy or excitement in life?

Do they have more difficult lives, or easier ones?

No, to all of the above! Writers just have to express it more than other people.  It is a need within them, almost as much as eating or sleeping. Although when I have a story in my head, sleep takes a back seat as well.

Some writers may also be great talkers, sharing everything. Other writes may be quiet, having the need to express only on paper/computer.

I definitely communicate better on paper/computer, and always have. When I was a child, I always had a pen pal, or someone I was writing letters to. I could be who I wanted to be, who I felt I was in those letters. Meet me in person, the two might not mesh so well!

Don’t be afraid to express yourself or let others see who you really are. Writers, photographers, artists, musicians…anything you can think of with creativity is a way of expressing yourself. We all need that outlet. I personally believe it makes you a more well-rounded person. God gave us the ability to communicate, and it isn’t only through our lips.

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