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Want to change your life? Keep a GRATITUDE JOURNAL

I mentioned the other day that gratitude will open up the world to you. In my humble opinion, gratitude is the most Hawkins heirarchy of emotionspowerful of all the emotions – even greater than love. Gratitude is so immensely powerful because it has the ability to change our state, pulling us out of darkness, grouchiness, lack, illness, self-doubt, and all the other lower emotions that David R. Hawkins describes in his compelling book, Power vs. Force. It can be challenging to find love when you’re in those places, but it’s almost impossible to look around the world and not find something for which to be grateful.

Of course, I remember a time I tried to encourage a coworker who was in a funk. This was a very pretty girl who was in a relationship with a wealthy man who catered to her every need. She only worked to have something to fill her days; it was not a necessity in the least, as it was for most of the rest of us. This is not to say that well-off people don’t get down, but this case seemed extreme to me. I don’t recall what specifically was wrong, just that she was “depressed.” I suggested that she list just FIVE things for which she was grateful, and she told me, after a halfhearted attempt, “I can’t think of anything.”

The fact that we live in the United States? Beautiful weather? Good friends? Your storage unit filled floor to ceiling with shoes you never wear? “Oh, yeah, I guess I do have a few things to be grateful for.” It seemed a challenging and painful exercise for her, but eventually she was able to write down seven or eight things and ultimately pulled out of her down mood.

The thing that truly empowers gratitude is the emotion behind it. Don’t slump over and whisper, “I’m so grateful.” Stand up and shout it from the highest rooftop. And if you’re not grateful yet, act as if you are.

In offering gratitude for what you already have, you open the door for so much more to come in. And as my coach has reminded me often lately, give thanks for the things that you are still working on manifesting as if they already exist. I find this particularly helpful when my gremlin is grumbling … about long lines at the supermarket, worry about when my husband will go back to work, or the human fear that strikes when I find I’m not the only editor at a networking event. Instead of giving in to the frustration or fear, I look for the thing to be grateful for. Thank you that I have money to buy nutritious food to nourish my body. Thank you for John’s completing his apprenticeship, so that when he goes back to work, it will be at the higher journeyman rate. Thank you that there are enough writers in the world to keep all of us editors very busy.

A gratitude journal is a fantastic way to stay connected to gratitude on a daily basis. You can purchase something like Elizabeth Hartigan’s What Are You Grateful for Today? workbook or you can just use a leftover spiral notebook from one of your kids. I will say, however, that writing in a book you love can certainly add to the joy and emotion that power the practice of gratitude journaling. My personal habit is to write every (or almost every) night just before bed. I date and number my entries, and I go till I can’t think of the next one. My longest list is about 40 items; the shortest ran to just a dozen.

There’s no right or wrong way to express or journal your gratitude — the most important thing is simply that you do it.

If you want to learn more about the powerful role gratitude plays in manifesting the outcomes you seek, watch this short video and read almost anything John Dimartini has written on the subject of gratitude. Whether it’s completing your book, more sales, speaking opportunities, or any other success, giving gratitude for what you already have and for positive outcomes as yet unrealized is almost guaranteed to get you there faster.

Wishing you a blessed, bountiful harvest fest!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit our website to view/download our Timeline of a Book, where you’ll note that marketing your book should start as soon as you begin writing it. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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A few gifts to say “Thanks for reading!”

OK, gifts may be a bit strong. But here are a few miscellaneous things I thought you might find interesting and/or useful, and I truly am grateful to all of my readers, both old and new.

Reviews

I recently came across a goldmine in the form of this blog post by the folks at Step-by-Step Self Publishing: an index of book review bloggers. The best thing about it? They’re constantly adding new reviewers to the list. They also offer tips about getting your self-published book reviewed (many bloggers won’t accept self-published books for review) and how to approach independent bookstores.

Movies

Would you describe yourself as happy? If you’d like to be happier, you’ll want to make a point to see this film. A few amazing things I learned from it: our happiness is mostly genetic. Fifty percent is attributable to genetics; 10 percent is circumstantial (what’s going on in your life at the time); and 40 percent is up to us, meaning we can do things to increase our happiness, like exercise, hobbies, volunteering, etc. Also, there’s a HUGE happiness differential between people in households earning $5,000 a year and those earning $50,000 a year. But there’s virtually no difference at all in levels of happiness between those earning $50,000 a year and those earning $50 MILLION a year. The movie is subtitled in part and is available via Netflix. See it if you have the chance!

Fonts

For the font junkies in the house, Fonts 101 offers a free font of the day! Sign up to get it emailed directly to your inbox. Granted, I personally don’t have much use for a battleship font and some of the others are best described as odd. But we’ve all got different tastes and needs, and occasionally there’s a gem among their offerings.

Editing

I’m giving a presentation today about eBook Basics and was prepping some CDs for giveaway. Included in the mix is an eBook I modeled after a poorly done tri-fold brochure titled “How to Hire an Air Duct Cleaner.” I kid you not! The obviously much-photocopied brochure was referenced in the workbook from a marketing course I took as a great way to self-promote. I was inspired to improve on the idea by creating a 33-page eBook titled, The First-Time Author’s Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for YOU! As many of my readers are authors, I think there’s a lot of useful information in this book, but beyond that, you might also learn something from the concept. If you’ve got a business in which you can demonstrate expertise and you want to set yourself apart from the others, an instructional book like this is a great way to do so. Download your copy here.

Music

A year and a half-ago, I was blessed to marry a wonderful man who embodied a characteristic I’d always desired in a partner: he’s a talented musician. He got laid off from his job as a commercial plumber a few weeks ago, and has been taking the extra time to hone his guitar skills. Here’s a short Bach piece he’s been working on for the past few days. I hope you enjoy it.

Wishing you all the best!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit our website to view/download our Timeline of a Book, where you’ll note that marketing your book should start as soon as you begin writing it. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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Hidden coil, eBook on CD, Create Space … a multitude of options!

For the next 13 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge.

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Day 16 writing prompt:

Did you publish your book as a traditionally printed book, an eBook, or both? How did you come to your decision? Which company(ies) did you use for printing and distribution? How did you select them?

Because 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women was designed as a workbook, the most important thing when it came to printing was a format that would make it useful to the readers. Lay-flat paperback binding is, in my experience, more a theory than a reality. I wanted the women who buy my book to be able to write in it easily, whether they’re right or left handed.

To that end, it began as a spiral book.

However, the spiral setup has a couple drawbacks. (1) Spiral books have no spines, which bookstores prefer. (2) They are a lot less sturdy than other binding formats.

Our next step was a three-ring notebook format. This appealed to me for several reasons. Readers could pull out the pages (a) to take the questions in small segments, (b) to write on them, or (c) to make copies for discussion groups. It also has a spine. The drawback is that it doesn’t “look like a book.”

My goal is to do the next printing using a hidden coil technique that combines the best of both worlds.

In the meantime, I’m working on formatting the book for Kindle and also creating a paperback version, with only the questions (as opposed to a workbook format). Right now, the full 8½ x11 version is available as a PDF eBook on my website. I’ve also made the PDF available on CD, making the eBook a physical deliverable.

The whole thing is a truly indie effort, so far reliant only on a few local printers. When the paperback version is ready to go, my plan is to use CreateSpace. I know there’s been a lot of pushback on Amazon – most of it for good reason. However, after all this time, I just want to get it done, out, and released to the world.

Happy publishing!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out!

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Audiobooks vs. eBooks vs. traditional paper books: A professional book person’s comparison

I’ve been reading since I was 4 years old, having demanded my dad teach me how because I got tired of waiting around for him to read me the Sunday comics. I think a Berenstain Bears book may have been the first one I ever read on my own. Not surprisingly, I got A’s in elementary and high school English and went on to select nonfiction writing as my college major, with journalism as my minor. My first job was in a newspaper library. My career of choice is helping people self-publish their books. Words, reading, books, and research have always played giant roles in my life.

But, as we’re all well aware, books are changing, as is the experience of buying them. While you can still wander from stack to stack and genre to genre at your local bookstore – or library – that opportunity is unfortunately shrinking, as we head into the digital age. There are definite benefits to these new methods of reading, but there also are drawbacks.

I’ve never been much of an audiobook person, but I recently decided to give this format a try, checking out Mike Dooley’s Infinite Possibilities from the library. I loved the book and loved listening to it on my computer while I was doing other tasks. I listened to it three times before returning it, each time hearing new things I’d missed the previous time(s), no doubt do to my multitasking. The next audiobook I checked out was Life Visioning, by Michael Beckwith, who with Dooley, was featured in the movie version of The Secret. Different from Dooley in style but similar in content, I found Beckwith a bit more challenging as an audiobook because he punctuates his chapters with meditations that required my full attention, forcing me to stop what I was doing or risk skipping out on those segments in the hope of eventually returning to them.

Soon after that, I signed up for Audible.com, Amazon’s audiobook outlet. One of the first books I purchased was Rachel Maddow’s Drift. A radical departure from the self-improvement genre of Dooley and Beckwtih, I found myself facing a new challenge with Drift. I needed to pay a lot more attention to the content in order for the details of the book to actually make sense. Occasionally, I’d find myself wondering, “Wait, what did I miss?” and needing to “rewind” because in my distraction or multitasking, I had missed a key component of the message.

The same was true when I borrowed the audiobook version of Paul Krugman’s The Conscience of a Liberal. Like Drift, this book required my full attention when listening. The benefit of owning Drift, though, is that I can go back and listen to the whole thing in its entirety, anytime I want, whereas with Krugman’s book, I’ll have to check it out again if I want to hear it again.

For me, this multitasking experience is exclusive to audiobooks. I sometimes see people at the gym paging through magazines or juggling a book to pass the time while doing cardio. But I learned from my personal trainer a long time ago not to try reading on the treadmill or stair stepper, as you never get the same quality of workout as when you are focused on exercise alone. So when I read, the physical book in front of me has my full, undivided attention. And when I do encounter a distraction, I put the book down, attend to the issue, and then resume reading. With audiobooks, we may not even realize we are distracted until we’ve missed a significant enough section of the text to be jogged into that whole “Wait, what did I miss?” awareness.

In a recent post about book blogger statistics, I mentioned that I was startled to find out that of 300 book bloggers surveyed, 71 percent did not even OWN eReaders of any type. I somehow mistakenly believed that avid readers like those who blog about books would be early adopters. My husband thought he would be an eReader holdout until I got him a Kindle for Christmas – now he loves it. I asked him why he likes his Kindle so much, and he tossed of three reasons quite easily:

  1. Without a the cover of a traditional printed book, an eReader makes it easy to conceal your reading materials from passersby, something he often finds useful when reading during his lunch break on his commercial plumbing jobsite. Regardless of what book he’s reading at the time, when people ask, he automatically answers, “Stephen King,” as this both satisfies their quasi-curiosity and shuts them up.
  2. Another benefit my husband finds with the Kindle is having a wide selection of books at your disposal. Whether he’s in a Deepak Chopra mood or wants to read Sports Illustrated at lunch, he’s got both choices at his fingertips.
  3. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the eReader is the ability to purchase in an instant. “I can learn about the latest rock autobiography in Rolling Stone and be reading it in a matter of minutes,” explains my musician hubby.

My friend Carol, on the other hand, finds the impersonal technology of an eReader distracting. “You can get what, a third or a quarter of the contents of a printed page on that thing,” she said pointing to my Kindle Fire. To her, having to sweep your finger across the screen every two or three paragraphs is just plain annoying.

As more and more people make the transition from paper books to audiobooks and eBooks, it’s important for you to get your books out there in as many formats as makes sense. You can best determine this by knowing your readers. Print books are the most expensive to produce, but audiobooks also require a significant investment of time and dollars. eBooks are no doubt the easiest to take to market. If your readers are older church ladies who don’t read eBooks, though, it wouldn’t make much sense to go that route, now would it? While I think each format has place – and its fans/proponents – I suspect I will remain loyal to paper books for while still.

Happy formatting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Today we’re going explore the possibility of putting your chapter(s) on a CD.

As mentioned above, we already talked about how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. This process of putting your chapter(s) on a CD will call on the PDF aspect of the eBook formatting.

The necessary supplies are a little more complicated, but easy enough to come by:

  • CD face labels
  • Blank CD
  • 8-1/2 by 11  OR 8-1/2 by 14 paper
  • CD or DVD case
  • CD burner on your computer
  • Scissors or paper cutter

Now, I won’t lie to you. This one is easy if you’ve got some basic design skills; if not, you might want to enlist some help.

Step 1

Start by translating some aspect of your cover to a CD face label. It can be as simple as using a postage-stamp image of the cover with the title and adding the word “eBook,” but you’ve got to make sure all of your graphics and text will fit on the printable portion of the label.

The easiest thing is to use a design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, but you can also do this in a Microsoft program like Word or Publisher.

CD labels come two to a page. Determine whether the brand of labels you purchases lines up centered or off centered. The easiest thing for printing the off-centered labels is to print one, then flip the sheet over and put it back in your printer to do the second one.

The size of a CD label is:

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Step 2

The next step is deciding whether you will use a CD jewel case or a DVD case. Although jewel cases are less expensive and easier to carry in your purse or backpack, a DVD case is a little more formal and may express a higher degree of professionalism.

If you use a CD jewel case with a solid back, you will only need to worry about transferring the front cover of your book. However, you can include a tray liner that gives you more room for branding and descriptive text.

You can print a jewel case cover and inlay card on 8-1/2 by 11  paper.

The dimensions for a jewel case are:

Bleed means that the image prints off the side of the page. Bleed dimensions allow a little extra for cutting.

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If you use a DVD cover, you will need to transfer/create a front, back, and spine.

You will need to use 8-1/2 by 14 paper to print a DVD cover.

The dimensions for a DVD cover are:

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Step 3

Once you’ve printed your cover, cut it to size and insert it into your jewel case or DVD case.

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Step 4

In order to save your PDF file(s) to a CD, you will need a CD burner. Most newer computers come with this software already installed. Roxio is a burner that is commonly included on a fully loaded computer.

If your computer does not have CD-burning capabilities, you will either need to purchase the software or find a free version online. There are some decent ones available, but it may take a little digging through the Google to find them.

Save your PDF file(s) to the CD, and affix the label to it. Put the CD/DVD in the case and you’re good to go.

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While the process is easy enough, it can be time-consuming, so I recommend you make a decent number of CDs at a time. By the way, this will also work as a way to sell/distribute your entire book. If you get to the point where you find yourself making a LOT of them, you might consider outsourcing this project to a company that will burn the CDs and make the covers for you. One benefit of  doing it that way is the option to have the CD label silk-screened onto the CD, which increases professionalism another degree.

One of the nicest things you can do with an eBook on CD is autograph it. Although there are interesting new technologies emerging to allow for digital autographs, with a physical product in hand, you can sign your John Hancock the old-fashioned way, with a Sharpie or a plain old ballpoint pen.

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Minibüks as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

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Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been talking about 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. Last time, we learned how to create a zine. Today we’re going to focus on the easiest, most common ways to make a chapter or selection from your book into an eBook that you can give away for free.

If you’ve already converted your book or published an eBook, you can probably skip this post, except to say that you might want consider cropping it to offer just one or two chapters as a free giveaway through your blog, website, or social media outlets.

All of these processes are done electronically, so the only equipment you’ll need is a computer and Internet access.

We’re going to discuss 4 of the most common methods of eBook conversion:

  1. PDF
  2. Mobipocket
  3. Smashwords
  4. Text files

The thing to keep in mind is that an eBook CAN be an exact electronic duplicate of a printed book, but it doesn’t have to be, and frequently is not. The popularity of eBooks is continuing to skyrocket, and with it a multitude of eReaders is becoming available. However, not all of them are equipped to handle graphics or fancy pagination, so a decent rule of thumb, at least for the time being, is that simpler is better when converting your writing into eBooks.

Before you begin any of these processes, make sure you:

  • Abbreviate your file to include only the chapter(s) you want to give away for free.
  • Double check that you have not inadvertently cut off any sections while you were creating your excerpt.
  • Give one last run-through for grammar and spelling errors you may previously have missed, especially if this is the first time you will be publishing your work.
  • Unless you will be using the PDF method to convert your chapter(s), make sure you’ve got it stripped down to a simplified file with few images and no fancy pagination.

PDFs

PDFs are the best way to ensure consistency between the printed
book and the ebook conversion
, but they’re limited to use on a computer,
tablet, or smartphone that can read them –
and they won’t translate
for many eReaders.

Depending on how your computer is configured, once you’ve got your file
saved the way you want for the conversion, you may be able to hit “Print”
and select “Adobe PDF” as your “printer” option.

A second possibility if you’re saving from a MS Word 2007 document is to choose
the “Save As” command and then select the PDF option.

If you do not appear to have a PDF conversion mechanism of any sort already
installed, you can download a free piece of conversion software called CutePDF
that works quite well.

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MOBIPOCKET

MobiPocket is the ebook technology employed by Amazon’s Kindle eReader.
Convert your MS Word files to .mobi files using the free Mobipocket eBook Creator. Download the software and follow the instructions and prompts.

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SMASHWORDS

Smashwords is a free online service you can use to convert your books
(or chapters) to eBooks. It’s quite a nice program because it will allow you
to upload to ALL of the major eReaders (including Kindle), but it requires
a VERY stripped down version of your text with next to no formatting.

The Smashwords.com site also gives you four pricing options:

  • FREE
  • Let the reader set the price
  • You set a fixed price for the book
  • You can specify that a portion of a book you have for sale is available
    for free
    .

Visit the site and follow the prompts to upload your book.

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TEXT FILES

The easiest way to convert a file that almost
anyone can read on almost any platform is simply
by saving it as a .TXT file.

1. In any version of MS Word, choose the
“Save As” command and select “Other Formats.”
2. Find the drop-down menu.
3. Choose RTF or Rich Text File, and hit
“Save.”

 

That’s it for our four simple ways to convert your sample chapter to an eBook. Once you’ve converted it, the next thing is to TELL PEOPLE it’s available. Announce it on Facebook. Send a couple Tweets. And, of course, let your mailing list know. You can even ask other authors, editors, marketers, literary types, and anyone who loves and supports you to help you get the word out.

Make it a personal mission to have 500 people read your free chapter(s) within a certain period of time. This means, of course, you’ll have to figure out how to know they’ve read it. One way might be to motivate your pre-readers to comment about your chapter on your blog by announcing that you’ll enter all commenters into a drawing for a copy of the finished book. This will do two things for you:

(1) Give you feedback on the book.

(2) Give you an idea of how many people the chapters are reaching.

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Put on that SBM* Thinking Cap and see what other wonderful ways you can dream up to get the word out about your free chapter(s). If anything awesome comes of this experience for you, please come back and share it in our comments section!

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

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*Savvy Book Marketer

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Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely

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