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I thought I hated ebooks.

I thought I hated ebooks.

I’m going to say right away that print books are still my favorite way to read.

And I continue to hate reading anything longer than an email, blog post, or article on my phone or my computer.

For quite a while now, I believed reading an ebook was always going to be a horrible experience. I bought a kindle fire years about because I used to travel quite a bit and I thought it would be nice to be able to play games (like Scrabble-even though I suck at it and always lose😂), watch movies, and have some books to read while I was on airplanes or trapped on a long car ride. It was nice for the movies and the games, but I hated reading on the fire.

What did I hate about it? Two things really:

  1. The fire feels heavy. Maybe I’m weak, but it’s just heavy enough to make reading in certain positions uncomfortable.
  2. The glare! I hate it. It doesn’t matter how I adjust the brightness, I can’t see it outside. And any lamp or skylight in my house that hits it the wrong way makes it annoying.

Besides the ability to play games and watch movies on the fire, I liked the price. It’s so much cheaper than the kindle Paperwhite. And I’m into saving money.

My brother told me how much he loved his Paperwhite and I kept thinking, “no way I’m spending money on one because I already know I hate ebooks and how much different from reading on the fire could it really be anyway?”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Then, one day, a book that I desperately wanted to read was released, and it was available as an ebook only. That book was Unanchored by Stephanie Eding (you can read my review of it by clicking here). I waited for the print version to release. And I waited. But then I decided I couldn’t wait anymore. So, I bought it. Then Amazon Prime Day happened, and with the discounted prices on kindles, I decided to treat myself.

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While I didn’t go for the Paperwhite like my brother recommended, I did buy the plain kindle e-reader in white, and I LOVE IT!

I read Unanchored (excellent book, btw) and enjoyed every moment!

The e-reader was light, and the pages looked like real, print pages! It doesn’t have the built in light but I’m always too sleepy to read when it’s getting dark anyway. I’m sure if it ever becomes a problem I can get one of these nifty, little, clip-on lights (And I’ll still be saving money- YAY!)

I am reformed. I love ebooks! Ebooks are cheaper, which appeals to my thrifty nature, so I don’t feel like I’m taking quite as big of a risk as buying a print book. Usually, I get print books at the library anyway, but I’m a slow reader, and if a book is a new release, I can’t always read a book in the time the library gives before a hold is placed, and I have to return it. Now I can get the ebook and enjoy, reading along at my own pace. And btw, when Unanchored comes out in print, I’ll buy a print copy for my bookshelf. If it’s something I know I’ll want to read again or gift to a friend, I still prefer print. I’ll also still be utilizing the library for a large majority of my reading (I rarely read new releases anyway), but it’s nice to know that if a book is only available as an ebook, I don’t have to grumble and roll my eyes.

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YAY!

If you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, available in print or ebook, click here. 

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How I reclaimed my inner spark

How I reclaimed my inner spark

A while back I wrote about discovering that I had a vitamin d deficiency. You can find that post by clicking here if you’re interested.

I suppose it started when I moved from Hawaii to Ohio (there’s whole lot less sunshine here😂).

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

I knew I wasn’t feeling great but it was such a gradual change, I didn’t really recognize my symptoms. Here’s what some of them were:

Depression ✅

Muscle Weakness ✅

Tiredness ✅

Crankiness ✅

and a few others that open a whole other can of worms that I’m not interested in sharing with the world at this point.

My doctor put me on a high dose of vitamin d which I’m still taking and will continue to take forever. At first, I didn’t really notice a difference. I experienced some pain in my joints, and the changes to my mood were so gradual, I didn’t really see a change taking place (oh, but it was).

This summer I’ve been spending more time outdoors, without sunscreen. I know. I know. You should wear sunscreen, cancer and all that jazz. I wear hats and long sleeves if I’m going to be out long doing yard work or something like that. And I will put a little sunscreen on AFTER I’ve been in the sun for a while but never before going out. (I’ve not once gotten sunburned, btw).

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Anyway, I did not realize how deep into a shadow I had moved until I was basking in the glow of my inner spark once again.

Before, I had a hard time doing anything or remembering to do anything. I’d forget appointments and important dates without lists, alerts, and alarms. I’d always been the kind of person who was on top of the shit that was important to me. Then, nothing was important to me. I struggled. Everyday.

When the warmth of spring arrived this year, I started taking daily walks again. Walking is something I did a lot of in Hawaii and I was happy that I was finally feeling like doing it again.

Then, this summer, I went for one of my evening walks. The person I was walking with and I saw a man bending over in his yard. I couldn’t help myself, and I made a loud fart noise and started giggling (yes, I’m 10), and I laughed so hard I struggled to continue the rest of the way up a hill we were on. On other walks, I’d mall walk or sometimes prancersize. Laughing became a regular part of the walks. I had so much energy. I really was acting like a complete idiot again.

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Now it’s the norm once more. I do stupid shit. I giggle. I snort. I really enjoy doing simple, everyday things that had brought me so much misery to even think about doing before.

And guess what…I’m usually not even tired until bedtime!

Who knew a vitamin deficiency could have such an impact on my life?

I’m grateful to have a doctor that thought to check for it and didn’t just throw a pile of antidepressants at me and call it good (Not that people don’t benefit from anti-depressants. I’m just saying it wouldn’t have been the answer for me because it wasn’t the root cause of my problems, so please don’t feel the need to yell at me in the comments).

I’m so happy to feel like myself again. It would have been absolute misery to live the rest of my life the way I was feeling. I’m not sure I could have continued on that way.

I’m back. And it’s really great to be back and remember how it truly feels to be me.

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If you’re interested in buying my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, you can buy it by clicking here.

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Ugh, why did I do that?

Ugh, why did I do that?

The first thing I do (after getting ready) in the morning is to check my emails and my book sales.

Yesterday, I got an alert in Createspace asking me if I wanted to move my paperback title over to KDP. I thought, “why not?” because then I’d be able to track everything in one place. Man, am I kicking myself for that decision now.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The paperback title shows that it has no cover. Ugh, why did I do that? Whhhhhhyyyyyyy!

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I guess it’s partially because I keep hearing that Createspace is going away. I also thought it would be a smooth transition. And that it would be so nice to track my sales all in one place.

Now I’m worried everything is jacked up. I was so happy with the way my paperback turned out with Createspace. Now there might not be a cover on my paperback. Who knows, the formatting could be all jacked up, too. Or everything could be fine. I hate not knowing. I emailed KPD, and they’re usually extremely helpful, but I’m worried I’m going to have to do everything all over again. And that I’ll have to pay for more proof copies to make sure they are. What about any book sales that come in while I’m experiencing issues while I’m waiting for an answer from KDP?

“What about any books sales that come in?” 😂 😂 😂

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Oooooh, that’s funny! Okay, I’m working on the marketing portion and someday the book sales rolling in will actually be a concern of mine. 🤣 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 I’m stubborn, and I have no doubt I’ll figure out how to be a productive sales(wo)man one day.

Okay, back to my issue. I’m always doing things where I mentally beat myself up and ask, “Ugh, why did I do that?”

I wish I hadn’t moved my book over to KDP. I’m not even going to dare do a google search on the topic because I’m sure there are numerous blogs saying, “Don’t do it! Stay with Createspace!” and I’m going to feel like an even bigger idiot. But I know that I’ll figure things out. I’ll feel like an idiot for a while, but soon I’ll be wiser. I’ll know how to use KDP and I’ll be happy that I can track my titles in one place. I’ll love the fact that I can create my future titles’ paperback and ebook versions in the same place. There will only be one customer support that I’ll have to contact for help the next time I’m kicking myself and muttering, “Ugh, why did I do that?”

Eh, I’m making mistakes, but I’m learning. By the time I’m dead, I just may be wicked smart.

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Haha! Someday. Right now is not that time. Oh well. I have to feel like a dumb@$$ for a day or two. Then I’ll move on and maybe feel proud of what I’ve accomplished for a day or two before doing something else I’ve never done before and falling on my face.

But for today, I’m trying to keep in mind that I’m doing, I’m trying, I’m learning, I’m working to accomplish my goals. And while all my failures suck for a while, someday I might find myself winning.

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**In the time it took me to vent and write this blog post, everything is back to looking the way it should again.** Ahh, I feel so much better.

Anyway, if you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, it’s available by clicking here. 😁

 

 

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Are book trailers useful? (part one)

Are book trailers useful? (part one)

Hello friends,

When you publish a book and you’re trying make it discoverable by readers, there is so much conflicting advice on what you should do it can be overwhelming. And unfortunately, a lot of the advice offered (to help you become a bestseller) isn’t free. I’m beginning to think there are a lot of authors out there who really make their money by promising to help others sell their books (but it doesn’t work and your money is wasted). They don’t write for the love of writing but to scam aspiring authors out of their dollars and cents.

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I want to share everything I do with you–for free! So that you can learn from my mistakes (yes, it’s embarrassing to show my failures) and you can benefit from my successes (if I ever have any 😂 😂 😭 😭 😭).

So here’s question 1 I’m going to explore and I’ll report back on whether it was a big, fat flop in a future post…Are book trailers useful?

I suspect the answer is no. I’d like to point out that I do have a bit of advanced knowledge of this in that I release a book before, paid someone on Fiverr to make a book trailer for me (I think I paid $15), and it brought me no noticeable sales.

This time, I’ve made the book trailer myself, so it only cost me my time. To be honest, it turned out just as well as the one I paid for.

Here it is…

 

Now you may be thinking, “Allie, if a book trailer didn’t bring you any sales before, why are you even bothering?”

Great question! You are smart, dear reader. I’m trying again because I think everything is always worth a few attempts–especially when they don’t cost me anything. I’ve shared the video on Youtube (which I plan to try to start utilizing), Facebook, in this post, Twitter, Google+, my Amazon author page, and I also plan to put a link on Pinterest. I’ve yet to figure out if I can put it on Instagram. (Have I ever mentioned how much I despise using Instagram? I find it so UN-user-friendly)

I’m not sure of any other ways that I can use this book trailer, but I’m going to dig around in some blog posts, seek out other book trailers to learn how they’re used, and try to brainstorm different ways I can use it. My goal is to make my book discoverable in as many places as I can. Whether or not that will convert to book sales, I have no idea but I guess we’ll find out together.

Are you an author who uses book trailers to try to generate sales? If so, would you mind sharing your experiences in the comments below? If you have any suggestions on additional ways to use a book trailer, I’d love to know those as well. I need all the help I can get.

Or maybe you’re a whiz at marketing and you’d like to share your knowledge with someone like me?

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Writing a book was the easy part for me. Marketing myself and my book–whew, that’s another story–one I’m struggling with.

If you’re interested in buying my book after that amazing book trailer 😉 you can purchase it by clicking here for the ebook or here for the paperback. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

See you in part two–which will hopefully be named Are book trailers useful? (part two-success!) 😂 😂 🤞🏻 🤞🏻

 

book reviews

Book Review – Unanchored by Stephanie Eding

Book Review – Unanchored by Stephanie Eding

⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Shiver me timbers! This, my hearties, was an exciting adventure.
I highly recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Cecily as she tried to figure out what was going on and plan her escapes. I’ve also developed an enormous character crush on Finn. This book had all the things I love in a book, excitement, adventure, some sexual tension, and a bit of romance. This is one I’ll be reading again and telling my friends about.

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Available as an ebook from Amazon. Click here to get your copy!

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Being open to new experiences

Being open to new experiences

I read a blog the other day which discussed self-publishing. The author of the blog said while they understood the reasons that authors would self-publish that they didn’t feel it was worth the risk of reading them. Then she went on to say that she picked up a self-published book and it was full of errors and she couldn’t finish it. I’ve had that happen, too. I’ve also picked up traditionally published books that made it difficult to get through the first paragraph, let alone the first chapter.

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I actually “liked” the blogger’s post because I know there are a lot of self-published works that don’t get the care that the book and the reader deserves. Many times I see poorly made, homemade cover art, no editing (done by a professional), and crap writing. There are even scammers out there stuffing books with crap just to make a quick buck.

The blogger of the article questioned why she should spend money on a book that’s self-published because it might not be worth her money and she’d rather spend her money on books by Random House. That’s fine. But why should self-published authors have to give their work away for free if it’s good just to get you to read it? When I read, I honestly don’t look to see who the publisher is. If a book sounds interesting, I’ll try it. I’ve found a lot of great things to read that way, and I’ve been disappointed in books that were on a list somewhere or published by the big five. But I had no problem with the article. If that’s what she thinks, it’s what she thinks. After all, risking $.99-$2.99 on an ebook might be difficult for some.

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The disappointing part of the blog post, for me, came when a book blogger commented saying she wouldn’t even consider reviewing self-published books. I mean, if you’re asked to review a book, you’re getting it for free. So what’s the risk? If it sounds interesting, why wouldn’t you want to read it? Why would you ever pass up the chance to give the readers of your blog a fantastic book they might have never heard of? Be open to new experiences, discover new things, step outside your comfort zone.

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There’s nothing I can do to change opinions like these since these are the type of minds that are entirely closed off to anything “risky” or new. But I can do my best to make my books the best that I can. I always hire a professional editor and professional cover artist and will continue to do so. I will also always encourage other indie authors to do the same.

I’m also going to start a book review tab on my website, and I’m going to stay open to reading and reviewing anything I find interesting. So if you’re an indie author, feel free to send me a review request at kalicecompeau@outlook.com. If I start reading your book and I don’t like it. I just won’t review it. I’ll also share my reviews here, and on Goodreads, for any book I pick up…because it looks interesting.

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Hmmm, that’ sounds good. Yes! I’ll read it.

If you’d like to take a chance on my independently published book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, click here. 

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Ohio Indie Authors Group

Ohio Indie Authors Group

I’ve been a member of a few writer groups but they seem so big, I feel lost in a swell of people that I never get to know.

This is pretty much me in the forums…

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The local SCBWI chapter was okay, but I’d like to write outside of children’s books without paying expensive dues to another national or global writing club.

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I don’t need to part with more money!

What I’m looking to do is to build a group of Ohio authors that can help each other reach Ohio readers. So many other industries are making it possible to buy local products made by local artisans, but I still find it difficult to find books written where I live about the local people.

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I love buying local!

The craft beer movement (of which I’m also involved) in Ohio has inspired me to create a movement of craft books. One thing I love about indie books is that readers are the gatekeepers. But there are millions of indie books on Amazon, and it can be hard to find the great indie authors, especially great local authors. (And let’s face it. There is a lot of poor work slapped up, and quite a few scammers are working Amazon to make a quick buck) Wouldn’t it be cool if we could create a network of authors that can help get the word out about the great indie books written by local authors to local readers?

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I’ve created a group for Ohio indie authors on Goodreads, and I’d love for you to join me if you are one. So far, I’m the sole member, but it’s only been about five minutes. 😂

There will be no dues to join. Just support for each other.

One other thing I didn’t like about the other groups I was in was that they only seemed to exist to promote certain authors. You were either one of the top authors or you were a peon that was expected to worship and support those at the top. I want to create a community where everyone receives support with their work and can receive honest feedback and critiques.

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. I figured I should get off my butt and create the group that I wish existed. Maybe this will be a flop ( like so many other things I do), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s always worth giving something a try. Always.

I want to succeed, and I want others to succeed without making promises (that may never happen) and milking authors and aspiring authors of thousands of dollars (don’t we all see those around often enough. Am I right? You know 😉)

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Or me anyway until someone else joins.

Here is the link to the group —>  Click here.

If you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, click here. 

 

 

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How to overcome writer’s block

How to overcome writer’s block

How to overcome writer's block

A lot of people talk about writer’s block and how to overcome it. They suggest things like forcing yourself to write and while that might work for some, I don’t think it does. I’ve tried to make myself write but I’ve always found writing crap doesn’t help my work-in-progress in any way.

My best advice if you’re feeling stuck is the following:

  1. Don’t sweat it. The writing bug has bitten you before and it will again. If you’re relaxed and not trying to force it, I’m convinced you’ll get back into it much faster.
  2. Keep your work-in-progress in the back of your mind while you do other things. I always find that if I just let it percolate in the back of my mind, the solution often presents itself.
  3. Read something else. Sometimes you just need a break from your own words and worlds.
  4. Watch a movie or two or three. Take notes about how the story unfolds, what you like about it, or what you don’t. Sometimes figuring out what you like about stories helps you figure out what you want to do with your own.
  5. Talk a nice, lovely walk. (Take a notepad or your phone to jot down notes that are sure to flood it. They most likely will.)
  6. Take a shower. I always do my best thinking in the shower. I keep a waterproof notepad and pencil in mine because ideas always come. I think water is magic for the brain.
  7. Go for a drive. Turn up the radio. Have some fun. I’m convinced that enjoying yourself opens up the creative areas of your mind and lets the ideas flow freely.
  8. Think about (not worry about) your book while you’re falling asleep. Just have it in your mind, knowing that you’ll find the solutions. I’ve had characters come to me in my dreams and tell me how to work out plot problems.

In a nutshell, just relax. I believe forcing things binds your creativity, but relaxing will let it drift and tap into the universal core of creation. If you were meant to be a writer, and you’ve written before, you’ll write again. Just because words aren’t going onto pages at the moment doesn’t mean that you’re not working on a story idea or building up characters in your mind.

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Wooohooo! Then celebrate when you start writing again and the next time you get stuck remember that it’s not permanent and will pass.

If you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, you can get it by clicking here. 

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My Dad

My Dad

My Dad is retiring this weekend. I can’t imagine how he must be feeling. For over 42 years, he worked varying shifts and many weekends at a job he hated at General Motors doing masonry work/building repair. He spent many weekends he had off from the shop doing masonry work on the side to provide extra money for his wife and three children (I’m the middle child and definitely his favorite 😉).

He didn’t grow up with a lot. There was no indoor bathroom in his house until he was a senior in high school. He knew the meaning of hard work his whole life. He worked on his father’s and uncle’s farms. He didn’t have a carefree childhood like most of us have. Immediately after graduating High School he set to work learning how to do the masonry work from his cousin and worked doing that until he was hired by General Motors. I doubt it was his dream to work there for 42+ years but he did. (Btw, he’s a talented artist. He always drew cool cartoons of raccoons and other animals on the papersack book covers we had on our books for school.)

When I think back to my childhood, most of my memories are of my dad working or being tired from working (or cranky– from working and being tired. And no, I never could hold the flashlight right! 😂)

I was born in Flint, Michigan and lived there through the end of fifth grade. The neighborhood I grew up in was becoming unsafe, so my dad moved us away, adding two hours of driving to his work day.

In yesterday’s post, I was lamenting my giving nature, but I realized this morning–as I was continuing my epic baking journey to provide lots of delicious cookies for my dad’s retirement party–that I got it from him. Whether through nurture or nature or some combination of the two, I got it from him. Looking at those qualities in me, the way I look at them in him, I realize I should be grateful.

He works extremely hard yet will give the shirt off his back to anyone who needs it. He’s quick to lend a helping hand to anyone, even though he may be dog tired from a hard days work. I learned how to work hard for the things I want from him. I’m stubborn–just like him. I get joy from helping others, like him. I know that if I need anything, my dad will help me.  And while I haven’t needed anything–financially–from him in a very long time, I’ve always had his encouragement and support. He always lets me know that he’s proud of me and that he believes in me. He taught me how to be persistent and work hard to provide for myself. When I joined the Air Force, I went to the Defense Language Institute to learn the Russian Language. It was tough, and there were many times I doubted myself and was reduced to tears, but I could call home and talk to my dad, and he would remind me that I can do anything if I work hard enough and keep trying. He was right. I passed with flying colors, surprising myself and some of my teachers (especially the one who called me stupid every day) with my final test scores.

When I decided I was going to try turning my passion for writing into novels and attempting to make a career out of it, he never doubted for a second that I could do it. When you have someone who believes in you like that, it’s easier not to let your self-doubt completely take over. I’m fortunate that I have many people in my life who believe in me.

He was never one of those fathers who expected any less from his daughters than he did from his son. I grew up believing that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I absolutely thought that I could be president one day if I so decided. I never needed to have a female president in order to believe that, I was only excited that I would get to be the first one. I didn’t need to look outside of my household to dream big or be shown that I was capable of doing anything. My mom and my dad were all the role models I needed. (My mom is really kick-ass, too, btw. I’ll write about her another day.)

So, to my dad with your large, callused hands and your replacement knee brought on by countless years of relentlessly hard work pounding his body, time to kick back, crack open a beer, and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it! I hope you get to travel now and see all those places you always talked about when we were growing up but never had the free time to go see.

You’re incredible! If the world were filled with more people like you, it would be a beautiful place.

Cheers! I love you.