Don’t Get Caught

Yup. I’m going to another event! Join me at the 1st Annual Atlanta African American Book Festival this Saturday! 7/14/18. Student Center from 10am-5pm EST. See you there!

Fun Fact: I’m a stickler for rules. I follow the laws and commandments of the Bible, I pay attention to Amazon’s review policy and I try to live as blamelessly as possible. I’m the person who won’t text and drive. I got a chance to get a tattoo once but I thought it was wrong so I didn’t get it. That’s me. Your law abiding citizen.  And anything you say in the comments can be used against you in the court of law (tee hee)

So, I’ve been posting to my Facebook Business page a lot and not my personal page because….you guessed it…rules!

Did you know it is against Facebook’s policy to promote your business on your personal Facebook page? 

Yup, we all do it but it’s actually illegal.

“It’s actually against Facebook’s policy to use your personal profile as a business profile.” –  Shayla Raquel

Just like giving people prizes to review your book is against Amazon’s Review Policy (and sharing the super link to your book can have Amazon to track you and remove reviews after suspecting manipulation), all that promoting you’re doing on your personal page is actually, technically, against Facebook’s policy and if they want they can delete your account.

👉Don’t get me wrong. I promote on my personal page every now and again too because, hey, an update now and then is cool, I think. Also, strangely enough, people tend to respond more to your personal posts more than your business posts even though the same people on your personal page are also on your business page. I will never understand you people.

✅ But don’t get caught! Be smart and be sure to create a Facebook business page as well and do the bulk of your promos there so it’s not like, super obvious.

👉 Here are some things you can do NOW in case your account gets deleted:

💻 You can download a history of your Facebook activity and archive it somewhere, just in case. You can do so with the following directions, from Facebook’s info page:

1) Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Account Settings

2) Click General in the left-hand column

3) Click on “Download a copy of your Facebook data”

4) Click Start My Archive

Also, here’s a very informative post by Shayla on everything you need to create an epic Facebook page. Click here. Also, ya know, like my Facebook page while you’re at it lol.

You’re welcome!👍


If you’re in the Atlanta-land area, don’t forget to join me at the inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival this weekend, Saturday, July 14, 2018. FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC over 70 authors will convene in Atlanta to present their work to the Atlanta community. Journalists, editors, publishers, literary critics, and scholars from various fields will be present. Panel discussions and workshops will engage festival attendees in topics concerning literary industry tips, civil disobedience, activism, emotional and spiritual well-being, restorative justice, and health and wealth. Children’s activities include a story corner and festival dance floor.

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I am one of the many featured authors and I would be honored to have your support at my table. You will have the chance to grab signed paperback copies of my books along with other authors, take pictures, take part in workshops, and meet industry professionals. Again, attendance at the festival is FREE. This is not just an entertainment event but we also seek to implement community programming that promotes black literary arts and family sustainability within our community. You can read my interview with AAABF Fest here.

Derek Murphy | Why Amazon is deleting book reviews: understanding Amazon’s new review policy and how to get back deleted reviews

Very good breakdown from Derek on understanding why Amazon is deleting reviews. Nobody took me (and others) seriously when we said it was not wise to include the words, “I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.” Maybe you’ll listen to Derek:

“So it’s fine to give copies of books or ARCs away as long as you don’t require a review in exchange. Jennetta Penner recommends language like “I received an ARC at no cost from the author” – so you might want to ask your readers to stop using the word “exchange” in book reviews.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THROUGH TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE.


As a reminder, Renaissance is 99cents on Amazon. I’ve never received 20+ reviews but I am almost there! I need just one more review to reach this mini milestone. To purchase this book at just 99cents. CLICK HERE and, if you would like, I’d be honored if you could leave an honest review. 

5 Lessons I Learned from the Movie American Gangster

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American Gangster is based on the true story of real-life drug kingpin Frank Lucas, who by the 1960s constructed an international drug ring that spanned from New York to South East Asia. The film features Denzel Washington as Lucas and a New York City cop (Russell Crowe) who busted a big-time heroin ring. I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. In no way do I condone selling drugs and yet I will still watch this movie. There’s a little angel on my shoulder, shaking her head in disgust and a little devil smirking at me as we both smile while watching Denzel’s swag.

I’ve been a bad girl

So anyway, I was watching American Gangster last week, and I started typing away at the notepad on my phone. Somehow, I had managed to think about writing. These days, I watch movies to see if they are written well, educational, and entertaining. Eventually, I had come up with a list of things I learned, and I thought I’d share it with you.

Lesson #1: Influence

“I want what you got Uncle Frank. I wanna be you.”

One of the most powerful aspects of this movie is the message on Influence. Social influence occurs when someone’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by others. In the film, Frank’s nephew Stevie Lucas is an excellent baseball player and had been playing since he was a child. Now at the prominent financial level to do so, Frank schedules a meeting for his nephew Stevie (T.I.) with the Dodgers. Stevie does not show up. Now that he was part of his Uncle’s drug enterprise, he no longer had a desire to play ball. Instead, Stevie wants to be a drug kingpin like Frank. This scene is one of the saddest parts of the movie for me when Stevie Lucas says he doesn’t want to play baseball anymore, although that was his passion since childhood. Instead, he wanted to be a drug dealer.

This scene is a reminder that you are not just living for yourself. The decisions you make and the opinions you give do not only belong to you but can influence the people around you. We don’t have to be celebrities or someone great to have influence. Somewhere, in our little corner of the world, someone is listening to us and silently taking our advice. People are watching you whether you know it or not and whether they speak up about it or not. The danger in this is that people will follow your example. Sadly, even when you’re wrong if they admire you enough.

Lesson #2: Follow Your Own Advice

“The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”

Frank said this to Huey Lucas, his brother, after seeing him hanging out with Nicky Barnes, “one of the biggest heroin dealers in the country,” a 1977 New York Times Magazine article titled “Mister Untouchable” stated. Nicky is known as being arrogant and living an extravagant lifestyle. In the movie, Huey had taken on Nicky’s colorful way of dress and his arrogant demeanor.

There is so much to learn from this quote alone. It goes hand in hand with the phrase, “the more you talk, the less you know.” Usually, it’s the people who are the weakest who makes the most noise.

Frank then turned around and wore an expensive fur, bought by his wife, to the Ali/Fraizer fight–the same “clown suit” he warned his brother not to wear–and stuck out like a sore thumb. This fur is what made the police take notice of him and pay attention to him. From this one mistake, they learned of Franks every move.

The message here is for one to remember to take their own advice, which is not always easy to do if a person is not paying attention. I am sure we all have an instance to which we forgot to take our own advice.

Lesson #3: The Love of Money

“Success has enemies…quitting while you are ahead is not the same as quitting.”

All any black man wants to do is take care of his family, but Frank had a significant role in the direction of his brother’s life. He didn’t have to travel to North Carolina and recruit them in his drug empire. His brothers and cousins were country boys, and while each is entitled to one’s own choices and decisions (his brothers could have decided not to participate after discovering what the business was about), Frank is responsible for his part in taking advantage of his brother’s innocence. Frank was the oldest (if the movie is correct in this portrayal) and they looked up to him. He could have used his influence more positively. Even his mother in the film said: “If you were a preacher they would have all been preachers.” This example goes back to lesson number one. We all have people who watch us and look up to us even if we don’t know it. Frank could have used his money to invest in legit companies for his brothers, leaving them out of the drug business.

Lesson #4: The Business Mind

“Nobody owns me though. That’s ’cause I own my own company and my company sells a product that’s better than the competition, at a price that’s lower than the competition.”

There’s a lot to learn about business in this movie. Even though the market here is, unfortunately, selling drugs, I believe you can get a lesson from anything if you’re paying enough attention to it. One of Frank’s many experiences had to do with launching a new product that was cheap but still held quality. Frank stepped outside of the established heroin supply chain by cutting out the middleman and not diluting the heroine. In the 1970s, the heroine was often diluted with sugars, chalk, flour, or powdered milk to stretch it, so ddicts understood that the drug would have a lower potency. To create his one-of-a-kind “product,” Frank went directly to the source, a heroin producer in Saigon, Vietnam. In the movie, Frank didn’t dilute his heroin, which made it more potent. He also sold the undiluted, more potent drug at a lower price.

The lesson here is that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort circles to reach new levels. If broke people surround you, then you will more than likely be broke too. If people with no vision surround you, then all you will ever do is have a dream. If you want to reach new levels, you have to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Want to publish a book? Want to understand how it’s done? Then surround yourself with people who are doing it right and take advice from people who have made it to where you want to be. This same thing applies to any business.

Lesson #5: Not Everything is as it Seems

Lucas_Brothers

The final and most important lesson is not to believe everything that you see. Much of this movie is made up by Hollywood. Denzel Washington is a more smooth and exaggerated version of the real Frank Lucas (and in some ways, we all kinda wish the real Frank was a lot more like Denzel). The real Frank Lucas was not Bumpy Johnson’s driver for 15 years, and he was not with Bumpy when he died. The real Frank Lucas did dilute his heroin, though not as much as the other dealers. The real Frank Lucas did collect numerous mink and chinchillas aside from the one his wife bought him, and the real Frank Lucas is mentioned as being just as “flashy” as Nicky Barnes. The real Frank Lucas is also rumored to have been illiterate.

The persona of the copy, Richie Roberts, was also exaggerated in the movie. He did not have a child and was not in a custody battle with his ex-wife. He also had a much smaller role in the capturing of Frank Lucas.

The lesson here is to remember to do your research. Don’t just believe the movies you watch, the articles/books you read, or the things that you see on social media. Even salt looks like sugar, and spoiled milk is still white. Always double-check your facts.


Sources:

http://brandautopsy.com/

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/americangangster.php

https://www.biography.com/people/frank-lucas-253710

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Lucas_(drug_dealer)

http://www.complex.com/style/2013/01/the-10-most-stylish-drug-kingpins-of-all-time/khun-sa

Heroin: From the Civil War to the 70s, and Beyond

Let’s Congratulate Don! Introducing DSM Publications!

Guys, help me to congratulate my author friend Don Massenzio on his new business endeavor. DSM Publications offers Editing and Formatting services to Indie Authors at a reasonable rate with advice and networking with other authors. Don is a big supporter of this blog so I am delighted to return the favor! Be sure to like his new Facebook page HERE and to follow his new blog HERE and subscribe to his email list HERE. (If you sign up for DSM Newsletter, you’ll receive a free copy of Don’s book, The Ultimate Guide for Independently Published Authors.) To learn more, visit his post HERE . Remember, we are in this together! Whoo hoo.

Writespiration: Have You Done All That You Could Do?

This is my husband’s advice to everything and I love him for it. It always brings me back. Whenever I am stressing about something this is the first thing he asks me. “Have you done all that you could do?” I want to use this question as motivation for some writespiration today.

Writing books is not easy and building a business around those books is even more challenging. Sometimes I get down because things are just not going the way I want them to. Or need them to! Sometimes I get frustrated and I really want to give up. I say to myself: Is it worth it? Is there anyone who really cares? Am I wasting my time? These are questions we all have from time to time. After all, we are human with feelings and emotions and every now and again, we get down. We do not stay down, it is my hope, but it happens. (Especially when we are on the brink of something great.)

“Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou

But then my husband’s voice goes off in my head: Have you done all that you could do?

This means to me, have I done everything in my power to move this thing forward?

If the answer is no the follow-up question is: what can you do with what you have financially, intellectually, practically? Is it money that’s limiting you? Is it a lack of knowledge that’s limiting you? Is it the practical application? Is it lack of support? Are you communicating with your audience? No problem can be solved without a thorough understanding of why it’s even a problem in the first place.

Have you done all that you could do?

If the answer is yes, the follow-up is: It’s out of your control now. Now you must pray for Yah to move on the spiritual realm. Let Yah bring the super and you bring the natural. Ask him to remove the stumbling blocks and demonic forces blocking your way. Ask him for the strength and the courage to wait for what is on its way to you. Ask Yah for patience and believe he has the power to make it happen.

Have you done all that you could do?

This question asks us to examine our goals in a logical way instead of sulking and complaining (which literally does nothing) and gives us something practical to work with. By implementing action we are usually capable of shifting the negative energy toward a more positive vibe. Do not forget that you have the power to change the way that you feel and to take a negative emotion or situation and turn it into a positive one at any time. When you ask yourself, “have I done all that I could do?” it will bring forward new ideas and force you to do something and see the good rather than the bad. You will begin to examine what you have done instead of what you have not done and what you do have instead of what you do not have.


Be sure to pick up your copy of Revolution: The Nora White Story – Book Two, available now for pre-order on Amazon. Didn’t read book one? Grab it for 99cents here from now through 5/30.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen

Title: The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors

Author: Anne R. Allen

Print Length: 176 pages

Publisher: Kotu Beach Press

Publication Date: December 4, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B077Y5DKP9

 

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

*Due to the high volume of reads I am behind on, reviews will no longer be restricted to Fridays. I will be publishing reviews on whatever day I get them out until I am caught up*

 

Anne R. Allen is no stranger to the blogging world. Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017. Her advice and suggestions are shared daily by bloggers and authors such as myself. As her book is targeted, I am a busy Author but I also love to blog. Blogging. It has become one of the things I must incorporate into my schedule. I love interacting with the WordPress platform, networking with other authors, readers, and bloggers and being able to share my post on social media. In short, if there was a book out there for busy author bloggers, I am definitely one of them which is why I definitely knew I was going to need this book. I was not disappointed.

This book is extremely easy to understand which I think makes the “Easy” in the title so critical. It helps to guide those authors who are new to blogging in a way that leaves no stone unturned. Whether it is Blogger or WordPress, if you are an author (even if you’re not a busy one) Allen’s book will give you the tools you need to make blogging part of your platform. What I loved most of all is the information on how an author blog is different than a business blog. I also enjoyed the part on writing an author bio, which I applied immediately. What I loved least is some of the information on author newsletters.

While I don’t think everyone should do it at all (and I also agree with the author on some of the focus of some newsletters), I still think the email list can be beneficial for staying in communication with an author’s target audience. While my blog is more interactive and people can subscribe and also get email notifications of new posts, the email list helps me to organize exactly who the people are who are subscribed. I do not think the email list is for hard-selling (it doesn’t work) or anything most people tell you it is for but I do think it can be helpful to know who your supporters are more intimately. I love my blog. I have more interaction, feedback and more subscribers but I don’t know who everyone is, who is actually reading my content or what percentage of them are no longer paying attention. With an email list, I know exactly who is active, who is inactive, who clicks links, who open emails and who doesn’t. People who are no longer interested can also unsubscribe, giving me, even more, insight into the people who care and the people who do not care.

Nonetheless, there are still some really good pointers here so my disagreement with this part didn’t downgrade my thoughts on the book. Allen brings up some good pointers, such as: not using your list to advertise hard sell, promote or spam. How blogs show up on search engines, can be shared on social media and is interactive. I also like that she brings up the Street Team newsletter where everyone is treated as members of the author’s team to help to review and promote the work. I don’t like the idea either and have always thought there should be a separate list for this.

I wouldn’t recommend this book just for busy authors. I recommend this book for author bloggers in general. It’s an easy read and gives all the tools you need to start your author blog today.

 

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors is available now on Amazon. Authors, go get it!

Anne R A

Anne R. Allen is the author of nine comic novels. THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, and THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER are available singly or in a boxed set called BOOMER WOMEN. She’s also the author of the hilarious Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, and THE QUEEN OF STAVES. She is currently published by Kotu Beach Press.

She also has a collection of short stories and verses called WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.

She’s the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Amazon #1 seller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Her latest book is THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.

Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the foggy Central Coast of California with an imaginary cat and a lot of fictional people.

Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to entertain and inform: content really is king. Be accessible and be yourself. Nothing else matters. (Well, correct spelling and grammar help too. 🙂 )

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the entire article.