Don’t Overpay to Play

I posted this message to my IG this morning and I thought I would post it here as well. I have added more bullet points after realizing how much this also applies to Indie Authors and our writing careers as well as real life advice.

  • Don’t go broke to sit at someone else’s table. Make sure that what you put your money into is worth the investment and not something you are doing to be seen. If you’ve ever observed me in person, you’ll notice I am quiet and laid back. I am not there to see what I can get. I am there to listen, to learn, and to connect so that when I go home, I can implement and apply. The other obvious meaning is, make sure your immediate needs are met before you play. Are your bills paid? Is your family fed? What can you realistically afford? I know social media has made entrepreneurship look glamorous but in real life people have day jobs and responsibilities. People are not winning everyday. Don’t be out here trying to prove a point. Take care of the most important things first.

 

  • “Don’t overpay to play,” also means to me not to overcompensate in the efforts to prove to people who you are. Sometimes I do this. I have a good heart. This is what I know about myself to be true and there’s nothing worse than people not seeing that. What I’ve realized, though, is that I can’t control how other people see me and I can’t “overpay to play” with them. People will see different versions of you depending on who they are, how they feel about themselves, and their philosophy in life. If you try too hard to prove you are a good person it will only come across as fake. Just be who you are, do what you do, and let the chips fall where they may. I also think it’s just as important to realize that we all have traits about us that are not positive. This is important. A person who understands both his strengths and weaknesses is a strong person. A person who can identify his weaknesses without pointing out the weaknesses of others is a stronger person. Realize that you are not 100% together and that people don’t have to like you.

 

  • New Indie Authors, don’t overpay someone to publish your book just because you’re desperate to see it in print. Overpaying could mean a different price depending on each individual’s budget but anything over the $5,000 point is steep. Don’t overpay to play author. While I am not a Traditional Publisher, the traditional publishing route is still a good option if you want the traditional publicity. While many Self-Publishers have gone on to have movies made from their books and have made millions from their books, there are many aspiring authors who are looking to be published traditionally but are not patient enough to go through the process. As a result, they overpay small Indie Publishers to do for them what they could have probably done for themselves. For example, don’t fall for someone promising to make you an Amazon Best Seller. To non-writers, family, and friends it may seem like a big deal and while commendable (I would never downplay anyone’s hard work), it’s not exactly the same as being a New York Times Bestseller. Amazon’s rankings are controlled by algorithms. In other words, computers. Any spike in sells (even if it’s just 5 books sold) can shoot a book ranking up. Sometimes all it takes to be an Amazon Best Seller is to sell 10 copies of your book on the same day. It’s not the same as outselling all the other books in your genre. I’m sorry but it’s the truth and this deception is not only bringing down the value of being a true Best Seller, but is starting to become a red flag to those who actually know how the system works.  I applaud anyone who has become a #1 Amazon Best Seller but I caution you not to pay for it. You can become an Amazon Best Seller on your own. It’s not worth $5,000.

 

  • This advice reminds me of the importance of boundaries, limits to where I’ll go. There must be a line that reminds you of your integrity, where you are not willing to go, no matter the circumstances or the price tag because your moral compass will not allow you to. “Don’t overpay to play,” also means to me, “remember your worth.” If you don’t have this mental limit in your mind you will sell out in whatever way it means to sell out. Boundaries go far beyond personal limitations but extend to our livelihoods as well.

3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019: Tips and Best Practices

poetry contest


We are so excited to meet all the amazing poets who will be entering this year’s contest! Prizes include a $50 Barnes and Noble gift-card, promotion, and publishing in our 2nd Edition, 2020 Poet Magazine. Below are some tips and best practices for bettering your chances of winning this contest! (For the video version of this post, go to my IG account and watch the EcTV version!)

  1. Read the rules (CLICK HERE FOR THIS YEAR’S GUIDELINES)

 

  1. Make sure your poem lines up with the theme surrounding one of these words: Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Faith (Read the rules).

 

  1. To qualify as entry you MUST subscribe to my email list. CLICK HERE to sign up. Then, go ahead and send your poem to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. Don’t rush to write your poem and forget to sign up for the email list. Last year’s winner got her poem in just before the deadline and won the entire competition so take your time and do it right. The best way to remember is to sign up for the email list first and then spend the rest of the time writing your poem. (Read the rules)

 

  1. Deadline for entry is August 1st. Winners announced November 1st. (Read the rules)

 

  1. Poems are judged based on ORIGINALITY, style, and how closely it relates to the theme. Poems cannot be previously published in a book or online and plagiarism is cause for immediate elimination.

 

  1. Pay Attention to the theme: If you submit a poem that is not about Strength, Courage, Wisdom, or Faith in some capacity you put yourself at risk for elimination. Why? Because poems that don’t follow the rules are one of the first to go. My team has to read through a lot of poems and you don’t wanna make it easier for them to disqualify you by not…following the rules.

For a full list of the rules, guidelines,

and prizes CLICK HERE.

Blogging and Time

One of the many complaints I hear from new bloggers is concerning time. Blogging takes a lot of time. This is true and time is a very precious thing. How we spend our time is a big deal. What you spend time on today can directly influence your day tomorrow or weeks and months ahead. These days, I don’t have a lot of time to blog and I am not mad about it. I have shifted my perspective on a lot of things, one of them being better managing my time. The PBS Blog is still growing and there are new subscribers daily even if I don‘t blog daily and engagement is decent. My posts are shared daily. All of this from not blogging. I am wasting time just talking about it, actually. I am sitting here writing a blog post when I should be doing laundry.

Define Your Purpose

What are you using your blog for? Do you plan to monetize your blog? In other words, get paid for blogging? Do you intend to keep your content free? Are you using your blog to reach more readers? Build an audience? Are you an author blogger or business blogger? Authors use blogging a bit differently than business bloggers. (I recommend Anne R. Allen’s book The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors) How are you using your blog to your advantage? This question is important because it will determine how you spend your time. Define your purpose for blogging. Don’t just say because you like to write or something vague like that. Be specific. Why did you start a blog and where do you want it to go? One thing I love about Dr. Boyce Watkin’s emails is that he has a clear purpose and everything goes back to that. His thing is Financial Literacy and by the end of every email you know that.

Your Purpose Can Change

Your purpose may also change as you grow and that’s not a bad thing. I didn’t know what I was blogging for when I first started. It took a couple years for me to figure that out and to narrow it down. I am here to connect with readers, black history buffs, to coach new bloggers of the WordPress platform, and to build with Independent Authors. Everything I do on this blog will ultimately go back to one or all of those points. I will either be writing, offering information on black history, giving out blog and writing tips or supporting Indie Authors. Everything I do must be consistent with these things. You may say, “but you didn’t say poetry and certainly you write poetry on this blog!” Truth. I also host a yearly poetry contest and I also didn’t mention inspiration though I am always offering words of encouragement. But this all falls under one of my core points.

Connecting with Readers

Poetry, Short Stories, Creative Writing pieces, Music, Testimony, e.g.

Black History Buffs

Black history articles and little known historical facts

Blog Coaching for New Bloggers of WP Platform

Blog Tips

Supporting Indie Authors

Book Reviews, Promoting / Supporting other Authors, Writing Tips

Build a Schedule

I cannot speak enough about being consistent and having some kind of schedule can help with that. If you think this is unnecessary, then you should probably reevaluate why you’re blogging. Personally, I don’t want to do anything that does not provide some kind of value. If I am incorporating anything in my life whether it’s a blog or a new diet it had better give me a return in some way. For this to happen consistency is necessary and having a schedule can help.

Consistency doesn’t mean every day. Consistency just means regularly. This can be once a week or once a month. (I wouldn’t recommend once a month. I’d try for at least once a week) You don’t have to blog every day but you do have to know what you intend to get out of it. Again, what’s your purpose? Everything will go back to your reason for blogging in the first place. How you blog, your blog schedule, and your content will all come from why you are here. Once you know that, you will be able to build a schedule around this purpose and decide how much time you want to spend blogging. Consistency builds trust, trust builds value and value builds support.

Decide Exactly How Much Time You Want to Spend Blogging

If you are reading this post it probably means you are short on time to blog. You may be too busy to blog regularly but you do want to keep connection with your readers. Once you know why you want to blog and you have created a schedule for your blog, decide how much time you want to actually spend blogging (which should be a part of your schedule). If you only want to spend two hours on your blog just spend two hours on your blog! If it takes longer than two hours to draft a post, save it for another day. We will still be here.

Choose a Time to Offer Support Only

Schedule some time toward supporting other blogs. This is good because if you support others, others will support you even when you are not blogging. Supporting others can take 2 minutes or 30 minutes depending on the kind of support you’re offering but it doesn’t have to be grandiose. Supporting other bloggers can be as simple as liking their new post or sharing it on social media. It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Since we are talking about managing time, you may be thinking:

“But EC, I don’t have time to spend on my own blog and now you’re saying I have to spend time on someone else??”

Firstly, you don’t have to do anything and secondly, I know and I get it. I must also admit that I need to spend more time on other blogs too. I don’t have as much time as I used to for blogging but supporting others, even if it’s just to retweet them, is something I squeeze in. Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Likewise, if you don’t have time to be supportive of someone else blogs, why should anyone support yours? Choose a time (even if it’s a few minutes) simply to offer your support to someone else’s blog. Don’t mention your own blog and please don’t leave your blog link in their comments. That’s spammy and disingenuous. Make this time specifically about others and not you.

I read something once on Instagram the other day that applies nicely to this: “You don’t build a business. You build people and the people build the business.” I don’t know who said it but I’d like to apply the same to blogging: You don’t build a blog. You serve the people and the people build the blog. This blog is made up of people. I didn’t build this, the people did. YOU did.


Have you grabbed your copy of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? Have you reviewed Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? What are you waiting for?? Grab your copy now and leave an honest review when you’ve finished reading! CLICK HERE.

New Author Tip: Don’t Just Write More, Improve as You Write

Indie Author Basics

I’ve heard it over and over again: “The more you write, the better you become at it.” I get it. It’s practice. The more you do something, the better you become at it. When it comes to writing though, I think there is more to it than that. You can write and write and write but if you’re not correcting your mistakes as you write, you are not necessarily going to become a better writer.

My new author tip for you today is this:

Learning and applying what you learn as you write makes you a better writer not just writing for the sake of writing. You don’t have to write every day to become better. Understanding what needs to be improved on and correcting it as you write, makes you better. Otherwise, you’ll keep making the same mistakes and thus, produce the same kind of work. This means that if you’ve been producing mediocrity unless you correct yourself, you’ll just continue to write and produce mediocrity. It’s that aged old saying, “insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results.”

I have been writing and publishing books for over ten years. In this time, I have remained true to my authenticity, my morals and values. I have sat down to write what I wanted when I wanted. However, my years in publishing doesn’t mean that I am a better writer. What makes me a better writer today compared to ten years ago is if I have been applying what I’ve learned to the skill. I measure my progress not by how many books I’ve published or how many years I’ve been publishing or how many reviews I have. I measure my progress based on how well I’ve been able to correct the mistakes pointed out to me.

With the help of my beta readers and the WordPress blogging community, in general, I’ve been capable of recognizing and understanding so much more about writing than I ever have in the years prior. While I have a long way to go, the books I published in the years I’ve been blogging are noticeably better, in my opinion than the ones I published before starting this blog. I credit this to nothing except for applying many of the things I’ve learned from others who are more knowledgeable and skilled than I am, to my work. I believe that as authors we have to be very intentional about this and very aware of what works for us and what does not work for us. Don’t just assume that people are always hating on you or don’t understand you or don’t like you. Consider all feedback as constructive to the process.

In these past few months (where I’ve had the opportunity to speak with people face to face, consultants, bookstore owners, and their reviewers,) I’ve come to understand that the more aware I am of my strengths and weaknesses, the better I can build on those strengths and improve on those weaknesses. The more aware I am of what needs to be corrected and the more intentional I am to actually correct it, the better I become as a writer. Not just writing alone, but learning and applying that knowledge to my writing and to the publishing process as a whole as I learn and as I grow.


Be sure to check out more Indie Author Basics by visiting the Writer / Tips and resources page!

Click here.

 

 

10 Ways to Write an Unforgettable Memoir | Shayla Raquel

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Check out this most excellent post from Shayla on writing a memoir. Number One is a most important point. I always wanted to write a memoir but I stopped writing the drafts and deleted the sneak peeks I’d shared with my email list (so embarrassing lol) and decided to start over. I’ve learned so much since then with one of the major things being the difference between a memoir and autobiography.

1. Learn the differences between a memoir and an autobiography.
A common mistake is to pour your heart and soul into a book and market it as the wrong genre. An autobiography is a chronological telling of your life, but a memoir hones in on a specific timeline or event. It doesn’t mean you can’t have flashbacks or backstory; you can. But you must understand the big and subtle differences between the two before you write, publish, and market your story.

Ask yourself:

  • Does my story reflect on my entire life (autobiography), or a key aspect, theme, or event (memoir)?
  • Does my story start at the beginning of my life and progress to the end (autobiography), or does it start anywhere and move around in time and place (memoir)?
  • Does my story require hours of fact-checking (autobiography), or is it more personal, requiring less fact-checking (memoir)?

“A memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.”

—Gore Vidal, Palimpsest

Read more of Shayla’s Guest Post by clicking through to the original post here.

Blogger Tip 02 – How to Reduce the Number of Images Required in Your WordPress Media and SAVE STORAGE SPACE…

Part 2 – How to Reduce the Number of Images Required in Your WordPress Media and SAVE STORAGE SPACE from Chris.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

WP TIP 1

If you use more than one image in your posts, then use WordPress Publicize to automatically upload your post to Twitter, Facebook, etc, or, manually upload them, the image last inserted into your post, is the one that will be displayed on your media.

To avoid the wrong image being displayed, either:

Insert it LAST

OR

Select it as your ‘Featured Image’

Authors especially would probably prefer their Book Cover being displayed, rather than some other, random, image.

WP TIP 2

If you opt for using a Featured image, or, have the same image appear more than once in your post (as I’ve done on this post):

You DO NOT NEED to upload the same image for each separate appearance!

Select the same image to be inserted wherever you want it to be shown in the post.

This will save taking up unnecessary space in your media…

View original post 45 more words

Blogger Tip 01 – How to Resize Images inside your WordPress Media and SAVE STORAGE SPACE..

Very good post from Chris on resizing your images to save storage space in WordPress so you don’t have to upgrade. No use spending money we don’t have to spend. I’ll be doing this tonight. #Winning

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Have you been using images that are VERY LARGE, and/or, PNG Format?

Have you been reblogging and noticed how LARGE, some folks make their images?

Result

Running out of space in your WordPress Media Storage and thinking about paying for more?

Unless you are displaying your own images / photos, and WANT to have them full size

Before you spend any money, go through your Media Storage images and reduce their sizes

You might be shocked at how much longer you can work with the storage space you save.

Step 1:

Select an image and click on it to see it’s size (width x height in pixels)

and

how much it ‘weighs’ (i.e., how many KB or MB it is):

Step 2

My example has already been adjusted, but you can see it’s size and weight

To reduce them, click on the Edit Image button shown under the image:

Step…

View original post 127 more words