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Friday, February 15, 2013


Please join Marsha Casper Cook and V S Grenier for a very special Edition of WORLD OF INK NETWORK on Friday Feb. 15 at 1PM EST NOON CST 11AM MT 10AM PST. Their very special guest will be Linda Lee Greene.

Are you marketing, tweeting, and just plain old over doing it on Facebook and Linked in. This is the show for you. Focusing on your ideas and strategies are just a couple of the techniques you will learn on the show.  Social marketing is a very important part of branding yourself but when is it too much?

After this show your going to be able to take a deep breath and re - group on how to focus your ideas and marketing technique without stress or the feeling of just plain old burn out.

JD Holiday will be joining in on the discussion. 

For more info about author services and help go to


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guardians and Other Angels: Linda Lee Greene


5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE GOLDEN GUARDIANS AND ANGELS, December 15, 2012
This review is from: Guardians And Other Angels (Paperback)
Guardians and Other Angels: Linda Lee Greene

A young child is born into a family thinking that her parents would nurture her and take care of her at all costs. But, sometimes things happen that change a family's dynamics as one member seems caught up in the deaths of two loved ones, cannot handle losing children and one young child is their replacement. Emotions run high, the child is sent to live with her grandmother part of the time and her parents the other part of the time as we hear her voice from the start and understand the unusual family dynamics that she endured. Told during the span of many decades Guardians and Other Angels is the inspirational story of two families that lived in Southern Ohio during both the Great Depression and the Second World War. Everyone comes here hoping to gain wealth, find their own form of the American Dream and even more know what the true meaning of Lady Liberty is as they come into our shores and see her holding up her bright light. As the author describes her home, a log cabin built by her family and her young father, Lee Greene. Imagine living in a log cabin built from stones, sticks and similar as she states to "the reverential structures of the early Hebrew worshipers." The security within the walls that they built provided safety to him and enhanced their early lives. Living in many different places with his father and family, Lee Greene decided that he needed to set down some solid roots of his own and his father finally understood as they bought the Cedar Fork Property a prime piece of land. The author then relates some really interesting memories of her life there and how special the log cabin was for her and her family. But, things do not always remain as her parents separated when she was in her early teens. Next she describes the land, the trees and the scenery to help us picture more about her life and then imagine her father buying what would now be coveted Ford Model T.

Her father seems quite a character as he is a preacher, gets into a heated argument with a farmer and landowner, moves on and then we meet another family. Lena has a mind of her own and just wanted to be a carpenter and do more than just a female's work. We learn more about her family, the children and then we come back to Linda's family and we learn about the younger children, Roma and her amazing way of helping her mother, her father and Arthur who came out of nowhere and had been with them helping in the fields and cutting down the corn, plus the accident that costs one of the children the sight in her eye, the hardships they face and the fears are all brought to light. As we learn about how this family worked together when one member gets really sick and they use some old fashioned methods to cure a serious illness. As the family's dynamics change and Arthur leaves to join a branch of the army and the author shares a very poignant first letter with readers as Bob leaves along with Arthur to join the military without telling his family. The letters are heartfelt, warm and express both a mother and father's feelings towards their son. You can hear the pride in their voices as they share their thoughts in this letters with readers. We learn why Bobby went, why he did not tell his mother beforehand and we learn that Arthur is not with him in the same camp. Wanting to know more about where he is, what he is doing and of course as all mothers warning him to make the right friends, this book brings to light the struggles many families faced during the Great Depression and after the First World War. The author brings the plot into different time periods as she tells everyone more about Roosevelt, his Work Progress Administration and the death of Kennedy and Hurricane Katrina each devastating in its own way. At times by heart really goes out to Roma who seems to have been given too much responsibility to take care of her siblings and to poor Bussy who needs extra care.

The letters that the author shares allows the reader to get to know the characters in a more intimate way. You get to know the characters because what is conveyed really happened and the experiences are not made up and the history spans many generations.

The flood of 1937 was devastating and took its toll on the family and the Red Cross and the U.S. Army Corp engineers were involved in the rescue work as the family tried to stay afloat, the children returned to school and hopes to hear from Bobby were strong. Chapter ten shares some more letters that are really great revealing and you get to know more about Bobby his gun collection the war and their hopes for his return. Family news really makes a difference to those in the service and I can see where these letters from his sisters, brothers and parents will really bring his family closer. As we go back to get to know A.E. and his family better and Lee Greene. Getting to know Joshua the father of A.E. and the rest of the family we learn more about their background their link to the Civil War and her family's visits to Kissimmee. The author includes stories about her grandparents, her uncles and Mommaw and Poppaw Greene or A.E. as she thought of him. She tells about a short trip to an empty house, which he hoped to purchase one day. Describing the trip can give you claustrophobia as they all packed into one car and it seemed they barely had enough room to move. Then we learn more about them in school and we hear each voice in Chapter 12 as more letters are shared but this time from Bobby.

The stories are strong and the times are difficult, reliving the war, their history and the hopes that their family would somehow survive.

With amazing and descriptive accounts of her real life history, her maternal and paternal families, where they began and where they wind up the time span covers many decades and the letters focus on the years of the Great Depression and the start of WWII. Born during the Second World War she experienced what many only read about in history books and related her experiences first hand. As the story flashes forward to when her parents and how they met. Chapter 14 the author shares more letters we learn about Bussy's poor health, the letters to family and friends and the ones shared are to a friend, to his mother and from his father. The voices are so loud that you can almost see and hear them as they write the letters sitting at a table or desk and hear their every word as you read it and share their inner most thoughts. But, the truth about the war hits hard in Chapter 16 as Bob remains in active military service with letters coming from Africa where he was fighting against the German General Rommel and sharing his observations and the places he sees. Bob was handsome and looked like a Hollywood movie star and seemed to fit the image of a German soldier as he goes to war for America. In chapter 18 the author shares her story, her weaknesses and the way she was able to compensate. Loving to draw pictures she shares with the reader the many created, the photos she took and the many albums she created of her family history.

A mosaic picture of a two families and how their lives intertwined and they shared their personal letters or you might say diary with us in this outstanding novel that will keep you riveted to the printed page until you find out where they wind up and what might be next. At times you would think that there were special angels watching over each one of these special people in their own way and the way they cared for each other is more than just heartfelt you can feel it in every word as the author remembers her past and shares it with us in the present.

In the last few chapters we learn more about our author, her learning difficulties and successes and her excitement to be the one to announce breakfast when learning to speak in complete sentences. But, when she describes how she kept vigil in her dying aunt the account reminded me of doing the same last year for watching my sister leave this physical world and it really brought tears to my eyes. Many deaths, sadness and the loss of so many she cared for as the remainder of Chapter 20 shares more letters. The final chapter or what she shares you will have to read for yourself as she brings the story into 2007, the death of her mother and rest read Guardians and Other Angels and if you are like me you will read it in one day. I could not put it down. Thank you for sharing your past in the present.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why eBook Retailers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors

Mark Coker

Why eBook Retailers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors

Posted: 02/12/2013 8:21 pm

2013-02-11-BreakoutBooks.pngIf anyone doubts the speed at which the epicenter of book publishing is shifting from publishers to self-published authors, look no further than the Apple iBookstore.
Last week, Apple's iBookstore launched Breakout Books in the U.S., a new book merchandising feature that showcases books from popular self-published authors, including several that have already achieved New York Times bestseller status. The New York Times covered the story last week, as did The Wall Street Journal.
Apple's merchandising team hand-picked the titles, all of which have earned high ratings from Apple customers.
Disclosure: Many of the eBooks featured were distributed to Apple by my company, Smashwords.
Although the iBookstore has always carried and supported self-published eBooks, last week's launch signified an escalated commitment on the part of Apple, whose iBookstore currently sells books in 50 countries. The iBookstore first piloted the Breakout Books feature in their Australian store in late November and has since implemented similar ongoing features in Canada and the U.K.
A retailer's merchandising decisions are among the most important levers driving book discovery and sales. Whether you're a traditionally published author or a self-published author, such placement can make your book stand out in a haystack of millions of other books competing for your reader's attention.
Why are retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon giving self-published ebooks such merchandising love?
eBook Retailers and Readers Are Embracing Self-Published Authors
Over the last few years, I've written multiple posts here on The Huffington Post articulating the advantages of eBook self-publishing from the author perspective, such as the opportunity to bypass publishing gatekeepers; faster time to market; access to global distribution; higher royalties; and greater creative control. Many other industry watchers have covered the same.
Few in the publishing industry, however, have examined why retailers are stepping up their support for self-published books, and why readers are purchasing them. When we examine the myriad reasons, we see the playing field is likely to continue tilting to the advantage of self-published ebook authors.
Here, I'll outline why retailers and readers are supporting self-published books, and what it means for authors:
  • Quality. The job of the retailer is to connect readers with books they'll enjoy reading. The quality of self-published ebooks -- measured by reader reviews -- has increased significantly over the last few years as indie authors publish with greater professionalism, from editing to cover design to pricing and promotion. The most successful self-published ebooks often match or exceed the quality and desirability of traditionally published ebooks.
  • Low prices. The average Smashwords ebook is priced around $2.99. Readers love low cost books, especially if the quality is as good as or better than what's released by traditional publishers. High quality books sold at low prices make customers happy, and what makes the customer happy makes the retailer happy. Low prices make self-published authors happy too, because a self-published author earns about $2.00 selling a $2.99 book. In order for a traditionally published author to earn $2.00 per ebook sold, the book would have to be priced over $11.00. Why the disparity? Most publishers pay authors 25 percent net for retail sales, which works out to 12.5-17.5 percent of the list price, whereas self-published authors earn 60-70 percent of the list price.
  • Diversity. Publishers are in the business of publishing books that they think will sell. In the end, the publisher can only guess what readers want to read. By rejecting most authors, publishers deny readers an incredible diversity of high-quality books that can satisfy both large mainstream markets as well as thousands of smaller micro-markets. Retailers know their customers appreciate the broadest possible diversity and selection of quality books. Indie authors deliver it.
  • Readers are the new curators. Readers -- not publishers -- have always been the ultimate arbiters of what's worth reading, and reader word-of-mouth drives book sales. In the old world of publishing, publishers and retailers could only guess what readers wanted to read. Today, each time a reader downloads, purchases or reviews an ebook, this data becomes an expression of reader sentiment that ebook merchandisers can mine to identify books worthy of extra promotion. I predict the long-admired gatekeeping function played by publishers will eventually be viewed as detrimental to the future of the written word. Yes, publishers can add incredible value to books, but by making their publishing decisions through a myopic prism of perceived commercial potential, and by pricing their books too high, they're denying readers great books, and thereby denying authors the readers they seek. These authors are learning they no longer need a publisher's blessing to publish. Authors are bypassing publishers and publishing directly to readers with self-publishing platforms.
  • Unlimited shelf space. In the old print world of brick and mortar book retailing, retailers had a limited amount of shelf space, so they could only stock a small fraction of available books. In the new world of democratized ebook publishing and distribution, self-published writers have the freedom to publish what they want, and readers have the freedom to read what they want. Unlimited shelf space enables more books to be published, and some of these books will go on to find large audiences.
  • eBooks never go out of print. In the old world of publishing, if a book sold poorly at first, the retailers would pack up the books and return them to the publisher. These returns would essentially force a book out of print. With ebooks, the books are immortal. They never go out of print. They're always available to be discovered and enjoyed by new audiences. This means retailers can sell them for as long as the author wishes them to be sold. It means every ebook represents a permanent annuity stream for the retailer, the author and the author's heirs.
  • Sales!. Self-published books are selling. Self-published ebooks are hitting all the bestseller lists. Smashwords retailers are selling millions of dollars of our authors' books each year, and that makes me happy because it gives our retail partners strong financial incentive to support our authors with new merchandising opportunities in the future.
  • FREE series starters. Many of the bestselling indie authors are writing full-length book series, and they're pricing the first book in the series at FREE. FREE series starters give indie authors a significant discovery advantage over traditionally published authors who invariably see their book's full potential squandered by high prices.
  • High unit volume. Follow the eyeballs. Since Christmas, iBookstore customers have downloaded an average of over one million FREE and priced Smashwords books each week. For indie authors, the high unit volume enabled by low cost, high-quality books means that the indie author can develop fans and author platforms faster than traditionally published authors. Apple -- like Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and Amazon that also produce their own e-reading devices -- gains two benefits from every download or sale: 1. They sell a lot of books and satisfy a lot of customers; 2. The millions of hours customers spend each month to browse, download, purchase and enjoy self-published books on iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Nooks make these devices that much more essential to the customer's life.
  • Rapid publishing helps authors be more responsive to a retailer's customers' desires. Indie authors enjoy faster production schedules, which allow them to satisfy reader desires more quickly, or to cater to hot trends before the trends fade. Indie ebook authors can transform their fully edited manuscript into a professionally published ebook in a matter of minutes, and in a matter of hours or days achieve worldwide distribution at major retailers. Most traditionally-published writers must wait a year or more before their book reaches the market (imagine all the missed sales!).
  • Indies are always iterating and evolving. Unlike traditionally published print books which remain relatively static and unchanged after publication, indie authors are iterating their books. As I documented at the Smashwords blog, after R.L. Mathewson uploaded an improved cover image, the book broke out at Apple. A couple of weeks later, her book hit the New York Times bestseller list. Since indie ebooks are immortal and never go out of print, the author can always experiment with different covers, pricing or book descriptions. I document these and other discoverability levers in my free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. The book identifies the 28 best practices of the most commercially successful indie authors.
The Breakout Books section can be found on the iBookstore at
A longer version of this post, including a list of about 50 of the participating books and authors, originally appeared on the Smashwords blog.

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