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Sunday, February 27, 2022

How My Spiritual Journey Affected How I Write

    My life slowly began to change once I got a better understanding of who I was personally and spiritually. I discovered that I was an Israelite, and through the grace and mercy of Yahawah Bahasham Yahawashi, who the world unknowingly calls God and Jesus Christ, I had a better understanding of the Bible and a sense of clarity and peace that I’ve never experienced in my fifty years of existence at the time. Every facet of my life improved―I wasn’t behind the eight ball financially anymore as I started to get promotions at work and make better choices in terms of spending money. I also started to make lifestyle changes like giving up pork and alcohol, and I drastically slowed down on the nightlife. Things in my personal life had improved as well, though not without the daily challenges that everyone experiences, and this major transition in life also had a major impact on my writing.

    I published my first fiction book back in 2008 titled Ulterior Motives, and I was a newbie to self-publishing. I categorized myself as an urban fiction author, and like many of my peers in that genre, the language in most of my books was graphic―I used every curse word known to man, and my sex scenes were rated R on a good day. However, I experienced writer’s block once I embarked on my spiritual journey, and I didn’t write or publish anything for two years afterward. I wasn’t sure how to represent myself as an author at that point, and I removed all of my previous works from the Internet because my spirit wouldn’t allow me to write or sell fiction novels that didn’t have a positive theme overall. Now don’t get me wrong―I may create stories with a new sense of purpose, but there’s still an authenticity and realism to my writing style―I don’t sugarcoat my themes like the Hallmark Channel, for example. I’ve curbed my language to the point that a young adult can safely read my books―no B-words, N-words, F-bombs or sexually explicit language are currently present in my novels, but my dialogue isn’t rated G, either.

    Customer feedback has been positive for the most part as I have received very little criticism for cleaning up the foul language in my books. I also had a breakthrough in book sales because prior to 2018, I hadn’t had any success in writing whatsoever. I knew that I couldn’t call myself a man of the Lord and continue to write smut, and I wasn’t afraid to reinvent myself and continue to write stories that entertain my reading audience to the best of my ability.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Profit Is in the Details of Book Marketing

    Amazon had changed the landscape of my Author Central page a week or so ago, and my sales had gradually taken a nosedive. I called customer service twice and asked for a reason why the layout and theme of my author page changed, and of course, neither rep could give me a clear-cut answer. I did, however, notice that the blog teasers from my blog feed were missing from the author page, and I wondered if that was the reason for the decline in sales because every other important detail was still intact. I also noticed when I click on the links that direct customers to the sale pages of my books, they're led to the eBook pages only and not the paperback, which is my bread and butter.

    I then took it upon myself to randomly check other authors’ pages to see if their layouts and themes had been changed, and the vast majority of them still had the original format as I was only able to find a handful of authors whose pages were changed like mine. The second rep did tell me to delete the link to the blog feed on my page and insert it again, and the blog teasers should reappear within a twenty-four-hour period. I’ll check back later to see if the changes have taken effect.

    It was then that I realized one small detail in book marketing can drastically make a world of difference. One example of a minor detail that can make a major difference is the AddToAny share button on a blog―backlink building is virtually impossible without this feature being added to a given website. Other examples of details that can reduce sales are poor keyword choices on the Amazon advertising platform, not including an excerpt with a description on the book page of your blog or setting the default bid of the keywords too high or low, for example. Details in book marketing matter a great deal, and if one or more steps are overlooked or missing altogether, it can ultimately be the difference-maker between making a profit or losing your shirt.

Five Ways Authors Can Perfect Their Craft in Writing

     The only experience that I had in writing before I wrote my first book was a creative writing course taken in my first year of college ...