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Category: Book Writing & Publishing

‘Quantum Lace’ is a 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards FINALIST!

Unlike most people, I actually enjoy checking my emails of a morning – primarily because I love what I do, the people with whom I work, and the really cool ‘stuff’ (technical word – LOL!) to which I have subscribed…

…and when I checked my emails this morning, I was greeted with an even greater gift – notification that Bridgit’s series has been named a 2017 Literary Classics Book Awards Finalist!

2017 Literary Classics Book Awards. Top Honors Book Awards. Book Award Finalist – Literary Classics Announced its 2017 list of book award recipients.

I will let you know if Bridgit manages to score an award..!

Thank you again to everyone who has read and loved the books…  I have already finished the research for book three…  Now I just need to knuckle down and write it… (or more precisely, get Bridgit to dictate…  LOL!  …and if you have no idea what I am talking about, then I guess you haven’t read the books!)

~ Bella

quantum lace book two

Quantum Lace Book Two is live!

As I write this, I am sitting in a lovely penthouse in Italy (technically in Lido di Ostia, less than an hour from Rome and only two blocks from the Tyrrhenian Sea), researching the third book in my Quantum Lace series…

…and I completely forgot to let you know that Book Two is available on Amazon already!

Here is a snippet to give you a taste of Book Two:

Bridgit awoke to find herself clinging to a life-preserver, the water thick with oil. Screams and hollow cries filled the air and the salt water seemed to shower her from both above and below as what she would later learn were German planes made several passes, strafing those bobbing about in the pandemonium, their bullets whizzing past and creating a bloody spray as they hit the water.

Somehow, she found herself in the worst maritime disaster in British history – a disaster that occurred during World War II (and that Churchill refused to allow the news outlets to cover for fear of a further drop in morale). In that one single incident as many men, women and children died as in the Titanic and 9/11 disasters combined…

…and that, my Friends, is where you find Bridgit in Book Two…

Here is your link for Book Two on Amazon:

…and in case you are wondering about Book Three…  Here is a snippet…


“Are y’all right, miss?” Bridgit heard a deep male voice ask in a slow drawl.

As she opened her eyes, Bridgit saw a woman beside her fussing about, waving a handkerchief in Bridgit’s face, and a tall figure of a man that seemed so large and impressive as to obliterate the entire view.

“She fainted when she heard about General Lee’s surrender,” said the woman in a high-pitched drawl that sounded to Bridgit as though the woman was doing her best to add the letter Y in the middle of as many words as possible. To Bridgit’s ears it sounded like, “She faYinted when she heaYrd about General LeeYs surreYnder.”

Bridgit had awoken in April, 1865 back in Charleston, South Carolina and at the end of a conflict that divided a nation – not just across the line delineating North and South, but across questions and arguments that still to this day have not been effectively answered, nor the wounds healed…

Over the coming days, Bridgit is witness to actions driven by both the highest ideals for which a man can stand and the lowest to which he can stoop – and she will completely reassess her definition and understanding of the entire concept of “FREEDOM” (and it will not be as ‘black and white’ as you might think…)


OK, back to work for this Princess Pixie…  Will let you know when Book Three goes live…

~ Bella

quantum lace

Feedback on Bridgit

Feeling so blessed…

quantum lace

I just took a moment to read the reviews thus far for my beloved Bridgit (Lady Bridgit Darnell) and not only do I feel so very honoured and blessed by the reviews that have been posted, but feel ever so appreciative for the time these people invested to read the story that I crafted and that means so much to me and then to take the step and actually leave a review.  That means so much!

Although I have published well over twenty non-fiction (business and personal development) books, this work of fiction-based-on-fact (meaning the entire forthcoming series, not only this first book) is, in my opinion, the best thing I have every created.  Period.

I have already completed the research for book two and when I get settled in Italy, will pick up where I left off…

Btw, Bridgit is not at all happy with me as although I have made significant headway writing book two, she is at this moment still floating in the English Channel covered in oil…  She is decidedly not impressed…  🙂

OK, back to work…

Sending love and smiles to all…

~ Bella

My latest FREE book: “Sell More Books! 173 Book Marketing Ideas, Tips and Lists”

Book Marketing-coverHave you written and self-published a book?

Then you might find this collection of book marketing ideas a handy resource – and I’m giving it to you for (almost) free!  No strings, no need to sign up for anything…

My team of Elves and I work with writers and authors, coaching them through the process of turning their idea in to a book, and then turn those books into best-sellers.  However, I always felt like I wanted to give them (and you) even more…

So, I compiled a heap of information I already had, links, ideas etc into this 179 page book.

Why make this collection of book marketing ideas only $0.99?

Good question!  Have you heard of Seth Godin’s book, “Unleashing The Idea Virus”?  Reportedly still the most downloaded ebook in history and now in 10 languages, I found Godin fascinating as, at the same time he was giving his book away for free, it was also a best-seller on several paid rankings.  Now, admittedly, the book was published back in 2001, however to this day, it still does well as both a free and a paid ebook.

So what does that have to do with me giving you this book for only 99c?

Godin coined a paradox (and I will probably slightly misquote him), “the more you give something away, the more valuable you become” – and while it doesn’t apply in all circumstances, I felt that statement ring true for me – and white I would love to make the book free, 99c is the best I can do through CreateSpace and Amazon.  One if my drivers is to share my knowledge and experience, and to be seen as valuable in the eyes of my customers, readers and following – and when I am valuable to them, they tend to be happy and that not only makes me happy, but they tend to be repeat customers and refer others to us – and that also makes me very happy!  🙂

So, with that in mind, I do hope you find some value in this book – and I would love it if you would post a review on Amazon!

DOWNLOAD KINDLE:  If you would like to purchase the kindle version of the book, it’s only $0.99.  Simply CLICK HERE.

Let me know what you think!

By Leigh St John

76% of Potential Clients Can’t Find You!

contactI was astonished at the findings!

After reading a particular book I wanted to contact the author and couldn’t find their contact info anywhere.  Not at the front of the book, nor at the end.  I Googled them and their book to no avail.  All I could find was that it was listed on Amazon, from where I purchased it in the first place.

That started me thinking…  I know, that’s dangerous at the best of times…  🙂

So, I asked my Team of Elves to randomly select 100 books on Amazon that fit the following criteria:

  • Subject matter must be entrepreneurial in nature
  • Self-Published

That’s it.  I figured if someone has written and self-published an entrepreneurial-based book, then they most likely are wanting to use it to generate additional business.

My Elves were then asked to locate the author’s contact information using the following:

  • Amazon’s “look inside” feature and/or
  • Googling the author name and book title and using only the first page of results

My guess was that about 75% of those authors would be found fairly easily – I was totally wrong.

Of the 100 books they found:

  • 23 authors were readily located with contact information ranging from websites, email to full address and phone number
  • 1 author listed a website, however that website had no way of contacting the author!  No ‘contact us’ or even a link to an email
  • 76 authors could not be found!

Why am I telling you this?

If you are a self-published author, I strongly suggest you take a look at your own book and make sure you are not among the 76%!

…and if you now have a sinking feeling in your stomach that your contact details are not easily found at the beginning of your book or through a basic Google search, fear not!  Simply the fact that you have self-published means that you have the availability of modifying your source manuscript document to include your contact information and re-uploading it.  All that will happen is Amazon will list your book as ‘currently unavailable’ while it is approved – then you’re ready to go!

…and remember the author in question I mentioned at the beginning of this article who started this quest?  The reason I wanted to contact them was to discuss a potential client I was wanting to refer to them…  Needless to say, that referral will go elsewhere.

Don’t miss out on business!  

Do what it takes to make sure you are easy to find!

If you would like additional support re your book, please feel free to reach out.  I look forward to hearing from you!

leighstjohn @ leighstjohn . com

2016 Kindle Book Awards

2016 kindle book awards2016 Kindle Book Award Details

This is the fifth annual Kindle Book Awards, and I would suggest anyone who has published a Kindle book consider entering.

The cost is minimal, and you never know…  YOUR book may be among the winners!


Here is the information from their website https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/2016-kindle-book-awards/#comment-12107:

WHEN: Registration Starts Feb. 15, 2016. Ends May 1, 2016
WHO: Any Independent and Small Press Author.
WHAT: eBooks published on Amazon between May 1, 2014 – May 1, 2016 (Must have Amazon Link to qualify).
MINIMUM WORD COUNT: 25K words (to allow for novellas in all categories)
COST: $29

PROCESS–HOW YOU WILL BE JUDGED:

  1. Books will be pre-screened by KBR staff and our amazing review team. We will initially read the “Look Inside” sample (90% of your score) and Amazon book description (10% of score). We’re looking for books with a compelling book description, but more importantly, books that “grab us from the beginning” and make us want to continue reading. The screening process is an indication of your potential buyers experience with your book, as subjective as that is. Book covers will only be judged to settle a tie.
  2. Your sample is enough for us to get a feel for the quality of writing and professionalism, and to get us excited about your book. Your book description should be compelling with zero typos. We recommend that you fix any typos on your book page and book file before submitting. We WILL NOT accept updated files after it is already submitted.
  3. If your book passes “pre-screening” it will become a “Semifinalists” (20 max per category) and one of our top reviewers who love your genre will read the manuscript in its entirety.
  4. NOTE: Advertising on our site will NOT help you win. Our screeners and review/judging team care nothing about ads. All we care about is finding the best books. That’s our quest, our passion. Of course, as always, literature is subjective and we hope you understand that.

 CATEGORIES: The following  genres & sub-genres are welcome (Min 25K words)

  1. Mystery/Thriller
  2. Romance
  3. Y/A
  4. Sci-fi/Fantasy
  5. Literary Fiction
  6. Horror/Suspense
  7. Non-Fiction

To keep reading for additional information on how to submit your book, please go to their website:

https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/2016-kindle-book-awards/#comment-12107

…and remember to drop us a line to let us know how you your book fared!

Taking your writing from ordinary to extraordinary…

chekhov-moon“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

Writers are a unique breed – good, bad or otherwise – writers have a compulsion to translate what their senses and imagination convey and turn that into a piece of written art.

Chekhov was one of our masters at providing glimpses into his point of view through his eyes, told through his words…

The closest I believe I have come is when I was speaking with the 15 year old daughter of a friend. The girl, we’ll call her Catie, has been writing seemingly her entire life and she asked me how to take an ‘ordinary’ (in her words) story and make it ‘extraordinary’?

Because I knew her father was very particular on etiquette and protocol, I asked her if she knew the ‘correct’ way to hold a wine glass.

True to her father’s teaching, she picked up a glass by the stem and even gave me a minor dissertation as to the rationale for same.

After the glass was now safely back on solid counter-top I asked her to imagine the following…

“It’s the late 1950s – Chicago – inner city but toward the south-side… A disheveled woman walks into a bar, obviously totally alone… Her eyes stay unfocused on the floor even as she orders a drink. Her odor and demeanor result in her continuing to be alone, despite a relatively full establishment…”

“What are your immediate thoughts about her?” I asked.

“She’s probably someone living on the streets.”

“What else?” I inquired.

“She is probably illiterate – or close to it. She’s obviously broke and probably doesn’t have any family,” commented my young friend.

“What if I now tell you that as she sits alone in the corner, she picks up the glass of her cheap rot-gut wine by the STEM..?”

“OH MY GOD!” exclaimed Catie. “She’s from money and elegance and – OMG – what HAPPENED to her???”

As Chekov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

~ Leigh St John

If you would like to discuss a Coaching Program to take your writing and/or your book to the next level – or perhaps to turn a book you have already written into a best-seller, please feel free to reach out…  www.LeighStJohn.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

[image thanks to dailyfig.figment.com]

Amazon #1 bestseller – without ANY paid advertising and WITHOUT an email list!

leighstjohn-amazon-best-sellerThe ‘Hashtag 101 – Hashtag Basics for Non-Geeks with a special Section for Writers‘ has just become a #1 bestseller on Amazon – but that’s not why I’m excited…

I wanted to prove to my students that without ANY paid promotion and without promoting it to an email list, that if you follow the steps, and your book is actually what people want to read…

You can become an Amazon bestseller.

When I checked this morning, this is what I found – my little ‘Hashtag 101‘ book had hit #1 in both the Small Business and Starting a Business categories… and it reached that without ANY paid promotion or ANY emailing to any lists, big or small! 

In an age when anyone with a big enough wallet (or a large enough responsive email list) can become a bestseller, it’s kinda nice to know that it’s still an achievable goal for those who do not have access to such resources… 

and YOU can do it, too..!

It took me a VERY long time to put together the exact process to be able to take a non-fiction Kindle book through to bestseller status and to date we have achieved that status for several clients (actually every one of them has achieved an Amazon bestseller ranking of at least #25, with most being in the TOP 10!)

If you would like help with YOUR book, please reach out and say ‘Hi’ – or visit this page to learn more:   http://leighstjohn.com/how-to-become-a-best-selling-author/

leighstjohn-amazon-best-seller-small-business

leighstjohn-amazon-best-seller-starting-business

Hashtag 101 for Writers and Authors

When did a hashtag become a hashtag?

There really was a first moment when someone essentially said, ‘hey, let’s use a hashtag as a way of organizing things!’

That someone was Chris Messina and on August 23, 2007 he posted the following:

first-hashtag

 

What is a # hashtag?

A hashtag is what many of us know as the pound sign (found at shft+3 on most keyboards).

When the pound sign is placed before a specific word or phrase – with no spaces or other characters – that’s a hashtag.

How do hashtags work?

Hashtags are used as a way to group together information so that people can easily find the information they are seeking.

Just as the index in a book groups together mentions of a certain word so you can easily find that for which you are searching, hashtags group together mentions of keywords or key phrases.

When you want to find something in a book, you turn to the index.

When you want to find something online, you turn to the search bar.

To find items that have been posted in social media, you search with the pound sign before the word.

It’s a common misconception that # hashtags are only used in Twitter!  Today almost every form of social media is using hashtags to organize content.

In this example I will use Google Plus – by the way, I know a lot of people have heard of G+ but are not sure how to use it.

If you’d like to attend a free webinar to learn about the basics of Google Plus, simply click here:  http://leighstjohn.com/webinar-googleplus101/

Searching for hashtags

For this example of searching for hashtags, let’s look at volunteering:

hashtag-volunteer1

…and this is the result…

hashtag-volunteer2

As you can see, my hashtag search not only gave me info on volunteering and various volunteering organizations on Google Plus, it also provided me with a list of other suggested hashtags I might like to try.

Hashtags for Writers and Authors

Here are just a few to get you started…

#amwriting

Writing can be an isolating experience, and Twitter is a great way of connecting with other writers – after all, it’s us and a keyboard that is usually connected to the Internet, yes?  #amwriting is a hashtag started by Johanna Harness as a way of supporting writers and developing a sense of community.

For instance, here’s a tweet that I just made using that hashtag:

amwriting

Not only that, but within a few minutes my tweet had been favorited by someone obviously interested in the topic of my book:

amwriting-2

This gives me the perfect opportunity to connect with that person (a potential purchaser and reader of my book!):

amwriting-3

#fridayreads

Friday Reads has become a good way of promoting your books if you can persuade your friends to include you in their #fridayreads!

Ideally, include the Twitter @username of the author and if the book has a hashtag use it as well, and a link to where they can buy the book. If you have an Amazon Associates account, you will even earn money if people click the link and buy the book!

And if someone else gives a shoutout to one of your books, make sure that you retweet it on your own Twitter account, and add it to your ‘Favorite’ tweets.

#bookgiveaway

Running a book giveaway on Twitter? Use #bookgiveaway to help people discover it.

Here are some more to keep you going…


 

Connect With Other Writers and Authors

  • #AmEditing
  • #AmWriting
  • #BookMarket
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #LitChat
  • #MemoirChat
  • #PoetTues
  • #ScriptChat (Screenwriters)
  • #WordCount
  • #WriteChat
  • #WritersLife
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #WritingParty
  • #YALitChat
  • #ZineChat

 

General Writing Information

  • #AskAgent
  • #AskAuthor
  • #AskEditor
  • #BookMarket
  • #BookMarketing
  • #BookMarketing
  • #EBooks
  • #GetPublished
  • #IndiePub
  • #PromoTip
  • #Publishing
  • #PubTip
  • #SelfPub
  • #SelfPublishing
  • #WriteTip
  • #WritingTip

 

Inspiring Creativity & Productivity

  • #1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
  • #Creativity
  • #StoryStarter
  • #WIP (work in progress)
  • #WordAThon
  • #WritingPrompt

 

Connect With Readers

  • #BookGiveaway
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #FreeBook
  • #FreeDownload
  • #FridayReads
  • #Kindle
  • #LitChat
  • #MustRead
  • #MustRead
  • #Nook
  • #StoryFriday
  • #TeaserTues

 

Book Marketing

  • #99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain)
  • #AuthorRT
  • #BookGiveaway
  • #BookMarketing
  • #FollowFriday
  • #FreebieFriday
  • #FreeReads
  • #Novelines (to quote your own work)

If you’d like to attend a free webinar to learn more about the basics of hashtags, simply click here:  http://leighstjohn.com/webinar-hashtags/


You can purchase Leigh’s book, “Hashtag 101 – Hashtag Basics for Non-Geeks” on Kindle for only $0.99:  http://bit.ly/hashtag101book

Writing Contests 2014 – FREE to enter!

bookWriters are often looking for contests to enter and I’ve recently found an excellent collection of such competitions.

Writersviews.com has compiled not only a great list – those listed are also FREE to enter!

http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php

…and I concur with Emily Bailey, Writers’ Views Community Co-Founder in wishing you all the very best for your submission!

Let us know how it goes!

3 Punctuation Marks to Incorporate Into Your Writing Today

bookOK – seriously – in this world of IM & ttyl, how much attention is really paid to punctuation?

Here is a great article from Huffington Post:

“Most people don’t spend much time thinking about punctuation. We’re not most people.When properly used, punctuation can enhance the rhythm of your writing or change its meaning entirely. And yet too many people rely on a scant handful of marks to express themselves.

Commas and periods are the bread and butter of punctuation: familiar, safe…and bland. To spice things up, some writers throw in an exclamation point. Sometimes, to the horror of English teachers and proofreaders everywhere, they use more than one in a row. The lateElmore Leonard advised writers: “Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” In proofreading parlance, an exclamation point is called a “bang,” and the chronic overuse of them, particularly in text messages and emails, has earned the slang term “bangorrhea.”

In 2013, a Mental_Floss article extolling “13 Little Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using” made the rounds, but although some of them might be useful–the inability of text to convey sarcasm has caused more than one epic misunderstanding–standard keyboards don’t offer the “sarcmark” or the interrobang as options. Here are three readily available, and yet sadly neglected, punctuation marks you should start using today.

Semicolon: The semicolon isn’t exactly obscure, but how often do you actually use it in everyday writing?”

Continue reading here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/grammarly/3-punctuation-marks-to-in_b_4702255.html

I want to write a book but don’t know where to start!

writeTry these 9 simple steps:

I’ve heard this many times and in almost every instance, my suggestion is as follows:

1.  Decide what you want your book to be about

2.  Get a heap of index cards

3.  Write one thought or idea per card – for example, one woman I’m helping is writing a story about finding the son she gave up for adoption 35 years ago.  Rather than try to put all that down at once, she has one card that simply says “found out I was pregnant” – another card that says “told my boyfriend” etc…

4.  Keep writing one thought per card until you’ve pretty much run out of thoughts (don’t worry, you can add more later)

5.  Take your now very large stack of cards and spread them out on the floor, putting them into some type of order – for this woman, it would be like a timeline – yours may be subject-based…

6.  If you find any ‘gaps’, just add more cards

7.  Taking one card at a time and with a recorder (you can even use one on your phone) simply ‘talk’ your story – most people are better able to speak what they want to say rather than type it…

8.  When you are done, find a transcription service (there are many online or you can find someone on sites such as elance or fiverr) and have your audio files typed up

9.  Then it’s down to editing and other tasks such as cover art etc…

If you would like assistance with your book, please contact me.  I’d love to hear from you…

What Do I Want To Be?

…a guided journal to discover your passion…

whattobe

 
Imagine how empowering it would have been when you were in high school or college to have had the benefit of a resource that helped you work out what you wanted to do with your life!

What Do I Want To Be? Is a careers guide structured in journal format to enable teens and college students to increase their self-confidence, discover their passion for life and inspire them to truly believe they can achieve their dreams!

Rather than tell students what they could or should do, inspirational Author and Speaker, Leigh St John uses the power of strategic questions to elicit answers from within our students, to discover their own answers and their own passions.

 

 “Thank you for letting me have an advance copy of your book. I’m one of those people who have too many passions.I used to feel totally overwhelmed because I love to do many different things.   Your book helped me find that there was a single core passion in the middle of it all and I am now clear on what I want to study.Thank you for bringing me out of my overwhelmnedness.”       Maricel, College Student

While working through the chapters, students simultaneously create a journal/workbook they can reference and use to develop a personal roadmap for life, a solid foundation to build on, and a personally discovered passion for life.

Once students can realize their individual and collective potential, they begin to be more engaged in their school work, their future, and aspire to positively contribute to their lives and their communities.

Are you a Parent?

Parents will also find inspiration by being a collaborative partner with their children, supporting and reinforcing their chosen passion. With a common defined goal, parents can now clearly fortify their child’s objectives and proudly enjoy the journey together.

 “I know I’m only in high school but …your book… helped me know that I have lots of choices but only some of them are what I want to do with my life because only some of them are my passion.My family don’t have a lot but they want me to be happy. I didn’t think I could ever go to law school because I didn’t think we could afford it so like it says in your book I didn’t let myself want that.Now I know there is always a way even if it might take me longer.   I do want to go to law school and now I believe I can.” Brittany, Student 

Imagine how empowering it would have been when you were in high school or college to have had the benefit of a resource that helped you work out what you wanted to do with your life.

Rather than lecture to students about what they should or could do, this guided journal (workbook) challenges them with a series of questions and activities to allow the student to discover their own right answers.

“What do I want to be?”  will show you how to:

  • Explore your life’s purpose 
  • Gain new confidence in your own creative powers 
  • Discover the power of focus 
  • Clear the clutter in your life 
  • Ask better questions to get better answers 
  • Dissolve self-limiting thought patterns 
  • Turn your aspirations into reality and 
  • Live the life of your dreams! 

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.” Mark Twain

Whether you have a vague idea of your passion or no idea at all, “What do I want to be?”will work with you through the process of not only discovering your passion, but also putting into practice the steps necessary to actually live your passion.

To purchase your copy of the book, simply go to http://bit.ly/leighstjohn13