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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

(My current series will continue next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share an important article with you written by a journalism student at Arizona State University. -- Kristy)

By Alexandra Whitten

The beginning of October marks the start of national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Phoenix City Hall, which will be illuminated by purple lights throughout the month, hosted the Domestic Violence Awareness and Resource fair Thursday for the Paint Phoenix Purple campaign.

Paint Phoenix Purple was started in 2013 by the city to raise awareness for domestic violence. According to the city's website, the campaign's goal is to educate and provide resources for citizens and victims alike to one day reduce and eventually eliminate domestic violence.

The atrium of Phoenix City Hall filled with purple, the official awareness color that has a long history of association with domestic-violence prevention. Different organizations set up tables at City Hall to provide information for all who attended the fair.

Phoenix City Hall, Arizona.

Bobbi Sudberry, mother of Kaitlyn Sudberry, a victim of a domestic violence, set up a particular table on Thursday. Kaitlyn was 17 years old and ready to study wildlife sciences at Northern Arizona University. But she fell prey to a violent relationship.

"She was taken from us far too soon," Bobbi Sudberry said. Kaitlyn was murdered by her boyfriend the morning of January 8, 2008 after a break-up went horribly wrong.

After the loss of her daughter, Bobbi made it her mission to help victims of domestic violence through the organization Kaity's Way.

Bobbi also advocated for the passage of "Kaity's Law," which allows legal protection for those in relationships, romantic or sexual in nature. Victims are now able to obtain an order of protection, officers can arrest attackers with or without a warrant, and offenders receive three strikes including domestic violence. After the third strike, it becomes a felony.

Another group present was the Arizona Anti Trafficking Network, represented by Kathleen Winn, one of the founders of Paint Phoenix Purple. The AATN, according to the group's website, has the aim of ending sex, drug and human trafficking. The group was at the fair to show support for domestic-violence prevention.

"Although everyone who's a victim of domestic violence isn't a victim of trafficking, 100 percent of the victims of trafficking are victims of domestic violence," Winn said.

Paint Phoenix Purple also has collaborations with younger crowds. Sergio Gomez, community initiatives specialist for Paint Phoenix Purple, reaches out to schools for art and dance contests.

"On October the 15th, there will be a community event to highlight the youth who participated in our art contest and our dance contest this year," Gomez said.

This is year three of a five-year initiative for the event, and Gomez said so far it has been striving toward community reform, a youth task force and raising awareness.

To end the first night of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Paint Phoenix Purple hosted "Light up Arizona." Phoenix City Hall, the Maricopa County Administration Building, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights, and the lights in front of the Phoenix Convention Center were lit purple.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Human Evolution and Women’s Sexuality -- Part II: Women Bleed And There’s No Practical Purpose

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don’t miss ~

Let’s talk about periods.

At the beginning of a new cycle, the interior of a human uterus appears dead. Slowly, as ovulation approaches, an orchestration of hormones creates a lush farmland. Both estrogen and progesterone levels rise steeply. Blood vessels flourish, growing fat and full. If fertilization doesn’t occur, Mother Nature swiftly discards the entire setup. Estrogen and progesterone begin to slowly retreat, but then plummet drastically. The entire system goes into a death spasm. Within this tomb, a lake of blood forms, and like a dam breaking, gushes forth to the cervix.

Whenever any organ tissue dies and remains in the body, toxic substances are released and threaten the life of the host. For human females, slowly releasing these substances isn’t possible, so a process was needed to rid her body quickly of pathogenic bacteria and poisonous byproducts of cellular death. The solution was the opening of the cervix, uterine cramps to discard the lining, and the elimination of 4-8 tablespoons of blood. A woman’s period has begun.

Back in caveman days, menstrual odor would have been a serious attractor of predators. Add to that the general fear present in the males. A bleeding animal becomes weaker and a hunting male would take this as a sign of impending death. But what about when he caught a glimpse of a bleeding human female? She wasn’t injured and didn’t become weaker. Intercourse would likely leave blood on the penis, adding to a man’s fear of castration. Distance would soon be sought from menstruating females, since their condition was unexplainable and relegated to the realms of magic. This would soon breed fear and resentment toward women.

Establishing rules of conduct, geared mainly around hygiene issues, would have been of high concern to early ancient peoples. Unfortunately, many of these instructions have been used to strip power and autonomy from women over time. Pliny, from the first century, warns men that a menstruating woman can, by her touch, “blast the fruits of the field, sour wine, cloud mirrors, rust iron, and blunt the edges of knives.”

Women have always seemed to intuitively know that during menses a time of rest is required. With the body being so vulnerable, it is nature’s way of protecting a defenseless organism. During a woman’s period, she is more susceptible to uterine infections. Toxic-shock syndrome occurs because a tampon has prevented the discharge of menstrual blood, allowing harmful bacteria to take hold.

Historically, cultures celebrated the onset of menses in a young girl by enacting any number of initiations and rituals. Consistent throughout all of these was to impress on the girl that she was in possession of a great power and responsibility, and she was not to dispense future sexual favors easily for they were quite valuable.

Other mammal species have loads of babies—cubs, kits, puppies and the like—without the loss of significant amounts of blood and protein-rich tissue monthly. In fact, while dogs bleed during their period of heat, they’re also blessed with the ability to lick themselves, thereby recycling that iron trying to escape their bodies.

Overwhelmingly, there is no scientific evidence to support a benefit to human menstruation. What purpose does all this bleeding serve? With so many drawbacks to the human female, why hasn’t natural selection eliminated it long ago?

Don’t miss Part III: What Do Women Want?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Human Evolution and Women's Sexuality -- Part I: Women Acquire Free Will

 By Kristy McCaffrey

Women bleed. Men don’t.

According to biologists, there are between ten million and thirty million different species of life on earth. Only four thousand are mammals. And only one—humans—experience blood loss on a regular basis. If fertilization doesn’t occur each month, a human woman will menstruate, shedding the lining of her uterus along with several tablespoons of blood every four weeks. There are mammals who exhibit a type of menses—elephants, bats, shrews and hedgehogs—but it’s insignificant to their health. And out of approximately 270 different primate species, 31 menstruate, but again, the blood loss is negligible.

Over 150,000 years ago, the hominid brain completed a rapid inflation that added one-third to its size. This wasn’t good. No other species has as difficult or as dangerous a labor as a human woman. And no other female needs as much help from others to give birth.

The human brain consumes nearly 25 percent of every heartbeat’s oxygen-rich output. The brain’s pH and temperature must be narrowly regulated. The body must constantly clear the accumulating toxins from the fluid that bathes the brain. Why do we have such a large brain that requires so much of our body’s resources? In his book Sex, Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, author Leonard Shlain posits that it has to do with three things: sex, iron, and time.

The most amazing feature of today’s human woman is that she has the willpower to refuse sex around the time of ovulation. She can even remain celibate, if she so chooses. This is a direct consequence of birthing babies with large heads, which resulted in a high maternal mortality and painful childbirth.

A major overhaul of the brain was required for females to acquire the ability to exercise free will. With the expansion of the neocortex and the frontal lobes, along with the refinement of highly-specialized areas of both hemispheres, a female gained control of her sexual urges, much more so than the male. She acquired the ability to contemplate the relationship between mating and childbirth, a dangerous endeavor for her. She gained time to reflect, to understand that nine months after copulation resulted in offspring. She was able to connect the past with the future.

Female women underwent a major transformation because they were dying in childbirth. By gaining control of her sexual urges, she was able to control conception. And this would have profound effects on both women and men through time.

Don’t miss Part II: Women Bleed And There’s No Practical Purpose

Thursday, September 3, 2015

End Of Summer Reading Recommendations

By Kristy McCaffrey

If you're like me, I look forward to spending my evenings reading as Fall approaches. Here are a few of my recommended reads. I've included both non-fiction and fiction.

Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea by Kira Salak

This coming-of-age tale, told against the backdrop of a journey through Papua New Guinea (PNG), is at times engrossing and baffling. Ms. Salak is 24 years old at the time and sets out to cross PNG. She does so by several means. Along the way, she encounters locals and foreigners, and often puts her life at risk. Her descriptions and impressions are at times humorous and heartbreaking, especially her time spent at a  refugee camp. The journey encompasses her search for...something. Even she's not certain what. This is as much a psychological trek as a discovery of a place so different than what much of us know. Kudos to Salak for having the courage to share her tale.


The Cruelest Journey: Six-Hundred Miles To Timbuktu by Kira Salak

Having read Ms. Salak's previous non-fiction book, Four Corners, I was so pleased to find a level of maturity and wisdom in this book that was lacking in the other. In Four Corners, she seemed both lost and driven in her pursuit to explore Papua New Guinea, and took unnecessary risks that not even she could understand. But in The Cruelest Journey, we have a woman who can articulate why she would undertake such a dangerous journey (traveling the Niger River by kayak, facing village after village of possibly hostile natives). Weaving in the story of an 18th century Scottish explorer named Mungo Park who also undertook this journey, we're given a glimpse into the wonder and madness that accompanies intrepid travelers that spans the ages. I really loved this book, and I appreciate Ms. Salak's candor in sharing herself and her experiences. We may not always agree with or understand her desire to explore remote parts of the world, but her courage (both on and off the page) lets us come along for the ride.


Freefall by Robin Brande

Eliza Shepherd has recently lost her husband Jamey to a climbing accident. As an adventure writer and columnist, she must come to grips with not only losing the love of her life but a lifestyle as well. When her mother-in-law, Hildy, loses her own husband and decides to move from Nevada back to New York, Eliza makes an impulsive decision to accompany her. Moving to the town where Jamey grew up, she hopes to find closure in addition to material for a book she's trying to write about her deceased husband.

Eliza soon catches the eye of Ted Walsh, a handsome local man who'd been childhood friends with Jamey. Eliza isn't in the mood to date, despite two years having passed since Jamey's death, but Ted is persistent. She also comes in contact with Ted's older brother, David. Eliza doesn't like David initially--their dogs get into a scuffle and he's rude about it--but it's clear she's curious about him. When her dog suffers a bout of heat exhaustion, David comes to the rescue and they find themselves alone at his house. With it suddenly clear that David interests her far more than Ted, she begins a physical relationship without hesitation. That she could ever love anyone again after Jamey surprises her, but the connection with David is undeniable and intense.

The third act of the novel draws out a misunderstanding between the two far too long, but it keeps the pages turning. Ms. Brande creates a believable and likable character in Eliza and a dark, brooding hero in David, who suffers from a slight stutter. The grief of losing a loved one to an adventurous lifestyle is handled with sharp insight and understanding, while Eliza's romance with David gives hope that life does go on. A thoroughly enjoyable read.


Solar Storms by Linda Hogan

This lyrical, haunting and ultimately uplifting novel is very hard to describe. I've tried several times to tell others about it and know I've failed to convey the magic that lies between the words. It's a story about five generations of women, it's a story about the building of dams north of Minnesota and the devastation to the animals and people, it's a story about the many facets of the human spirit, both good and evil. But the gem of the tale lies in the connection to Mother Earth. Read the book. Any synopsis doesn't do it justice. It must be experienced firsthand.


Wish For The Moon by Celia Yeary

At first glance, this book isn’t what it seems. The story of a 16-year-old girl who lives on a farm in North Texas might seem too pedestrian to grab a reader’s attention. However, it’s anything but ordinary, and that’s due in large part to Ms. Yeary’s mastery of storytelling.

Annie McGinnis resides with her parents and two older brothers in the remote Texas countryside. She yearns to see the world, but has no practical outlet for such fanciful longings. One day, a young man appears on their doorstep, hungry and looking for work. Max Landry isn’t on the run exactly, but he does have a secret that will propel Annie out of her comfort zone to help him. And, along the way, she comes to love him.

With well-drawn secondary characters—Annie’s slow-witted brother Clifford will be a favorite—and an attention to detail of the early-twentieth century, the tale unfolds with a subtlety that soon grips you. It’s an endearing and memorable story of a girl finding her way in the world. I couldn’t put the book down.


Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

Avery Delacorte is a college swimmer on a Thanksgiving flight home from San Francisco to Boston when the plane crashes in the Rocky Mountains. Only she, her teammate Colin, and three little boys survive. The story switches between her months of recovery and the immediate aftermath of the crash. This narrative style works extremely well in keeping you on the edge of your seat. Told entirely from Avery's point-of-view, we plummet into PTSD and her struggle to overcome it. Parallel to this challenge is a romantic subplot involving the stoic Colin and Avery's conflicted feelings for him, both before and after the crash. I have to admit, I couldn't put this book down. A very well-crafted story.


Beggarman Thief by S.K. McClafferty

CIA agent London Llewellyn walks into a dark hotel room to find her brother murdered and two assailants fighting. Devastated, she escapes with her life, but the key to finding her brother’s killer lies in finding those antagonists, one of whom likely was an eyewitness. Adam De Wulf is ex-CIA, still acting like a spook as he tries to steal a very rare orchid. Stumbling into the murder of Llewellyn’s brother was an accident; when London locates him he refuses to help, wanting to stay as far from his old job as possible. But sparks fly and they’re soon deep in espionage that includes clues from Adam’s past. Beggarman Thief is a fast-paced thriller, with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the end. Ms. McClafferty knows her spy stuff, blending the action well with the growing attraction between Adam and London. The relationship is hot, with level-headed and driven Llewellyn matching wits with sexy De Wulf at every turn. An entertaining good time.


Prodigal Gun by Kathleen Rice Adams

Following the Civil War, Jessie Caine has been raising her daughter alone at the Hard Eights, a ranch in Texas. She's both tough and heartbroken. When the reason for that despair appears on her doorstep--Mason Caine, the man she's always loved and her husband's brother--she's stunned. Believing Mason was dead, she must now come to terms with this new version of the man to which she once gave her heart. But Mason has secrets of his own, not the least of which is an alias known as Calhoun, a hired gun with a reputation that threatens his safety at every turn. Loving Jessie and staying with her are options he's hard-pressed to resolve. This is a novel with a  full western tilt, along with a steamy romance sure to please. This is Ms. Adams' first novel-length story and it doesn't disappoint. While the descriptions and historical detail are well-researched, it's the redemption of bad-boy Mason at which Adams excels. You'll be rooting for him at the end, and for the peace that he can only find with Jessie.


Point of Direction by Rachel Weaver

Anna and Kyle decide to live at an isolated lighthouse north of Juneau, Alaska and it soon takes a toll on both of them, but in different ways. They've kept secrets from one another--painful wounds each is trying to heal on their own. Ms. Weaver's book perfectly captures the folly of youth and the ignorance that propels individuals into situations they're unprepared for. But it's in this messiness that the inward journey unfolds. You'll keep turning the pages to see how it all turns out. To give more of the plot would spoil it. And I couldn't keep the tears away at the end.


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

In her 30's, Ms. Bailey contracted an unknown virus after a trip to Europe. What seemed at first to be the flu eventually turned into a two-decade struggle with a debilitating illness, leaving her bedridden for months at a time. She acquires a snail from the woods near her house and spends hours each day observing the creature. Her insights are intriguing--how many know what a snail likes to eat, its favorite place to sleep, or how they reproduce? With simple, easy-to-read prose, Bailey shows us how the world becomes when we focus on small details. Forced to slow her life to a snail's pace, the creature becomes a kindred spirit in a most profound way. I found this book to be an unexpected treat; her illness is heartbreaking, making you feel gratitude for the good health most of us take for granted, but her observations into the snail's world show us that we move through life so quickly, invariably missing the magic of other creatures sharing the planet with us.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Westward Adventure

By Kristy McCaffrey

I'm pleased to share that I've got another short story available as a single sell for 99 cents. It's currently on pre-order with a release date of August 28. Why should you pre-order? The story will automatically load when available so you don't have to worry about remembering and it also helps an author with total sales on release day. This can sometimes push a work onto top 100 charts, and while it's certainly a boon to a writer's ego, the real benefit is that the title is exposed more at each site. So, if you haven't read it (it was previously published in the anthology Cowboy Kisses) and you think you might want to, then I'd sure appreciate a pre-order purchase.

Aspiring novelist Amelia Mercer travels from New York City to Colorado to aid an injured aunt. When the stage is robbed and her luggage stolen, bounty hunter Ned Waymire comes to her aid, acquainted with the harmless culprit and wanting to spare the boy. But Ned also seeks to impress the independent young woman. Amelia's wish to never marry, however, clashes with Ned's desire to keep her reputation intact. When a final bounty from Ned's past threatens their future, she knows that A Westward Adventure isn’t just the title of her novel but the new course of her life.

Excerpt from A Westward Adventure

The front door opened and shut, and in the next instant Ned Waymire filled the parlor entryway. As soon as Amelia locked eyes with him, he froze.

“Ned, I’d like you to meet my niece, Amelia Mercer.” Teddy waved him into the room. “Amelia, this is Ned Waymire. He boards here. There’s also another gentleman, but he’s been away recently.”

Mister Waymire removed his hat, revealing dark hair, and cleared his throat. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, miss.” He stepped forward to take her hand.

The touch was warm and his sun-darkened fingers overwhelmed her pale ones. As she smiled and nodded, she tried to ignore the tingling sensation that crept up her arm. Up close, he exuded even more strength than was apparent in the marshal’s office.

A man who spent his days outdoors.

A man who called the earth his home.

Vivid blue eyes stood out on a sun- and whisker-darkened face.

He was the perfect western hero.

“I just saw you,” she said, glad her voice sounded calm considering how her insides quivered.

“That’s right.”

He stepped back from her.

“You’re not married, are you, Amelia?” Teddy asked.

“No, ma’am.”

“Why, neither is Ned.”

Heat suffused Amelia’s cheeks. “I don’t believe in marriage, much like you Aunt Teddy.” The words rushed out of Amelia. “Women don’t need men to make their way in the world. Why, look at you? You’ve done quite well on your own.”

“I’ve never been placed on a pillar,” Teddy said. “What do you think of that, Ned? I’m a woman of example.”

“I won’t argue with that,” Ned replied.

“Did you get Billings?” Teddy asked.

“Yep. You were right. He was in Old Man Hill’s abandoned mine.”

“I knew it.” Teddy chuckled under her breath.

“Are you a bounty hunter, too?” Amelia asked.

Teddy cackled. “No, but I could be. Don’t you think, Ned?”

“You’d outgun us all, Teddy.”

Amelia sensed an affection between the two, and it warmed her heart, although this entire reunion with her aunt was far different than anything she imagined. She knew she had the first chapter of her new novel.

“I’ll just be turning in now, ladies,” Ned said.

Amelia, her cheeks still warm from being in the same room with him, met his eyes briefly then looked away in embarrassment.

What if he thinks I like him?

She imagined the type of woman he fancied was far from the likes of her. Why, he probably thought her a silly city girl. And he’d be right. But her mama had long taught her to be an independent thinker, to believe that a woman’s mind was equal to a man’s. Most of Amelia’s writings had been social commentaries, addressing important issues such as the educational welfare of children, the plight of the homeless and less fortunate, and the lack of voice the average woman had within marriage. But in her heart, she longed to pen an adventurous tale of a woman who not only sees the world, but tames a man in the process, who finds love with an equal, inciting passion in her partner.

She hadn’t told her mother she planned to write such a novel—she’d likely think it beneath Amelia—but her heart burned with the desire to share the story singing in her heart. Coming to visit Aunt Theodora had offered the perfect blend of adventure and inspiration.

Ned Waymire departed the room and his footsteps could be heard climbing the staircase.

That man was the epitome of adventure and inspiration.

Copyright © 2015 K. McCaffrey LLC

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Smashwords Seminar

 By Kristy McCaffrey

I recently attended a seminar by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, a self-serve digital platform for authors to publish electronic books. Smashwords distributes to retailers such as Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble, hosting over 350,000 books and 100,000 authors. What follows is information that he shared.

In 2008, about 1/2% of sales were ebooks. In 2015, that has risen to 26%. We are currently in a slow-growth market for ebooks, with the explosion of the ebook market finally reaching an equilibrium. However, ebook reading is on the rise. The Indie author movement is greatly affecting this market, with romance authors leading the charge. Being an Indie author is no longer a stigmaoffering books that never go out of print, the ability to publish a book immediately, lower expenses, lower prices to consumers, and total creative control.

A career writer must have a long-term focus. The reality is that it’s difficult to make money as a self-published author, just as it is for many traditionally published writers. However, there’s never been a better time to self-publish a romance ebook. Of the top sellers at Smashwords, 87% are romance. This is an increase of 70% from 2014.

Marketing suggestions—focus on activities that lead to permanent discoverability and platform building. Coker also touched on the aspect of luck. At some point, every author will receive a lucky break, perhaps through a blogger loving their book or a random promotional opportunity that could expand their reach. But in order for that lucky break to pay off, an author must have already laid the groundwork by doing the following (otherwise known as the secrets to ebook publishing success). Without it, the lucky break will fall flat.

Write an awesome book.
*Good isn’t good enough.
*Be fanatical about quality.

Great cover.
*Our brains process images faster than words. It takes 13 milliseconds to process the meaning of an image, but 200 milliseconds to recognize a word.
*Must look good as a thumbnail image.
*The great thing about e-publishing is that bookcovers can be changed if not working.

Publish another great book.
*Best-selling authors offer deep backlists.
*Build your brand.

Give books away for free.
*Highest grossing authors at Smashwords give away at least one free book.
*It can turbocharge a series.
*Free series starters lead to a 66% boost in series sales.

Patience is a virtue.
*Ebooks can start slow and build gradually.
*Ebooks never go out of print.
*Never unpublish your book.
*Nourish it. Give it time.
*The biggest mistake Coker sees is authors who give up after a few months, or even a few weeks. Building a writing career can take years.

Maximize availability, avoid exclusivity.
*Limits readership and global audience.
*While Amazon holds the largest market share, they only sell in 13 countries. iBooks is present in 51 countries, Kobo in 160 and Smashwords in approximately 200.

Best practices drive book sales, and include the following:
*An awesome book.
*Behave like a publisher with professional covers and editing.
*A great book blurb.
*Utilizing metadata well (pricing, title, categorization, author name, ISBN, publication dates).
*Good back matter (author bio, a listing of additional books and author social media contacts).

Pricing strategy.
*Pricing impacts sales and earnings.

*Common price points in 2015, beginning with most popular.

*Most downloaded price point, beginning with highest (includes fiction and non-fiction).
$1.99 (this is a black hole, authors should push this price to $2.99)

*Best price point for author earnings (includes fiction and non-fiction, but overall dominated by romance fiction).
$3.99 (at this price, an author can sell more books and build a larger readership)

Don’t let piracy scare you away from self-publishing.
*An author’s bigger risk is obscurity.
*Most piracy is accidental. (Friends sharing with friends.)
*Pirates who steal your work weren’t going to buy it anyway.
*Many pirate sites don't actually have your book. They're trying to steal credit card info.
*The bigger you are, the more likely you’ll be pirated.
*Combat it by making your books easy to buy at a low, fair price.

Build a platform you control.
*Blog, newsletter, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Don’t forget backmatter in your books.
*Author bio.
*A listing of additional books.
*How to connect with the author.

Be a nice person.
*Develop relationships.
*Share secrets.
*Avoid negativity on the internet.

Collaborate with authors on boxed sets.
*Share fan bases.
*Everyone wins.

Think globally.
*In 2014, 45% of ebooks sold from iBooks via Smashwords were outside the U.S.
*The market for English-language books globally will eventually surpass the U.S. market.

Pinch pennies.
*The reality is that most books don’t sell well.
*To stay in business, be frugal.

*This is the single most powerful tool for Indie authors.
*Right now, it’s better than pricing a book free.
*Benefits are: more buzz-building (captures the sale the moment you have reader’s attention), signals a commitment from the author to the reader, is a fast-track to bestseller lists (especially at Apple and Koboit won't help at Amazon but Coker still believes you should set up pre-orders there), same-day availability on launch day, and increased promo opportunities (sites such as iBooks feature pre-orders).
*Books born as pre-orders sell better.
*Currently, only ~10% of authors are doing pre-orders.
*A longer runway is recommended (12 months) but at least 4-12 weeks is best. Still, if you can only do a few days, it’s better than nothing.

Timing—when should you release a book?
*Since traditional publishers generally release on Tuesdays, try to avoid that day.
*The biggest ebook buying days are Saturday and Sunday, so an author is more likely to chart on these days (hit a Top 100 list at retailers).
*If the goal is to hit the New York Times or USA Today Bestseller lists, publish on Monday or Tuesday.
*Holidays can be strong days EXCEPT for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
*To hit Smashwords reporting list, release early in the month. (This list is shared with retailers such as iBooks.)
*The biggest ebook selling period is Dec. 26 – Jan. 7.

If you’re an author who splits books between Amazon KDP Select (which requires exclusivity at Amazon) and other retailers, Coker advises against this. As an example, he shared that if you manage to break out at iBooks and they choose to feature you on the front page, this opportunity could be lost if your books aren’t all available at the Apple store. Currently, iBooks is the #2 global seller of ebooks.

What can an author do to increase his/her chances of breaking out at iBooks? Make sure all books are available at the iBooks store, run a free promo or make a book permanently free, release all books as a pre-order (on release day iBooks counts all pre-order sales in book ranking, which can help with hitting a chart) and if you have a series then make the first book free. One thing to consider: iBooks doesn’t like covers with a lot of skin. If you write erotica, the content of the book is not of issue to them but they won’t feature it if the cover is too racy. Also, keep the blurb and front matter clean, even if the story is not.

And finally, a rather surprising statistic—longer books sell better than shorter by a large margin. During the last 3-4 years, the top 50 bestsellers were 100,000 to 200,000 words. Indie publishing exposed this trend, since many traditional publisher routinely rejected long novels, never allowing them to come to market. Clearly, consumers enjoy immersing themselves in longer works.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Silverton And The Alpine Loop

By Kristy McCaffrey

Established in 1874, the town of Silverton is located in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado. It's a beautiful location to visit in the summertime, and one of the main starting points of the Alpine Loop, a 65-mile rugged road that passes by many mining ghost towns. In July, my husband and I, along with our two teenaged daughters, joined my parents and sister for a vacation.

The Silver Summit RV park.

My husband and I in the Rocky Mountains.

Box Canyon in Ouray, Colorado.

An amazing beaver dam.

The beginning of the Alpine Loop.

The San Juan Mountains.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are required to drive the Alpine
Loop in its entirety.

The ghost town of Animas Forks, which sits on the three forks
of the Animas River. This is one of the most visited old
mining towns in Colorado.

Animas Forks.

Me at Engineer Pass (12,800 feet) on the Alpine Loop.

We came across a moose mother and her baby (not
pictured) eating by the side of the road along the
Alpine Loop.

Cinnamon Pass (12,640 feet) on the Alpine Loop.

My husband and parents at Cinnamon Pass. We were
caught in a mini-snowstorm.

Silverton has a ski area and it's not
for beginners.

Silverton Mountain Ski Area.
Our last night in Silverton.

To soothe the soul, come to the mountains.