Endings Are a Part of Life

accomplishment action adult adventure
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some endings are expected and some take you by surprise.

The optimistic view is to see an ending as a new beginning which is easier said than done when betrayal is involved. If I were to count every ending I have been faced with in my long life, it would be a huge number, yet here I am; still standing. Endings are about loss. You probably were heart-broken when you lost a balloon or ball when you were little, but you got over it, and LEARNED TO BE MORE CAREFUL with the next one. Things are easier to lose than people.

In school you make friends and occasionally one will move away. You say you will write or phone, and you might once or twice before you get so busy with your other friends that you forget all about the one who moved away. You moved on. How many of your high school or college friends did you keep in touch with after saying goodbye upon graduation? I actually tried with a handful, but I found the effort to be one-sided. They had moved on. The same is true when they enter into a committed relationship, and again when they get married. Couples gravitate to other couples. The next time you encounter this will be when they start having children. Families hang out with families. Eventually, you will lose someone due to their passing away, and you will question whether you should have made a greater effort. Losses of those who we once cared about take time to heal, but heal they do.

“Time heals all wounds.”

Notice how they don’t tell you how long it will take. The funny thing is that all of the losses above pale, initially at least, with the ending of a relationship due to being betrayed. The reason is obvious, we have to get past the anger caused by betrayal before we can begin to deal with the loss.

It’s a double whammy.

If this is you this holiday season, reach out to friends or family, get showered, put on some nice clothes and go out to parties. Putting on the appearance there is nothing wrong will soon become normal, and nothing will be wrong shortly thereafter. Spewing venomous rage or throwing pity parties only increase the healing time. Most importantly you must remember that it was their character flaws—not yours—which led to them betraying you. Betrayal is toughest on honest people because we cannot rationalize this level of deceit.

Yet here we are . . . still standing.

brown bear plush toy
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

I hope all my readers will have a wonderful holiday season filled with genuine love from friends, family, and lovers.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Yeah, I still say that.

If you like rebels who do not subscribe to political correctness, you might want to pick up a copy of my book.

Advertisements

I admit it, we are clueless.

It took me four decades, to finally have an inkling. You can get well ahead of the curve by reading Ms. Creant, or you can let time and experience be your teacher. It’s your call; but as one who did it the hard way, I assure you I would have much rather read a book, had one like this existed in my youth.

1 (3)

It’s not you, it’s me.

Perhaps I should explain myself, and how different parts of me are scattered across social media.

Choosing the best experience for you might mean we cannot be “friends”.

a

At my core, I am a middle-aged man who works very hard to understand the behavior of both myself and other human beings. I will admit I am doing a little better with the former than the latter because I know who and what I am and how I was shaped. There may be no other point to our existence other than to discover ourselves—the “who” we are is complicated while the “what” we are is much easier. Let’s do the easy one first.

What am I?

  1. I am a human.
  2. I am a heterosexual male of that species.

What do I do?

They always leave out the implied ending of this question—for a living.

Cover front FINAL JPEG Sept 1 - Web small

  1. I am a non-fiction author.
  2. I am a writer for hire.
  3. I dabble in some business consulting, website design, and editing.

art-1301872_960_720Now the big question. . .

Who am I?

  1. It changes every day.
  2. I am just another flawed human being.
  3. I am someone who is looking behind the curtain of all my indoctrinations—familial; religious; societal; cultural—to see my programming.
  4. I am a seeker of truth which is a sucky pursuit. This brings us to the next one.
  5. I need to laugh, so I make snide, sarcastic, often inappropriate and misunderstood comments to help make the bitter pill of truth a little easier to swallow.
  6. As my self-awareness increases, I discard more and more of my original program in favor of ancient wisdom or “truths” if you will, which make me work on my humanness. There is much work to be done.
  7. If I shortlist this, I am pleased with my progress in compassion, empathy, sympathy, hypocrisy, ethics, scruples, and honesty, but I need more work on expectations, gratitude, judgement, tolerance, trust, and love.
  8. I am very concerned with how little time this incarnation of human civilization has left.
  9. Children make me smile. Each one is a blank slate with unparalleled memory capacity. If only we paid closer attention to the programming they receive.
  10. One of my few remaining beliefs is that a matriarchy might save us. The patriarchy has had at least 5000 years to get its shit together yet shows no signs of improving anytime soon. A civilization centered on economics only serves a few. Balance is the key to everything in nature and men just refuse to accept this paradigm. The patriarchy’s epitaph should read:

They discovered they could reshape their environment

and it ended them.

On that happy note, we will move on. This is the aforementioned sarcasm I spoke of.

twitter-3319619_960_720

Twitter is my favorite place on social media because it is the least restrictive. Oddly, I am the most well-behaved there. If you compartmentalize your followers by making lists, you can end up with a personalized newsfeed. I recommend this for all authors who hate the social media obligation as much as I do. It will preserve your sanity for a while longer. On twitter you will get the best parts of me, for the most part, with little of my inner bad boy.

  • I re-tweet inspirational and philosophical words of wisdom daily.
  • I tweet my own mostly serious thoughts.
  • I tweet some book news.
  • My Ms. Creant site blog lands on twitter which will be mostly talking life and relationships from now on.
  • My E. A. Barker’s Blog Madness site also lands on twitter, and it is probably the only thing which could be construed as being offensive . . . and boy can it be offensive at times, when I take the gloves off. Yeah, this is a hockey term, and yes, I’m a Canadian.

You can find me on twitter @eabarkerauthor

I guess you could just follow one or both of my blogs, but you would definitely miss some fun . . . and I do like to have fun.

facebook-3324207_960_720

Facebook is the bane of my existence. It is intrusive; your feed is next to impossible to manage unless you have a small circle; their idea of “community standards” would be laughable were it not for the disturbing fact they are willing to show the death of humans or animals, but a woman’s nipple is too much for their censors to bear; and yet I have four pages there. I might contact one of my psychologist “facebook friends” to help me figure out what in the f*ckity f*ck is up with that.

The public posts from my profile are squeaky clean; typically about life and saving the planet, although those damn blogs also show up. I guess we should change squeaky to pretty, or mostly, or kind of. If you are a facebooker, you can “follow” my public posts without seeing the bad boy stuff I share with my friends. You may miss out on some harmless humour, but you probably won’t be offended.

My E. A. Barker author page talks books, writing, author events, and libraries. I share most, but not all, blogging efforts to this page. THIS IS A SAFE ZONE!

My Author FYI page came about quite accidentally. It serves as a repository of all my research related to book publishing and book marketing for indie or small press authors, as well as a place where I wear my business-y hat. Only industry related blog posts land here. THIS IS A SAFE PLACE . . . or as safe as I get.

unisex-toilet-32058_960_720

If you cannot see the humour in this graphic, however inappropriate, you need not explore any farther.

My humor page is centered around relationships. The posts are there to make you laugh, but as usual, I employ few filters when it comes to seeing things for what they are.

woman-3156808_960_720Are you offended by nudity, vulgarity, or people who do not share your beliefs?

Do you remember when I said I am a flawed human being? If you make it onto my friends list, you will be treated to the full Monte. Actually that’s a lie, because facebook won’t let us show that, but you will get whatever strikes ME as funny, bizarre, cool, and I have been known to push the limits of facebook’s community standards just for the fun of it. I am against all things divisive. I am against all measures created to maintain division, the status quo, and to suppress badly needed conversations. If we cannot talk openly about anything, even if we do not agree with each other’s positions afterwards, then we cannot be friends. If you think you are up to it, you will find I am a loyal friend who is quick to help if I can, and you have my word, it won’t be dull.

Author Truths for Beginners. (Part 3: The Luck of the Irish Edition.)

We make our own luck!

16 WAYS TO GET LUCKY as an indie or small press author!

pexels-photo-247746.jpeg

 

A real-world book marketing strategy:

Get ARC s to reviewers three months in advance of your PUBLIC release date. In some cases galleys are required. (Print copies.) This only requires planning, time and organization to send out free e-book review copies. On the other hand, shipping galleys is an expensive proposition at +/- $20.00 each shipped. Send review copies to ONLY A FEW big time literary critics. Most will not give you the time of day, but just one published positive review from these influencers can launch a career. Some reviewers will only look at books that are less than six months old. Keep in mind that at most you have one year to get a mainstream review. Invest no more than $200.00. Limit these to your top ten most influential prospects.

Have a box of author copies in your car at all times to sell to people who are impressed by the fact you are an author. Barflies are particularly easy marks when they say: That’s SO cool. Where are your books available? You immediately reply with: I’ll be right back. When you return with the book, they are trapped. Few will admit they had no intention of ever looking up your book, nor will they admit they haven’t been in a bookstore or read a book in years. Tell them you can save them the trip and a few bucks off the retail price, PLUS as an added bonus, they will have a signed author copy. This is known in sales circles as: A Lay Down Sale, because they just laid down and spread their legs without making you work for it. They always have the twenty bucks on them if you drink in respectable gin joints. Yes, real world marketing will require you to go outside where it’s people-y. You will have to invest about +/-$120.00 but I make twice my usual royalty selling books in this way.

At a minimum, you MUST HAVE these two promotional items printed with your book details, and kept in your car at all times: bookmarks for going to bookstores and libraries, and business cards for impressing women in bars. Please feel free to substitute out my sexual preference for your own. I do not wish to offend or be insensitive, it just comes naturally. This investment will be +/-$100.00.

If you require help with your social media launch event, budget for it. Barter if you can. Free signed hardcovers can often do the trick. +/- $40.00 shipped.

pexels-photo-206563.jpeg

Run a targeted e-mail campaign to introduce the book to influencers: media, bloggers, stores, book clubs etc. via a professional looking press release. At least 1 out of 10 e-mails should generate a sale or you are doing something wrong. Expect to lay out $50.00 to $100.00 for creative plus $2.00 / contact unless you DIY. A total investment of +/-$250.00 should do the trick.

Have a quality website to showcase your book, which also allows you to publish a weekly blog. I recommend WordPress as they have powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools, and you can feed all your social media sites directly from there. Budget at least $500.00 for a well designed operational website WITHOUT CONTENT. If you cannot upload your own content without trashing the site, then you should double your website budget.

Your advertising budget is only one part of your overall book marketing budget.

Advertising campaigns are about REACH so we must not spend it all in one place. Plan to spend your ad budget as follows: 30% in the first 30 days after your public release event, 30% in the next 60 days, and the last 40% to be used equally throughout each of the nine remaining months of the year.

Welcome to the low cost and usually low yield world of digital advertising . . . or The CPC Jungle as I like to call it. (Cost Per Click)

coins-currency-investment-insurance-128867.jpeg

CAREFULLY TARGETED facebook boosted posts with VERY SMALL BUDGETS ATTACHED do let us reach our desired audience for a brief time.

Just as with facebook and their endlessly diminishing organic reach, Amazon hates authors too; but for the life of me I don’t know why. We certainly pay them enough. Maybe itz cause we’s smart. Amazon gets extremely weird when you do not publish, distribute, and use their POD (Print On Demand) division EXCLUSIVELY. It’s like they would rather have total control than extra revenues from “outsiders”. If you plan to be an “Amazon author”, I would recommend advertising there for a 30-day period to test the results—again with VERY SMALL BUDGETS ATTACHED. Ideally you will make this move once you have hit their magic number of twenty reviews or when you have climbed atop your CATEGORY; whichever comes first.

Tip: When bidding in an attempt to make your ad more visible, double the CPC bid Amazon suggests.

Evaluate the effectiveness of advertising with them after the 30-day period, or when your CPC budget has disappeared, as to whether or not the ad campaign can become self-sustaining based on your royalties earned.

Do the same on Ingram Spark ONLY IF you can afford it. They want more money than the other two, but they are about getting your paper books seen, and their distribution channels are vastly different than Amazon so your OVERALL REACH will be magnified.

calculator-calculation-insurance-finance-53621.jpeg

 

Once you have a good number of stellar reviews, run a second targeted e-mail campaign to influencers: media, bloggers, stores, book clubs, libraries etc. via a professional looking newsletter. Again, your return on investment should be at least 1 in 10. Try and get that from social media. Another +/-$250.00.

Consider a book signing in your favorite local bookstore only if the store’s management and staff are enthusiastic. Some larger stores may have NYT best-selling authors in their store every week, so they may not give a rat’s ass about you—pick your spots. This will require an easel and signage from a print shop. +/-$200.00

Libraries often have book clubs that love a meet-and-greet with any author. They are more easily impressed than the bookstore crowd. If you don’t frack things up too badly, they will often buy your book for the club to read. That’s like a dozen books sold for an enjoyable 15-30 minutes of your time autographing books. The car might need gas. +/-$25.00

Attend local book fairs, and if you think you have earned a vacation and wish to travel, tie your vacation to a major book convention somewhere on the planet. Vegas baby! NO, this does not come out of your marketing budget despite what you tell the taxman.

pexels-photo-925802.jpeg

Bookstores are not the only option, local “artsy” shops, card shops, and the café where that barista works who smiles a little too much, are great places to sell books—no consignment bullshit either. Just walk out with a check and e-mail them the invoice; and don’t forget your date with the barista. +/- $100.00

pexels-photo-756088.jpeg

Goodreads could potentially be a great place to spend some advertising quatloos, and to engage with readers. My e-mail notifications tell me I have a bunch of followers there even though I never visit. In essence, it is an online book club filled with genuine readers. The only downside I can see is, it’s part of the Amazonian takeover of the world, and as a result you will have another CPC to manage. When the day comes when I finally lose it completely on facebook, I will go there. I find myself working on that final post in my head more and more these days.

How to discover what your advertising budget looks like:

We take our total book production budget of $5000.000 and subtract all the known production costs totaling $1825.00 which we will round up to $2000.00. This leaves a total marketing budget of $3000.00 less the previously discussed fixed marketing and promotional costs totalling +/-$2000.00. This leaves a total ad budget of $1000.00 to be allocated as follows to create an advertising schedule which is based on the 30-30-40% allocation of funds discussed earlier.

Month 1: facebook $300.00 = $75.00 / week budget, boosting a single post each Friday at noon EST.

Month 2: amazon $150.00 = $37.50 / week budget, starting each Thursday morning.

Month 3: Goodreads $150.00 = $37.50 / week budget, starting each Friday morning.

Month 4: Ingram Spark: $150.00 max.

Months 5-12: $250.00 / spent where your gut tells you. I sold more books by sponsoring one charity event than all the sales created by three years on social media.

pexels-photo-842567.jpeg

 

Fundamental Rules of book marketing:

Rule 1:
ALL ADVERTISING STOPS when your average book rating dips below four stars. There is no saving it.

Rule 2:
Any skipped step in the above plan might have been the one that REACHED a major influencer. Do not close doors leading to opportunities!

Rule 3:
In the first four months after release, YOU MUST STICK TO THE PLAN. Just because you had some apparent success last month on one site, does not mean you abandon the strategy.

Rule 4:
A great book never stops being great. It only fades from view through a lack of commitment from the author or publisher.

It’s a BIG book—literally and literarily!

Cover front FINAL JPEG Sept 1 - Web small

Librarians, and people considering publishing a paper book, this one is for you!

When I began writing Ms. Creant a number of years ago, I found myself reaching for my reading glasses more and more often as I researched the book. The decision to purchase them was based on my rationalization that due to the ridiculous amount of safety warnings being printed on labels these days, the font sizes were being decreased so much that only a very few people could read them. It had nothing to do with being in my forties.

Denial.

As a single guy in this age group, you cling to your youth amidst a mostly unacknowledged mid-life crisis, which means you wage war on the gray hairs more and more frequently until it is just a part of your unconscious daily routine. You have to attempt to look younger than you actually are in order to have any shot with women still in their child-bearing years—or so you have convinced yourself. Part of maintaining a youthful appearance in public requires that we can read a book without the apparent need of reading glasses; something I can do easily with a twelve-point font size.

Light bulb.

I would produce a book that people over forty can read at the beach without glasses. As it turned out there are both upsides and downsides to this decision for a self-published author.

Big 8” x 10” large print books are expensive to produce.

It seems that by choosing this size—after literally measuring bookshelves in libraries and bookstores—Ms. Creant would fall into Ingram’s “custom” category; something outside of their standard size offerings. I would go on to make the executive decision to proceed with this ideally sized book regardless of the fact that my book would be about five bucks higher in price than so-called “competitive” books coming out of the mainstream traditional publishers. Here is how I rationalized it at the time:

  • I have read enough books in my genre to know I was producing an original work; ergo, I was PEERLESS, and as such did not have to worry about “competitors”.
  • Additionally, my book is a legitimate reference / textbook whose competition is priced in the stratosphere by comparison. Most of those authors have PHDs and have many titles. Does anyone really care?
  • Lastly, I have purchased many large books over the years, sometimes for as much as three times the price that would be assigned to Ms. Creant. I ASS-U-ME-D all book buyers were just like me, in that they buy books based on the VALUE of the content rather than PRICE. It’s the words that count, right?

Yeah . . . turns out I was WRONG about all that stuff.

Always one to look on the bright side, it turns out that libraries actually like big paperbacks vs. the more expensive hardcover option; especially when taking on a book from a relatively unknown first-time author.

So, I have that going for me.

BIG news!

As a thank you for their support and to embrace, however reluctantly, the new wave of e-book options available in libraries, I have dramatically reduced the price of Ms. Creant in all the specialty library e-book platforms available from Smashwords. What more could they want? Oh yeah, reviews.

I have those.

Excerpts from reviews:

“Although, there is plenty of scientific, medical, and technical references laced throughout to draw from, Mr. Barker has managed to write the perfect self-awareness, self-help, self-insight book in a manner that is entertaining, witty, intelligent and informative without being dry and judgmental.” “It isn’t often that I say an author has thoroughly done their research, but in E. A. Barker’s case I can.” “5 stars across the board for writing, research, execution, and editing; a rarity for this reviewer.”

5 STARS – Savannah Morgan – Amazon.com

 

“Well, damn, I loved it. A wonderfully-written foray into the male psyche and too rarely plumbed ‘she done him wrong’ kerfuffle.” “Penned with wisdom, humor and a keen insight into the battle of the sexes and exes, this book kept me laughing, frowning, and on more than one occasion, prompted introspection.” “Brilliant book!”

5 STARS – Shelby Kent-Stewart – Amazon.com

 

“I LOVED this book!!! I LOVED being able to get a sneak peek into the mind of men. This book was both funny and insightful!!” “…I am so glad that I picked it up!!!”

5 STARS – Ebony Arrington – McMillan – Amazon.com

 

“I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from this book. What I got, was humor, insight, and some riveting stories about relationships, good and bad. Each story shone a beacon on flaws in character, strengths of character, and wit.” “I enjoyed meeting the people in the book.” “I gave it five stars because it is truly a manual that both men and women can sink their teeth into.” “Excellently written and surprisingly fun.”

5 STARS – Vicki Goodwin –  Amazon.com

 

“As a woman and a lesbian I was a little unsure about reading this book. Especially with it being from a man’s perspective.” “You will get a better understanding of the dynamics of relationships, of life and the do’s and don’ts. I highly recommend this book for everyone to read. You may learn things about yourself that you never knew before.” “Truly amazing read, you  won’t be sorry!”

5 STARS – Leah Negron –  Amazon.com

 

“ . . . it’s an original work in a sea of similitude.”

Patricia Annette – Massive Book Hog Blog

 

” . . . a fascinating fun read for both sexes.”

Eldon Taylor – Author and host of the Provocative Enlightenment radio show

 

“Yes – it is a great book. It certainly opens up dialog.”

Ravinder Taylor – Co-host on the Provocative Enlightenment radio show

 

“I am a woman in my middle sixties happily married for 45 years with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.” “This book should be read by men and women in their early stages of adulthood. The author was quite informative but had a good sense humor as well. Read this book with an open mind and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Keep writing E. A. Barker, you are a very gifted author.”

5 STARS – Amazon.com customer

 

“Personally I think that everyone that has ever been in a relationship or will ever be in a relationship should read this book. It is insightful, funny at times and not for children.” “I would give this book a 5 star review out of 5 possible stars. This is one you don’t want to miss. Try something different you won’t be sorry.” “Amazing.”

5 STARS – Roadie Notes Book Blog – Becky Narron

.

“As a woman who has spent a lot of time trying to figure out how men see these types of things, this book was a breath of fresh air! Humorous and informative, I will definitely be recommending this book to others!” “Absolutely loved it!”

5 STARS – Amazon.com customer

.

“. . . Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is far from boring, not my typical nonfiction read and not what I was expecting.” “I highly recommend this book for men and women, as well as young adults (teenagers).” “Bravo Mr. E. A. Barker!”

5 STARS – Denise – Amazon.ca

.

“I approached this book with an open mind, and had to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!” “I honestly can’t say if Ms. Creant will change the world, but it certainly altered my perception of it! Totally recommended – read this book, people!”

5 STARS – James Longmore – Amazon.com

.

“Wow, I read this book relatively fast, and actually went back to read it again. There is so much information packed into the pages, it definitely warrants more than one read.” “I absolutely LOVE Barker’s writing voice.” “I highly recommend this book to everyone.” “5 Life Altering Stars”

5 STARS – Xtina Marie – Amazon.com & Goodreads

.

“If you can read this with an open mind, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did and gain some very useful knowledge. I have a 22 year old son, and I’ll be getting him a copy to read. I hope he heeds the advice given, because I believe he’ll be a better man because of it.” “A definite must read.”

5 STARS  – Ms. D. Breault – Amazon.com & Goodreads

 

To see the full reviews follow these links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Goodreads.com

 

Thanks for reading.

E. A.