Tag Archives: Books

One Author’s Perspective on Book Piracy

“Two days. Two fights with different book pirates. 2003 apparent illegal downloads of one of my $5 books. All this swashbuckling, I really need to start wearing puffy shirts and knee-high boots.” –from author Rosanna Leo’s FB post 9/5/15

Rosanna’s post made me think about book piracy, which I admit I haven’t done in a while even though I am quite sure my books are being pirated. There was a time, early in my career, when this upset me. I did send a few takedown notices to a few sites. I read about other authors’ experiences on various author discussion loops. I remember one in particular where an author targeted not only the site itself, but the advertisers like AT&T, alerting them that they were supporting an illegal endeavor.pirate-sign-hi

I admire anyone willing to fight the good fight against wrongdoers. Piracy is theft. Pirates can justify it however they want, but they are stealing what doesn’t belong to them and what they didn’t pay for.

If I thought that spending hours of my time pursuing every site that pirated my books or those by any of my fellow authors, sending takedown notices and then following up would make a difference, maybe I would be more inclined to do it on a regular basis. But, as other authors have noted in the past, trying to stop these thieves in our digital world is like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. I always hated that game.

There is a conventional wisdom out there that says the individuals who illegally download books wouldn’t have purchased them anyway. That’s a lovely justification and I suppose it’s supposed to make ripped-off authors feel better about having their books pirated. There’s another mentality that says if publishers would just offer everyone’s books at an affordable price, no one would be pirating them. Is anyone seriously buying these “arguments?” If a book’s ebook price is too much for me, here’s my solution: I don’t buy it. Heck, I think some of my books might be priced too high. But I’d rather readers didn’t buy them as opposed to stealing them. Or…here’s an idea: ask your local library to order both the print and digital versions! Didn’t you know you could do that?

I am surprised that some brilliant techie guru has not figured out a way to insert some kind of programming into ebooks to keep them from being so easily stolen. Are there no Bill Gates wannabes out there? Is it not possible to plant a little worm in ebooks that creates gobbledy-gook of the work for an illegal downloader (or worse)? We can’t put some kind of digital pin in them like those annoying things retailers use in clothes that require a special device to remove them in order to avoid the alarm at the exit? I like that idea. A pirate or illegal downloader gets a high-pitched whining alarm from their device until they manage to delete whatever they’ve obtained illegally.

Everything in life can be fixed (except death). Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But until the united numbers of…authors? Publishing houses? Ebook retailers? decide piracy is a cause to put their will and their money behind, nothing will change.

1024px-Evil_Pirate_Arts_logoPirates are not only downloading books. They are illegally downloading music, movies and games (and God knows what else) as well. Is the price too high when the average three-and-a-half-minute song sells for $1.29 on iTunes? 37 cents per minute. Let’s say a 90-minute movie sells for $10. Eleven cents per minute. And one of my 60,000-word novels that take about three hours to read sell for $5.50. Three cents per minute. I guess that debunks the argument that ebooks are too expensive. They’re the best digital entertainment bargain available. To think that someone is too cheap to pay three cents a minute to enjoy my book is insulting and disrespectful. Not that I have any respect for these ahem, “readers.”

It’s so pitiful to think of these pirates who never developed enough to create something of their very own.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. ~ Oscar Wilde

We’ve created an amoral, instant-gratification world and we now believe we shouldn’t have to wait (or pay) for anything we want.

I am not a bestselling author with a plethora of assistants, public relations firms and attorneys at my beck and call. Just keeping my web site up and running is a challenge for me, as is every other business aspect of managing my writing career. Now I should chase after criminals on the internet? Maybe as a storyline in one of my books but this is not happening in my real life.11971194491887961770Chrisdesign_Pirate_skull.svg.hi

What I want to do is write. That’s all I ever wanted to do. Create stories. Share them with (preferably paying) readers, because yes, it would be nice if I could make money doing what I love. If I could cut out everything else I’m expected to do as an author, I would. Because the “everything else” I’m expected to do is the very thing that drains my creative juices. And so, for the most part, I don’t do those things.

I believe in two things that help me be at peace with my choices. God and karma. Talent comes from God. As does inspiration, creativity, people who are put in your path to help you find your way, along with your gut decision-making instincts. I don’t for one second think that those individuals engaging in book piracy (or any other piracy for that matter) don’t know that what they’re doing is wrong. If someone is stealing my God-given creative endeavor, they are stealing from God. And I am more than willing to let God deal with them in His own way and in His own time.

Years ago I read The Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. I then went on to legally purchase 🙂 and read many more of her wonderful books. But one of the many things that stuck with me was what she said about what each of us is put on earth to uniquely create. We should then put our creations out into the universe and allow the universe to respond. Our work (the creation part) is done. We cannot control the response from the universe nor should we try.

Part of the universe is karma. You reap what you sow. We may not always be aware of it and maybe we can’t see it, but people eventually get what they deserve, and that’s a good thing. There are consequences for every action. Which reminds me of something else I fervently believe in: the power of prayer.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

–Matthew 5:43-45 New International Version (NIV)

Which leads me to wonder…are pirates targeting the authors of “Christian” books as well as the rest of us? What if anything are they doing about it? Imagine the power of the creative arts community as a whole engaged in prayer for pirates.

Perhaps I will create a prayer of protection from piracy to be included in my next book.

Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing
Fantasy Man releases February 2016 from Samhain Publishing

I shall sign off on this post as Pollyanna, as I’m sure that’s how my views will be received. I’m okay with that. Other authors and artists will feel differently and behave differently about this issue, and of course, that is their right. More power to them. Maybe someday I will feel differently about it.

Rosanna’s post did inspire (thank you Rosanna!) me to do a little research into the subject of book piracy as I created this blog. Below are the links I took a look at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/your-money/rousting-the-book-pirates-from-google.html?_r=0

http://www.themillions.com/2010/01/confessions-of-a-book-pirate.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Combat-Book-Piracy

http://www.labnol.org/internet/pirated-ebook-websites/12620/

http://www.cnet.com/news/kindle-e-book-piracy-accelerates/

#books #piracy #God

 

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The Trouble With eBooks

Dear Self-published author:  Oh, God. I hope this book of yours was self-published. Because if it wasn’t the decline of published literature is worse than I ever imagined. Whew. I double-checked. It was.

First of all, before you ever publish another of your books yourself and offer it for sale to an unsuspecting public, there’s a little technique I’d like to acquaint you with. It’s known as proofreading. Let me explain.

READ BACK OVER YOUR MANUSCRIPT. MULTIPLE TIMES. Check for the following:

Typos

Misspellings

Punctuation errors

Grammatical errors

Check to make sure that you used the right word in the right place. For example: The expression on her face is not indigent. It might be indignant. Get a dictionary and try looking words up if you don’t know what they mean. Better yet, when you use your word processing program’s spell check feature, make sure it’s spellchecking the appropriate word.

If you’re too lazy to proofread your manuscript yourself, then I beg of you, get someone else to do it. When that individual points out your mistakes the time to correct them is before you hit that publish button.

While you’re reading back over your manuscript, try to determine if your story makes sense. Does it have a beginning a middle and an end? Does it wander off into distracting tangents and sub-plots that somehow become disconnected from the story you started to tell?

Are there characters in your story that don’t belong there? Will your reader wonder who Max or Sarah are because they mysteriously show up in the middle of your book with no prior mention?

Oh, and those words and phrases you use repeatedly? The excessive number of times you remind me of the color of his hair and her eyes? Stop it!

Did you write this book to preach to me about something? To inform me about a cause or an illness or a political point of view? Because if you did, what you most likely did was piss me off. I will remember you and I will never buy or download another of your books. Not even if you try to give it to me for free. Because you know what you are? You’re a bad writer.

I don’t care what your web site says. I don’t care how many traditionally published books you have under your belt or how popular you are with readers. You disappointed me. You ripped me off. You took my money in exchange for a piece of garbage.

Your five-star reviews are meaningless once I’ve read or attempted to read your “book.” Did you pay for those reviews? Did you twist the arm of every friend and relative you have to write one for you? Or did you make up those personas yourself and write your own reviews? Probably not because the reviews aren’t full of misspellings. I don’t know what idiots are giving you five-star reviews for this piece of garbage, but I’ve got about as much respect for them as I do for you.

The worst thing is I think maybe you can write. I think maybe there’s a decent story in here somewhere. Maybe. But it’s buried under a lack of editing, proofreading and basic knowledge of grammar. Which makes me think you haven’t got a clue.

Your characters behave in conflict with their thoughts. Their motivations make no sense nor do their actions. Don’t tell me how they feel. Show me. Don’t tell me how I should feel while I’m reading about their dilemma. Make me feel it!

You are what’s wrong with this brave new world of self-publishing. You’ve got no standards (unless they’re low ones). You’re unprofessional and you give those of us who are offering a quality product a bad name.

I will never use your name. I won’t post a bad review. I hope I don’t need to. I hope you don’t need any help losing your readership and that you slowly fade away and never write a bad book again.

Signed,

A Disgusted and Disappointed Reader in Floridaajtillock2013 012

Visit me at www.barbarameyers.com

Follow my infrequent Tweets @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

If you buy any of my self-published eBooks and if you are disappointed contact me and I will make it right.scatteredmoments_thumb

#bad books #ebooks #publishing

Barbara Meyers, Author – August 2013 Newsletter

ajtillock2013 012
Check out my guest blog (Am I Having Fun Yet?) on author Tina Donahue’s web site here:
http://www.tinadonahue.com/blog/
51Lt2jJTdsL__SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_My story, “Katy’s Place” appears in the Novelists, Inc. anthology entitled I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE YOU AGAIN, now on sale in print and digital formats. Buy links are here:
http://www.thestoryplant.com/i-never-thought-i-d-see-you-again.html

Tomorrow I will post a sequel to that story which I was inspired to write on July 21, 2013, because after a tragedy we all need closure. I call this story “In Katy’s Place.” It made me cry. I’m giving this to you readers of my blog as a little bonus and thank you for reading and following me.

I’m currently reading the fourth story in the anthology which is by Deb Stover. The first three, which I thoroughly enjoyed, were by Allison Brennan, Dianne Despain and Kelly McClymer. “I never thought I’d see you again” was given as a prompt for each of the stories. They are all wildly different but equally enjoyable.

With my song-writing partners, Carlene Thissen and Martha Christian, we are closing in on a final version of “Roses in the Sand.” Great title, isn’t it? We’ve received positive feedback from a couple of experts in the field, so watch for further news updates.

photoEveryone wants to know where story ideas come from. This song was inspired by Carlene’s walk on the beach where long-stemmed roses had washed up along the shore. It took a little while to realize where those roses had come from and why they were there.

It isn’t easy and it’s shockingly time-consuming to write songs. You have three minutes or so to tell a story any listener can understand and connect with. As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—‘tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”

Other author/book recommendations? I’ve recently read two books by Don Winslow, one of which was Savages which was made into a movie. I liked them both for different reasons. I think I’ve also finished reading all of Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series of historical mysteries. I read them out of order which will drive some of you OCD readers crazy, I know.

I’ve discovered a couple of things about reading for pleasure. Sometimes if the writing is good enough it can rise above the story itself. Sometimes I get confused as to where the plot is going, but I’ll keep reading because a book is so well written it doesn’t bother me that maybe the author got a bit lost or the editing wasn’t all that it could have been.

I’m still wading through a couple of projects including AJ Tillock’s 2nd book, COOL BEANS. I still believe I can “fix” my old manuscripts. I know I’m slow, but I’ll get there. Eventually.

What’s that quote by Winston Churchill? Never, never, never quit.

If you wonder why my Tweets are so infrequent and FB and web site updates don’t happen in a timely manner, it’s because I’m busy writing!

My brother and his wife recommended I watch a documentary on YouTube entitled Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It might change your ideas about the food you are putting into your body. I highly recommend it. It made me rethink what I’ve been eating. More on this in a future post.

Visit me at http://www.barbarameyers.com where you will find buy links to my books.

You can follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock
My Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/#!/BarbaraMeyersAuthorPage

Barbara Meyers, Author – March 2013 Newsletter

ajtillock2013 012First off, right after I posted the February newsletter, The Ledger published one of my Dr. Suess-like poems in its “Write-On” section. The link is below if you want to read it. I have to say I like a local newspaper interested in the happenings and talents of the local citizens.

My Husband the Car
http://www.theledger.com/article/20130202/NEWS/302025000

I’ve been reading Twitter for Dummies by Laura Fitton, M. Gruen and L. Poston. I feel like I owe an apology to all of my Twitter followers. I encourage you to follow my infrequent posts, but I don’t really understand how Twitter works. I am not techie at all and probably don’t have to be to use Twitter appropriately, but just know I’m trying to understand it and be more involved. I’m also reading WordPress for Dummies, so you might see improvements to my blog as well. Although I have a feeling many of those will be due to my friend Ryan, a former IT guy who has been helping me with all things computer related. (Right now the blog is sort of a mess, but we’re working on it.)

I successfully used Skype for the first time. After much nudging from my song-writing partner Carlene, I invested in a camera, got my husband to install it and followed instructions from the Skype program and with Carlene’s help, we interacted face-to-face.
We always tend to write sad songs even though we are not sad people. But this is good for us because supposedly nine out of ten hit songs are sad!

Have I mentioned my propensity to be a day late and a dollar short in nearly every aspect of my life? That goes double for anything computer-internet-techie related! Funny that I write for an eBook publisher, isn’t it?

Speaking of…the eBook version of THE FIRST TIME AGAIN is available for pre-order and at a discounted price. FirstTimeAgain,The72lg[1]FINAL
Here’s the link on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/First-Again-Braddock-Brotherhood-ebook/dp/B00B4QJK50/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1362397605&sr=1-1&keywords=the+first+time+again
Here’s the link for Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-first-time-again-barbara-meyers/1114274157?ean=9781619215320

I sent my short story “Katy’s Place” to Lou Aronica, (LouAronica.com) the editor of the 2013 Novelists Inc. Anthology. I couldn’t think of anything else to do to it or another way to rearrange it, so it’s done. Lou replied, “I love it. Thanks so much for contributing it.” Bet he says that to all the contributors.  The theme of the anthology is “I never thought I’d see you again.”

My day job is…what can I say? Too much. Too many hours. Too stressful. Combine that with my new propensity for waking up at 5 a.m. and it’s no wonder why I haven’t written much of anything the past few weeks. I’m even late with my newsletter. How can it be March 4th already?????

What I have been doing a lot of is thinking/pondering about the book I want to finish, which is the fourth in The Braddock Brotherhood series. The working title is Rich Woman. Mostly the pondering stage is an attempt to answer the question, “What is this book about?” After I’ve had enough of this thinking period, I get to the part where I say to myself, “Maybe I should just write it.” Which means I haven’t got the entire book worked out in my head but if I start writing it will all come together. Of course it will.

I would hate to tell you how much of THE FIRST TIME AGAIN I had written (about 160 pages) and how long I sat on it (two years?) while I asked myself the question “what is this book about?” I had the characters and the basic premise. All I needed was a story.

It has been said that when you start talking about the weather, you’ve run out of things to say, but I think it’s worth noting temps are in the mid-thirties here in Central Florida this morning. I love my fuzzy pink robe!

Until next time visit me at http://www.barbarameyers.com
Follow my infrequent posts on Twitter @barbmeyers and @ajtillock

Thanks for reading!

God – The Original Forever Kind of Guy

My contemporary romance novel, A Forever Kind of Guy, came out this month and in preparation for its release I started thinking about a lot of things.
Marketing, first of all, which I don’t begin to understand and its importance is something I balk at. Not to insult all the marketing experts out there, but bear with me.
Of late, there’s been a lot of buzz about Twitter. You’ve got to be on Twitter, you need to tweet X number of times per day, use hashtags and @ signs, let your followers know you’re there and you’re interested. Have conversations. Etc.
I tried to join an online workshop to learn more about Twitter, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. There are many online marketing shoulds for an author like me. Have a Facebook fan page. Blog about things readers are interested in. Etc.
Of course, I want my own personal marketing tools like bookmarks and such. Sometimes the list of what I should do seems endless and I’m reminded I’m only one person. A rather humble person, at that, and marketing oneself doesn’t come naturally to those of us who aren’t comfortable tooting our own horn. Really, my biggest problem is trying to think of something even remotely interesting to post even once a day. If I can’t be clever or entertaining, what’s the point?
I began to think, is this all really necessary? It seems like too much. When I feel overwhelmed, I hand things over to God. “Here you go, God. You take care of this. I’m not going to worry about it any more.” Immediately the response I heard was, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this. I’m in control.”
I heave a huge sigh of relief.
He must know I could literally bust my behind doing everything marketing experts tell me to do. I could drive myself crazy trying to keep up with it all, get my name out there, post my status six times a day and Tweet ten, and it’s entirely possible it will make little or no difference in my sales. There are a million other authors climbing on the same bandwagon doing exactly the same thing. At some point, don’t we cancel each other out?
When my first two books came out I decided if only ten people read one of them, then those were the ten who were meant to read it. There was a message there just for them, or they needed that escape. Whatever reason my book ended up in their hands, I was fine with it.
Caroline Myss says something about doing whatever you were put on earth to do, create whatever you were inspired to create, then let it go out into the universe and the universe will respond. Your part is done. This may explain why so many authors try different marketing ploys and can’t quantify the results. You can put forth a lot of effort for questionable results. The only thing that is under my control is writing the best book I’m capable of writing.
While the hero of A Forever Kind of Guy is an earthly forever kind of guy, I kept thinking about God being the original forever kind of guy.
I imbue my heroes with all the qualities I admire in a man, but upon further examination, they are God’s qualities as well. Patience. Kindness. Loyalty. Understanding. He doesn’t give up. He protects and fights for the ones he loves. He offers comfort in difficult times. He makes a promise to be there forever and he never wavers. I like creating a hero who is always one step ahead of the heroine. Imagine how many steps ahead of us God is.
All of this led me to the title of this blog. (Even if nothing I’ve written here makes sense to anyone but me…it doesn’t matter. God gets it.)
On my books’ acknowledgments page I always thank God because without him, where would I be? Maybe people wonder how a romance writer can profess to have a relationship with God. After all, those characters I write (sshhh) have sex before they’re married. Horrors!
Whether or not an author chooses to address it, pre-marital sex has been a staple of American society for many years. I doubt God is shocked. He understands the emotional component of a sexual relationship, which is what romance novels like mine are based on. It’s why the characters are in an exclusive relationship and why they head for marriage at the end of the book. The journey they shared through the story becomes the glue that bonds them together. Their search for someone to belong to is over.
Sadly, many of us search endlessly for a forever kind of guy while overlooking the fact that He’s always been here.
http://www.barbmeyers.com
#postaweek2011

A Forever Kind of Guy Quiz

THE FOREVER KIND OF GUY QUIZ

Is he A FOREVER KIND OF GUY? Take this quiz and find out.

1. Your car breaks down on the freeway. When you call your guy for help he:
A) Tells you to lock the doors, sit tight, he’s on his way

B) Suggests you call AAA for a tow and a ride home

C) Can’t be reached because he’s in jail for DUI. Again.

2. There’s a death in the family. Your guy:
A) Lets you cry on his shoulder while he makes all the travel
arrangements so he can attend the services with you.

B) Calls your best friend so she can help you through this difficult time.

C) Is annoyed with your tears and the interruption in his television viewing schedule.

3. You’re frantic because your purse was stolen with your wallet and cell phone inside. Your guy:
A) Consults his back-up list of credit card numbers, cell phone companies and driver’s license bureaus and helps you make the appropriate calls. (After he attempted to catch the thief at great peril to life and limb and called 911 when the guy got away.)

B) Is bent out of shape because you’d offered to pay for dinner. Again.

C) Watches the thief escape and says, “Wow, look at that guy go.”

4. You invite your guy home to meet your parents. He:
A) Arrives on time, appropriately dressed, with flowers for your mother and a bottle of 12-year-old Scotch for your dad.

B) Arrives 45 minutes late and slightly inebriated. Later passes out on your mother’s new sofa.

C) Doesn’t show up because he’s playing pick-up basketball at the park with his buddies and forgot.

5. You’ve discovered you’re pregnant. You’re ecstatic. When you share the news your guy:
A) Hugs you like he’ll never let go and says the timing couldn’t be better.

B) Buys another pregnancy test and suggests you repeat it because it could be a false positive.

C) Decides he needs his space and wants a paternity test before you see a dime of child support.

6. You receive two tickets to a performance of Swan Lake: Your guy:
A) Asks where you’d like to go to dinner before the performance.

B) Agrees to go with you if you’ll go to the Extreme Wrestling finals with him.

C) Apologizes for missing it but there’s a rerun of Law & Order on TV that night.

7. You ask him if your new outfit makes you look fat. He replies:
A) Everything you wear looks good on you

B) Not any fatter than usual

C) Yes. Especially your butt.

8. You have the flu and can barely lift your head from the pillow. Your guy:
A) Brings you tea and toast and fluffs your pillows for you

B) Refuses to come near you in case you’re contagious

C) Breaks up with you because he’s not good with sick chicks

9. In a sports bar, another man makes an inappropriate comment to you. Your guy:
A) Insists he either apologize to you or step outside

B) Doesn’t hear it because his team just scored

C) Says, “Good one, man.”

10. You’re short on cash until payday and need five dollars for gas money. Your guy:
A) Takes your car to the gas station and fills it up as a surprise. Then gives you cash so you can stop for coffee on your way in to work.

B) Grudgingly gives you $3 and makes you sign an IOU.

C) Wishes he could help you out but his unemployment check’s late.

11. The last time your guy brought you flowers was:
A) Last week. No occasion. Just because he knows you like them.

B) Last year. Because he forgot your anniversary and/or birthday.

C) Never. He thinks flowers are stupid and a waste of money. After all, they just die.

If your answers are mostly A’s, congratulations. You’ve found A Forever Kind of Guy who knows how to treat a lady.

If your answers are mostly B’s, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, this guy might be untrainable.

If you answered mostly C’s, get out now. It’s better to be alone than to be with this guy.

A Forever Kind of Guy Quiz ©2009
Barbara Meyers

This quiz is meant to be fun, but there might be a grain of truth in it as well. It originally appeared online on the Nine Naughty Novelists blog on September 27, 2011. I wanted to share it with all of you since today is the official release day for the eBook version of A Forever Kind of Guy. A print version should be available summer of 2012. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you did, remember positive reviews on the site where you purchased it are always welcome and appreciated. And like all authors, I love hearing from fans. Comment on my blog or write me at barb@barbmeyers.com
Visit me at http://www.barbmeyers.com
You may also want to read the first of The Braddock Brotherhood series, A Month From Miami.

#postaweek2011
#aforeverkindofguy
@barbarameyers

This Lemonade Is Making Me Crazy, Part II

I said I was going to contact the author (see my blog from 10/5/11) about the lemonade issue that was making me crazy and I did. Below is my e-mail to her and her reply to me. She asked that I not use the name of her book or her name if I used this in a blog, so I didn’t. I also deleted the names of the characters in the book when they were referenced in either of our e-mails.

I love knowing I can contact an author, ask a question, and that she’ll take the time to reply. It means a lot to me as a reader. I thanked the author via e-mail, of course, but I want to thank her again here.

Dear Author:
I am reading your book and arrived at the section where they are in the Dakota Territory and one character is teaching another to shoot and she serves him lemonade. Later she gets sick from drinking lemonade someone else on the wagon train made. (Why?) She reaches her friend’s place in Utah and I believe they are drinking lemonade once again.

I am curious as to whether this is historically factual and if so, where/how did all these lemons arrive in the Dakota Territory and where did they come from? How were they kept from spoiling? Wouldn’t they be a luxury and quite costly? I am genuinely curious. I’ve tried to look up the possibilities online but come up empty.

I would love to know the answer. My husband’s degree is in U.S. History and he is stumped as well.

Thanks in advance,
Barb Meyers

The author’s reply via e-mail:

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for your email. I hope you are enjoying the book. About the lemonade, it probably wasn’t what we drink today. However, they did have lemons. Columbus brought them here and by this character’s time, it was quite an industry in California and Florida. Like the sailors who journeyed for months at sea, pioneers could take real lemons with them. They can last a few weeks, but she would mostly have had lemon juice, which women could make themselves. They could use the juice for cooking and cleaning, too. The character could have also used lemon extract, which was probably more alcohol than lemon. They were amazingly resourceful women. Here’s a recipe from 1866:

To Preserve Lemon Juice for a Voyage.
Select only the best, freshest lemons. Squeeze them well through a strainer. To every 1 qt. of juice add 1 oz. cream of tartar. Let it stand 3 days, (stirring it frequently) and then filter it through thin muslin pinned tightly on the bottom of a sieve. Put it into bottles, filling up the neck of each bottle with a little of the best olive oil. Cork tightly, then seal. When you open a bottle avoid shaking it, and carefully pour off the olive oil that is on top of the lemon juice.

Don’t know how this tasted, but if you try it, please let me know.
This book began as a chapter for a history book, so my research was primary, and I did my best to be accurate. I travelled the route the character took and researched at libraries, government offices and historical sites from NYC to Utah. I studied maps, tax records; I read diaries, letters, newspapers, cookbooks and guidebooks (I found an original one of NYC from 1868). Of course, history is subjective, depending on who is reporting what and when, but hopefully, the character would recognize the world I placed her in. 🙂

Thanks again for reading the book.
The Author

Visit me at http://www.barbmeyers.com
Write me at barb@barbmeyers.com
#postaweek2011

P.S. But you see the part in the recipe where it says to avoid shaking the bottle? Travelling overland in a covered wagon seems like there’d be a whole lot of shaking going on. They’re fording rivers, the wagon almost tips over. I’ve decided this “lemonade” they were drinking must have been truly disgusting. Thank God for Minute Maid.

What Do Readers Want?

A recent meeting with a marketing expert goes something like this:

HER:  What do you feel is most important when it comes to content on your web site?

Me:  (Mental response) I don’t know.

Me:  (Verbal response)  Whatever will draw more readers to it and encourage them to buy my books.

HER:  Why is your blog so author-oriented?

Me (Mental response)  Because I’m an author.

Me:  (Verbal response)  Because I write what I want to write on my blog.  That’s why I started writing a blog.

(If you want to know who I am, read my blog.)

HER:  But your readers aren’t interested in author content.  They want to know about your books.

Me:  (Mental response)  They do?

Me:  (Verbal response)  They do?  How do you know what my readers want? 

HER:  Ninety-nine percent of marketing is research.  I’ve done my research.  I’ve studied other author web sites and blogs for content.

Me:  (Mental response)  That sounds boring.

Me:  (Verbal response)   I guess if I’m paying you for your expertise I should listen to your advice.

Me:  (Mental thought)  I’ll ask the readers what they like to see on an author’s web site. 

Do readers look at author’s web sites? 

What are they looking for on an author web site?

Do they read their blogs? 

Do they want to be Facebook friends or follow them on Twitter? 

Do they want to enter contests? 

What do they like as a reward? 

The winner having a character named after them? 

A free book? 

Something else?

I can tell you what I think authors want from readers:

1)       Authors want readers to love their books.

2)       Authors want readers to buy their books.

3)       Authors want readers to tell all their friends how much they loved the author’s book(s).

4)       Authors want readers to encourage all of their friends to buy and read the author’s book(s).

What I hope readers want from an author is a really good book they can enjoy and escape into for a little while.  A book that takes them out of their own world, gives them a break from their own reality, uplifts, inspires, or maybe just entertains them for a couple of hours.

If there’s something else readers expect from authors I don’t know what it is.

But I’d like to.

In the words of Popeye, “I yam what I yam.”

And in my own words as an author, “I write what I write.”  Humor, emotion, romance, love, happy endings.

Which leaves me with two burning questions:

How are readers going to find me? 

Really, truly what do readers want from authors?  (Besides the best book I can write.)

 

Check out A Forever Kind of Guy coming from Samhain publishing in October 2011.

visit me at www.barbmeyers.com

 

 

 

Picky Reader Reads Non-Fiction – 1

I rarely read non-fiction for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost it takes me a long time to read a non-fiction book.  I can generally only manage a few pages a sitting which my pea brain must then absorb before I can go back and try to glean some more wisdom from the same source.  The second reason is my ability to remember anything seems to have deserted me in the last couple of years.  While I may read something deep and memorable I want to hold onto and take with me, in a very short time it’s simply gone.

However, in my attempt to figure out things currently foreign to me, such as how one goes about creating a successful marketing campaign for one’s independently published e-Books, I picked up a handful of books I thought might be helpful.  One of those was Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod of www.gapingvoid.com fame.

I’d never heard of Hugh Macleod, his book or his web site before, but I am now a fan.  I read his book in two days.  Why?  It’s easy to read.  The chapters are only a few pages long and his cartoons are peppered throughout.  He’s chosen a sort of bullet-point presentation style.  He gets in, makes his point and moves on.  The book is 149 pages long.  He doesn’t waste time or paper saying anything that doesn’t need to be said or saying it six times in different ways. 

Since I’m at a point in my career where there are so many voices the conventional wisdom indicates I should be listening to, I’d recently decided the only voice I should be listening to was my own.  Which is much the point Ignore Everybody makes.  You alone are responsible for your career, your choices, your fate.  You hold the key in your hand.  You could be wrong, you could be right, but if you go with your gut, that’s usually the best way to go.  Stop listening to everyone else.  Dare to do something different.  Don’t worry about whether it will make money or be successful in the eyes of the world.  If you’re driven to create then do it! 

Something I found truly amusing was a line in Chapter 20 which is entitled “Sing in your own voice.”  There’s a list of famous artists who weren’t good at certain things within the art form they’re known for. I laughed out loud when I read this one:  “Dylan can’t sing or play guitar.”

Why did I find this so amusing?  Because for eight years I’ve worked at a local Starbucks where a variety of music is played, much of it not to my taste.  I can’t control the music choices, but I can skip certain playlists.  Dylan seems to be a recurring favorite and I’d commented once again a few nights previously that someone needed to tell him he couldn’t sing.  Which is not to say he isn’t a great songwriter.  To quote MacLeod, “Had Bob Dylan been more of technical virtuoso, he might not have felt the need to give his song lyrics power and resonance.”

Ignore Everybody…resonated with me and reinforced much of what I already knew.  Maybe it will do the same for you.

 #postaweek2011

 www.barbmeyers.com