Posts From Old Website – January 2016

My old website was a Weebly site and as of today there is no way to import my old blog posts from Weebly to Word Press.  So, I’m going to post them here.

The dates will be off, but the content will be the same.

WHY AMAZON REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT TO AUTHORS

01/26/2016

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First, let me thank all of you who have read one or more of my books.  Now, I’m going to beg those same people to write a review on Amazon (but only if you liked the book J).Let me explain why an Amazon review is so important to independent authors.Okay.  I’ve finished my first book and I think it’s great. My beta readers love it and I’m ready to turn it loose on the world.  I publish it on Amazon.  Now what?  According to a Forbes’ article written January 8, 2013, there are an estimated 600,000 to 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2013/01/08/thinking-of-self-publishing-your-book-in-2013-heres-what-you-need-to-know/#2715e4857a0b582eb7429f43)The number has only increased since then, so how do I make my book stand out?  First, I have to have a good cover.  The cover is what captures the potential reader’s attention.  Next, my description had better be good.  If the reader likes that then they can read a sample chapter or two using Amazon’s “Look Inside” option.Okay, I’ve done all that.  The cover is good.  The description is interesting (I’m always tweaking it) and the story is good and although I won’t swear there isn’t a typo it’s not littered with them or grammatical errors.  Okay, so my little grain of sand should shine in the Sahara of books available, but how do I make it stand out?  How do I get readers to see it?  Advertise!Great.  I’ll lay down some cash for my story. There are numerous companies willing to take my money, but most of them don’t deliver.  There is no return on investment (ROI).  Some companies are better than others but they have requirements and two of those requirements are number of reviews and the average number of stars for those reviews.  The number of reviews required to advertise varies from company to company.  Most of the better companies require somewhere between ten and fifty reviews, but the granddaddy of all the advertisers, BookBub, requires at least a hundred, maybe more depending on the genre.  Now, BookBub does not state the number on their website, but they do run a question and answer session on Twitter and they have said that for the more popular genres (such as mine) a hundred plus reviews is what they are looking for.Why advertise on BookBub?  Because they deliver, time and time again.  At least that’s what those lucky authors who have been accepted by BookBub have reported.  I’m talking about real independent authors who belong to the same author forums that I do, so they are not affiliated with BookBub.  Plus, since BookBub is so successful they publish their average downloads per category and sale price.  If you look at those numbers – wow – they do deliver.  (https://www.bookbub.com/partners/pricing?utf8=%E2%9C%93&regions=us&currencies=%24+(USD)) I’ve been rejected by BookBub numerous times.  I plan on submitting again right before I release book three in the Lake of Sins series.  I really, really need more reviews.  So please, I am begging here, if you read and liked my books, please write a review on Amazon.ThanksL. S. O’Dea

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LAKE OF SINS

01/24/2016

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I thought that illustrating some of the scenes from the book might be fun and I thought that it might help draw people to my table at MegaCon.  So, here is the first one, although it isn’t really from the book.  Instead, this is just an idea of what one part of the Lake of Sins looks like.You can see the island in the back and you can tell that there is something large on the island.  That’s the statue of course.Let me know what you think of the drawing.  I wanted it to be ominous and creepy.  I think Neoxeven at Fiverr did a great job with that.

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FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED (FOR A BIT)

01/19/2016

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After going out to eat for my niece’s birthday, I had to put oil in my car.  My car is old.  It has 280,000+ miles on it.  It loses a bit of oil.  Anyway, it was dark and I was in the parking lot of the restaurant.  A couple got out of their car.  They were probably in their 50s.  The man saw me putting oil in and said, “Just needs a little drink?”  I could tell by the way that he said it, that he really hoped that was the issue.  He didn’t want to help, but for some reason inside of him, he had to offer.I understand why he didn’t want to help.  He and his wife/girlfriend were going out to eat.  He didn’t want to get delayed or dirty.  That made the fact that he did say something even more special.  He was kind and couldn’t help it.  I appreciate it.  Things like that help to restore my faith in humanity.  He could have just walked by.  Another man probably would have, but there was something in him, something he was either born with or was taught by his parents that made him offer to help when he didn’t want to.  That is a quality that I admire.  That is a quality that we should all adopt and it is a quality we should instill in our children.

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 OLD TESTAMENT SOUL

01/18/2016

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I believe that I’ve been on this earth before.  I have an old soul. This isn’t a very Catholic thing to think but I veered from the religion of my birth years ago.  The idea of heaven—a place where everything is perfect and there is no pain, no sorrow—does not appeal to me.  I don’t think that we can enjoy the day without the dark and the cold without the heat (when I lived up North it was the heat without the cold).  Kindness would be nothing if it were not so rare.  Most people aren’t mean or cruel but that doesn’t make them kind.  No, I don’t think that I could find peace in heaven. Where’s the struggle, the drive, the competition?I also believe that there is a piece of Old Testament in my old soul.  Perhaps, that’s why I keep getting sent back to earth instead of moving on, if moving on is even an option.  Maybe, I need to learn forgiveness instead of an-eye-for-an-eye.  I have a hard time with forgiveness.  I forget a lot because many things just don’t matter to me, but forgiveness is another story.Take Michael Vick for example.  According to our society he paid for his crimes.  Not for me.  I won’t be satisfied that he’s paid for his crimes until either he experiences everything he put those poor dogs through or he brings them back and gives them all a good home.  See, I told you.  Old Testament is in my soul.

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WHAT DEFINES A PERSON

01/16/2016

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I don’t care about the color of your skin.  That is decided at birth.What religion you practice, if any, doesn’t matter to me.  Your sexual preference?  That’s your business, not mine.What is important to me is how you treat animals, children and the elderly.  That defines the real you.

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LOVING YOUR DOG AND LOVING YOUR KIDS ISN’T AN EITHER/OR SITUATION

01/16/2016

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I read an article yesterday that made me angry and then sad and finally a bit disgusted.  The article was written by Allison Benedikt and is titled The One Thing No One Tells You Before You Have Kids: Don’t get a dog(http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2013/07/kids_and_dogs_if_you_re_having_a_baby_do_not_get_a_puppy.html)This woman is honest, I’ll give her props for that, but I also think she is a poor excuse for a human being (I think I’m still a little angry for poor Velvel).  This article starts with this woman and her boyfriend adopting a puppy, Velvel.  Velvel was everything to them until they had kids. I get this.  I understand.  The dog takes a back seat to your children.  If she’d written about the difficulties of raising children with a dog, I wouldn’t be upset.  However, she goes so far to say that once she had kids she didn’t love her dog.  She writes this like that is how it is for everyone.  I know plenty of people who have dogs and kids and love them all.  I’m not saying that you should love your dog like a child.  Your dog is not a child, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love him/her.Most humans have the capacity to love many things (this woman obviously does not).  I love my father but not in the same way that I love my brother.  I love both of them differently than I love a boyfriend (I’m not married so I can’t say husband).  And I love them all differently than I love a child.  I don’t have kids but I have helped raise several and I’ve loved them all.  We had dogs and I loved them too.  The dogs were not kids and the kids were not dogs, but they all wanted and deserved love.I don’t understand how someone can love their dog and then just stop because they now have children to take care of.  It makes me sad for Velvel of course, because he never stopped loving her.  A dog doesn’t do that.  They are better than most of us and definitely better than Allison Benedikt.Now, she did keep the dog so I’ll give her credit for that and it seems that she kept Velvel inside so hopefully, one of the kids stepped in to give the dog the love it was no longer getting from her.  I do have to wonder about the lesson the kids will learn.  Will they learn that it’s okay to love someone and then just stop?  Or maybe, that it’s normal and okay to have a limited capacity to love.  Perhaps, one day when their mother is old (like poor Velvel) the kids will show her the same compassion and love.I can only hope.

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NEW COVER FOR RISE OF THE RIVER MAN

01/14/2016

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Here’s the new cover for the Rise of the River Man book. I have a post on my home page, but I’ll summarize here for those of you who follow my blog. This book wasn’t selling so I put on my detective hat and figured out that most people hated my cover (I liked it. I guess that makes me cheesy). Anyway, Luke Ahearn (www.lukeahearn.com) designed this cover for me and I have to admit that it definitely throws a more powerful punch.  When I saw the first draft, I actually said, “Wow.”  I live alone so I usually only talk to myself in my head (lots of conversations going on in there). Anyway, let me know what you think. lsodea7@gmail.com or post a comment on this blog.

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MOVIE STARS AND OTHER FAMOUS FOLKS

01/10/2016

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I’ve never understood society’s fascination with the rich and famous.Once when I was on a date, the guy took me by the home of Jim Davis, the creator of the Garfield comic.  He didn’t know Mr. Davis.  We couldn’t even see the house from the street, but he obviously thought I’d be impressed.  I wasn’t.  Jim Davis has nothing to do with my life.  More than likely, Jim Davis will never have anything to do with my life, so why would I care where he lives or what he has.Most people don’t feel the way that I do and perhaps, it’s because I think in stories.  My life is my story.  It’s usually boring and routine, but it is my story.  Every day, I encounter different characters.  Each one has his or her own story but most will not play a part in mine.  It is important to remember that in a good tale the characters belong to the story as much as the story belongs to the characters.  You can’t yank a character from one story and drop them into another.   The same is true with life. The rich and famous have no more place in my story than Curious George has in Gone With The Wind.  My life is my own adventure, my own movie and I’m only interested in those characters who belong in my story.

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REMAKING MY BED OR THROWING IT OUT:

01/07/2016

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I’ve used the saying—You’ve made you bed, now you have to lie in it.—many times over the years.  I’ve said it to others and told it to myself.  Today, I realized that it’s a load of crap.Sure, I made choices and decisions that have placed me where I am right now and I do have to live (lie) with that—For NOW.  It doesn’t mean that I can’t remake my bed or better yet, throw it out and make a new one  There are some aspects of my life that I like but there are many that I don’t and it’s time to change that.  I, like everyone, have a limited time on this earth and I’ll be damned if I let some decision that I made ten years ago, or five years ago or yesterday determine how I will live now and in the future.I am taking control over my life.  I understand that on the surface things won’t change overnight, but underneath, inside of me, they’re already different and that’s what counts.

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RESOLUTIONS: 2016

01/03/2016

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Every year I make resolutions and every year, I’ve broken them by around the 2nd or 3rd of January.  I’m not very good at denying myself something that I want.  A little voice in my head keeps chanting — you deserve this, go ahead.  That little voice is a devil. Anyway, this year I decided to approach my resolutions a bit differently.  The end goal is the same but the thought behind it is different.  I would still like to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, write more, etc, but this year instead of putting numbers on these (exercise 1 hour a day, write 2 hours a day, etc), I’m going to resolve to make choices that will make me happier in the long run. Of course, eating that brownie or having that second (or third – I’m being honest here) Pepsi will make me happy in the moment, but making choices that have made me happy in the moment have left me fat and unhealthy and often sad. So, for 2016 I resolve to make choices that I know will make me satisfied at the end of the day.  So far so good.  I’ve gotten up and exercised both on the 1st and 2nd (and I wasn’t feeling well on the 2nd). Hopefully, by 2017 I will be healthier and thinner and happier. Good luck to everyone else out there.  It’s hard to change your life but what else is there to do but try.

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