Growing Pains…Learning from Example, Why Didn’t I Think of That?

I have been reading and researching many marketing blogs and books this past week. I am trying to ‘mix it up,’ so to speak. My mind needs to focus on sales, even if my brain has about fifteen ideas for stories. I am slowly learning that I need to stick to my schedule and marketing plan if I want to succeed.

The blogs and articles I have been reading this week focus on three things:

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  1. cover design
  2. kick butt blurbs
  3. titles

To have successful designs, blurbs, or titles for your book, they all have the same advice…learn from your peers. This is the most obvious advice EVER!

I am so disappointed in myself for not thinking about doing this before. As a coach for so many years, I told my players to watch college softball and basketball games ALL THE TIME. Learn the game from experienced players. Go to the high school games and watch the players in their positions. I rarely take my own advice. I am such a great role model (insert eye roll here).

I have been on Amazon and Google+ searching through cover designs. I have seen some pretty far out covers. Some I like and some not so much. Then again, some of the covers are not in my genre.

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While reading advice on covers I came upon an unusual comment that comes up in the blogs: ‘create a cover that blends in yet stands out.’ What the heck does this mean?

Okay, they look like all the others, but I splashed a big blob of red paint in the center of my cover. Is that good? I know, but I bet you would look twice. You wouldn’t click to buy, but you would look twice.

Look at examples, what works in your genre? What do you see as a reader of your niche? Which ones stand out? Do you think that cover works for this book? Does it get lost in the pack? Okay, what about this one…is it too out of the ordinary? Does the picture tell you what the book is about (drama, humor, thriller, etc.)? Can you identify this book in a lineup?

Next is the blurb. My worst nightmare! I can write an entire book, then barely write a fifty-word summary on the story. Which I find unbelievable considering how much I can talk to strangers in an elevator. The summary is not really the issue, it is more of the ‘hook’ to get the readers interested. I ask questions, I intrigue the readers with some explanation of the beginning of the book (not much), then I might ask another question.

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The children’s books I use a different method. I give a summary of the book without sharing the end. Then I explain the book series is about ‘friendship, fun, and acceptance.’ I still haven’t done much research on blurbs for either genre, but I don’t utilize my word count effectively.

Another article discusses the blurbs are essential for the books’ findings on the search engines. I am not positive on that, look it up. If this is true (it does make sense), I need to reevaluate ALL  of my blurbs.

Last, but certainly not least, the title. I have read two articles that promote title generators. I used a title generator as I was writing this blog.

I have an idea what I want for the title of my next book for my series, but we could always use the help.

The generator asked questions about the main area the in the story, the fault and best asset of the protagonist, and what the main character does for a living.  I didn’t like it. I think the possible reasons why are:

I already have titles in mind

The generator titles don’t fit the titles my previous books in my series have.

They never asked the protagonist’s name

My favorite advice I learned from one article, though, look up your most popular blog posts. See which have the most likes and read the titles. Are they informative? Are they humorous? Are they creative? The titles of your articles are valuable information because your audience is reading them (Ah-hah moment for me).

Does your cover fit in AND stand out?  Does that blurb make you want to go and buy that book? Does this title intrigue you?

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Have a fabulous weekend.


Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie


Growing Pains…This May Not Be Rocket Science, But I’m No Scientist!

I am slowing down on writing the books; if I have no audience, nobody’s reading them except my mom and aunt. Let me concentrate on marketing for a bit. I am currently rereading Nick Stephenson’s Reader Magnet free download he offers to his mailing list. I am also reading an ebook by Rachel Thompson called “The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge.”

I am reading both at the same time because I read the Reader Magnet before and Rachel Thompson’s ebook is a daily assignment type of set up. I’ve read Nick Stevenson’s download in the past, but as a newbie author, some of the tools in the book were intimidating to me.

I feel overwhelmed with all of this information I read. I am not saying that the Reader Magnet is complicated. Far from it. I needed to step back after the first read, configure MailChimp (for the second and third time), set up a freebie book, and then get my landing page in order.

Honestly, I am not even sure I did it right. I shall find out soon. So many of the experts know this works. Most of them use the funnel book and the magnet book to get the email lists. To be quite honest, I know I’ve read the email list trick many times, but I am still not sure what to do after I get tons of email addresses.

On my children’s book landing page, so far, I have three on my list. One of those email addresses is me; I was testing it to make sure it worked. I don’t believe I am doing it right. I will have to continue rereading Nick’s free book.

As for the 30-day challenge, I learned more about Twitter and a few tips on Facebook that I was not aware of. It is supposed to be one day at a time but a few of the days were simple, so I didn’t follow directions and compiled two days into one. I also had a Facebook account and that day I skipped.

I need to start following directions a bit closer, I have a feeling these books are going to be more complicated as I get more involved.

A fellow blogger mentioned that if I add my ebook to another site and email Amazon to price match, they will oblige. That was in Nick’s book. I missed that while I was reading it the first time so I definitely will be reading it a third time. I couldn’t believe I missed it.

There is so much information that I miss or misunderstand. I am not sure if it is the overwhelming feeling of so much going on or trying to complete a task that ‘isn’t rocket science.’ Then you hit a bump in the road because you’re not familiar with a website or application, so you forget what you were doing in the first place.

I read in the 30-day challenge of scheduling tweets with apps like Hootsuite, I can set time in my day and tweet through a schedule, then retweet or comment when it’s convenient. Hashtags are important too. I never used them. I just started yesterday.

Enough about the book, you should just read it yourself. So far it is good. I am only on the second week or so, but it has taught me a lot about social media I thought I knew but didn’t.

The 30-day Challenge

The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge by [Thompson, Rachel]

To be fair, I will link Nick Stephenson and his blog page. This way you can find information on how to find your first 10k readers, sign up for his email page and receive his bonuses for being on his email lists. I am sure you will learn a lot from him if you decide to do so ( I have I just submerged myself). I listened to his podcast with Joanna Penn, and it explained a lot.

Many of the experts have the same basic ideas. Don’t sell your books, be yourself. Have a landing page, a magnet book, funnel book, or giveaway, and grow your email lists. Be social on social media but don’t be spammy, that’s annoying.

Now the keywords and SEO are still my biggest issue. So is configuring my emails (as I mentioned above, but hopefully that will change soon). I am going to continue reading the books and get a better grasp of the websites and apps I need to use for uploading my freebies and whatever I need to.

This is new, I will get it. The technology was so much easier when I didn’t use it for fifteen hours a day.

Stay fabulous everyone!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie


Growing Pains…Is It Beneficial To Buy Your Own ISBN or Get the Amazon Freebie?

My first paperback was recently able to be distributed to other sites as of yesterday. I did not research enough my first book, nor did I investigate much with my second. As a matter of fact, I am still learning a lot as I continue on this journey.

new wendy cover

I am aware of the benefits of buying my own ISBN (for those who are not informed, click on ISBN to learn more). One significant advantage is you own the rights, and nobody can say otherwise. I was too excited to care at the time I was publishing my first book. Actually, all of my Amazon prints are associated with them.

I decided to sign up for IngramSpark this morning. I spent a significant period of time on the site, it is more detailed (in my opinion) than Amazon, so I was having a bit of trouble deciding on a few of the options they were giving me.

When I was on the page for “ISBN,” I pasted my book’s number, and they told me it already exists. Well, of course, it does. I Googled the issue. Ingram has different rules than Amazon. They distribute to places that are a little wary of self-published authors.

Okay, so…if you purchase your own ISBN, have yourself as the publisher, not Amazon or CreateSpace (they are a part of Amazon) you have a better shot at your books not being overlooked? That means your brand, or publisher name, has to be believable. I can’t just say, “Hey, look at me, Robyn Branick. I am a publisher.”

That would totally tell everyone I am a self-published author, no?

Karen Myers wrote this article “How to Use CreateSpace and Ingram Spark Together.”

Even though CreateSpace will be a thing of the past soon, the article helped me understand the principal reason why it is beneficial for me to purchase my own ISBN. I should brand myself as ‘robynbranickbooks’ and not just use Robyn Branick in the future. I might even change that to sound more professional if I need to invest in purchasing ISBN for my books. Do I need new business cards?

robynbranickbooks business card

The next step for me is, what do I do with all of these books that are already in print? I would have to create new editions for them all. That’s about nine books right now. Maybe I will wait on them and purchase future books with my new publishing name (whatever that may be, I’ll research that soon).

They weren’t kidding when they said self-publishing is a business. I need to look into e-book rights again. I didn’t need to purchase anything for them but what are my rights there? I know I clicked the button on my KDP options to make sure that all my books are allowed distribution to other sites after 90 days.

Some days are exciting, and other days my head is spinning. I shall see what is in store later and get back to you all another day.

Good luck with your publishing, make sure you read the article if you are as lost as me. Have a fabulous day!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie


Growing Pains…Completing My To-Do List

Earlier this week I needed to complete some tasks and wrote my to-do list. Here it is:

  • clean up my Gmail account.
  • Find my comments on my account (I know I have them, my phone told me)
  • figure out how to perma free my one book

After I published this list, I received a comment from a much more experienced blogger on how to perma free my books:

Vania Margene Rheault

3 days ago·
User Info

To go permafree, off your book on another site, like Smashwords and price it for free. Then email Amazon and ask them to pricematch. Amazon won’t let you go permafree, so this is the only way to force them to let you.

Awesome….one task down. I played with my comments and settings after that. Wouldn’t you know it? I figured out how to complete task number two (I see I am going backward but as long as I get it done).

If the comments are not on your posts, you click on: READER at the top left of the screen, then: CONVERSATIONS. If the comments are on your posts, click on: MY SITE (all the way on the top left of the screen) then at the left side of the bar, there will be a spot that says: COMMENTS.

This took me a while because I did not have too many comments on my posts nor did I comment that often on other posts.

The third task to complete…clean up my Gmail account.

I have things in categories, I have items deleted, I have most garbage out of my account. We shall see in time if I keep it clean. I hope I can. I don’t even bother trying with my other email account. That would take weeks.

All tasks are complete. A beautiful, easy going day. I think I should take today to decompress, so I don’t get newbie writer burnout. I will call my aunt and ask her if I can go swimming in her pool. It is hot outside.

Stay cool and fabulous!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie


Growing Pains…Following Experienced Authors/Bloggers is Crucial

Starting out in any new business or career is difficult. As a teacher, you are assigned a cooperating teacher for two semesters before you graduate or receive your certification. You work with one teacher twice a week during your practicum semester. The student teacher moves on to working daily with the cooperating teacher before becoming a certified teacher with a career. Then they receive a mentor teacher for their first year.

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There are mentors in football. The team spends millions of dollars to the veteran players just so they can mentor the up and coming star rookie. What mistakes can this one avoid, how to speak to the media, what should one expect on this journey?

The self-publishing business is just that, self. I made a decision to jump off a cliff and hope for the best. I did not have a cooperating teacher, I did not have a veteran quarterback. The glitz and the glamor of writing a book are exciting, but from the inside, there are so many aspects I did not foresee.

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It is imperative to find others that know tons more than you. The experienced authors that have been through the ups and downs of the business know what they are talking about.

I have bought ebooks, read blogs, have gone to webinars, and have signed up for offers online with experts. Some I believe in, some I do not agree with everything they have said. I have also been misled by a few of these ‘experts.’

Every new author needs someone to believe in, look up to and follow for expert advice. I have various experts I read on a regular basis, but the blogger I read more than others is Vania Margene Rheault. I consider her my self-publishing mentor (I appointed her my mentor without telling her….ssshhh!).

Vania Margene Rheault is a blogger/ author that has been extremely helpful with my learning process. The latest blog post has tons of information and links to books that can send a newbie author closer to understanding the tips she briefly discusses (I clicked on one book, and it was free for kindle unlimited). These links are from other experts, not her…this is helpful.

Vania comments on questions to explain anything I don’t understand. As a newbie author and blogger, sometimes I get confused, or I am not familiar.

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There is a difference between being on an email list and having a relationship with the writing community. Many of the webinars and articles I have seen online have been helpful, true, but it is crucial for a new author to create relationships with others that are in your community.

The other day I came across an article Vania Margen Rheault wrote called Basic Rundown of Terms and What They Mean.

I commented how much I appreciated it and I thought it was important to mention it on this blog. Quite honestly, many terms are still confusing, at times. I spent more time Googling terms than reading articles in the first month of my Growing Pains journey.

This article breaks down the basics of the online book publishing confusion. I was confused with IngramSparks and CreateSpace up until last week. Three weeks ago I found out (through my own experience) CreateSpace and Amazon are related, I simply didn’t know the logistics. I needed this article before publishing, but the blog was released before I thought of offering my work to the public.

If you are a newbie author or blogger, please find some more experienced authors/ bloggers and follow them. Ask questions on their comments, read some of their older articles.

Try to find a ‘mentor’ that is in your genre (if possible, but not deal breaker), more experienced (that should be obvious), mentions other trusted author/ bloggers, includes links to other authors’ works when relevant, answers your questions in a timely fashion AND is not rude while responding.

I mention the other work for a big reason. This person you may trust, but it is pertinent that you have more than one point of view on marketing and publishing. We need to find other points of view to learn our own way, eventually.

Learning from the mentors will help us grow, but we can’t rely on every single word they say. As great and as helpful as my mentor (I know, I should tell her) is, I need to think for myself. We all do…BUT… we are new to this, and we NEED someone to help us. We need someone to show us what the heck is going on.

Anyways, newbies… I hope you find a mentor as fabulous as you!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie



Growing Pains…E-Mails and Contacts

When I began the blogging journey, I had no followers, no likes, no readers. As I received emails stating my stats of likes, followers, and comments, I created folders for each category. Let’s face it, everyone knows that giddy feeling of your first follower, that first like and your first comment which wasn’t your aunt or cousin (even those were great feelings).

Now I am beginning to grow a small group of followers, my email account is growing as well. I wouldn’t mind this if I didn’t make another mistake from the start. I did not take into account the fact that I might have a following so I used the email account for other things. Of course, the email address is used for my novelette series. I also used it for products, or I signed up for silliness thinking it would be no big deal.

Now I need to unclog the account on occasion. Google mail does a decent job by categorizing social and promotional, but at times, some emails seem to sneak through on me. Not to mention, the overwhelming feeling of excitement I still get while categorizing my followers, likes, and comments. Honestly, I still can’t find my comments on my emails. I see them on my phone but not on my Gmail. I don’t know how to get them on WordPress either. I really do have a lot to learn.

It is what it is. I have learned a few more tips the past few days about publishing and marketing, I will discuss them in the next day or two, but first I need to find my comments. I was reading a few articles this weekend, and a couple of blogs I follow had excellent tips I didn’t know. I have the bloggers on my page that I follow if you would like to check them out. Very informative posts, look them up, you will see.

I will also tell you how I found my comments on my Gmail, I am sure most of you already know how. I probably just missed them. I might just go through my folders and double check. My best tip to the newbie bloggers or authors out there is to keep your email account clean and solely for your books/ blogging. Sooner or later it will get too cluttered with silliness.

I am far from done when it comes from finishing my blogging. I love that I have followers that enjoy reading my posts. This is another blunder that makes my blog so unique. So now, I figure out how to clean up my email account, keep it for my novelette series and blogging, then share with you all.

Oh, I ordered business cards the other day. I have a lot of people asking me for my email address and website. I can’t just tell them. I can’t always write it on a napkin. Not everyone has a pen on them, so I bought two sets. One batch for my children’s books and one for my novelette series.

robynbranickbooks business cardrobbie ellie business card

I think this was a good idea. I spent ten dollars for 500 cards each set. I figure if you’re going to ask me about my sites and books, you will throw out a napkin. You will be less likely to toss the card out without looking at it. If they do, it wasn’t meant to be. If I get one or two sales out of each of the cards, I made my money’s worth for the purchase.

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If not, it is still fun to have business cards with my name on them. I feel fancy now. Most of the jobs I have had in my life never required business cards. Imagine your diner waitress coming up to you at the end of your midnight meal, handing you the check and a business card? Her logo is a cheeseburger deluxe. It would be fun but not logical.

Well, back to business: this morning I added my free ebook offer to the beginning of two of my children’s books. I had my contact information in the back, but virtually all advice I have heard lately on funnels and reader magnets are saying to add the offer in the front as well. That’s why I changed it.

I also hear giving a perma free ebook away is the way to go, but when I tried to do this on Amazon, they wouldn’t let me. I need to figure out how to do this. I am not sure if this was because I am involved in the KDP program, or I am not doing the steps correctly.

I know that many of the experts have been in the field for years, but they (unknowingly) sometimes skip steps or assume we know what they mean by particular terms. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I am also aware that there is a time constraint or the free offer of ‘how to’ is to get someone to sign up for more ‘detailed’ training.

If I am confused by that one step or that term, I am not going to sign up. I need a little more help, and your product is too advanced. My opinion. I might be in the minority but something to think about.

That just means, I need to move on. I will go to a more detailed oriented expert. That person may have a little bit longer of a presentation, but it might be more helpful for me. Sometimes all of the experts tend to forget. I just assume it is me. This perma free problem is one of them. So was the email list for a while. I still have a small email list, but at least I finally figured it out, thanks to mail chimp.

I will share this blunder also. I think I might not be the only one come to think of it.

My to-do list for this week:

clean up my Gmail account.

Find my comments on my account (I know I have them, my phone told me)

figure out how to perma free my one book

I have a few more, but I don’t want to bore you.


Thanks for reading, have a great day. Stay fabulous.

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie





Growing Pains…DIY Audiobook, Tougher Than They Say

I can’t afford to shell out the hundreds of dollars to a narrator. I have a fear of commitment. I also have little patience, so waiting for weeks on someone to read my story and get back to me is not an option for me.

I read a few articles on DIY audiobooks. I was somewhat excited to try it out. I even bought myself a cute little microphone and stand for thirty dollars to help drown out background noise. In the articles, they suggest a small room to help with noise control. I cleaned out my cupboard. audio studio

Granted, it is small. I used old blankets and sheets to cover the walls and floors. I still had to keep my sandwich bags and other items in the room (as you can see), I live in a small apartment. I did clean out as much as I could. I think I did okay.

Since it is a cupboard, I have no outlets so I have an extension cord that will be used to go to the kitchen. The DIY really is extreme DIY. I don’t mind. I want to get this done, so I need to pull this together. As I become more advanced, I will work on getting better equipment and improving my little ‘audio studio’ to fit my needs. I’m sure I will figure out what to invest in and what needs improvement. For now, shelling out thirty dollars and cleaning out my kitchen’s closet is a good start.

My microphone comes in. Woo Hoo! I am ready to roll! I write on my list of to-dos

Chapter One of Wendy Audio

So today, I have my other task on my to-do list. I check off one or two of them. I get to my audio chore. I review a few of the tips.

Tip #1- If I blunder on a sentence, wait for a second and reread the sentence. Great advice there! I thought I would have to reread the whole chapter! I can edit out the blunder, nice.

Tip #2- Read the same time each day. My morning voice and evening voice are different. I was not aware, not that I ever thought of it but great tip!

Tip #3-Have a glass of water near you. This one I am worried about. I am clumsy. I will spill the water all over my laptop. Take this tip at what it’s worth. I guess I could have bottled water, I should have something to keep my mouth/throat from getting dry.

Okay, there are many more, just look them up if you are serious about audiobooks. Another great one is don’t record on audacity if you want to edit. They are not where you want to place the draft. Also, don’t do stereo in the recording, do mono…these two steps I did not remember.

I dropped the ball on this. I guess I will use an excuse (I know, I should never use excuses and just own up to mistakes) thaevery pro wast I was too excited to realize until after I finished the first chapter.

Silly me. It took me about an hour to read my chapter. Wendy’s Song is a novelette, so the sections are small. Many of my friends tell me they read the entire book in about two hours or so. I like when they say that. It tells me they were into the story enough to keep reading.

Audiobooks take a long time to prepare. I am sure it will be quicker once I figure out what I am doing, just like with my first children’s book, Silly Sally & Alex Go to the Zoo. That took me days to format. The rest of the books took only hours. I didn’t know how to format at first, then I changed things up.

I noticed that all the reading and research in the world will not make you better if you don’t attempt it yourself. I need to try and fail a few times before I can figure things out. Lots of the advice helps, sure. Half of the information I have no clue what they’re talking about until I actually go through the actions of whichever topic the authority is discussing.

I am sure it is the same for everyone, at some point. This is why I am only stating three tips. The other two are just as a matter of fact statements that I didn’t do. I didn’t go into detail, how many out there are publishing audiobooks?

From the unauthorized stats, it’s less than half of the ebook population (please don’t quote me on that, UNOFFICIALLY). Rumor has it, it’s the way to go. I am trying it out, unsuccessfully right now. I will eventually get it. At this rate, the majority of the self-published ebook community will have their audiobook out before me.

I have a friend reading my short story in the audiobook. I want to try her out. If it works well, I want her to work on the third book in my series, Saving Lisa. My other friend is going to read John’s Journey for me. Another tip they mention is to have narrators similar to the main character in the books. I would love to get different narrators for the books, but employing others is too new for me.

Having strangers as narrators I can’t push them for deadlines and have to pay them too much. Friends will be more tolerant of my erratic behavior.

I will have to schedule “studio time” for my employees. I doubt I will get much out of them if I just tell them to read. Plus I have the equipment. Another new experience I shall share with you when it comes. It should be fun directing them. I don’t know if I should bother directing or just let them be. I am sure I will micromanage and annoy them.

My next reading session will be sometime next week. I am going to take advice from a friend that keeps telling me I am non-stop. She says I need to slow down so I told her that’s what I will do this weekend. I doubt I will keep my word, I will do my best. Thanks for reading.

Keep blogging and writing, I enjoy your posts. I hope whatever you read this weekend is as fabulous as you!

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie



Growing Pains…Rewriting Content in Published Books

I have been writing for only three months now, but I realized that I have learned A LOT in this little amount of time. I have much more to learn, I know.

Since the beginning of June, I have published four novelettes, four children’s books and two free books for e-mail lists, plus poems and short stories on my lesser-known site. I have watched multiple webinars, listened to many podcasts, read an endless amount of blogs and articles and signed up for a countless number of experts’ email lists. Placeholder Image

I am not saying I am an expert yet. I am far from it. I AM saying I am a lot more informed in this field before publishing my first book.

I read ebooks before publishing. I read how to books and skimmed through a few articles. I thought I knew more than I did. As a matter of fact, just the other day I was reading an ebook and realized I was doing something wrong this whole time. To reach potential email subscribers, I should add a quick hello at the beginning of the ebook, add my website link. I shouldn’t just have it at the end.

As a matter of fact, the link should give something, not just beg for subscribers. This book offers my author central site. I am not sending anyone to an email sign up. I am aware I am losing potential fans. I did send them to other books, something that was missing altogether, at least I added something.

With all of the reading and research, how could I miss this vital step? Sometimes I need multiple ways of hearing, reading and seeing something before it clicks. This is most likely why I have such a weakness in keyword strings. I am still working on this, I noticed I am improving on it and I will get better at this too.

As a matter of fact, my mother was visiting the other day and could not reach my site on her phone, so she googled me. I was all over her phone. I was ECSTATIC!! I surprised myself that I didn’t look me up earlier, to be honest. I am a bit of a narcissist.

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I actually started to dance in my living room. My mom knows I get excited, so the dance was no surprise to her. We forgot to bring up my site on her phone. I was too happy. That shows me I am improving on SOMETHING, what…not sure yet. I will realize soon enough.

I received an email from Amazon about their contest for the Amazon storyteller 2018. I had the keyword to enter the contest in one of my ebooks that are too short for print. I reread the book’s last page, I rearranged the author’s bio and added a site in the beginning.

I don’t plan on doing this to all my books right now, but I felt this one I could fix. This book doesn’t have a printed version. I read somewhere that after one year, it is appropriate to revise your cover on your books. I think I am going to look up when it is appropriate to have a new edition of your printed versions of books. I don’t want to change much, but as I become a better writer, I would like to revise my stories.

I understand as a new author, my first stories are not going to be my best works going forward. I am okay with this, I still love my works, they are great. They will need revisions in the future (not now). My style will change, and I will understand professional writing much better as I continue in this business.

The letters and words will come together. They will flow much smoother. This business of marketing will not be a struggle. I will not be an illiterate playing a game of Scrabble as I try and promote my work.

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I am not knocking myself by any means. Trust me. As I said earlier, I have confidence in myself. If I didn’t like my books, they would not be out for the world to purchase. I believe everyone should have a copy of each book I wrote.

I understand the ways of writing and publishing much more. In the three months I have been doing this, I have seen a difference already.

I am reading and following many experts. Most experts have the same basic ideas. There are some differences in their opinions. I worry when I hear an idea or topic that sounds sensible but not the norm. Do I listen to them? I trust this person, or I wouldn’t follow them or read any of their articles.

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If I do follow the advice, does it pertain to my genre? Many of these tips sound more for businesses or blogs than for fiction or children’s books. Then I think, how long before I jump ship when it doesn’t seem to be working? I am always afraid to ask. I don’t want to sound like their way is not going to work for me. I am willing to try, but if I ask, it seems like I am pessimistic. Maybe I am, but in reality, I feel I am cautiously optimistic.

If I am only writing an ebook, changing the content in the book would be easy. If it is a free marketing technique, I would have no issue trying it out. If the method is a long-term or significant money investment, I am skeptical. Especially if this is coming from an expert that is not coming from my genre. I can’t completely trust the success stories, what works there, may not work here.

I must say, many of the techniques make sense to me. I can’t guarantee they will be 100k a day sales for me. I do see some improvement in my knowledge of all aspects of marketing, publishing, and writing.

Only the future will tell me what will happen. I will keep you posted. Thank you for reading.

Keep writing, I will be reading your posts, bloggers of the world. That is one of the places I learn.

Robyn Branick



Robbie Ellie


Growing Pains…Contemplating a Publisher’s ‘Self-Help’ Course

I have stated in previous blogs that I published eight books since the beginning of June. Not a great strategy for a brand new writer, but I felt that it was my way of getting noticed. I think I should have spent more time letting them ferment. Let the books sit and let me look at them a while later to revise one more time. I am very new at the game and I wanted to push out my work. I am not saying I don’t like what I write. I am saying there is always room for improvement.

This being said, I have two other works I did not publish. I kept them as my ‘lead magnets’ or ‘funnels’ for my e-mail lists. My extra large, extravagant e-mail list that is two members long. That being said, I need to work on my email list.

I have been reading material e-mailed to me. You know, the easy ways to get A BILLION FANS and A ZILLION DOLLARS. Why is this advice not working? I know, I am understanding only half of what the experts are saying. I have too many cooks in the kitchen. I have no idea what I am REALLY doing.

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Maybe it is all of the above, perhaps it is only one of these. What I do know is, SOMETHING is not working. I decided that while I take a break from writing my next big blockbuster book, I am going to grow my brand. I need to let my books have a chance to be seen.

As many of you in the business know, multiple emails come each day with offers to join exclusive courses for publishing your books, growing your businesses, and branding your products. I read some, delete others and unsubscribe to many.

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Today, I read up on an article that compared four great names in the business and what their courses had to offer in comparison to each other. There were pros and cons, who they were best suited for, and why. Dave Chesson wrote the article. It was extremely informative and helped me out with many questions. I only had one question that I didn’t ask, I decided not to bother after reading the comments section.

Honestly, the comments are the best place to go after an article. That’s where I always find the good stuff.

I was torn between two of the courses. I have already written eight books but in a short period of time. Am I considered a beginner or novice? Which category would I fit? The two courses I was teetering between had great attributes between them. I have two people on my email list. I have some experience, but with little to no effect. Is this because of time? Is this because I am too new and inexperienced?

I look in the comments. I find that the one course is a bit outdated. Okay, now it makes little difference. I will not spend my money on an outdated course. A reply states that respected author of the course will be informed. I will reconsider at a later date.

The other course is not being held at this time. Many of these courses are live for the authors to give you one to one instruction or some form of interaction (you’re paying for a service, they give you their time).

I keep reading the comments, a reader posted something about AtoZ publishing. It is a totally free course. You sign up with your email address and receive an offer for a writing course for $26. If you choose to say no to the writing bonus, you still get the totally free AtoZ publishing course.

I decided to check it out. What do I have to lose? So far it is relatively basic. If you are brand new to the game, this is for you. I am ready to move past the section I am in. I have the option to, but I wanted to see what I was looking at first.

If you know someone with little to no money and is BRAND NEW to self-publishing, they can start with this as a foundation. The first few segments tell them, how it is. One line says: as a writer, you’re going to suck. We all do. I love it! Reality is the name of the segment, and that’s what I got.

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I didn’t get much further than that but so far so good. I see there are more advanced segments, I am hoping to find out about my email blunders and how to figure out my weakness with keywords. I hear the same lectures over and over, but I don’t get it. I think if I hear it from somebody else (again), it just might click (at least that’s what I’m hoping).

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Time will tell if this works out. In the meantime, I ordered a microphone to record my own audiobook so we will have a lot of fun talking about that real soon. Another great article I read from Dave; creating my own audiobook. I just love trying new things.

Have fun writing, I know I always do!

Robyn Branick

Author Central


Robbie Ellie

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Growing Pains… Gurus Have Issues Too!

Non-stop reading, listening to advice, and attempting to implement the tools given for all these months has been a struggle for me. I have done my best. Yesterday I went to my local library and donated all of my books to their collection. A part of me feels I can’t afford to do this, another part of me thinks that the exposure will help get my name out there.

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I made an appointment with the children’s librarian for next week. We will be going over the dos and don’ts of my books. I am hoping I get a lot out of it. She definitely has seen a lot more books than me. She is more exposed to the tastes of today’s children. I believe this will be helpful. I did not get this advice EXACTLY from a guru, I took a bit from one, and a bit from another and sort of meshed it together. That’s what I like about having so many voices of expertise in this industry. Many are always in a discussion/ interview together.

It seems indie publishing is a tight group. Everyone knows each other or at least heard of one another in some way. Everyone is a bold word, I know, but it seems this way.

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Earlier in the week, I signed up for a webinar which includes a favorite guru of mine. I love to sign up for Joanna Penn’s offers. I enjoy her endless storage of knowledge when it comes to publishing, writing, marketing, etc. She knows an awful lot. What she doesn’t know, she will interview another expert. Her podcasts are entertaining because she cracks herself up. I like when people can make themselves laugh. I am the same way.

I have listened to her podcasts while I am doing chores around the house. Granted, I can’t sit and listen for an hour, I am the type that always needs to be doing something. It is in my nature. I still get a lot out of her words. I made it a habit to put my buds in and wash my dishes or cook a meal while she’s interviewing another guru of her caliber.

The other day she had a woman discussing children’s books (episode 388 if you’re interested). I just started writing children’s books so I am unfamiliar with many gurus that are out there in this field. I know of one so far.Add heading (2).jpg

I enjoyed hearing this interview, it gave me some useful tips to take with me to another level. Between this interview and another woman that was in a different webinar, I got the idea to donate my books to my local library AND ask the librarian for advice.

I received an email later on about another guru I am familiar with. He is not known (to me) with writing children’s books but I have heard him on other interviews and I have read a few things he has written. I was pretty excited to be a part of the webinar where BOTH the Penn and the Nick Stephenson will be speaking (the first 10k reader).

I went to the webinar and I thought it was my wrongdoing. After a few minutes, I clicked out of the webinar. The next morning, I checked my emails. There were a couple emails from both gurus apologizing. The technology failed them. One part of me felt sorry that they weren’t able to have their webinar. Another part of me realized…they fail too.

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Things go bad, even for the experts. I hate this happened to them. They may have lost some potential clients (hopefully not). This fail gives me hope that I can overcome the messes that I have made. I am new to this so I am supposed to royally fail. When I have established myself I will still fail; hopefully, LESS OFTEN, time will tell.

I just completed another MailChimp attempt this morning. It was simpler than the past ten that I tried to make. It actually worked when I tried it out. I was able to add a document and URL to the email I am sending out. I was barely able to figure out how to add my email address when I first started.

I will have these growing pains, but they will be less of a pain. This is indeed a rollercoaster. I see that even the best in the business still have their share. I am not an evil villain out to watch anyone fail, but I feel closer to the Penn and Nick for seeing that even the greats have their share of moments.

I have to wait another week for the webinar, that’s fine. I will wait. I’m sure it’ll be worth it. In the meantime, I will go back and reevaluate my AMS campaigns. I watch and reassess but still have trouble with my clicks, impressions, and sales. I watch the rocket videos all the time but my inexperience is always my downfall.

There is a lot to learn. I will get this. When I have one of those days where nothing goes right, I will tell myself even the experts have bad days. Then I will carry on with another task on my to-do list.

I am sorry that your webinar did not work out but thank you for your honesty. It helped the little guys in the industry. Somebody like me that needs to see you are vulnerable to the madness and chaos of everyday frustrations.

Keep up with the fantastic writing, I hope whatever you’re reading is as fabulous as you.

Robyn Branick

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Robbie Ellie

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