Dec 29, 2013

The Beach at Fort Bragg, California

Jul 7, 2013

Return to Selling on eBay

eBay is where I started on line. Then I moved to writing on HubPages, to writing on my own sites and then Kindle books. But for the past two months I've been back selling on eBay. I have a love-hate relationship with eBay. Returning to selling felt like coming home, but I've had to deal with eBay policy changes and rude customers, and even got an undeserved negative.

I am finding, though, that all that knowledge I gained while running websites is helping me while promoting auctions. In particular I'm using the Google Keywords tool to help with titles, and I'm pinning everything I list.

I'm still running my websites and my Kindle books are still for sale, but my time right now is dedicated to eBay and other family projects.

Just to inspire you, here is my best sale from the past 2 months.
In one day someone bought:
8 x Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi (Black)
8 x Marware jurni Kindle Case Cover, Black and
4 x Gift Card - $500

Total commission to me = $190

Jun 22, 2013

Salmon Creek Beach, California

Even vacation becomes a time to make videos to go on youtube. This is Salmon Creek Beach near Bodega Bay, California

Jun 19, 2013

Monterey Bay Aquarium Jellyfish Exhibit

This is a video I took using my iphone at Monterey Bay Aquarium. I used Garage Band to put together some appropriate music. The reason I'm sharing it is to say if I can make a youtube video, anyone can. Using Garage Band took a little learning, my teen son showed me what to do to start with, but then I put the videos together myself. I know, it could be more professional, but I hope you enjoy watching it.

Jun 12, 2013

Pleasanton, California. Main Street Restaurants

I took a lot of photographs of my home town, Pleasanton, CA and put them together into a video. The music is provided using Garage Band. Here's the video:

May 15, 2013

What Happened in April - a 1 star review!

I published my Start Homeschooling book in March and then had a difficult time getting back into the routine of writing for blogs and websites. One or two got a little behind, but I'm sure my readers didn't notice.

The book started selling at a rate of 1 a day. Not as high as I'd liked, but it's now my second best seller. But then came a 1 star review! You can read it yourself if you want, the comment was nasty. And the bad thing is, I don't think the person actually read the book!

I think, but I don't know for sure, that this person disagreed with me over something that happened on a  forum and this is her way of getting back at me. Nevertheless, it affected sales. I've handed out a number of free copies to people I hope will read the book, so I spent a while chasing those and politely asking if people have read the book and written a review. When people publish with traditional publishing houses they give away many free copies and there are a lot of reviews by the time the book is published. But with self publishing, the book is available to the author at the same time as it's available to everyone else. So it takes a while for the reviews to come in. Often you give away free books and never get a review. Anyway, I spent a while emailing people I'd given free copies to and got a couple more 5 star reviews. I'm hoping that will help sales.

It just shows that you can't control what happens over the World Wide Web and everyone is allowed to have their opinion. I'm sure this person had her reason for doing what she did and feels justified for leaving a bad comment. The important thing is how I react. Sometimes I leave a nice comment, "Sorry you didn't like my book," but in this case I felt not answering was the best path.

Someone left a 1 star comment on my Homeschooling Boys book on the UK website (it's the only comment) and I thought I did a good job of replying politely. The important thing is that people see you in a good light, even after a bad comment, a trick I learned from many years of selling on eBay.

Talking of eBay, I actually spent a lot of April selling there again. The site has changed a lot since I was there full time three years ago. I bought a consignment of leather jackets and listed them as well as some stuff laying around my house. I guess the eBay bug never really leaves.

Apr 17, 2013

After Publishing Comes..........Depression???

I have suffered on and off with depression for years. I've told a select few. I write a lot online, but this is my first article ever on the topic of my depression.

I'm not sure a "making money online" blog is the right place, but it was related to publishing my book, so I've chosen to write about depression here.

The article I have to write.....

The first time I suffered from depression was in my second year at college. I had end of year exams to study for and I went home to study, but my parents were building an addition to their house and my environment was noisy. It's easy to blame the environment, but what happened was for me 8 weeks of pure depression from which I couldn't pull myself out. It took my friend and pastor to recognize the symptoms and lift my spirits back to my normal happy self.

Years later after the birth of my third child in under 4 years, I was diagnosed with part partum depression. I'm still not sure if it really was post partum depression or just an inability to cope with my daily life and a lack of sleep.

But soon after that came a lot of depression, deep depression, the sort black dreams are made of. I went for counseling, I saw doctors, but mainly I had two friends who supported me through it, who insisted I talked to them at the first sign. But it took a long time to get that level of support.

I monitored the depression, it was monthly and minor, but every three months it was major. nothing caused it, nothing stopped it, I had to live through it.  My friends helped me recognize the early warning signs and get through it, eventually with a lot of support they helped it diminish and become less frequent.

The pattern was always the same. I'd be depressed and not realize it, then as soon as I realized my emotional state, I could start to conquer it.

Somehow the episodes became further apart. I had one in October when I lost a friend and another the following October when I was feeling too much pressure and too much to do. That was about 4 years ago and nothing depressing since then

2013 started and I planned on writing my next book. But I have many other deadlines that come up weekly. So I scheduled 3 month's worth of writing and blog posts, then, with enough time to write my book, I did it. 30,000 words, my longest book so far, I spend 3 solid months on my book, writing, publishing, promoting.

And now what?

I have to go back to the other writing, I have commitments, deadlines, blogs to write for. My mind does not want to, my fingers will not type, I'm in a bad mood all the time. And then I realized, the depression I thought had gone forever, has returned.

Am I the only person who works for a goal and when the goal is accomplished, has a low instead of a high?

Two of my heroes are Lewis and Clark who did the great mission across America to explore what had just been bought in the Louisiana Purchase. Although the task of writing my book is a small one compared with the Corps of Discovery, I now understand a little of how Meriwether Lewis felt after returning home from the greatest mission of his life.

I Googled it, it has a name, it's called "Post Achievement Depression." I guess I'm normal after all.

Suddenly, I realize that the depression is back. Where are my friends? One has moved away and the other I have lost touch with. I haven't needed them for so many years, but I need them now. Or maybe I just need another project to pour my all into. Yes, I think that is the direction I will go in and that will pull me out of this flump I have been in ever since the publishing of my book.

Apr 16, 2013

Clickable Table of Contents for Your Kindle Book with a Mac

When you write a Kindle book, the readers have come to expect a clickable table of contents. It took me a while to work out how to do just that, so I made a video so others will be able to do it too.

Although the real reason I made the video is so that I will remember next time I come to do it!

 Here's the video:


Apr 15, 2013

Start Homeschooling - Great Education with Your Child at Home

Start Homeschooling - Great Education with Your Child at Home

It's written and released and selling on Amazon. I planned the book over a year ago, but started actively writing it in January. By the end of March the book was published on Amazon.

It's in Kindle format and paperback.

Mar 25, 2013

My Book is Published

As of yesterday, my latest book is published on Amazon. Today it is available on Kindle, but pretty soon it should be available in paperback too.

I'm not sure the readers of this blog are in the market for a homeschool book, but I'm showing you because it's the project I've been working on for the past few months.

Start Homeschooling - Great Education with Your Child at Home

Mar 18, 2013

Improving Sales of Kindle Books

I'm about to publish my next book, so there will be quite a few posts about creating and publishing books on CreateSpace and Kindle.

Firstly, I found this article with a creative way of getting people interested in your next book - ask them which cover they like best.

Mar 15, 2013

Publishing a Book on Amazon

I've written my next book and it's about to be published. I just wanted to share what is helping me publish.

Here are the Kindle Publishing Guidelines they are very detailed and a little too detailed for me.

My friend, Lis Sowerbutts, has published a book

Kindle Nonfiction Formatting Guide: Solve Your Nonfiction Formatting Problems (How To Format Your Book For Kindle) 

then I discovered that Kindle publishing has produced an easier guide than their Kindle Publishing Guidelines,

Building Your Book for Kindle

So, now I have lots to read.

Mar 2, 2013

John Daulton

John Daulton is a friend of mine who has written The Galactic Mage and Rift in the Races, two popular  science fiction novels. Here's an article he wrote on his blog about using Facebook paid advertising to promote his book. Warning - he's a writer, it's a long blog post.

Mar 1, 2013

Still Writing My Book

Watch this space! I hope to have my next book published during March. As I write this, the book is finished and is currently being proofread. The cover is being designed and I'm working on the five appendices and other little things like who to dedicate it to.

February has been a crazy month. I've ignored everything except the homescholing of my daughter and the writing of my book, which is about 30,000 words long (my longest yet). Then for the last week of February I went down with a 'flu bug. My son, who is at college about an hour away went down with a more severe case of the 'flu bug (even though we'd been nowhere near each other), and needed rescuing and driven back home for mom to look after. So, while sick, I did an emergency rescue of my son and brought him home to recover.

I'm behind on my blogs, the house is a mess, I've still not recovered from the 'flu, but I'm very excited about my imminent book release.

Feb 15, 2013

Advertising Kindle Books

In an effort to publicize my Kindle books, I made a couple of videos where I read a chapter from my books. Here are my videos:

Homeschooling Boys

Living Simply

Feb 2, 2013

Spell checking site I like to use

I told you yesterday I am writing another book, well I'd like to tell you about a spell checking site I've started using. I started to wonder if there was a grammar spell check that was a little better than Microsoft Word and so I asked a question on WebAnswers

As a result of that question, I have started using and am loving it. It's free and I can highly recommend it.

Feb 1, 2013

Welcome to the Internet, Mom!

January has seen me writing my next book. I scheduled my blogs to update once a week each, left my websites alone for month, and I've been writing another homeschooling book. As I write this I'm at chapter 30 of what I hope will be a 40-45 chapter book. Hopefully it will be published by the end of February.

I had a bit of an online argument that I'd like to discuss here. Now, I'm part of a few forums and question and answer sites. If I'm thinking of something, I throw out a question and have fun reading the answers. Sometimes I'm writing an article and I ask a question about what I'm writing and sometimes the answers influence my article.

So, I wrote 5 chapters of my book one day and 5 chapters the next and while I was writing those chapters I put 5 questions on a forum in the space of one afternoon. As I did that I started to wonder if I should say anything about the fact that this was in fact research for my book. As I was wondering, a question came in and asked me what the sudden questions were for? I replied honestly that yes, I was writing a book, and yes this was research and I was wondering if I should say something. And then the floodgates opened...

People got really upset that something they said online could be used in a book for someone to make a profit. One person accused me of lying by saying I only admitted I was doing research when questioned, and how did they know I was just about to say something? But then the forum thread calmed down and a number of people answered my original question and said they didn't mind me using the information they gave.

When I analysed the thread later, it was really only three people who were objecting, but they were being very vocal and posting a lot, so it seemed like many people were attacking me. I was a little surprised by the venom in the attacks. After all, I could have used the forum for information without posting anything and no one would have known. Everything written on the Internet is available for anyone to read and use.

So, the lesson learned is that before I ask a first question, I now make known that the information received may be used in my book. Then if people don't want to give me free information, they at least have a choice.

The other lesson learned is how quickly someone can be nasty on the Internet for something small, especially when they are writing under a pseudonym.

A different happening, but I recently told my teenage son, "Someone online has said something that has upset me." To which he smiled and replied, "Welcome to the Internet, Mom!"

What's your opinion?

Jan 22, 2013

If you are an Amazon Associate, you must read this

If you are an Amazon Associate, you must read this.  I've been an affiliate on Amazon for a while, and I didn't know this information. Checking broken links regularly can increase sales. Lots of great information in this article.

Help- Amazon Removed the Product!

Jan 10, 2013

The Type of Product that's Good to Sell for Affiliate Commission

I'm always looking for good products to sell, and some are better than others. While books sell well, at 4-8% commission from Amazon, I don't make much money from them.

I like to find products that sell for around $100 - $150, then the commission per item is worth having. But also, products that are sold in multiples can add up to one $100 sale.

I've been doing well selling archery equipment, let me tell you why. Many bows cost around $50-$100, but when people buy a bow, they often buy arrows and a target. And that's what makes archery equipment good to sell.

So now, don't rush off and advertise archery equipment, let me tell you what to look for so you can find your own products to advertise. Look for a main product that is over $50, that when people buy it, they buy other things too. A coffee machine is a good example. Can you imagine buying a coffee machine and not buying coffee?

T-Shirts - people rarely buy one t-shirt, but many. In fact, people often buy clothes in multiples and not singly. The clothes people are more likely to buy in multiples are socks and underwear. Bras are a little different, people will buy multiple bras, but they have a high return rate.

Baby items are good sellers, as moms to be rarely buy one item at a time, the same goes for beauty products. There are many expensive shampoos and conditioners and they are rarely bought singly.

With cellphones, people buy covers, the same with Kindle books too. So if you advertise electronics, try and sell a cover too to increase your commission. Computers and other electronics can be sold with an extended warranty and Amazon do sell those for some electronics.

With electronic toys, advertise rechargeable batteries. With hi-fi advertise speakers. With lights sell bulbs. Just take a look at what you are selling and see if you can also advertise a similar product (called an add-on), because add ons not only make a difference to the amount of money you earn, they can help raise you to the next level of commission if you are selling with Amazon.

So, next time you are advertising a product on your website or blog, think if you were buying that product, what would you buy with it and advertise that too. You could substantially increase sales by doing so.

Jan 9, 2013

Want to earn money with Pinterest?

Click the link above, sign up with Viraliti, pin adverts and then earn money from your Pinterest account.

Please note: I haven't yet pinned any adverts or earned any money, but Viraliti is currently in Beta and wanting people to register with them. (And of course, the link at the top of the page is my referral link).

Here is how the referral system works.
  • Level One: Refer Viraliti to your friends and earn 7% of their earnings for the rest of your life. These friends are to referred to as your FIRST BUDDIES
  • Level Two: Get 4% of the earning of the people who your FIRST BUDDIES refer Viraliti to. These people are on second level and hence are called your SECOND BUDDIES.
  • Level Three: Get 2% of the earning of the people who your SECOND BUDDIES refer Viraliti to. These people are on third level and hence are called your THIRD BUDDIES.

Goals for 2013

I'm simplifying my 2013 goals compared with 2012. I'm really putting everything in maintenance mode and not starting anything new that is big.

1. I have 4 blogs and I write on the Living Simply site on BellaOnline. I plan on posting to those once a week each. I'm going to try and get these sites scheduled for 3 months out rather than writing each week.

2. Everywhere else I write (about 30 other places) I plan on checking once a month and adding or changing content on each site. I'm going to improve the sites I have and try not to make any new ones. (Although somehow I know I will as making new sites is much more exciting than adding to existing sites)

3. Write homeschooling book in January

4. Write Christian book in February

5. Finish Psalms for Audio Bible Tube. This may seem easy, but to make a video I first need quiet in the house, and that is rare. 

6. Get rid of everything in the house I don’t want (this is the definition of clutter). As a decluttering expert, I'm embarrassed by the amount of clutter I do have in my own house. 

Jan 8, 2013

Looking back at 2012

A year ago I set myself resolutions to do during 2012. Here they are with whether or not I did them.

1. Finish Make Money Online Kindle Series
I didn't do this, I think I've given up on these books. Sometime I need to do a major overhaul and it's not priority right now. I did change the cover on Make Money Online with Hubpages and it didn't affect sales at all.

2. Start a book club blog
I started a book club blog and here it is Book Club Reads. Right now there are not many people viewing it and it's not making any money, but I love reading and commenting on books, so this is a work of passion that I hope will one day earn for me. 

3. Work on Amazon Associates account to get $1000 per month by December
The lack of achieving this was covered in yesterday's post

4. Use more in-text Amazon Ads on HubPages
If you advertise Amazon products on HubPages, they get viewed with your referral code 60% of the time, but if you use an intext link it is viewed 100% of the time. HubPages lets you use two in text links per hub, so it's a good idea to do that. I even made a video explaining an in text link for someone who wasn't sure what I was talking about, you can view that here:

5. Write a Kindle book from scratch on homeschooling

It's interesting I put that here because I scheduled to write this book in July 2012 and it never happened. In fact I have two books in my brain right now, this homeschooling book and a Christian book. The Christian book was worked on in May 2012 before I got writer's block, it's now rescheduled for February 2013 and the homeschooling book is scheduled to be written in January 2013. 

6. Record homeschooling boys audio version
This didn't happen. I did some research as to how to do it and what format it must be in, but didn't get any further than that. 

7. Get print version of homeschooling boys book with CreateSpace
While I didn't get a print version of my Homeschooling Boys book, I did put Living Simply into print with CreateSpace in February 2012.

8. Learn WordPress so that building a WP site becomes second nature

9. Learn Pixelmator or similar so I can produce my own book covers
10. Join Keyword Academy for at least a month
No, I didn't do any of these. I still struggle with learning the tools I need. Should I learn Pixelmator or pay someone to make my Kindle covers? Should I put effort into learning WordPress when others are struggling to make money with their own websites? I'm still not clear with myself as to the direction I should go and still wonder which tools I need. Only yesterday my 16 year old son was teaching me how to use garage band so I can add music to my youtube videos.

11. Lose weight
From January 2012 to January 2013 I am down 10 pounds. In the middle of the year I was down 20 pounds, but 10 of it came back on.

12. Exercise more
I'm actually pretty good at exercising and I think my routine just stayed the same. Most days I exercise for 45 minutes on the treadmill because being on the treadmill is the only time I watch TV or a DVD. All I need is an episode of Criminal Minds or CSI and exercising is easy.

What else did I do?
I'm moving to more offline work in the organization/decluttering area. In order to advertise myself more I created Clutter-Free-Lifestyle. I intend building up the website, but haven't done much with it yet. I also ran my Anti-Clutter class in the summer.

People tell me they like my voice when I read scripture, so I created Audio Bible Tube and a lot of videos with me reading Scripture on YouTube.

I continued selling on eBay, despite resolving monthly to give it up. I don't do the garage sales each week any more, but many of my friends give me stuff to sell and it seems there's always a constant amount of stuff that needs listing.

Jan 7, 2013

A week into the new year and I haven't published an update

I try and write a post in the first few days of each month. But suddenly it's January 7th and I realize I haven't summarized December, or 2012, or said of my goals for 2013. I know I have a lot to write and it took a while to start. I find it easier to write short blog posts than longer ones, so the more I have to write, the more procrastination sets in.

Anyway, my excuse for not writing sooner in the new year is that I spent a few days at the California coast. Hubby and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this week, so instead of going back to work on January 2nd like the rest of the country, we went and spent 3 days in a hotel with great views of the sea. I tried not to open my laptop, but just did a quick check of emails each day and certainly no work. Isn't that meant to be the point of residual income that you can take a few days off and the revenue keeps coming?

Here are my favorite photographs from our time away:

So, let's start with December. If you've been reading this blog for more than a year you will know that I resolved to make $1000 with Amazon Associates in December 2012. I didn't, I made $290. A year ago I thought I could easily make the $1000/month if I just built enough sites and advertised enough products. While $290 is more than many people make in a month with Amazon Associates, I can just say that it's harder than I thought. The good news is that it's about double what I made a year ago in December 2011, so the money is going up, just not as fast as I had hoped.