Tag Archives: blogging

This and That: Checking in With Wolfe Butler

Hello, readers! It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post about me. So much has been going on that I feel like I need to check in with my audience and give a quick update on everything from building a launch team to growing an ice plant. As a result, I’ve decided to take some time off from my different series.

As usual, Wolfe is trying to go in more directions than are humanly possible (I don’t know why I’m referring to myself in third-person.) If I didn’t, though, I wouldn’t be me.

From hiring editors to killing plants, here’s what’s been going on in Wolfe Butler’s world.

Why You Need a Professional Editor

If you’ve followed me for any time at all, you know that my debut novel, Getting Home, was a labor of love that took me 15 years to complete. I finally self-published it simply so I would stop working on it. My goal was to go back to it at some point so it could be polished to perfection.

A couple reader’s pointed out some small grammar and typo mistakes. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so those mistakes have become an obsession of mine.

I decided not to wait and to dust off the manuscript. I raised the price on Amazon so no one would be interested in buying it for the time being, and I decided to get the help I needed to polish it into the gem I know it can be.

Through a little searching, I was able to find a great editor within just a two-hour drive from where I live. I am working with the wonderful and talented Angela B. Wade. Even though the book was finished, Angela is helping me do a developmental edit. Angela can also be found on Reedsy if you want to work with a great editor.

 

Picture of an edited page

The Bad and the Good

When it comes to getting good and bad news, I always opt for the bad first to get it over with and so I still have something good to look forward to. Angela has helped me to see that there were some serious revisions needed in Getting Home due to plot holes and some confusion from inconsistent point-of-view.

On the positive side, as I work through the entire manuscript again, I’m finding that it’s actually a fairly decent piece of fiction. Yes, I know I shouldn’t say that about my own work, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

After almost seven months of not looking at it, I sat down to read it cover to cover. I was pleased to find some good writing. Yes, there are lots of things to fix, and I’m so thankful to reviewers like Kristy Jo Volchko for their kind reviews in spite of glaring mistakes. However, there is some good writing, so I can’t wait to do a new release for my passion project.

While I am disappointed with myself for putting my work out into the world in an imperfect state, I am so grateful to Angela B. Wade. She is helping me to put the book in order and has pointed out a few flaws that I would never have noticed on my own.

If you are an indie author, I strongly recommend that you consider working with a professional editor like Angela B. Wade. If you feel like a professional is outside of your budget, then, at the very least, find a teacher or other wordsmith in your life that is willing to give your manuscript a once-over before you launch.

You will be surprised at how many mistakes a fresh set of eyes can find.

Why Bloggers Should Include Pinterest Pins in Their Posts

Building a Launch Team

One of the reasons for today’s post is that I am looking to build a launch team. There are two main reasons.

One, as I just mentioned, Getting Home will soon be re-released. I would love some help spreading the word.

Two, my current work-in-progress, Paradise, is also nearly complete for book one. My goal is to have it live on Amazon by mid-October, which means I have a lot of work to do between now and then.

I am coming to each of you to ask for help. In the coming days, I will be creating Facebook groups for each book. Please consider applying to join my launch team. In addition to my eternal gratitude, you will also receive a copy of the book when it goes live.

 

Shuttle launch

What Does a Launch Team Do?

Many of us have done book tours, whether online or in person. Developing a launch team is very similar. All I would ask from you is that you read the advance copy I will send to you and then leave an honest review once the book goes live. It would also be great if you were willing to post about the launch on your blog or social media accounts.

Now, I don’t want to cross any lines, especially with Amazon. If I send you an advanced reader copy (ARC) copy of either book, you are under no obligation to write a final review. I would love it if you would, but would fully understand if you did not. It would be good to include in your review that you received an ARC, but I don’t think it’s a requirement.

Please reach out to me if you have any more questions on launch teams.

You Gotta Have Help

Another huge change I have made in my daily life was adding CrowdFire to help me keep up with my social media accounts. I was spending hours each week on social media, primarily on Twitter and Facebook.

I still spend a fair amount of time on each platform, but CrowdFire has cut out a lot of the I spent posting to separate platforms and keeping up with followers and unfollowers.

CrowdFire has a free option, so you can check it out and see if it is something that will work for you. For me, it has saved me hours each week and worth every penny I paid for the upgrade. It also will help you post and repost blog posts and will post to Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Shopify, Etsy, Vimeo and more.

The biggest way it is saving me time is by helping me add new followers and remove those that have chosen to stop following me or become inactive. It turns out, over the last eight months, I have unknowingly followed a large number of spam accounts.

Those accounts become inactive in time and bloat your numbers when it comes to the accounts you are following. Removing those inactive accounts gives you room to follow new, legitimate accounts.

The best news? It only takes about 10 minutes a day to keep things up to date, and you can do it all from the CrowdFire app right on your phone. Honestly, I do it most mornings before I even get out of bed.

The Versatile Blogger Award – Wolfe Butler’s Take

The World of Self-Publishing

When I self-published in November 2017, I knew nothing about the subject. I thought I had done a lot of research in advance, but the months that have followed have taught me just how little I knew at the time, and how little I still know today.

To help me grow, I have teamed up with a self-publishing group. I will be posting more about this in the near future. The short story is they are teaching me about book design, layout, and effective book promotion. I can’t wait to share everything with you in the coming weeks.

That said, I will also be sharing my updates on how self-publishing is working for me. Hopefully, that will mean lots of success story posts.

 

Ice plant

My Yard Hates Me

Okay, so maybe that statement is a little harsh, but I am really struggling this year, and I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong. I’ve had both pampas grass and knock-out roses die this year. Pampas grass! I didn’t know it could even die.

The Ice Plant I wrote about in Why You Should Drop Back And Punt is still not blooming, though it’s supposed to bloom all summer, and even my impatiens, which are one of my favorite flowers of summer, are barely blooming this year.

The only things I can think of is that we’ve had a lot more rain and a much cooler summer this year than normal. If you have any tips, please let me know.

There’s No Time to Read

Last, I want to comment on my lack of book reviews. With everything going on in my world right now, plus trying to still do some freelance writing, there has been very little time to read. That means that the books I have from talented authors like O.J. Lowe and Caron Allan are being neglected.

While I will eventually (probably not until winter) get to those books, I do want to see more reviews go live on this blog. To that end, I am talking to a few other bloggers and reviewers about posting their reviews on my site. Again, more on this will be coming soon.

If you are interested in writing a guest post book review for my site, please send me a note through the Contact Page link. Also, if you are interested in becoming part of my next launch team, please contact me as well.

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out CrowdFire for social media management. The free version will give you a good idea as to whether it is the right tool for you.

Blogs grow through word of mouth. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.

Wolfe Butler shares what's new with his personal blogger experience. | #blog #blogging #WolfeButler

 

5 Important Things June 2018 Taught Me About Blogging

Hello, readers! I can’t believe that another month is already here. I’m officially starting my eighth month as a new blogger, and June taught me some valuable lessons about blogging.

If you are a new blogger or a veteran, you probably know that June 2018 was a little crazy for a lot of us. Many bloggers that relied on BoardBooster were terrorized by messages from Pinterest about how BoardBooster was not an approved partner. Then, when things didn’t look like they could get worse, BoardBooster shut down completely near the end of the month.

Life is constantly changing, and blogging is no different. Here are the things I learned as part of my blogging experience last month.

 

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post also contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.

 

What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 7

Each month, I publish a post about my real-life experiences as a new blogger. I share the good, the bad, and the sometimes very ugly. In time, I hope to have an amazing success story, but there is a lot of hard work and time that goes into building a blog in the meantime. You can read the previous six posts by clicking this line.

As I stated, June was a rather eventful month for blogging communities. All the blogging Facebook groups and all the chats over at Billionaire Blog Club (BBC) were on fire over the BoardBooster issues, but even in the face of trials, there are always important life lessons to be learned. Here are five of them from June.

 

1. Life is about change

It’s been said that the only constants in life are death and taxes. Everything else changes. That is especially true of blogging. In the seven months I have been a new blogger, things have changed in large and unexpected ways more than a few times.

BoardBooster, if you did not know, was a means of putting blog content on Pinterest. It was super easy to use and created a ton of new traffic for those of us that were using it. Many of us, myself included, were devastated when they couldn’t reach an agreement with Pinterest and were thus forced to close their doors. They will be missed!

But, as they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (That’s really an awful expression. Who would ever skin a cat?) Into the rescue stepped Tailwind. Well, actually, Tailwind was there all the time. Their product has many of the same features that BoardBooster had, so a great flock of us made an exodus to Tailwind.

I will devote a future post to Tailwind because I am still only a couple weeks in and just learning my way. However, I am happy to say that my Pinterest traffic did not fall as a result of losing BoardBooster.

June 2018 Pinterest Traffic
June 2018 Pinterest Traffic

This graphic shows my average monthly viewers on Pinterest and average number engaged with my posts.

As you can see, I was just finding my way with BoardBooster at the beginning of June, and my numbers went up dramatically as a result. I stopped using BoardBooster around the 20th. There was a negligible dip for a few days, but then things headed back north. I will keep you posted.

 

2. The best bloggers honor their commitments

You will likely see me write a lot about BBC in the coming months and years. I have rarely been overwhelmingly impressed by a company or person, but Paul Scrivens, or Scrivs as he’s better known, the man behind BBC, really impressed me in June. Within days of BoardBooster’s announcement, Scrivs created and launched a series of detailed training videos about Tailwind for BBC members.

I wrote in detail about BBC in Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6, so I won’t go into a lot here. Billionaire Blog Club is a program you can buy into for a low fee that pays for your membership for life. Once in, you have access to all the new products and training materials as they become available, without ever having to pay again.

The last few days I have been learning about search engine optimization (SEO) and affiliate marketing. BBC has 23 step-by-step training videos about SEO and 22 about affiliate marketing, with more coming soon.

BBC is currently closed for new members, but should open again in the next few weeks. If you would like to see if it would be a good fit for you, I highly recommend the 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s 100% free and will give you a good idea of Scrivs’ writing style, and what things you can hope to learn if you become a member. My membership has already more than paid for itself.

 

3. You gotta have help as a new blogger

Twitter is still my favorite social media platform. However, my Twitter obsession was taking up so much time that I was not properly writing, editing, or formatting new content. I still don’t have a good email list program in place, and there’s two other blog series I’ve been meaning to start for some time now.

There are several products available to help you simplify your social media life. I have fought against the idea, especially after I spent two months on one product and was thoroughly underwhelmed by it.

That said, in June, I stumbled upon CrowdFire. I was very negative going in, but it was free, so I decided to give it a shot.

I’m not going to lie to you. CrowdFire doesn’t do everything I would like it to, and a few things not in the way I would prefer. That said, it does do a lot of things that save a ton of time.

Most important to me, CrowdFire has been unbelievably useful in cleaning up my followers and accounts I’m following. When I started on Twitter last November, I didn’t know much about the platform. As a result, those first months, I followed pretty much everyone I came across.

That process lead me to following hundreds of spam accounts. In just one month, CrowdFire has helped me clean up almost all of them. It also works well with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and seven more platforms.

The free option gives you a lot of functionality. I have no reservations about recommending it. I chose to go the paid route once I saw all the time it could save me, but the free option is definitely worth checking out. Click on CrowdFire to take a look, and help me out in the process.

4. Blogging is a fickle mistress

Every time I think I am finally getting a handle on blogging, something completely blindsides me. My assistant started a blog of his own in March of this year. His blog is Speaking Bipolar, and you should check out his posts on dealing with mental and chronic illnesses. He’s on a mission to get more men especially talking about mental health.

 

June 2018 Blog Stats
June 2018 Blog Stats

 

Well, you would think that since this blog is four months older than his, my traffic should be at least some higher than his.

My June traffic was up. In fact, June for a record-setting month for me.

However, record setting was only 820 total views from 527 visitors, which isn’t terrible for a new blogger. For Speaking Bipolar, he saw nearly 3,000 page views from 2,300 visitors in June. For July, we are comparing our processes to see where I am falling behind.

 

5. Social media is key

As much as I don’t always love the idea, social media is the most important thing for a new blogger. Unless you buy ad space, which is something I am considering for July, the only way to increase traffic is to increase exposure on social media.

The good news, my Twitter account continues to grow rapidly. Using CrowdFire and following their tips has continued to grow my list of quality followers.

Twitters state June 2018
Twitters state June 2018

 

What most excites me the most about Twitter is that my followers are probably 80% bloggers and writers. I seem to be picking up quite a few musicians in recent weeks, but I’m great with that, because I love music almost as much as books. Almost.

I hope to have 10,000 followers by the end of July. That’s not too bad for a new blogger. Sorry, I just had to pat myself on the back for that one.

My other social media accounts are not growing as fast, but that’s because I don’t give them the care they deserve.

 

June 2018 Referrers
June 2018 Referrers

 

The numbers are low, but I’m getting about 12% of my traffic from Facebook, and that’s with doing little more than posting new blog posts to my page and account. Clearly, Facebook is deserving of some TLC even if it’s not my favorite brand.

 

Odds and Ends

 

Am Editing

To finish up today, I want to share with you a few other things. One, I took the plunge in June and connected with a professional editor. I am working with the talented Angela B. Wade who is based just a couple of hours south of me in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you are looking for an editor, I strongly recommend Angela.

She works with authors from everywhere, so don’t be disinclined just because she is from Tennessee. I have learned a lot from her already, and we’ve only been working together for a couple weeks.

Together, we are working on revising Getting Home. I know, I said I was going to let it sit for a while, but it desperately needs a better cover. I decided that if I was going to update the cover, then at the same time I should finish polishing it. Getting Home is my most precious baby, so I’m not sure I will ever be completely done with it.

 

I’ve Learned Series

You may have noticed that I am posting less often in the I’ve Learned series. The reason why is that I have decided to turn it into a book. That was actually my goal from the beginning. So, as far as that series, I’ve been spending more time on editing and revising posts and content than on writing new. Never fear, it will continue to be an ongoing series for as long as I am here.

Working with Angela has taught me so much about how a book should be written, so I am trying to get this one right on the front end. More coming on this topic in the future.

 

Printable Coming Soon!

One of the new series I am working on is a collection of writing tips and techniques. As part of that series, I will be creating printables. The first one, which will be free to everyone, will be on character development. I hope to have it out by the end of July.

 

Take Aways

Tailwind is a great product for scheduling and posting on Pinterest. They are an approved partner, so there should never be any issues with Pinterest. Try the free trial to see if you like it. You can also post to Facebook and Instagram through Tailwind.

Check out Billionaire Blog Club’s 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. It’s free and with no obligation. It will give you a great chance to see if BBC might be something you are interested in down the line.

CrowdFire is a great app for managing Twitter and for posting to Facebook, Instagram, and more. There’s a lot you can do with the free version, so you have nothing to lose by checking it out.

Please show my assistant some love, and visit his blog:  Speaking Bipolar

If you are looking for a talented and professional (not to mention eternally positive and optimistic) editor or freelance writer, contact Angela B. Wade. She would be happy to give you a quote for any of her quality services.

That’s it for my new blogger experience for this month. What’s going on with you? Please share your latest news in the comments below.

Blogs grow primarily be readers sharing their content. Please share this post on social media or by email. I thank you in advance.

Until next time…

 

What is the first year of blogging really like for a new blogger? Read part seven in this ongoing series chronically Wolfe Butler's path. | #blog #blogging #blogger

 

7 Lessons About Blogging That Last Year Taught Us

The internet is a constantly evolving animal. Blogger advice received today might not be accurate tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean there is not lessons about blogging to be learned.

Well, maybe not that quick. It does often seem like things change overnight.

Last year was a huge year for blogging. That knowledge is a big part of what prompted me to start this blog in November.

I’m a big numbers person. If you’ve read my Tale of a New Blogger series, you already know that. In my free time, not that I have a lot these days, I enjoy looking at stats. I know. I told you I was a little crazy.

 

Blogging is a constantly changing world. Last year taught us many new lessons. This post reviews seven of them. | #blog #blogging #blogger #Bloggingbeginners

Recently, I was curious about how many other bloggers got their start last year. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to that question. I pulled up estimates from 5 million to 200 million.

Part of the difficulty is that sites view blogs differently. I tend to think of sites like mine as blogs. But many statisticians view profiles on social media like Tumbler, Facebook, and Twitter to be blogs. Hence, the big difference in estimations.

The other reason for no answer is the big blogger platforms have stopped releasing blog stats.

While I was researching this question, I came across two great posts that reaffirmed some of the lessons I have already about blogging and a few new ones. Here are the top 7 lessons about blogging.

 

7 Lessons About Blogging

 

1. People Love Blogs

Blogs have become the go-to for people looking for advice, instruction or purchasing recommendations. An astounding 81% of internet users feel that blogs are a reliable source to get this information.

That means that 4 out of 5 people reading your posts trust what you have to say. There’s great power in that but also great responsibility. It’s one of the most important lessons about blogging from last year.

That said, most readers prefer to skim posts. On overage, only 37 seconds is spent on a blog post. Readers tend to skip as much as 60% of blog content.

Does that mean you should write shorter posts?

In a word, no.

Why You Should Drop Back And Punt

 

2. Size Does Matter

In further reviewing lessons about blogging from last year, Google states that their top-ranked content from blogs was between 1,140-1285 words in length.

In addition, word count is increasing overall per last year’s stats. The average length of a blog post in 2016 was 1,054. In 2017, that average jumped to 1,142.

Why?

Long posts perform better. In fact, if your post is recommending a product or service, 9-times as many leads are produced from long posts when compared to short posts.

Longer posts, even if the reader only skims half of it, engender trust in your reader. Of those readers, 61% will ultimately make a purchase based on that recommendation.

There are some bloggers writing very short posts and being successful. As a rule, though, the longer posts produce more page views and better lead rates. Writing longer posts may be a crucial one of the lessons about blogging from last year.

 

3. Pictures Draw Traffic

The next of our lessons about blogging from last year is the importance of pictures and images.

Everyone likes a nice picture. Think of the posts you are most drawn to as you are browsing social media.

This fact is sometimes forgotten by bloggers. Stop forgetting. The blogging stats in this area are impressive.

Blog posts with pictures and/or infographics average 94% more page views than text-only posts. That’s nearly double.

Videos, and this was a surprise to me, increase results from organic search by as much as 157%.

You may see videos on this site in the near future.

In regard to infographics, their use grew from 50% utilization to 58% in just one year. Condensed infographics are frequently the top performers on social media as well.

One of the best ways to add pictures to a post, is to be sure to include a tall image that can be pinned to Pinterest. Read the following post to learn more.

Why Bloggers Should Include Pinterest Pins in Their Posts

 

4. Frequency Makes an Impact

So I’m a little torn on this one. When I first decided I was going to start a blog, I visited many sites that recommended posting every day. When I browsed those sites what I frequently found was an abundance of garbage.

I hate to be brutal, but that’s the truth. Some of the bloggers are getting a lot of page views, but I honestly don’t see how. At least, I can’t imagine them getting much return traffic.

With this blog I’ve tried to follow the quality over quantity mindset.

But I might have to rethink that concept. I hope to never publish garbage, but I am seriously thinking about increasing post frequency.

In the continued lessons about blogging, last year, of more than 1300 bloggers polled, bloggers that posted more than daily saw more than double the results as those posting once a week. Those posting daily saw about a 10% increase as opposed to those posting 2-6 each week.

Again, I’m not sure how I feel about this stat. For one, these results are from a poll, not hard data.

Can polls be trusted?

Some people are not entirely honest when it comes to polls. Two, I can’t help but wonder if the increase in results in not purely just a result of putting out more content.

This brings two expressions to mind. One, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. In this case, even a terrible blogger will produce something of value from time to time.

The second expression is something one of my old bosses used to say in regard to sales, “If you throw enough stuff at the wall, something is bound to stick.” It applies both to sales and to lessons about blogging.

One hard stat I could find was that 16 blog posts a month seems to be the magic number if you can’t post every day. Per one study, posting 16 times in a month produces 3.5-times the results as posting just once a week.

I am going to give this topic some serious thought. Probably I’ll stalk a bunch of blogs to see if I can discern real value in posting every day. I’ll write a later post on what I find.

One caveat, I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my “garbage” comment. If I follow your blog, please know that means I don’t think your blog is garbage. The ones I was so disappointed in will remain nameless. If you visit many blogs, you likely know which ones I refer to anyway.

 

5. Odd is Good

It seems like I have heard this somewhere before, but it still surprised me. List posts with an odd number of items are 20% more effective than those with an even number.

Yes, that is why this post has an odd number in the title.

On the top of lists, up to 36% of readers prefer a list article over a traditional text post.

I’m more than a little odd, so you will see me continue to be so. At least now I have a valid reason for it.

 

6. Updates Are Worth Your Time

If you’ve been blogging for any time at all, you’ve been told not to forget your old content. My blog is less than six months old, so I don’t really have any old content. Well, maybe some of the earliest stuff. But I digress.

Taking the time to update an old blog post can increase search result value by 75%. Merely changing the title of an old post can raise click rates by more than 10%. Yes, only about 55% of bloggers revisit old content.

Ask yourself, what is easier? To spend a day, or 3.5 hours on average, to produce a new quality post OR to spend an hour revamping an old post? Actually, changing a post title takes less than five minutes.

The older I get, the more I need things to be easy. This morning I revamped two blog posts to increase SEO and improve quality. It took me less than an hour total to refresh both posts.

 

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 6

7. Content Shouldn’t Be Deleted

I imagine that over time it may be tempting to delete old posts or poor performing ones. That recommendation is that you don’t.

About 10% of posts continue to increase in traffic generation over time. They are referred to as compounding posts and produce around 38% of total blog traffic.

There doesn’t seem to be a clear path to what makes these posts compound. Most were well-performing posts at publication.

Occasionally, and apparently, at random, an old post will sometimes take off. Maybe it’s just a matter of the right person sharing the post at the right time.

Whatever the case, as a blogger you quite literally put your blood (okay, hopefully not blood), sweat and tears into your blog. Don’t diminish the value of that effort by deleting posts.

If the post is truly bad, take the time to turn it into something great. But don’t delete it.

 

Additional Stats of Interest

Of the posts that go viral, 25% inspire a sense of awe or shock from the reader, 17% make the reader laugh.

A business can see an increase of up to 97% in inbound links from having a blog.

There are a lot of social media, content, and email marketing stats I did not use in this article. If you would like to read those or refer to the site that I consulted for most of these stats, you can do that here.

Have you learned any blogging lessons recently? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Blogs grow in popularity through recommendations. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others or on social media. I will be eternally grateful.

 

Blogging is a constantly changing world. Last year taught us many new lessons. This post reviews seven of them. | #blog #blogging #blogger #Bloggingbeginners

Monday Musings: The Best Investment

Monday Musings

Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Happy Monday! Not to start on a down note, but the last week has been especially hard for me. I was still doing a little consulting work for the financial services company I left in December. That filled up all five days of last week. I have set up new Pinterest and Instagram accounts. I am trying to get a freelance writing and virtual assistant business off the ground. I am working on two novels. And I have been reading excessively on everything from blogging tips and SEO to work-at-home business set-up and the two books I am currently reviewing. Silly me, I thought I was going to be less busy when I quit my traditional job.

To turn up the positive, I am excited to talk about one of the investments I made in my business and blog. So far, this is the BEST investment, at least in terms of usefulness and immediate impact. What am I talking about? I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited membership. I must disclose here that I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on any of the links on my blog and make a purchase within 24-hours, I will get a small commission. However, I would be writing this exact post even if I was not an Amazon Associate.

Over the past few weeks I have mentioned how I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Who needs sleep when there is reading to be done? I have visited hundreds of blogs, marketing sites and retailers geared toward bloggers and writers. Yes, at times I can be a little obsessive, but I really do expect my writing and blog to be my only source of income at some point in the near future. It is important to me to have as much wisdom as I can get.

With all these site visits, I found myself getting discouraged. There are a lot of great and well-written sites. Many are aesthetically pleasing with excellent graphic images and engaging narratives. They have given me several ideas for updating this site in the coming weeks. What was discouraging to me, though, was the overwhelming abundance of “Buy Me” links and “Get this FREE with your email subscription.” We all must pay the bills. I do have an email capture on some of my pages and hope to develop a large email following in time. I am not currently selling any products, except for my book, Getting Home, on Amazon. Hence, the need to add affiliate links to keep this blog up and running.

I dove into several of the sites that were most compelling. Some have free information that they send you over the course of days or weeks. I am probably getting 30-40 emails a day now and at this rate will never read them all in my lifetime. Most want you to buy something, and generally from the very first page. I admire that. If someone worked hard on putting together an eBook or report that can help me, I expect them to get paid for their time and effort. However, some of these eBooks, though only 30-100 pages, are $80-$100 or more. Ouch. Did I happen to mention that I am no longer working and have NO INCOME at this point?

literature-3068940
A few of the posts were so well written and the site so attractive that I did purchase a couple of said eBooks. I am getting a lot of good information out of most of the ones I did purchase.

Still, as great as these purchases are, the onslaught of daily emails from each site and the constant, “Now you must buy more if you want the rest of the story,” has really been a sucker punch to me. I started with zero income, spent quite a bit at this point, and now I need to buy more? And with no guarantee that what is in your next eBook is going to benefit me at all?

At the same time that I exploring all these sites, I was corresponding with another writer about writing a review for his fiction book. I noticed it was available through Kindle Unlimited. I decided to go ahead and sign up for the free 30-day trial, so I could get his book instantly and get to work reading it.

A few days later, and by mistake or providence, I am not sure, but I stumbled upon one of the books I had almost purchased from another site. And it was also available on Kindle Unlimited. I clicked on it and started reading it immediately. I then grabbed another and another. To date I have read a number of books, in addition to the one book I signed up for in the first place, and I am still in my 30-day free trial. I am going to list some of my favorites at the end of this post.

Yes, I said free

Now before I start getting negative comments about encouraging my readers to get books through Kindle Unlimited rather than directly from the author blog, let me explain. First, please try to relax. Yes, initially the author of said eBook might get a lower royalty through Amazon. The author only gets paid for the pages of the book that is read. On the plus side, if the reader enjoys the book and gives a positive review, that may move hundreds or thousands of other Amazon customers to try your book. I did not see much for reviews on most of the blogs I visited, and the ones that did have reviews, there was no way to determine if they were legit or written by the blog owner.

It is also my thought process that if I read your book through Kindle and enjoy it, I may be more likely to try another of your books. If I spend too much money on a book with little to no value on your website, well then not only will I not buy any more books, I am also the type of person that will never visit your blog or social media posts again. I did purchase a couple of items that are available through Amazon and directly through a blog. The result? They are the exact same books. Page for page.

I do not intend to list all of the books I have purchased or reviewed here. Some, sad to say, were absolutely awful. They were clearly first-draft books that were thrown up quickly to hopefully produce sales. The layouts were sloppy, the grammar atrocious and the spelling mistakes make it appear that not even a common word processor spellcheck was used. I am furious that I paid blog price for some of these items.

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Another large advantage I am enjoying with Kindle Unlimited is that most of the eBooks I purchased directly from blogs are in PDF format, and several are hard to read productions. The Kindle books are available on all my Kindle connected devices. That means I can add the book and start reading in on my laptop and then later continue reading the same book on my phone or tablet. The Kindle app has a feature that it can automatically sync your progress, so you are always brought back to the right starting point regardless of device. I absolutely love this option.

Again, for the naysayers, I want to reiterate that reading a book through Kindle Unlimited does not hurt the author. The author is paid for each page read by each KU reader. I am much more likely to give your book a chance if I know I don’t have to lay out a bunch of money for something that I might hate.

This whole world of Kindle Unlimited has excited me so much that I have already decided that the eBooks I am currently working on will be available exclusively through Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I do stand to make a higher per purchase profit by selling directly, but that also means I need to set up my site to sell items and accept payment. Likely I will need some sort of merchant account to process payments and that is just one more thing for me to have to manage in a week that is already way too short on hours.

My intention in starting this post was not to write an ad for Amazon. As the words started to flow, though, it became more apparent to me just how much I am enjoying my Kindle Unlimited membership. Oh, and the best part? As I already mentioned, I am still in my first 30-day free trial. That means that so far, I have paid NOTHING for this investment that has brought so much knowledge and wisdom into my life.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope I have not upset anyone. One of my biggest life goals is to help nurture and advance fellow writers and artists. If you feel I have done you a disservice, please feel free to contact me. Or, better yet, if you are happy I have mentioned your book, please post a comment below to let us know you were here.

Click over to Amazon to get your Free Month of Kindle Unlimited. There is so much to learn!

Until next time…

Here are a couple of the books I have enjoyed so far:

Pinnacle    Make Money Blogging

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