The Abundance of Life and Joy

Remember that in every breath or act you could be making a memory – for yourself or someone else. Make it a good one.

I normally make kinky posts, but this time you’re on “non-kink alert.” This is just about life, and even a dom has a few days that are just… life. I exchanged a few messages with another blogger, today, and it reminded me how lucky I am. How lucky we all are to be alive. I hope you feel that at least some of the time!

Abundance

It’s easy to forget the unbelievable abundance of joy and opportunity when you are in, or have been in a painful relationship recently. But you should never forget. Even in your own darkest moments, you’re making memories all the time.

You never know who looks at you and in once glance creates a whole new world. Will it only be imagined? or will it become real? And in that moment is born the possibility of a new relationship, happiness undreamed of – a whole different life. You could take it and run with it – or you could let it slide. Just know that it’s there at every instant of your life. Things can change – they always do – and you can ride that change to better times.

It’s lovely when you get reminded of that, and I got that reminder last night as chatted with my son before sending him to bed.

I used to make up bedtime stories for my children – just whatever occurred to me, you know? And every now and then they’ll remind me of one, and we’ll laugh again. For me, they’re so long forgotten I may as well never have heard of them – a joyous reconnection. For them, it is the fabric of our relationship renewed. That’s what happened last night, and for an instant my heart almost exploded. How lucky can one woman be? I seem to be finding out.

Try to find what makes you happy – and try to live it. I’m a dom and love my kink, and I make various people’s lives richer – adding some dark colors to the palette here and there no doubt – but for the greater pleasure of us all. Do that for yourself and the people around you. Take your chance and make the most of it.

 

 

Book Data for Authors

My main “resolution” for the year is to gain control over the “shopping cart” for my book sales. That will help me earn more for my hard work.

I just read an article that should be of interest to every writer. It’s called, “Who Has the Balance of Power over Data?” by Emma Barnes.

You, as a hard-working writer of fiction, an “artist,” (or perhaps a more humble hobbyist) may think that a question about publishing data is beyond your ken, but in this, you are very wrong. It hits much closer to home than you imagine. It’s about marketing your books – getting them to people who will read them and care.

Some authors think that they know, or can figure out, everything they need to know to sell their books. They know they need a “good” cover (other authors tell them so, right?), a snappy title, and an effective book description. So they spend a lot of time or money developing one – in rigid adherence to their own standards. Other authors don’t think they know or can figure out what they need to know, so they hire people to do these things for them (or basically ignore the questions).

The fact is, no one knows what consumers want or want to pay ahead of time. The question is data-driven. That is, you only know it works if it works. You take your best shot, make changes, and take another shot. You ask question and compare answers, and you watch your prospects and observe their buying process. That’s data.

The article focuses on the big publishers, like Hachette. As Barnes notes,

Take a look at pretty much any major publisher’s website. This [citing an example] large publisher can’t sell ebooks or audiobooks from its website, although they’re far from alone. They don’t know how much retailers are charging, and they don’t even know the retail price of their own imprint’s book…

The gist of the article is that publishers have allowed retailers to be the owners of all that information. The publishers, by not learning the data have dramatically damaged their negotiating position with the retailers (like Amazon), who do learn the data and routinely use it.

The information in question allows the company possessing it to have a primary relationship with the consumer. When Proctor & Gamble spends vast resources building its own data base on consumers, it is in a position to “disintermediate” the retailers. That is, it can take over the process of selling directly to customers and eliminate the middle man. Being able to do so, it has never had to do it – the power forces retailers to negotiate differently with it.

Imagine what would happen if you could both offer KDP Select, for example, AND “go wide” by selling with other distributors. Do you know that some authors can?

As writers, we are the true suppliers in this chain. It is possible for us to control every part of the distribution of our books – if we develop that ability. As Barnes points out, “owning the cart” (the shopping cart customers use) is key to seizing control. If you have a link to Amazon on your page, you don’t own the cart, Amazon does. My priority as a businesswoman is to own my own cart – and that means setting up payment and distribution capabilities.

If you’re an author, I suggest you do the same.

Something that Drives me Crazy

People with blogs often put hyperlinks into their posts that take readers away from their sites. This hurts their post.

For writers with blogs

I like to read other people’s blogs, and there’s a reasonable chance that that’s how you found me. So how did I find you? Well, I probably went to someone whose blog I already follow, read a post, and saw one of your comments or a link to you from the post. That make sense? And your name was a hyperlink. You know how to make hyperlinks, right? you click on the little chain link above, and are invited to enter an address. Looks like this.

Typical Add-Link Box

hyperlink1

What most people seem to do is put in the url like good writers and click on “Add Link.”

You know that’s what you do, but it’s NOT RIGHT! You need to do at least one more thing. Maybe two. These will be both polite to your readers and good for your site.

Improve Your SEO

You can do two things that will improve the way your post is found when people search.

Use Anchor Text

You MIGHT want to put something into the “Link Text” box. The last I heard (although it’s been a while), this becomes the “anchor text” of your link, and having that anchor text be a favored keyword or the title of the place you’re sending people to is good for SEO (that’s “search engine optimization”) – a healthy thing for the place linked.

Check “Open link in a new window/tab”

You ALMOST CERTAINLY want to click the box labeled “Open link in a new window/tab.” What that does is cause a new tab to be opened when the person clicks on it. It’s the polite thing to do, and it’s smart.

Why does it matter, Elena?

Because then, when they click on that link and follow it to their heart’s content, they STILL have you on their browser. By itself that is good for SEO, although probably not a very big deal. What is a big deal is that they can then continue reading what they were reading in the first place, and you can make your point without worrying that the things you link to will, paradoxically, interrupt your point and damage your argument.

You will also annoy fewer people. Most internet users do not expect clicking a link to take them far away from what they are reading, and they can get lost. So check that open in a new tab box.

I cannot explain why the default on the wordpress.com site for commenters is to take them away from the site. If I can figure out how to undo it, I’ll let you know.

If you will give me a comment here, you’ll help people find your site the way I found yours.