Kids and Easter

I was bitten by the flu bug the past few weeks, adding in an upper respiratory infection and I was down for the count.  When I finally made a trip into town, I ventured to the Walmart and passed by the Easter section.  I stopped only long enough to make the decision to work on that project another day.  It was my first outing, and the doctor’s instructions were to not tax myself and pay for it later.  LOL, I have learned that was good advice because I did and regretted it.

Today I thought about Easter and the kids. It doesn’t matter how old you are the idea of hunting for Easter eggs around the yard is always fun.  I remember my mom dressing me up in a pretty Spring dress with lots of lace and a hat for Easter Sunrise service at church.  We would come home, and mom would work on Easter dinner while we changed clothes and the eggs suddenly appeared in the yard.  Our Easter bunny came later and dropped off the eggs while we went to church I guess.  We were whisked off to church, so we didn’t have time to check out the yard and see if the Easter bunny stopped at our house.  The eggs always had different kinds of candy in, and we each emptied our eggs into our own bowls.

Now it is my turn to do the egg preparation and egg hiding.  My plan of action is to collect all my change and put some change and a few dollar bills in the eggs before placing them around the yard on Easter morning.  I also purchase a few other things and put special eggs out for each of the grandkids to find, turning them in for bigger gifts.  Sometimes I purchase bubble wands,  ear buds,  hot wheels, or anything else I think would fit the kids.  It makes the hunt even more exciting.

I normally do an Easter basket for each of the kids, but this year I am thinking in other directions.  My oldest grandson is 14, and the youngest is 4.  Lucas would probably like an Easter basket, but now days not many parents put a lot of candy in the Easter baskets and I am sure he won’t be impressed with granola bars lol.  I know as a grandparent I don’t have to do anything, but it is my way of being part of their day and doing something special for them.

What are your ideas for Easter?  Do you have any projects you have done in the past that worked well with your children?  Please share.  Would love to hear them.

Pam Easter-Basket

Everyone Loves a Heart

When I thought about my blog this week, I had several ideas, but only one, because it is relevant to the week of February 14, Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day for many is a day they can share how much they love that someone special and do something they would not normally do for them.  Purchasing roses is a huge deal on February 14, and I have received several dozen roses over the year, and they are absolutely beautiful as a table centerpiece or on your desk.  The stores are packed full of heart designed boxes of candy, Valentine’s Day cards, and other cute ideas.

Valentine’s Day isn’t about going out and purchasing roses or a box of candy for some of us.  Just doing something special and unique means more than a dozen roses.  Now if that means you get your wife an oil change for the car you are destined to spend the night on the couch, but finding a special card and taking her to her favorite restaurant, not yours, is sure to make her smile.

Over the years I have accumulated several nice pieces of heart jewelry I just love.  I had several necklaces and rings given to me many years ago.  I was given a silver heart watch that means the world to me.  I still have it, and it wasn’t given to me on February 14, but on a day I will never forget.  I love that watch and the love that was behind the gift.

When I wrote The Silver Heart, it actually came after seeing a heart necklace at the Ohio State Fair that I fell in love with.  I bought it, and it was incorporated into the story.  I would reach up at times and feel the heart when I was working on the book, which was also written into the story of the book.  Montana Silversmiths had a necklace which was perfect for the cover of the book and for my character.  I have heard from so many people who have purchased the necklace, and they love it.  For my Christmas present, my son and daughter-in-law gave me the silver hearts bracelet, and I love it.  It goes with my heart necklace, and I will think of them everytime I wear it.

Valentine’s Day is not about spending money you don’t have.  Some of my fondest memories are of the cards the kids made me out of construction paper and lace doilies in Sunday school or at school.  A single rose can mean so much if presented with a kiss and hug to follow.  Nothing is worst that “here you go, honey, I am headed out to the barn.”  Stop, take a breath and spend some time showing you mean the gesture you are making.  It isn’t always about the dollar amount spent as much as the feelings behind the action.  Nothing is better than curling up watching your favorite movie with some champagne and strawberries on the bed.  Quality time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  I know it is not for everyone, but for those of you who love the idea of Valentine’s Day, do something special for your loved one.  Personalize your present this year.  Think about who the person is and what they love to do.  Make this a Valentine’s Day they will remember forever.

Samantha Sheridan

 

Pick up a copy of The Silver Heart book on any online bookstore or go to http://www.egbertbooksandpublications.com for more information.

3d-jpga

Going from Self Publishing to Publishing Company

Today there are fewer and fewer publishing companies who give you an advance, for your book, and you then write the book, turning in chapters set up by the publisher. The movies show that, but normally a publisher does not work that way for a first-time author. They want a copy of your manuscript to see the quality of your work.  More and more authors are self-publishing their own books and marketing them through companies like BookBaby for this reason.  This is an easy way to publish your book and have it sold on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Advantages to self-publishings:  You make more money, and the money goes into your pocket.  When you self-publish you end up with 100 percent of the eBook sales. Bookbaby does not take any commission from the eBooks.  You also make more money if your sales come from your Book Store on Bookbaby.com.  Spreading the word about your book on social media sites, LinkedIn, etc. helps to bring more readers to your book.

The only negative to self-publishing through sites like Bookbaby is you have no control over distribution.  If your book takes off and sales go sky high, the book sites will run out of books.  They only order so many books, and this could hinder your sales.  You have no control over the number of books being sent from the distribution center to the bookstores online.  They also do not have any control over a book physically hitting the book shelves in the box stores.  Publishing companies have the links to the box stores to get your book on the shelf, in view of the consumer.

Do you need your book in the physical big box stores?  There are a lot of people who are now consumers of places like Amazon, and they have the Prime account to get their goods in two days.  Does that make it easier for them to order?  The only thing you are missing in your sales is the impulse buyer.  How many people walk into a store and look for a book to purchase?

According to Publishers Weekly, “According to the “2010–2011 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review,” only 11% of book buyers who bought a book online said they did so as an impulse purchase, while 44% said the book they bought online was the one they intended to buy. The results were significantly different at physical bookstores, where the ability to browse through the shelves resulted in 26% of book buyers saying they bought a book on impulse, compared to 28% who bought the specific book they had intended to buy. Browsing also helped buyers choose a title, with 30% of shoppers at stores reporting that they bought a book that they had not planned on buying compared to only 17% of online shoppers.”

Self-publishing means you cover all the cost of the book.  No matter how good of writer you are, you NEED a good editor.  One very wise person once told me you never edit your own work.  How many times have your read something you have written and your mind reads what it is supposed to say, not what is typed on the page?  If you publish a book, you do not want to have grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Depending on the expertise of the editor and the length of the book this could cost you a few thousand of dollars.  In the end, it is a great investment.  Do you want a book review that tears your book apart because of writing errors?  As an author you want your book to stand up to the best of them.  Who doesn’t want their book on the New York Post Top 10 list?

Another cost is the book cover.  You will pay several hundred dollars to have your book cover produced.  The book printer needs high-quality graphics, and they need the book cover done printer ready.   If you only want to put your book on eBooks, you can list the book through Amazon for a very low cost.  The cost to go through BookBaby is again going to cost you a little bit of money.

I am in no way discouraging you from self-publishing your book.  I am so glad I didn’t start my book with a publisher.  Since I began my book project, I have learned so much.  Understanding what the publisher goes through helps with negotiating a contract with them.  If you start out self-publishing, you have more control over what the book cover design looks like and how the book is put together, from the front page to the acknowledgments/author biography.  My goals were to prepare you for the steps to publish your book.

The Silver Heart is my baby.  I have believed in the book since the last word was put on the page.  I was offered a deal with Harlequin, but they wanted me to split the book into two books, creating a sequel.  This idea just didn’t feel right for me.  I put the book in a file drawer and let it sit,  I knew one day I would pull the book out and work on it again, and I did,

Enjoy writing and never forget to have fun with it.  When it becomes work you tend to put it away.  Make every day an adventure and smile as you follow your dreams.

samantha-and-pete-signed-book

 

 

Adjusting to Gluten Free-Mashed Potato Pancakes

So many of us are finding out we have a slight, moderate or severe problem with gluten products.  I thought I was one of those people who was good and could eat anything I wanted.  My brother told me to watch my gluten because his entire family had problems eating gluten.  Well, not me I am good.  I wasn’t listening to my brother, he was wrong this time.  So I went on with my regular diet and didn’t think another thing about it.

The problem with not taking good advice is you shut out the possibility you could have the same problem as your sibling.  Over time I blamed some of my ailments on allergies or a cold, finding out later some of the symptoms I was having was symptoms for people with gluten allergies.  Now, I am not having major problems, but I am taking care and watching what gluten I eat.  I limit my gluten intake and am selective what I eat and when.

Today I had some leftover mashed potatoes, and I remembered my mom making potato pancakes when we were kids.  The problem with the old recipe was it had flour in it.  I thought about how I could make the potato pancakes without flour, and it came to me, shredded cheddar cheese.  I substituted a half cup of cheese for the flour, and it worked great.  It also added a little extra flavor to the pancakes and made them a little crispier around the edges.

As we get older, we find more and more there are more ailments, aches, and pains in our body than we had as younger adults.  Sometimes we have to change our diets and work harder to stay healthy.  Adjusting our diet is hard.  Sometimes it is like being an alcoholic, or someone hooked on drugs, it is hard beating the habit of eating toast for breakfast every morning or having a Big Mac sandwich.  It is an every hour struggle to remind ourselves to cut back or stop eating the food making us sick.

You aren’t alone if you find yourself adjusting to new diets, giving up things you have loved all your life.  I am sure if you ask a friend they are battling the same problem with something they used to be able to eat.  Talk to them and work together to be strong and tackle the problem.  We are all tougher than we think we are.  We sometimes fall off the wagon and have to start over, but that is okay.  Starting over is a show of our strength and determination.

Age changes our bodies and changes our ways of thinking and how we do things.  Pay attention to your body and find creative ways in your diet to eliminate food allergies bothering you.  Join a group online and talk to people with the same problems.  Who knows you may make some new friends.

Have a great weekend and travel safe.

Pam

Mashed Potato Pancakes.

http://www.justataste.com/cheesy-leftover-mashed-potato-pancakes-recipe/

 

mashed-potatoe-pancake

How to Market Your Project

The other day I was asked how I market the businesses I work with and my personal projects.  That question was tough for me because I have been doing this so long it is a habit for me to do what I do.  Over the years things have changed in the marketing and promotions department because now we have social media.

When I first started booking shows for festivals and events the best way to reach our target audience was fliers and the newspaper.  The local radio stations would run Public Service Announcements, P.S.A., and did a weekly talk show with local residents on things happening in their world. When I worked for WAXC/WZOQ radio station, I did their weekly talk show and interviewed the local Mayors, festival and fair organizers, and other noteworthy residents.  Television and radio stations are still required to donate a certain amount of time each week to public service.  Local television stations run event calendars for local fundraisers to post their information. Some television stations do a daily segment in their newscasts highlighting local events or people.

When you start up a new business or want to promote your present business, you need to look for your target audience.  It doesn’t do any good to advertise baby diapers at the Senior Council on Aging.  Figure out your demographic and then search all the places you can get your message out to those people.  If you want to put your product in a local retail store you need to put everything together for the presentation. Show them that your product will bring revenue to them and bring in more foot traffic.  Every business is looking to grow and expand their sales.  Bringing in your product should not be something that decreases their sales because of you.

Another idea to market your product is conventions, Home Shows, craft shows, etc.  You purchase a space and set up your products.  Make sure you don’t only have product there.  Use your Microsoft Office programs and create a flier to send home with them.  If that consumer isn’t ready to purchase something right now, they may decide next week they want to buy your item.  If they don’t have your contact information or website information you just lost a sale.  Never let a potential client walk away without your contact information.

Contact information is another thing to think about.  Business cards.  Make sure your business cards are professional looking, clean and the information is easy to find.  Too many graphics make for a messy looking business card.  Use a flier to put graphics and information on, or a postcard.  Keep the business card professional looking.

This past year I took a class on website design and a website is so easy to create these days.  I have used Site Builder and Wix.  Wix is free, but the problem is you can’t find your website if you don’t pay to have it listed on Google.  You WANT your website listed on Google, Yahoo, Bing,  FoxFire, etc. so people can find you.  Make sure you list all the keywords to find your website.  How many times do you put three or four words in the Google search to find something?  If you are selling something, use the words defining your product and find out what is out there, what pops up when you hit the search button.  This helps you to refine the keywords you need.

I am a risk taker with my marketing and advertising.  When I started to market The Silver Heart book, I looked outside the box.  I have a book called The Silver Heart so now what?  I contacted Montana Silversmiths and sent them a prospectus on The Silver Heart and one of their necklaces marketed together.  I needed a silver heart necklace on the front cover, and I wanted something people could purchase.  When it came to advertising on YouTube, I knew I needed background music.  I had an original song for a former client, and I asked the songwriters if I could use the song for my book.  They were more than happy to let me use the song and give them some extra promotions as well.  Think outside the box.

Running a business is never easy.  These days there is always someone out there who has the latest program to contact more potential customers or have a social media department that does nothing all day, but post on all social media sites.  In 2017 being shy and non-communicative on social media does not get you new clients or people looking at your product.  If you are going to a trade show, post it!  Get more people there to see your product.   I am always searching the internet for more places to post information.

I hope this helps some of you and helps those that ask me how I do it.  I have over 30 years of experience in marketing and promotions, and I can’t claim to know it all.  I am learning things every day.  Good luck with everything in 2017 and think outside the box.

Pam Egbert

 

samantha-and-pete-signed-book

They Took My Truck – Memories

Last week my brother called and told me they stole my dad’s truck out of the hotel parking lot he was staying at.  Apparently, they brought in a tow truck because the alarms did not go off in the truck or on my brother’s phone.  You would think they would take the Camaro, Cadillac or Corvette parked there, but they took the truck.

My brother has owned the truck for over ten years, so it is not new. Even though my brother owned the truck, it will always be Dad’s.  We called it Dad’s on a regular basis.  When he told me, I was just heart sick.  It is a truck.  What am I so upset about?  It is a material object and can be replaced. Yes, it can, but not the memories that go with the truck.

When I was talking to a friend tonight, we discussed the truck.  My brother sent me a song idea, and I made the call to a songwriter friend. We talked about the truck and all the memories that go with the truck.  I remember dad having Minneapolis Moline parts in the back of the truck for one reason or another.  He had a farm truck, and he had the blue Dodge he used to take on vacation or tractor hunting expeditions.  Dad would head out west, driving down back roads looking for old tractors.  He would find an old tractor sitting three feet deep in weeds and would talk to the farmer about buying it.  Dad would then bring the tractor back to Ohio and would start the remodel on it.  I can still picture the truck sitting in the driveway with the trailer behind it.  An old tractor sitting there waiting to be put in the workshop to start a new life.

The blue Dodge was also the truck Dad would use when he was building the cabin at the pond.  I remember many days pulling up to the pond and seeing the truck sitting outside the cabin.  What we didn’t know at the time was Dad had cancer, and he was determined to finish that cabin.  Ever since he moved back from Colorado, he talked about building a pond and a cabin was in the conversation when the pond was dug.  Many days I would go back to the pond and his truck would be there, and he would be sleeping on the couch or sitting on the front porch enjoying the view.

If you talk to any farmer or person who has owned a truck, they will tell you stories about their favorite trucks.  I remember the first truck I owned was an old Chevy truck, stick shift.  The bed of the truck was wood, and it had a few rust holes in the body.  I was just married, and it was my first truck.  There were holes in the floor board when I bought a new truck, but it had served its time, and it went on to someone else to drive.  I remember hearing the story of Billy Currington and how he had kept his dad’s truck.   How much the Chevy truck means to him.

Memories fade, but when you own something that keeps the memories alive you tend to hang on to that item.  I have my Dad’s office chair, and I can’t image any other chair being behind my desk.  Dad’s truck is out there somewhere, and maybe one day we will get it back, but we are not convinced that will ever happen.  They targeted that truck and they had someone who wanted it so it is long gone.

Comment made:  “Bastard took my truck.  I miss my truck!”   Great title for a song and video lol

 

dodgetruck

Santa Donations for Gatlinburg

For the past week, there has been a lot of focus on Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Many of us have visited Gatlinburg over the years and enjoyed the mountains and everything they offer.  This past summer I took my family to the Smoky Mountains to show them things my parents introduced me to and to enjoy the time together. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have so many memories for many people, it is as if it has this hold on you and makes you come back year after year.  The low clouds give the mountains the feeling of having smoke hanging over them.

Smoke was hanging over them the week of November  28th as several fires were started, and the 70 mile an hour winds pushed the embers over the Smoky Mountains.  Homes were lost, resorts were burned to the ground, and people were trapped in hotels at the top of the mountains.  There were over 2000 evacuated to safer places in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville.  The news covered the fires and followed families who were looking for their loved ones for days, to later find out they didn’t make it out of their homes.

Dolly Parton grew up in Sevier County, and she took it upon herself to start several fundraising efforts to help those who lost their homes and their lively hood.  The town mayor not only lost his house, but he lost his business as well.  Hundreds of people are now unemployed due to resorts burning down, businesses lost and hotels were lost to the fire.  Dolly’s foundation has set up a fund to help the residents of Sevier County get back on their feet.

People and companies from all over the United States are sending in food, water, Gatorade, clothing, toys, pet food, and other miscellaneous items for those that need to replace their possessions.  One of the local news stations said they need canned meat and things they can make meals. There have been all kinds of protein bars, breakfast bars and such sent to the volunteer fire department, but they need things to make meals with.

This morning they announced they were in need of new books and toys for the children to have a Christmas.  The items are to be sent to the Sevier County Volunteer Rescue  Department, and they will have the parents come in and pick out what they need.  I called my publisher and asked if I could send 20 books, Galon the Northern Pintail Duck, down so the kids would have something more from Santa on Christmas morning.  The answer was yes.  I knew he had a big heart and I knew it was something I wanted to do.   I am also sending a hard copy of the book so they can donate it to the local library for the kids to read.

The hardest part of a disaster such as this is the kids.  They don’t understand why they don’t have their toys anymore, or why they have to sleep on a cot at the fire department instead of in their bed.  Kids are resilient, but in times like this your heart goes out to them, and you just want to tell them it is going to be okay.

Pam Egbert

 

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