Book Blog Tours: An Indie Authors Golden Ticket

I remember fondly when I did my very first book blog tour.   Those of you who know me or have followed my blogging over the years knows how hard I’ve worked to grow my Wanted:Hero brand of fantasy publications. From comic books to novels and games, I’ve tried to be consistent and entertain youth since 2004.   So you’re probably wondering why I’ve never done a book blog tour before now.   What, you don’t know what a book blog tour is?  
Think of it as a digital version of a book signing. A place where readers hang out in online communities where authors can meet and interact with them without actually leaving their home/computer.   If you haven’t done a book blog tour for your own book yet, you’re like me.   An idiot.   Tours are made up of different people’s blogs coordinated all over the internet. There’s no limit to size, location or nationality and they are showing your book to their followers. What’s awesome about this, is you can target your specific genre by choosing the right blogs for the tour. It doesn’t have to be fiction, either.   You, as the author, ‘show up’ on various blogs along the tour over a predetermined span of time, usually from 1-4 weeks. During that time you can interact, do guest posts, Q&A sessions   To make this short and painless as possible, I’ll confess: I was too paranoid and ignorant to give it a try.   This from the writer who worked for years contacting one book blogger at a time to get reviews, develop friendships and get my books on the map.   So what changed my mind?   Well, it wasn’t a what so much as a who that changed my mind.   That ‘who’, is Mala Gomez, owner of Silver Dagger Book Tours.   …and if you write fiction in any genre, you want to meet this lady.   More on Mala later.   This article is one you’ll want to bookmark and come back to as a resource, because I’m going to share some things not often talked about with Indie Authors (or any authors for that matter). Specifically how Book Blog Tours can seriously jumpstart your exposure and success as an author.    

Book Bloggers: Your New Best Friends

Now, I'm no expert.   Don’t claim to be, never have, but I’m not a moron either.   I just happen to love learning and try to apply it.   There are many who know more than me about promoting books, but I urge you to consider what I have to say--for your own sake. That being said, I personally believe that Book Bloggers are not only a future part of the publishing industry, they're the heart and soul of a writers success. Why? Because word-of-mouth is 100X's superior to any and all SEO efforts.   I made that exact statement in a blog post on Wednesday, May 07, 2014, yet it is probably more relative now than ever.   I’m not saying you should stop your efforts. These things take time, and it’s a long-game strategy, but it does pay off in big ways.  
  • Sometimes.
  • Eventually.
  • Maybe.
  • What I AM saying is that you'll get better results if people are looking specifically for you, find you and give your book a chance. Readers DO this because of personal recommendations.   That’s the sheer, unequalled power of a book blogger.   They can provide those recommendations across a wide range of readers.    

    So what is a Book Blogger?

    These are delightful people who have a passion for stories.   They love the experience of reading and they want to share that experience with others. Not because they get paid to, but because they want other people to have that same, remarkable experience they have when reading a book.   It’s one of the thin things that makes a book blogger unique, is that they cannot be ‘bought’ in most instances. I specifically mean money here—reading and books are too important to them. Most of the book bloggers I’ve met and known are in it for the sheer love and passion of reading and then sharing on a personal level.   I know each site has similar fine print about what they will and won't do for a review--how it will be honest, might not be positive, etc. However, this is fine print that they have been forced to put into play because of regulations and the not- so-polite practices of publishers and authors.   Besides, the true beauty and power of a Book Blogger is that freedom to speak honestly, giving both good and bad reviews with an honest heart. Believe it or not, the whole system doesn’t work unless you have both the good and the bad, even as an author.   My experience is, Book Bloggers are wonderful people who are connected to more wonderful people...who could potentially become your readers.   Now, if you simply suck as a writer, no matter what your mother tells you, I can't help. But if you have a great story, the key here is to build a relationship with those bloggers.   That’s what ALL sales are about in the world: Relationships.   With Book Bloggers, it’s an interpersonal relationship.   Wikidepia defines “An interpersonal relationship” as: an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on inference, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work, clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship. They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole.   What does this mean?   It takes work.
    It takes time.
    It’s about giving, not just receiving (and don't think of taking here, bub).   Book Bloggers grow a following of trust with their readers, who look to them for possible suggestions on books. By building a relationship and assisting in providing value to a bloggers community, you become a part of that community.   It's more than plopping a free book into someone's lap. They can go to the library for a free book. It's about assisting them where they may need help--which translated into fresh, fun and unique content, goodies to give as prizes to their followers, and attention to the needs of the community as a whole (even how to information or special attention given like a Q & A).   In essence, Book Bloggers earn trust over time.   Book Bloggers can provide what you cannot: an unbiased opinion that has organic credibility with thousands and even hundreds of thousands of potential readers through word-of-mouth. And that's just a single blogger.    

    My First Book Blogger Review: Kaitlyn in Bookland

    Back when I was paranoid that I may have sucked as a writer, I met Kaitlyn Kline over at Kaitlyn in Bookland.
    She gave our first review and even though she was kind, that's not why I started talking with her. It was because I read her other reviews and she truly loved books and sharing what she experienced with others.   I admired that about her. She had no motives but to be kind.   Again, awesome, and there are many...MANY like her out there, providing incredible views to people who want something good to read.   Now I had some secret projects I’d fallen in love with personally--and I’d kept them hidden from others because I thought they'd be considered dumb, but they were important to me. When I saw Kaitlyn reading something similar on her blog to what I had in mind, it caught my attention.   So I asked an innocent and honest question, and you know what? Kaitlyn and 'Jess' answered it for me. Just like that! A clear, concise answer in depth--allowing me to make a final decision...which made my whole week!   (Thank you ladies)   It’s been years since Kaitlyn reviewed a book, but we became friends. I watched her go through college and then achieve her dream job back east.   So thank you book bloggers...for being incredible people of integrity, kindness and guidance. I thank you as an author, because you help me provide higher quality works to those willing to exchange a moment of their lives to partake of them.   Now let’s look at why you should be engaging with Book Bloggers as part of your author existence.    

    Keys to Success No One Wants To Talk About

    As a writer, I feel it’s critical that I mention two specific keys I don’t see mentioned much on the internet.   There are many questions new authors ask, but in reality, don’t want the answers to...or to discuss in too much detail. When starting out, we prefer the flash, the excitement, the promise that we will achieve the impossible and it’ll be a breeze, not actual work.   It seems like there has been so much written in the way of promo and hype that reality sounds too sour to the newcomer. Definitions or views get skewed and many would-be authors give up their future to despair before they get a running start.   It’s sad enough to watch people fall by the wayside due to the wrong information, but even more so when I consider the two toughest topics to be exceptionally good news.
    These keys happen to be luck and time.   I want to talk about this before we get to the meat of this article, because I want you to take advantage of what you already have.   Life never seems to turn out the way we want it to, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You simply have to accept the reality that there are no shortcuts in this venture.   Yes, there are hundreds of stories you will find online, talking about wealth and seemingly overnight success—but if you dig deeper, there are few (if any) that won’t reveal years of labor to get there.   Yes, I said years.   This is one of the aspects marketers often try to hide. They do it because they want to shine a light on whatever course, product or service they’re offering so you’re more likely to buy it.   I’m sure there’s a special little hell waiting for people like that, right along side those who wear spandex and people who talk in theaters.   What gets to me, is what’s wrong with working hard on a worthwhile project for a long period of time until you succeed?   Oh, that’s right...nothing at all. People are simply impatient.   This is a good time to think deeply about how important this adventure is to you. It’s also wise to review your goals, to verify your determination to do whatever it takes to succeed.   If you can do that, trust me—you will find a way in the natural course of day to day living, regardless of your circumstances, to make your project(s) come to pass.    

    Do You Believe In Luck?

    Actually no, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in God. My personal belief is that He determines the results, but it’s up to me to do the work first. The more things I do right, the more God accelerates and multiplies the results.   Do people agree with me? Doesn’t matter, my beliefs don’t require them to...I just know this will work. It has before, it will again. But what about those who don’t believe in a higher power working with and/or through them?   I call it luck, good fortune, or chance.
    Whatever title you’d like to attach to the event, I define it as something that happens that you cannot directly control. You can influence it, by being in the right place at the right time, doing the right things for the right reasons...but you cannot make the results happen. It’s the unknown factor.   The most common example, which is key to this discussion, is the internet.   Web guru’s and marketing companies often make claims that they can guarantee results—such as getting a first page ranking on Google.   Is this true? Yes and no.   The first thing I’d ask is to have this statement specifically defined.   What are the parameters?   You can get any keywords to the front page of Google, but how long will it last? An hour? A day? Will it be a local listing? What size demographics will actually see this top Google ranking...or will it be so obscure that the only one that’s likely to be satisfied is the marketing company that will charge you for “honestly” achieving the results?   The web is a very complex and fickle landscape.   My first rule of thumb is that whenever a person or group guarantees results, they’re lying to me. Results can and are manipulated on a daily basis. Rankings can be fudged, reviews can be bought, forged and challenged. Worst of all, with all the technology available today—you truly CANNOT measure your influence.   You heard me correctly. There is no possible way you can measure your influence on readers using the internet. This is one of the brilliant aspects about Book Bloggers.   Oh, you can get a limited idea, and you can track the actual sales, but the true measure and effect of your progress cannot be fully seen through Google Analytics or any other software. Consider this: I write my next novel. Working hard, I make sure it’s listed with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, Playster, Scribd, Tolino, 24Symbols, OverDrive, bibliotheca, Baker & Taylor, Google Play Books, Odilo, Booksmate, Dangdang, CNPeReading, Gardners, Mackin, Perlego, Ciando, E-Sentral, Bookshout and several others, including on my own website to cover global reach.   What, you mean you can make money on platforms other than just Amazon?   Uh, yeah.   Each service, including my own site has some form of analysis/tracking program to show sales. For my own site, I can track not only sales, but visits, pinpoint countries, cities, even exact IP addresses around the globe.   But what about conversations offline?   Sure, I can track someone coming to my site, someone who reads an article and likes it, shares it....but then they go home.   What happens when they talk about my new book around the dinner table, or with with friends?   The topic then gets shared with people at work or school, on the bus or over coffee, which spreads to phone conversations out of state, maybe even out of the country.   The result is eventual sales from an entirely different location, using a chain of interactions I never saw and never will.   It was personal.   That’s what we are forgetting in the publishing landscape.
    There are countless interactions that you’ll never see online or be able to track.   Conversations that were real.   Conversations I could not control or put on a spreadsheet.   Book Bloggers are masters of creating those kinds of connections and even the traditional publishers know this.   The tipping point is where we reach a certain stage in our progress where a connector—someone who knows others and has influence on others, enjoys, supports and recommends your work to another and that powerful influence takes hold, causing a ripple effect.   The influence of one turns the heads of the many.   The luck part of this is that we never know when or where that will happen.   It might happen in the first might not happen for years...or at all. You may never have a landslide of readers, but a stead trickle that builds up to a comfortable living.   Thing is, you never know who that person will be.   When Wanted Hero was a comic book series, I got an email from a monthly customer, asking if he could email his fraternity brothers about it. I replied that I would be grateful, as I have never spent money on advertising and prefer to work through word of mouth.   That single customer send an email to 20,000 people and my series got a huge influx of both readers and profits.   So understand that luck is a factor that can completely change the game and its results...but there’s not much you can do about it, other than work towards it.   Book Bloggers are a key to multiplying your chances of success.    

    As Time Goes By

    The other factor, and this tends to be more painful for most—is time.   People...and specifically Americans, tend to want everything yesterday. Patience seems to have fallen by the wayside and many authors forget that a good part of this adventure I keep talking about is the journey itself, not the destination.   That being said, you probably don’t care.   Right?  
    Then lets put it this way: There’s no single strategy that will get you results tomorrow. Sure, luck can smile upon you—and I’ve watched that in the news, specifically when Amanda Hocking became one of the first self-published millionaires in history. Sure, she got rich (made roughly $2.2M all by herself before she got picked up for another $2.2M), but what most people don’t remember is the painful nine years she spent up to that point in time, when the tables finally shifted.   Fact is, she didn’t know what happened.   It was like... Luck.   Hmmm.   You have to realize that Amanda had written 17 novels and had every single one of them rejected by traditional publishers.   She did all her own editing.   She did all her own formatting for Smashwords and Kindle, as well as marketing on Twitter, Facebook and her own blog.   That girl worked her butt off.   I understand her pain and frustration of trying to get everything ‘just right’ and not being able to. If you look at the Amazon reviews, some of them are truly brutal, while others shine like diamonds.   I have some reviews at both ends of the spectrum as well. There’s always something that someone catches, no matter how much editing is we move on.   She dealt with all the technical issues that arose on her own, answered countless emails from fans and created her own book covers.   No wonder she got so burned out and decided to go with a traditional publisher!   Unlike many of her fans, I applauded Amanda when she signed her contract.   Why? Because that was what she wanted.   Not the fame and fortune, but the freedom to write and entertain people for a living. Now she has a professional staff to do the frustrating work for her.   But do you know what Amanda said was the critical key factor of her success?   Book Bloggers.   Here’s a snippet from one of her blog posts of Feb 9th 2011: “Book bloggers have saved my life. Book bloggers absolutely without a doubt sell books. I can prove it to you. In May, I sold just over 600 books. In June, I sold over 4,000. In May, I had no reviews. In June, book bloggers started reviewing my books.   And the truth, a lot of the reviews I got in June for My Blood Approves were 3-star reviews, and it STILL sold . Because they were solid, well-written reviews that explained what they liked about it and what they didn’t. They were honest, and that’s important, because then readers trust them. Readers won’t buy books from people they don’t trust, and so reviewers need to be honest. They need to say when they didn’t like something. They need to say what they want to say.
    Seriously. That’s just a totally insane concept to me. Clearly book bloggers sell books, and they do it all for FREE. They’re only payment is “free” books. Really think about that. Their payment for selling my book is getting to read my book. And they work their butts off.   Writing reviews is really, really hard. I mean in-depth reviews that explain what worked and what didn’t. That’s incredibly difficult. I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t do it. Nor would I want to. These people are super human.   They’re juggling families and jobs and school and pets and dishes, and they make time in their busy schedule to not only read a book but review it. That astounds me. I’m in awe of their drive.   There’s so many more book bloggers, too many to name. (And I’m sorry if I didn’t mention you. My brain shorted out, but I know there’s A TON of you who have helped me, but I feel a bit like I’m about to give an Oscar speech, and they just started playing the wrap up music. My mind isn’t working, but THANK YOU).   And that’s not even counting all the people who take the time to review my books on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or all the people I don’t even know about who are telling their friends and family. I get emails and comments from people all the time saying they heard about my books from their friend/sister/daughter/brother.   I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever sold in a book in my life. The book bloggers, the readers, these are the salesmen. These are the people out there selling my books by talking about them honestly. And I am so, so, so grateful for them. Unbelievably grateful.”
    (read the whole article here)   The point here, my friend, is that time is something you’ll need to be patient about. You should be in this for the long haul, not the short sprint.  
    When I sat down with NYTimes & Bestselling Author David Farland to discuss my first book, I was nervous. He had just told my wife Kathilynn and I in his writing class, that it took an average of seven years to get published and another seven to get onto the NYTimes Bestseller list.   If my memory serves me correctly, I gulped. Fourteen years?!?   I’d given David my book script and he’d promised a mutual friend that he’d read the first 10 pages and give me a few pointers to help me along.   But then he invited us to lunch and told us something I was never expecting.   “You could send this out, right now without changing anything and you’ll get picked up. You’ll find a publisher and make a very good living.” Then he paused, “ But with a little work to get your skill level up, I think this is New York Times Bestselling material.”   Turns out, David liked the script so much, he ended up reading the whole book.   Yeah, Kathi and I lost it.
    She cried for sure...but I think I cried too.   To get such encouraging comments from a veteran in the industry (and my kids and I are David’s fans, BTW) was a historical marker in our long but determined journey. David granted me a cover quote years later on my book for writers Advanced WORLDBUILDING. Another great historical marker in my personal journey.   So my advice to you, now and forever, is to keep going, no matter what—because the longer you walk, the closer you get.   One day it will look like clouds on the horizon, the next...thunder and lightening overhead! WaHOO.    

    Silver Dagger Book Tours: Success On A Shoestring

    Now back to Book Blog Tours and the amazing Mala Gomez.   The comical thing about doing what I’ve done over the years, is people ask me: Can a person really publish a work on a shoestring budget and make money at it?   Uhhhh, no.   You can do this even if you don’t have a shoestring.   Completely. Totally.   No question about it.   I’m writing my next book right now, and the total cost for publication is zero.   Yes, I spent time and effort—but all the tools are here. I didn’t have to pay anyone and there is no cost for publishing eBooks or printing through a POD (print on demand) service, unless a printed copy is purchased by you.  
    Now I’d like to be perfectly up front here (an integrity issue I have with many writers) that I have an uncommon set of skills available to me that many authors don’t. I’m a professional illustrator, so I can do my own covers. I also work with authors for a living so I have skills in formatting as well.   I’ve been writing and publishing my own works since 2004 when the lowest bid for building was $20K, so I also learned how to build websites, create podcast, stream, make book trailers, score music, blog and many other helpful skills which give me a substantial advantage over the newbie.   However, everything I’m mentioning in this article is possible for any author, regardless of skill level.   I’m still making progress with writing and selling my own books. Yes, I am making money, but no where close what I would like to. Not like I did with the original comic books.   Stupid me, I thought the fans from the comics would naturally flow over to the books when I switched, but nope. Didn’t happen.   Still can’t figure that one out.
    (Insert the sound of scratching ahead here...)   Live and learn.   The BIG challenge of this whole process, believe it or not, isn’t making the book.   I’ll say it again: if you suck as an author, you’ll naturally hit a wall or get filtered out by readers, but if no one knows your book exists, all you’ll have is your mom and grandma to pat you on the back of ra job well done.   People must know you exist to give your book any chance of being seen, read and recommended.    

    Enter the Book Bloggers.

    As I’ve already shown you, these are the brilliant folks on the internet who love books for the sake of books. The ones who thrive on building deep, personal and trusted relationships with readers.   The best part about this is that publishing companies don’t own them or control them. Book Bloggers are 100% organic gold.  
    So long as you follow the individual rules of each blog, you have the chance of having your books reviewed and posted on their site as well as platforms like Amazon and Goodreads (you are on Goodreads, right?).   How would you like to gain access to dozens of Book Bloggers and their collection of reader/followers all at the same time?   Mala Gomez has built a thriving business on doing just that.   Book blogger gone wild, Mala started Silver Dagger Book Tours, organizing blogger relationships and the complex mix of factors that go into any successful tour, offering them to authors, but with a twist.   Mala doesn’t charge for her tours.   You heard me correctly. Silver Dagger Book Tours doesn’t charge for the tours they organize. Instead, Mala has so much confidence in the exposure authors will receive from her efforts, she asks them to ‘tip’ her once the book tour is over.   Is Silver Dagger Book Tours popular?   As of this writing, the company celebrated it’s second anniversary as well as it’s 1000th book tour.   Yeah, that’s one THOUSAND book tours.   Hundreds of authors, many who come back for repeat tours and 2-3 tours kicking off every single week day. You can see the string of current tours by date here: Current Silver Dagger Book Tours    

    Why Every Author Should Consider Silver Dagger Book Tours

    I’ve explained the value of Book Bloggers.   No matter what your future strategy, if you’re not connecting with bloggers, you truly are an idiot.   Don’t look at me like that, you chose the label.   What I’ve been an idiot about, has been waiting this long to do a tour.   Mala reached out to me in the blogosphere and asked if I would be interested in her organizing a tour for me. I’d just started planning my writing schedule for 2019, so her timing was perfect.   Then I sat down and considered what this could possibly do for me. Even if the tour wasn’t a smashing hit, the exposure would be phenomenal in even a worse-case scenario.   Think about this carefully:
    • When you sign up with Silver Dragon Book Tours you don’t have any up front costs. You tip Mala once the tour is over. For those of us who still have a day job, this is a good thing—it let’s us see & experience the results, plus gives us time to save up a good tip.
    • There’s no discrimination when it comes to genre or age range. The bloggers who support Silver Dragon Book Tours continue to grow, so all genre’s are supported! From adult material, to fantasy, to children’s books, there are book bloggers waiting to share your books within their circles of influence.
    • You fill out a straightforward form, providing info, your book covers, snippets and choose a giveaway you will provide at the end of the tour (common prizes are copies of your book, Amazon gift cards, or something NOT so common like mine—a one-of-a-kind full-color HD artwork of any character in the book, chosen by the winner).
    • You have the option of two weeks or an entire month (I highly recommend the month option, as it provides a LOT more exposure).
    • Everything is scheduled for you. Mala creates a signup form about your tour and starts recruiting bloggers just for you.
    • Mala creates custom artwork and organizes all the blog stops.
    • You have the option of doing stop in’s or guest posts (which I personally recommend to make a connection with readers).
    • You also have the option to request reviews of your book from each blogger. The bloggers are not required to do reviews, but many do.
    • You go through the month, visiting and saying hello to readers on various blogs, usually 40+ over a month…all focused on you.
      So why would you tip Mala when it’s all over?   Because you just underwent a masterful promotional journey which planted the seeds of your success.   You have now exposed yourself to multiple communities of readers, not just today, but permanently in blog form (and without being arrested I might add).   Your name and book has been featured on multiple blogs that have no direct connection to you. That means links to your site and/or book, which is brilliant SEO.   Your name and book has been spoken of how many times during a month? Dozens at least, which means when someone Googles your name, they’re likely to find both you and the book being talked about.   …and then there’s social media.   Ahhh, the great gabbing communities of the world.   It’s not just the Book Bloggers you’ve now been exposed to and their Social Media platforms, but also the blogger’s readers and THEIR Social Media platforms.   Just a single tour alone could amount to hundreds of thousands of connections, slowly trickling your name out to the web to be found via blog, tweet, in-yer-facebook or direct conversation.   Organic connections which cannot be stopped.   Are you understanding this, my friend? It’s why I’ve written this article—to deeply benefit you. How much money would you have to spend in advertising to not only get targeted views, but targeted interactive connections?   Would that help you?   It was a rhetorical question, silly.   Just say, “Thank you Mala.”   Then give her a generous tip.      

    Why Book Bloggers Are and Will Remain Relevant

    People have always loved books.   People will always love books.   As long as there is a medium to share our individual experiences with others, there will be Book Bloggers in one form or another.  
    Some love the written platform of their personal space, to update when they feel like it. Others prefer the spotlight and the growing glam of the camera and vlog on YouTube. Others are satisfied and successful just being a voice on Social Media platforms like #Bookstagram (book lovers on Instagram).   I’m a fan of all the platforms, so long as people are being genuine and sharing their experiences with others in a positive way.   There are also many people and companies popping up with Book Blog Tour services, but none that do the work up front and ask for a tip on the backend, other than Silver Dagger Book Tours.   The greater number of blogs you can appear on, the greater exposure you’ll get, including your reach as an author. So don’t get caught in the one trap I’ve watched over and over again since 2011, and that’s sales.   Yes, blog tours are helpful in selling books, but it’s not the main focus. The top reason for doing a Book Blog Tour is to get your name and book out there in front of potential readers.   That’s why Book Bloggers will always remain relevant. These are people who gather people without compulsory means, forming bonds, trust and confidence in one another, without the pay-to-play model our society is drowning in.   Book Blog Tours in turn become one of the most economic ways to market yourself and your book and create a world wide following.    

    Why Don’t More Authors Connect With Book Bloggers?

    In my opinion, the problem with many new authors is an unhealthy sense of self-confidence that morphs into self-importance, pride and outright arrogance. This translates into sour interactions with bloggers.  
    Over the years I’ve run across countless new authors demanding performance from people who do reviews not for a living, but simply out of love for reading.   What many don’t realize before it’s too late is that you can shoot yourself in the face AND foot if you're not careful. This is all about relationships.   Always has been. Always will be.   Use manners when interacting with Book Bloggers.   Be kind and sensitive to their time.   You're entering their ‘country’ when you contact a Book Blogger and interact on their territory, and you have no rights whatsoever in that sphere, so keep that in mind. All Bloggers make rules around how they specifically work (to fit their needs, family life, work schedules, etc.) and if you don't follow them, they do have every right to deport your butt.   TIP: If you ever decide to approach a Book Blogger directly, look for ways that you can be an asset to a blog. Offer your help on top of your book.   When you ask for a review, make sure you are doing so humbly and only after you have read and understood their individual Policy instructions.    

    Conclusion: Marketing is challenging, but doable on a shoestring budget

    I want to encourage you to keep swinging as an author, no matter what.   You may, and I repeat 'may', have to endure quite a bit to make your dreams happen.   I'll probably be ridiculed for this, that's fine...won't be the first time, but something tells me there's a heart out there that needs someone who understands what they're going through.   So here it goes:
    Most people think I'm crazy. I can understand that. It's uncomfortable for some to look at what I'm doing and easy for others to point a finger.   Let them.   I have been married to my best friend for over 28 years.   She's the best part of life and from the moment we were married, she's had to strap into the seat and hang on during this roller coaster ride.   Why? Because I told her before we married that I knew, not believed, but knew what I was supposed to do with my life.   At first it was uncomfortable.   Then it became painful.   Then it took our breath away, then made us cry.   Time rolled forward and we had some amazing times and considerable prosperity as well.  
    Yet it always came back to Wanted:Hero and working with youth. Youth out in the world that needed to know their potential. A burning desire to reach down and lift them up. The desire emanating from a voice in my heart, talking louder than all the music, all the movies and all the conflicts of my life. A voice that tells me to reach out to that lost soul...and to do it through stories.   That's my purpose. That's my passion, and all I want to do is inspire the youth of the world or die trying.   Seriously, that's all.   Just the world--then I'm done.   The trouble is--as much as I want to accomplish this, there's always a force equally determined to stop me from accomplishing it.   If your desire is to do something that will help another or improve the world around you in ANY ready for a fight. The bigger the goal, the bigger the fight.   It's not something I believe, it's what I know.   Expect it.   Just know you're bigger, better, stronger and more resourceful than you may believe at this moment.   That's alright.   Stay focused on your goal and put one foot ahead of the other and if you believe in God, pray.   It’s December 13th 2022.   The house is asleep.   All I can think of is ‘What do I do next?’   How we made it this far is a complete miracle.  
    I’ve learned how to write while sick, in pain, depressed, angry, sad, hungry, cold and most of all--afraid that today might be the day my family will be cast into the street and have to live under a freeway because I haven’t made enough money.   It's a fear and anxiety I still have every day.   Then I sit down and write.   That's what you might have to go through to get where you're supposed to be.   Not that you would have to be homeless, but you might have to go through something that extreme in nature to get where you want to go.   Would you be willing?   You may have to ignore the 'norm' and listen to that small voice in your heart to take that next step. It's what I choose each and every day, even when it hurts.   And it often hurts a lot.   That's where family comes in. I hope with all my soul that you have someone, if not many people, who love and support you because they know you're doing the right thing.   I cannot express enough love to my wife and children.   I hope you have someone as amazing as my wife in your life to give you another perspective when you can't see straight.   That, dear reader, is why I brag about my family with every breath.   Don't give up.   This article was specifically to give you a new option to take your brilliant writing forward for the whole world to see and enjoy.   A way to use what funds you have in the most intelligent way possible.   Just know you may have to go through challenges equal to the blessings you're hoping for.   God Bless.  



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