LIVING THE DREAM, Part 25: “What’s Going On with ‘da ‘Zon?’

August 1, 2018

When FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS went live on Amazon in August 8. 2017, the reviews — mostly five-stars with a couple of respectful four-star ones thrown in — filtered through my ‘author IV’ almost daily.  With the wisdom of one checking a pot of water put on to boil, I checked the numbers once a day, celebrating each new reader I met and review I received.

About two months ago, I began to see a drop in the number of reviews by one or two at a time followed by another one or two. So I typed the Amazon Customer Review Team an email in the box they provided. So I referred to the general reasons that reviews are removed. In order to shorten the list, I have grouped them together, as follows:

  • obscene or abusive language
  • threats
  • off-topic reviews
  • self-promotional material

None of the reviews I read fit any of those categories. So, I wondered what was going on, and asked my fellow authors if they were having the same problem.

The other day when I was reporting this issue to someone else during a phone conversation, she and I agreed that Amazon should not be penalizing authors for reviewers’ errors. Not only is it not fair, it’s downright dirty. She told me that another author she knew actually calling a representative of the Amazon Customer Review team on the phone and addressing his concerns about the matter. All he was told was that someone would ‘check on it’. I, too, have voiced my concerns to Amazon. After a few days, a team member would send a list of general possible reasons.

We authors endure labor pains as do mothers-to-be, only our deliveries last months and years instead of seconds, minutes, and hours. My labor over FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS began as a larger work as I was on a plane over Port Aransas, Texas, in January 2009, on the way home to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and culminated in August 2017 — nine years later with a shipment of glossy, green copies of my book.

Our books, the fruit of our imaginations, are as precious, in their own way as the ‘fruits of our loins’, a.k.a our children, are in theirs. Only in the movies do authors become instantly ‘stinkin’ rich’ upon the publication of their books. For the most part, many — if not most — of us also feel that reviews trickle out like drops from a clogged hose.

Let’s face it. Life gets in our faces every day. People get busy with families, jobs, vacations, or hospital stays. Although, in ‘the heat of the moment’, as they are clutching our finished efforts that they promise to read and review, the truth of the matter is that they soon get on with their own lives. It happens to all of us.

Has it happened to you? Below is a link that should lead you to the page where you can type in a short customer review. Once you arrive at that page, scroll down until you see a yellow customer review button to click for leaving a review. It does not need to be long or of professional quality. After all, customer reviews are not book reports. Rather, they are a few words about what you liked about FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.In order to leave a review, all Amazon asks is for you to become a verified customer. If you don’t have an account with them, you can set one up for no charge.,

I love meeting my new readers! Thanks, in advance, for your support. I look forward to hearing from you.

What’s coming up next? Who knows? I’m working on several ideas. Any one of them will be a pleasant surprise!

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 11: “You’re On the Air!”

2-12-18

Comfort, Texas

Back in August 2017, I was at Hill Country Distillers  on my first-ever book-signing gig when I met Steve Owen and his wife, Shawn, in the bar area. Before the night was over, he walked away with six of my personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.

Now, February 12, upon the airing of his interview with me, he is, indeed, giving away the six, personally-signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS are being offered as prizes. During the podcast, he explains how to snag a copy of my book.

Steve Owen is the creator and moderator of the Fascination Street podcast, found on Twitter. A few days after my first signing, he met with me at our RV park clubhouse and interviewed me for the podcast to be aired later. True to his word, on the night we met, he is giving away six signed copies of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS

Well, today is “later”! And my interview airs today! Enjoy and listen closely because Steve Owen will tell you how to win a copy of my book. I’ll give you a hint: @fascinationstpod.com and #kimterry.

Soon I hope your name is among the six winners. If it is, I will give you a shout-out on Facebook and other social media sites. Until then, stay tuned. If you have not already listened to the podcast, it will be available on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google + and even my authorkimterry.wordpress.com blog post.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 9: A Gentle Nudge

12-17-17

Here we are, already, December 17! One month and three days after the Official Launch of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS.  Now that all the initial ‘hoo-rah’ is over, I can lean back, kick my feet up, pop the top on a ‘cold one’, and relax, right?

Whoa. Not even quite.

For now the real work begins: continuing the promotion of my debut novel myself with regular book-signings and random “share and show” sales that happen when I share my card and my story with prospective readers and show them the actual  book (of which I  “happen” to carry a copy or two with me in my backpack because I’m as subtle as a Sherman tank roaring through the streets of Comfort).

Last Friday, I did just that while my husband and I browsed the booths at Fredericksburg Trade Days in Fredericksburg, Texas. When we stopped to talk to a retired veteran, Donald, and admire his WWII memorabilia, I “showed and shared” my book with him, since its story begins in  1950s Lamesa, Texas and ends in 1970s Fort Worth. In its own way, it has been classified by Amazon as “Historical”, also.

In spite of the fact that the 6X9X.5″ soft-cover version of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, printed in eyeball-friendly fourteen-point font presently ranks at in the forty-fourth percentile out of over 8,000,000 books and the Kindle version, available for a paltry ninety-nine cents for a limited time ranks forty-four percent out of  over 1,000,000  books, they have yet to make it to the first page of Amazon books or even the second or third in the top three sub-genres of Twentieth-Century Historical, Action-Adventure.

Yes, so far, with every positive (preferably 5-star) review I receive, my book advances through the ranks of others similar to it in its genre.You really should go to my Amazon site and check out the progress it has made. Still, it strains toward that “Top 100 books” mark. Even better is to see it show up on the first page or two of, say, suspense fiction novels.

Members of my  “tribe” — fellow novelists — already know this. Every positive review boosts a book in rank from one million (if the book is an ebook) or eight million (for soft-covers) up toward the Top 100 and then, even better, closer to the first or second page of books of the same genre. The reason is simple: that not many readers will feel like advancing all the way to page 800 or beyond for a particular book unless they are really, really searching for it.

Now, this is where I can use your help:

  • Read the book (or even most of it)
  • Go to Amazon.com. Choose the “books” category and type in From Her Mother’s Arms by Kim Terry.
  • Click through the picture of the book cover (where it says “Look Inside”. Clicking through that book will “verify” you as a customer.
  • Write a favorable review on Amazon (five-stars will do quite nicely — wink, wink.)  If you have not read to the end of the book, leave a short review anyway. Did you like it? If so, what did you like most about it?)
  • Include a headline that sums up your review of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMSfor other readers.

I love being an author because I love writing novels that people love to read and wrap around themselves. After reading “The End”, following up by writing a review is one more important baby-step.

Thanks to everyone who has bought and reviewed the book that  I have labored over since 2009 and finally published in 2017.  I  celebrate with every positive review  I have received. If you have not read FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, now is the time to gift yourself with it, or if you are still reading it or have just now come to “The End”,  please  take the time to leave a brief review.

Thanks, so much!

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 7: “Wish You Were Here”

12-3-17

Comfort, Texas

Today, October 11, 2017, my interview with my publisher, Michael D. Butler Sr., of Beyond Publishing, appeared in the “videos” link of my fan page, AuthorKimTerry.com.  We had a ball during the interview made possible by Zoom, as he was in his office in Irvine and I, in our RV USA clubhouse and I’m thankful I can direct readers and Facebook friends to the interview. Now, as Jeff and I watch it, this morning, I am beyond thrilled that my Official Launch, of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS will take place online on November 14, 2017.  That’s less than a month away!

But my joy is laced with wistfulness. For years, when my parents were living, I got to call or visit them and share the good things that were happening in my life. After all, they are largely responsible for my love of writing. My mother, Lois Terry, was, in particular.

Besides for her high-school teaching career, from which she retired in May 1986, Mama was an accomplished writer. She wrote articles, short stories, poems, a gift book for brides, and even one-liners. I like to think I benefitted from her writerly DNA.  My journey began with becoming a published poet starting with a simple rhyme I composed at the tender age of five:

“The sky is blue,

The grass is green.

The roof is brown,

How much I seen“.

The profundity of that  verse astounds me. Doesn’t it, you?

*Tongue planted firmly in cheek*

Years later, when I was a teenager, I discovered a marvelous style of poetry: free verse.  Everything I saw, felt, and experienced wound up in my free-verse poetry, particularly  when I was slammed by my first “crush” , a boy I’ll call “Jack” with whom I’d have married, delivered ten kids with.  Poor old “Jack”. Never will he know the excitement he missed out on.

Right.

Anyway, it all began on one January night, when there was nothing appetizing on television except for re-runs.

“Kimmie, I have a better idea. Let’s you and me turn off the tv and write, instead.”

“Sounds good to me,” I said, as I made the trip across the living room to cut off the set. (Yes, back in the 1960s, before some whiz-bang invented a doohickey called a tv remote, we burned a lot of calories by changing channels or turning the set on and off.),

Months later, each of us received surprises in our mail: the poems we penned on that frosty winter night had been published! Mama’s first poem about the magic of poetry, was published in a chap book titled Quicksilver; my poem, “Love Walks Again” was published in the  “Your Lively Arts” page of Ingenue.  Years later, Ingenue published another one of my poems,  “Hope”.

Throughout the years, as my life’s circumstances changed. I fell in love for the first time, married, gave birth to baby boys, suffered heartbreak, survived and recovered from major surgery, and so on. Still, I continued writing my free verse poems and getting them published

When a fellow author emailed me a link to Asahi Network, an online publication featuring haiku, I became fascinated with the form. Fitting a poetic phrase into As an English professor, I was already familiar with the seventeen-syllable structure and its emphasis on nature.

But the themes in my kind of haiku were different:  love, heartache and reunion, healing, and God’s creation and submitted my self-designed haiku. The next thing I knew, the editor was telling me that my haiku, “Listen To The Stream” had been published.

In January 2009, I received an email from my cousin in Port Aransas.

“Hey, cuz,” she began, “There’s a writing workshop coming up on the weekend, here in Port Aransas. Your name is written all over it. Since it’s been thirty years since we’ve seen each other, how about coming down for a visit?”

The Laughing Gull Workshop, held in the Port Aransas High School building, was an informal event that allowed for meeting, sharing, and interaction with other writers plus a light lunch. Please keep in mind that I went, specifically, for the poetry presentations, but when I arrived at the assigned rooms, they were full.

I glanced the itinerary again. Next door, Dr. David Ciambrone, a mystery author, himself, was giving a presentation on writing mystery, including fun-filled exercises that allowed us to summon any inherent mystery-writing talents within us. That night, “Murder 101”, an extended presentation of the genre, took place in a condominium on the beach. Uplifting topics included blood-splatter patterns, bullet speed, undetectable poisons, and other topics, would be presented.

Mystery? Me? What on earth would I find to write about? My life had been relatively low-drama, for the past few years, unless I counted two failed marriages, brain surgery,  caring for my my mother for nine years and her death in 2004. What part of my mundane life could possibly spark a mystery novel? My life, at the time, was far from being glamorous or daring.

But soon after I boarded the American Eagle for DFW International Airport, a “monster” arose in my brain: my caregiving experience took on sinister shapes if I asked myself a simple question: “What if?”

“What if” a caregiver gave her ailing mother a food or medicine that proved deadly to her? And what if she had been harboring resentment of ‘said mother’ for spoiling a long-awaited dream of hers?

After asking an attendant for a pen and some paper, I scribbled as though I were possessed. By the time the pilot announced our descent to DFW, I had sketched out a skeleton plot, even though its bones appeared to be afflicted by osteoporosis. It was down on paper.

Over nine years, BY HER DAUGHTER’S HANDS took shape, but there were so many ins-and-outs and subplots, that I chose one of those subplots — the one in which the mother, as a teenager in 1950s Lamesa, Texas, gets pregnant and is banished to a Fort Worth maternity home to have the baby and give it up for adoption.

“It’s only right for the baby,” says her mother. But is it, always? Better ask baby Mona Lisa.

On August 8, the prequel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, told,  largely from the viewpoints of Sybil and her baby, Mona Lisa,  appeared on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers worldwide and has earned a number of five-star reviews between Amazon.com and Amazon.ca (Canada).

Dear readers, I encourage those of you who have not picked up a copy of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS, yet, to do so. For those of you who are anatomically attached to your Kindles, you can pick up a copy of the ebook for only 99 cents for a limited time before the price goes up. For others who love the smell of ink and dessicated trees, the soft-cover is available, too. If you would like a signed copy mailed to you, email me your address and I will tell you how to pick one up.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 5: The “Star” Treatment

September 1, 2017

Comfort, Texas

Since my debut novel, FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMS has been out on Amazon, My life has been a whirlwind! In fact, I’m still pinching myself, expecting to find out it has all been just a sweet  dream. Besides for some ordering the book from Amazon, many others  have ordered signed copies directly from my husband and me. There have also been book-signing gigs at various spots in our area with even more to come. Within a month, I have put up “Author  Kim Terry” pages on Amazon,Goodreads,Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and even WordPress.And that’s only the beginning! The Official Launch of FROM HER MOTHER’S ARMStakes place on Facebook on November 14. On that date, the e-book version that people have pre-ordered will show up on their Kindles and hard copies of the book will also be available. I’m thankful for my sweet, long-suffering husband, Jeff Schwarz, for scheduling my appearances and handling the business end that I’m sure I would  mess up. And I owe another shout-out to my publisher, Michael D. Butler of Beyond Publishing, for helping me make my lifelong dream come true and blasting out publicity nationwide over social media.

With all of this newfound “celebrity” treatment, I feel as though I should be donning dark glasses and dodging the paparazzi. In fact, every time I’m standing in the impulse aisle as I wait for the cashier to ring our groceries, I pay extra attention to National Enquirer, looking for sensational smut that even I didn’t know about myself. I have to admit, being a published author has changed the way I present myself. I even put on a bra and my flip-flops before gracing Wal-Mart.

It’s funny how experiencing “fame” draws attention from people I was sure didn’t know I existed. Let’s face it — people are fascinated with those who have done something to draw attention to themselves. Think of it — why else is People magazine so popular?

Along with my tippy-taste of “star” treatment, I’ve also received  questions that most folks  don’t ask of people they don’t know. The two questions that require me to exercise the most tact are bulleted below:

  • Are you married? 
  • How old are you?

While some of these people turn out to be spammers, others are honestly curious.

Whoa, but I’ve saved the best for last: the “love letters” I have received on Messenger.  One thought he was on an online dating site. Another wrote three separate, lengthy proclamations of passionate love but never called me by my name.

“At least he’s persistent,” said Jeff, who chuckled about it, after I blocked all three of them.

For you who are seasoned authors, what is the most curious, funny, or embarrassing question you have ever received from  readers”? Do tell!

Comments and reviews are the life source for authors. Did you enjoy this post? Please, let me know!

Stay tuned to authorkimterry.wordpress.com for more adventures.