The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing ~ Now in Paperback!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

optimized-the_soapmakers_guide_to_online_marketing_kindleThe Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing was first published in 2013. I’ve taken the time to update and expand this helpful book for those of you who are selling [or thinking about selling] bath and body products online. Back in 2004, I opened up my store, EverythingShea.com. I started off knowing very little about how to get people to visit my little website. I’m sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who wishes to get more customers. 

Best of all, this book is still the same low price it was when it first was published in June 2013. However, one thing’s changed — there finally is a paperback edition!

Much of the information in this book is also helpful for those creative people who sell other types of arts and crafts online.

♦♦♦

Soapmakers and crafters, learn how to grow your online presence! “The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing is packed with detailed information on designing, building, and promoting your website. Learn how to write a press release. Get loads of free and low cost promotional ideas. Attract customers by blogging, making videos, and showing off enticing photos of your soaps and/or other bath and body products. Written by the author of “The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting” and more than a dozen other soap crafting books.

You’ll get:

♦ Successful SEO tips
♦ Free online and offline website promotion tips
♦ Helpful photo guidelines
♦ Video ideas
♦ 100+ updated links
♦ Getting product reviews
♦ Set up your work/crafting area
♦ Wholesaling and labeling guidelines
♦ Avoiding online fraud
♦ Tips on creating your product line
♦ Basic soap recipes
♦ More than 30 resources

Check out my new book trailer!

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Where to buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soapmakers-Guide-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00D5YX9IS
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-soapmakers-guide-to-online-marketing-lisa-maliga/1115476903?ean=9781540862976
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id804457652
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-soapmaker-s-guide-to-online-marketing-3
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/230453462/The-Soapmaker-s-Guide-to-Online-Marketing
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/322570

 

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

I used to think that a ganache was something fancy that went on top of a cake or some type of fancy pastry. I knew it was made from chocolate, but that’s about all. If you’ve never made this lovely and decadent macaron filling, don’t worry, it’s very easy to make. You only need a few ingredients but you should get the best type of chocolate that you find appealing. For practice, use standard dark chocolate morsels that you may have in your pantry, but if you’re a chocoholic, add a 70% cacao content dark chocolate.

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Chocolate ganache just before going into a pastry bag

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling

Ingredients:

4 ounces heavy cream [120 grams]
4 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate [120 grams]
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon instant espresso

Put cream in microwave for about one minute until hot — NOT boiling. Pour over chocolate chunks. When melted add instant coffee and vanilla and whisk well until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight. Cover with plastic wrap. Just before getting ready to use a spatula to scoop the ganache into a piping bag with large round tip.

This is a simple recipe to make and it will really perk up your macaron shells. The touch of espresso gives the chocolate more zing! I used my favorite brand of chocolate: Valrhona.

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Adding instant espresso to chocolate chunks

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Pour in your cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

chocolateganache
Whisk ingredients together until you have a shiny chocolate ganache!
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Orange & chocolate mint macarons

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s Guide

This recipe can be found in my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide. Available in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

 

 

“Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide” Now Available in Paperback

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

acaimacaronsmed

I’ve owned and read many cookbooks over the years. Some have been leather-bound tomes dating back almost two centuries. Others have been spiral bound and contained gorgeous color photos. As a teenager, I used to look at the cake decorating books, admiring the artistry behind each unique design.

Until this year, I never thought I’d write a cookbook. Sure, I’ve shared recipes before, as soap is made in a kitchen. But soap is easier to make than macarons and even a small bar lasts a lot longer than these delicate desserts.

Before the November 1, 2016, release of Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide, I was trying to get the paperback edition properly formatted. Being on a tight budget, I went to Fiverr and found a formatter who would do a 155-page cookbook with 54 color photographs for $6, including the $1 processing fee. What a bargain! I was skeptical that the newly listed formatter could do the work in less than one day as he promised. A day after the promised delivery time, I received a message. “Hi Lisa, I am high sorry for the delay. I had delay of my new PC yesterday and I cannot continue using the old one. I was highly disappointed the time the agent came in. So, I am greatly sorry for this late delivery of your work.”

A few hours after sending the email, he sent me the .DOC and PDF files. He even changed the name of the file to end with the word GOOD.

The title now read Baking French Macaron: A Beginner’s Guide.

Continuing the singular theme, there was a Table of Content.

The headings were out of bounds and didn’t pass CreateSpace’s interior reviewer. Some of them began on the chapter page. Photos were less than the required 300 dpi. The “good” ones were stretched like in the following example.

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An example of bad formatting

I politely thanked him for his trouble and contacted someone else.

Jackie [not her real name] gave me a rate of $30. That still seemed reasonable. A few hours later, she had finished the project. I was very surprised in the amount of time it took and was naturally suspicious. It was formatted without headings but everything else looked nice; certainly no stretched photos. Before thanking her for a job well done, I uploaded it to the interior reviewer. All the images were less than 300 dpi. I contacted her and she said she’d fix it. A few hours later, I was sent another version. The same thing happened.

For the next four days, it went on. Some of the photos eventually were 300 dpi, others were under that ‘magic’ number. Finally, when all but 7 of the photos were considered good enough, I thanked her and decided to forego a paperback edition. Even if I had a less costly version with black and white photos, it wasn’t worth all the time and aggravation I’d gone through. I couldn’t compromise and publish a photo-less book. I’d spent way too much time and money into making my book the best it could look.

I’d noticed another scam cookbook that was doing well, even though it had no photos and the back cover was completely blank. Some of the recipes had ingredients only—no measurements. That book was selling several copies a day. I was motivated to figure out my photo problems, and eventually I did.

The eBook cover I’d designed was nice, but I knew a professional could do a much better job. Print covers needed strong typography so titles would show up well.

Using my own photos for the cover, I didn’t have to be concerned about copyright issues. I’d been checking out numerous cover designers and I went through their portfolios. I found a very talented artist. The book cover was far better than the one I made on Canva.

Here it is!

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon UK paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Barnes & Noble paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

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 baking_french_macarons_a_beginners_guide_3d

Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe ~ FREE eBook!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

After writing and making the recipes for Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes, I came up with yet another cool soap idea that I hadn’t published before. In fact, I used to sell it when I had my Everything Shea business, but it went by another name. I changed two of the ingredients, but it’s pretty similar and it’s now called Vanilla Bean soap. I have my almost year-long baking binge to thank for this recipe, too. So if you’re looking for a fun and easy soap recipe to make for the holidays or just because, here it is…

Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe

vanillasoapcover2Learn how easy it is to make this creamy melt and pour soap with natural vanilla beans. This type of soap is wonderful for all skin types and would make an excellent addition to any bath & body gift basket!

Get this FREE eBook at these fine online stores!

Amazon: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Amazon UK: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
B&N NOOK: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
iTunes: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Kobo: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Scribd: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Smashwords: Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe

 

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 13: Really Raspberry Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

raspberryjamingredients
Empty canning jars, fresh raspberries, sugar, & liquid pectin

There was a sale on fresh organic raspberries so I got ambitious and decided to bake raspberry chocolate cupcakes AND raspberry macarons.

This is the first time I’ve used fresh fruit instead of jam. And you know what—it won’t be the last! Wow, I could really taste the difference, hence the name Really Raspberry!

First, I made raspberry jam, which took about five minutes. All I did was smash up those fresh raspberries with a potato masher—why mess up a food processor–add a lot of granulated sugar and some liquid pectin. The result: 2 jars filled with fresh raspberry jam. I also left in the seeds as I wanted it to be all natural. I was also too lazy to strain them! Once cooled, I added the contents of one jar into a pastry bag, put that into a Ziploc bag and stored it in the fridge where it’d be ready for the macarons that would be made on Monday.

raspberrymacaronjam
Fresh raspberry jam

I’ve made the chocolate cupcakes a few times and prefer them to any other because I pour the batter into the liners rather than scoop it, so it’s a lot easier. Plus, I love chocolate!

Making the fresh raspberry buttercream frosting for the cupcakes was as easy as it was when I made it with jam. I even added the raspberries last. Oh, and the amount of vanilla bean paste was very small.

On Monday, I made the macarons. I had not one but two fillings – raspberry jam and some leftover raspberry buttercream frosting. I left it in the pastry bag with the large star tip, as I was too lazy to change it. Now I’d have super fancy looking macarons.

The natural red powdered food coloring was added to the almond/sugar mixture the night before. That’s one thing I’ve learned about making macarons – do as much preparation as possible the night before they’re made. I separate the eggs and leave them on the counter in a bowl covered with a paper towel. I weigh the dry ingredients. And since I was using new silicone baking mats, I even made a template for them.

raspberrycupcake
Chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting–made enough for 12 cupcakes & 24 macarons

Making macarons on a Monday is a fine way to start the week! I began the meringue at noon and by 2:18; the third and last batch was done. I didn’t make a record number as only 48 shells were deemed acceptable. I made more, but some were thrown out as they stuck to the mat. I was trying out another oven that was fairly true to the oven thermometer. I used the middle rack, which I won’t do next time, and will lower the temperature. While many of the shells were hollow, at least they had feet.

raspberrymacaronsdrying
The shells look red before going into the oven

I had fun deciding to add the buttercream filling and jam—sometimes both! I’d seen macarons with the fancy filling before but hadn’t gotten around to trying it. It’s very simple to do.

raspberrymacaronfilling
Real raspberry buttercream filling is easy to add to the shells.

Soon I’m going to be baking another batch of macarons with a new powdered color that I haven’t yet used.

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A small macaron with jam filling–NOT seedless!
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Real raspberry buttercream filling

For now, I highly recommend the really raspberry macarons. The recipe is in my cookbook, Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide.

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I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist ~ New Cover & Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

iwantyou (1)Before I became a fan of THE WALKING DEAD, I wrote about a character named Arlen J. Stevenson who was the author of zombie fiction. I chose that genre because it seemed a little different—edgier—than thrillers or science fiction.

Originally, this manuscript got some interest from an editor at a small literary press. “It sounds serious and worthy, and I appreciated the description and know exactly what you’re talking about from hard experience. I do wish you luck with it though because…it has to be said!”

When I first uploaded I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist, along with my companion title, Love Me, Need Me: A Narcissist’s Tale, I designed my own cover. I’ve since stopped doing this as I prefer not fussing around with fonts. I finally got around to having the cover redesigned after combing through some stock photos and finding one of a man who resembled the Arlen I’d imagined. Art and reality merged.

Since publishing this book, I’ve learned a lot about formatting. While awaiting the cover to be designed, I had a look at the sample, noting some the spacing issues. I went through line by line and fixed the problems. By doing this, I reread the story and was struck by the online psychological game playing that abounded within the book. 

This is unlike any other book I’ve written. It took years of research before I wrote my first draft. I did encounter several versions of Arlen online and in real life. At the time, it was very difficult to be around those types of uncaring and self-centered people. But what I learned filled more than one book. 

EXCERPT:

Here’s Arlen’s email to LeeAnn [Southern Pecan is her MySpace name] after “meeting” her on September 28.

Date: September 30

LeeAnn,

You’re wise, insightful, and loving. On top of that, you radiate both a wonderful sexuality combined with a heaping dose of loyalty. All mixed together, it’s potent.

Why do I want you with all these other people around? Frankly, there’s not even a choice involved, you are simply on a different level.

I’ll make this short and sweet. I want to get to know you more, the sooner the better. If all you want is an internet friendship, fine, just tell me. But if you want the chance for more, tell me that, because that’s exactly what I want. The reason you and I both are doing this is because we both sense we’ve gotten ahold of what potentially could be the real thing for us both.

Let me know, darlin,
AJS

P.S. My marriage is not what it should be, dear, and has been for awhile. This doesn’t flatter me in the least, but even if it wasn’t, I don’t know that I could resist you.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The author of three zombie books uses his literary accomplishments to entice his online victims. Arlen J. Stevenson flirts heavily with several women via raw and steamy emails in order to lure them to his lake house. His MySpace site has amassed thousands of potential victims. “I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist” shows Arlen’s arc of seduction with eighteen different women. You’ll meet poetic Southern Pecan, desperate Betsy, flirty Debra, and lonely Ginger.

The love and long-term relationships he proposes to the women lasts long enough to satisfy his ego and sexual cravings.

This unique volume can be read as either a sequel or a prequel to “Love Me Need Me: A Narcissist’s Tale.”

WARNING! “I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist” may be offensive to those who dislike graphic language and sexual content.

Amazon: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist
B&N NOOK: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist
iTunes: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist
Kobo: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist
Scribd: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist
Smashwords: I WANT YOU: Seduction Emails from a Narcissist

 

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NOTE: Next week there will be a new French macaron blog with lots of pictures!

 

Ripping Readers Off: Kindle Unlimited Scam eBooks

Copyright 2016 by Lisa Maliga

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Last April, I wrote this article: Don’t Buy or Borrow Kindle Unlimited Rip-off eBooks. 

What’s changed since then?

In July 2015, Amazon launched KU2, which pays authors by pages read. KU1 was a fluctuating amount of at least $1 per eBook borrow. The Amazonians have altered the system for their benefit and the amount per page is less than a penny –.0049 per page or less. If an author wants to make any money, they need to write longer books. And those books need to get read.

Or do they?

Nope, the author offers a free book or gift card or something for nothing and has that clickable link take the reader to the back of the book. Like magic, all the pages are read!

With the KU program, Amazon is like long defunct author’s sites Themestream and the Vines – pay per click companies that went belly up. While some legitimate authors are doing quite well, others are faring far worse than they were in KU1.

One of the main problems I’ve seen in the KU program, and this is in the nonfiction area, are foreign plagiarists stuffing books full of repetitive “information.” Or they upload their entire catalogue into one title. I’ve also seen books where the contents are available in a dozen different languages. Can you guess that the translation is run through an online translator resulting in hilarious errors?

What inspired this article was a review request from an author: someone who had been “University” educated, and an expert in various fields dating back to the early 90’s. A quick search revealed nothing except the author’s books in various Amazon stores. Here’s the email:

As an avid buyer and author on Amazon, I want readers to feel they are getting value for money and would recommend to their friends and family. I feel this book meets that requirement.

 I was hoping you could review a books and leave an honest review.

If you are interested I can send you the book as a gift free of charge.

 I saw that the title wasn’t unique and when looking at the author page I noticed:

“She has a passion for sharing his experience…”

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner? Nope, someone who just didn’t care about proofreading their bio or who wasn’t too fluent in English.

There are many excellent titles in the KU program. But I’m going to point out potential rip-off titles that are often plagiarized from websites, blogs and Pinterest. By reading this article, you’ll learn how to avoid downloading or wasting your time and money on rip-offs and supporting scammers.

If you’re a reader who wants to learn how to bake cupcakes, wouldn’t you want to read a book by someone who has baked the recipes and can provide photos along with helpful tips? I want that! A few weeks ago, I mistakenly downloaded a scam book. At first I thought, oh goodie, 600 pages of cupcake recipes and information—all for 0.00. Wrong! 600 pages of drivel, NO pictures, and recipe after recipe of things I didn’t want to bake. The few cupcake recipes were so generic that one of them listed cake mix. I deleted that eBook.

Spot Those Scammy eBooks

Here are some things to look for when shopping at Amazon.

kindle unlimited logo * No author biography

If there’s no bio, there’s no way of knowing how much knowledge they have pertaining to the subject they’ve written about. There won’t be an email address, website, Etsy page or social media information such as Twitter, Pinterest or Face Book. They have no blog or newsletter.

kindle unlimited logo * Fake Author Biography

Some of the scammers have gotten smarter and include biographies and even pictures or illustrations of themselves. Read it carefully and you’ll see it’s false if no professional training is indicated. Or they might mention a school or university. How is the bio worded—in proper English or does it read as if it was translated from another language?

kindle unlimited logo * Common American Names

This is another way to lure borrowers and buyers—by using familiar surnames like Thomas, Brown, Mitchell, White, etc. It’s also how those from other countries make names seem more acceptable than their own. Authors who use several pseudonyms may do so to avoid detection. It’s also a way of using a name like a keyword – to attract more borrows and sales.

 

kindle unlimited logo * Poor Translating

Foreign authors may have run the manuscript through an online translator resulting in unintentionally hilarious reading. My favorite was the one about heating your soap over a “weak fire.” Some of the faux fiction scam books have incredibly bad titles.

kindle unlimited logo * Offer FREE Bonus/Gift at the BACK of the eBook

This encourages you to click the link and get the page reads. You won’t be able to miss this offer as it’ll be shown in very large and colorful fonts. It may appear more than once.

kindle unlimited logo * Very LONG eBooks

KU1 featured scamlets of 50 pages or less. Now the less is more motto has been replaced with the more [pages] the merrier! One trick I discovered is seeing lengthy books enhanced by offering the book in a dozen different languages. You can also bet that a professional human translator doesn’t translate, as that would be very expensive and time consuming. Ultimately, no one benefits.

Another method is for the scamming “author” to take several books and rearrange the order so the book becomes bloated with excess pages. You get a bundle of books you [probably] don’t care to read.

kindle unlimited logo * LONG Titles Stuffed with Keywords

Example: Homemade Body Butter: 25 Natural Body Butter And Lotion Recipes To Keep Your Skin Smooth And Feeling Moisturized! (How To Body Butter, DIY Body Butter, Natural Body Butter And Lotion Recipes).

kindle unlimited logo * Enticing Cover Photo of the Product[s]

A rip-off will be revealed if the featured product[s] recipe and photo aren’t included inside the eBook. For example, a stack of oatmeal soap on the cover, yet there is no oatmeal soap recipe in the rip-off title. Also, most rip-off eBooks won’t contain any photos.

kindle unlimited logo * If recipes are included, they may be in a mixture of ounces, grams, tablespoons and teaspoons, which is very confusing for the reader.

kindle unlimited logo * No medical or legal disclaimer. No safety precautions.

kindle unlimited logo * The name on the cover may be spelled differently than the name on the book’s Amazon page.

In order to avoid being ripped off, please use this article as a checklist.

Also, read what author Ann Christy has written about this topic. She includes in-depth analysis along with screenshots of some flagrant examples. http://www.annchristy.com/anatomy-of-ku-scams