Do Cats Like Soap? A Caption Contest + WIN 2 Soap Crafting eBooks

By Lisa Maliga

copyright 2015

Cats and soap don’t mix, right? Well, here’s a picture that disproves that theory. Not that the photo was planned. Earlier that day, when the sun was illuminating the window near the bookcase, I’d taken some pictures of soap for my most recent eBook. I left out a bar of wrapped soap that I’d photograph in the morning when I’d have more natural light. Along jumps Miss D., who sees the soap, takes a whiff and settles down to look at the bar of black soap [a/k/a Charcoal Cat Soap]. Maybe she’s admiring the image of a lovely feline that resembles her.

Click to enlarge

charcoal cat soap contest lisa maliga

After taking her picture in the fading light, I removed the soap and let her stay there for several hours. That’s a cat for you, always wanting to hang out wherever they please. The next morning when I needed to take pictures, she’d already found another area where she could hang out, so I didn’t have to dust for stray cat fur. After looking at the photos, I decided to put one in the book and share the other so that someone can come up with a creative caption for it.

So, if you like contests, or books, or both, you might want to enter the caption contest. Come up with a one-liner and win a free PDF copy of my latest eBook Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes AND a copy of Happy Birthday Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

The contest is open to anyone. Enter more than once to increase your chances of winning! The funnier the caption, the more likely it is to win. Please, keep it clean—pun intended!

All you have to do is write your caption in the LEAVE A COMMENT area.

I’ll choose my favorite submitted caption in a week [Tuesday, September 14]. Once the winner’s chosen, they’ll be sent both eBooks in PDF format. The next day, I’ll post the blog with the winner’s name and their clever caption.

WE HAVE A WINNER! 

I tell dog itz a biscuit. Hahahahahaha. “Hey, Droolface, come and try one of these. They’re de-lish!”

happy birthday melt and pour soap recipes organic sulfate free melt and pour glycerin soap crafting recipes
The prizes

WIN A VARIETY OF BOOKS! Sign up for The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

Advertisements

Boxed Set Friday – The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Books 1 – 3 by Lisa Maliga

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2015

Boxed Set: The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Books 1 – 3 lisa maliga ebooksI’ll admit I’m partial to boxed sets, a/k/a box sets. This is beneficial for the reader, as they can have access to a series or serial. Boxed sets are usually more cost efficient and space efficient, as you don’t have to flip from one eBook to another since they’re conveniently bundled into one file.

Before publishing my boxed set, I learned that I needed two different covers due to some online bookstores not wanting the standard three-dimensional type of cover. A non 3-D cover was the norm for some stores so that customers wouldn’t get confused into thinking they were buying actual paperback books housed in a box. Once I learned that the reason behind iTunes and Smashwords preferring a standard “flat” type of cover, I found another cover artist to design the second type of cover. Here it is:

yolanda's yummery series boxed set books 1-3 lisa maliga

I was pleased with this flat type of cover design and like it as much as the 3-D version.

I’ve noticed more boxed sets being published and I think that’s a wonderful idea. So, each Friday I’d like to highlight a boxed set whether by one author or a group of authors. Your boxed set can be on sale, free or whatever price you choose.

Want to have a special blog post dedicated to your boxed set? Send me an email and include the buy links. Once the blog has been posted on Friday, you’ll have your own boxed set page and can promote it anywhere you’d like. Your name and the title of your boxed set will be in the subject heading, making it keyword-friendly.

Just send an email to: lisa_maliga@msn.com Please use “Boxed Set Friday” in the subject heading.

Below is an example of how your page will look. If you have two different covers, I can include both of them. You can send me a longer book description. Also, if you have any fun facts about the boxed set that you’d like to share, please include them in your introductory paragraph.

Title: Boxed Set: The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, Books 1 -3 

Author: Lisa Maliga

Brief Description: This collection of sweet romance/cozy mystery eBooks contains 3 full-length novels plus a chapter to the novella that started it all: Sweet Dreams. Best of all, it’s value priced! 

Genre: Sweet Romance/Cozy Mystery

Amazon US link: http://www.amazon.com/Boxed-Set-Yolandas-Yummery-Series-ebook/dp/B00T8JKSMO

All other links: http://www.lisamaliga.com/boxedsetyolandasyummeryseries.htm

  WIN A VARIETY OF BOOKS! Sign up for The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

8 Fun Pinterest Pinning Tips!

by Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2015

I’m  a huge fan of Pinterest. It’s like being in a library full of pretty pictures and filing them in your online card catalogue! Learning how to pin is incredibly easy and once you’ve created your first board, you’re off and pinning.

Here are eight tips about how to have more fun pinning pictures on Pinterest.

PinterestLOGO1. Pin Me! 

You’ll see the red and white capital P which means it’s ready to be pinned to one of your boards, sent to a fellow member or given the red heart of approval. Additionally, you have the option of checking the Twitter box whenever you pin so you can share it with your Twitter followers.

2. Your Board Covers 

These can be changed as frequently as you like. Each board cover should reflect what your pin board is about. For my popular Talented Soapmakers board, I always choose striking and unique looking bar/s of colorful soap.

3. Pinterest & Twitter 

The following gorgeous photo of Chanel No. 5 type soap by Soproano Labs was found on my Twitter feed so I had to share it with my Pinterest followers. The two sites work very well together–much better than the early days of Twitter where you had to click links to see photos and videos.

sopranolabs soap chanel no 5

4. Commenting and Likes

Choosing to comment on any pin that floats by is entirely up to you. Some pins seem to elicit more comments than others do – especially if an adorable baby animal is the subject. Liking is that heart-shaped button on the right hand side of any pin. I ‘like’ every pin I share.

5. Organizing Pins/Pinboards 

How you choose to organize your pinboards is what can help make yours stand out more. Some opt for alphabetical order; other pinners group their boards according to subject. I’ve seen pinboards that show an entire spectrum of colors. Others are seemingly haphazardly arrayed, yet make perfect sense to the board owner. Pinterest people come from all over the world, so when it comes to pinboards, I like to include international boards–because beautiful photos transcend language. I’ve since learned the word soap in several languages. I now recognize jabon, savon, zeep, and seifen, to list a few–although there can be variations and I’ve left off the accent marks! Naming boards can also show a pinner’s creative or practical flair. Below you can see my top 11 boards. Click to enlarge image.

lisa maliga pinterest boards

6. Group Boards vs. Your Own Boards 

You may see some pinners with hundreds of thousands of followers. Don’t be fooled by large numbers as they may only follow group boards. Group boards allow you to pin your own pins or share pins. You can invite others to share pins. However, depending upon the size of the board, your contributions may get lost. Carefully read the instructions for each group board as some forbid commercial pins while others encourage them. Also, you may be limited in the number of pins per day you can add.

pinterestsoappin7. Keywords 

It’s always helpful to use keywords when you upload a pin. This way, your pin is easily found in the Pinterest search engine. For example, if you’re looking for a melt and pour soap recipe, you’ll certainly find them on the internet and especially on Pinterest. 

In the example on the right, the photo is clearly marked as to what type of soap it is, along with the company’s URL. The keyword-rich description includes the name of the company and the fact that it’s a recipe. This is very intelligent marketing.

pinterestsquirrelpin8. Pick a Board 

This feature has gotten even easier to use, especially with keyword-friendly pins. Oftentimes, I’ll pin to my Squirrel-Friends board https://www.pinterest.com/lisamaliga/squirrel-friends and while many of the pins aren’t loaded with keywords, just by using the word “squirrel” the Pick a Board feature takes me to my Squirrel-Friends board, which saves me from having to scroll down. The example on the left doesn’t show any keywords but Pinterest recognizes it as a squirrel picture and offers the correct pinning option.

Pinterest is changing for the better and you can help it grow by pinning your pretty pictures!

“Notes from Nadir” 4 Years Later

notes from nadir lisa maliga ebook cover

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

On October 21, 2010, the first eBook edition of Notes from Nadir was published on Kindle. Written as a series of blogs, Notes from Nadir made its online debut on March 3, 2010. My blog gradually began to attract readers. They seemed interested in reading the forthcoming novel that Notes from Nadir would later become.

Last year I published the second edition of “Notes” and even with a book tour, sales and reviews weren’t happening. The problem may be the title – nadir isn’t a common word. So, if you’re curious, and haven’t already gone to Dictionary.com to check it out, here’s the official description along with a summary of what Notes from Nadir is all about.

If noon is zenith then nadir is 6:30. And it was 6:29 and counting down. Way down. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “The lowest point.” Nadir – it was the place where I was inevitably going. Lots of stuff got me headed in that downward direction. Decisions made too late. Unmade calls. Calls made that weren’t answered. Missed connections. Being at the right place at the wrong time. Excuses. I was caught in the web of my own cause and effect and the resulting karma was ripening. Ripening of karma meant that payment was due pronto. And who paid for my own karma? Me. No checks accepted. No credit cards. And there sure as heck weren’t any I.O.U’s.

Only one place left to go. Back east. Back to a place I no longer called home. Back to a mom I hadn’t lived with or seen in many years. She had a new house in a quiet semi-retirement community. She had a spare room. Two-car garage. Free internet. And a few conditions…

Chapter 5 – Arriving in Nadir

In the morning, I awoke before sunup, knowing that it was my last day on the road. I didn’t want to hang around a motel room when I still had a few hundred miles to go. Soon I’d cross the Mississippi River and be in another state. I’d see things that hadn’t been seen in years: Hardee’s, Sunoco, Steak ‘n Shake, and White Castle.

Driving into the rising sun. Crossing into a state that had a top speed of 65. I saw more snow. When I was partially through the state, I stopped and got gas. It was definitely colder and I stepped over some snow to get to the pump. Being almost “home” was starting to suck.

The end stretch of the 2,000-mile journey led through flatlands and farmlands with intermittent groves of trees to eradicate the geographical monotony. How dull and colorless compared to the dramatic scenery of Arizona and New Mexico. Those miles rolled by as I reluctantly headed east to a “home” I had never seen since Mom moved to her one-story dwelling eight years ago.

The miles vanished. My arrival was imminent. I glanced at traffic heading west and recalled how it was when I was driving in that direction—full of hope. Now, I was full of despair, full of failure. Each mile led me closer to the “cornfield with lights” as my father, who had escaped before me, referred to it.

I changed to a smaller two-lane road that would lead me to within a mile of Mom’s new house. I had long ago memorized her address and she’d told me which streets to take and how easy it was to find. The new subdivision was called Hampton Lake and it was for older people. She’d sent me some pictures of her house and it was as generic as any modern one-story frame house with neutral colors and a few windows offset by some shrubbery and trees. Passed a place where I used to work and saw it had been replaced with a mart type store. Couldn’t help noticing the traffic signals were the old fashioned kind that were strung on wires rather than posts that extended across the intersection like they did in L.A.

I took a wrong turn and had to go another mile in some suburban/country area before I found the right street. I drove slower than normal until I saw the large wooden Hampton Lake sign. Next to it was an American flag. As I drove to the end of the cul de sac I had reached the End Point of my journey.

 

notes from nadir paperbackAmazon Kindlehttp://www.amazon.com/Notes-from-Nadir-ebook/dp/B00486UDJA

Paperbackhttp://www.amazon.com/Notes-Nadir-Lisa-Maliga/dp/1493519077/

B&N Nookhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/notes-from-nadir-lisa-maliga/1100144163?ean=2940012697790

More links can be found here: http://lisamaliga.com/notesfromnadir.htm 

Paid Blog Tours are a Waste of Time & Money

computerkickBy Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2014

I’ve done two virtual blog tours. Both were for different contemporary fiction titles. Tours lasted for 14 days and they were with two different blog tour companies.

The second blog tour company has been around longer than the first, but longevity doesn’t mean scrupulousness. For my second tour, my optimism was shattered after receiving the interview questions. On five out of seven questionnaires, I was asked what inspired me to write my book?

Guess the blog owners didn’t tax themselves when it came to thinking up questions. Copying the questionnaires in a Word document, I read the rest of the prosaic queries. Then it struck me: not one single question pertained to my book. They’d all gotten free copies of it, had seen the cover, had received the blurb, and had ample time to read or at least skim it. Yet there was absolutely no level of interest in a novel that took me years to write and rewrite and have edited. I also checked out the various bloggers’ sites and noticed that most of them had a boilerplate template where they asked the same questions repeatedly and only the answers differed.

While I was aware that many of the bloggers preferred romance/YA novels and its subgenres, I also knew that a contemporary novel wasn’t that far of a stretch for blog owners to promote. As the second tour company allegedly had an extensive list of bloggers I thought that they would be able to effectively match up my book to blogs that were also contemporary fiction-friendly.

Yeah, right.

Another problem was the size of the blogs: some had as few as 20 followers while others had more than 2000. But how accurate was that? I’d once sent a nonfiction book to a blogger to review who had 500 followers. Sales of my book increased and there were also several comments on the book review and giveaway. But that never happened to me on either novel tour. Admittedly, I probably wasn’t giving enough of an incentive [bribe] for readers other than free PDF copies of my novels. No Amazon or B&N gift cards, no free Kindles or Nooks, nothing of any “value” other than my eBooks.

I was told to provide three excerpts and some of the interviewers asked for other excerpts making the total seven plus one blog topic of my own choosing. As the second tour progressed, I began seeing the excerpts repeating themselves. In some cases, bloggers were adding two excerpts instead of just one.

Blog tours are coordinated several weeks in advance, yet more than once during the first tour, I had to contact the blog tour owner and ask why my scheduled interview/excerpt/review hadn’t been posted.

Instead of opting for a review-only tour, I went for tours that featured interviews, excerpts, and reviews. The first time I garnered four reviews, but in my second foray in virtual booktourland I received one generic review.

I’ll admit it: twice I made time-killing mistakes. I spent a few hours answering the questions. I wanted to be sure they weren’t repetitive, which is tricky when faced with many similar questions. I opted for lighthearted answers to keep the content enjoyable for the reader. As a “veteran” of one blog tour with little upsurge in eBook sales, I wasn’t expecting anything different the second time around. As the tour limped on, I knew I was right but not in a good way.

I was paying to give any available blogger the tour company lined up free material. My writing was helping promote their blog. It was getting them page views, ad revenue and touted their own books and/or products. They got fresh content that only required them to format each post. Aside from the money and time spent on the blog tours, the sheer lack of interest became apparent — a blogger/reviewer often won’t bother to read your book. There are reviewers who’ll read an entire book and write a lucid review—but I have no idea what percentage that covers—it’s just the luck of the draw. Weeks after the second tour was over, I happened to look up my book to see how it was doing on Google. Randomly clicking a link to a blog where I’d contributed an excerpt, I saw the page was now blank — the blog owner had removed the post.

And that summarizes how I feel about doing a third paid virtual book tour…it’s not an option I would consider again.