August is almost halfway gone…

“Good grief, Charlie Brown, it’s almost time for school!” Certainly, that phrase was said over and over again, by the wonderful Peanuts’ kids. And here we are again, almost mid August.

I don’t know about you, but my summer has definitely been eventful–in a good way. Every time I look at my blog page, I am more and more aware of how far the internet stretches. I see people from all over the world that have looked at my page. I wish I could meet them all. Regardless, thank you!

I think it takes a year for things to really start to percolate for a writer. As some of you know, my year–Phillip’s one year anniversary was July 7th. Since then, things just started to rock ‘n’ roll. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/061593739X&quot; title=“Phillip’s Quest, Book I: Winterfrost”>Winterfrost” has received new energy and new followers. The Gnome Gnewsletter was published and accepted by most. Personally, I would recommend a newsletter for any author. It allows one to get the word out to those who are not a fan of social media–yes there are some “un-fans.”

It certainly takes a village to market a book. So, I was able to put together a team of unbelievably professional women to help me out. From one of the sweetest and most brilliant ladies I know–Ms. Katherine Gotthardt, who helped me when I was a floundering guppy (floundering flounder?), to the amazing Bethany Joy Carlson, of The Artists’ Partner (my personal cheerleader and marketing guru), to the wonderful Jessica Parker and her team, at BookLogix Publishing Services, I couldn’t be in better hands.

So, Phillip will be ready for his next adventure without the bumps and bruises he suffered before. Can I just tell you how important it is to find the right people!

Our next endeavor happens September 1, 2014. The Kickstarter Campaign begins for Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars. Don’t let anybody kid you, it is definitely laborious. But, with the support of a great team, it can be done. We have put in many pledge rewards. There are different rewards listed for the level of pledge you make. When I say “pledge,” I mean MONEY! As I said, producing and marketing a book takes some outgo of cash to pay the team members and help defray other costs, so anything you can spare to keep Phillip’s Quest, on the shelves is very much appreciated.

September 18, 2014 will be the closing night for Virginia’s <a href="http://fallforthebook.org/2014/08/10/haute-cuisine-at-the-hylton/&quot; title="Fall for the Book”>Fall for the Book festival. The event starts in Fairfax, Virginia on September 11th at George Mason University and ends at the Hylton Center for the Arts in Manassas, Virginia–you can follow all the activities on their app. The event is a Haute Cuisine event and will have food tastings, demonstrations and discussions by a variety of chefs, foodies, cookbook authors and Cluadia Lefeve, a fellow author and friend. Oh! And me! From the recipes of “Winterfrost”, and “Above the Stars”, to the recipes from my Mom’s table. I was and am honored to have been chosen to participate and will be serving; Ivy’s Tater Dumplings, Phillip’s Mater and Hazlenut Sauce and one of the recipes from the new book!

This week, I was able to start scheduling my signings for the Christmas season and was thrilled when the owner of <a href="http://www.thethingsilovemanassas.com&quot; title=“The Things I Love”>The Things I Love, an exquisite shop in Old Towne Manassas, allowed me to do that on December 5, 2014, during the Tree Lighting Festival. This store and the downtown area comes alive and turns into a Winter Wonderland. I am thrilled, to say the least. Then, on Sunday, December 7th, I have another signing at <a href="http://www.flowergallerymanassas.com&quot; title=“The Flower Gallery”>The Flower Gallery. Another magical shop where I will be part of their Holiday Open House. Such a special opportunity and I am grateful.

Not to leave out one of my favorite events for November! I will again be reading to the children at Mayfield Elementary School–as I did last year.

So, this summer has flown by, but what a great summer it has been. Thank you to all my gnomes, fairies and angels! I’ve loved every minute.

2014-06-05 20.02.16

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Happy Birthday, Phillip!

It’s been one year since my little Phillip was put on the page. Like a proud Momma, I am! He would have had a better birthday if it weren’t for Edward–oh, you don’t know about that, yet–but, you will! Book II, Above the Stars will fill you in! In the meantime, please join me in wishing my Phillip a Happy Birthday!

Handsome little fellow, isn’t he?

New Contests and Give Aways for Phillip’s Quest and the Ragworts

Image The last post I wrote was how to submit a review on Amazon.com. Like FaceBook and other social media sites, there is a definite algorithm for how they rate their users. None, more evident than Amazon.com.   An author must have 40+ reviews on a book, before Amazon even notices them  And, they rank an author by the number of those reviews.  There are literally millions of authors on Amazon, so you can imagine how difficult it is to move up in rank.  The higher the rank, the better the royalty. Right now, “Winterfrost,“has only 8, count em’ 8 reviews of the almost 500 books sold. Phillip is very sad. Just the other day he said to me, “Boots and britches, Miss Belinda, what are we to do?”  And Edward…well, you can imagine a squirrel going well, nuts! So, I said, “Guys, I’ll think of something.” Here it is!  A CONTEST! 1.  Either email, IM or Private Message me through FB  and send me your email address after you have written a review on Amazon.com of either “Winterfrost” or “The Ragworts.” 2.  After either “WInterfrost” or “The Ragworts” reaches 40 reviews, there will be a random drawing for an: a) FREE First Edition, signed copy of Phillip’s Quest, Book II: Above the Stars, b) a card for a free ebook of your choice from Authorhouse.com and c) a free Autumn Moon Tree, made by Ethora. Check out the Etsy shop!Image“Nuts and acorns, acorns and nuts, that’s a lot, Miss Belinda!” Edward began running around like a squirrel with peanut butter! “Yes, Edward, it is, but we have to get these folks to write those reviews!” So, folks, please help us get to 40 reviews on Amazon.com and you can win a prize! Only 32 to go!  Thanks. xoxox

Reviews–An Author’s Life Blood

Did you know that a review from a reader is like a million dollars to an author? Well, only of they’re good, of course.  But still, a bad review helps an author learn what needs to be fixed. After you have sold a few books, especially through Amazon, it’s always nice to check in with the customer reviews to see what’s been written.  What I’ve found out though, is some people don’t know that the option is available. And, don’t realize how valuable that review is. So, boys and girls, ladies and gents, friends and family, here is “Writing the Review, 101.”

If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon, then you should already have an account.  If you haven’f, good for you! No, really, Amazon is a great place to shop–especially for BOOKS or ebooks!  So, I will assume that you’re not part of the 10% of people in the US who has never bought anything on Amazon.  But, lets start at the beginning so:

  1. Go to your favorite SEARCH engine and type in, Amazon or Amazon.com or http://www.amazon.com or, if you want to go right to the source, click on the link: http://www.amazon.com/Phillips-Quest-Book-Winterfrost/dp/0615886930/  There! Phillip's Quest
  2. If you DON’T use the above link, that’s fine, once you’re in Amazon, just search for my name: belinda miller or Phillip’s Quest or in the near future, The Ragworts! Voila!
  3. You should be on the book page of Winterfrost.  That’s a good thing.
  4. Now, scroll, scroll, scroll to the bottom of the page where it says “Write a Customer Review.”
  5. Don’t forget the number of STARS! Hopefully, you’ll tap 5, but I realize not everyone loves Phillip.
  6. Add your review!  It can be one word like “Great,” or two words like “Really great,” or three words like “Not so great.”  It’s okay, I’ll still love you! Or a lengthy and profound review, that’s good too!
  7. The final step is to SUBMIT, and let Amazon do its magic.
  8. And then, there’s this:Image

The best review of all.