Two Book Reviews Coming: Faded and Disenchanted

(The Flicker Effect) (Volume 3) Paperback – May 28, 2015
by Melanie Hooyenga

“Biz didn’t think life could get worse after the tragic events that surrounded her last flicker, but when she accidentally flickers on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined. When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop. Forever.”

Amazon Paperback: $15.04 (Prime) {I purchased mine on July 1st}
Amazon Kindle: $2.99 {I purchased mine on March 12th}


Disenchanted (The Coventree Chronicles) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 6, 2015
by Janet Ursel

“In this Christian fantasy, one young wizard with a hunger for wisdom and some dangerous secrets finds himself pitted against another ready to reach for power with the darkest forces possible. Wizards have never in the history of Coventree, renounced Wizardry. But Blayn Goodwin finds himself growing detached from the practice of Wizardry, even as he rises through the ranks to become the youngest member of the Supreme Council. He has lost interest in the usual gods in favor of a god without a name, not that he makes that fact public. Edgar Savile has his own traitorous secrets and kidnaps Blayn’s eldest son to prevent Blayn from probing into them. Meanwhile the Supreme Wizard, suspicious of Edgar, sends Blayn to retrieve an ancient book from the Other World, hoping it will arm them against Edgar’s treachery. What Blayn finds is not what anyone expects, and threatens to tear Coventree’s fraying system apart at the seams.”

Amazon Paperback: $17.04 (Prime) {I purchased mine on July 17th and it should be here on the Monday}
Amazon Kindle: $4.99 {I did not purchase the Kindle version}

Some of you may be wondering why I purchased both the Kindle and the paperback version of Melanie’s book. I’ve done this throughout her entire trilogy because I fell in love with it right from chapter one. When I fall in love with a book, I want it in paper. I tend to purchase books first on Kindle and, if I’m unsure about them, I try to get them during their $.99 or free promotions as often as possible. When I fell in love with her book, I got it in paper. Then, when the rest of the series started rolling out, I knew I would want to read it when I was on the go – in waiting rooms, waiting during carpool, and so on. So, I got both versions each time. For Janet’s book, I went ahead and purchased the paperback from the get-go because I have a lot of faith in her writing having read her work over the years.

Even though I purchased Melanie’s Kindle version in March, I had a long TBR list I was working through ahead of her title . . . so . . . I’m just now getting to this read. Janet’s book is the very next one on the list, so the reviews will be piggy-backing themselves here in the coming weeks. I love helping authors promote their work and I’ve been “cyber friends” with both of these fantastic women for years. So, talking up their work here seems like the most natural thing to do. By the way, Maine doesn’t allow for Amazon affiliate links, so I don’t receive any type of kick-back at all if you decide to purchase their books using the links within this post. I’m linking to them because I want to – not because I get anything in return. *smiles*

Facebook’s In-Post Insights Tool: Just Now Noticing

I’m not sure if this is a new tool that has just rolled out recently or if I’m slow and only just now noticing it, but I stumbled across it today while viewing my pages for engagement. I try to get on my pages daily to see my reach (which is small lately because Facebook is constantly changing algorithms) so I can see what is working and what isn’t . . . that is when I noticed this in-post insights tool.


I really like this feature because, rather than having to look in on the dashboard (which is a hassle considering how long marketing already takes) for each page, all I have to do is scan the feed. I can see specifically which post is receiving clicks and which ones are reaching followers. Then, I can see the engagement percentage.


Why Are These Stats Important?

This means a lot because, in the world of marketing, content is king. I know that is a clichéd phrase, but it also an extremely meaningful one. It is one marketers have to pay attention to . . . everyday. Creatives have a difficult time thinking of themselves as marketers because it’s a VERY different hat to wear. We have to think analytically, mathematically, and strategically . . . rather than scattered, messy, and mixed-up like some of us do.


Don’t Become Obsessed!

Do you see how this last image looks good and it also looks bad? There are good numbers – the increase in clicks, even though it’s small, in clicks is good. There are bad numbers, the decrease in engagement, shows a below average percentage. Don’t obsess over these numbers! This is meant as a guide to show you where improvements can be made! Yes, we want these numbers to be higher! Yes, want engagement to increase! Yes, we want more clicks!

Why is More Engagement Important?

The increase in engagement on social media means more clicks. When more clicks occur, this means more followers are clicking over to your site. When ore followers are clicking over to your site, this means you’re receiving more visitors. More visitors’ means there is more potential for a sales conversion when they arrive. That’s where the meaningful part comes in . . . these numbers are incredibly meaningful. If you’re not getting the clicks . . . you’re not getting the visitors.


Develop a Plan for Seller Platforms: How to Make Them Work


Now that I have multiple seller platforms (and I intend to find more to experiment with – I have several other artist and photography friends who are successfully utilizing many other sites, so I figured I would try to wet my hands with as many as possible before icing things over), it’s time to develop a plan for them. This site, my central hub if you will, is the perfect place jumping off point. Why? Because I can do anything I want here. I can:

  • Develop great content about the features and benefits of as many different products within each line as I’d like.
  • Define specific categories for each theme, rather than keeping them separated within each site thanks to the “embed” tool featured within each control panel offered by the companies I’m using.
  • Engage with customers with regards to customizations they are looking for within each product line, design, or trend.
  • Create specific marketing focused on a product line (as a whole), design theme (as a whole or in part), special offer (featured within each site), or developed here on this site.
  • Add another area of social media engagement through this site in addition to the efforts I am doing within each platform on my own. (As well as add another area for commenting on this site, too, for those who would rather not comment on social media and want to keep it to the blog.)
  • Write newsletters, articles, and blog posts offering tips and tricks to help others who are interested in launching their own product lines through each of these sites.


I already have widgets built into the sidebar of this site for some of the seller platforms I’m utilizing: (and I added them to Maine-ly Motherhood, as well, for added exposure)

I haven’t created one for FineArtAmerica or CafePress yet because I’m not sure if I’m going to keep those other two widgets or not. My fear is that, if I develop a “shop” or “store” area that it will become overkill or “spammy” if I have all the widgets with “shop now” features in the sidebars, as well. I’ll have to give this some extra thought and do some more research about the do’s and don’ts before moving forward. In the meantime, those two widgets will stay while I build pages.

Speaking of pages, this will take some time to develop. I’m going to create specific areas for each design so there is a one stop shop for everything. That way, customers don’t have to keep clicking around in my social media accounts if they want to see a design and what is offered from which site. They can simply see the design and everything that is offered in one shot. Because the embed codes are different for each site, it’s going to look a little strange, so I have to figure out a way to streamline it for aesthetics and to keep the pages from looking too junky. This will make for another good “how to” article in the future, as well . . .


The point of this post?

If you’re going to develop extensive product lines within a number of different seller platforms, as I have, it’s important to figure out how to get them sold. You can’t just sit back and expect the sales to come in. it’s a lot like selling books, artwork or even things like Mary Kay or Arbonne products. In order for your business to work you have to work your business.

Giving CafePress Another Chance

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Yesterday, I created a new product line on CafePress using this photograph:


I decided to give this selling platform another chance because, honestly, I really didn’t give it a fair shot my first time around. I’m going to load up all the photographs I’ve been using on all the other selling platforms I have going and see what happens. Plus, there are a number of other products I can design on this platform that are not available on the others. My favorite so far is the Tumbler:


I also really like how the Tile Coaster came out, too:


These are just two of the examples in this entire collection. The entire collection can be found here: Florals. Another Seller Platform


For those of you who follow me on social media, you may have noticed a bunch of new listings auto-posting to my feeds from yesterday. Yes, I’m experimenting with another (ANOTHER!) new seller platform. A friend of mine (who is also a writer and a very talented photographer), Mike Dressel, posted a link not too long ago mentioning that he had just began using the site.

I had seen other artists selling paintings on there, but they were “big name” people with large followings . . . they weren’t “normal people” like Mike and I. When I see someone like me trying something new, that’s when I’m more apt to give it a go. Otherwise, I think it’s a waste of time because I don’t have anything close to a big name following like Allison Crow or Pam Talley.

So, with that said, I set up another account and listed several new products. I love how quick and easy the set up process was. I also love how the site auto-posted everything for me, so it made marketing products so much quicker. The only thing I worry about with that, though, is my followers feeling like they’re being spammed . . . because the set up for each image IS so fast, so there is a quick succession of social media postings.

Now that I have this new platform, it does mean another area of design and management (albeit quick). There are a TON of tools available in comparison to the other platforms, though, so it looks like I may be on this site a bit more than the others using their blog, discount options, events, and contests. They’ve truly set the profile up to be a “gallery space” for each member, so I intend to use it as such.

In the meantime, here are the pieces I shared with the world yesterday:

Photography Prints
Art Prints
Photography Prints
Art Prints
Sell Art Online
Photography Prints