Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Advertising vs Marketing

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Do you know the Difference?  Or better asked: Do you like to watch commercials - or do you prefer to listen to, or read a story, get useful information, watch a video or slideshow, or be otherwise entertained? Authors are in a perfect position, they already have content and they don't need to hire someone to write for them.  Everything they write, other than their novels, are in a way content marketing:  Social Media posts, blog posts, guest blogs, short stories ...
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  Content Marketing Infographic
Dot Com Infoway – Digital Marketing Agency


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More about book marketing on a shoestring:



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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fantasy Writer Kay Theodoratus: The Ghostcrow

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Kay Theodoratus, is a prolific Fantasy writer published almost a dozen short stories - and just recently an e-book: The Ghostcrow.  She welcomes readers to her magical, paranormal world and describes it: “Fantasy, a wonderful way to run away from mundane annoyances.”
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I asked Kay: “What inspired you to start writing?”

"I have always told stories, ever since an imaginary friend started coming to play with me when I was about three.  Writing stories didn’t occur to me until the sixth grade when a teacher assigned the class a short story.  Everyone did their three-five pages. I wrote 25 pages of an incomplete story Nancy Drew pastiche, and got a “C”, but finished a full-length middle-grade novel the next summer.  I’ve been writing something, more or less, ever since.  Selling what I wrote is another story, but I’ve done that fairly often when I tried."

"One of the reasons I like writing Fantasy is that I can design the rules which my characters play with.  It’s a way to leave the mundane world behind and ask “what if?” and then, follow the consequences wherever they take me.  The big difference now is that I am more willing to share my pretend worlds."

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Kay is there a book review that you especially remember?
One review of Showdown at Crossings, also set in my world of Andor, sticks in my mind:

“This is a fantasy fiction story that was so innovative.  There’s magic, a world that is different from what we know, and plenty of suspense.  The main character isn’t your usual strapping young man; in fact, he’s older and yet we love the hero he strives to become to protect his town.
If you love Fantasy then this is the tale for you.  It is so different from what I have read before and that’s a good thing.  Too many fantasy stories seem to start out the same way or strive to be like the others and this did not – it’s innovative and excellent.”

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Her Latest Book THE GHOSTCROW is Available:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U5RTMC0
Amazon Author Page — http://www.amazon.com/M.-K.-Theodoratus/e/B0055EBKVE/
Smashwords — https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/524046
iTunes — https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-ghostcrow-a-tale-of-andor/id973215103?mt=11
iBookstore — http://www.ibookstore.com/products.php?i=B00U5RTMC0
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Visit Kay Theodoratus Online:
Blog – http://kaytheod.blogspot.com
Author Website – http://www.mktheodoratus.com
YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdjWx7V6i04lHyTABHzqVrA
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Meet Kay Theodoratus on Social Media:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kaytheod
Google+ — https://plus.google.com/114959381917569899950
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5478544-m-k-theodoratus
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/M-K-Theodoratus/235376633158175?ref=hl
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/kkaytheod/

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Severe Weather: Be Prepared in Advance

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Well not only in advance, always be prepared!  It may not hit you as hard as residents of New Orleans a couple of years ago, but any kind of severe weather might bring your live to a hold.

No matter where you are living: In the New England states with its snow storms in Winter, in the Midwest or South where Tornadoes are frequent or in California with its many fires during summer or the occasional earthquake, always have your emergency items ready (best place is in a backpack).  Check and update your disaster preparedness kit. 


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Ten important items should be included in your disaster kit, for example as recommended by Indiana's government:
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1. Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day!)

2. Battery operated all hazards radio (airs more than 60 types of emergency alerts)

3. Flashlights for each room

4. Extra batteries for radio and flashlights

5. First aid kit 6. Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets and personal hygiene items

7. List of emergency phone numbers 8. Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information)

9. Cash (small bills as well, as power outages can limit ability to use ATMs and credit cards)

10. Special items (baby formula, insulin, life sustaining medication, pet supplies).

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After experiencing several power outages during storms I always have my laptop 100% battery-loaded and when severe weather is announced I fill several buckets with water, as the water supply in washrooms need electricity to be pumped! If you know what I mean : )
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A suitable shelter is another important aspect to prepare for severe weather or an earthquake.  For those living in homes or apartment buildings, residents should take shelter in the lowest level of the building, away from windows and doors.
Also store wood panels in order to nail them in front of your windows when expecting heavy weather - or even better: real shutters that protect your windows and can also be used as a sun screen.  If flooding is an issue, think about getting a small boat.  Park your car in the garage or far away from trees.  And don't forget to update your insurance regularly.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Fiza Pathan's Latest Book

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Two years ago I met Fiza over Skype when we started to help promoting her first book: 
CLASSICS: Why we should encourage children to read them in which she propagated the importance of classics to students, parents and teachers. 
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Prior to an author interview with her I read the book and was very impressed by Fiza Pathan's book. She is enthusiastic about this topic and with good reason, as the success of her students show. Teacher colleagues have the benefit to use her techniques for stimulation of their English classes.
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A couple of books later, Fiza Pathan has written the sequel Classics: HOW parents and teachers can encourage children to read them - starting in small steps, according to the children’s age and abilities. Her enthusiasm for this topic is really contagious, even for readers who do not teach children. One can see these classics from different angles through Fiza’s writing.
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Classics: How we can encourage children to read them is both: a passionate guide and a practical tool for educators. And also a great tool even for mature writers to be reminded of these classics, stellar examples of great literature.

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In between those two great works came more books, notably (and surprisingly for me) NIRMALA The Mud Blossom.  Not for the faint of heart, it is a must read to learn about brutal reality in some of the societies in India - and for sure in other countries too...  I read it in one weekend and I was deeply moved by it.
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Find more articles I wrote about Fiza’s books online, for example:

http://content-on-demand.blogspot.com/2014/12/fiza-pathan-and-her-latest-book.html (all books)

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/the-nirmala-effect-by-fiza-pathan/ (Nirmala)

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/the-nirmala-effect-by-fiza-pathan/ (Interview)

and an essay by Fiza Pathan:  Could the reading of good classics avert many man-made disasters?
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/reading-classics-can-change-humanity/
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To find more articles I published about Fiza Pathan’s books: Just go to SavvyBookWriters.com/blog and type Fiza Pathan into the search function

I am sure her latest book CLASSICS: How we can encourage children to read them will be a very successful one, just as the prequel is!


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Nothing Says “Elegance” More than a Glass Table.

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Do you prefer antique, contemporary or classic interior design in your home?  Or a mixture of styles?  Glass elements will combine any styles, no matter from which period.
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Glass Tables
Tables are certainly not made entirely of glass, rather, a tabletop is made from glass and is supported with a frame made from a variety of timber, metal, and in some cases even ceramics or stone.  The frame, whatever the material is, holds the glass and incorporates the legs of the dining or side table.
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Tempered Safety Glass for Tables
Don't worry about is whether glass dining tables are actually safe.  The good news is that they can be just as safe as any other type of dining table, especially since almost all glass tables that are on the market now use tempered safety glass.
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Dining and coffee tables are necessary elements of any home, and are an important part of interior designs.  You will find a variety of glass tables in any desirable shape here.



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Sunday, March 1, 2015

97 Percent of Visitors Leave Your Web Page ...


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It's a proven fact: 97 % of visitors leave a blog or web page within the first 20 seconds if it isn't engaging - not to mention: if your website is loading too slow. According to Statistic Brain, the average human attention span decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds between 2000 and 2013.  Web users are having a tough time concentrating on tasks. It’s likely because they’re bombarded with information and they need to sift through a lot of irrelevant content.
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What Does this Mean for You?
If your business website doesn't get straight to the point, and convince the reader otherwise, they will abandon your web presence and you have lost a client or customer. You also need to engage your visitors of your website. Here are some tips to help your business website content to become successful. 
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Find out What Content Your Audience Want and Needs.
Ensure that these are topics that help them to resolve an issue or delivers the important news. If you produce content that is both informative and timeless, you are guaranteed to see more visitors to your site.
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Continually Update Content that is Older.There are always developments, even in evergreen topics, so update your existing content to keep it fresh. If you don't, your customers don't see you as a professional. Do not only update the body text but also the meta-tags - the language which Google reads, it helps with your website's SEO ranking.
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Offer Website Content in a Variety of Formats.Some people like to read, some listen, some watch. Therefore offer all formats to your audience and at the same time improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
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  • A blog post can be turned into a PDF and offered on the page for download and printing, which also can then be uploaded to a PDF directory like Scribd.com and linked back to the original article on your site.
  • Or you can read out the blog post and record it, then you will have an mp3 which can go on iTunes and be embedded in the page.
  • Create a Powerpoint of the main points and upload to Slideshare.net. 
  • Combine the audio and Powerpoint to create a video which can be uploaded to YouTube.
  • From one single piece of content you have created four different media types and each one can be syndicated and linked back to your website creating quality backlinks.
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Give Your Visitors Value
Make sure your content adds value and helps people. Competition becomes more and more fierce and Google even more sophisticated (that's where SEO comes in again), your website must be of a higher standard. If you proof your website visitors that you have something of value to offer, convincing them that you are an expert in your field, your website will become your best sales tool.
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Solve Problems for Your Audience 
It will ensure you produce high quality content. Describe the problem and then outline the answer – you can then give your audience a taste of the solution. The key is to not give the full solution, but to convince the reader that you have the know-how to provide them with the service (or a product) that they need. 
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Engage Your Website Visitors.
It takes time and effort to write a comment, and some readers might not be outgoing. A compelling strategy to keep web audiences engaged is to host a quiz using a tool like Qzzr.com, or a poll by Poll-Maker.com, PollCode.com or PollEveryWhere.com (all are free).
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What all these steps have in common is that they are extremely subtle — they complement any strategic direction and don’t require much work or money to implement. These small actions have the potential ripple effect to yield great results.



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Snow - aka Champagne-Powder in Big White, BC

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Canada's largest, totally ski-in ski-out resort village Big White was awarded North America’s #1 Family Resort. When I visited end of November they had already 3 feet of snow.  Both, me and my dog wished we had snow shoes with us, when we sunk several times into the deep snow trying to make a shortcut to another road.  Right now the top levels have almost 7 feet of snow (over 2 meters).  The location of this resort is outstanding, the views are stunning and you have sun almost all day long and on most days you can see the panorama of mountains and hills for hundreds of miles.  Several days a week you can even ski at night from 4pm to 8pm.
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During my stay there where no waiting times at the ski lifts, in fact only approx. 20vpercent of the ski lifts were used, almost entirely by young Aussies who seem to man the whole resort workforce. They are very friendly, upbeat and an awesome bunch of youngsters / students who work in the resort during the season from mid November to end of April. On their days off or after shifts they can ski for free as much as they want.  

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What You Need to Know about Big White

1. Big White is for Winter Sport.
The resort town is in a very remote area, no villages around and no grown infrastructure.  I could count the number of houses I have seen in the last 40 kilometers on one hand... The population in and around Big White consists of 60 people, however with visitors it grows to 22,000 at the Christmas and New Year's high season. Don't compare it with Breckenridge in Colorado, Whistler near Vancouver, BC or any of thousands of ski towns in Europe: Big White is marvelous and a perfect place for skiers and snowboarders, but that's it.  Barely any apres-ski activities, other than going out for an evening dinner or some music entertainment. Concerts, a library, movies etc. are absent. No critique at all, just to let you know what to expect - and to let you know that snow and skiing are the big thing here - not partying.
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2. Transportation is Solely by Car or Bus.
There is a shuttle bus from Kelowna's airport to the resort - in my eyes the safest way to get there.  
Even though the resort is only 60 kilometer from Kelowna and its international airport, the drive can be tough, and it is for sure longer than an hour, it took me more than two hours!  I was lucky to make it without winter tires / snow chains, as I drove very carefully and slow. The road will be plowed, but not salted. My drive was both ways during the week, so not any traffic to speak of. The road is very winding and in parts pretty steep.  Should you have an accident on the road or on the ski hill or any health condition: Transportation to the Kelowna hospital is via the only connecting road. No helipad available at the resort.  When you travel by air to Kelowna, spare your money for a rental car.  You don't need it in Big White as the lifts start directly in town, the roads are very narrow and there are no parking spaces unless you have one in your own vacation rental place.
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3. Shopping and Groceries.
My camera quit on me at the last hour of my stay. For the way back and until I could purchase a new one, I wanted to buy a small digital camera.  No luck, there are neither batteries, memory sticks nor any cameras available, I asked a local security guide and I went to all six shops in Big White. Yes, six is the total amount of stores there, where you can buy anything at all and only in one you can purchase groceries (at inflated prices, however they need all to be extra-delivered to this high-altitude place).
When renting a vacation apartment in Big White 
organize your purchases before you travel up - and even if you are in one of the very few hotels and don't want to eat in restaurants three times a day, or if you are on a special diet.  Better don't forget anything!  If you arrive at Kelowna airport, take a taxi to the nearest grocery store or Costco in the city and stock up for the whole time of your stay. Not only food, but drinks, water, milk and everything else you might need - before you enter your shuttle bus to Big White.

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Photo Big White Resort


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And Now the Fun Begins!
I haven't seen better snow anywhere else! Champagne Powder as the snow is called, falls in huge amounts every year in this vast acreage for skiers, snowboarders, nordic fans, skaters and sun lovers. Make sure not to miss the Free Mountain Tours: Local "Snow Hosts" will show you the best ski and snowboarding spots on Big White with a Complimentary Mountain Tour.  This tour will open your eyes to the locals’ favourite ski and snowboard runs, providing you with the ins and outs of Big White Resorts.  Guided cross-country skiing tours are offered Thursday to Sunday to introduce you to the 9 miles / 14 km of nordic trails
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Big White, 40 miles/60 kilometers from Kelowna in British Columbia was named one of the Top Ski Resorts from a world-renowned German resort test portal.  After an assessment using 18 stringent criteria, the site Skiresort.info awarded Big White 4.3 out of a possible five stars.  Did I mention the wonderful clear and clean air?  Coming from the city it was such a treat to smell this fresh and unpolluted air.  I am looking forward to the next ski and snow vacation in Big White!  Maybe even this spring when they offer specials after the Easter Holidays.  
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