I can’t help it, I’m so in love with new puppy Lily, I just had to post some pics. ❤
Unfortunately, I had to take them with my Kindle so the pics aren’t super sharp, but Lily was definitely enjoying her first chew bone. ❤
I can’t help it, I’m so in love with new puppy Lily, I just had to post some pics. ❤
Unfortunately, I had to take them with my Kindle so the pics aren’t super sharp, but Lily was definitely enjoying her first chew bone. ❤
Anyone who sells anything on Amazon is familiar with the many rules, guidelines and, peculiarities of writing their product listing page. It can be very confusing and sometimes sellers can have their pages suspended if they do something wrong. Often it takes a while to sort out exactly what the seller did wrong and ends up costing her sales.
Over the last 2-3 years I’ve written hundreds of product listings for clients and have developed a list of best practices when approaching a listing. If your page isn’t doing well or not converting the way you would like perhaps these tips will be helpful.
Follow the rules. This means character limits, formatting, verboten words, and promises. Did you know that the only punctuation allowed in bullets and titles are commas and semicolons? Or that you aren’t allowed to put sales and/or discount information in bullets or titles? While you may flaunt the rules and seem to get away with it, eventually the Zon catches up with you and you risk having your listing suspended.
Reduce your keywords to 5-7. The urge to want to use as many keywords as possible is often irrestitible, but you should try to resist anyway. The truth is, if you have narrowed your focus to your ideal customer, you shouldn’t need more than 5-7 keywords. And no matter what anyone tells you, consumers do not read keyword stuffed copy. For good reason, it usually makes no sense.
Search reviews of your own product and competitors with similar or the same product for benefits, phrasing, and language that will resonate with your prospect. You may even find inspiration for an awesome headline. Look for phrases, features and, benefits that come up repeatedly in the reviews – these are the things that are resonating with the consumer or your product. Also, check the headline on the reviews, they may spark a great idea for an awesome headline.
Never, ever, ever, ever pay for reviews. This includes review swapping (I’ll review yours if you review mine), hiring ‘services’ that will do reviews, etc. Amazon has really cracked down on phony reviews in the last couple of years and in fact are suing several parties who were selling Amazon reviews. If you have fake reviews on your account you risk being banned from Amazon. They are that serious about it. This article about paid reviews you may find very illuminating.
Don’t waste bullet points on guarantees or bonuses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bullet points that talk about bonuses, sales discounts, and guarantees. It’s a waste of a bullet. There is ample room elsewhere in the listing to mention these items. And if you can’t come up with at least 5 benefits of your product perhaps you are selling the wrong product.
Stop using ALL CAPS. Ditto on stars, check-marks or other fancy symbols that you think will make your copy stand out. In fact, ALL CAPS when used in the Internet means you are yelling at a person. Do you really want to yell at your prospect? Honestly, these marks and symbols don’t do anything to highlight your product and it looks amateurish.
Don’t waste your product description. Many sellers spend all their time on titles and bullets and then just toss a generic paragraph of unimpressive sales copy down in the product description. It’s an absolute waste of space to do that. Your product description gives you the most room to really regale your product and speak directly to your prospect. Use your product description to take your prospect through the sales cycle, all the way to the call to action.
Ideally a product description should have: An attention getting headline that speaks to the prospects problem; A second para with appropriate subhead that regales the features and benefits of your product and how it solves the prospects problem; A short bullet list; Your guarantee and bonus (if you offer one) and; A call to action.
Educate yourself on copy writing. Whether you write your own copy or hire someone to write it for you, you should know the basics and understand the elements that need to be in your copy to be effective. An excellent (albeit huge) reference on copy writing is Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. It is available for purchase and though the price is prohibitive I highly recommend it. If your funds are limited you can probably find a used copy or even check it out at the library.
Stop making your copy about you. I hate to break it to you but there isn’t a prospect anywhere on Earth who cares about you—they care about themselves. They are considering your product because it will potentially benefit them. Your copy has to be about them, their problem, their pain and a solution to said pain or problem. Your product listing has to clearly show your prospect what’s in it for them.
Slant your copy toward your ideal customer. No matter what your product is, there is NO product on Earth that is for everyone. While everyone may be able to use your product it doesn’t mean they are looking for it or want it. You need to do your research and determine who exactly does need and want your product. Kitchen gadgets are for people who love to cook, entertain and nurture others. Health products are for people who are health conscious or are trying to solve a health issue. The bonus here, is that the more specific you are in narrowing down your ideal customer, the more you will sell and the more your listing will appeal to those people.
How about you? Have you had a hard time figuring out how to write your listing? Did you eventually learn what worked and what didn’t? Feel free to tell us your story or share your successful tips in the comments below.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day everybody. I love this day because I love green, I love fun, I really love beer and it’s also my birthday. But in case you aren’t Irish, then I have a quick crash-course, that Faith and Begorrah, will convince everybody you are.
Spelled: Póg mo thóin!
Pronounced: pogue muh ho-in
Spelled: Éirinn go Brách
Pronounced: Air-in guh braack
Spelled: Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat
Pronounced: guh nee-ha on cat hoo iss go nee-ha on jeowel on cat
Spelled: Lá ‘le Pádraig
Pronounced: laa-AY-la pawd-rik/
Spelled: Pionta Guinness, le do thoil
Pronounced: pyunta Guinness leh duh hull/
Spelled: Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach
Pronounced: TOO-irr pogue dum, toyme AY-ron-ock
Spelled: An bhfuil tú ar meisce fós?
Pronounced: on will too air mesh-ka fowss?/
Spelled: Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Pronounced: ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv/
The wearing of the green. On St. Paddy’s Day you better wear something green if you want to avoid being pinched. In Ireland people wear a small bunch of Shamrocks on their right breast to signify their Irishness. The Shamrocks are blessed at Church ceremonies and known as Blessing of the Shamrock. If you don’t have access to blessed shamrocks, a green hat will do.
Green Beer and Shamrock Shakes. If you were to spend St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland you’d be hardput to find a mug of green beer or a Shamrock Shake. This is a rookie mistake and started as a tradition in America. However, if you can eat 10 pickled eggs, you could be mistaken for a real Irisher.
Parades and Festivals. The very first St Patrick’s Day parade occurred in New York City in 1766. And though there were many parades to follow all over the world, it wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government decided to start holding a parade in Dublin—it’s known as St Patrick’s festival and takes place over 5 days with events including art shows, plays, concerts, fun fairs and the main parade.
No St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without partaking in some scrumptious corned beef and cabbage. And though traditionally, Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage is a boiled dish, I prefer mine slow roasted.
Try this simple recipe and tell me I’m wrong. And don’t forget to save me some.
1 (5 1/2 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
2 whole head of green cabbage, each quartered
7 large red potatoes, peeled and diced
8 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium onion, quartered
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the brisket in the center of a roasting pan. Arrange the cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions around the sides. Empty the seasoning packet over the roast, and pour enough water into the pan to about ½ inch high. Cover with a lid or heavy aluminum foil. Roast for 5 to 6 hours in the preheated oven, until the roast is fork tender.
Have a great day and may the green be with you.
When I was a kid I was horrified at the idea of being weird. The weird kid was the one who was bullied and lost their lunch money all the time. Nope, I wanted to fit in. Not so easy, since I am weird. These days, I’m letting my weirdness hang out. It takes off the pressure and helluva lot more fun.
2. In my alternate reality I am a homicide detective and I solve crimes constantly.
3. I wrote my first novel, The Addict, when I was 10. It was 30 pages long and it sucked. But my dad read every word. Bless his heart.
4. I talk to myself. In public. In private. I always have, since I was a kid. Nobody knows why.
5. I love to garden and though I’m not very good at it, my biggest tomato weighed almost 3 pounds. Oh and I talk to my plants – is that weird?
6. My favorite family pet was Rusty, a gorgeous collie who showed up on our porch one summer night and scratched on the screen door. He looked exactly like Lassie and I believed he was my soul mate.
7. My guilty pleasure is binge watching mystery shows (usually British) online. If I watch too many I start talking in a British accent.
8. Motown music will always inspire me to get my freak on.
9. I had two nicknames when I was a kid; Neener and Rodg. I preferred Rodg
10. I’ve had many jobs in my life but the weirdest one was bus buffing. Hard on the back but definitely builds the pecs.
11. My first car was a VW Bug and it had temperamental brakes – meaning, I never knew when or if they would work. Usually, the back wall of the garage stopped the car before the brakes. My nickname for it was “Death Trap.” I nearly gave my dad a stroke when I took him for a spin and ended up in somebody’s front yard. After that, I refused to drive a stick shift ever again.
12. When I was a kid I wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina but was forced to become a writer because I couldn’t stop making stuff up
13. I love dollar stores. It’s an addiction. I will buy anything if it costs a dollar. I’m their ideal customer.
14. If you want to make me cry show me a Hallmark commercial.
15. I really do work in my pajamas. In fact, I pretty much do everything in my pajamas. But you know, I live in California, so it’s allowed.
How about it, are you a weirdie too? Have you given in to your inner weirdness and let it shine in the light of day? Tell me all about your weirdiness in the comments, so we can revel in it together.
First, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who expressed sympathies about losing my dog Maggie last week. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me except to say, it meant a lot. So, thank you to everyone.
Going against my natural instincts, I decided to adopt another dog, rather than wait. I think that Maggie would’ve been happy about that. In fact, I am too. Because out of the deep sorrow I felt at losing my dog of 13 years, I am now feeling immense joy from the new puppy. Lily.
I will always have the old memories of Maggie – she was a remarkable dog – a remarkable ‘person’ and can’t be replaced. But Lily is a little white bundle of joy and I look forward to making new memories with her.
If you have lost a beloved pet, I empathize with you. Deeply. It is a profoundly sad experience. But if you are holding off in adopting a new pet, don’t. Please, don’t. There are so many wonderful animals out there just waiting to find a loving family. And you could be that family.
Last night I lost my dog Maggie. She was three months shy of her 13th birthday and though a little creaky and long in the tooth, she had more energy than any 10 people in the room.
I got her when she was five weeks old and we’ve been through many adventures over the years. Some good. Some bad. But she was always there, right by side, raring to go wherever I went. And many times, it seemed she was the only friend I had in the world. And believe me, that was enough. No matter how bad things got, I always knew there was one ‘person’ in the world who truly loved me no matter what shape I was in.
Chasing squirrels and lizards
Barking at possums
Going for a ride
Chasing the ball
Going for a walk
Sleeping on my bed
Bunching up my rugs
And if you scratched her chest, she’d stand on her haunches for hours – just to make it easier for you.
Anybody who ever met her, loved her. You just couldn’t help yourself but fall for the funny little dog who seemed to have a permanent smile on her face.
She didn’t love…
Dog food (people food was so much better)
Anybody who scared her cats
Eye drops, medicine or vaccinations
Going to the vet’s
Last night, she went out into the backyard and charged an unwanted guest. I heard her barking, but I thought it was the possum she was barking at. The one who likes to climb along our wall. It made her happy to bark at the possum, so I didn’t call her in.
Then the barking stopped.
Then my room mate screamed my name.
The unwanted guest in the yard was a coyote.
We rushed her to the emergency vet. She was struggling to breathe but she was awake and alert and moving. I thought she’d be okay.
But the vet was taking too long to talk to me and I knew. The injuries were too severe. Her windpipe had been punctured. She had too many injuries. My white shirt was soaked with her blood.
We said goodbye and then she was gone.
My life was better because she was in it. My life will never be the same now that she’s gone. I will miss her more than I can say.
Over the last several episodes Red has been on the hunt to discover who betrayed him and was single-handedly trying to take down his business. He’s gone through a long list of possible contenders, only to find he was at yet another dead end.
If you watched Thursday night’s episode of the Blacklist, you probably experienced some serious shock when they exposed Dembe as the likely attempted killer. Even I gasped at the thought. Of all the possible suspects there could be I’d never has guessed him.
So I started thinking, why would Dembe would do such a thing? After all, he has been the recipient of Red’s largesse since he was a young boy. If not for Red, then Dembe surely would’ve died years ago. He literally owes the man his life.
Where has Mr. Kaplan been since we last saw her hitch hiking out those fateful woods where she was shot and nearly died?
Yes, yes, I do think that all this business with Red’s business deals collapsing, his money being stolen and now the attempt on his life originates with Mr. Kaplan. The once faithful employee that Red believes he killed is coming back to haunt him.
Killing Mr. Kaplan was the one thing that Red did, that Dembe could not abide. So it makes sense, doesn’t it?
In future episodes we will discover that
What about you? Do you have a theory about who’s really behind the attempted coup and murder of Red? Or why Dembe would betray him? Feel free to spell it out in the comments.
As an indie author I like to pay it forward with other indies and give them a little love. This week, I wanted to introduce you to S.J. Hermann. Steve’s an all around great guy, an anti-bullying advocate and has a razor sharp wit.
His Morium Trilogy is a gripping YA Supernatural Thriller series. I’ll let Steve tell you about his inspiration for writing the series:
After I finished writing final book of the Morium Trilogy, I paused and reflected back as to why I wrote these books. It was more than releasing the one scene that played out in my head; the foundation in which Morium was built upon. I wanted to tackle tough subjects that teenagers may face on a daily basis. The emotional pain that lay buried deep in the conscious of their fragile minds as a result of relentless mental torture. How it might mold them into someone they never desired to be. To do unimaginable things to others, or to themselves.
I dig into sensitive topics that readers may have a hard time reading. Even though these books are YA, I don’t sugar coat. My goal was to provide an entertaining read while bringing forth serious problems; bullying, self-harm, addiction, loneliness, dealing with loss, sexual abuse and hiding your true self for fear of what others may think. Since it was integral to the story line, my writing had to be raw and to the point, for doing otherwise, would have lessened the impact.
Is this a dark series? Very. Is this a series for those younger than fifteen? Probably not. Give any teenager that has bottled up anger and give them the gift of supernatural powers, they will lash out any way they can.
None of this could’ve been possible if not for strong and developed characters. Alexandria (Lexi), Nathan, Stacy, and further in the trilogy, Renee, have their morals tested; fueled by abilities that two of them believe are an entitlement. I want readers to ask themselves how they’d react if they were walking in the shoes of the main characters. As I laid the groundwork for the trilogy, my personal demons from the past had me questioning my own morality. What would’ve I done?
(You can check out his books by clicking on the thumbnail of each one)
Books Go Social Runner-up for Best Self-Published Book of 2015
A GRIPPING YA SUPERNATURAL THRILLER
MORIUM is the story of Alexandria and Nathan… and Stacy. Three teenagers who were victims of bullying all through high school. They kept their torment a secret from their family and tried to cope in their own way. They only had each other. Their friendship saw them through the seemingly endless years of suffering.
But hope was in sight… they will be graduating soon. The vision of a new life away from the bullies and the constant humiliation, gave them something to look forward to. If only that day came sooner.
One night, Lexi and Nathan saw an object fall from the sky and went to investigate. As they touched the rock, a strange power entered their bodies. Suddenly, they’re not helpless anymore. They can get revenge for all the suffering and pain they had to endure.
How will they use these powers?
MORIUM discusses the moral dilemma of doing what’s right against getting revenge. When your dignity has been shattered and your life has been a living hell… what is RIGHT?
A POWERFUL and INTENSE SUPERNATURAL THRILLER
In Book 2 of the MORIUM Trilogy, Alexandria and Nathan’s struggle with their supernatural powers continue.
When a new person enters her life, Alexandria or Lexi discovers that she doesn’t need supernatural powers to have a brighter future. She can leave her bullied past behind and rebuild her life. Meanwhile, “The Gift” takes deeper hold of Nathan and his hunger for revenge grows. But he fights his need to absorb souls to regain Lexi’s trust and save their friendship.
Stacy finds herself caught in the conflict between her closest friends, even as she battles her own demons. Whose side should she take? Will she choose love over friendship… or will she fail them both?
An opportunity to get back at Lexi’s assaulter pushes Nathan back into the path of darkness. One final act of bullying sets him over the edge, and he decides to put an end to the never ending pain and humiliation he and his friends suffered over the years.
Can Lexi save Nathan from completely giving in to the dark influence of The Gift?
Will their friendship survive?
DARK HORIZONS will immerse the reader into the intricate psyches of the bullied characters we rooted for in MORIUM. Morals aside, can we really blame Nathan for his anger and his need for revenge? Through indifference, did we not have a hand in creating the monster he has become?
Coming in May 2017 Special Pre-Release price of $0.99
One final confrontation between friends… One final outcome.
In the finale of the highly rated supernatural thriller series, The Morium Trilogy, Lexi must not only fight the evil that resides within her, but also struggle to keep her relationship with Kyle from falling apart. Unknown to Lexi, Nathan is planning to exterminate not only the remaining bullies, but the entire town as well.
In the end, what will Lexi and Nathan choose… FRIENDSHIP or REVENGE?
Can they fight their inner demons and preserve what matters most?
S.J. Hermann is a writer of paranormal, science fiction, horror, and romance novels. His books have moral basis hidden within them, and he brings some of his experiences into his characters. Hermann is an anti-bullying advocate and his struggles with self-harm can be read on his website.
Hermann currently resides in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where after a break, he hopes to return to college to earn a certificate in graphic or web design. When he is not thinking of stories to write, he is an award winning artist.
Hermann is an avid roller coaster fan who has ridden over forty different coasters throughout his life. Though he is terrified of heights, there is not a ride he won’t conquer. If there is a hockey game on television, you can bet that he will be watching, especially his favorite team the Chicago Blackhawks.
He is an avid Walking Dead fan and will read or watch anything about zombies. Max Brooks and Stephen King are his authors of choice. He is a strong supporter of indies.
After the hellacious year that 2016 was, I was really hoping against hope that 2017 would be the pause that refreshes. However…
Shortly after Christmas our Internet connection started to go wonky until it went flat out nutzo on New Year’s Eve. Since I live in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains, whenever it rains we have Internet problems. It’s a fact that can be counted on. And of course it rained on New Year’s Eve – so I figured, once things dried out it would go back to normal.
Not so much. My room mate is a computer engineer, so he tooled around with routers, modems, IP address thingies and all those things that computer nerds know about that flies right over my head. But to no avail. Nothing he did changed anything. This, of course, was before, during, and after he talked to the Internet Service Provider on the phone several times. They assured him that absolutely nothing was wrong on their end. Nothing. No, nothing at all. He finally got them to agree to come out and at least look at their modem, which praise God, happens tomorrow.
But in the meantime, the connection has gotten worse and worse. Having to spend anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to bring up my gmail account is getting very old.
We also surveyed our neighbors, and most of them use the same service provider and guess what? They are having the exact same problems as we are. So I guess we’re all wrong because, hey, the service provider says there is absolutely nothing wrong on their end. I call BS.
I realize of course that my writing a blog about this won’t do anything to fix the problem (except perhaps give me a little venting relief) but if you, evil Internet Service Provider who shall not be named, are out there reading, let me give you a little friendly advice:
Hopefully, in the not too distant future, when I have a normal Internet connection again, I can write about more interesting things. Please God, make it so.
How about you? How’s your Internet connection? Are you in spinny wheel hell like I am
or are you cruising with wild abandon?
Every year, I take a shot at predicting what the new year will bring. I’m usually wrong, though that doesn’t stop me. Here are my best guesses of what will happen in the coming year.
1. Amazon will fold CreateSpace and Audible into its KDP platform by the end of the year. Since they own both outlets it makes sense for them and will probably make it easier for authors to track sales of various publishing platforms. However, I fear the scammers that tend to descend on Amazon will cook up some new scam to hurt indie authors if this comes to pass. Look for something weird on this front.
2. Democrats will make impeaching Trump a priority with the new incoming Congress and possibly make it their first order of business. They may even try to overturn the results from the electoral college. I predict they will be unsuccessful if they try this and will probably make things worse.
3. Serious steps will be taken to distance the U.S. from the UN. Perhaps we will cut ties altogether. But whatever happens, count on protest both for and against on the city streets, with some kind of bizarre tragedy that results.
4. Anti-Trump protests will continue and major colleges will officially create Trump-free zones. These zones will come with their own specified rules of behavior, safe words, calming sports drinks and new age therapy.
5. Mickey Dees will be the first major retailer to employ robots to man their order windows. Once their first cost effective report hits the news other fast food establishments will follow suit. Think it can’t happen, read this.
6. Fox News will change its name to Faux News (Fake News)
7. Hillary Clinton will become the major spokesperson for a new email security software retailer.
8. With its recent success of rebooting old series, Netflix will pull out all the stops and do reboots of: The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, All in the Family, Maude, My Favorite Martian, Starsky & Hutch, and the Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
9. The new iPhone8 will be unveiled in early spring and be the size of a 4-slice toaster but not to worry, it will come with a complimentary backpack to carry it in.
10. Amazon will launch a new beta program for indie authors to make movies of their books.
11. A new haircut called “The Trump” will become popular with middle aged, hair challenged men and women.
12. California will distinguish itself as the first state to drive smokers into total apathy and become a ‘smoke free’ state. Authorities will be very proud of themselves until they realize they have billions of dollars in lost tax revenue to make up. Look to the dubie tax to come next.
13. In a weird pop culture salute to Trump’s election, red ball caps will dominate the fashion world and be seen in all the spring collections on the runways in 2017.
Not a pretty list, I’ll admit, but there you have it. What about you? What do you think will happen in the coming year? Will it be good or bad? Fun or a disaster? Could it possibly be worse than 2016? Feel free to let loose with your own predictions in the comments.
Happy New Year. 😀
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