Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts

26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 3

Is it possible that writing a blog can improve your health?

By the time you have read all 26 reasons why writers need to blog, you will know the answer to this question is another


According to the experts, blogging can help you 

  • emotionally, 
  • mentally, and 
  • physically.

Let's take a closer look at that statement as we move on to our next four letters in the series.

8.       H is for Healthy Habits

  • Regular journaling is good for your health. Many psychologists and other health professionals tell how journaling helps you process traumatic and stressful events. It is a means of dealing with emotions and thoughts without having to work through another person.
  • Blogging works the same way. After all, that’s what blogging is—a Web log. It requires a commitment of time, devotion, and discipline, all healthy habits to develop in this crazy lifestyle many of us seem to follow today. 
  • Blogging keep your mind working, and many believe when we write about emotional topics, it increases the effectiveness of our immune systems*. A well-working immune system will keep you physically healthier.
  • We can also write about health topics. These would make an excellent theme for a month of posts. Following a month’s dieting habits might encourage us to be more disciplined ourselves as well as encourage others to follow our examples.
* Pennebaker, J.W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.
 [Electronic version]. Psychological Science, 8 (3), pp. 162-166.

9.       I is for Inspiration
  • We need to be inspired so we can create a post that will benefit others. As we write, we need to give thought to those who will read our words. Will this encourage them? Will they be inspired to read more on the topic? Will what we write improve their day? 
  • There are many ways to find inspiration for your next blog post or series, however, one that really makes sense is to look at your blog comments. Remember to ask relevant questions at the end of each post and then see what your readers come up with. If you don’t get enough helpful comments, try going to another blog that is following a similar theme. Read their questions, and then use them as a kicking-off point for your next blog or series. (Don’t copy their answers though!) 
  • A blog post should not attempt to cover a subject. After all, how could I possibly have told everything there is to know about the Serengeti National Park in one post? People have written books on that topic alone. All I wanted to achieve for that post is an article to titillate the senses of my readers. Maybe they will want to read more. Maybe they’ll get a book out of the library or spend their morning on Google. Or maybe one person somewhere in the world will be inspired to add the Serengeti to their bucket list! If you want to cover a topic, then you definitely need to turn it into a series of posts.

10.     J is for Journal

  • Your blog could become a personal journal. Until recently, I thought this was the most common purpose for a blog. But doing the A-Z challenge I became impressed with the creativity people show in choosing themes they can follow for a month, one alphabet letter at a time. 
  • A Travelblog can cover a journey. One writer was traveling across the States with her husband. She wrote a daily blog on a new place she’d seen, following the letters of the alphabet. What if there wasn’t a suitable town for that letter? She would come up with a creative title. e.g. H is for Horse Statue in City Centre. (My own suggestion as we have one in Port Elizabeth where I live.) Even as I write this, my brother and sister-in-law are preparing for an overland trip to East Africa which will take them four months. They have built a blog for the family and their friends to follow their adventures.
  • Blog a life’s journal. This could be public, or you may choose to make it a Family and Friends Only blog, where people join by invitation only. This could be done chronologically, but if you’re anywhere near my age that could take an awfully long time to write! If I were to do this, I would probably go for an A to Z theme, and choose places or events or people to write about for each letter. 
    • Imagine the surprise I had one day when I learned my 30-year-old son believed he was born in the city where his brother had been born. He had gone through his life believing that was his birthplace. His true place of birth only came out by accident! 
    • Ask yourself, how much do your children know about your life? Do they know your place of birth? Were there unusual circumstances to your birth? In today’s global society more than ever before, families are fragmented, and a Life’s Blog could be a great way to bridge the gap between the generations. 

11.     K is for Kindle or other e-books

  • Blog a Book: Nina Amir has written a book and has a website devoted to this topic. Once a year during November, at the same time as NaNoWriMo, she encourages other writers to join her in a commitment to write a complete book on their blog. I did this one year, but I didn’t prepare adequately in advance. I plan to do this again, but next time I will spend some time before kick-off choosing 26 (perhaps) chapter headings on the proposed theme. 
    • Each day I will write one chapter of the book and post it on my blog. At the end of the month, provided I have kept to schedule, I will have the draft copy of an e-book
    • The technique to convert the writing into an e-book, or even a pdf book, is straightforward. Numerous books are available to help. Just Google the topic. I did a course with Val Waldeck a couple of years ago, and I felt a real sense of achievement when the book opened beautifully on my Kindle. 
    • I have considered turning Out of Africa into an e-book, but I will have to do it in pdf format as I have used many pictures in this theme. Something to consider for future ideas. 
  • Collect books and information on blogging. Go to Amazon and you will be amazed at the e-Books available on the topic. There is just no reason for us to remain in the cyber-darkness, wishing we could build a blog.
  • Get yourself a Kindle today! If you don't have a Kindle or other e-reader, go to Amazon and download a Kindle app for free. There is one available for your PC, your laptop, most smart-phones and your tablet. 
    • Early in the days of Kindle a friend suggested to me that, although neither of us could afford to buy Kindles especially as we both live in South Africa, we should nevertheless download the app to our computers and start to collect books that came up on special or even free. I followed her advice, and when I eventually received and registered my Kindle, it immediately had all the books I had collected during the preceding year.  

Have you learned anything new today? Or is there something you would like me to cover in this series? Can you think of ways you can use your blog material in other ways? Share your ideas in a comment below. 


26 Reasons to blog - part 1: A - C
26 Reasons to blog - part 2: D - G

    SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, has brought encouragement and inspiration to a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

    Visit Shirley through where she encourages writers, or at where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or Facebook.

    Sign up to receive a short devotional message from Shirley in your inbox once a week. 

    Do you have an eReader?

    If not, you might want to buy one. Or win an eReader, like I did!

    Last year, I won a Kindle Fire. I love it! I’m still learning about all the things it can do, but mostly, I use it to read books. I have many books on my eReader, and have read some of them. They are about various subjects such as writing, business, health, home improvement, and money. I also have some novels and children’s books.

    I have apps on my Kindle. Newspapers, travel, organizational, and shopping apps are mostly what are useful to me. I also purchased an app that helps me to categorize my books. I find that is the easiest way to locate what I am looking for. And the layout is attractive and organized.

    An eReader can be used to access the internet, making it convenient for on the go. You can check your email and read social media sites. If you don’t want or need to carry around a laptop, an eReader may be what you need.

    You can buy digital books on all kinds of subjects. If you have a Kindle, you can get books from Amazon. If you have a Nook, you can get them from Barnes and Noble. There are a number of websites where you can download free eBooks too. You can also borrow them from your library. Some also offer classes on how to borrow books with your eReader. Be sure to check out what your local library has to offer. You might be surprised.

    Besides the Kindle and the Nook, there are other eReaders such as the Kobo and the Sony Reader. I recommend researching eReaders to learn which one is best for you.

    I still buy, read and borrow regular books. I think I always will. However, I have found the Kindle to be very convenient, easy, and fun to use.

    I plan to write about technology in future blog posts, as I learn more about my eReader and contemplate purchasing additional gadgets.

    Do you have an eReader? How do you use it or would like to use it? If you don’t have an eReader, do you plan to buy one?

    Debbie A. Byrne has a B.S. in Mass Communication with a minor in History. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is working on her first children’s book.

    When Bloopers Go International

    "Molly put on her Dolly Varden and went to the fair," writes the British author. The readers in England picture Molly dressed up in her elaborate, flower-decked hat. The American reader who lives near to the Northern Pacific, is bewildered, as he knows the Dolly Varden is a type of brightly spotted trout. Australian readers have just as big a problem, as the Dolly Varden for him is a doll-shaped cake. And in South Africa, it is a draped dressing-table.

    In today's cyber world, any writing we post on the Internet or publish electronically, such as for Kindle, Nook, or any other form of e-Readers, immediately goes international. Even books that are only available in print are soon available through online stores such as, Barnes and, and many others. So even if the book is published in the States, it's highly unlikely that it will remain in that country.

    My own book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, was written in South Africa, but published in the States. Yet by the time of its official launch date it was available across the word.

    As authors, it's important we bear in mind our international readers with our choice of words. We need to be careful not to presume that our key words mean the same in all lands. Yet we may not be able to avoid the use of the word.

    Let's look again at the example above referring to the Dolly Varden. Rather than just avoid the word, the English writer could say something like, “Look at that amazing hat,” she whispered. “I’m sure it’s a Dolly Varden.” The international readers understand no matter where they live.

    Another example is the word, "wattle". To the English reader this is a type of fence; to the American it is the loose skin at the throat of a turkey. The South African frequently sees mud-and-wattle huts along the roadside; but for the Australian, wattle is the golden-yellow flower that is his country’s national emblem.

    So the Australian could write, "She picked a few golden-yellow flowers from the wattle tree and added them to the arrangement." Readers will know what he means. The South African need only say "The old women sat in the doorway of their mud-and-wattle hut and discussed the events of the day." That's clear to everyone.

    I read recently on a website of a student in Northern India who was asked, "What do you do?"

    "Main chata hoon," he replied in Hindi, meaning to say, "I'm a student." He later discovered he had actually said, "I'm an umbrella." Chatra is a student; chata is an umbrella.

    When my daughter was new to Venezuela, she was making her way through a crowd of people. She kept saying, in her newly acquired Spanish, "Excuse me," as she tried to pass people. In South Africa this would mean, "Please make way--I need to get through." She later learned she had been moving through the throng saying, "What's the matter? What's the matter?" to the surprised people.

    If I, as a South African writer, send my heroine for a leisurely stroll along the pavement, this is good for her health. The pavement in South Africa and England is the paved area alongside the road, reserved for pedestrians. However sending her for a stroll along the pavement in America could have dire consequences as that's where the cars drive in the States.

    I asked a group of writers to share with me some of the international bloomers they had heard of.

    Ruth Ann Dell of South Africa shared this: When we visited friends in England, they were astonished when we talked about turning right at the robot. They couldn't see any robots on the road. We had a good laugh as we explained that back home in South Africa we called traffic lights robots.

    Donald C. Bowman of Georgia, USA said: In Spanish, 'El ruedas facilmente.' means He tires easily. The problem is 'ruedas' are actually automobile tires.

    Barbara Strohmenger in Germany shared this: A funny thing is the wrong use of "become" by Germans; the German "bekommen" means "to receive", but some think it means "to become" because it sounds similar; so they say "I become a gift" instead of "I receive a gift".

    Karen Shaw Fanner, formally of Zimbabwe, now living in England says: In Africa  'just now' means 'in a while, at some point', 'when I get around to it.' In the UK 'just now' means 'immediately, right this minute.' How to really annoy people is to tell them you'll do it 'just now' and leave it an hour!

    I nursed for many years in a paediatric ward in Krugersdorp, South Africa. Although as a Christian I don't believe in "luck", and I often prayed with parents when their little ones headed for surgery, I nevertheless fell into the practice of saying, "Good luck! I'll be praying."

    If the patients were Afrikaans, I would translate this and say, "Geluk! Ek sal bid," which I thought was "Good luck! I'll be praying." One day a colleague overheard me, and with a wide grin asked me why I was congratulating the parents. Turns out that although "Geluk" sounds like "Good luck" it actually means, "Congratulations!" So I was sending the patients off with the words, "Congratulations! I'll be praying."

    So, writers, be careful of the words you use, especially if you're trying to use a snippet of foreign language to add flavour to your work. You might just be adding the wrong flavour.

    What in the World Do You Mean? expands some of the ideas above as well as giving a list of some of the words that have different meanings.

    Different Cultures, Different Ethics shares a few major differences between some of the major cultures.

    International Critique Partners. Some of the advantages and challenges of having International critique partners.

    OVER TO YOU: How about you? Do you have an amusing story to share of the wrong word being used as a result of a different language or culture? If so, please comment below or email me your story. Perhaps I can include them in another post for us all to enjoy.

    SHIRLEY CORDER lives a short walk from the seaside in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. Shirley is also contributing author to ten other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. Thanks to her international critique group, she has avoided publishing most of her cultural bloopers.

    Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook.

    Cartoon dog: Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

    Kindle Select - What Works, and What Doesn't (a follow on post)

    Last month I ran two Kindle Select giveaways.  The first was for a copy of the Christmas poetry chapbook Blooming Red that I co-authored with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and the second was for my novel Black Cow.  When I blogged about these last month I promised an update with the results of this and here it is.  Here are a few things I learned the hard way:

    1.  Promote EARLY. There are a ton of sites that feature free e-books and all of them have unique subscribers who want nothing more than to download your book, but most of them require you to submit your book at least 2 weeks prior to the free day. If you wait until the day your book is free then you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to get the word out to new readers.

    2.  Make sure that your Kindle book is perfect.  When I converted Black Cow to Kindle format, a lot of strange typographical issues crept in.  For example, about 25% of my L's disappeared, leaving me with words like four for flour and fat for flat. I did check formatting but didn't do another proofread after conversion which meant that the fantastic results - nearly 2,000 downloads that I got for Black Cow - were, to a certain extent, wasted because all of those downloaded books were typo ridden.  I was able to get Amazon to agree to send out a link for all of those who downloaded the book to re-download a perfected copy, but it will take them another 2 weeks to get to that (if you've got one of the l-less books, a cleaned-up copy should be with you soon - sorry!).  When you're getting your work into so many new hands, it's important that this be your best work. Anything less is not only a lost opportunity, but can impact on your reputation.

    3.  Be prepared to get a few negative reviews (especially if you don't do #2).  If 2,000+ new people are downloading your book, your book is bound to get into the hands of a few non-ideal readers.  Take it on the chin and keep smiling.  Not everyone will like your book and not everyone is your target market.  That's just part of the game.

    Overall, both books sold copies in the days immediately following the free days.  That alone was worth it, as was the opportunity to get the word out and attract a number of new readers.  So I'm definitely planning to do it again.  In fact, Carolyn and I are having another go with our book of unconventional love poetry Cherished Pulse in time for Valentine's Day. All you do is go to on Jan 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15th and click.  This time, we've followed all 3 points above.  

    Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

    10 Gifts for Writers

    Are you still finishing your holiday shopping?  Here’s my top ten gifts for the writer on your list.

    ·        A gift certificate for a writers retreat - A perfect gift for any writer.

    ·       ·          Books – Writers are readers, so a good book or a gift certificate to a book store is always a good choice.

    ·        ·        A subscription to writer’s magazine like Writer’s Digest or Writers and Poets

    ·        The 2013 Writer’s Market – If you know a writer getting ready to submit their work, this is an invaluable tool.

    ·        The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the perfect gift for someone who is out there marketing their book.

    ·       Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott – An inspirational book for any writer

    ·      A journal – Even if the writer you know generally works on a computer, give them a journal and they are sure to write in it.

    ·         An electronic reader – Kindle, Nook or iPad.  Eventually, most writers will need to join the digital age.

    ·         Scrivener - A great application for managing complex writing projects or keeping track of the research for that next project.

    ·         Voice recognition software – Dragon Naturally Speaking is a great voice recognition program that can help make the writer more productive.

    Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist who has helped writers move their writing careers forward.  Combining intuitive insights with practical know-how, Mary Jo has helped clients discover how to chart their course of action and live their authentic path—their True North.   Mary Jo offers Artist Breakthrough Sessions at reduced rates. (Gift certificates are available.)

    For more information check out
    or folllow her at:  

    KDP Select: good marketing or gimmick?

    I thought about Kindle Direct Publishing "Select" for a long time - was it worth tying up my books to a single selling source? Do I want to give exclusivity to someone?  It was a moot question while the bulk of my work was with a traditional publisher, but when they went belly-up and the rights reverted back to me, I was now faced with the question of whether I would give it a try. If you're a self-publisher, I suspect you are too. So here are the basics:

    • The key element of KDP Select is that your e-book is available exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. You have to remove it from all other stores including iTunes, B&N, Nook, etc.
    • You are given the opportunity to promote your ebook for free for 5 out of the 90 days.
    • Your book is enrolled in the Kindle Owners Lending Library from which Prime members can borrow one book per month and you're paid (at near royalty rates) every time your book is borrowed.
    • KDP Select enrollment allows you to earn 70% on ebooks sold through Amazon’s new Indian store.
    Is it worth it?  I'm still not sure. The free days and lending library are both pretty good opportunity to get your books into the hands of potential reviewers (though there's certainly no guarantee you'll get a review from those who've borrowed or downloaded your book) and to create word of mouth. For a relatively new or unknown author, this can be a very positive thing. In the long run though, it might do more harm than good to lock out readers from Apple's i-bookstore, Kobo, Sony and of course the ability to sell off your own website.  My own personal view is that it's a pretty good short term tactic to spread the word of new (or newly set up books) - 90 days isn't that long and once the period is done, and you've created a little buzz, you can then put your book elsewhere and open up opportunities for additional readers.

    Of course, like anything, there's no point putting your book into KDP Select if you aren't going to promote it!  So how valuable it will be to you depends on how well you use it - how well you promote the free days and the lending to your followers, and ultimately, how good your book is!  If you entice your readers, they'll come back for more, and that's what it's all about.  I'm giving the free days a go with two of my books this year, and as part of your research, you owe it to yourself :-) to pop over to Amazon and download the copies during my free days.  For Christmas, there's the poetry book Blooming Red, which I co-wrote with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, available (just click on the book cover on the left) on the 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of December.  It makes a great thoughtful, fast electronic Christmas gift for someone you care about so spread the word! Then there's Black Cow (just click on the book cover to the right) available between the 20th and 24th of December.  I hope you'll download a free copy of both of these books, and try out KDP Select from the users point of view. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below, and do please share your own experiences with Kindle Select.

    Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at

    The Kindle Challenge

    Kindle had me clambering around the slippery snakes and ladders of techno-learning this week. There I was happily following Tiffany Dow's  experiences and starting her this month's Kindle Challenge when my Kindle app for PC threw down a challenge of its own.

    " Won't. shan't, can't make me," it taunted to every attempt l made to open it.

    I booted, rebooted, tried to run it as administrator. crept away and rushed back in the middle of the night when it least expected me.

    Tried starting from various icons and through files--nada.

    What do you do when your Kindle app with all your edited books and books for review expires?

    But then common sense kicks in and you trawl through the search engines to find an answer to the problem.

    The Good News

    • You are not alone.

    • Tech support from Amazon may be able to help. Tech support from Kindle forums is excellent.

    • Best of all, not one of the books you've bought from Amazon is lost.  Even the freebies are still there on your Manage My Kindle accounts page.

    The Bad News

    • Anything you have acquired through another publisher is not there.
    • You're going to have to be brave and tinker with some hidden files.
    • It takes time you don't have when you're on a deadline.
    But then that's when these things always happen isn't it?

    The Solution for Windows?

    1. Click on Documents and find the folder named My Kindle Content. If you have any non- Amazon books which you want to keep there, back up this file on  flash key or external hard drive.

    2.Click on start menu, click on Amazon, click on Kindle for PC and finally uninstall.

    3. Check that the uninstall has deleted your Kindle content.

    4. Check your user files--that's the folder with the name you gave your PC, usually heading the right hand column on the Start menu--find data apps then open local then Amazon. If nothing has uninstalled there back up that file by copying it onto your flash drive. Only then, shut your eyes and bravely delete. It is essential to remove the file.

    5. Back to Amazon to deregister your app and download a new one.

    6. Remember to register your new Kindle app when you first open it or you won't be able to download your books again.

    7. Copy any other Kindle books from your back up drive straight into the My Kindle Content documents folder (each one has three files.)

    8. Check all is working well. Treat yourself to a restorative drink and consider yourself an IT whizz kid.

    Why Does the Kindle App malfunction? 

    I had downloaded some new software which may have disagreed with it. Others find it happens because Amazon updates the app automatically and then it may have software incompatible issues. Sometimes downloading an older version of the app and unchecking the updates box in its menu tab does the trick.

    For the moment, mine's as good as gold and l've no more excuses to get between me and writing that long promised eBook.

    But l'd be interested to know if anyone else has suffered from Kindle or Kindle App or any other e-reader glitches.

     Oh and if you're looking for more writing challenges find the Writer's Digest popular fiction and short story competitions mentioned at Slow and Steady Writers,

    * * * *

     Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and   her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2011.

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