Twitter: Making Your Own Picture Tweets

Making your own Picture tweets…

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s true. Even the worst picture, whether grotesque or poorly taken, will capture your attention longer than mere words from a text. So, if you want what you have to say to get noticed, resonate with your audience, and be profound, you need to post it in some type of visual form.

Tell. Then breathe…Picture tweet image

My biggest frustration on this journey has been my ignorance of technology. Second, would be the lack of information sharing. I’ll find a site that is too cool for words; I’m shaking with excitement as I tell a friend or two about it, and then I hear them say, “Oh yeah…I use that site all the time. I thought you knew about it, Taylor.” Ummm…No, I didn’t.

Well, I’ve found a few and I’m going to share.

I know, I know…It’s probably presumptuous of me to think I can teach anyone anything about social media. It is. So please forgive. But in fulfilling the true purpose of this blog, I want to share what scant bit of knowledge I have acquired with the next “Newbie” out there. Maybe their journey will be a tad bit easier than mine.

So, here goes…

How I make my Picture Tweets…

As I said in my last blog post (Twitter changing the way we tweet pictures) I tweet primarily from my iPad. I’m thoroughly ensconced in Apple products…iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, MacBook. Yes my friends, the I’s have it.

I think the iPad is the easiest way to post to FB, Twitter, and any other social media site. The format was easier for me to learn and my pictures are easier to access. What I’m showing you today involves an iPad, the PicCollage App from iTunes (free application) and the website, Pixabay. But I’m sure there are similar applications to the ones I’m using for those of you who don’t like Apple products.

First…I look for a picture on Pixabay. This site has over 400K pictures and new ones being added everyday. The pics are free for commercial use and no attribution is required. Warning…It’s almost as addictive as Pinterest!

So, I’ve found a pic I want to use…(note the disclaimer on the right side of the pic). *Free for commercial use / No attribution required.Pixabay free image

I can’t download on my iPad, so I screenshot the pic, then go to my photo library and edit/crop the picture. You can do the same on your computer and then crop as you like.

cropped Pixabay free image

Now I open PicCollage on my iPad.

PicCollage application image

You can use the Grids, Templates, or FreeStyle (the latter is what I use).

Freestyle template image

Tap the screen and a menu box will come up. I want to add photos so I click on the photo icon.PicCollage photo icon image

You can choose up to twelve pics at a time to place on the screen from your iPad, your FB page(s), or from the web. I’ve never tried the latter.

Adding pictures from library image

I’ve chosen four pictures to use on my tweet; one for background, one as my main picture, my 3-D book cover with black background, and my Amazon logo. Be sure that after you choose your pics, you click on the numbered check mark in the upper right hand corner of the photo library. If you don’t, the pictures will disappear from the screen and you’ll have to choose them again.

Four pics on a template image

The black eyes are used for my black background. If you tap the screen at this point, a menu box will appear with various backgrounds, cropping tools, stickers, and other cool things you can do with the template. I prefer to use my eye pic, as it matches the black border around my 3-D book cover. I just use my fingers to spread the pic until the eyes disappear. And yes, I know there are better uses for my OCD…heehee!

Black background and book, girl, and amazon icon image

Once you have your background in place (it will cover all the pics on the page) hold you finger on the background and wait for your pics to reappear. When you touch the pic, you can move it where you want it (if you hold down on the pic too long, it will disappear behind the background. If this happens, keep your finger on the background and the pic will reappear). You can enlarge any pic by spreading it with your fingers, or pinch your fingers together and make it smaller.

Moved the pics image

Moved the pics and sized the image

When the images are where you want them, touch the + at the bottom of the screen and the menu box will appear. Touch the Aa text icon.

Adding text image

The T on the text bar is for your font selection. There are several cool fonts on this app. You can type your text, then change the font by touching the boxes listed to see which you like the best.

Adding text image

The on the text bar is the color of the font. The same applies…you can click on different colors to see which you like the best.

Font color image

I use black and white since most of my pics are those colors.

Black font image

The three dots on the text bar are for text indention. Right margin, centered, and left margin. You can also outline your font by checking the Font outline box (note the white border around the black font in the above picture).

text indention image

text indention image

Now all you have to do is size the text to fit on the pic, using your fingers to enlarge the text, or pinch it to make it smaller. The transparent box around the text will disappear when you are finished manipulating the it.

text complete image

text in place image

When you are satisfied with the picture and your text, click on the box with the arrow on the bottom right corner of the screen. A white box with share options will appear. Don’t mess with any of the icons in the white box. Your pic has a PicCollage watermark…we need to get rid of it! Click on the check mark in the upper corner of the screen.

share button image

Your picture is now saved to your photo library. Your pic has a PicCollage watermark at the bottom which can be removed for free by YOU, though for a fee, PicCollage will do it for you. Umm…No! You can remove it when you edit your pic in your photo library. You’re done with PicCollage till next time.

Now, go to your photo library and find your pic.

removing watermark image

See the watermark in the lower corner? All you have to do is edit/crop the watermark from the pic and viola’! You have your picture tweet.

Completed picture tweet image

Add your book link, YouTube or iTunes link, or any other link you wish, garnish with some hashtags, and tweet your creation.

Tweet image

This whole process is a lot easier to do than it is to blog about, I assure you. I hope some of you find this useful. It’s taken me three years to move from text tweeting short blurbs from my Amazon page, to copy/pasting text and link only tweets, to finally getting the hang of making my own picture tweets. I have evolved, S.L.O.W.L.Y.

…kicking and screaming the whole way.

Go ahead…Give it a try! Have fun! See what wonderful, inexpensive tweets you can make with these tools. Use them as FB banners, Twitter cards, or quotes from your book (*Note…Don’t place text all over your pic. It defeats the purpose of the pic. Less is more…). Believe me, this process is so easy you can’t do it wrong. If you don’t like what you’ve created, delete it and start over. No harm, no foul. Be adventurous and creative. You’ll be surprised how creative you really are, and how great your tweets turn out.

Anyway, I hope you’ll find this useful and share with others. With so much of the traditional world against us, Indies need to stick together and help each other when we can.

Until next time…

Write with passion…Taylor-made pic tweet collage image







A Picture Tweet is Worth a Thousand Words…(Or is it?)

Not Again!

Ahh…you gotta love Twitter?
No instructions.
No, “Here’s how you do it.”
No, “Hey, let me help you get going.”
Just a three-month learning curve, a world of people laughing as you stumble, and a group of pencil-pushing little nerds who like to change things periodically, just to keep you falling flat on your face. Sounds like just the thing you want to get into, right?

I’ve come a long way since my first tweet. When I started, I remember reading somewhere that when you tweet your book, you want to make sure you always add the link (“readers are lazy”) and you want to always include your title in your tweet (“readers are forgetful”). So, without knowing how to copy/paste, I tweeted from my Amazon page.

Thankfully, Google helped me with the copy/paste issue. I graduated to tweeting text tweets, adding my link and a short book blurb (usually, a review snippet) that looked something like this…Example of text tweet image

I filled a file full of these little ditties to tweet, manually, on a daily basis. Soon, I came across a post in the Createspace forum announcing, “Picture tweets garner 75% more views, click-throughs, and engagement.” Where the hell was I going to get pictures? How the hell do you do that?

Eventually, I was able to add pictures (my book jacket) to my tweets. But that got old, and rather boring. A friend told me about It’s a site for photographers. They upload their copyright-free pictures (400K+ pictures) and allow you to download them…FREE! Using my iPad, the PicCollage app, and Pixabay, I graduated to making my own tweets, and using a scheduler to tweet for myself, and about seventy other authors, musicians, and eBay sellers.
Not too bad, if I do say so myself…

Picture tweet image

Picture tweet image

All my tweets for friends, as well as myself, have pictures.

Of course, Twitter steps in and changes Picture Tweets…

First, did you know that studies have shown that 85% of all activity on Twitter is from people using mobile devices? People engage, communicate, and post using their phones and tablets more so than with their PC or laptop. (Source…
Heehee…no wonder this country can’t get any work done!

“So, what’s the big deal about picture tweet changes,” you ask?

Well…if you’re using recurrent tweets with pictures, or quoting someone’s tweet, or copying a tweet for someone and using it as your own creation, the picture no longer shows up in the tweet. It’s a “text tweet” with a pictwitter link; basically, a useless form of media attached to your tweet.  Here, let me show you what I see on my iPad…

This is a reused/recycled tweet. I tweet almost entirely from my iPad. This is what shows up on my tablet or phone..Reused recurrent tweet image

Here’s the original of that same tweet posted the day before. This is what you’ll see if you use a laptop or PC on twitter. I won’t see this Picture unless I click the above pictwitter link…Original tweet image

No…Really! You have to click on the pictwitter link in order to see the picture. Who’s going to take the time and effort to do that?

OK, Taylor, what if I “Quote” a picture tweet?

Here’s what I see on my iPad…

Quoted tweet only

Here’s the above tweet that was quoted. Look at the date of the original tweet. It’s a year old…Original tweet image...very old tweet

“Well…what if I copy a picture tweet?”

OK, so you copy a tweet to send out as your own for a friend (I do this quite a bit…#PayItForward)? Here’s the result seen on a mobile device…Copied tweet image by a friend...pic link only

Here is the original tweet my friend copied and tweets for me…(Thank you John Rose Putnam! You are a prince!)Copied pic tweet...old image

“Well, Taylor, my tweets look just the same as they always did. I can see my picture in my tweet just fine.”

Really? Are you using a PC or laptop to tweet? You won’t see the changes if you are. I don’t see your pictures. On a tablet or phone, which is where 85% of Twitter users are located, including me, the picture isn’t in the tweet…it’s a link.WSJ tweet image

It’s a shame, going to all the trouble of finding pictures, making picture tweets, uploading and scheduling, and using up valuable writing time to market your material, then having Twitter hide it in a link (Damn their black souls). I used Gremln as my tweet scheduler for over a year. I sent out a picture tweet, copied it, and pasted it in the scheduler. Gremln used my book link and the pictwitter link, then posted it according to the schedule I had set. It worked fine. Well, not anymore…

I realize there are probably hundreds of sites out there that can, and do, get around this issue (God love computer Geeks! I do!) Thankfully, I found a solution to my problem. Tweet jukebox  and Feed140 are the two sites I use for scheduling recurrent tweets with pictures. They both use a picture file, not a link, meaning you upload your picture and a fresh URL. You add a blurb to the mix and viola’! You have a recurrent tweet with a fresh pic and a fresh URL each time it goes out.

I hope this post helps. I know this is a pain. I’ve stressed over this for weeks. But, you want your picture tweets to be seen, right? If you know of, or use a tweet scheduler that uses a picture file, not a link, and you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. We are a tight-knit writing community and sharing is caring. Happy Tweeting! I’m off to RT like it’s my day job!

Write with passion…


image made with photoFunia





Healing: A message to my daughter…

Jordan pinning picThe days of Florence Nightingale are long past. Some might argue that we really haven’t come that far. I beg to differ. As with all things in this life, “You get out of it what you put in it.” It’s the same with Nursing. My oldest daughter, Jordan, has graduated, studied and passed her board exams, and will be a “working girl” bright and early, this Monday morning, July 20, 2015. This is just a smidgen of my thoughts as she starts her new life of healing.

Jordan high school graduation pic

Jordan…I have done so many things in my life; things I’m very proud of doing, and things I’d rather forget. I’m sure we all feel that way from time to time…you will too, my precious daughter. I believe you can conquer the world. The absolute greatest thing I’ve ever done, is raise you and your sister. Pride is not sufficient to describe how I feel about both of you.

I know I’ve told you how much I love you, and what your mere existence means to me, over and over and over, again. And, I know you know it. So instead of repeating all of that, this is just a short message to tell you things about life as a nurse, which may come in handy from time to time, should you think back on it during your career.

To my utter surprise, horror, and delight, you have chosen to follow my footsteps into the world of nursing. Why? I will never know. You’ve got the book smarts and your savvy personality going for you, but take note to what lies ahead. I know you are ready! I raised a strong, vibrant, and self-assured woman. I know you can do this, and do it well!

Healing: It’s the worst and best thing you can do. I’ll explain…

For obvious reasons, it’s a nasty job (at least as a mom, the butt you are cleaning is your child’s, and not that of a complete stranger). You just do it.

It’s hard, grueling, and weary work. It will tax your very soul and push you to your limits. But, you do it.

You are expected to care for others at the expense of your own biological needs…food, water, bathroom time, and so on. Forsaking these essentials, your body adapts and you do it.

You’re expected to stand silent while an irate family member takes their sadness and frustration, or grief, out on you. They are frightened, upset, and control has been stripped from them. Remember that! Silent, you must remain…So, you do it.Jordan Graduation pic


You must stand stoic as you listen to stories of ‘bad nurses’ while you’re dying to correct everyone and say, “But I’m not like that! I’m a good nurse.” Yes, there are bad nurses…bad teachers, bad doctors, bad lawyers, and on and on. Strive to be the best at your craft. Do that, and you can lay your head down at night and sleep well. Again, you remain silent. You just do it.

You’ll have to work nights, weekends, holidays, and overtime, away from your family and friends because the sick don’t know your plans, time tables, or about your date this weekend…they just know they are sick. They need you. So, you do it.

You touch things, suction things, wipe up things, and dodge all other gross things the average person doesn’t realize can come from the human body. You are exposed to every cold, flu, and disease known and unknown to man. This comes with the job. You wash your hands and just do it.

You may work with mean, overbearing doctors or surgeons, or the bitchy, ego-manacle nurse out to make your life a living hell. Every hospital has them. You don’t engage…you just do it.

You’re always at risk for being spit on, scratched/hit/kicked, verbally harassed, yelled at, and the subject of name calling. Be professional, NEVER retaliate, hold your head high, don’t engage, and just do the job.

You will never earn what you are worth. This is FACT! The pay scale doesn’t go that high. You just show up, do your best, and leave your work at the hospital. Peace comes in the home you’ve created. And knowing that, you set your alarm, and do it all over again, tomorrow.

Sounds pretty bad, huh?


Healing: It’s also the most rewarding and wonderful thing you will ever do…

When you talk to and touch your patient for the first time, you become their advocate, their voice, their protector, their healer. And try as you may to distance yourself from the personal aspect of the job, they become a part of your life. That’s OK…just remember, “You can’t save the world, just the patient in front of you, hopefully.” So, you do it.

When your patient is sick, unconscious, drugged or anesthetized, you are their tether to this world. You protect their privacy, their dignity, and their life at all costs. You, my precious daughter, are all they have in this world. Do this above all else.

Jordan graduation day pic

You are their confidant when they feel the need to confess. You are their shoulder when they need to let go, and wail against the disease that ravages them. You are their substitute family when none can be found, or none are able to be there. You be there for them.

You are the sounding board for your patient’s family and friends when they can’t accept, comprehend, or digest the situation or prognosis. You are their translator, their shoulder, their connection to something human and compassionate. Be human.

You can cry when you lose a patient…you have a beautiful soul, and it’s OK to do just that! The day you stop feeling is the day you shouldn’t be a nurse any longer. Go ahead, be human and do it.

Remember to TOUCH your patient…WITHOUT GLOVES! That’s what soap and water is for. There is nothing that is more compassionate and healing than simple HUMAN TOUCH. That, in and of itself, will heal far more than all the medications in the world. Trust me lovey…do it!

You will be a maid, a grunt, an errand boy, an advocate, a protector, a confidant, and a healer…the mind, body, and soul of your patient is in your caring hands. Take all this to heart. You are quite often the first, and many times the last face your patient will see. Smile, and show them the caring and compassion you give away so freely.

Me and Jordan graduation day pic

You are a nurse!

So, as you embark on your first day of your BIG GIRL job, I want you to remember the most important thing I can teach you with regards to being a nurse…


If you do this, you’ll be the best nurse in the world, because I KNOW how much you love me.

Go out there and just do it, JORDAN GRACE FULKS, R.N.

With All the Love and Pride in My Heart,


P.S.  Welcome to the Jungle…

I mean sisterhood!

Me pic at work





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Book Blogging: Sharing My Computer Goddess…

image Barb DrozdowichI’m thrilled beyond words to welcome the woman who has taken me under her wing, nurtures me, reassured me, fixes my screw-ups, and makes me look and feel like a professional author. She is Barb Drozdowich. If it involves WordPress, social media, branding, websites, computers, or anything book related, she does it all! She has taken her invaluable knowledge and placed it in six informative and easy to read books. She also provides one-to-one consultations (Thank you God!).

It’s an honor and privilege to have her on my humble little site (which, by the way, she designed and maintains). So, without further adieu, please welcome my computer Guru/Goddess…

Barb Drozdowich

You’re a book blogger, among other things, and you’ve written a series of books to help authors navigate the marketing-waters more easily, particularly, working with book bloggers. Tell us a bit about AN AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO WORKING WITH BOOK BLOGGERS, and why you decided to write it.

What prompted me to write An Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers was being a frustrated book blogger! Back in early 2013 – I’d been book blogging for a couple of years – and I was getting frustrated with having to explain how I could promote an author’s book to them over and over and over again. I wasn’t sure if I just wasn’t being clear enough or whether all book bloggers dealt with the same thing.

I decided to do a survey of my fellow book bloggers – thinking I could get some answers from 50 or so and ended up with well over 200 book bloggers answering my questions. As I read through the answers, I realized that the treasure trove of information that I got from my fellow book bloggers just HAD to be shared. I got some guidance from a couple of editor friends and started to write. A couple of hundred pages later, some very strict editing (J), some formatting and a cover graphic and I had a book! It was published in Aug 2013. The book bloggers that read it loved it and recommended it to authors. The authors who read it thanked me for the invaluable help.

I went on to write other books and then last fall I was signed by BookTrope Publishing. Rather than just re-publishing all my books, I decided to give them all a go over. For the Author’s Guide to Working With Book Bloggers, I removed that survey results and put them on my blog for anyone interested to see. I added a few new chapters and updated the rest of the information a bit. What was published a few weeks ago we are describing as a 2nd edition as it is somewhat different from the first book.Cover image of An Author's Guide to Book Bloggers

When I was reading your book, I noticed you touched on “author platform.” In truth, it’s probably the first time I had come across a true definition of what the term means. Could you share your definition of an “author platform,” and what’s so important about it’s development?

Good question! The Author’s Platform is actually the title of the second book I wrote and is also in the process of being re-published. The Author’s Platform is the collection of a blog/website and all the various social media accounts that an author uses to communicate with their readers. The ‘experts’ in the field suggest that all authors have a blog or a website and a Twitter and Facebook account. My theory is that an author has to have a presence where their readers are. Maybe their audience isn’t on Twitter…so if all their efforts at communication with readers, is on Twitter, it’s like they are talking to an empty room.

What I suggest is to post information about you and your book every where you can that is free, and then spend your time talking to your audience in the locations that they hang out.

SELLING TWITTER BIRD IMAGEI also don’t suggest that you spend all your time selling your book. I suggest that you create a community of friends and your friends will help you tell people about your book.

I hear a lot of authors say that they are too busy writing to chat on social media or to post on their blog. I say you make time for things that you choose to do. Chatting with my peeps is the highlight of my day! And before you tell me that you are shy and don’t have anything to say…I’m the shy, quiet one of any group. But I love to talk about books and I love to chat about WordPress!

The key takeaway is that social media doesn’t need to consume your day. If managed correctly a lot of your work can be scheduled in advance and the rest can be managed into a half hour or so a day.

Could you share how important book blogging is to an author? 

Let’s start with who are book bloggers? Book Bloggers are people who love books so much that they have created a blog to talk about what they read. They may be male or female, young or old but they all love books. Most, like you, prefer certain genres. They operate their blogs according to their own rules.

For the most part book blogging is a hobby and because it is a lot of work, book bloggers don’t always stick with it. The ones that do, often have massive audiences! They often have thousands of hits each day and very mature social media networks. A feature from an experienced book blogger – whether it is a review or not – will result in thousands of eyes on your book. This is a big deal in book promotions. Possibly thousands of readers can be exposed to you and your book and have the opportunity to learn about and hopefully buy a copy.

How do you find book bloggers? Is there a “right” and “wrong” way to approach these people?

book critic imagesI have a site called the Book Blogger List ( that I started around the time that the 1st edition of my book was published. It now lists over 1700 book bloggers according to the genre they read. It is reasonably up to date – I go through every 2 months or so and remove the listings for bloggers that are no longer active.

There are other such databases that are accurate to varying degrees. You can also do a Google Blog search for genres or ask fellow authors for recommendations.

One thing to keep in mind is that like you, readers are often very particular about what they read. Trying to get a blogger who specializes in horror to promote your sweet romance is a waste of your time. First of all, likely the blogger will say no as your book doesn’t interest them. Secondly, their audience will be looking for horror stories – yours will be of no interest = no sales!

Every book blogger operates their blog according to their own rules. Most of the experienced ones have a “review policy” or “About me” page that describes what they read/feature and how they want to be contacted. You need to follow the rules! Most experienced book bloggers get hundreds of submissions. Don’t give them a reason to click on the delete button.

A personal note indicating that you have visited their site and are following their guidelines goes a long way. A free book is NOT that big a deal! I’ve been getting free books since 2009 and after a while a free book is an obligation, not necessarily a joy. It generally takes 6 to 8 hours to read a full length book and write a thoughtful review. The day still has only 24 hours in it and the week only has 7 days. Find a way to encourage the book blogger to fill 6 hours of their week with YOUR book. Most book bloggers don’t appreciate form letters!

You did a survey of book bloggers, asking why they blog and what some of their biggest pet peeves are where authors are concerned. Can you share a bit of those results, here?

What I find interesting is that the survey results from several years ago apply even more today than ever before.

The top four pet peeves were (and are still)

  • Not following the rules laid out by the book blogger. For example if the book blogger (let’s use me for an example) says they only read Regency romance, do not send them a free copy of your futuristic Zombie horror novel that has romantic elements. As if the “romantic elements” will help me over look the fact that the time period for the book is the future, it has *yuck* zombies in it and it is a Horror! Notice I comment on the genre of the book before I comment on the fact that they author attached a ‘free’ copy to the email – completely overlooking the fact that they don’t know me and are oblivious to the fact that I could just pirate that ‘free’ copy.
  • The author does nothing what-so-ever to publicize the review or feature that they asked for. Book bloggers are happy to talk about your book if you ask them but authors need to do their part also. Authors need visit the blog and chat with the readers. They need to send their friends over to say hi! As the saying goes “It take a village to raise a child.’ The same thing is true about selling a book.
  • The third issue is a combination of two. Authors not willing to supply all the material necessary to put their promotion post together (researching links is NOT the book bloggers job) and not delivering their information to the book blogger in a timely fashion. Most book bloggers blog as a hobby. We have full-time jobs, families and friends that also occupy our time. We can’t always throw together a post at the last-minute.
  • It is not acceptable to ask a book blogger to review your book on ANY social media. The tweet or the post on a FB wall is almost guaranteed to result in a no. Just because a book blogger follows you on Twitter doesn’t mean that they want to read your book.

A lot of new authors, whether self-published or traditional, just dabble in book marketing. How important is Social Media in terms of marketing?

TWITTER BIRD IMAGEUnless you are famous or have a ready-made audience for your book, you need to find an audience.

You will create that audience mostly likely using social media. There are thousands of books being published every week on Amazon. You need a way to get the message out that your book is available for purchase. The fact that we can publish on Amazon (and other retailers) and make our book available to most countries in the world, is a good thing and a bad thing. There are millions of potential readers for your book, and it is not feasible to visit all those countries personally. Social media allows you to chat about books with people halfway around the world while you are still in your jammies on your couch!

Social media will allow you to form large communities of friends regardless of the country that they or you live and you can do this for free.

Compare this to an author signing or reading. How many people were at the last signing you were at? I typically get hundreds of hits on my blog every day.

I know better than anyone that you’re not just a book blogger. As a matter of fact, you are the creator of my beautiful new website. Tell us a bit about Bakerview Consulting. Can you share what services you offer?

bakerview_adBakerview Consulting is my business name. It’s named after my favorite mountain – Mt Baker – just south of my home. I work primarily with authors doing a collection of technical things. Yes, I created your blog! I do some blog design. My blogs are generally fairly simple and most importantly, easy for the owner to operate. Too often I see authors with blogs that require a degree in computer programing to operate – not mine! I spend a lot of time teaching. I teach WordPress and I also teach the Author’s Platform and all it’s bits and pieces. I teach authors how to manage their social media – what to do with all the parts and pieces and how to do it efficiently. I specialize in Mailchimp, a newsletter service, and seem to do a lot of work setting up automatic campaigns for authors. I also do a bit of Ebook formatting and I upload books to the various retail platforms for authors.

Essentially, if it is technical and has to do with books and authors or blogging, I can do it!

You not only design and build WordPress websites, but you also teach how to work with WordPress from the backside. How did you get started doing this?

I was in the same position as many authors and bloggers when I first started, but I had the advantage of a technical background to help me. Before I started a family, I spent a lot of years either teaching science or teaching technology. I did some reading and took a few courses, but ultimately blogging and the technology behind it came easily to me. I started helping my friends with their blogs and eventually was encouraged to hang up a shingle and charge people for my help. I’ve been doing this for a number of years, and I love the variety my job brings to my day!

One thing that I’ve realized since I started helping authors and bloggers is that not everyone really knows what they say they do, and many are just downright dishonest.

I have a collection of people who I work with that are skilled, honest, reasonably priced with their services and work almost exclusively for authors.

Authors are a niche group that have specialized needs. If you hire someone to create a blog for you, you need to make sure that they have worked with authors before or they won’t understand the specialized needs that authors have.

Along that same line – just because your neighbour’s 15 year old son is handy with a computer, doesn’t mean that he is qualified to design your blog for you. Just because someone is a retired English teacher, doesn’t mean that they can do a developmental edit on your novel. Developmental editing is a very special skill that isn’t honed by years of teaching.

Look at examples of what the person says they can do. If you are hiring a social media consultant that has only a few handfuls of followers – question why they aren’t setting an example.

Be very careful if someone approaches you to point out a fault that only they can fix. An example is what happened to Taylor. Someone approached her and offered to do a re-edit of her book. Be very careful. Ask for samples of their work, ask for referrals. Someone who is good at what they do has happy customers and is proud of their work.

Ask your friends for referrals – and even more important than the referral is the ‘WHY”. Why did your friend like their editor, for example? Maybe the characteristics that they list describe someone who would drive you up the wall.

Lastly, talk to the person that you are going to hire. Make sure they have the same philosophy as you do. Make sure you are both on the same page. Follow up with them. Most service providers will require a deposit up front, but don’t pay the final bill unless you are satisfied with the product or the service. Using PayPal or a credit card will give you the ability to fairly easily get your money back if necessary.

Most importantly, try to familiarize yourself with the various rules you need to follow. Be very wary of someone who suggests they have a way to game the system. Let’s use the example of reviews on Amazon. Trading reviews with fellow authors is against the rules at Amazon. If someone suggests they can game the system at Amazon – be very wary. You don’t want to find your books removed from Amazon as a punishment.

You’ve written several other books, from navigating Goodreads to the proper ways to utilize Facebook and Twitter, all with the goal of helping authors with their publishing journey. What comes next from Barb Drozdowich?

Although I’m in the process of republishing all of my books with BookTrope, I am trying to put together a Beginner WordPress course directed at Authors and bloggers to be offered at (an online course website) There seem to be too many courses either directed at the tech savvy person, or from instructors that don’t understand the special needs of authors. That is the niche that I’m hoping to fill.

As I have been trying to redo my Book Blogger Platform book, one thing is quite clear – a step by step book complete with screenshots of various WordPress pages is NOT visible on the small screen of a Kindle or the even smaller screen of a smart phone. What I’m hoping to do is to combine the book and the course so that everyone, regardless of skill level will be able to learn to manage their blog from the comfort of their couch!

As you know, I’m a strong advocate of information sharing, especially where “Newbie’s” are concerned (I still consider myself a Newbie, and probably always will). So, what is the most important thing you think a Newbie author should know or do, when starting their publishing journey?

You are your own best advocate. Be aware that there is NO magic bullet – selling books is just as hard as writing them. If you treat people as you would in real life, with dignity, they will help you get the word out about your book! Most of all, just use your common sense.

I know this is a long post, but I wanted all of you to get to know this wonderful woman, and I wanted her to share just a bit of her plethora of knowledge. Her books are #TopShelf of my resource library. She is the real deal…honest, ethical, affordable, and dependable. When in need, we affectionately use the hashtag #CallBarb! She’s always ready to help! I hope all of you will bookmark the links I’ve provided. She is a resource worth holding on to.

Barb, I can’t thank you enough for all you do for me and so many others. I’m honored to have you here, and I’m so blessed to call you sister!

You can find Barb here…

Bakerview Consulting
SugarBeatsBooks Book Blog

Cover image of An Author's Guide to Book Bloggers

Write with passion…










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Mother’s Day: My Imaginary Mother…

Author imageI posted this on Facebook and to my utter astonishment, it was well received. So, I thought I would share it here, kind of a diary notation my daughters can read and ponder in the future. So if you’ve seen it already, my apologies.

Whether you birthed a child, or just possess all the qualities of a Good Mother, you have a profound impact in the lives of (your) children…

Mother’s Day is a very difficult day for me, in regards to being a daughter. I spent many years dreaming, fabricating, pretending what it would be like to have a mother like those I see all my friends post about. She never existed for me. Hopefully my daughters will see some of me in these words. I wrote this to my imaginary mother last Mother’s Day, but I was too ashamed to post it, ashamed…because I don’t feel the way I should about my mother. I came across it last night.

Mother’s Day is over and I’m through with shame…

A Letter to my Imaginary Mother

A mother and child holding hands image


✨Dear Mom,

When I was a babe, nestled warmly at your breast, or swaddled motionless in my crib, the sights and stimuli around me were nothing but a blur. I couldn’t really distinguish color other than the contrast between black and white. My world consisted of sensation…warmth, dryness, a full belly, and touch ruled my abstract environment. But then you came into focus, putting your face close enough for me to see the brilliance of your smile, the sparkle of love in your eyes. I could hear the purr of your voice, a sound particular and distinct to you, a sound I heard when we shared a heartbeat, and knew it was you, immediately. In those moments, I knew you were mine.

As mobility became imminent~rolling side to side, creeping and crawling, scooting and sitting hard, reaching for that elusive handhold affording me the stability to stand on my own, you were there, assuring me that you’d always be there to catch me. You praised me lavishly, making me aware of the monumental task I had achieved. You made me feel I deserved a Pulitzer Prize for my efforts, falls notwithstanding. I knew you would always catch me. I knew you were mine.

You showed me how to share, even though I was sure you were wrong that it was “the nice, and proper thing to do.” You showed me how to play fair, how to take turns, not to hit, not to bite, and how to use my words to make my feelings known. You were teaching me to be a good person. I knew you would love me no matter what. I knew you were mine.

You walked me to the bus, assuring me all the way that “everyone will like you,” and “you’ll make loads of friends.” You were there to greet me when I came home, listening as I cried and told you, “you were wrong.” You dried my tears when kids were mean. You danced and cooked and played games when my true friends came over to play. When nightmares crept into my sleep, you pulled me to you and slept with me through the night, a warm and loving cocoon keeping me safe, keeping all the monsters at bay. You were my protector. I knew you were mine.

As I grew, you let me discover myself~ my talents, my likes and dislikes, the person I was starting to become, the person others were beginning to see. You stood by in the background, silent and ready to comfort as I entered the difficult and confusing world of puberty. You were there to rejoice in my first love, cry with me as it ended, trying to fuse my broken heart back together with your own love and understanding. I could see the pain in your eyes as you dried my salty tears. Then you sent me back out to do it all over again, hopefully wiser and stronger this time. Your eyes were the mirror for me to see my own beauty. You showed me how to see myself through your eyes. I knew you were mine.

Milestones come and go~ the beginning of school, a first friendship, a first kiss, a first love, a first dance, a broken heart, high school graduation, the first day of college, an engagement, a wedding, and birth of a child…and yes, even dealing with death. All these firsts began with you being there, showing me the way, showing me what being a Mother is all about.

So when you doubt your worth in this world, your impact as a mother in this life, know this…
The moment we shared a heartbeat, I knew you were mine❤️

Your grateful daughter,


GiveAway Winners Revealed…

Blog winner imageTHANK YOU ALL!

What a phenomenal turnout! I’m thrilled with the wonderful response! I’m definitely doing this again next year (hopefully, announcing the launch of my next novel).

Before I announce the winners of the KindleFire and Amazon Gift cards, I want to thank all of you who stopped by, left comments, left a drive-by hello, and/or shared this post all over. I’ve had over 1K+ shares of my Anniversary GiveAway post!

O.M.G.! I am Gobsmacked by the response! I wish I could give each and every one of you a gift, but of course, I can’t.

I also want to thank Stephanie Neighbour, Margie Miklas, and Lelani Black for graciously allowing me to BlogShare on their sites. I also want to thank Barb Drozdowich, my computer Goddess, for creating this lovely site to post my Anniversary Blog. These wonderful ladies are proof, you can meet great people online and become lifelong friends/sisters. I love each of you ladies from my soul.

OK…Here are the Winners of my 2nd Anniversary GiveAway!

$25 Amazon Gift Card Winner… Enrique Herrera – 

$50 Amazon Gift Card Winner… Barbara Adams – 

$100 Amazon Gift Card Winner… Donna N –

KindleFire Winner… Jacob Billings –

I will email each of you to confirm your win. According to the rules of the rafflecopter, you must respond back to me within 24 hours or another participant will be chosen. So, get back to me as soon as possible!

To all of my lovely followers…Thank you for following me on this gut-wrenching, often overwhelming, always amazing journey; catching me when I stumbled, embracing me when I fell.

Falling, is part of life. It’s the getting back up that is truly living… #WarriorDash here I come!

” We define ourselves by the best that is in us, not by the worst that’s been done to us…” ~Anonymous

The best of girls.

The best of me…my girls.


Write with passion…




Audiobooks: Emily Eldridge~She is my voice…

MPWB AUDIOimageThis is it!

My 2nd Anniversary Blog GiveAway!

Yeah…I know! I can’t believe it! My journey is almost complete…It will officially end May 16th when I run in the #WarriorDash 5K obstacle run to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I’m happy the money is going for that worthy cause, but my reasons for running are selfish, I’m afraid. This book journey has taken me from quiet, subdued, doormat, and transformed me into a Warrior for myself and Sexually Abused Children.

So here it is, two years of social media, my new and improved website, and the revised publication and redistribution of my book, in ALL formats, including an audiobook! Who’d of thunk it! Now it’s time to Celebrate! And this time, I’m doing it right!

So, what do you have to do to be entered in this Rafflecopter Giveaway? Just leave a comment and share this post (Facebook, Twitter, etc…). Easy-peasy!

You don’t have to wax poetic. You don’t even have to say anything…you can leave an * or an emoji, or any (clean) text you want. You’ll automatically be entered in my Giveaway, which by the way, is HUGE!

First prize…A 7″ HD~8GB Kindle Fire

Second prize… A $100 Amazon Gift Card

Third prize… A $50 Amazon Gift Card

Fourth prize… A $25 Amazon Gift Card

So…Let’s do this!

All you need to do is to sign into the Rafflecopter widget below to register your points. Click on the activities that you do – leave a comment or share this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ACX is where it’s at when it comes to producing a professional quality audiobook. It is another company owned by Amazon that is linked to and iTunes. I first learned about ACX and their services while in New York at the Book Expo of America, for the IRDA~Indie Readers Discovery Award  in July, 2013. They had a booth right next to the Createspace Booth where I received my first award for my book.

ACX~Audiobook Creation ExchangeThey loaded me up with hoards of informational material and coupons for free audiobook downloads on I was overwhelmed by all the information they gave me, and thrilled by the coupons!

I love audiobooks! I have over three hundred in my iTunes library. They’ve come a long way over the last decade, and it’s no longer a monotone, lifeless voice reading with a case of the doldrums.

Narrators are actors, gifted souls portraying and becoming the characters in the books they read. Their skills and abilities bring a book to life! I am amazed by their talent in terms of voice, pitch, tempo, and character distinction. To hear a conversation between a male and female character, each with their own distinct and different voice, is a wonder and a pleasure to hear. They can literally take you away to another place and time…So much so, I’m afraid I was transported back to my past while listening to mine…

Em Eldridge ACX Narrator

When I left New York, award and information in tow, I really didn’t expect to ever be in a position to make MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS an audiobook. I thought it was too involved, too technically difficult, and way too pricey. I was wrong…

The process is relatively easy…

  • Go to and set up an account.
  • Fill in the metadata for your book and answer a few questions regarding your copyright, if you are the rights holder, and links to your book on Amazon. It’s much like filling out the info on your Author Central page or KDP page.
  • Fill out the Title Profile. This is where you put all the enticing attributes about your book. This should include a short synopsis of the book, where it is sold, how many reviews the book has received, any awards it has garnished, and anything else that would entice a narrator to audition for the book. This is where you want to make your book shine. All of this information, including your Twitter following, and your Facebook fan base will be placed on an open forum for all of the narrators to see before they submit for auditions.
  • You can post cover art…but you must make sure it is a square cover, with ACX specifications ( I did a blog post about the difficulty doing this…you can read it here). I have read that it’s very hard to remove cover art once it has been uploaded, so I just left this blank for the time being. When my narrator and I came to an agreement, ACX sent me a reminder to start getting my cover art ready.
  • Post links to your book…Some narrators like to take advantage of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon, and read a few excerpts to get a feel for the story before they decide to audition.
  • Specify your needs in terms of a narrator…Female/male voice, type of accent, dialect or slang, young, mature, comedic, dramatic, etc…
  • Post your word count…ACX will automatically estimate the hours it will take to narrate your book. Mine turned out to be estimated at 15.6 finished hours. The actual time is 16.3 finished hours. This will give you an idea of what it will cost when you start looking at narrators and their *finished hour rates if you choose to forgo the royalty share and pay for your production.
  • Choose your royalty option…Royalty Share or Pay for Production. Royalty Share is a program where you and your producer/narrator come to an agreement that you want to work together, and you’ll share your book royalties 50/50. Your royalty rate is 40% with ACX, so you and your narrator split the 40% royalty, 50/50. You also share the rights to your book with ACX for a term of seven years. With Pay for Production, you both agree on a per finished hour rate (PFH) and you pay the narrator in full when the production is completed, retaining all rights and the full 40% royalty for your book (again, your cut is 40% royalty from ACX).
  • Now you are ready to upload an excerpt of your book for audition. This should be something that tests the skills and abilities of the narrator. I recommend uploading an excerpt with dialogue (preferably between different genders). This allows you to hear how well the narrator distinguishes between voices.

Emily Eldridge ACX Narrator

  • You can wait for narrators to contact you, or you can seek out and connect with narrators/producers on the ACX website via their message box. You’ll be notified on your dashboard that an audition has been submitted. Click the link and a five-minute excerpt is there for you to hear. Sometimes, you hear “the one” right from the get-go. Sometimes, you don’t. I had my book up for auditions for two weeks. After eighteen auditions, I had four potential narrators when all was said and done. The last night of auditions, Em Eldridge, the beautiful lady in all these pictures, blew me away with her dry-run audition! She was the last audition (number nineteen) and my only choice…She is my voice!

Em Eldridge ACX Narrator

*Note…Amazon and ACX are both dedicated to making this service affordable and available to all authors/rights holders. They have a Stipend Program for eligible, Royalty Share authors (this is decided by ACX algorithms i.e… reviews, sales info, potential sales, and staying power on Audible) to entice experienced, quality narrators to audition. Em has narrated thirty plus audiobooks. The stipend book program offers the narrator $150/finished hour of audio. Even though my book was a stipend book, I didn’t opt to do the royalty share program.

*What’s a finished hour? It can take anywhere from four to eight hours of work by the narrator to complete one hour of finished audio ready for upload. That’s a lot of time and effort to get a polished, professional product. Some of the newer, less experienced narrators charge between $50-$100 dollars per finished hour. The more experienced narrators charge anywhere from$200-$500 per finished hour. The elite narrators used by publishing houses and best-selling authors footing the bill, can be in the thousands of dollars per finished hour range.

  • When you find the right voice for your book, it’s time to contact the narrator and make an offer. You can do that in the  ACX message center. Once you both come to an agreement, I recommend you exchange emails and communicate that way. I found that some of my messages didn’t get to Em in a timely fashion. We also exchanged phone numbers and had some one-on-one chats so I could share pertinent information (if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, no harm-no foul).

Emily Eldridge ACX Narrator

  • Now it begins…You and your narrator agree to a timetable  when the first fifteen minutes of the book will be completed for your review. Listen and decide if his/her interpretation is going in the right direction. This is the time to be honest…Is it what you want? Does he/she set the tone and mood of your book? How’s the pace? Too fast, too slow, or just right? Once this part is a ‘Go,’ your narrator will give you a total-book completion date. While they are working on the audio, you’ll receive completed chapters in your project folder. You can listen and make edit notations with the timestamps at the bottom of the screen…make note of mispronunciation, dialect nuances, skips or misreads, mistakes, background noise, or other suggestions you feel should be implemented in the production. It’s your baby!
  • When the book is completed, you need to do a full listen-through of the entire book. At this point, the narrator can’t make changes until you notify them to do so on your dashboard. When it’s perfect and ready to go, click OK and your book is on its way to ACX for their fine tuning and approval. They do all the sound checks and technical work with the narrator to make it technically perfect and ready for sale. This process takes a few weeks. ACX will notify you when they upload your book on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Amazon and Audible upload quickly, while iTunes takes a few weeks.

My Prison Without Bars Amazon Audiobook Page

*Note…This is also the time when you get to listen to what the narrator has chosen as your sample audio. Give it a listen. I will tell you as a READER…THIS IS WHAT SELLS ME YOUR BOOK! If you don’t love your sample excerpt, change it! Now is the time to do that! Pull the best five minutes of your book from anywhere; use the best dialogue, the best scene, a hook that will draw a reader to your book and won’t let them go. This is imperative!

  • Now…Copy that URL, get out there, and sell that audiobook!

That’s it! Easy-peasy!

Look…When it comes to writing and publishing, I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, so if I can do this, you can too! Trust me, with real life pulling everyone in a thousand different directions, it’s hard for people to find the time to SIT and read. Audiobooks allow you to stuff ear buds in, do what you need to do, all while LISTENING to a great book. It’s truly an untapped source of readers. People who listen to audiobooks (umm…that’d be people like me) are voracious readers. We are brilliant people cuz we can multi-task…heehee!

I hope you’ll take a look into ACX and audiobook production. Go to their HOME page and check things out. If you feel overwhelmed (I did) give them a call. There’s always someone there to answer your questions and help you navigate the site.

There’s no greater thrill in the publishing arena than HEARING YOUR BOOK COME TO LIFE!

I know this is a long post, but I had a lot of info I wanted to share. Thank you for helping me celebrate my 2nd Anniversary! I’m so grateful for the visit! For those of you that follow and often comment on my blog, I have no words sufficient to thank you for your friendship and support! You are the best!

Please…Don’t forget to comment and share this post to get yourself registered for the Rafflecopter giveaway! I’m hoping for a big turn out, so I will apologize in advance if I can’t respond to every comment. Just think of it as letting you get to have the last word…

Write with passion…

My Prison Without Bars Billboard


New WordPress Website! Welcome to My Journey…

My journeyHello! Long time no see!

Whew! Long time between posts, I know! I’ve been a very busy girl. First of all, Welcome to my new and improved WordPress Website! What’d ya think? Go ahead, take a look around. I’ll hangout right here till you get back!

I’m so excited for you to see my new place! I am still fine tuning things, exploring stuff, and clicking buttons right and left! It’s wonderful to lose the fear of navigating your own website. It’s also damn enlightening to go back to the beginning, updating your ABOUT page and HOME page, seeing just how far you’ve come.

Well…I’m all grown up now, and actually looking like a professional author (2+ years later) thanks to Barb Drozdowich, my All~Things~Computer Guru/Goddess, and Jolene, CEO of, my Go~To Goddess of Graphic Designs. Because of my lack of computer knowledge and skill (but I’m learning) I have dealt with several dozen services and service providers in the last two years. I can say without equivocation…These two women are the most honest, ethical, and genuinely professional service providers on the web! Bar none!

A Complete WordPress Overhaul…


bakerview_adIf you follow me, you’ll remember my post concerning documents and their properties, specifically PDF documents, and all the heartache and headaches I endured after a botched, revision edit. I learned a very costly, yet valuable lesson about working with documents. *Note to self…when editing your manuscript, you want to make sure that you are using a Word doc. Always remember, when you send your MS to your editor, it must be a Word doc, not a PDF. I was introduced to Barb a few months ago after discovering I couldn’t use my revision edit. I had paid a premium price for a revision edit that was useless to me because I had sent the editor a PDF. When she tried to convert my PDF back to a Word doc for editing, the conversion corrupted the file and all of it’s formatting code.

PDF is the single most secure file that exists…a document strongbox without a key!



So, one of my best friends in this world, Stephanie Neighbour, took pity on me and introduced me to Barb Drozdowich. I have been blessed beyond words! We not only have a lovely, professional relationship, but I also pride myself in being able to say we’ve become good friends.

Facebook for AuthorsBarb is the master-mind behind Bakerview Consulting  An author herself, Barb is all about Helping One Author at a Time with WordPress design, WordPress and Social Media training, and Building an Author Platform. She has a full menu of services  ranging from basic web design, to Deluxe setup, to ‘a little of this and a bit of that’ Ala Carte, all with the intent that by the time she gets through with you, you know how to manage your site from the inside out, and you get the most exposure for your content. As an author/blogger, that’s ultimately what we’re all looking for…exposure for our content. Blogging can be tedious and time-consuming. So, for the time and effort you put into it, you want to do it well, and do it right.

When we started, the goal was working on my website. I told Barb that I didn’t really like to blog because it was like wading in muddy water. I felt like I couldn’t see where I was placing my feet, just stumbling along, hoping I was doing something right. Between our phone~chat lessons and reading her tech hints on her blog, the murky water has cleared somewhat. I’m still no expert I assure you, but I no longer dread the thought of blogging, or fear my keypad. I’m not a once a week blogger…I don’t like to blog unless I have something useful to share. If your inbox is like mine, you don’t want me prattling along about a whole lot of nothing. But, when I do take the time to blog, I want to know I’m doing it correctly.What's your Author Platform?

Barb has given me tools on my site to maximize my SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and my branding. She has taught me how to link my content, look more appealing to Google and other search engines, add things more easily, make effective short cuts, share similar content in my posts, and how to get the most bang out of my posting. If I encounter a problem, she’s just a phone call or a Facebook message, away… #CallBarb!

Later in our sessions, Barb convinced me that I couldn’t just sit back and eat the cost of the botched revision edit, letting my book remain out there as is. She was appalled by what I had been through with my MS, and said as much. So, I relented, and sent her my corrupted file. She worked with it as much as she could, then sent it to several friends: editors and computer magicians, trying to find an affordable and expedited fix. She did! I will never recoup the money I have put into this book, but I’m proud to say that Barb and her magic have given me as perfect a book as I can possibly have.The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors

A few months later, I had a brand new Word doc that she and I could work with. After two rereads on my part (requiring several glasses of wine and a cleansing cry or two) and two~four hour phone conversations, going page by bloody page, I have a fully formatted, workable MS ready for upload to any and every retail site out there.

Ooh…did I mention that she does distribution, too! She set up my dashboards, then uploaded my book to iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Nook, and so on… No, really! Yes, of course I know I can learn to do that myself, but why in the world would I want to? I do Open Heart Surgery! Barb does computers! I’m totally good with that equation. I’m saving my sanity while stimulating the economy! Win win for everybody!

The Author's Guide to Working with Book BloggersDid I mention, Barb is also an author? Heehee…Well, she is! She’s put all of her valuable and helpful  information into several books, with the hope of not only helping the fledgling author, like myself, but also help the seasoned, multi-published author learn the ropes of social media, web branding, and secrets of book blogging. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO WORKING WITH BOOK BLOGGERS is the first in a series of books in the Building Blocks to Authors Success Series, written by Barb for the express purpose of “demystifying the promotion of your book on a book blog.” 

If you can’t do the one-on-one consultation, or you don’t need the detailed help I needed, you can find a plethora of information to help you on your own publishing/blogging journey in the pages of Barb’s books. These are quick and easy reads with step by step instructions and recommendations. Click on any of the book covers to view them on Amazon. They are must-have reference material for any author. I have all of them loaded on my Kindle.

Book Blog Tours An Essential Marketing Tool for AuthorsBarb is also a virtual ‘contact list’ for service providers. From editors, computer wizards, to graphic designers, Barb can hook you up. She is the equivalent of a GPS tracking device for all of your online needs. She introduced me to Jolene, my phenomenal graphic designer. Jolene created the beautiful header for my website…did you see the reflection of me in the window? How cool is that?

Jolene doesn’t just dabble in graphics. In her day job, she is a professional Graphic Designer, residing on the west coast. She has an extensive portfolio of graphic art ranging from print, illustrations, to full animation. She is the genius behind She is fast, affordable, and reliable. Her work is beautiful and her turnaround is remarkable. She does so much more than just throw together a website or Facebook header; she gets to know you, your brand or vision, then works with you to achieve the look and feel you want. If her time is booked up…she tells you! She is the quintessential professional! If you’re in need of a header, print material, a 3-D cover graphic, or in my case, the ever-elusive SQUARE BOOK COVER for iTunes and, this is the woman you want in your resources file.


I hope all of you will check out these two wonderful women. They are starred and flagged in my contacts folder. I never endorse anyone unless I can give my full assurance that they are who and what they say they are…so take these two ladies to the bank! I would recommend them to anyone, any day of the week, and twice on Sunday!

This journey is almost over. It has totally changed me, the person behind the taboo novel…for the better, I hope. It’s an ending, but also a new beginning. So of course, I need to embrace the new and keep moving forward. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my old site. It was wonderful for a tech~virgin like myself, just starting out. It was also great to show my girls what determination can get you. But it’s time to move forward.

I want to continue to help people just starting out~the ones with no clue what they are doing or where to find information~people just like me. I will continue to share information, sites, and services I feel are essential to making your Indie publishing life easier, but I also want to share so much more! My beautiful new site will allow me to do that! Yes…this book journey is almost completed, just a few things left to tidy up and then “my heart” will go on the virtual shelf. Thank you from my soul, Barb!

Next up, my Anniversary #GiveAway Blog! Details coming, soon! I’m so glad you stopped by and I hope you will come back and visit again.

Write with passion…


MPWB Finale: From Anger to Audiobook…



 Holy Cow! I did it!

A fit of rage somehow resulted in the writing of a novel, MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS. Almost two years later, it has just gone live on, in the form of an audiobook! This wasn’t even a distant dream of mine, but here it is, two years after publication, my book has a voice! And talk about a phenomenal voice…Emily Eldridge is not only a phenomenal actress/narrator, but also a truly courageous young woman. She is hands down the voice for my book…She is my voice!

No child should have to fear a monster under the bed...MY PRISON WITHOUT BARSWhen I graduated from High School, I packed all my belongings and crammed everything in my little, Ford Pinto, then moved to the Oklahoma State University campus to forge a new life for myself. I had never done anything independent in my life. I had to find housing on my own, which I did. I had to buy my books on my own, which I did. I had to find gainful employment to subsidize my grants and loans for college in order to live, which I did.

image~ My daddy said, "This is our little secret. You can never tell..." So, I never did, until now...My very first day on campus, I had a car wreck (a woman hit me from behind…very dangerous situation, as my Pinto was one of the recalled versions known for an explosive rear gas tank). The police were called, and I remember being on the verge of hysteria, so upset and overwhelmed by all the paperwork, and the monumental task of getting my car fixed, not to mention paying for it. I sat in my dorm room floor and cried! Life was unfair! Life was too hard! Little did I know of what was to come…

Fast forward thirty years…

image~ I put you on a pedestal so high, I lost sight of me...Picture, if you will, that same overwhelmed and angry girl, writing her story and reliving each and every moment of her childhood horror, while awakening feelings of shame and self-loathing…add in experiencing a nightmare or two in the process. It causes a funk she finds hard to come out of. Then, she had to talk about it to total strangers, while trying not to stutter and stammer about the taboo, unspeakable subject matter. To make matters worse, she had to enter a new world (the world of self-publishing, websites, and social media) totally foreign to her, lay herself bear to that world, plus reveal her ignorance of all she was doing.

After Two years of stumbling on this journey…

The little girl reaped the good with the bad. Her story was in the top 25 in her two categories for twenty-eight weeks, and earned 250 reviews on Amazon (200+ are 5 stars). Her book has won four prestigious awards. She has received over 500+ emails and messages from readers and other warriors who have survived this secret crime, and thrived. She has made life-long friends from all over the world, some readers and some authors. She’s found acceptance…

image~ I have endured the catacombs of hell, and call the devil, 'Daddy.'She has received scathing and brutal comments and reviews from some of the most cruel and most hurtful people in the world, though she prides herself for never engaging. She’s overcome cyber bullies, hate mail, death threats, and an attempt by some, to ban her book. She wallowed in shame and self-pity for a time, crawling into a corner to hide from her new abusers…classic behavior for a victim. But through the strength and support of friends, she picked herself up and stood tall for the first time in her life, determined to stop being a victim.

image~ Dark, Disturbing, and Graphic...I speak of her, the little girl from the trailer park, in third person because she and I have parted ways. Before this journey, she had been my persona throughout my life…the poor little girl with a dark secret, always a victim, always victimized by the rest of the world. She was my go-to girl. She was always there when life was unfair. She was always there for me when life was too hard…much like my first day at college.

That little girl is gone…forever. She has been laid to rest. She’s a distant memory of a past I’ve left behind. I’m no longer that little girl, nor does she reside in my conscious mind. She is my past. The woman who made this amazing journey is my present, and my future. I really like the woman I’ve become…

My soul has been consumed long enough…

image~ MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS~ Not memories of a victim; these are memories of a survivor reclaiming who she is...MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS has just gone live in audio format on It will do likewise on iTunes and Amazon in a few days. I assure you, an audiobook wasn’t even a passing thought in my mind, much less a dream I fathomed when I started down this path. Now, it’s a reality, thanks to ACX and Amazon.

This is the finale of my book…the finale of my maiden voyage into the world of publishing. It’s time to close this chapter of my life, time to put MPWB on the shelf and move forward. I’ve started my next novel, but it will have to pass muster with the perfectionist inside of me before I put it “out there” for the rest of the world to judge. I may publish, again…I may not. But I did the seemingly impossible; I wrote my memories, my story, my way! Yes, I did the impossible! What a life-lesson to teach my daughters!

I’m celebrating not only my audiobook release, but also, my two-year book publication anniversary coming up this month, my two-year anniversary on social media, and the two-year anniversary of my website (soon to be revamped and redone). I think a giveaway is in order! Don’t you?

image~ MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS~ Live on Amazon US UK,, and iTunes.  I’m going to blog about my ACX-Audiobook experience as soon as my book is live on iTunes and Amazon. What better way to celebrate than to have a giveaway for the best people I know? Umm…That would be YOU! I’ll get all of the particulars together, very soon (probably the way I did it last year…If you leave a comment on my designated post…NOT THIS ONE…you’ll be entered to win a KindleFire and/or Amazon gift cards). I’ll let you know.

So stay tuned…

Thank you from my heart, for walking behind me when I was sure I would fall, for walking in front of me when I needed protection, and for walking beside me when I needed a friend.

image~ Announcing an upcoming Give Away

Write with passion!






✨Newbie Mistake (Part 2) So You Think You Own Your Cover…?

image~ Mr. Cool Frog in sunglasses.

I’ve said many times in many other posts, that  I was computer illiterate when I started this journey. For that reason, I used Createspace’s “Publishing for Dummies” all-inclusive package. For a small fortune, I received an ISBN, full interior formatting, a line edit, a full content edit, Kindle formatting/upload, formatted print version and forty free copies, worldwide distribution, and last but certainly not least, a full custom cover that I could design, (which I did) and have Createspace “create it” for me. I chose this service without knowing the nightmare that was ahead of me.

image~ Baby tree-frogIn July 2014, my exclusive obligation to KDPS ended. I had been with that program for over eighteen months and I finally decided I wanted to distribute my book to other sites (KOBO, NOOK, iBOOKS, etc., hopefully gaining other readers by making this move). Then, in August, my book miraculously won its fourth prestigious award, so I thought, Hey…it’s time to complete my revision edit, revise my cover, and do this ‘ACX Audiobook thing’ that Amazon is pushing. Kind of go with the momentum my book was experiencing, if you will?  Well, you read what happened with the revision edit! Here’s Part 2 of my Ignorance~nightmare!

I plan to blog about my ACX experience when my audiobook is complete, so I don’t want to go into too much here, but suffice it to say, I researched the site, read all the contractual agreements and rights, and jumped right into the process with both feet. My book is in the hands of a wonderful narrator, Emily Eldridge, who is truly the voice of the little girl inside of me, crying out to be heard. I opted for the Pay to Produce instead of the Royalty Share. I’ll go into that, in a later post, but essentially, the whole process has come at a premium cost to me. So, there’s no going back!

image~tree frog in the rain.So with that in mind, imagine my horror when I found out I couldn’t get a cover…MY COVER...for the thumbnail next to my ‘soon to be released’ audiobook! No one told me it was going to be nearly impossible to get a square cover. Without a square cover-thumbnail, I will have a color board next to my audiobook on and iTunes that says, COVER NOT AVAILABLE.

ACX (an Amazon Company) requires a square cover pic for upload; they upload your files to and iTunes for you, as part of the service. Thank you, God! Both Audible and iTunes require a square cover pic…because it resembles a CD cover, or so I’m told. Easy-Peasy, right? Just cut, copy, and paste…right? Wrong! There’s a page dedicated solely to the specifications required for the cover art, with pictures of example covers they will not accept. You can’t just make your rectangular cover a square. Geometry 101 says, “You can’t make a rectangle into a square without losing part of the rectangle.” Gah!

So, I contacted Createspace to have them make me a square cover. They should be able to do that, right? They already have the files on hand and readily available. It’s not like they have to start from scratch!

image~ Red-eyed frog stomping.“We don’t offer that service, Ms. Fulks.” What? Are you kidding me! No one told me this would happen! Where does it say that I don’t own my cover? Irritated and ready to toss my laptop into the pool, I spent a full day researching graphic design sites, then contacted some graphic designers on the Web (99 Designs, Fiverr) and was told by each and everyone one of them that I needed my PSD, or layered files from Createspace. What? What’s a PSD file? 


A .PSD file is a layered image file used in Adobe PhotoShop. PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document, is the default format that Photoshop uses for saving data. PSD is a proprietary file that allows the user to work with the images’ individual layers even after the file has been saved.

When an image is complete, Photoshop allows the user to flatten the layers and convert the flat image into a .JPG, .GIF, .TIFF or other non-proprietary file format so it can be shared. Once a PSD image has been flattened by conversion, however, it cannot be converted back to PSD and the user can no longer work with the image’s layers. It is important, therefore, so always save the .PSD file and not overwrite it during conversion. (Source…

Again, I contacted Createspace to beg for my files…Nothing! They wouldn’t  return my emails, phone calls, or put me through to someone who could make, or override a decision. My book goes live on iTunes and Audible in late October or early November, and I still don’t have a square cover! This has gone on for two months!

MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS rectangular cover on Amazon.My original, rectangular book cover (the one on my Amazon book page) is made up of four or five major components…the man’s eyes, the wooden door, the keyhole, the little girl, and the different fonts for the title and the author attribution (and these are only for the front cover. The back is another set of files). These components are separate and unique files that have been blended together, and photo-shopped into a PSD file. Ironically, I’d still have this problem if my cover had been a landscape and a single font. Even though I purchased my custom cover, Createspace owns the PSD cover files. I don’t!


I have been fighting with Createspace since August 6th, literally begging them to release these files to me. Without the files, a graphic designer can’t replicate my exact cover. I either go with…NO COVER AVAILABLE, or completely change my cover. Neither option is acceptable. At one point, I thought I was going to have to purchase another custom cover package for my already existing cover, at a premium price of $399! I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve shed over this!

I finally made headway with my project coordinator this last week. She’s a Createspace administrator, and in-the-know. They finally sent me my PSD files… at no charge! No…really! I still had to find a graphic designer and pay for my square cover-thumbnail, but I finally got my files!

During our conversation, she let me in on a little secret. Even though Amazon owns all these entities…Createspace, Author Central, KDP,, ACX, and has an ongoing agreement with iTunes, this octopus’ arms are all detached, separate, and independent from the main body, which is Amazon! Are you surprised?

image~surprised red-eyed frogConfusing? Yes! Inconvenient? You know it! Frustrating? I’ll spare you my gutter vernacular! Anyway, apparently, I’m one of the few out there that has had this issue…I guess I’m a test tube baby! They, (Amazon) have plans in the works for alleviating this disjointed service issue…hopefully, in the near future. Luckily for the rest of you, they want to rein in all the arms of their self-publishing services, and put them all together under one umbrella.

Ha! Could you speed things up a bit? Please!

So why am I sharing this nightmare? I can assure you, it’s not because I enjoy wearing the “Biggest Idiot Award,” tattooed on my forehead!

No one should have to go through all of this! And for what, when Amazon is the one really pushing the audiobook format by asking readers, “Would you like to have this book in Audio? If so, contact the publisher.”

Umm…That’d be me! Haven’t you seen this? Since the advent of the KindleFire and the Whispersync feature, they’ve been putting it on everyone’s Amazon book page. I’m sure it’s on yours! The problem is…they don’t offer a service for the requirements of the sites involved in the process (ACX, AUDIBLE, ITUNES). This puts the author at the mercy of online service providers, and trust me, I know how costly that can be…

Cover Graphics Priority Number 1…

If you have a cover made by a graphic designer, ask for a contractual release of the work. In other words, purchase not only the cover, but also the rights to your cover. Get it in writing!

*Note…You will not have this issue with Createspace or KDP if you upload your own cover. It’s only an issue if you have Createspace make your cover, and/or you don’t own the original files to your cover art.*

image~ cool cat in sunglassesYou spend all this time pouring your heart out writing your book~then comes the editing, formatting, uploading, and finding cover art. You move forward in the process with your heart in your hands~tweeting, posting, marketing, and branding yourself with your story, your genre, and your cover. Don’t risk all of this by making my mistakes. Do the homework…read, research, question, and know what you’re getting into~small print and all! Heehee…take it from someone who has read the twitter rules, twice (OCD has it’s drawbacks). Trust me! You don’t want the nightmare I’ve just endured!

There is a bright spot in all of this! My new, wonderful Graphics Designer, Jolene, just sent me a phenomenal surprise while I was writing this blog. Are you ready for it?

Drumroll, please………………………..Ta-Da!


My Prison Square Audio Cover

After a good cleansing cry and some ear-splitting classic rock (if you can’t feel it, it ain’t loud enough) I’m going to have a stiff drink!

Cheers, everyone!

Write with passion,