Evaluating 2020 : When it comes to your brand


Now that the year is winding down, it is a good idea to access how you did in whatever part of your life or business that comes to mind.

When it comes to writing, aka my business, I go over my marketing calendar to see how I did as far as time and effort.

It is a simple calendar. I mark daily, I try anyway, how I did. By doing this I get a good overlook on how I am doing and if I am progressing forward. I also mark if I worked on any of my manuscripts,  if I did any editing, or if I start any new book.

This year I did pretty good in posting about my brand, having more guest posts on other sites, and having more interviews. My books made it in the top 100 multiple times on Amazon. It made it and in the lower 50 many times.

Marketing one’s books and brand is tedious and takes a lot of time, especially away from writing. But it is a necessary part of being an author.

When one compares to where one started at the beginning of the year, it is a way to see what worked and what didn’t. It helps me to proceed for the next year.

It could help you progress better than the year before. That is my goal.

Good luck to you all in 2021.

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A day in the life of my main character: Our Amazon parrot, Jasper


Have you ever wondered what your main character would do if they existed in real life?

Recently, I wrote a guest post on a day in the life of Jasper. He is the main character in my Jasper, Amazon parrot series.

We rescued Jasper in 1999.

For the life of me, reminding myself how we existed before our birds is difficult. You see, I started to rescue birds in 1998.

But I digress.

I started to write about a day in the life of Jasper. I will give a short excerpt here. When I guest post for someone, I will share and promote it. It is out of respect and gratefulness for someone who gave me the time and effort to shine a light on Jasper and me.

From A Blue Million Books, the excerpt. The link to the entire post is at the end.

So, what is a day like in the life of Jasper?

I get up roughly at 5:25 am. My husband and I leave by 6 to go for our morning walk. Hearing my footsteps, Jasper will race down his cage, across the ladder that connects to the rail, goes to the very end by the stairs, and go vertical. He will get face down, tail in the air as he waits for me.

The point of that is he is ready for his morning pat. It is required of me to pat him at least 100 times. Rule number one says so. The point of me doing this as I pat him is to check his wings, breastplate, eyes, nostrils, feet, tail, back, and overall check. Birds tend to hide their sickness. By the time you notice that they are sick, it could be too late. It is a bonding moment for us. He loves it and expects it.

“Thank you,” is said when we finished.

He might say, “Hello, hello, hello.”

It all depends on his mood.

After, he will race to his cage. It is time to be fed. It does not matter that I have a routine to feed my other birds. In his mind, he needs to eat first. That includes clean water and food. Rule number two is complete.

But while he is eating, Cartoon Network needs to be turned on for him to enjoy. If not, then Nat Geo or a favorite movie of his. He does enjoy watching MMA and football. I have not figured out yet why. Now, you are not to walk in front of the TV or stand in front of it. Rule number three is complete.

Once he is done eating and is back in front of the TV, he will groom himself. It is necessary for birds. With him being a large bird, this can take quite a while to go over each feather. It takes a good portion of his time during the day, especially if it is that time of year when he is molting.

If the sun is shining through the window by his cage, he will place himself either on our kitchen table or on his circular stand to enjoy the rays and a small nap, which can vary in length.

Now I am allowed to work at the kitchen table. But with that comes my bird wanting to help me. Do I need help? No. Does it matter? No. Jasper offers it happily. Rule number four is to be a helpful bird. Even if that means walking on top of the papers to tell me hi, so be it.


Do you charge what you are worth?

Do you sell your wares? What are they worth? The products could be anything from knitted outfits to beautiful paintings.

But how about your services?

When I became a development editor, I set in my mind what I thought I should charge for it. I didn’t want to put a number so out of reach that it would scare potential clients away. Also, you don’t want to be charging the bottom of the barrel.

Yet, that is what people want you to do. But in that comes a catch 22.

People want the best bargain. But then they question the validity of your service. It is said that the best of the best costs more. Bargain deals are for the lukewarm items.

So, if I charge a lot, I might not get clients. If I price my ware too low, people are hesitant. Even more frustrating is when people want you to do it for free.

As I started getting clients, the first few were a learning curve. The first person I charged in food. Yes, you heard me. I would meet the client at a coffee shop, and she would feed me. The experience and her testimony to build on was the goal.

Another new client gave me a flat fee for what he was willing to pay. Considering the length of his book that made my hourly wage below minimum wage. But I was building a clientele, so I did it to get the experience and another testimony.

I, for years, would reach out to my fellow authors in our area, wanting to help them. No one took me up on my offer. By the time they finally did, and we are talking years later, I was now charging much to their surprise. I didn’t budge. Taking the time and effort to build a person’s social platform, work on their website, or doing development work on their stories is high. It is time I am taking away from my platform, site, and own writings, not to mention family.

Attending a class at a writer’s conference that was on knowing your worth was eye-opening. For all of us to start charging for my wares and services. I should not let people barter me down for their own sake and against mine.

I now challenge anyone who wants to hire me, and are not liking the cost, to try to find someone, anyone, who will do it at a lower price. They won’t. I’ve checked.

I am sticking to my guns. Everyone ought to when it comes to their services. We put a lot of work into what we do. As authors, you should not expect me to lower my standards for you. Would you do that for me?

The only difference is I would not ask you to do this for me for free.

The Musings of A New Englander