Tiny touch of normalcy in the middle of a pandemic

Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle, 26-inch wheels, rear storage basket,  Cherry - Walmart.com - Walmart.com


Episode #1 – The Affair of the Tricycle Seat Repair

This isn’t my tricycle – mine is a mystery brand – but it is extremely similar. One of the things that was normal this past week was a trip to the Tinker’s Den, my first.

Here at URC, an early resident refused to move in unless he was allowed to bring his basement workshop and woodworking tools. So they accommodated him by building a room off the corner of the south underground garage, and named it the Tinker’s Den. That was 20 years ago, and the workshop is used by a variety of people doing projects.

Well, earlier in the week I finally took the trike seat off because something was wrong and it had way too much side movement, but I hadn’t been able to see what was wrong while it was attached.

When I got it upstairs, I figured out the where the seat was attached to the post, a nut had come off of a bolt, and the bolt was sitting diagonally at an odd angle, attaching nothing.

To make the story short, I called Tenney, the resident whose name is listed for the Den, and we spent an enjoyable if somewhat frustrating hour or so taking the seat apart to get at the bolt, finding a replacement one (the one on the trike must be metric, so our nut jar didn’t have a suitable replacement), and putting the whole back together – and having a nice chat as I helped.

I miss doing that in the basement of our New Jersey house, where I had a full workshop – and plenty of nuts and bolts in jars before we moved. Of course, there had been no need to use a workshop for two years here.

Episode #2: The Affair of the Head Shot

The other bit of normal life was another request of another resident: I have arranged to have an interview of me as a writer published on a blog, and the blogger kindly sent me a list of questions – and a request for a photo.

On her site, I saw that the photos of other authors were much better quality and definition than the snapshot cutouts I have normally used before (yes, I knew I’d have to do something about it some day, but when you’re indie, there are a lot of things on the list).

In any case, when we came to URC, Marion had done a very nice job with her very good camera of taking pictures for the Resident Directory, so I asked if she would take a few for me for the purpose of a head shot – and she kindly agreed.

We settled on Friday morning at 11 (I cannot guarantee being up and functional earlier, though I often am, and I didn’t want to have to call, bleary-eyed, and reschedule).

She had walked around a couple of days before at that time so as to find some good backdrops among the greenery, so we set off to take pictures, her walking (she’s 91), and me on Maggie2.

And spent about an hour using various pieces of greenery as backdrops – and then she put the twenty or so photos on a flash stick which I downloaded to my computer last night.

We were masked, and stayed the required 6 feet apart for most of the time, but talked as we went, and I am so grateful because we have no idea when real normal will return, and I was dreading the whole process (I don’t usually like my pictures), but quite a few of the ones she took are very good. She is amazing.

She was surprised that I want to do the photo editing myself, something I’m reasonably competent at – but I’m really not good at selfies, and an outside photo place is not in the cards right now.

Episode #3: The book blogger reads

And finally, I found out via Mention, where I set up a request that sends me an email when Pride’s Children PURGATORY is mentioned anywhere on the web, that a book blogger whose site Written Among the Stars I visit regularly (she does very good reviews) has started to read it, and her thoughts thus far are:

“This was another one that the writing style took me a little while to jump into to and I was a bit concerned that maybe the story just wasn’t for me. It didn’t take long though for me to catch up and really start to enjoy myself. I adore Andrew. He is quirky, funny, smarmy and just so much fun.”

You know how hard it can be to persuade someone to read something different – and all authors try to find sources for more reviews – so I am very happy that she persisted, and am looking forward to hear what she thinks of the whole.

Little things matter when you’ve been in quarantine a long time.

Please use the comments to tell your stories of what makes you feel normal right now!



75 thoughts on “Tiny touch of normalcy in the middle of a pandemic

  1. Lloyd Lofthouse

    I should have added that Fayet, the author of “How to Market a Book” says to write a series of at least three books and release them all at once. Then only promote the 1st book in that same genre series. Readers that like the first book will probably go on to buy the other books in the series.

    Both of my two newest books still going through revisions and eventually editing will be part of a series. I’ve already written finished rough drafts for the 2nd book in each series but those will have to go through revisions and editing, too.

    I have decided not to follow Fayet’s advice to wait until I have three books finished in one series and publish them all at once in one year. I do not think I will live that long at the pace it takes me to write, revise and have a book edited before publishing.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I hear you about pace! Unfortunately, or fortunately, I do my own editing (don’t have the capacity to play well enough with others enough to let them touch my work). And it is done as I go, so is not a huge job at the very end.

      I wish you well with the series. If you release 2 books, and promote the first, then readers who like it will be waiting anxiously for the next one – and you will have time to write it.


      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        I’m not willing to pay someone to give me advice about my plot and cahracters. Once I’m done with revisions, all I want is a copy editor.

        “What’s a Copyedit?

        “the goal of a copyedit is to address flaws on a very technical level – to make sure the writing that appears on the page is in accordance with industry standards. This is like an incredibly high-end proofread.

        A copyedit:

        Corrects spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax
        Ensures consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts, and capitalization
        Flags ambiguous or factually incorrect statements (especially important for non-fiction)
        Tracks macro concerns like internal consistency.”



  2. Widdershins

    Great conversation between you and Lloyd. 🙂 … nothing feels normal at the moment, even the ‘normal’ things. I’m still here though, and I’m still doing the ‘doing’ things. 🙂


      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        Thank you. I have had one book that sold well and the next three that did not even come close.


        To clarify, My Splendid Concubine was my newest book, the last one I wrote, but I published that one first. The other three I wrote years ago (and in a couple of cases decades when I started to earn my MFA in the early 1980s, and then attended UCLA’s writing extension program for seven years into the early 1990s. I enjoyed writing those three books and wanted to see them published, too. Before I published the oldest three books after Concubine, they went through revisions and editing.

        Maybe I shouldn’t have published them and should have focused on new work like what I am doing now with “The Patriot Oath” and “Becoming Merlin”.


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I don’t think you shouldn’t have published them. If they were something you loved, get them out there – someone will love them, too.

          New stuff – do that, too. But I wouldn’t unpublish – backlist is backlist.

          Just keep writing, and stretching your writing skills the way you want to.

          I have no idea what I’ll do after the trilogy is published, and any short stories that go with it. I have a nice mystery set in a physics department with a Mexican American young woman detective, and had planned more. Maybe I will go back to that – I really loved writing her. So much I could pack in from that part of my background.


        2. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Thank you. Good advice.

          As for running out of story ideas, I do not think that is possible. As one story is being completed, another idea will appear in your dreams and wake up with you in the morning.


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          But after having the commitment to this trilogy go from 2000 to maybe 2025 (Book 3’s end), will I have the strength for another?

          OTOH, that’s all I want to do, and my present living situation lets me – as long as I have my brain (iffy).

          For this I initiated a huge move. I hope I get to enjoy many years of it.


        4. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Real writers are like addicts. If we do not write, we’d go into withdrawal. Writing is our daily fix. Even an hour a day should be enough.

          You will somehow find the energy for that hour.


        5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          If I do that, they just ALL don’t get done. I don’t think you realize how little energy I have, and how erratic control of it is. I’ve just spent the entire morning – with no brain spark. Nap – then try again. It gets frustrating – but when it’s on, it’s on.


        6. Lloyd Lofthouse

          You are right. I have no idea. That doesn’t mean I won’t find out one day … if I live long enough.

          The uncle I was named after lived a full life into his 90s but in the last few years, he lost his short term memory and could only remember people that had been in his life for decades. If he met someone new, he forgot who they were by the next day. If I drove up to the Smith River where he lived in a mobile home, he’d know who I was but after I left, the next day he would have forgotten that I’d been there.


        7. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          If you live long enough, you have a higher probability of getting something – but there are plenty of people, including a whole bunch living where we do now, who are fine into their late 90s. I just did a headshot with a woman of 91 who has all her buttons – she shot a bunch of photos for me, and seemed surprised I was planning to do my own editing.


        8. Lloyd Lofthouse

          The only person I will leave my property and bank account too is my step-daughter and she would be shocked at some of the stuff I spent money on that could have been left in one of my savings accounts.

          And there is nothing she can do to stop me.


        9. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          If I recall correctly, this is still YOUR money. And you have plans for needing it. If there’s anything left…

          We told our children we were moving to a CCRC, for their benefit – they will have far fewer worries about us, and a lot of help is built into the system – but that it might be expensive.

          They told us to spend it on ourselves.

          I wish some of our relatives HAD spent more of it on themselves. Children of the Great Depression, they saved for a rainy day – but did not recognize it was thundering and pouring outside when it happened. I wish they had enjoyed it more.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m not only reading, but reading my own book! Because I know how it will go, and what emotional tones it will ring.

      New stuff seems to annoy me lately. Just stress, and lockdown, and KNOWING your fellow citizens will throw you under the bus first if push comes to shove for hospital beds. And many places aren’t sending older people to the hospital at all.

      “Enjoy you retirement!” they said.

      Too dark? I suppress it most of the time, and then another article in the news – and wham!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        And now Trump wants to throw millions of older Americans that rely on Social Security and Medicare under that bus. The executive order he threatens to sign for pandemic financial relief for younger struggling families that are out of work and can’t pay rent or mortgage payments will stop the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare. By law, what Social Security pays out must be funded from that tax revenue. If enough money isn’t coming in, SS must cut back what it is paying out to balance the books or stop paying SS altogether.


        1. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I agree. and the reason they’d still vote for Trump is that they probably only get their news from the Faux Fox Network that will never report the details regarding those payroll tax cuts while they spin it in a way that is designed to deceive and fool those that are easier to fool.


        2. acflory

          Apologies for butting in but…you have a dedicated taxation stream for social security? And it can’t be paid from general taxation or whatever it’s called over there? But surely a pandemic payment is a ‘new, short term’ expenditure? Australia is different. 😦


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          SS has always been self-funding – and businesses have resented having to pay their half (and many individuals). But it is a lifeline for many older Americans who haven’t been able to save for retirement, etc.

          DT wants to repeal it. It would be a disaster.

          Liked by 2 people

        4. Lloyd Lofthouse

          DT lies and says he won’t touch it but every year, his budget to Congress had deep cuts to both Social Security and Medicare. Both Houses of Congress put the money back in the budget and sent it back to Trump.

          But Trump is doing an end-run right now with his bragging that he will do what Congress can’t do and sign an executive order for a short term stimulus package. To pay for this, he says he will cut payroll taxes, the same taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare.

          When Trump defied Congress declared an emergency and moved billions from the Defense Department budget to fund his wall Congress refuses to fund, he took from one program that benefited the active-duty troops in some way to pay for his vanity project that will do little to nothing to stop immigrants from crossing the border.

          Congress voted to stop Trump from moving money from the DOD to build his useless vanity wall but did not have enough votes to overrule Trump’s veto. Then Trump was challenged in court and the case quickly reached the US Supreme Court that ruled 5 to 4 he could take money from the DOD and spend it on his wall.

          This might be the rub. The Defense budget is descriptional funding and is not written in stone through legislation. Social Security and Medicare is mandatory spending that was created by an act of Congress and signed into law by FDR for SS and LBJ for Medicare. Both of these programs are very popular with the vast majority of the adult population. If Trump signed or will sign an executive order to cut payroll taxes for SS and Medicare to put more money in the pockets of working Americans and employers, will the U.S. Supreme Court rule the same way it did when he robbed the Defense Department to have money to build his wall. From what I have been reading about Trump’s Deplorable Wall, most of the work is replacing the old section and less than a hundred miles has been added to what already existed. The wind blew over one section in California and another section in Texas is probably going to fall over because it was built next to the Colorado River and is being undermined by floods and water runoff. The reason for the shoddy work is because Trump uses his power as president to pressure locals to build his wall without going through the legal process it takes to build something so it is built properly. To force people to do what he wants, any elected local or agency head in a state that tries to uphold the law ends up getting death threats until they let Trump and his cronies do what they want without any interference of oversight.


        5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          It is amazing how little power we have over a president and his Senate majority. And the judges he appointed to the Supreme Court, added to the Republicans that were there, is destroying whatever semblance of balance of powers (which was not doing so well even before, what with the pork barrel projects) we used to have.

          I don’t recognize this country any more. I didn’t think we were so vulnerable, even when every Republican president left us with a bigger deficit. It’s a joke.


        6. Lloyd Lofthouse

          G. W. Bush’s toxic presidency and Trump’s even worse toxicity did not happen overnight. Back in the 1970s during the Civil Right Movement, many very wealthy and powerful white men that were racists organized and started to slowly subvert the process of government in this country.

          Some of there names: The Walmart Walton family, the Koch brothers, and the ALEC organization they launched along with a slew of other extremists that called themselves conservatives when they have always been racists with a goal to replace the U.S. Constutintal Republic with an autocratic faux Christain kleptocracy.

          Trump can win the 2020 election through the Electoral College, but he will have to cheat to do it and get away with his cheating and lies just like he did when he was impeached. Trump cannot win an honest election in November. The majority of voting Americans will not let that happen. Unless Trump’s corrupt and deplorable loyalists find a way to stuff the ballot boxes, Trump will lose the popular vote by an even larger number than he did in 2016.

          I will not relax until I hear that he has lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College, hopefully by a massive history setting margin.


        7. Lloyd Lofthouse

          The only thing I have rad about voter registration is that it is down because of COVID-19, but I did read a piece about the Republican Party losing people after Trump was elected and how they moved over to become independents or joined the Democratic Party.

          I do not know if any of these is the one I read or not, but they all focus on the same topic.





        8. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          It’s all going to come down to execution, mail-in votes, and voter registration – and people of color being intimidated at the polls.

          Four years, and he’s destroyed representative democracy, with Moscow Mitch’s help (or vice versa).


        9. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Moscow Mitch started destroying democracy during Obama’s presidency. The worst move MM made was when he blocked the Senate from voting on Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court appointment nine months before the 2106 election.

          I would be shocked if one of the progressive justices died before Trump left office on January 20, 2021, if MM didn’t push through a Trump appointment to replace the progressive justice with another deplorable Trump appointee even if there was only a week left before Trump was carried out of the White House by his Secret Service detail, with DUCT tape on his mouth and his wrists zip-tied to shut him up


        10. acflory

          In Australia, funding is split between the States and the Federal govt but the Feds provide social services such as disability pensions, age pensions, unemployment etc. ALL of it comes out of general taxation except for the Medicare levy [1% I think]. Education and public hospitals are funded by the States but the Medicare rebate is funded by the Feds. It’s a complicated, two tiered system but basically it’s ‘livable’ and private health insurance [paid by the individual] is becoming less and less viable.
          Successive conservative govts have tried to claw back welfare spending, but it’s never worked. We consider the welfare safety net to be a universal right, not a privilege.


        11. acflory

          Yes. The old Newstart allowance was so low it was scandalous, but singles can survive [barely] because healthcare is basically free, many meds are subsidised, and there are a few addons like rent assistance. Families get some addons related to children & if lucky low rent social housing.


        12. Lloyd Lofthouse

          As thin as it is, it sounds better than the U.S. where millions work but do not earn enough to eat and have a roof over their heads. Some churches and nonprofits have started to set up secure, fenced, guarded parking lots where the homeless can sleep safely at night, but they have to be inside before the gates are locked and there has to be room when they arrive.

          From 2016 to 2017, homelessness increased nationally by 0.7 percent. The largest increases were among unaccompanied children and young adults (14.3 percent increase), individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (12.2 percent increase), and people experiencing unsheltered homelessness (9.4 percent increase).

          In January 2018, 552,830 people were counted as homeless in the United States. Of those, 194,467 (35 percent) were unsheltered, and 358,363 (65 percent) were sheltered. The overall homeless population on a single night represents 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, or 17 people per 10,000 in the population.

          Liked by 1 person

        13. acflory

          Ouch. Our own homeless were growing too – that Newstart allowance I mentioned worked out to be $40 a day so many young people were couch surfing or sleeping rough to get buy. With the pandemic, every state govt found a way to get the homeless off the streets and into accommodation. Obviously many deals struck with hotels/motels being empty, but still. It can be done if we want to do it.


        14. Lloyd Lofthouse

          There is only one way DT can stay in power. He will have to steal the election with help from the former Republican Party that is now the Trumplican Party, and he will have to cheat like he has done most of his life at just about everything, business, marriage, and golf.


        15. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I hope the Democrats are exploring EVERY impossible option – we were nice last time; don’t repeat THAT mistake. You can’t be nice to venomous snake whose livelihood (greed, graft, and corruption) you want to limit.


      1. Lloyd Lofthouse

        Amazon doesn’t allow Library Thing or the Midwest Book Review to post reviews on their site because they claim if you give them a book to read and review for free, that is the same as paying them to write a review.

        The Midwest Book Review is another site where we might get reviews. Their reviewers are all volunteers and do not have to review a book they are not interested in. I understand that books authors send them sit on a table and if a book hasn’t been picked up by one of the reviwe4rs in a couple of weeks, it will be recycled and the author never knows what happened because there just isnt’ enough time in the day to keep track of all that and notify them. The only time an author has back is usually when a review is written and posted on that site.

        It’s worth a try. I sent in “My Splendid Concubine” and that novel got reviewed by MBR but the next two I sent in did not get reviewed and I never heard back from them about those two.



        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          You can use the Midwest Book Review in your Editorial Reviews section; that’s where mine is. They have paid reviews as well as selected ones.

          Ditto with a Kirkus Review you’ve paid for. I’m considering it, since a friend of mine bought one for her new thriller.

          The only caveat is that you must let Kirkus publish the review first before you can quote from it. Unless the book is an absolute bomb, your Kirkus review should have good quotes you can excerpt and use in the Editorial Reviews section of your book’s page on Amazon. They’re pricey – which is why I hadn’t done it.


        2. Lloyd Lofthouse

          But doesn’t the Kirkus review cost like several hundred dollars for each review?

          On that note, Writers Digest has an annual indie e-book and/or print book contest that comes with an in-depth review of the book whether it wins an award or not, and I have pulled quotes from those and identified Writers Digest and the specific contest as the source.


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Yes – Kirkus is around $400 for an indie book, and, as appropriate, you are guaranteed nothing.

          The question is whether it might become one of their starred reviews (a big deal, featured on their website). And whether you would sell enough to be worth it – or if it’s worth it to you even if there is no immediately connection to sales.

          I want READERS. It’s hard to find readers of mainstream who will break with their general distrust of indies’ quality, and take a chance on something not vetted through traditional publishing channels.

          I have no trouble wanting to compete with those books – but it is not a level playing field.

          Even Amazon is only interested after the writer proves sales.

          Unfortunately, the Dunning-Kruger effect is alive and well in authors.


        4. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I want to also share what I just learned this morning about a site that advertises authors’ books to Kindle unlimited readers. I have one book in that Amazon Kindle program and its My Splendid Concubine.


          I checked the sites Alexa ranking and it was twice as good as the Fussy Librarian’s where I ran an ad on August 5th for $27 and sold 24 My Splendid Concubine e-books that day. I am running a Kindle countdown deal for seven days that ends on August 11th at midnight then the price goes back up to $3.99. MSC has sold 36 books so far. I also ran an ad through e-book booster for $20 that ran the same day as Fussy Librarian. On second thought, I should have had that one run a day or two later so I could track the sales through that site.

          I submitted a request to run an ad through KuAddictExpress (the link above) on August 14th. If they accept my request and the ad runs, I’ll let you know if the book starts getting more page reads. So far, this month, there have only been 117-page reads for MSC.


        5. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          That is a good idea – I’ll follow that one up. What category do you put your novel in?

          I’m stuck – mainstream no longer exists. Literary fiction is my best possibility, and it sort of fits in women’s fiction.

          Have you tried other categories?


        6. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I did not see historical fiction listed but the story also has a romance of sorts, so I used one of the romance ones. I think there was more than one and I’d don’t remember the exact one I selected. I did think of literary fiction, too, but didn’t select it. I thought more readers might be interested in romance.


        7. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          More readers ARE interested in Romance; it is a big genre. But what happens after someone buys a historical novel that is not what they think of as a Romance? Surely that must affect page reads, and this is a KU newsletter.

          You sounded happy with your results.

          I looked at what they had listed under literary fiction – and wondered about the readers who would choose that. Unless it now means anything complex that is not a straight something else.


        8. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Well, technically My Splendid Concubine is a love story without a happy ending [no choice there unless I wanted to change the history behind this story that was based on real people], and it is also a clash of cultures love story. Not much of a dating type, seduction, romance type of love story when the father of the girl he fell in love with ends up selling his daughter as a concubine to the highest bidder, and then the guy that loves the girl he lost ends up buying her younger sister instead-but manages to sort of steal the older sister, the one he loves, from the evil monster known as the Devil Soldier (based on another real historical person and this bad guy was known as the Devil Soldier] that outbid him during what could only be considered a slave auction.


        9. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Mostly good reviews.

          Back in 2013, 2014, and 2015, BookBub accepted my requests to advertise My Splendid Concubine. Since then, all of my requests have been turned down even though the book sold thousands of copies each time one of those ads ran.

          By the time 2015 came to an end, the number of reviews had more than tripled from 2013 when I started to run those BookBub ads, and the book now has 367 ratings/reviews with a 4.3 out of 5 average, and 82 percent of those reviews are listed as positive.

          Back in 2008, the Historical Novel Society’s review said, “Those who are interested in unconventional romances with an out-of-the-ordinary setting will find plenty to enjoy.”

          The same year the Midwest Book Review said, ““Packed cover to cover with intriguing characters and plot, a must-read for history fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre.”

          ““Political intrigue and matters of the heart are both fully explored. … readers who enjoy vicariously experiencing other times and cultures will find Our Hart a fascinating journey.” – Commentary of a Writer’s Digest judge, April 2011

          Back then, “My Splendid Concubine” was the prequel and the sequel was “Our Hart” and the two were selling thousands of pieces annually. A few years later, I decided to turn the two into one book and have regretted doing that ever since. Once the book had more than a quarter of a million words, sales dropped like a rock from a fifty-story building. Once joined together, I do not think I could get away with returning them to two books.


        10. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Thanks for the review of your details. It sounds as if you had a very good run, and possibly what has changed is something else? Amazon algorithms? The political climate? And by that I mean societal mores, too. Tastes do change. I did visit its page when you and I started chatting back and forth.

          I really don’t like historical novels any more, mostly because the past annoys me, which is a silly thing to say. What I mean, is that things that were part of the background, such as society’s attitudes toward women, medicine and medical advances, business and commerce,… have changed, and what was once true is no longer the norm – and I know that, so it ruins the experience of living another life for me.

          Personal quirk, of course, but women not having choices is not something I want to read about.

          The past doesn’t change, but the present does – and it is readers in the present who are reading about the past. If that makes sense. In a day when GWTW is being reevaluated for the cavalier way it presented slavery, I wonder what an author is supposed to do.

          And I’m looking hard at what I’ve written, as I started PC in 2000 – re-set it in 2005 when it became obvious that I’m one of the slowest writers on the planet, and am now dealing with the 2005 time frame – and the fact that I will finish the final volume about 20 years after I started writing.

          I have my eye on the ages, but even Jane Eyre has trouble with that.


        11. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I agree. With time, tastes do change. One think that helped “My Splendid Concubine” when I published the book in December 2007. was the 2008 Olympics being held in Beijing, China.


        12. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Something which won’t be repeated for a while.

          A lot of people are finding out they have far less control of their lives than they thought they had – maybe some of those will turn to historical novels which also show that.

          Maybe something like that could change advertising a bit. I don’t know how much you advertise.


        13. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I have been advertising through Amazon since January 11, 2019. The first few months while I was learning what worked, I spent more money than I earned back from the ads. For more than a year now, I have been earning a bit more than I spend but not that much more. Rarely there will be a burst where I earn way more than I spend but most of the time it is small stuff.

          This month will probably be different because I decided to do my first big ad campaign in years through multiple sites like Fussy Librarian, e-book booster, and the KU Fanclub site I found late last week. I have never made a profit from those (except for those three BookBub ads) and this time will probably not be any different. If I break even or come close, I will count that as a success.


        14. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I’ll be interested to hear how those go AND how your readthrough is changed.

          I only have the one so far, though I have a prequel short story finished which I may or may not use as a reader magnet if I finish book 2. Disadvantages of being so slow!


        15. Lloyd Lofthouse

          Sorry, it took me so long to let you know how the Amazon ads were performing. I was waiting for some results because I increased my promotion efforts this year to one Kindle Countdown deal each quarter, running ads on other sites to support those countdown deals, and struggling to learn how to improve my promotional efforts for Amazon ADS and outside of Amazon. I am also running ads with three nonAmazon sites to reach Kindle Unlimited readers. I have read two books so far and am still learning.

          Let’s compare the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. The only thing I did back then was run Amazon ADS and nothing else.

          In January, February, and March of 2020, I sold SIX e-books during all three months and had 8,290-page reads (about 13 books) through Kindle Unlimited that pays about a half-cent for each page read.

          Conclusion: 19 books paid for during the 1st quarter 2020.

          By August 2020, I decided I had to change what I was doing and started to experiment and read more to learn how to leverage not only Amazon ADS but to increase my promotional efforts outside of Amazon. I experimented in August and again in October 2020. From what I learned, I launched a year-long promotional campaign for 2021.

          Here are the results for the first quarter of 2021.

          124 e-books sold (many discounted from $4.99 to $0.99)
          33,087 page reads through Kindle Unlimited (about 52 books read) that paid abo $160 based on about half-cent a page.

          Conclusion: 176 books paid for during the 1st quarter of 2021.

          And, as I continue, I’m still learning and adjusting. I suspect that the 2nd quarter of 2021 will not end up as good as the 1st quarter. Hopefully, that will improve in the 3rd quarter of 2021 as I continue to learn.

          Did I make a profit 1st quarter of 2021? No! The ads cost me more than the royalties and page reads from Kindle Unlimited readers, but I’m not compaining. At least more people were reading my work.


        16. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Thanks for the detailed summary – I’m thinking we need to get to the place where the author is paid for the TIME spent doing ads, as well as the ads.

          The big question is whether the author has more books for someone liking the book read for a promotion to go BUY some closer to the regular price. I don’t. I believe you do.

          What if anything have you noticed about results for books you were NOT advertising – sometimes it’s called ‘read-through’?


        17. Lloyd Lofthouse

          I have only been advertising one book, “My Splendid Concubine,” and ignoring the other three that I have published. I removed the other three books from Kindle Unlimited because no one was reading them and that hasn’t changed. If all four of my books were historical fiction, it would probably be easier to tie them together through the promotions but each book is in a different genre.

          The current best seller rank shows what I mean.

          Today “My Splendid Concubine” is ranked #519,025. On April 1st, that rank was #140,909

          On April 1st “Crazy is Normal” was ranked a bit more than 1.2 million, “Running with the Enemy” a bit more than 1.6 million, and “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova” a bit more than 2.2 million. Fast forward to April 15, and those ranks haven’t changed much. I’ve read that Amazon has more than 32 million titles. Imagine what it is like to be ranked at #32-million.

          One of the two books I read to learn how to improve promoting my work is “How to Market A Book” by Ricardo Fayet, and it was clear that if you want to succeed stick to one genre and write and publish at least three books in that genre annually.

          Who writes three publishable books a year? Not me. It took me a decade to start and finish “My Splendid Concubine”. The other three titles were written decades ago before Amazon existed and lived on a shelf. After Amazon, I dusted them off, revised them, paid an editor to edit them and published them.

          The two newest books I’m working on are also taking years to finish. I started one of them in 2018 (the suspense thriller) and the other one (the SF-Fantasy) in 2019. Both have gone through several revisions and are still in revision mode — not ready to send to an editor yet.


        18. Lloyd Lofthouse

          The real-life story behind “My Splendid Concubine” could support several sequels. Robert Hart lived in China for more than 50 years and my novel only covers the first decade. However, it took more than a decade to write that novel and the first sequel would take a few years to write, too before revisions and editing.

          The other three books, no.


Comments welcome and valued. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.