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Homeless Ashes Feature Film

In the northern hemisphere, we head to our shortest day. Friends in the south enjoy their summer and I smile as Luna Moon Hare heads toward another battle between the holly and oak kings. She’s carried the crown dropped by the oak king in his defeat against the holly king back on the longest day of 2017. The next battle takes place on Thursday, 21 December at a little before 17:30 CET.

The oak king is favourite to win this next battle marking the start of his journey to bring rebirth and light back to our part of the world. The wheel of life keeps turning and the holly king is expected to win in the south.

That, my friends, is only the tip of the story which is one of many that all point to the same outcome; rebirth and light.

When the earth was created there was darkness and light followed. The sun is our living and divine fire, representing our own internal light. Chadogya Upanishad talked about a long highway going to two places; one at the start, another at the end. The rays of the sun do the same, starting at the sun; they enter the human body, start from there and enter the sun. We are light and we burn away the darkness on our journey to enlightenment.

This story is told to a traveller who has lost his way at the start of my next but one novel, Supper in Jerusalem. Upon hearing the story, he realises the path he must follow starting with one of his greatest strengths; compassion. He sees disaster all around him and hears the call to challenge.

Similarly, I see disaster in our modern society but not something from Supper in Jerusalem. I see Homelessness and it’s not something just to notice at Christmas.

Actor, Marc Zammit is working on a project to focus attention on homelessness through a full length feature film, Homeless Ashes. This crowd funded project needs to raise £95,000 to complete this outstanding film. A large amount but nothing compared to the costs of a romcom.

Marc is passionate and committed to the project and will not stop until this film is made.

Raised on a council estate, he has been acting for 17 years. Unable to afford drama school, Marc worked delivering milk from the age of 12 to help fund his career. When he went to drama school, he made a promise that if he were to reach success in his career, he would give something back to the community. He has gone from strength to strength and has found the path to make a film he believes will make waves.

Homeless Ashes is a dramatic feature film that will raise awareness of homelessness but it will also be an entertaining film. It will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and is full of raw passion while highlighting the issues of homelessness.

In 9 locations, on 1 day and 10 hours hard work . . .

‘. . . we managed to film the short on a £700 budget!’

If you can help Marc complete this film by offering a small donation, please visit Homeless Ashes at Indiegogo . You can watch the short there too. Every donation counts and you may even find yourself on the end credits!

Please share this post and let’s see if we can make a difference to the Homeless Ashes budget.

Diversity Matters

Today is International Migrants Day and pleasing to see lots of positive comment out there on various Internet media. There’s a hash tag on Twitter and almost 2.5 million hits returned from a Google search.

STOP! My recent research into promoting my brand on social media told me not to discuss politics. Well, I make no apologies for this article because some things I can’t ignore.

At the top of the Google list, William Lacy Swing from The IOM started his article in a way that made me, a supporter of migration, tune-in my attention.

““I’m a migrant, but didn’t have to risk my life on a leaky boat or pay traffickers. Safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite.”   Thus spoke United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in September 2017.”

I don’t wish to go over Swing’s article but I urge you to read it. For me, two points stand out.

Over 2 billion people have smartphones and with those comes access to social media, and the opportunities offered.

  1. “It comes as no surprise then that vast armies of hopeful young migrants want to climb aboard the “leaky boats” referred to by the Secretary General. Pushed by lack of economic opportunity, often exacerbated by climate change, they too are vulnerable to the siren song of social media.”

 

People want to care for their families, improve their situations and escape the harsh realities of their homelands. Some only want to work and return home afterwards. But what’s stopping them and what do they meet when they reach foreign shores?

Fear! Not only their own fear but the fear they experience coming from natives of the places they reach. To delve deeper into this issue would take a novel or academic paper so I have opted for the former in Supper in Jerusalem. A novel about a young migrant who experiences the sharp end of discrimination, hate and negativity and attempts to create something positive.

  1. “That’s where smuggling networks, human traffickers and modern day enslavers ply their trade these days with complete impunity. These cruel deceptions go unchecked as the social media giants chase new markets . . .”

 

Wherever there’s an opportunity, not only do we find the ‘good guys’ trying to earn an honest fortune. We also find the ‘bad guys’ plying their own harmful trades people trafficking in the shadows of society. Innocent people looking to build positive lives end up lost on the yellow brick road and often worse off.

Something needs to be done and while the United Nations attempts to address the issue, the ultimate solution involves all of us. We are human beings and we must live and fight for humanity with our courage, strength, compassion and love.

Directing People To Your Blog

I wrote this post because I needed to learn something about the value of Social Media in my business. There was no ignoring the wealth of expert advice on the topic. The following post is a collection of ideas from several entrepreneurs or businesses and I will be implementing them during the next few weeks. Reporting back in the New Year.

No matter how you are selling books or generating leads, people will check out your Social Media links to see if they like you and what you are offering. If they like what you share, they will follow you and their friends are introduced to you through their posts. In that sense, Facebook is a great platform.

People want to know who they are doing business with, they want to see who you are and what matters to you besides your business. We were born inquisitive and despite our school years where inquisitiveness takes second place to supplying answers, many of us hold onto our inquisitiveness and it needs feeding. Don’t be afraid of stalkers; share your vision, experience, philosophy.

Everything you do on Facebook, your posts and how you present them, matters. People are watching. When you are chatting with people on Facebook, they are checking your profile. Even when you generate leads on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Email they will check you out. When you attract a new customer or partner, they will especially look to decide whether to stick with you longer term.

It might be argued that authors need no more than positive reviews to attract people. There are millions of books out there so we need to find a way to stay in the minds of our readers.

If you take a look at the Facebook walls of many home business entrepreneurs, they shout, “I’m an amateur” and put people off, according to sources. I found a few that are indeed questionable and when they post something there is little in return, no comments, likes and shares.

If you work on your Facebook strategy, you can generate sales and make friends along the way. I’ve researched my mistakes and how to avoid them.  In this post I’ll share with you what and how to post on Facebook to increase engagement and direct people to your blog.

Common Mistakes

What not to do. This will be fundamental and common sense for many, but common sense is not always common practice.

Your profile picture—Post a smiling and happy face that is easy to see, because people love to associate with happy people.

People have other images as their picture but, who wants to do business with a chocolate gateau?

2) Your cover photo—Put an image that will show who you are, what you are all about, your personality, your brand, your core message, your slogan, your motto, your lifestyle, social proof.

An image of the products or the company you promote isn’t a positive way forward. Facebook are encouraging that but it shows the world representation of a company. People prejudge and think you want to sell them a product. As we shall see, Facebook is not the platform for sales.

3) Posting links to capture pages and sales pages on the profile—People don’t usually go to Facebook specifically to buy your product. Don’t try to sell on Facebook. The best way to sell on Facebook is to not sell on Facebook. Direct people to your blog instead.

You can occasionally post your link to a capture page where you offer more value, but don’t do it blatantly. Instead, share a story with value and mention the link to your capture page as a, “by the way; if you want to know more . . .”

4) Not completing their profile—this is basic but complete all the information about you; where you live, what you like, etc. Don’t mention the name of the company on your profile.

5) Posting negativity, news, complaining, politics—People want to associate with positive people. If you are going through tough times and challenges, don’t post it on Facebook if you want to grow your business. If you want to attract negativity and get no results, don’t post negative… Share The Love, light and positivity in the world!

Story lines To Share On Facebook

Look at your Facebook profile as your own reality show.

A story line is a motive; a theme of what you post that is similar in nature and gets people to respond.

Once you develop your story lines, you will no longer have to guess what to post on Facebook. You choose from a story line.

Your Lifestyle Pictures

People are attracted to lifestyle and want to see that you are living your dream and having fun. A picture of how you are having fun with the kids in the park on a Monday afternoon will get people wondering how they can do it.

Post a picture with a story of how you went on holiday that you paid for with the money you earned at home. Talk about how much fun you had. Share pictures from your trip and travels, images of the snow you didn’t have to fight through to get to work. It can be so many things but it’s all about your lifestyle!

Inspirational Images & Quotes With Your Unique Stamp

People love to get inspired and motivated to do something in their life. You can save an image of a quote you find or make a new one and then comment with your own thoughts. Be inspired, share a concept or idea and encourage people to think.

Ask questions, engage with them. Ask often for their feedback and thoughts.

Share your unique philosophy, beliefs, attitudes, a story that makes a point, something personal to inspire people.

Your Normal Life

People want to see you are human and real just like them. Share things about your interests and your hobbies. What you are passionate about? Share how you are playing a sport or going to the gym, performing in a band, or running every day.

Share how you are having fun with the family. Share something from your everyday life.

When you are posting images on Facebook write a couple of sentences to describe what you are experiencing and feeling. Don’t just post an image and go.

Stories Of Struggle AND Victory

People resonate and connect with you much more when they hear a story. Your story often comes hand in hand with the next story line which is social proof.

I recently shared a few personal stories and didn’t expect the wonderful responses.

Share a story of your struggle but always at the end share the victory and a happy ending. Don’t just share your struggles, it’s not going to inspire anyone to take any action but feel depressed. Share your frustrations and how you banged your head against the wall trying to work things out. How you didn’t have money to eat . . . Share how you sat for hours in front of the computer making no money, how you couldn’t sleep and burned the midnight oil. Share your feelings as you were going through all of this. The more vivid you can describe the struggle the better.

Then tie it in the breakthrough you had, the victory you experienced, the success you found. There is something you discovered along your journey and now you are willing to share it with people so they may learn.

It doesn’t have to be a victory with major results or success. Any shared positive story helps.

Social Proof

Social proof comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to be about how much money you made. There are other ways to show social proof.

1) Income results—The obvious one is to share how much money you have made, royalties, commissions, sales . . .

Attach a story of struggle to your results, so people know you worked hard for it. They will relate to the struggle and now it’s inspiring.

2) Leads generated—your results can come in the form of how many leads you have generated. There are many people who don’t know how to generate leads and they would love to learn from someone who does.

3) Success of your team—if you have a team and one of them succeeds, congratulate publicly and share the results. People will see that you are a positive leader who helps others get results. It will be flattering to your team member and get them more results.

It can be just welcoming new team members publicly. It can be even the success of people not directly in your team, other authors . . . You can always find inspiring stories.

4) Pictures with leaders–post pictures with great leaders and successful people in your field. It shows that you associate with leaders so you must be a leader too. Their success and credibility will rub off on you.

5) Lifestyle, Holidays and Fun–This is another way of social proof. There are many ways to say that you are successful without saying it. Pictures having fun and a positive lifestyle provides social proof too.

Your likes and comments, the amount of friends you have is also a form social proof, don’t forget that.

Post a video

There is nothing that creates more trust faster than people who didn’t know you before watching you on video.

When you are able to be yourself, be vulnerable, be honest, look directly at the camera and open up your heart, share your message and share who you are; everything changes.

Video will be easier with practice like everything. Keep them short, practice, record and talk for 3 minutes. I’m sure most of us can talk for longer than that!

Videos show you to the world. They allow people to catch up on nonverbal communication, to see who you truly are.

There are so many things you can do with video. You can share all of those story lines. Try writing a script. It’s not as difficult as it seems.

GIVE VALUE, that’s a huge point. Whatever you are posting think about if it will improve someone’s day, uplift and give value.

Bridge To A Blog Post

This is the big one. How do you share your blog posts on Facebook?

Don’t throw a link to a blog post with a featured image and hope people will visit. There is just an image, a title and a few words that represent the first sentences of the blog post. It’s not enough.

You can get better results if you BRIDGE your Facebook post to your blog by sharing a mini post or story. I will be doing exactly that before I post this from my Word document to blog.

You can take a unique angle. An excerpt from the blog, share a story around it, share value and a concept. At the end of the post you can include a link to your blog post!

You can take inspirational quotes and tie it into your blog; you can take pictures of your girlfriend with you and tie it somehow to your blog post at the end.

Your blog is your home online that you will invite people to over and over again to read your story, get value from you and become your subscriber. Your job is to get people from Facebook and other social media to your blog.

Finally

You can do other things besides from posting on Facebook.

Start conversations with people who are engaging with your posts. When somebody likes or comments on your post, it gives you permission to talk to this person. There are chances that a long term partnership will arise from these conversations.

Comment and like other people’s posts because they will come back to you and often reciprocate too.

You can promote your Facebook posts on other social media sites to drive more friends to you. You can even mail-shoot your email list with a link to your Facebook post.

Always be you and show your leadership and character because that’s what people are attracted to.

If you found value in this post, please add a few comments below and click this link to share

Once a Bestseller, Always a Bestseller

Have you noticed the offers that attack your inbox promising massive increases in book sales? You have, they’re not difficult to miss. Don’t Panic! There are no offers of glory or riches in this post.

Two days ago, one particular email said,

“Unless you have four-star reviews, your book will fail.”

I followed that cheeky suggestion and discovered their point.

Buy one of their review packages and your book will have a better chance of success. I also noticed that they are setting up their own system to challenge Goodreads. Good luck to them, I hope it works out. Or, do I?

It’s true, I wish nobody to fail with their business endeavours and they may have a point that Goodreads perhaps needs to re-evolve to match the ever-changing world.

One thing I noticed that concerned me is their packages mentioned a ‘team.’ If you bought their most expensive package, your book would be reviewed by one of their ‘top reviewers.’ No names, no testimonials offered.

There is a common thread here. So many offers and promises that aren’t backed up with evidence of positive results.

Delving deeper, I discovered something shocking. There are books on the market carrying that wonderful tag ‘Best Seller’ when in reality it’s far from the truth.

In the case of Brent Underwood, who works in book marketing, achieving the best-seller status took less content and work than you might think. His title, Putting My Foot Down, was a page long, featured a picture of his left foot, and became a number 1 best seller on Amazon in a matter of minutes with the sale of three copies.”

I will not reveal how Brent did that (you can always follow the link) but suffice to say,

Once a bestseller, always a bestseller

Playing the best seller system isn’t unique. Authors, particularly those of business books, are using techniques like cherry-picking lists to present an image that may not be true. Like a picture of a foot being a best seller.

When people hear about or see the ‘best seller’ tag their ears prick up, they give the author more attention and sales explode.

There are enough challenges for Indie Authors without inundation from individuals offering fee-based packages. I am sure many will agree that the only way to become a best seller is to write a great story. With dedication and hard work, get people to buy it and place reviews in all the prominent places.

I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine people out there who are outstanding book marketers but, it’s the people who read the books that matter. I’m not so sure we need more than the wonderful networks we develop with other authors and readers to achieve true ‘bestseller’ status. Integrity and honesty is the only way to go.

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