5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book

Interesting points for indie authors.

Nicholas C. Rossis

HomeWorking Club | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post from Ben Taylor, a British freelance writer who spent several years living in Portugal and wrote a book about the experience. He now lives back in the UK, where he founded Home Working Club, a site dedicated to helping people explore freelance opportunities – in writing and various other fields.

5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book

Moving To Portugal | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Read on Amazon

I never intended to write a book.

It came about by accident, after I started a blog about moving to Portugal from the UK. While I won’t pretend that I didn’t hope people would read and enjoy the blog, I never had particularly big plans for it. I figured that, if nothing else, it was a good way to keep a journal of the experience.

However, after I’d been going for a year or so, the site got rather popular. It…

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A Word With Traci Writer How-to!

Traci always has great tips for writers!

Stephen Geez Blog

Welcome, Traci Sanders!

 

Traci is the ultra writers’ resource-person for how-to and support–plus she’s a novelist and children’s author. She’s taking over as my guest today with advice on how to create marketing hooks.

Be sure to subscribe to her mailing list at AWordWIthTraci.com for year-round advice and info every independent author needs. I’m a major fan of Traci’s, and I’m proud to have her as a member of Fresh Ink Group and GeezWriter.

 

Now, for honoring my blog and website with a stop on her tour, I introduce Traci Sanders!

 

 

Traci: I’ve decided to give away two prizes during this tour:

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either…

View original post 526 more words

#RRBC BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY!

 

Hi and WELCOME to Rave Reviews Book Club’s BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY at THE INDIE SPOT!  Location: MICHIGAN.

***

Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today:

GIVEAWAYS ARE CLOSED!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS: Mae Clair, Rob Kimbrell, Mary Schmidt, and Jerry Marquardt.

***

Number of Winners for this stop: 4

I decided to have a little fun with this Book & Blog Block Party stop. In the years since Jazz Baby first saw publication, some readers have been curious as to what happened to Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten. Did she ever make it to New York? Were her dreams of singing jazz professionally ever realized? Did she find success? Well, presented here, is an interview with Baby Teegarten, which takes place ten years after the novel ends. This is meant to be a glimpse into the life our protagonist may have created for herself.

The Baby Teegarten Interview!

 April 15, 1935

She chose the meeting place. I could lie and tell you readers that I arrived thirty minutes early just to get a feel for the room. But the truth of the matter is, I get a little nervous with this one. Most of you have been reading my column for the better part of 15 years. You know the names that have graced my page: Babe Ruth, Harry Houdini, Clara Bow, Harold Lloyd—even Charlie Chaplin agreed to a sit-down chat back in 1924.

Still, this one is different.

The she I’m referring to is popular jazz vocalist Baby Teegarten. They don’t come any bigger than Baby these days. Three consecutive years as the country’s highest-paid entertainer proves this fact.

I lock down a table at the rear of McSorley’s Tavern on East 7th Street—which also happens to hold a strict policy for not allowing women inside.

But Baby Teegarten, well, she’s not just any woman.

“This is her neighborhood,” the fellow tending bar tells me. “She has a swanky place overlooking Central Park. Bought it from Babe Ruth himself.”

It’s the Babe who introduced Baby to McSorley’s.

“Nobody bothers her in here,” the barkeep explains. “Besides, if she’s pals with the Babe, she’s all right by us.”

I knock back a Scotch and soda. It’s what steadies my nerves. Only Mae West ever had me taking a nip before an interview.

I’ve seen Baby perform a dozen times easily—this going back to those first shows she did at Swelby’s Joint. Two thousand patrons lined up every night just to witness the Baby. She’d been just shy of her fourteenth birthday back in those early shows. But any fool with eyes and ears could tell she was special.

Oh, sure, we all recall the backlash at allowing a mere child up on those club stages. But nobody could—or would—stand in that girl’s way. No, sir. She’d have busted any full-grown man in the chops, should one be so bold as to try.

Prompt, this one. She arrives at 3 o’clock sharp, with her entourage in tow. By entourage I mean her manager, Abe Horowitz, and Job Pritchett, husband of Baby.

Mr. Pritchett, he’s a large fellow, to be sure. Tall and wide; real sturdy; the sort of man who likely spent his youth throwing bales of hay around the farm, maybe even punching cows—literally. Hollywood handsome: blond hair worn messy, pale blue eyes, an easy laugh. He’s more threatening than threatened. Famous in his own right, he’s known the world over for his paintings and sculptures.

Baby is a true vision, greeting patrons by name up by the front door. She’s resplendent in a violet-colored summer dress that falls just below her knees. Diamonds sparkle on her fingers and wrists, her ears, at her delicate throat. There’s even a gold bracelet on her right ankle.

Eyes as green as emeralds track me down in my corner.

There’s a subtle sweetness in her scent.

Lilacs.

“Hey, there,” she says. “I’m supposed to talk with you today?”

I’m lost for words in this moment, so I just nod like a mute fool.

“You don’t mind it here, do you?” Her accent is rich, wrapping her every word in a southern twang thicker than molasses—and just as sweet.

My voice carries a slight tremble, but I manage a quick, “No, ma’am.”

Baby Teegarten settles on a bar stool next to mine. “This is Mister Pritchett, my husband,” she says.

Job Pritchett’s massive hand takes mine with a gentle squeeze. “Good to meet you,” he tells me in a boyish tone. A lucky fellow, this one.

Abe Horowitz needs no introduction: Club owner, manager of a handful of singers and musicians. Connected. He mined gold when he discovered Baby Teegarten.

Job’s lips brush Baby’s lips. His voice comes soft, almost a soothing thing. “Me and Abe will be up at the bar—if you need us.”

It passes there in the space between them: his subtle caress of her cheek, her gentle squeeze of his hand. These two are infatuated with one another.

“Lord a-mercy, I love that boy,” she says, once we’re alone. “We got our tenth anniversary coming this summer.” She waves her right hand in my face. “He just got me this one right here.”

She means the full carat diamond set in white gold on her ring finger.

“What does it feel like to make more money than the president of the United States?” I ask, leading us into the interview.

Her petite shoulders give up a shrug. “Just means I can buy whatever I want—’Cept Jobie’s the one buys my jewelry. That boy makes nearly as much as me.”

She’s a tiny thing, maybe five foot two. I’m guessing it might take an extra big lunch to push her past a hundred pounds. And though she doesn’t mention it, this day is her twenty-third birthday.

I ask, “When did you first start singing?”

“Since I can recollect. Pastor Pritchett first had me up in front of the congregation when I was just five. That’s when I took to singing for other folks who ain’t just my kin.”

“Mississippi, right?”

Her head tips a short nod. “Down Rayford—up a piece from Biloxi.”

“A Delta girl, huh? You pick cotton down there?”

A silver cigarette case finds her hand. “Picked a bunch. Mister Kuiper used to pay me a dime for each sack I managed. I made a dollar a day most days.”

“Doesn’t sound like much.”

“It does to a little girl ain’t got much of nothin’.”

A Lucky Strike settles between her lips. Smoke rolls from her dainty nose.

Questions my editor suggested filter through the small talk. “You’re working a lot with George Gershwin. How’d that come about?”

“Georgie’s sweet,” she says, sending smoke rings chasing after her words. “His family knows Mister Horowitz’s family. He liked my voice and wrote some songs for me—’Cept I’m the one writes the words, since I’m the one has to sing ’em.”

Sales figures wedge their way into the conversation—nobody sells more phonograph records than Baby Teegarten.

“A million,” she offers. Says it as if she doesn’t really believe it herself. “I mean, a person can reach into his pocket, grab a hundred of something, and toss it on the floor and say, ‘Yep. That’s a hundred.’ But nobody can throw a million anything on the floor and count that.”

She’s had three of them reach that plateau in recent years.

“Where’s your favorite place to play?” I ask, scratching off another one from my editor.

“Paris is nice.” Her hand gives up an abbreviated wave, catching the barkeep’s attention. “What’s so amazing there is, those folks don’t speak no English, but they sure know all the words to my songs.”

A bottle arrives at our table. Not exactly what I expected.

“Co-cola,” she says, drawing a long pull. “Mister Horowitz don’t like for me to drink liquor while I’m gabbing with newspaper fellas. He says I just might talk too much.”

I feign shock. “Secrets?”

There’s an endearing sweetness in her giggle. “Oh, I got plenty of secrets.”

“Horowitz really looks after you, huh?”

“He’s the best. Like a second daddy. Doesn’t let anybody get close enough to take advantage.”

She spends a lot of time on the road, traveling by train, singing in places like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Big theaters, is where she sings these days. Gone are the smoke-filled clubs with dance floors and drunken revelers.

“I like the theaters,” she says. “And I really like seeing different places. But I do miss the New York clubs. I could do two shows a night and be at home with Mister Pritchett by one in the morning. Now, I do one show for five thousand people—nobody drinking or dancing—a night at a hotel, then up before the devil and off to the train station and the next city.”

There’s a weary tone creeping into her answers. Well, maybe weary isn’t the right word. Cautious, perhaps.

“Do you ever take time off? Maybe stay home for a while?”

She does—but only because the men in her life force her to do so.

“Once Mister Pritchett and Mister Horowitz get together, they’re worse than two fathers.”

Baby Teegarten will soon add actress to her resume. She just this week signed to play a role in a new James Cagney movie.

“It’s only a small part,” she explains. “I play a singer in a jazz club. I’ll sing two new songs they wrote just for the film.”

“Any lines?”

Just one. But that’s fine by her. “I ain’t no movie star.”

No, she’s not. But that doesn’t stop the real movie stars from turning out wherever Baby Teegarten treads a stage. It’s fashionable to be seen at her shows.

“Jean Harlow got my autograph last summer in Chicago.” She says it like it’s a normal thing that happens to most people.

“How’d you come to be friendly with Babe Ruth?”

That shrug raises her shoulders again. “He came to my shows most nights he was in town—back when I still played the clubs. Once he decided to buy a house in the country, I bought his apartment.”

“I guess that makes you a Yankees fan, huh?”

It’s a playful thing, that sideways glance she throws at me. “Ain’t no self-respecting Mississippi girl gonna ever cheer on no Yankees.”

Abe Horowitz’s approach signals a wrap to our discussion. I’d been promised twenty minutes, Baby gave me thirty.

“Gotta get ready for the trip to Hollywood,” she says, gaining her feet.

She offers a handshake, which abruptly becomes a friendly hug.

Job Pritchett, arm around Baby’s waist, sweeps the girl away, following Abe Horowitz out the front door, into the crowd moving along 7th Street.

It takes a few moments for my head to clear itself of her scent, her voice, her very presence. It’s not a difficult thing to see why so many have fallen for this lovely young woman.

“She just has a way about her,” the barkeep says as I make my getaway.

She certainly does, I tell myself. She certainly does.

Grab a copy of Jazz Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOMENTS: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES AND POEMS by Harmony Kent

 

Hello, readers! Welcome to The Indie Spot. Today, I am sharing my space with dear friend—and talented author—Harmony Kent. Harmony is gearing up for the release of her latest creation, MOMENTS: A Collection of Short Stories and Poems. So please spread the word, leave a comment, and show your support.

Take it away, Harmz… 

 

Hello, everyone, and welcome to my 4Wills Publishing book blast release tour. Today, I’m celebrating the release of my eighth book! Moments is a collection of short stories and poetry and brings together much of my imagination that has been scattered around for a while, lols. On each of today’s seven posts, you will find a different book excerpt … enjoy!

 

About the book:

 

Come.

 

Take a moment to delve into tales from the dark side, have fun with fantasy, dabble in dystopia, and court danger in a little science fiction.

 

These tales touch upon death, grieving, war, fresh starts, hope, courage, change, choices, and encouragement.

 

And then, after all that, you’ll find the poems.

 

From the lonely echoes of an empty house to the soaring heights of unexpected love and joy and learning to live as free as clouds and water.

 

For each of us, a moment encompasses a lifetime and, yet, passes in but the blink of an eye. In but a moment, everything can change. And in this very moment, life beckons in all its potentiality.

 

When the shadows fall, what will you do?

 

Excerpt:

(From ‘Twenty-Niner)

 

The pounding in my skull wakes me. I rather wish it hadn’t. Not much, at least that I can think of, can be worse after a night of over-indulging than waking up next to a stranger.

 

Unable to recall his name.

 

Or how we met.

 

And—perhaps, most important of all

—why he’s dead.

 

That realisation snaps me out of my hung-over fog. With a groan, I roll onto my side and push myself upright. Once I have my feet on the floor, I prop my elbows on my knees and cradle my head in my hands. Please, please, please tell me that I didn’t do it again.

 

Is it too much to ask for a normal life? A normal relationship? A normal lifespan?

I pray, dear reader, that you’re not a Twenty-Niner. That your birthday doesn’t fall on the 29th of February. That you don’t age four times slower than everyone else. Or suck the life out of other folks to do it.

 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

To buy Moments, please go to AMAZON US or AMAZON UK.

Author Bio and Links:

Indie Author Harmony Kent is an award winning multi-genre author. Her publications include:

 

  • The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved
  • The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree / New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015
  • Elemental Earth (YA Fantasy Fiction)
  • Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015
  • Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)
  • Slices of Soul (Contemporary Poetry)
  • Interludes (Erotic Romance short stories)
  • Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

 

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services.  As well as reviewing and supporting her fellow indie authors, Harmony works hard to promote and protect high standards within the indie publishing arena.  She is always on the look out for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

 

For all books available from me, check out my author pages at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Book Trailer videos: Harmony’s trailers.

My website: http://harmonykent.co.uk

Twitter: @harmony_kent https://twitter.com/harmony_kent

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyKentOnline

My 4Wills Author Page: https://4willspublishing.wordpress.com/our-authors/author-harmony-kent/

RWISA Author Page: https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-harmony-kent/

“The tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

Writing Believable Historical Fiction

Putting together a believable historical story, long or short, requires more than a plausible plot. You must pay extra attention to the little things, the details. While preparing to write my novel Jazz Baby, I consulted many sources for those authentic details. A high-school history book proved immensely helpful in creating the right mood for a story set in 1920s Southern USA.

Knowing the era is as important as knowing your characters. You can’t have a young girl in 1925 rural Mississippi (or any other place in 1925) making calls on a private-line rotary phone, much less a mobile phone she carries in her pocket. In fact, my character was poor, and thus would not even have access to any kind of phone even though they existed in her day. Besides, she wouldn’t have anybody to call. Thus:

 

  • KEEP DETAILS CHARACTER-SPECIFIC: Don’t just verify what exists in a period of time. Determine how widespread it is, and consider the likelihood your characters would have access in their particular places and circumstances.

Fashion is important, as well. Knowing what people wore in any particular era is key to verisimilitude. Emily Ann, the POV character in Jazz Baby, had no concept of tennis shoes or fashionable jeans, let alone modern name brands and today’s common designer styles. She did live in the era of flappers, but she would not be exposed to those outfits until she traveled to the big city. Still, would she dress that way—and why? Where would she get the clothes? Would she even know how to wear them properly? We have to consider these issues before deciding how to dress our characters from one scene to the next.

 

  • DETAILS SUCH AS FASHION ARE REGIONAL AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL: Lots of guides, many specifically for writers and media producers, show fashion of different eras, but you must pay close attention to where, when, why, and by whom clothing would be worn.

 

Sure, it’s obvious that Emily Ann wouldn’t see Gulfstream Jets flying overhead or hitch a ride in a Corvette, but you’re not always safe simply putting her in a Model T Ford. I wanted her to hear something important on the car radio while parked, but I dared not assume a radio could be found in the Model T. A bit of research, and I learned radio did not come into any automobiles until 1932. Most readers won’t know such a detail, but some sure will know, so for them the facade collapses beneath such inaccuracy. Keep it as airtight as possible.

 

  • DON’T ASSUME DETAILS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY: Don’t just research the technical detail. Verify all the details that flow from it. If a radio had been available in the 1925 Model T, verify how many and in which areas radios were sold. Don’t have her flipping through various stations late at night when maybe only one station operated in that region—and only during the daytime. If you want her to hear a news announcement, confirm that would happen on local radio back then.

Patient research shines a light on more facts than you might be looking for. Just as whether a car radio would have turning dials or push buttons, verifying might lead you to realize you can’t refer to an FM station back them. Would a character drop a letter in a street-corner mailbox, or did they not exist in small southern towns because people simply left mail in their roadside mailboxes for pickup?

 

  • RESEARCH ALL THE DETAILS: Don’t stop once you have your first question answered. Look closer, read more, find the photos—whatever it takes to get a strong sense of life in that time and place. You will very likely discover even more details you could get wrong without the extra effort.

Pay attention to language, as well. Slang changes from era to era, and from region to region. A young white girl in 1925 Mississippi will not greet her pals with a “Yo, dawg! ’Sup?”

 

  • WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE: As much as possible, read from the era and place, talk to people who lived through it, watch media showing the lifestyle, and consult as many sources as you can find. Not only are you verifying the authenticity of what you want characters to say, but you will likely discover very interesting and flavor-adding ways of talking that you had not considered.

Cultural norms are critical elements of authentic time and place. My story is set during Prohibition, which to many evokes images of either abstainers or scofflaws. However, “bonded liquor,” prescribed by doctors for “medicinal purposes” and sold by pharmacists, was quite popular in many areas, albeit under watchful government eyes. Cultural changes that older readers recognize might not be so familiar to younger readers. In Emily Ann’s world, African Americans were prohibited from patronizing restaurants, and segregated in places like theaters, restrooms, and even from whites-only drinking fountains. Emily’s fraternization with blacks could have cost her her life.

 

  • STUDY THE CULTURAL NORMS: Learn about how people felt, thought, and acted, and consider the true consequences of your characters’ actions in those contexts.

Behavior often is not best described by laws. Though women received the vote in 1920, many were still viewed as the property of fathers and husbands. For a girl who found herself orphaned at 13, the official social-services response rarely happened if kinfolk might be able to “handle the situation.” Thus, Aunt Frannie arranging a marriage that we might find outrageous today would have been applauded as admirably expedient back then. Likewise, looking up the official 1969 USA drug laws would not offer much help in deciding how your young-adult characters actually acted during a campus party.

 

  • OFFICIAL POLICY OFTEN DOES NOT INDICATE HOW PEOPLE REALLY ACT: Look beyond laws, policies, procedures, and other official records of how things were supposed to be in another time and place. Ferret out real accounts and weigh your characters’ actions against what really tended to happen.

 

The point of all this is simply to remind you to check your facts while looking beyond the facts, stay loyal to the era you choose, and wow us all with your brilliant stories.

 

Grab a copy of Jazz Baby in paperback, hardcover, Kindle, Nook, or iBook.

More writers’ resources: GeezWriter.com

 

Reviewers #RRBC

Here’s a great piece by author Jan Sikes on writing reviews!

Writing and Music

write-a-review

As an author, there is nothing more encouraging than receiving a rave review for one of your books.

But, reviewers must maintain credibility. And that is my topic today.

I am an avid reader. I love nothing more than to sink my teeth into a good story. And, I never hesitate to leave a review once I finish.

However, what happens when a reader picks up a book that leaves him lacking? Does that reviewer leave a false review to make the author feel better or tell the truth?

reviewer-mistakes-945x801.png

I think the answer to that should be crystal clear. First of all, you are doing that author no favors by saying the book is better than it was. An honest but KIND review can help the author grow and get better at his craft.

We never stretch or reach for more, when we think we already have it. 

So, I…

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The Taxing Process of Writing!

200-fingers-typing

Today I am sharing space here with indie author and publisher Traci Sanders. Traci has written a fantastic new series that will help even the seasoned pro write it better. Here, in her own words, is Ms. Sanders…

MY 3 BOOKS

Tip 358: What you can “write off” as an author

(tax deductions)

*This tip can be found in Living The Write Life: Tips on making the most of your writing skills, now available in digital and paperback format.
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Are you an Indie author? If so, you are a contractor, whether you like it or not. Regardless which company you publish with, you will be required to answer a few basic questions to set up your tax account with them. When you sell any books, they need to know how and where to send your money.
Therefore, no matter how much (or how little) money you make on your books, you must claim it, because the publishing companies do.
 
The good news is, you also have tax deductions available.
 
Here is a list of deductions you can claim as an author:
         Office supplies
         Telephone/internet fees
         Cabs, subways, bus fares
         Book, magazines, reference material
         Agents’ commissions (if included in income)
         Film and processing – book trailer fees
         Copying – brochures, flyers for events
         Editorial fees – costs to hire professional editors
         Promotional fees – advertising materials
         Office rent – If you use a dedicated space for your writing – cannot claim for two businesses at once
         Utilities – a percentage for your writing (dedicated) space
         Memberships (professional organizations) – book club fees, writing organizations
         Messengers, private mail carriers, postage – shipping costs for giveaways, etc.
         Business insurance
         Tax preparation fees
         Travel costs – for out of town events – conferences, signings, etc.
         Business meals and entertainment
         Equipment – rentals of video/audio equipment for events
         Software – writing/editing/illustration software
         Legal and professional fees – patent lawyer, copyright lawyer
         I actually claim the books I buy and read because I consider them “study material” for my craft, especially those in my genre.
         As a public figure, for instance, when you do book signings and other events, you must have a professional appearance; therefore, you can write off your salon costs, new clothes, and even the food you serve at the event. Just be sure to keep the receipts and make notes on them.
         If you are at lunch and you pass out a business card or book to someone, write off that lunch by writing the person’s name and the book you talked about at what became your “business luncheon.”
         Treating your writing business like a professional entity will help you save money and avoid tax audits in the process, especially if you are like me and operate a separate business at the same time. The deductions must be kept separate.
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Here are a couple add-ons to this tip, shared by Stephen Geez:
 
Research can be an important expense to track. That 250-word essay I’ll be writing about what it’s like to spend a month scuba diving in the Caymen Islands is definitely going to require some hands-on research…
 
Just thought of another point that used to be very useful: If you’re writing for a client, an assignment, an intended buy, or even if you eventually sell to a client, you might be surprised by how much the end-user will be willing to reimburse expenses that s/he can write off. Don’t leave that money unclaimed if a bit of assertiveness might compensate you. You could find that the combo of reimbursement and your own write-offs can cover 100% of the income.
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Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. 

An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

Giveaway!

I’ve decided to give away two prizes during this tour:
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish – Volume I 
*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book – Volume II 
To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.
I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.
Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com.
GOOD LUCK!

Bonus: Video Tip!