NeoLeaf Press has big things planned in the wake of the storm.
2020 has been hard for everyone, and NLP has not come out unscathed. Over the year, sales dropped. Many clients were deterred due to financial difficulties. Imports, printing and manufacturing also were affected. Overall, it was a year we all want to forget. We lost many good people.
In the wake of this our company has stepped back and looked hard at our business model and how we want to move forward in this changed world.
Our first step is building an entirely new website. We plan to streamline sales and lower prices to help our customers. This project will take several months and a lot of work, but the results should greatly benefit authors and readers alike.
Other upgrades coming with a new website includes taking in more editorial review requests, getting a subscriber page where authors, at minimal cost, can get access to online classes, and readers can get free books.
Reasons for the changes-
Many people are struggling to make ends meet. We noticed one constant through 2020. “We can’t afford that.” It’s heart breaking seeing so many authors unable to make it due to financial struggles and readers unable to find books. On top of that, NLP also needed to look at or own finances. Throwing money at things people cannot afford does nobody any good.
In person events have decreased and even stopped. Now, on the heels of 2020, events are moving online. And wouldn’t it be nice to sit in your pajamas in the safety and warmth of your own home while meeting your favorite or new authors. We will be unveiling more online events both small and large.
Subscription plans will also be added giving 24/7 access to online classes, workshops, resources, and special sales and discounts. This will be for small fee in order to help writers and readers cut costs while getting more from their own homes.
Overall, this will be a yearlong project and we plan on unveiling monthly updates. We’ve put much research into this, and we feel this will benefit everyone, readers and authors alike.
Making covers are not easy, and each artist is different. We have several we are connected with and some we like to pair with more than others such as the artistic work from Alicia Anspaugh and Covers By Cassy. We're covering one of the designs by Covers By Cassy (CBC) today. The Killer Clown.
CBC specializes in creating cost effective covers for authors who otherwise would not be able to afford a quality cover. This cover started with the perfect pose of a very suspicious clown. Instead of taking it cute and cuddly, it was turned into a horror cover with 10 images used, not counting text. The after the clown the next thing to find was the background that would fit best. Next the body. And finally the blood and knife. All of these are layered together until the artist felt the work represented the feel they wanted. Finally it was finding the correct font. A bloody font was the perfect finish with a "Not all clowns are happy" bloody tag line. These covers are easy to make minor changes to to meet the authors desires and can easily be made into full wraps for print books for minimal cost.
As you can see by the image above, several pieces went into the creation of this book cover. Every artist does something different and some authors like some things better than others. This one definitely speaks of its own style. If you like it please follow Covers By Cassy on Facebook and of you'd like to see more pre-made covers offered by NeoLeaf Press please check out our Cover Store.
Photoshop is no secret. What seems to be a secret is how to get a good book cover at a good price. Some might even ask how NeoLeaf Press is able to offer book covers so cheaply? Well the answer is lots of talent, scores of images, and photo shop. The cost to go out and shoot perfect images just the way authors want can cost $100s up to $1000s. So what we do is use readily available images and craft together, almost scrap book like, the perfect image for an author. What we don't do is take a free stock image unaltered that hundreds of other people have already used and slap it on a cover and call it good. For example.
This unfinished steampunk cover consists of 16 different images. While if you look hard enough you might recognize a piece here or there, the likely hood that a reader will recognize anything from the cover is minimal. And that is the point. If we had had an artist commissioned for this it would cost anywhere from $300-$1000. We are able to offer a cover like this to authors for less than $100. It's about affordability and what the author really wants. If they want a cover that's commissioned by an artist then of course we can do that as well, like the one below.
This being a pre-made from the artist Alicia Anspaugh sells for less than $100 as an example of her work. Her prints go for $100+ in studios and custom work usually go between $300 & $700.
Another example of what we can do for affordable covers is our killer clown. This one is a compilation of 10 images, not counting the font we paired with it. Again, this is another example of how we can offer covers for more affordable prices. This one is only $50.
All in all it's what the author truly wants and that's why NeoLeaf Press offers various options and has connections with different artists and photographers to make it happen. We also know, in the day and age, authors struggle, and we want to help ease that struggle by making quality covers affordable.
What’s causing your shoulder pain?
This is always a difficult question, due to numerous problems that could happen and the fact that the shoulder is made up of several boney, muscular, and ligamentous structures. Let's start off with a little anatomy review.
The shoulder is made up of three large muscles collectively called the deltoids, 4 rotator cuff muscles, and several other muscles.
The deltoids individually are the anterior deltoid, medial deltoid, and posterior deltoid. These muscles help the arm with flexion (moving forward), abduction (taking the arm away from the body), and extension (bringing the arm back behind the body).
Four muscles together make up the rotator cuff. This is commonly, incorrectly, called the rotator cup or rotary cup. The rotator cuff is made up of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Together they stabilize the shoulder, hold the head of the humerus into the glenoid cavity, and maintain the shoulder joint.
Other muscles related to the shoulder are:
Triceps brachii, which is the large muscle in the back of the upper arm that helps straighten your arm.
Pectoralis major, which is a large fan-shaped muscle that stretches from the armpit to the collarbone and down across the chest. Although it seems like a chest muscle, it also is a very important shoulder muscle which helps with bringing the arm towards the body and inwardly rotating your arm.
Pectoralis minor which is the smaller pec muscle that fans from the upper ribs to the shoulder. The pec minor can draw the shoulder down, or the shoulder blade (scapula) upwards.
Teres major runs under the shoulder and helps rotate the shoulder upward.
Biceps brachii, known as the bicep muscle, is a thick muscle that rests on top of the humerus and rotates the forearm and also flexes the elbow.
Latissimus dorsi, usually just calls the lats, is a flat rectangular muscle of the back that helps rotate the arm and move the arm away and closer to the body.
So why are you having shoulder pain? This is a loaded question as you can see the overwhelming amount of muscles that could be part of the problem.
Some problems include:
Shoulder pain coming from the deltoids. This could be a strain or caused from trigger points in the muscle belly. Trigger points are when the muscle binds up in one spot making a knot. Think of it like a wrinkle in a fabric.
Bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled space) and tendons, which connect your shoulder muscles to your upper arm bone.
A rotator cuff tear which could be in any of the four rotator cuff muscles listed above. A rotator cuff tear occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the bone. Tendons are the ends of the muscles which attach the muscle to the bone. As such, when a muscle pulls too much they can tear this anchor (tendon).
Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder is a common condition that leads to stiffness of the joint and sometimes constant pain, or just discomfort when reaching behind your back or head. A true frozen shoulder limits motion so much that even when stretching the joint is very hard or impossible to move.
Bicep tendonitis which usually causes pain that develops gradually at the front of the shoulder that moves down over the biceps muscle. The pain is often worse with repetitive lifting, carrying heavy bags, or overhead activities.
Other causes could be Bicep Tendon Rupture, SLAP Tears (Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior tear), Shoulder Osteoarthritis, AC Arthritis (arthritis of the place where the clavicle meets the acronium, which is the hard, pointy spot on the top of the shoulder), Shoulder Instability, and Shoulder Dislocation.
What this laundry list of possible problems mean is that it’s incredibly hard to diagnose exactly what is going wrong. So, what do you do?
First, did the pain come on gradually or suddenly? If pain came on gradually, especially if performing a task that cause repetitive movements, then that narrows it down. Most commonly, this leads to tendonitis or trigger points in a muscle. Ice will help relieve tendonitis, as it decreases inflammation. Helpful hint: any medical word ending with itis means inflammation. If it’s an overworked or tight muscle, then heat will be helpful. Why? Because when a muscle gets tight, it narrows blood vessels. Heat opens these back up and allows the muscle to get fully nourished again.
If pain came on suddenly, especially after a movement, lifting, or injury, you’re at a higher risk of having a sprain, strain, or even a complete tear.
This is all very overwhelming, I know. So, what should you do? If pain persists then your best option is seeking medical care. The internet is not your friend, as it offers far too much information, causing even more confusion than all the information above.
So, some simple rules:
Pain comes on suddenly = use ice and rest.
Pain comes on slowly, especially after work = use heat and rest.
Pain after a traumatic event, like a slip, fall, or car accident = see your doctor.
To help prevent or reduce pain from all of the above, you can do this: Stabilizing Shoulder Exercises.
Why? When the shoulder is stable and the muscles are strong, your risk of injury or all the problems above go down significantly. Also, many injuries only get better after performing Stabilizing Shoulder Exercises.
So, what are these? Here’s a list of some of the best:
Shoulder circles- Hold arms out at sides like you’re a bird and make small arm circles until the shoulders are tired.
Prone flexion- lay on stomach with arm hanging over edge of bed. Raise arm up to ear like you’re Superman flying.
Prone abduction- lay on stomach with arm hanging over edge of bed. Raise arm up to the side like you’re a bird or an airplane.
Prone extension- lay on stomach with arm hanging over edge of bed. Bring arm backwards towards your hip.
Prone rows- lay on stomach with arm hanging over edge of bed. Keep elbow bent and pull arm up at the side like you’re pulling on a lawnmower cord or rowing.
Wall push ups- with feet away from the wall, and hands up on wall at shoulder’s width apart, lower face towards wall and then push back out.
Many people get obsessed with the ‘show muscles’, which are the muscles that becoming bulky and good looking; but they forget all the other shoulder muscles. What happens when one muscle becomes too strong and one too weak? Well, think of strapping a fridge to a trailer, only you didn’t tighten one side enough, and the other side you tightened as far as it could possibly go. What will happen? Most likely while bouncing down the road, the straps won’t keep the fridge stable and it will tip. The same can be said of the shoulder.
So, what’s causing your shoulder pain? Or should we ask: what started that led to the shoulder pain? Imbalance.
Many of use have tried it. It seems like a sound way to market right? Every time we scroll we see through our timeline we get an onslaught of ads, so why not. Well here are a few reason.
Facebook constantly changes how they do ads. The newest change coming Fall 2019 is that AI customizing where your money goes when you make multiple ads. This means if they see one underperforming, they will push your budget towards the one performing well. Sounds good right? Well it’s a double-edged sword. If you are looking to promote your book two different places and you know you have a limited audience in one so you put your lesser budget there and the ad dies well, then it means Facebook will funnel most of your budget towards this one.
Facebook also rolls out new changes constantly and tries very hard to make sure you cannot target small audiences. For them they prefer an audience of 130,000 plus.
On one of our recent promotions we wanted to focus our ads at readers who like paranormal, short stories, and live in Winterset Iowa. This is because the book is a paranormal, collection of short stories, and set in Winterset Iowa. This was too small of an audience for Facebook and their little meter lit up red, demanding we make the audience bigger.
So how did it go? Horribly. Not only were there no sales, but the ad specifically said it had a certain amount of engagements while at the book of the ads page said no engagements. Well which is correct? Did you just funnel the money into open air and no one ever clicked it? Did you spend all the money on the two people who commented on it that were our page followers?
Overall Facebook is a spiderweb. It seems you need LARGE budgets to net results. We recommend $40-$50 a day for a minimal ad run of 5 days. Yes that’s $250! Makes Facebook seem a lot less cost friendly now.
Time (time to complete/response time/etc): 5
User Friendly: 3
Overall score: 10/20
We found this site to have a lot of promise and signed our book up for we thought was their review and listing program for around $10. The listing was easy, price good, and site well laid out. But it changed. Not long after we submitted the whole site was redone. Books have poor quality photos in the library, and the page is now laid out more like a chat site than a book promoter.
After three weeks no review has been done and no sales seem to have be netted from this site. We may have made a mistake when signing up and not gotten a review, but that being said it seems we’re getting no traffic from this site. On top of that, where authors can sign up to have their book listed is either very hidden or totally gone. Classes have now been posted and it’s heavily connected to social media. Overall it seems to be a source for writers and NOT a place to connect your book with readers.
If you’re looking for something different than Facebook to connect with other writers, this may be worth checking out. If you’re already tired of typical Facebook style then stay away. This sight is filled with groups, posts, and it easily becomes overwhelming.
We are now receiving spam in our Email from this site!
Time (time to complete/response time/etc): 2
User Friendly: 1
Overall score: 8/20
Have you ever written the greatest novel of your life only to start editing and find you used the word Nice 402 times in your novel? Sometimes even five times or more on a page. We all fall into this. They said. He was nice. Nice day. They roll off our tongue so much in everyday conversation that they haunt the pages of your novel. Well no more. Here are over 150+ alternative words to use in your novel.
Instead of NICE try…
enjoyable - pleasurable – thoughtful - courteous - lovely - likable - pleasing - gracious - congenial – cordial – admirable - considerate
Instead of GOOD try…
excellent - amazing - wonderful - pleasant - marvelous - exceptional - fantastic - super – outstanding – terrific - splendid - stupendous
Instead of BAD try…
awful - rotten - naughty - mean - dreadful - nasty - wicked – lousy- terrible - unpleasant - disagreeable - wretched
Instead of HURT try…
pained – ached – stabbed – stung – throbbed – burned – bit – pounded – tingled – cramped – agonized - smarted
Instead of SAD try…
depressed - gloomy - miserable - cheerless - unhappy - forlorn – sorrowful - upset - downcast - tearful - somber
Instead of HAPPY try…
cheerful - delighted - pleased - glad - joyful - ecstatic - content - jovial - amused - merry - thrilled - elated
Instead of LAUGHED try…
giggled - chuckled - roared - howled - whooped - snickered - guffawed - shrieked - grinned - cackled - bellowed - chortled
Instead of LIKE try…
admire - approve - adore - treasure - fancy - marvel - appreciate – respect - cherish - favor - desire - enjoy
Instead of SAID try…
commented - replied - remarked - declared - stated - exclaimed - shouted - whispered - announced - responded - boasted - explained
Instead of BIG try…
huge - giant - gigantic - enormous - large - massive - colossal - immense - bulky - hefty - tremendous - jumbo
Instead of LITTLE try…
small – tiny – petite – miniature – tiny – itsy – bitsy – minuscule – mini – minuet - microscopic – skimpy – wee
Instead of RAN try…
bolted – sped – hurried – sprinted – jogged – rushed – galloped – hustle – skipped – raced – dashed - fled
Instead of WALKED try…
strolled – sauntered – tiptoed – trotted – marched – glided – strutted – shuffled – correct – trudged – hiked - paraded
Instead of PRETTY try…
beautiful - gorgeous - appealing - cute - lovely - exquisite - attractive – elegant – handsome – stunning – fair - dazzling.
Instead of LOOKED try…
gazed – examined - glanced – viewed – observed – peeked – studied – noticed
Instead of SCARED try…
afraid - frightened - spooked - horrified - startled - fearful - petrified - anxious - aghast - alarmed - terrified - shaken
Ouch, you didn’t think anyone would write this did you? Well we are. While most women know what it’s like to be hormonal we decided to hit on a few tricks to put this into writing.
Out Of Habits
When a woman is hormonal the body wants or craves different things. While your character may have a bowel of cereal every morning like clockwork, during this dreaded time of the month she may run out and get all you can eat pancakes. You can use these things to subtly hint at the natural workings of a woman without outright writing ‘She’s on her period.”
Yes, it’s true. Hormones make for a roller coaster of emotions. It is totally possible to have a woman happy and on top of the world one moment and the next a screaming yelling demon. Something like this can really help move along a story and add in some action during slow times. Just remember you can only use this technique once a month.
Hormones changes the sex drive so most often a woman will have either a higher or lower sex drive during this time of the month. They also usually never want to take advantage of this, causing mixed emotions. The woman can very easily act on her desires then back out feeling to embarrassed to go any further.
Not necessarily part of hormonal body language, but something to remember. A woman has to have access to her products during that time of the month. This many mean she will carry a purse if she doesn’t normally or maybe a larger purse.
Hormones cause pain. Sometimes just mild aches and bloating to buckled over stabbed in the abdomen pain. This can be a crippling blow to a character if something like this would happen in an intense situation. Remember you can use this to add drama, conflicts, and bring your reader closer to your character.
At our latest event we experienced a first. The worst first that has spawned things like stricter review policies on Amazon. A bad apple. This one almost ruined an event that hosts 20-50 indie authors every year. The IABE (Indie Author Book Expo) hosts a yearly event where they put authors in front of various crowds. Lately they have been pairing with a Des Moines Mall to allow people to naturally and casually discover authors. This year they expanded into doing live readings on stage to bring in a bigger draw. As with any event some authors sold out and others did not sell at all. Overall, it’s a friendly event with a host that bends over backwards to try and please her authors. To be honest, she’s too nice as we saw many people constantly demanding new spots, different tables, and leaving before tear down time. Each time she accommodated them. These weren’t even the bad apples.
The first step into the bad fruit barrel came from a report from the mall that authors were rude to staff and security. IABE was already on shaky footing because is this continued this event would have to find a new location. Then, the topper on the rotten cake.
After the event was over the mall made it know there was a thief amongst the authors. They had caught, on camera, an author stealing a money bag from one of the mall kiosks. This footage was handed over to police for the thief to be found. Even worse, the thief reached out on social media trying to say he ‘found’ the bag. A believable statement if they were not caught on camera. Ohh, yes before the footage came out there were suspects. Like a mystery detective, each author was analyzed. The reality was the thief was the least expected person.
A children’s author, outwardly nice, who donated several books to the raffle, was the culprit. It was a heart-breaking situation as the mall decided the IABE could no longer be there. After some pleading, it was allowed back under much stricter rules. Just like there became stricter rules on book reviews on Amazon after a bad apple, there is now more rules placed on this Midwest event.
What’s worse? IABE is a nonprofit that helps bring classes to children around the Midwest and is currently working towards investing in a printer to provide small indie authors cheaper printing. One bad apple risked it all for every author.
So, what’s the point of this articles. To raise awareness. People, even authors, are not always as they seem. It’s these bad apples that ruin the writing world for other authors. Don’t let this happen to you, and don’t be that bad apple.
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