A Wonderful Night (…and a Great Sale, still)

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Kennett Square last night to the Speak Happiness talk. We had a huge, warm, wonderful crowd and I was thrilled to meet so many happy (and soon to be happy) people.

Also, A reminder that all three ebooks are still on sale, but today is the LAST DAY.
Happiness as a Second Language is still just $0.99 until midnight.
Success as a Second Language will be $2.99 through the end of the month
How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”) is also $0.99 until tonight.

Get ALL THREE for under $5. And once you’ve read them, please don’t forget to post your review.

More happy news soon!

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Speak Happiness! Tonight in Kennett Square, PA

I am thrilled to announce that tonight I will be giving the talk:

Speak Happiness!
Tips, Techniques and Brain Exercises 
to Help Anyone Achieve
Lasting, Permanent Happiness

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Episcopal Church of the Advent
401 N. Union Street
tickets $10, in advance or at the door

This event is being sponsored/hosted/produced by the Kennett Area YMCA, as part of the YMCA’s community outreach program, Togetherhood.

It’s open to the public, and you can get more information by calling the Kennett Area YMCA at (610) 444-9622. Advance tickets are recommended, but not required, so if you are thinking about coming — COME! We’ll make sure everyone gets in. And if you know anyone in the Kennett Square/Brandywine/Chester area of Pennsylvania, be sure to let them know about it.

Thanks, and be happy!

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Wishing you Happiness and Success This Year and ALWAYS!

2015This will be the best year ever!

 

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Out of Freebies — but the Gifts Continue!

Thank you to everyone who requested a copy of Happiness as a Second Language, Success as a Second Language or How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”) to review on Amazon by January 6th. All books have been delivered. If you have not received yours yet, please comment below, and I’ll get right back to you.  Can’t wait to read your raves (or rants)!

If you missed the big giveaway, you can always buy a copy at any of the links above.

January 5th-9th, Happiness as a Second Language and How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace will be on sale for $0.99 and Success as a Second Language will be on sale for $2.99, Get your copy at these best-ever prices!

And don’t forget, I will be speaking in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania on January 8th at 7:00 pm.  You can get all the details here.

Hope to see you there!

 

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150 Free Books!

Hi Readers,

On January 6th, 2015, the ebook Success as a Second Language, will be released on Amazon, and How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”) will be available in paperback for the first time.

To celebrate these events, I am offering two HUGE promotions.

1. The ebooks, Happiness as a Second Language and How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace will be on sale for $0.99 January 5-9. Get your copy, or if you already have yours, send one to a friend. It’s so easy to gift an ebook — no shipping required!

2. To get more Amazon reviews on all three books, I am giving away 50 — yes FIFTY! — Kindle copies of each.

If you’ve already read Happiness as a Second Language or How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace, please go to Amazon and write a review now. This will not prevent you from requesting a free copy of one of the other books.

Each reader will receive one book, so please fill out the form below completely. Within 48 hours, you will get a reply letting you know which book you can download, and a link for your Kindle copy.  You can read Kindle books on any computer, tablet or phone by downloading a free Kindle Reader App.

Reviews of Happiness as a Second Language or How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace should be posted before January 5th. Reviews of Success as a Second Language should be posted on January 6th — the first day reviews are available.

Questions about these offers may be sent to Info@SpeakHappiness.com
Click Here to like Speak Happiness on Facebook.

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Peace, Love and Joy to You and Everyone You Love!

Merry Christmas! Even if you don’ t celebrate this particular holiday, I hope that this is a day filled with Happiness for you. Embrace your family and cherish your friends. Feel the warmth in the world. 

My heart is filled with gratitude for your support and readership this past year, and I predict 2015 is going to be a record-setter — for all of us.

Happiest Holiday Wishes,
Valerie

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What Amazon Fails to Understand About Readers (and Authors)

I recently bought a friend’s first novel. It was so exciting, launching my Kindle Reader and clicking on the cover in my ebook library, then boom – there I was, on the first page of Chapter One, thrust right into the first line of her smart, funny story.

Except when I start a new book, I don’t want to skip straight to the first page of the story. I want to linger on the cover for a moment, contemplating the choices that the author, artist and publisher have made in using this image to convey what the book is about. I can swipe past the copyright page and legalese and other “front matter,” but then I like to peruse the Table of Contents for a while. I want to know how many chapters there are, how long each one is, even some of the titles (but only the first few, lest they give anything away). This is especially important when I’m not holding an actual book, so have no other indication of how long it is.

If there are dedications, I want to read them. I want to get a better sense of this author and who in the world is important to her. She and I are about to enter into the intimate relationship of storyteller and audience – why would I ever attempt to get this close without bothering to take in all that she wants to tell me?

And yet, Amazon has decided that all of that is not important. It’s all the fluff that can be skipped on the way to the start of the story. In fact, they’ve decided that as a reader, I’m so lazy or incompetent, or I have such a short attention span, that they are going to go ahead and skip it all for me. I’m not sure who in the corporate offices up there in Seattle made that decision when they began programming ebooks for the Kindle, but as both a reader and an author, I’d like to explain why this is such a mistake.

Reading a book is not some utilitarian function that one just has to get through to move on to the next task, like washing the dishes or taking out the trash. HSL SabrinaReading is a gift of time spent on ourselves, and I am assuming that most readers are like me (a grand assumption, I know, but tell me if you’d disagree): we do it for pleasure. Reading a book has a certain ritual to it. We all develop our own ways of approaching new books that maximize the joy we will get out of them. I don’t want Jeff Bezos or anyone else telling me that my way of reading is wrong, and I sure don’t want Amazon making that decision for me.

Amazon banked on the fact that a good portion of us would fall in love with ebooks. That we would overcome our need for the tactile pleasure of turning a page in exchange for the convenience of carrying 1,000 books with us at all times on a device that weighs about the same as your average dime-store novel and takes up less space. But if they ever want me to curl up on couch to savor my ebook, they can’t treat it like some homework assignment where they “help” by taking me straight to what they think matters. Amazon doesn’t ship print books with the first eight pages glued together, so why do that with an ebook?

Worse, for some books, valuable content is lost in this process. The books I write are nonfiction, and there is crucial information in a short introduction in front of the Table of Contents that I now realize some readers miss. I know this because I recently dropped in on a conversation on a discussion board about one of my books that went like this:

Reader #1: It was a quick read, and there were some good parts, but it’s not going to change anyone’s life.

Reader #2: I’m sorry, but you are wrong. It’s changing mine. Plus, if you think it’s a quick read, you are reading it wrong. The author even tells you that.

Reader #1: What are you talking about?

Reader #2: Right in the beginning, she says it’s not a quick read, and to take your time and do all the exercises and try all the techniques. She actually says it doesn’t work if you rush through it.

Reader #1: There wasn’t anything like that in mine.

For authors, Internet etiquette demands staying out of conversations like this, and I was thrilled that at least one reader explained what might have been the problem, but it is so frustrating that this particular problem even existed, since it was caused by Amazon and it did not need to be. The section that Reader #1 missed is right there, right before the page that Amazon has decided my ebook should open on. It is a loss for both her and me that she never saw it.

Front matter in books may include all sorts of information that readers probably want: other books in the series, dedications and acknowledgements, suggested additional reading, and for self-help books, perhaps ways to approach the material to get the most out of it.

At least give us the choice, we authors and readers. Give me the option as an author of choosing what page I want readers of my ebooks to start on. For me, it would be the cover, but for others it may be a dedication page or an introduction. Then give readers the choice of starting on the author’s chosen page, the Amazon default start page, or the cover. Or, simply start every book from the beginning of the file and trust that your customers know how to get to where they need to be.

Yes, the reader always has the ability to scroll back from the opening page and see all the content they paid for, everything that the author and publisher intended for them to have, but that begs the question: Why should they have to? What possible purpose is served by opening a new book on any page other than its cover? Is Amazon saving money not delivering those precious few pages from the cloud to the device, or are they just convinced that their readers would lose interest and give up if they had to start at the beginning?

I know the answer, of course. Amazon has an algorithm for paying authors for borrowed books only if the reader makes it past the first ten percent of the book, and they probably believe that authors are stuffing useless content in there to hit the ten percent mark before the reader even has the chance to decide. But applying that cynical logic to every ebook delivered – even the ones bought, so the ten percent threshold is irrelevant – robs the reader and the author of the chance to make that crucial connection that those early pages provide.

I don’t want my new relationship with a book, with all its promise of knowledge and thrills and emotions, to start in the bedroom. I want that slow build of courtship that leads to longer and deeper satisfaction, which only a few get-to-know-you pages can supply. Please Amazon, don’t take that pleasure away from us, the author and me. It’s what we do all of this for.

*****

Valerie Alexander is the author of Happiness as a Second Language: A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting, Permanent Happiness, a #1 Seller on Amazon in the Happiness and Self-Help categories, How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”), and Success as a Second Language: A Guidebook for Defining and Achieving Personal Success, available for pre-order now, to be released on Amazon in January, 2015. She’s currently reading The Accidental Dick, by Karen Berger.

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Beauty, Confidence, Happiness — Your Advice Needed!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway this week. I am in the process of sorting through all the entires and counting to see who won, so if you haven’t heard anything yet, don’t worry — you will soon!

In the meantime, I would love your advice! I am developing an app for the Happiness and Success books, and am striving to choose the right font for the Happiness half of the opening screen. The one for Success was easy — very commanding and easily conveys success. I need the Happiness one to convey joy, be easily readable, and give the user confidence that this app is a reliable source for advice, tips and community for anyone seeking Happiness.

The choices are below. They are the maximum size and boldness they can be, so this is the best version of each of these. Let me know what you think.

Thanks!!
happy fonts

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FREE SIGNED COPIES OF HAPPINESS (for the HOLIDAYS)!

Happy Holidays Happy Readers (and future Happy Readers)!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00019]December 8th, 9th and 10th, I am giving away signed print copies of Happiness as a Second Language.

The odds of winning are very good, and I hope you’ll enter often and encourage everyone you know to as well.
All you have to do is fill out the form below. Winners should receive their prizes prior to December 25th.

This is my way of saying, “Thanks!”
Your readership, support and happiness mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

 

RULES:

1. Each person may enter up to THREE times throughout the three days.
2. Your entry must contain your real name and a valid email address.
3. Entries are received in the order they were submitted. I will give away up to TWELVE books, according to the following schedule:

Book #1 will go to Entry # 17
Book #2 will go to Entry # 151
Book #3 will go to Entry # 389
Book #4 will go to Entry # 550
Book #5 will go to Entry # 551
Book #6 will go to Entry # 725
Book #7 will go to Entry # 908
Book #8 will go to Entry # 1111
Book #9 will go to Entry # 1496
Book #10 will go to Entry # 1834
Book #11 will go to Entry # 2150
Book #12 will go to Entry # 2500

3. If you are a winner, I will notify you by email to get your mailing address.
4. A list of winners may be published on this site.

Best of Luck!

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Women Entrepreneurs — Video #6 — Women Helping Women

In the final video of the Digital Hollywood series, I talk about why women don’t help each other out, and what we need to be doing to ensure we all succeed, even in corporate environments that weren’t designed for or by us.

Valerie Alexander: Women Helping Women is the Way to Thrive

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