Toast Pop Travels: Topsail Turtle Project

Vacationing tourists aren’t the only ones looking for a good place to stay near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Topsail Island is the choice nesting ground for several kinds of sea turtles, and along with them is the Topsail Turtle Project, a private, nonprofit, and volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the sea turtle’s well-being. Their mission to the marine life is to conserve and protect them here and abroad; rescue and rehabilitate the injured; and inform and educate the community about the their plight and threat of extinction. The heart of the organization is the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City. For no more than five dollars a visitor, you can experience a guided tour of the facility and see the turtles in their care. 

The project’s web pages alone boast information on successful recoveries, releases, and information on nesting along Topsail beaches. So, you’re bound to be part of something new in your visit and even your support through donations.

My family vacationed on Topsail Island this summer, and I really liked being there! It has a small-town vibe: quiet and comfortable. Some beach access is exclusive to visitors and residents of certain residential complexes, and there are some choice local restaurants and even ice cream parlors. The turtle hospital and turtle project are the heart of this community, so I give it all a big “Toast Pop Approval”!

Plan your trip to Topsail Island and the Sea Turtle Rescue Center!

homepage for the rescue center: https://www.seaturtlehospital.org/

Find hours of operation, make a donation, and see what’s going  on.

The hospital Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/seaturtlehospital/timeline

See exclusive photos of the Topsail Turtle Project at work, and try out the area guide app.

Topsail Island homepage: http://www.topsailbeach.org/
Arrange to stay right on the island, and find other things to do.

FREE Marketing Channels for Authors

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsI strongly believe one of the top failures for new, emerging authors is the marketing techniques they use in promoting their book. Typically, many authors purchase press kits with their publisher to help get their book recognized. Press kits are a good start point, but one should not fully rely on them. When I wrote my first three books, I did not use a press kit. I did “personal marketing.” Personal marketing and know how to do it well causes your book to be globally and locally recognized. I want to share some of the tactics and tools I have personally used in promoting my books. I also had help designing a website from Web Chimpy, they did a great job.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing gives an author the opportunity to convert the manuscript of their book into an e-Book version. If you’re an author that is limited on funds, this is your first source for marketing. Try to sell your book electronically and see how well it goes. If you make good ebook sales, begin transitioning into print copies through Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Advantage Program

Amazon Advantage Program offers the opportunity for authors to send in print copies of their book to the warehouse. It’s imperative that I state you should make sure you send the exact amount of print copies you requested in your purchase order. When you submit your purchase order, Amazon will give you a shipping label and packaging label to make sure the correct personnel receives your book.

Personal Author Website

No matter what genre of writing you choose to pursue, every author needs a personal website that displays their book and how to go about purchasing it. Preferably, use your name as the web domain. If it’s not available, use the title of your book. Start with a .com domain and then search for available domains, if these options are not available.

Do not overdo your website. My very first website I created had too much information on it. The basic components should consist of an intro/welcome to your site, the author’s bio (keep it brief), the marketing outlets that have your book(s) available for purchase, and a way readers and visitors can contact you for more information. It’s imperative to have an email address correspondent to your website. For instance, my email is carl@carlmckever.com. If you feel your works will be huge, it’s wise to set up separate email addresses for each entity. Entities could be copyrights, book purchases, book reviews, ratings, interviews, endorsement letters, and author appearances (bookings).

Google SEO/ Google Analytics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I didn’t take advantage of Google Analytics or SEO until I wrote my fourth book. This software, patented by Google, shows you the location of the visitors on your website. You can get hit counts, web statistics, and pull up reports for your website. SEO is setup in your website within your metatags, to help Google easily locate your website. When someone searches your name on Google, your website should be the first link to show up.

Google Authorship

After your author website is established and you have SEO generated in the background, you can enroll into Google Authorship. This tool simply verifies your rights as an author and places your name to the right when someone searches for you. In order to use this, you have to embed code, from Google, into a website that includes your name as an author. You can even do this for newspaper articles, blogs, and journal entries.

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsNOOK Press

NOOK Press is an online self-publishing tool created by Barnes & Noble. The online software allows you to upload your manuscript and book cover, and then sell it as an email on a NOOK device. Barnes & Noble is just as reputable as Amazon and I encourage every author to use both platforms. I see many authors on Kindle and not on NOOK; as if NOOK is phasing away.

Amazon Author Central

Amazon Author Central is a platform that allows authors to create a profile and claim their books already being sold on Amazon. With Amazon Central, you can set up your upcoming events, embed an RSS feed or blog, upload pictures of yourself, and display videos about you and/or your book(s).

Amazon AudioBook Exchange (ACX)

Audiobooks are becoming a new thing in today’s publishing era. Once your books are available for sale on either Kindle or print, you can get an auditor to record your book. Royalties and contracts are setup and those that cannot read or see your book, can listen to your book through Audible.

Goodreads

When I first joined Goodreads, I freaked out because I didn’t understand why I could not create an author page. Before establishing an author page, you must recommend, read, and rate so many books. You begin by searching for your book. If Goodreads does not pull up anything, a button will appear that says “manually add my book(s)”. As I began to get ratings and reviews on my book, I added friends and joined different communities. This opened up my understanding and I began setting up critique groups, writing blog posts, include my works of writing, and uploading pictures.

One great feature, as a Goodreads author, I encourage is book giveaways. Setting up quizzes and trivia on your book sounds great, but to gain exposure you have to give away something for free. Even if you give away 1 copy, you can gain a lot of readers. When I did my first book giveaway, I only gave away 1 free copy of my book. The amount of contestants I had was 992 at the closeout. Take advantage of the giveaways.

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a cataloging platform where librarians catalog books in their library and books of interest. You can still create an author page, upload photo(s), and contribute to the Common Knowledge placed on your books. Your readings and events can be added on LibraryThing and to find people of similar interest, you can join the Hobnob with Authors group.

Twitter/FaceBook/GooglePlus

All three of these social media platforms are free. If you have written multiple works, I suggest only creating one author page and displaying all of your works there. If you are concerned with privacy, block unwanted users and set your profile to private. Keep in mind that a private profile is harder to find than a public one.

Signature DNA Unleashed

How much do you love your pet? Do you love them enough to buy their DNA? Don’t go calling me crazy just yet, one company on the market is literally giving you the opportunity to own your pet’s DNA as a piece of art. Signature DNA Unleashed is a company that specializes in taking your animals spit and turning it into a memorable piece of art that you can keep forever. They take the pattern for your four legged friend’s DNA and place it over a picture of your pet in a way that makes it a masterpiece each and every time.

Don’t worry about placing your pet’s DNA in the hands of an untrained person because the process is done in a lab made specifically for Signature DNA Unleashed and the whole procedure is made possible by a trained professional in the DNA field. The whole process of making the art takes about 2-3 weeks, and get this, you can even give it as a gift! If you know someone who loves their pet and want to give them the gift that is sure to be a surprise and one that they will cherish forever, then give them the gift of Signature DNA Unleashed!

How does the process work? It’s quite simple really. You buy the DNA Collection Kit from them and it includes the step-by-step instructions that guide you through the entire process of collecting your pet’s DNA. While the kit itself is only about $20, the art can be pretty expensive, for example the $200 Picture Personal product, and their other options go all the way up to $699 for the most expensive art they offer of your furry friends DNA. When you think about it, that’s not really too much to pay for an everlasting memory of mans best friend!

BERG Little Printer

Today is a big day for little things! The company BERG has officially announced their newest and latest product that is sure to change the way you get news, have fun, and stay informed on the important things! Their unveiled product is called Little Printer. It is rightly named since it is a small printer that gives you what reminds most of us of a receipt. Think of it as a daily reminder for the important things. The cool news, you will be able to edit all of the feeds that Little Printer prints directly from your iPhone or computer. This wirelessly connected device ends every printout with a smiling face, a nice feature that would be even cooler if you had choices for the face to customize the experience even more.

What are some things that you will be able to have directly sent to and printed out by the Little Printer once it is released sometime in 2012? Well, as of now it appears that any major updates by your friends and family within your selected social networks will be possible, daily news from various sources as well as daily crossword puzzles, and there are many more things that will be available once this device is officially released in beta. For more information and to be informed when this genius little device is available for purchase check out BERGcloud.com.

Do Fullbars Really Work?

So we have all herd of the “Fullbar” that is supposed to keep you from overeating. The question is, “Does it really work?” I decided to test the Fullbar out to see if it truly lives up to what it says it does. Upon opening the wrapper before eating the Fullbar I noticed that it is pretty much puffy cereal all stuck together with soy or wheat or something that can hold it in the bar format. One has to ask how it is any different from a breakfast bar, am I right? I decided to give it a chance anyway, after all it could be the best weight loss solution ever made. I ate the bar and drank more water than required, just to make sure that the effects would be applied. The idea is that the water makes the cereal like puffs blow up and get bigger while in your stomach, therefore filling more space and making you less hungry.

I went to dinner the first day, after waiting thirty minutes after consuming a fullbar of course, and found that I ate pretty much the same amount as always. The next day I did the same, only I did eat about one plate less. Keep in mind a plate for me consist of a few spoonfuls of rice and a breadstick or something to that effect. Ok, so one plate less isn’t too bad, but I would have to buy box after box of these things in order to lose weight, right? Pretty much, over time you can lose weight with the full bar, but personally I think you would be able to get similar results with a bag of dry cereal and a lot of bottled water. It may have just been my experience with the Fullbar that was disappointing, but I think the price for no more than you get isn’t worth it.