10 things to be positive about in January


Hi, all. Happy New Year!

Thanks Sheila, for giving me the chance to  chat to your followers, making a change from where I normally hang out at http://kimberleycooperblog.wordpress.com

Ok, January can be grim. If you’re in the UK like me, or elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, it’s dark and it’s dull. And I don’t know about you, but after Christmas, payday still seems a long way away. And for some people, January blues is a real and distressing thing. So, I don’t want to concentrate on any of that. Instead, this is how I celebrate what January has to offer.

  1. Snowdrops. January is a bare month in my garden. Nothing seems to be growing, like the earth is holding its breath, waiting. And then … a snowdrop pokes its head out of the soil, and brings a smile to my face. Yes, spring WILL come.


2. The days are getting longer. After the shortest day in December, it’s noticeable that the evenings are lighter for longer. And that makes me cheerful.

3. You can take the Christmas decorations down. Is it just me, or does glitter get EVERYWHERE? Sorry, humbug moment. It’s the only one, promise.

4. The sunsets can be amazing. One of my favourite things. Cold, crisp air makes for great intensity of colour. All those brilliant oranges and reds at a time when you’re out and about, leaving work and in a great place to notice them.


5. The chance to change something in my life. Yeah, I know that I can change anything when I want to, I don’t have to do it in January. But at this time of the year I’m inclined to make that extra bit of effort. This year, it’s giving up sugar. Wish me luck.

6. The sales start! I’m not a mega-shopper, but January is normally the month that I treat the house to something new. Happy New Year, stair-carpet!

7. It might actually snow. Now, for anyone who lives in a less temperate part of the world, looking forward to snow might seem a bit weird. But for me, who’s only lost one working day through snow in her entire life, the chance to play in the white stuff is something to look forward to. And there’s a hill behind the house to sledge down. Wheeeee!

8. Frost in the morning. Yep, a pain when you need to clear the windscreen before you go to work. But how about taking a minute to admire a spider’s web rimmed with frost? Beautiful.


9. Winter warmers. Ok, that bikini body wont be seen for a few more months yet. Just as well, with those suet puddings we call winter warmers in our house. Here’s a recipe for my favourite. Umm mm. https://thepiepatch.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/bacon-and-onion-roly-poly-serves-4/

10. Clear, dark, night skies. If you’re into stargazing, like I am, there’s no better way to spend an evening. You can be awed and humbled, entranced and chilled right through, all at once!


So, that’s my personal Top Ten of how I keep positive in January. How about you?



Growing Your Mailing List with Instafreebie

Welcome to the Cow Pasture, Guest Contributor, Kimberley Cooper – Kimberley Cooper Blog

Firstly, thanks to Sheila for giving me the chance to chat with the folks that visit her blog. Nice to meet you all. I’m based in the UK, so please excuse any spellings and expressions that you might not be familiar with.

Ok, so this isn’t a ‘how to’ as much as a ‘what happened and can anyone else benefit?’

Probably like most of us who like to write, but even more, would like to get a little money in for our efforts, sales have been so-so. Enough that the tax man wants to know but not enough to make an appreciable dent in the monthly bills.

So now, with two novels in the bag, a novella, and two short story collections, it seemed like a good time to take a month off writing and concentrate on promotion. Because hey, writing is one side of the coin, but letting people know that you’ve written something that they may (or may not) be interested in, is the other.

I’m an avid user of Facebook. I keep my private page and my writing page pretty separate, and that works well. In late October on my private page, up pops details of Instafreebie. And me, being always keen on a bargain noticed one word. FREE. So I had to click, didn’t I? But being hopeful and untrusting in equal measure I also had to see for myself that there didn’t appear to be a catch (I haven’t found one.)

  • You can set up a package that doesn’t cost you anything. I tried this for a few days, and it means you can give away copies of one of your books (you decide how many copies or when to end the giveaway). Originally that was my intention – give away a few copies and hope people liked what they read and then bought some of my other stuff from Amazon. But after a couple of days when I’d given away close to a hundred copies, it occurred to me I was missing a trick. This option doesn’t allow you to collect the email addresses of the people downloading your book. And if those people didn’t head over to Amazon, I’d lost them forever.
  • So I went to the next level of Instafreebie. Currently, $20 a month allows me to link Mailchimp to my Instafreebie account, and between them, I get to record who is downloading my book. And then I can email them directly with what else I can offer. And write off the cost against tax.
  • There was another piece of advice I picked up on growing your mailing list, from Facebook – offer more. Don’t just offer the minimum you can get away with, but more. So I sent a ‘welcome’ email to everyone who joined my mailing list via Instafreebie/Mailchimp and offered a free copy of my quirky dark fantasy novella Adventures of a Girl Death Demon. And readers contacted me in droves. I had some great back and forth conversations via email with some, and YES, more sales started appearing on my KDP dashboard and Createspace account.
  • So that’s a result for me. As is the hundreds of people on my mailing list that I wouldn’t have had, that I can email when I have new content to offer. And setting up an account with Instafreebie gave me a chance to join their closed Facebook group which coordinates promotion of books so that you benefit from a much wider audience, potentially.

So, am I pleased to have done it? Oh yes. The first promotion that I took part in has finished, but I’m still seeing new subscribers joining my mailing list at almost 50 a day. And I’ve joined another promotion which is more long-term, so I hope that will steadily raise my numbers further.

I haven’t got any connection with Instafreebie or Mailchimp; this is just the experience of how it’s been for me. Yours may well be different. But it might be worth a go … whatever you decide, good luck, and here are links that you might find useful.



If you enjoyed Kimberley’s post, let her know, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.