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Getting a Shipment of Wine from Laithwaite

Laithwaite Wine Club and Southwest Airlines Credit Card

In this article I’m going to write about the Laithwaite Wine Club. How I got involved with it and my experience with it so far.

I’m a holder of a Southwest Airlines Credit Card (annual fee $99 for the Premier card) and whenever I use my card I get airline miles. Since I love Southwest Airlines it works very well for me. Southwest routinely sends me special offers in the mail (and by email too). About a month before Christmas (such good timing right?) Southwest sent me an offer to join the Laithwaite Wine Club. For $69 (+$20 shipping and handling and taxes) I would receive 15 bottles of wine and 2000 ‘Rapid Rewards Points’ (miles).

Given that I love wine even more than I love airlines miles this seemed like a great deal. So I sent in my check (!), by mail (!), and within two weeks I’d received a shipment of wine at my doorstep courtesy of FedEx. I didn’t have to sign for it or anything, it was just left on my doorstep. I live in a safe neighborhood with few neighbors so that’s fine for my situation.

The Shipment

The box was just large enough for my 15 bottles of wine (12 premium bottles and 3 free bottles of Malbec) and hard, wine-shaped cardboard for the top and bottom of the wines. Until I got my wine rack setup in fact I was able to just keep the wines sitting in the cardboard box for a few weeks because it was so secure.

A New Account

I didn’t intend to sign up for regular wine shipments but apparently I’m now included in a list, and I have an account. However, it looks like I can postpone shipments as often as I like, so I’m not roped into buying wine every three months if I don’t want to. And I can rate the wines they send me online, so they will presumably send me more wines similar to the one’s I like, or more the exact same wine in future orders. Since I really only like red wines, there is an added benefit that I can choose to receive only red wines.

The Taste of the Wine and My Favorites

The most important quality of all about a wine shipment however, is of course, the taste! How were the wines?

Really, really good. Every wine I’ve tried has been at least above average, but the majority of them so far have been really spectacular. The free Malbecs were average, and maybe even a little below average however. But then, they were free, so I don’t hold that against them too much. My favorites, thus far:

  1. Cabalie MMXV (2014 Vintage)
  2. Giesta Dao (2014)
  3. Shroud Mountain (2014)
  4. Vecciano (2012)

Conclusion

I will continue to give Laithwaite my business for now. So far I really like their quick service, convenient online account management and features, and delicious wines.

Wall of Emotions

Self-Publishing Your Ebook on Amazon and Marketing It on Social Media

I’ve always been a writer. I enjoy sitting down and reflecting on my thoughts, feelings, dreams, or experiences of the day. I’ve been doing this since I was in high school. I always dreamed of actually publishing a book but never thought it would be possible to do it. There’s just too many complications. You have to write promotional material and send it to publishers, get rejected a lot, and hope that eventually, someone will sponsor your book. I’ve written articles for travel magazines in London and have experienced this process and rejection numerous times already and didn’t relish more of it.

However, now, in the past year, I’ve published two books on Amazon. It’s the self-publishing phenomenon. Maybe you’ve heard about it?

In this article I’ll be talking just a bit about HOW I got into self-publishing (and how you can too). Then I’ll discuss some aspects of marketing your self-published book and give you lot’s of links to help you out.

How I Got Self-Published on Amazon

I’m exploring how to live an independent life, so self-publishing seems like a potential gold mine. I did some research the old-fashioned way (read: Google) and discovered a course on Udemy by the author and entrepreneur Tom Corson-Knowles. The course is called ‘How to Become a Bestselling Author on Amazon Kindle.’ It’s a great course for the money and teaches you a lot about how to write and format a book for the platform. He also explores valuable topics such as setting up a publisher account on Amazon, uploading your new book, publishing it, and finally marketing the book. This course is truly valuable if you love writing and are thinking about trying to make some money this way.

I don’t know if it’s actually possible to become a BESTSELLING author on Kindle using his methods because so far as I certainly haven’t. However, it’s a lot of fun, and I will continue writing and hoping people like my stuff, find it valuable, and share it with others.

Marketing Your Ebook on Promo Websites

Once you’ve published your ebook on Amazon, and followed Tom’s advice about GIVING YOUR BOOK AWAY FOR FREE (for a limited time), it’s time to market it. The first step in this process is to submit your ebook to websites to promote ebooks. Many of these are free. I’m too afraid of paying someone to market my ebook (and besides Tom doesn’t approve of the method), so I only have submitted my ebook to free promotion sites. The free sites I use are as follows:

Note that it’s important to submit your ebook to these sites in a timely fashion. What I mean is to submit your ebook about two weeks prior to your free promotion so that they have ample time to include your ebook in their listings.

Marketing Your Ebook on Facebook Groups

On the day of your free promotion (and every day of your free promotion) it’s also a good idea to promote your ebook on your favorite social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook. On Twitter I recommend posting your free promotion multiple times per day as it’s very easy for individual tweets to get unnoticed by your followers and others following the hashtags you use to promote your ebook. The only caveat to that is that it’s good practice to change up the wording a bit for each of your promo tweets to attract different people and also to ensure you aren’t seen as a robot. No one wants to follow a robot.

There are many ebook promotion GROUPS on Facebook that you should join to promote your ebook. I’ve culled a pretty comprehensive list of all of the FREE groups I could find and have them listed below:

  1. I’d Rather be Writing
  2. Free Books
  3. Free Kindle Books
  4. Free E-Books
  5. Free Today on Amazon
  6. Kindle Unlimited Readers and Authors
  7. Ebooks on Amazon
  8. Kindle Unlimited – Free Reads (Kindle Unlimited only)
  9. Kindle – Non-Fiction (non-fiction only)
  10. Writer’s Group
  11. Book Kitten
  12. Todays Free Kindle E-Books
  13. Book Place
  14. Indie Books Promotion!
  15. Kindle Freebies I found Today!
  16. Budget Books
  17. Creative Writers Hangout
  18. Amazon Book and Ebook Readers
  19. Self-Publishing and Book Marketing
  20. Authors Giving it Away: Freebies
  21. Free Kindle and Nook Ebooks for Readers
  22. Free Kindle Books Group
  23. Books
  24. Kindle Reading Club
  25. Kindle Readers around the World
  26. Creative Book Promotions
  27. Kindle Publishers
  28. Book Nook Cafe
  29. Indie Writer Book & Self Promotion
  30. Good Reads
  31. Amazon Kindle Free Books
  32. Kindle Unlimited Free Fiction (Fiction and Kindle Unlimited only)
  33. I Love Indie Books
  34. Free Kindle EBooks

Note: Most of these groups only want you to post your promo to the group a maximum of once per day.

Please Help

If you don’t see a promo website or a Facebook group that you think should be on the list above, please drop me a comment below and I’ll possibly add it. Thanks!

Habits - This Man is Addicted to Bicycling. If only we were all so lucky!

Learn to Control your Habits or They will Control YOU

Do your habits make you less happy?

Overeating, drinking, or smoking. Whatever your habit may be, you find that enjoy them for a brief period, but then are left feeling miserable after engaging in them because ultimately they aren’t good for you.

Getting Perspective on Yourself and your Habits

So, in that vein, with the idea of being a ‘better’ person, I’m experimenting with the following technique:

“Learn to control the turbulent passions and desires of the lower self by stepping outside yourself and examining your thoughts and acts from the point of view of an impartial and detached observer who regards your life from the standpoint of eternity.” Taken from the Occult Mysteries.

Why am I doing this?

One of the things we struggle with in life is that we do things that are bad for us, because we find pleasure in them.

Often these things have a lot of shame attached to them. We hate ourselves for doing them. And yet, we do them anyway, because we enjoy them. Some people may call these ‘habits’. The above quote shows they can also be called, less condescendingly perhaps, ‘passions’.

So I have tried experimenting with this device.

My Experiment

I lie in bed and close my eyes and imagine stepping outside of myself and looking down at myself from another’s perspective. It’s strange to see myself lying in bed.

Then I imagine myself doing the activity that brings me shame. I feel no shame as the impartial observer, I’m merely interested in what I’m doing.

Why is he doing that? He must enjoy it. And he looks like he’s enjoying it! He does it a lot. It looks almost boring to watch frankly.

What would it look like if he were doing something else? Something more…interesting. Something different.

I then watch myself doing other things I’ve enjoyed that are more ‘healthy’. I like seeing myself doing those things because I look happier. Not because I’m more productive, as I would have expected, but because I look HAPPIER.

I find that if I do this exercise repeatedly for many days in a row I feel better about myself, more confident in my abilities, and less likely to engage in habit-forming activities. Try it for yourself and see if it doesn’t help you.