The Transparent RRSP: Share Prices & Flash Crashes

Action taken the week of June 5
  • Bought 20 shares of TransAlta (TA.TO) for 7.74. This cost me $154.80 + 0.20 cents of commission. I now have 45 shares of TA. There is $16.90 in cash left in the RRSP account.

If you buy a stock at different times and at different prices, then it makes sense to figure out the average cost of the shares. The previous 25 shares of TA were purchased at $7.63 per share. I’ve worked it out below:

  • 25 shares * $7.63 = $190.75 + $0.25 commission = $191
  • 20 shares * $7.74 = $154.80 + $0.20 commission = $155
  • $191 + $155 = $346
  • $346 / 45 total shares = $7.69

This is also known as the adjusted cost base, or ACB. I use the share price of $7.69 to determine how much I make in profits (or losses) when I sell the shares at a different price later on.

If I want to determine just the average price of the shares, I can do the same thing, only I leave out the commission fees. It works out to be $7.68. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but that’s only because my commissions are extremely low.


Flash Crashes

Yesterday the Canadian market closed positive. We traded sideways all week. Not much action, which I prefer. The US market, mainly the NASDAQ, however, experienced a flash crash. I saw the charts and so I had to see what the news had to say about it. They explained that the mega-cap tech stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google – aka FAANG) were starting to sell off. They weren’t the only ones selling off hard before the crash. The semiconductor stocks (SMH is a semi-conductor ETF in case you’re interested in viewing its chart) were selling off heavily after noon. It had been a long while since the tech sector had shown any major weakness.

After hitting new highs this week, investors were starting to collect profits and play defence by unloading some shares to be less exposed to a sell-off. Well, if enough investors with large holdings (particularly institutional investors) get the same idea, this triggers a mass sell-off. These sales which began around noon triggered the automated trading programs to sell later on in the day, which led to an overall big sell-off in the market. This domino effect happens when giant stocks fall; sometimes even one giant stock can affect the general market. The NASDAQ market lost its last three weeks of gains in minutes. It recovered partially at the end.

I have shares in a few of these tech stocks and I was thinking this week, “Wow, I can’t believe it just keeps going up! When will it come to an end?” I had sold some shares to collect profits a few weeks ago; I was left with the disappointing feeling that I had acted a little too soon. However, I did so because I was anticipating this. (If you’ve been reading my blogs, then you know this isn’t hindsight commentary.) I’ve lived through enough flash crashes to know that I’d rather make my decisions away from such events, not in reaction to them. I still have some shares left in these stocks, but I’ll see how they do over the next couple of weeks.

The Canadian market came down a bit in reaction, but it came back and closed positively. These flashes tend to be more pronounced in the US markets. Because the US market is so big, a crash can affect the global markets if sustained recovery doesn’t follow.

It’s events like this that could deter people from wanting to ever invest in the market in the first place. These things can happen in any market, though, because people are prone to panic. Rather than cave into your feelings and react out of fear of the worst to come, it’s best to try to be objective: Observe the sentiment of other investors and see how your holdings are doing on the bigger time frames like the monthly charts. There is a good chance that your charts are still looking healthy. A correction here and there is to be expected as nothing ever goes straight up. All I can say to all that is to keep calm and let your stock carry on!

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The Transparent RRSP: Month-end Market Read

Action for the week of April 24
  • I transferred another $150.00 to the RRSP account’s current cash of $29.90, which will give me $179.90 for the month of May.

I also didn’t do anything for the RRSP last week (the week of April 17). I mainly sold more shares of other stocks in my TFSA. I was feeling exposed having so many stocks at a time that I feel the market is going to have a correction. The fact that I still have 28 stocks in this account is still a head-scratcher. I managed to make a decent profit on some of these, so I’m sitting on more cash than I have in a long while.


Marks

The XIC and SPY ETFs on freestockcharts.com

The Canadian Market

You can see on the XIC that the Canadian market has just been trading sideways. At the time of writing this, there still remains one more trading day this month. There is usually a lot of selling at around month-end mainly because funds are re-balancing their portfolios for cash to pay investors. So, it remains to be seen how we’ll close, but I don’t think it will be too far off from where we closed last month.

The Canadian market has been lagging the US market this year so far. It’s not a surprise. Check out the two bottom charts where I drew the circles. Upon quick visual inspection, you can see we covered way more distance in 2016 than the US market. We (our economy and our loonie) got beat up so badly from the underperformance of oil/energy in 2015, that we had so much room to climb up and recover. And that we did. Our sectors in energy, mining, and finance gave great performances.

Every good run needs a break to slow down and catch its breath. If I want to find out what is making the market do what it’s doing, or where the market could be heading, I will look at the major players. I’ll either check out the sector ETFs, or the biggest companies in the influencing sectors.

For this scenario, I’m keeping an eye on the banks, all of which are in the process of a correction. It could be just a bit of a selloff, or it could be a substantial selloff that will keep going until mid-late summer or fall. Now, don’t go on selling your dividend-paying bank stocks – I’m just saying keep an eye on them if you want to have a better gauge as to where the market is going.

I will suggest that if you’re interested in accumulating more shares in bank stocks, you might want to wait a while for the prices to come down more and have settled down for a bit before going up again. I am a huge fan of waiting for new buying opportunities and I will wait months, even years, to get into good stocks.

The US Market

I can’t invest or trade or think anything stock-related without looking at “the SPY,” the most popular American S&P 500 Index ETF. It’s more out of habit having used it so much for day trading than it is out of necessity. I look at it to get the feel for the market, its momentum, and its sentiment. It often is quite off from the actual S&P 500 Index, but it’s where the action is at. This is where I discovered the importance of monitoring trade volume.

I never look at the SPY without looking at the QQQ, the NASDAQ Index ETF. Plus, I never look at “the Qs” without looking at some of its big players/action stars: Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc. I attribute the US market’s most recent run, not as much to its new president (but I’m sure he’ll take full credit for it, very true), but to the technology sector. I’m sure this would stir a lot of debate, but I’m speaking from an on-the-ground perspective because I own a few tech stocks.

The tech sector has been the leading sector over the last year, so it’s important to keep an eye on it along with its biggest stocks. You can watch the Qs and the tech ETF, XLK and the semiconductor ETF, SMH. When observing the big players in tech, look out for shifts in volume and ask is the buying volume is lessening? is the selling volume increasing? or whenever the prices drop, is there a lot of buying or just a little?

I would also be watching the US financial sector’s ETF, XLF. Like Canada’s, the US financial sector has been pulling back the last couple of months. If tech starts to come down along with the financials, then I’d expect a more prominent correction in the US market before more new buying opportunities start presenting themselves again.


This is my process and how I see the market. I’m always trying to find clues that indicate optimism (buying), euphoria (heavy buying with big price moves), panic (heavy selling with quick and large drops in price), pessimism (selling), or neutrality (lower volume, sideways trading).

I still hear over and over that timing the market is useless. I don’t look at it as ‘timing’ because it’s not a science, nor is it something you can accurately measure. It’s more about reading the market. Investors’ feelings and sentiment move the markets, not numbers. I hope that one day, more people will see it this way and learn how to invest with the flow.

 

 

 

 

Your Special 4/20 Newsletter of 2017: Medicinal Stocks

“What weed stock should I buy?”

If there is one question I am asked the most, it’s the cannabis question. I’m asked about this more than whether to buy Facebook, Apple, or Lululemon. I don’t know anything about cannabis strains, but I can speak a bit more about cannabis stocks.


2016 to 2017

Last year I posted a newsletter on this celebrated day. I listed a few stocks to check out:

  • Canopy Growth Corporation | Ticker symbol CGC.V | $2.60
  • Aphria Incorporated | APH.V | $1.56
  • OrganiGram | OGI.V | $1.10
  • Mettrum Health | MT. V | $1.66
  • Emerald Health Botanicals | EMH.V | $ 0.17

This is where they’re at now:

  • Canopy Growth Corp.| Ticker symbol now WEED.TO on the TSX | $10.24
  • Aphria Inc. | APH.TO now on the TSX | $7
  • OrganiGram | $2.87
  • Mettrum Health | It halted trading at $7.05 because it’s merging with Canopy Growth Corporation
  • Emerald Health Botanicals| $ 1.54

WOW.

I wanted to buy all of them out of pure excitement, but at the time, it was a decision between me and JP. We decided on Aphria, mainly because of its price and proven earnings.


Cannabis presents a new industry for the public, and it’s still in its early stages as it’s working its way through various long and rigorous legalization processes. You can’t expect this journey to be straight and easy, but it’s going to happen whether you agree with legalization or not. (Interesting personal observation: Among the people who ask me what weed stocks to buy, half of them are very conservative and would never smoke it. The other half smoke it and still have shown no indication of buying any of these stocks.)

I remember the time when Colorado and the few other states were legalizing. It was impossible to tell which weed stocks to buy on the US exchanges. They each had the patterns of the new publicly traded company in a speculative industry: cheap with wild swings in volume and price moves. I had to wonder if a company was going places or was just another pump and dump.

I watched a lot of media coverage on Colorado. There was definitely a saturation of industry players – in other words, too many suppliers. Some went just as quickly as they arrived. The stronger, more resilient, established, and adaptive ones survived and endured. Others joined forces and resources to become bigger companies. It will be interesting to see how the industry plays out in Canada.

I’d purchased a couple of other weed stocks since, both of which trade on the TSX Venture Exchange. I bought shares of:

  • Maple Leaf Green World Inc. | MGW.V | 0.62 and
  • The Hydropothecary Corporation | THCX.V |$2.28

I did a quick search and found other stocks with good trading volume:

  • ICC International Cannabis Corp. | ICC.V | $1.29
  • Aurora Cannabis Inc. | ACB.V | $2.84
  • CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. | CMED.TO | $11.61

Oh! And I love that Horizons has created a new ETF: Horizons Medicinal Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (ticker symbol HMMJ.TO, $10.80). It’s got a wonderful mix of medicinal cannabis stocks from Canada, the US, and the UK, including one of my portfolio darlings, Aphria. It also owns some of the stocks mentioned in this newsletter so far. At some point, this ETF will start paying distributions (none yet). If this is a long-term investment for you, then you might want to hold this in your RRSP to avoid withholding taxes.

There are a few things to note about Canadian cannabis stocks. They’re inexpensive and they all overreact to any cannabis information that comes out of Trudeau’s mouth. They settle down after the market reaction to any news and shape up again for more investors to get on board before the prices go up for another run. It’s generally been run after run at higher and higher prices.

Most of these stocks trade very similarly to each other, with only their prices and trading ranges that might differ. If your stock isn’t moving like the others, you might have to wait longer to better see whether or not it’s a dud before getting rid of it. It also might just be a company that needs a lot more time before it proves itself to the market.

If you’re considering buying shares of cannabis stock, you’d have to look deeper into the company’s fundamentals. Remember, because they’re new and in their early phases of development, they all promise growth. I would pay most attention to company earnings and pick the one generating profits already.


The Cannabis Industry vs. the Market

Without trying to sound the alarm, I will strongly suggest that I feel that the market is going to have a major correction soon. The market had a huge nine-year run. We’re now facing rising inflation rates, a new US president, and heavier selling volume in the market as of late. Major stocks that had a good run outshining the market, are showing signs that their investors are now being cautious, even uncertain.

As proactive investors start to unload their positions, they’ll be executing their defensive plays (getting into utilities and consumer staples), as well as looking for what is trading on its own page and less affected by market moves. I think that cannabis stocks, given their industry newness and lower prices, will provide that opportunity for investors.

You might feel conflicted about cannabis and if you do, then you should probably feel the same way about alcohol. As we all know, booze was once outlawed and look at it now. The same will happen to weed. They say if you can’t beat them, then join them. What’s nice about a cannabis stock is that you don’t have to smoke it to own it.

 

 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Post #13

No action was taken the week of March 20

This week felt like my own personal spring break. I’ve just been waiting for the market to pull back. When the market is uninspiring, I’m uninspired to do much in that department. When this happens, most stock charts look unpromising to me. Being patient can be boring; it is, however, a necessary virtue for a trader to have.

In my freed up time, I managed to catch up on some of my reading. JP and I typically have a number of books, magazines, and articles littered around our house. Depending on where I end up sitting, I pick up and read whatever happens to be right next to me. 

The last couple of weeks, I found myself focussing on three of the twenty or so items within my lazy reach. I’ve been reading Felix Martin’s Money: The Unauthorized Biography, Michael Lewis’ first hit book, Liar’s Poker, and Joseph Nocera’s, “The Ga-Ga Years,” an old article that was published in Esquire magazine in 1988. Interestingly, at one point this week, I found the subject matter of all three works intersecting at the topics of bonds, money market funds, and beating the market. To boot, they were all referencing the same point in financial history’s timeline: the years leading up to the stock market crash of 1987. I am not a fast reader, but by golly do I wish I could just read it all in one sitting right now. I just find people’s different experiences and ideas on money fascinating.

I have a very loosely formed concept of money that’s been evolving since I started working and saving it. While I can’t say that my understanding is advanced by any stretch, I can say that it’s deepening the more I learn about it and invest it. Money is one of those human inventions – a “social technology” as Martin calls it – that is fluid instead of concrete in its nature. Different forms of it, whether as a currency, a security, a financial product, or a means of exchange, can and will go up and down in value. As I spent more time watching the markets, it became increasingly apparent to me that these fluctuations are created by us. We get optimistic about the promise of growth or the next big opportunity. People pump money towards potential. As more people buy in, prices go up, cash runs low, and perceptions start shifting; as people start to cash out, fear of losing runs high. It’s amazing to think how the general agreement of our feelings about something has the power to change the market value of our investment accounts.

Beating the market is what every investor or fund manager wants to achieve. I’ve done it. I’ve also been horribly beaten by it. I learned that the best way to not get beaten by it is to sit patiently and wait out any fear or pessimism until optimism sets in again. Until then, I’ll just keep reading about the rise and fall of others instead of letting history repeat itself with me. 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: The Investor’s Mindset

No Action Taken for the Week of March 6

Let’s have a gander at the charts for the stocks in the Transparent RRSP.

 

4 charts

Four weekly charts on freestockcharts.com

 

The charts for LFE and GRL still look good. LFE is particularly nice in that it held up strong yesterday, despite a big down day for the market.

ZPR could use a correction. I’d like it to either go sideways or have a tiny selloff (hopefully, no lower than the $11.00 area) before going up again.

LIQ got ‘wasted’ on their earnings report yesterday morning, but the fast drop was followed up by some serious buying. Seeing volatility like that can be a little thrilling (for me, at least). A shakeout like this is called capitulation. This is when sellers get out in large numbers due to panic. The stock dropped off the open and went up for the rest of the day.

Whenever a stock trades like this at an abnormal price range and trade volume, it attracts the attention of many: the media, scared investors, and traders who are watching for a potential buying opportunity. I’ve lived through enough earnings/news shakeouts – my biggest regret for most them was abandoning my positions. This is because usually after enough time passes, there was almost always a recovery. I’m going to hold on.

As I mentioned in last week’s RRSP post, the market is in need of a correction before investors can feel confident in taking new positions or adding to their current ones. Remember, I only just entered these positions in the last two months; when you buy a stock at a time when the market is nearing the end of its shorter-term trend, you can face a bit of turbulence while the market either levels out or has a bit of a selloff. I’ve said it before: selloffs are temporary and often short-lived. When the market resumes its uptrend, all you can do is hope that your stock either follows the market or will have started going up before the market gets going again.


The Investor’s Mindset

Investors feel confident when they’re right. If you buy a stock and it’s positive, then you feel like a top contender for Wall Street’s Got Talent. You look for more stocks to buy or you buy more shares of the same one. A rising stock within a rising market is positive feedback and confirms that you made the right call.

If you buy a stock and it’s negative and lower than the position you took, you start frantically looking for reasons that explain where you went wrong. There will always be reasons to support why you’re making money as well as why you’re losing money. The problem with human psychology is that we tend to focus on losses and failures more than our successes and long-term progress.

Losing something is often a traumatic experience for us. We withdraw and try to rationalize why it happened and what could’ve been done to prevent it in the first place. Just watch an athlete on a streak make one mistake. The athlete who recovers quickly and keeps at it like nothing happened conquered that hit on the ego by staying focussed on the goal of the game, not the hitch. (If you’re interested in this high-performance mindset stuff, read The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.)

This doesn’t mean I stick my head in the sand and ignore all the signs saying to cut my losses when I should. I just need more information that’s relevant to me and my plan. I didn’t become a good trader/investor until I truly accepted the ups and downs that come with trading. It has taken me years to get comfortable with that. I’ve read countless books on trading and psychology to see if I was missing something in my mental processes. What I realized was that I was denying myself the joys and rewards that come from being patient.

I discovered the importance of having plans for your trades. Writing it down helps to remind you of your original intentions. (I’m getting better at this. No more loose post-it notes!) If you start getting antsy, then review your plans to see if you’re still on track with your short and long-term expectations.

Have a plan, stick to it, learn from it, and get confident!


“Should I get Snapchat?”

I hate taking selfies, but I love doing them on Snapchat. A few months ago, my work wife Hunter got me into Snapchat. It has since become a major form of communication between the two of us when we’re not working together.

Snapchat offers a lot of ridiculous photo/video filters (some of which aren’t appropriate), but I find most of them are just fun and silly. It’s like putting on a mask or a costume when do you a selfie on the Snapchat app. I get to become a different persona with each filter. My faves are the filters with a voice changer (you usually get a high-pitched voice or a deep monster voice). I enjoy doing impressions of people and Snapchat allows me to really get into character. If you don’t have the Snapchat app on your phone, you’re missing out! I realize it’s a pretty childish way to use up your time, but for me, Snapchat is a good outlet when I need to take a short break and just get outside my head (and into another).

 

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jeana2deal

 


 

I never buy IPOs early on – that is, until today. After a stock goes public, I usually wait until the dust settles and I see more signs that the price movement is less volatile and has leveled out. Lately, I’ve been doing stock searches, but with little luck in finding anything compelling. I’m not crazy about any of the sectors or even the market right now. The only good thing about Snapchat (ticker symbol: SNAP) is that it’s trading on its own page because it’s brand new.

So, I did what a fan with a trading account would do: I bought some shares.

 

snap

Snapchat’s price history charts on freestockcharts.com

I don’t know if Snapchat has ‘found a bottom’ yet or not as it’s too soon to tell. I took a small risk with just a few shares in case this stock were to go lower. I know the proper thing to do is to trade with more information. It’s better to wait for a pattern setup on the daily chart, but there are only five daily candles to work with so far, so I’m forced to look at the hourly and 15-minute charts. I used the 5-minute chart to time my entry, which is such a day trader thing to do.

After enough time passes and I see how SNAP performs against the market and the tech sector, I’ll buy more shares once I see my typical consolidation pattern setup on the daily chart.

 

My Book, One Year Later

 

Happy Anniversary!

It was just a year ago that I got my book from the distributor in the mail. There were a lot of things running through my mind as to what my next moves were going to be to promote Loonie to Toonie. When I first started writing my book, I was just more set on writing it really well and getting it done. I figured the rest would take care of itself once it was published.

So much has happened in the last year. After doing a lot of new things, I certainly learned a lot about myself. I figured out what I’m comfortable with and what I actually dread. I found myself leaning towards what I’m most passionate about, which is helping and educating people who are really excited about investing.

There are many components to writing and publishing a book. Would I do it again? Maybe. I dedicated a lot of hours figuring things out, so the next time around, it should be easier. I’ll share my journey and process, and hopefully, offer some insight to any budding authors out there.


The Writing Process: Ego vs. Audience

There is a huge amount of ego required to take on a huge project such as writing a book and seeing it to its completion. Your ego is what fuels your drive; this is not a bad thing – it’s actually necessary. Use it to feverishly brainstorm, explore your ideas, flesh out your concepts, and challenge what you’ve already come up with. At some point, your ego will have to step aside so that you can ask yourself objectively, “How can I write this better?”

To tighten up your work, you’ll have to consider your audience. Once you hook in your readers, what will it take for them to keep turning the pages? You need to find a way to consistently engage them. For me, this was a challenge because I prefer fiction. I’m a die-hard story-loving reader, and the last person you’d ever expect to be a stock trader. To write a book on finance was a complete departure from my personality. I realized that given my skills in stock picking and interest in writing, I had to somehow turn my non-fiction piece into my own art form.

I’d written long and short screenplays in the past, so I became more sensitive to voice, tone, and consistency. I absolutely love movies! However, because of my screenwriting experience, I can no longer watch them without breaking down theme, tone, voice, character, setting, pace, beats, cinematography, editing, soundtrack, etc. I tapped into this habit of analysis to get me out of my writing funk, which came and went after each writing attempt over the course of five years.

When I was beginning to write my book, all I could do was introduce each topic by talking about my own relationship with money and the experiences that turned things around for me. It was one self-centred page after the next. I feared that only some readers would appreciate my experiences while others would be thinking, “Okay, you too sucked at money management. Move on and tell me how I can make money.” There are a lot of great personal finance books out there, but many are inundated with anecdotes. If I wanted to write for the wider, more diverse audience of Canada, I needed to consider that not everyone will have the same cultural and generational references.

I felt I couldn’t do justice to the book I wanted to write, so I decided to quit. As a last-ditch effort, I re-wrote a stripped down version of my chapter on the economy. I liked its simplicity. Then I did the same thing for my section on money. I unexpectedly found the voice necessary to write for my intended audience: new investors who didn’t know where to start and didn’t have time to waste comparing financial lessons and life experiences.

The Writing Schedule

I was committed to writing and getting this book done ASAP. To free up my time, I re-focused my trade strategies on holding stocks for longer periods of time. This way, I wasn’t required to log on to the markets every day or watch them all day long.

I had my own office space for trading, but I felt I couldn’t write there. I created a special writing space in the corner of my bedroom. I arranged all my reference books so that they could be readily and easily accessed. I organized all my information and research into folders and I had a whole filing system going on. I became my own office assistant!

Given my drive to write and the number of hours I could dedicate outside my job of managing a neighbouring property, I figured I could write a chapter each week. I also had the huge hurdle of being self-conscious of writing something that the public will one day be reading. To get over it, I signed up for a free blog site on WordPress and I committed to blogging and publishing a chapter every Tuesday. I did this for a few months for the first half of the book. After that, I continued to write a chapter per week, only I didn’t blog them.

What I found good about blogging my work wasn’t just the regular schedule, but it also gave me a real sense of accountability for publishing information. The rush of putting out your work for your friends to see gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to have my blood, sweat, and tears made public and available to criticism. It exposed me to the vulnerability of being an author. It also made me realize the accountability that comes with misinformation. It would take me one to two days to blitz-write a chapter and the next five days fact-checking against the clock until blog day. I vigilantly challenged every sentence’s construction, every idea I thought was true, as well as the proper usage of financial terms (the semantics are often very different from regular English).

Getting Professional Assistance

I didn’t have the time nor the experience to figure out how to publish my book. I personally knew a lot of smart, creative people who wrote books, pitched publishers, and then…waited for their rejections. For me, my traditional publishing options were even fewer because I was writing non-fiction with a focus on personal finance. I’d be approaching publishers who already published books for celebrity financial planners and famous business tycoons. I also feared that a publisher wouldn’t dedicate much marketing efforts for an unknown author. I couldn’t risk any of those things. I knew what I wanted to be done for my book and I was the only person I could trust to do it. Plus, I wanted to keep all of my royalties. Self-publishing was the only way.

I looked around and found Tellwell Talent, based out of Victoria. Their website alone was so informative as it broke down the process of publishing on your own. On top of that, you got to keep all of your royalties. A lot of other self-publishing services take a cut of your royalties. You pay for Tellwell’s extensive services (ISBN, cover design, interior layout, editing, marketing and publicity consultation, distributing, etc.). Once you publish, you keep the money your book makes from sales after your distributor takes its cut for printing your book.

I was set up with a project manager (Hi, Erin!), who was the go-between me and the designer and editor. They were all so helpful and informative throughout the whole process. I’m sure I was no cakewalk to deal with either! While I was still writing my book, I worked with the designer for my cover until I was ready to give my draft for editing.

I often wondered if other authors felt the same way, but there were times when I felt utterly alone as I was writing. I had a lot of support from friends and my man, JP, along the way, but I felt alone in that no one really knew what I going through. Once I signed with Tellwell, I felt I had a team behind me and it made a world of a difference as I completed my book.

Getting Published – Finally!

Once I finished the book and signed off on everything, it was a matter of getting set up with the different distributors. I knew I wanted to have a print version of my book, as well as the eBook. You can have one or the other, but I wanted both. For the eBook, I published through Smashwords (who distributes your eBook title to a bunch of other eBook retailers), Amazon Kindle, and Kobo.

For my printed book, it would’ve been a bit more complicated if I distributed through both Amazon Publishing and IngramSpark. Amazon Publishing would have to give you a separate ISBN along with different loyalty agreements with you while taking a bigger POD (print-on-demand) cut. The main upside was that Amazon Publishing would’ve promoted my book through Amazon. I went with IngramSpark because with them, I was able to affordably print my book in the glossy cover with the weird dimensions that I wanted. (I’m not a Type A, but I really was when it came to my book’s format.)

Ingram could also distribute to most major retailers all over the world. This means if a retailer agrees to place your title in its bookstore, they could order easily through your book distributor. Most retailers have accounts with Ingram, so I felt like I picked the right one. With Ingram, I could still sell my book through Amazon as a retailer, just like anyone who has a product, so it made more sense for me to just have to market one book in print with one ISBN. Thankfully, Tellwell set it all up with the distributors and I (mostly) didn’t have to deal with the headache of all that.

The Most Difficult Part: Marketing My Book

I feel like this warrants a whole book to describe what I went through. This is where an author’s love for his/her book gets tested. I consulted extensively with Sandy, Tellwell’s ebullient marketing consultant. I couldn’t have had a nicer, more encouraging person shake me up with the biggest wake-up call ever. She didn’t just tell me what I had to do – she gave me a real sense of how competitive the book market actually is.

Under Sandy’s guidance, I created a very ambitious marketing plan; I learned later, it would’ve actually required two of me to execute everything. JP was so supportive of what I had to do and he was cool with letting me sidestep our life plans so that I could dedicate myself to getting my book out there.

Even though I’ve long since used up all of Tellwell’s publishing services that I paid for, we’re still in touch. We still email each other with questions or things we discovered that could help each other. I admire a business model that is always evolving. They’ve got a great blog going that informs new authors and features some of their own published authors (scroll down the blog and check me out!).

Your Author’s Platform

Not everyone will want to blog or maintain their own website. I found that if there’s one thing I love doing – out of all the things I’ve done to promote my book – it’s blogging. Blogging might not make sense for all authors or their books, but it’s probably the best way to engage with other readers and to work on your writing. I’ve been very lucky as I was approached by Investor’s Digest of Canada to publish columns for them. It’s a great process for me to be able to step away from blogging sometimes and write to a different audience of investors and industry professionals.

There is no shortage to the discussions surrounding personal finance and investing. I just love writing about money and exploring the different themes that are related to money. I realized that my commitment to the topic of finance goes beyond my book. If you’re a fiction author and into fiction, then you might want to blog about other books or movies in your genre.

If there was one thing I wish I’d done before writing my book, it would’ve been establishing my platform first on loonietotoonie.com. I couldn’t have foreseen the importance of this, but it would’ve been helpful to have been established this way first. I say this because as you pitch media, bookstores, and libraries, they need a place to check you out. If you already have a website with subscribers and your own following on social media, it’s easier for them to say yes to an interview or to carry your book.

Retailers

You should know where you want to see your book sold. “Everywhere” is the obvious answer. However, you’re not a publishing house with a long-standing reputation and established connections to the various retailers out there. Before you pitch anyone to carry your book, you should create your own Marketing and Publicity Plan for your book. Your strategy should outline what you’re going to do to generate buzz, win over readers, the selling points for you and your book, and your book’s information. You can find some good template examples of other authors’ marketing and publicity plans if you do a search on Google Images.

I used Word to create mine and I sent its PDF to a discount printer to print a bunch of glossy copies. I also designed a bookmark to print as well. If you have a good colour printer that will print well on glossy paper and cardboard, use that instead. Otherwise, print this stuff out in bulk.

One of the most recommended and realistic routes to getting your book in bookstores is to consign them. I didn’t do this because there are very few bookstores where I live in the countryside of Southern Ontario. It would be challenging for me to check in regularly to see how my sales are going or to supply new books. Most of my book sales are from online purchases and at Indigo bookstores in BC and Ontario.

If you want to know what is expected of you when you pitch a bookstore, visit Barnes and Nobles because they have excellent guidelines that will help you professionally approach your pitches. Some retailers are more explicit with what they expect of you than others. Once you have your Marketing and Publicity Plan, you can submit that or work off that to give bookstores what they’re looking for.

Libraries

I submitted my book to my library to carry as a title. After it was accepted, I asked the librarian on what I should do to get it out there. She recommended a few librarian distribution sites located in Ontario. I contacted these places and they agreed to list my book and its information.

I did for libraries what I did for bookstores. I made a list of 100 Canadian cities and contacted most of their major university and college bookstores (because my book is educational) and their city and regional libraries. Some libraries require very specific formats for title submissions, while others don’t. So check each library’s website to find their key contact people. Some libraries have title submission forms that you simply fill out online. For libraries without online forms, I did title submissions by email or letter mail (get stamp rolls from Costco to save on postage!) directed to their key contacts.

If you want to have a good idea of what kind of information you should provide when requesting a library to carry your book, then visit Toronto Public Library’s web page that explains their process well. If you do this, you’ll have ready at your fingertips what you’ll need for most other libraries’ title submission requirements.

TPL was actually one of the first libraries to accept my book and they bought 11 copies. They also contacted me and asked me to do a presentation as part of their Personal Finance Program Series this summer! I’m super excited. People are already signing up months in advance, so if you’re going to be in the Toronto area on June 20th, book your spot now!

Other Marketing Moves

There is no end to the different ways to get people to hear about you. I’ve done radio and podcast interviews, had book giveaway contests, applied for book awards, did book signings, created podcasts and videos. I also tried out many strategies on social media.

After a year of marketing, I’m still plugging away at all this. The difference is, I’m now able to focus my energies using strategies that I most enjoy doing. Some things (like book signings) just made me flat out uncomfortable. Other authors will have a different experience. You might surprise yourself, but you won’t know until you try out different things.


Going Forward

Towards the end of last year, I stopped seeing myself as an author and more of a financial educator. (I think I missed my calling as a teacher out of fear of ending up with a student like me.) This shift was very subconscious. My stocks were doing very well, a lot better than my book sales! Rather than worry about boosting sales to make a career as an author, I just started to focus on what I was able to get done with the time that I actually had. I was getting nowhere worrying about what little time I had to do every little thing.

The best way for me to approach this was to prioritize doing the most important things first. I found that regardless of the things I set out to do, I ended up only doing the things I really wanted to do, which is to write and invest. I’m now showing readers who are ready to make money a lot more advanced stuff with stocks. I’m revealing my very own strategies that have made me money. I think it’s just a matter of time before most investors turn to stocks and ETFs, so I’m more than happy to be positioned early on where I am with a number of teaching tools readily available to anyone who wants to learn.

I hope more than anything that I can help people reach their financial goals. I still think it’s important that new investors read my book so they’re not left behind, so I still do a lot of marketing to put my book out there. If you already have my book and want to know where my head is at any given time, just read my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Transparent RRSP: Post #8

Actions Taken the Week of February 20th
  • Bought 24 shares of Canadian Life Companies Split Corp. (ticker symbol: LFE.TO) at $6.12 per share on Wednesday, February 22.
  • This cost me $146.88 plus 0.24 cents of commission.

I had S147.60 left in the RRSP so I couldn’t afford to buy 25 shares, which would have made it a better bundle to manage. When you buy shares in ‘odd lots’ (not by the 100s), you sometimes run the risk of your order not all getting filled at the very price you want; or if you pay higher commissions per transaction, you will get better value for your trade costs when you buy in round lots of 100 shares, 200 shares, 300 shares, etc.

Times like this make me feel like a teenager who spent the rest of her allowance too quickly (only here I didn’t blow it all on bubble gum and nail polish). I now have 0.48 cents left in my RRSP, which means it’s definitely due for a re-up. To stay true to my commitment of regular monthly contributions, I will deposit another $150 at the beginning of March.


I found this stock when I was perusing the ‘Canadian Common Stocks’ tab on freestockcharts.com on Wednesday morning.

lfe

LFE.TO on freestockcharts.com

 

Even though the monthly chart wasn’t my ideal setup, the daily chart was too nice to pass up. When you see a three-month long consolidation with that kind of volume action, you pay attention. This could still consolidate longer, which means I might have to sit uncomfortably for a while, but if this continues to tighten up, I will buy more either in my RRSP (when I’m better funded) or my TFSA – or both.

Also, this investment company is a portfolio of four major life insurance companies, so if you can’t afford to buy shares of those individual companies, you can of this one and receive a nice monthly dividend to boot!


Don’t forget the RRSP deadline of March 1, 2017!

Claim your RRSP deductions and get a bigger tax return!

And when you get your tax return, invest it!

Canadian Stock Picks – Feb 22

Here are some stocks with nice charts. None of these had all three perfect daily, weekly, and monthly charts, but they all had the kind of increasing volume that I always look for. Often in strong market environments, many stocks won’t have perfect setups, but they’ll do well.

Having said “strong market,” I’d like to point out, though, that the Canadian and U.S. markets have gone straight up since last fall. They’re due for a correction, which I’d like to see happen on the monthly charts, before resuming an upward trend. There have been short-lived corrections on the daily and weekly charts (I’m looking at the XIC for Canada and the SPY for the U.S.).

Stocks with nice daily charts
  • F.V – This trades on the TSX Venture Exchange.
  • IIP.UN.TO – This is a REIT.
  • BBD.B – This has gone straight up for five months on the monthly. I love the daily chart on this, but I’d like to see it trade sideways and consolidate for another couple of weeks. I already own shares of this stock.
  • LFE – This high volume consolidation is hard to ignore! The weekly and monthly charts are okay. I bought shares of this today.
  • MFC – I want this to shape up better on all time frames. However, the consolidation on the daily chart + high volume makes this very attractive.
  • MGW – This also trades on the Venture. Beautiful consolidation on the daily and weekly charts. I bought some shares today because the building volume is attractive.

Stocks with nice weekly and/or monthly charts

  • DMM
  • INV – This one’s daily is nice too, but I’d prefer it if it consolidated longer on that time frame.
  • PXX
  • RNW – The daily is shaping up nicely, I’m love the weekly, but I’m not crazy about the monthly.
  • LGO – The consolidation on the monthly chart is very nice.
  • ESN – This actually has nice charts on all time frames. My only hesitation is the volume activity on the daily. There is still a lot of selling, but if this stock holds its price around the 0.75 area for a bit longer and the volume indicates more buying, then I think we’re in business.

Remember, just because I said I bought something doesn’t mean for you to buy it. I have a higher risk tolerance than most investors. Please do your research and consider the industry, the sector, the company, dividends (or lack thereof), so that you can feel confident in your investment. Invest well, invest wisely!

Some More Stock Picks

A FEW MORE TSX STOCKS WITH CHARTS WORTH CHECKING OUT

Some nice-looking charts
  • TNX
  • TOT (Very nice daily and weekly. Monthly looks so-so to me.)
  • ZAR (We own shares of this for a swing trade.)
Watchlist material
  • ACQ – This is a little off-script, but I like the YEARLY chart the most. The daily, weekly, and monthly charts need to shape up a bit to get me interested.
  • GEI – Interesting weekly and monthly charts. The daily chart needs to tighten up, but watch this in case the consolidation pattern tightens up.
  • TRIL – The third week up in a row on the weekly chart makes me want to wait for a better consolidation. I would like to see this shape up on all time frames. I’m drawn to this because it’s got a lot of room to zoom up.

Most of these are energy stocks, so please keep this in mind. For me, most of these are more suitable for swing trades. As always, I recommend you do your necessary research to satisfy your own strategies and your trading plan.

If you have any stock charts you’d like me to check out, feel free to contact me through the contact form on this website.

Happy long weekend!