Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hold Your Value

I spoke to Kiwanis - Auburn Chapter last night. Part of the presentation, I discussed pricing on products and services. More specifically, I addressed holding your value and talked about not making the mistake of doing what I call "the info-merical" special where you debase your price to give the semblance of a deal. What I said is, if you say your product was really worth $2,000 and for this day only you're offering it for $99, you debase and devalue your product or service. You see the problem is, no one will believe it was ever worth $2,000 in the first place. They'll think it was really worth $99 all along. This technique doesn't work. It is often the wrong positioning, especially for professional services, and it reduces you down to nothing more than the "As-Seen-On-TV" huckster that only appeals to a small segment of the buying audience, which typically doesn't include white-collar professionals. When I hear about the $99 special, I don't buy it -- and I don't buy it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In All Marketing Wisdom...

I always assume (assumptions aren't good) that other business owners know the marketing fundamentals as well as I do. So when I open my magic box of various business wands and someone "oohs" and "ahhs" over the sparkly one and asks me, "Oh, what is that?" I'm a little thrown. I think all good marketing Tinkerbells should know their "wands." Now I'm being loose lipped, and I hope somewhat entertaining, but it's true. And what I'm really saying in plain speak is that I expect business owners to know at least some of the basics, and when they "ooh" over these tools I'm using, it surprises me. I don't know why it surprises me, because it shouldn't. I wrote the book Smash (available on Amazon or 3L's site under books) to help small business owners with marketing and PR fundamentals, but seriously, it really does surprise me. First, here are some "down-home cooking" principles of marketing you should all be following, and if you're not, then start. Here are some of those "surprises."

Not using social media -- why would any business owner not use a FREE tool to market their companies? I am at a loss for sarcasm here. Let me spell it out: it's F-R-E-E. The only investment is your time. I've built up my Facebook "friends" over 1,000. Yes, it took time and some resources, but I turned over a 1,000 last weekend and now I'm heading toward 2,000. The cool thing about that is, the more you connect, the faster the connections are made. I should coin a term for it. Hmm ... it's "Friend-tiplication." There you go "Friend-tiplication," which is the momentum gained with the more friend connections you make. And the more friends, the wider net you cast. The wider net you cast, the more people you reach. Get it? And let me say this again for those of you who missed it, it's FREE! All right moving on and no harping.

25% of your time should be invested in marketing -- want to keep your pipeline full? Then a full 25% of your time each day (or someone's time) should go toward marketing. In any recession, it should be 35% of your time. Aggressive, daily marketing keeps your company name visible and creates awareness. You can use that aforementioned FREE social media as part of your daily marketing mix. You can blog every day just like I'm doing now. You can schedule meet-and-greet meetings. You can network. You can run a promotion. You can set up an event to do free outreach (workshops, etc.), but whatever you're doing it should be planned, scheduled and part of your routine. I promise on my hamster's pinky that if you do these things, you will keep your pipeline full.

My super secret weapon -- the one thing that 80 percent of businesses fail to do is keep their name in the headlines. I do public relations for my own company. I just did an interview yesterday with Fortune.com. I commonly pitch story ideas to queries for both myself and my clients. I try to keep 3L Publishing's name out there in the common media world. By doing this, I am creating name recognition, increasing my visibility, and spreading the word about what we do. If you want to know more about what we do, send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What PR is and What it isn't ...

Sometimes clients have strange ideas about what public relations (PR) will do for their company, product or service. The primary expectation is that with enough reviews and coverage for their books, in this case, that this exposure will result in a landslide of sales. Here is what PR will without a doubt do no matter what. If you get placements, reviews, interviews, features in print, broadcast and radio, you will gain exposure and increase visibility for your book and platform. Those two things will absolutely happen. Sometimes (and not all of the time) this exposure results in increased sales. Other times, it does not. My book Second Bloom received adequate exposure in regional press and a little national exposure. It did gain the recognition. When I would mention its name, many people began to recognize it and me. But it never triggered a best seller. The book A Feast at the Beach has had very good exposure mostly in national media, and it has, off and on, triggered great sales. It's really a crapshoot and sometimes clients get frustrated and measure our abilities with the sales. The only measurement taken in terms of what our PR services have or have not done is to measure placements. Our job is to get that placement and exposure. We have no control over the buying public or their behavior -- that is just a flat fact. Mixing up the two areas -- exposure and visibility with sales -- as a way to measure how effective your PR person is in doing his/her job is not an accurate measurement. If we could control the buying public's behavior or reaction to your products or services, we would be rich without a doubt.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Red Carpet Dreams

I can't take credit for that term -- Red Carpet Dreams -- that is the phrase used in the amazing Erika Lyremark's coaching course the Daily Whip; but I do have some for-real Red Carpet Dreams. I just finished the first draft the new script Beauty School that I was hired by a client to write. My client really let me loose and I used his story points to write the whole thing, which he fell in love with. Now we both think it's very funny, but the real test is to come when we begin the marketing process to Hollywood. My client is very good friends with an A-list producer (whose name I may or may not share later) who he had cracking up over the various scenes in the script. Now the producer wants to read the whole thing and awaits the final draft. Since I was burned last year by a crazy pathological liar, I am much more cautious about this project and where it's going to go. But if there is one thing I do know is despite setbacks, it's super important to keep your big aspirations big, but just don't put too much helium in your balloon so your brain floats into the "stars" where you're not extremely mindful of what's going on. I can assure you I will never find myself in a position where I'm not checking and double-checking that what is being said to me is true. This year has been an awful revelation that I'm way too trusting. The final burn came when someone I was associated with in business and completely trusted turned out to be Liar, Liar Pants on Fire II. In my disgusted dismay, I realized I've really got to get rid of my "sucker" tattoo. And with that and a new day, I will be very careful as we move forward with Beauty School. Now this producer has volunteered to help us get an agent and nail down any changes he might think the script needs. That's really fabulous. In wake of these bad situations, here are three tips to protect yourself if you're selling a novel or script:

Tip #1 Registration or copyright protection -- you should register your script with the Screenwriter's Guild of America or if you have a novel, do cheap copyright protection and send a manuscript in a sealed envelope to yourself and don't break the seal. You can also copyright with the federal copyright office, but that often takes a lot of time when you're trying to move forward, so do the first cheap route first.

Tip #2 Don't be afraid to pick up the phone -- if you've got a third party involved whether it's a manager or an agent or even just a colleague helping out, validate what is said. If you're told a producer wants to develop your script idea, call the producer. Anyone looking for a business relationship with you, will take that call or call you back. If your "manager" or agent says stuff like this would undermine their efforts, something fishy is going on. And never allow your manager to control the relationship with you. You are the boss not the other way around. If that's going on, something stinks and you should find out. So make your own calls.

Tip #3 Don't trust someone just because they say so -- the one thing I've learned after this last year of unearthing non-stop duplicity, in particular by someone I did really think I knew and trusted, is don't take things at face value. Watch your business associates carefully. If they do things like openly lie about something, anything at all, watch your back. If they do something in their personal lives that is alarming and scandalous and involved lies, watch your back. Past actions predict future actions. Once a liar always a liar. And you should be very careful if you have someone like that around you and think twice about that affiliation.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Rant About the Security Check for Websites

OK, I'm all for online security and prevention of spam -- absolutely. What drives me ape shit are the checks where they use these crazy, fuzzy letters that at least 50 percent of the time I can't read. They make up some crazy word and then use letters that remind me slightly of an eye doctor chart. Come on folks, let's not make it so challenging that I sometimes have to hit it like five times before it goes through. And what is the point in putting garbage letters like brackets that more like ] this and I'm not sure. Is it a ) or a } or a ] or hey maybe it's .... > never know -- it's too fuzzy to tell. And when I've been kicked off 10 times because I didn't know this, I'm just annoyed and my eyes are strained.

Three Reasons to Chose 3L Publishing

Reason no. #1 -- we're an established publisher that has been in business now five years (our marketing and PR agency opened in 2006) and published 20 titles. Our CEO Michelle Gamble-Risley has been in the publishing business for 20 years. Her first job was as an editor for an internal magazine, and she went on to take a post as editor of a regional magazine with a circulation of 40,000 when she took it over and when she left it had a circulation of 70,000. She also got promoted to publisher in her tenor on that magazine. She went on to work on custom publications and freelance write for regional and national publications. Also, her first book Second Bloom won several literary awards, with the most notable being an honorable mention in Writer's Digest Independent Spirit Awards. Second Bloom beat out literally hundreds of competitors in the self-help area.

Reason no. #2 -- we are trained specialists in not only publishing but marketing and PR. Again, Michelle has a BA in PR and a master's in English. She worked in three different marketing and PR offices. She, of course, focused on their publications. And she has the added advantage of having been an editor reviewing thousands of press releases. She understands how the media thinks, because she was a member of the media for a very long time, and she has the actual education in the area. If you're shopping around for either a PR specialist or publisher, make sure this outfit didn't just hang a shingle and call themselves a PR agency or publisher. Ask important questions about experience and background. Better yet, do some Google searches. Anyone in this business for any real length of time will have an impressive history for all the world to see.

Reason no. #3 -- we understand the complexities of publishing and we have a passion for literature. In fact, we'll talk shop with you any day of the week. We're so in love with who we work with and what we do that most of our authors connect with that. They know we care. If you want to ask any of them what was their experience working with our team, go ahead and ask for referrals. Your preferred publisher should genuinely be more interested and passionate about books. Publishing is a tough, competitive business. You want the passion on your side, because that passion will keep your publisher focused and aimed at overcoming the barriers to help make you successful. You can tell when a publisher really cares vs. just wants to make money.

If you like any of what you've read send us an email at info@3LPublishing.com. We will take quality time to talk to you no matter what!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

eBook Authors Beware!

eBook publishing is now moving into market maturity and out of the early adopters phase. For the past several years, Kindle was the primary eBook channel and many self-published authors leveraged it to distribute their books, which is a good way to save money. Now mainstream publishers are selling eBooks, and some publishers are just getting into the eBook market like 3L Publishing. We waited for the market maturity phase, because we wanted to ensure a built-in audience. Those of you interested in eBooks, please be careful in your selection of your publisher. Here are some tips about what you should know before you get into a relationship with an eBook publisher:

Does this publisher have all of the eBook sales channels set up and functional? Do they have only Kindle? If they only offer Kindle, buyer beware. You could have Kindle. All self publishers could have Kindle. It is the big retail chain providers (Nook - Barnes and Noble; Kobo - Borders; and Apple - iBook) that aren't quite the walk in the park to have the accounts established. Apple and the iBook are on par with i-Tunes. When we went through the approval for Apple, they scrutinized our catalog, they looked at our website, they verified we were a reputable publisher. So, if your publisher says they do Apple, you might want to ensure that is the truth. Because I can promise you unknown publishers will not have the hotly sought after iBook accounts set up. It's actually quite a feather in our cap we do. And let me express that loss of the ability to sell to the iPad market is a huge, huge loss.

What is the quality of their eBook vendor and conversion process? Your printed copy may not show up from the conversion process looking the same. The conversion for each platform is unique. Make sure the look and feel of those eBooks is going to meet your standards. There are many, many conversions vendors out there, and most of them also want to run the sales channels and take a piece of your royalties.

Is the conversion vendor really the publisher or is the publisher? We hunted high and low until we found one that would not take royalties and control our sales channels -- again, those would be Borders, Barnes and Apple. We maintain control over our vendor relationships to give our authors very high royalties. If your publisher has outsourced to the conversion vendor, then your royalties will be much, much lower. Ask your publishers what is the process? Do they control their relationships with eBook bookstores? If not, it means they shopped it out and you are at the mercy of that vendor who is also inadvertently the publisher of your eBook.

With this market now in full maturation, watch out for the wanna-be eBook providers. Watch out in particular for publishers who don't really understand this market or haven't given the market research its due. Truth is 56% of all eBooks being sold are romance books. In the first quarter of 2011, the eBook market flipped to more eBooks sold then print books. Just last week, the announcement came that 56% of those eBooks are romance. If your publisher doesn't know this kind of information and doesn't follow the market or doesn't have the aptitude to understand it and has done any of the things I just described above, you should watch your back! 3L Publishing loves books. We are passionate providers of all books, but more importantly we are not motivated to just take money for money's sake. You're going to see a whole host of "publishers" enter this market, thinking that it's ripe for the pickings. Keep your guard up, do your homework, and make wise choices on who you work with!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Excitement, Elation and "Elektrifying"

In my coaching class, Erica has you pick a superhero. Mine is "Enthusiastic Elektra," and let me just say that my enthusiasm runneth over today. First, I am so jazzed. I'm "Elektra-fied" jazzed. I've been working on a script project for a few months now, and we're putting finishing touches on it. Before we even finished up the final revision, my client pitched to a big name producer (who I will not reveal quite yet), and he was cracking up and offered to help shepherd it through. Who you know in this business is 9/10th of the battle. So, the producer's help to either possibly acquire the script or help introduce us to an agent is HUGE. I'm so on top of the enthusiasm world right now. And my new novel California Girl Chronicles is moving along swimmingly. I'm on chapter 3, and I can't wait to introduce readers to the quirky world of Brea Harper, hopeless romantic and hapless but also smart and driven. It will be in the tone of the Sookie Stackhouse series and Nora Roberts. I've been soliciting feedback from readers to sharpen it, and it's moving along quite well. I also up-sold two new clients and filled the pipeline once more with prospective work. I have been very goal-driven these last few weeks, and it's paid off. I'm just so on top of the world. I want to scream with enthusiasm and excitement. And finally, I am organizing the Provence Posse, a group of travelers whose goal is to save $10 a week to visit Provence, France. So far, I have almost 10 in the posse. The idea is to hold us all accountable to attaining the goal. If you want to join the posse, send me an email at info@3LPublishing.com. All aboard and onward with a thrill and a half!!!!!!

Avoid the Distractions

Sometimes whether we like it or not distractions creep into our space. We have to swat them like irritating flies and move on. Your intention to succeed in business means keeping non-productive distractions at bay. One thing I am doing right now to keep myself focused in a positive direction is working with the amazing and incredible Erica Lyremark of the Daily Whip. She is giving me quite a "whipping" to inspire and motivate me to go to the next level. Her six-week inspirational and motivational coaching program is amazing, and it's helping me stay on my course and dodge the distractions. I also take solace in the fact that many of these recent distractions (and I don't care for them) are coming from a source who is making herself look really bad to a pretty big community of business people. I've received letters of support from those who have noticed some of the deceptive and despicable activities going on (and the words deceptive and despicable were words used by these folks not me). I don't think I would want to be engaged in activities where someone called me deceptive, despicable or the recent term "shady." Those are not good adjectives. So, I've instead put my attention on growing and being inspired with things like the Daily Whip. After putting out my intention to close two new pieces of business this week -- I achieved my goal. The Daily Whip reminded me to pursue these goals and keep my eye on the ball. The distractions are mere flies in the ointment of my dreams. While it's important to deal with what are really no more than mole hills in my journey, it's also important to kick the mole hills over and move on. And if this inspires you in any way, shape or form, then I am happy for you.

Writing Tip of the Day: If you're working on a novel or book, make sure you set a writing goal for the day. I will write X number of pages or finish a chapter. Goals keep us motivated and moving forward.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Sale of the Century

"Oh such hyperbole Michelle!" you gasp at my brazen hustling for business. Well, I am a hustler (in a good way) there is no doubt and when the going gets tight the tough loosen up ... their tongue! I am so grinning right now. Actually, I am super excited. We are running our blazing hot, sizzle, sizzle! summer sale of 20% OFF all publishing and editorial services. Need your book coached? Want to clean up a manuscript and make sure it's has its Ts crossed and i dotted? Interested in publishing the great American novel? Or maybe you just need a white paper or collateral piece cleaned up. Pick a service -- it's all 20% OFF until June 30, 2011. Oh you gasp! Wow! That's awesome! I need a service Michelle! Of course you do ... you literate, writing champ you. Send an email to info@3LPublishing.com. We will take care of you. Now off to a meeting with (guess) an author! Now go on take on the day!!

Writing Tip: Always use a proof reader when creating a professional document, book or marketing collateral piece. You would be surprised what gets missed and how "blind" you become even if you have a Ph.D in English.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3L's Sizzling Summer Special - 20% OFF Publishing Services

Summer is officially here (finally). And people are off on vacations and slowing down. My work load has amazingly quieted enough for me to think about marketing and promotion. I wanted to offer a sizzling summer publishing special. For anyone who signs up by June 30, 2011, we are offering a 20% OFF super summer sale on all publishing services including coaching. What is manuscript coaching you ask? It's when yours truly and editor of some 25 books and author of three, goes through your manuscript and helps guide it to five-star rating status. If you're an emerging or new author still struggling to get your manuscript recognized by publishers as a first-rate and viable book, I or one of my staff will go through the manuscript, offer comments and suggestions, provide specific guidance about the market, and help you achieve your goals. And with that, I'm going to give you a super secret tip.

If you're writing narrative and not including dialog, you are not building and developing true characters with voices. Always write your novel or even memoir with memorable characters by giving them a voice that is not filtered through a narrative. If you would like to take advantage of our super summer savings, send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

And there's your million dollar moment!

eBook Publishing Caveat

The whole eBook publishing model is pretty exciting in many ways. First and foremost, the return on investment for the publishers and authors is about 10 times greater than with print. You're also preserving some trees (for you environmentalists out there). Setting up the eBook division took some effort. For those of you who assume it's no problem and anyone can get any eBook account with the likes of Apple and the iBook, think again. Apple does not allow every publisher to set up an iBook account. In fact, it takes a lot scrutiny to determine whether or not you're qualified as a vendor and a mound of paperwork (thank you Malia). If you have a new or emerging publisher who says that they can provide iBook access, you should probably make sure they do. It's not an open free-for-all. The industry is trying to discourage any Tom, Diane and Harry from setting up an amateur publishing shop and releasing a slew of bad titles. Apple, in particular, has a reputation to uphold. So, you won't find low-end, self-published tomes ending up as iBooks. I've noticed it's similar to national distribution. Bakers and Taylor and Ingram do not distribute individual titles and self-published authors without a strict vetting process. My seven-time, award-winning book Second Bloom was rejected based on its spine and the font size (absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the content). Kobo and Nook are the same. They are very strict in who they allow into the system, and the same amount of paperwork has to be filed. The only vendor that doesn't put up such strict guidelines is Kindle. Any author can produce a Kindle book. So, my advice to anyone out there considering doing an eBook with an inexperienced eBook providers or fledgling publisher, make sure their offerings go beyond Kindle. You'll lose over 75 percent of the market share if you do not have the iBook, Kobo and Nook channels open to you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reset Your Mindset for Success

Sometimes we get bogged down in details. We look up and realize we need to attract new business. When I get into this rut, I always do two key things:

1. I expand my business development activities and networking
2. I shift my mindset and make sure I living by my mantras

I practice the laws of attractions and follow the belief system that with the right attitude I can do anything. So, I've decided to focus my attention on attracting two new clients ... now! See! I've put it out to the universe and it will come back to me. I'll be sure to report back to you ;).

Monday, June 20, 2011

To the Person Who Broke Into My Facebook Account ...

This blog is specifically being written to the person (and I know exactly who you are, as you are the only one who had my log-in information) who thought it was amusing, funny or just entertaining to break into my Facebook account and change my relationship status and show that I like Nazis and lesbians. Let me be clear in a very public way, not cool and very, very immature. On a business end, you had better think through this behavior before you ever attempt to do it again. It's called defamation and illegal to break into someone's Facebook account. I suggest you look at the law regarding these things. Because you're in violation of that law. Now I know your mentality well, and I know you thought it was funny. I've got news for you, not very funny and just disturbing to me that you're this immature and psycho. I'm equally as sure you probably did during one of your drinking binges. Go get help! And most certainly go get a life. Really it's just sad and pathetic that you needed to sink to this level. You are a sad and pathetic person period. I have no idea why you've reduced yourself to such a low level, but I can tell you that I'm a grown up. And I'm too old to be playing sandbox games with you. P.S., I know from my analytics you also read my blog. Again, you sad, sad, sad person. Mind your own business, grow up, dry out, and get a life!

Social Media and the Mundane

I overheard this discussion about Twitter. This guy was complaining about people who don't understand social media. He said, "Now I have to read about some guy eating a burger at McDonald's as if this event were news!" He's right. We've become a culture saturated with news-making events such as your friend's McDonald's-eating consumption. Now on the reverse, Twitter and Facebook have become a community news tool and have recently played instrumental roles in revolution and conflict. Now the same guy up the street who could Tweet about his latest taste of French fries can also Tweet about the war zone sometimes in his very own neighborhood. And it is the latter example of social media changing the world that is perhaps a good thing. But for the average social-media user, it's time to take heed. For the most part, how many fast-food burgers you eat or cups of coffee you drink, it's not Earth-shattering news. If you use social media as a business tool then report on meaningful activities. Let's not dumb our society down to a vapid interesting in a conversation over Starbuck's vs. Peet's. I'm just saying.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Take a Lesson from the Romance Expert

Now for you single guys out there hoping to woo the girl, take a lesson from my romantic honey. He knows how to woo me in style. Upon our very romantic Alaskan cruise, he had champagne on the ready (although I should also thank Elisa Taylor for this gift as well) and plenty of pleasurable and stress-free activities planned such as two massages. He only planned strenuous hikes upon full agreement from yours truly, and he mostly chose laid-back shore excursions that took nothing more than a camera, binoculars and an "eagle" eyes to enjoy (totem poles and eagle boat cruise). Now Friend-Os that is true romance ... when the guy doesn't plan on taking you on a 50-mile hike up into the glacial wilderness as his idea of getting cozy, which really means clinging together desperately in the sleeping bag for warmth instead of sliding back in the jacuzzi. I mean which would you rather do?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Alaska and Me!

Glacial Lake -- Seward, Alaska
Hubbard Glacier
I want to give a major shout out to my travel agent Elisa Taylor for arranging perhaps the best vacation I have ever been on. She went above and beyond to ensure our 20th anniversary trip was romantic, special and perfect in every way. Thank you Elisa! You rock! My next comment: Alaska is absolutely one of those places you must visit at least once in your lifetime. I spent the entire trip picking my jaw up off the ground! I also really enjoyed the cruise, because we had the good sense to invest in a balcony suite right on the ocean, which amounted to non-stop scenic views. I think my favorite moment (of many) was the day I got to sit on the balcony, drink coffee, and stare at the most spectacular sight of the Hubbard Glacier. The roar and crack of the ice sheering off the glacier and plummeting into the ocean below was not just a sight to behold, but to be heard. I was awe-struck by the power and beauty of nature. As I stared at the lapping waves slowly crawling up and down the icebergs, it occurred to me how much Earth is such a living organism. The movement of the ocean currents, the glisten of the water in the sunlight, and the sounds of seagulls cries came together in this cataclysmic energy that vibrated all around me. I fell in love with it all. I was also delighted to see wildlife -- bears, porpoise, whales, eagles and moose -- all out in their natural glory. Nothing moves me more than seeing animals where they belong -- in their natural habitat. The final leg of the journey -- the train ride that weaved in and around the Alaskan wilderness between Seward and Anchorage -- capped off this glorious vacation with more natural wonders and numerous waterfalls. I sat in front of a huge picture window on the moving train and realized I was fortunate and blessed beyond all blessing to have a front seat view of nature in all of its magnificence. What a life! What a life!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are You a Bad Boss?

Ever notice that people who think he or she is a great boss are missing the signals that he or she is not. I thought it would be entertaining to share with you based on stories from many professional friends, “You know you’re a bad boss when?”

You know you’re a bad boss when … your entire staff invites you into the main conference room for an intervention and they all tell you that you suck.

You know you’re a bad boss when … your long-time staff member doesn’t invite you to his wedding while the entire department is invited.

You know you’re a bad boss when … your employees spot you at a conference and quickly change directions and run the other way.

You know you’re a bad boss when … you spend more time in human resources than you do your office.

You know you’re a bad boss when … a person who has left your company writes a book about how your very presence in his or her life led to him/her to quit his/her job and write this book, which mostly uses you as an example of a bad boss.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Worst Facebook Pick-Up Lines in History

Now I am not single. I know I’ve said this dozens of times. Married! OK, now we’ve established that fact. Let me also establish that even if I were single, the following Facebook pick-up techniques would still fail miserably.

The serenade – yes, Friend-Os I had a gent serenade me in what I will assume was Italian. Something about me being as “beautiful as the sun.” I don’t know whether to barf or just laugh or both.

The good hygiene theory – another young man thought that his admission of possessing good hygiene was surly an aphrodisiac that I would succumb to. I have to ask the all-important question, “Since when did good hygiene become a tool of seduction?” I’m just wondering. I mean maybe having a lot of money might be more interesting, but I’ve always worked off the belief that good hygiene is an everyday standard of good grooming. I’m just saying.

Mr. Illiterate – u wat to send me u fone number? Hmm … I don’t know whether to be more stricken by the fact that this guy couldn’t spell or that he was seriously stupid enough to ask me for my phone number. Well, maybe being illiterate and stupid kind of go together.

The European Mail-Order Bride Guy – I would say about every other week or so some random European or Middle Eastern tries to “friend” and meet for the purpose of some international green card shenanigans. Any guy from the Euro-trash world that has zero connections to me and says, “Your beautiful, let’s be friends,” is suspect.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Facebook Headshots that Make You Look Like a Serial Killer

OK, boys and girls I’ve ranted on about not posting your “bikini body” as your Facebook headshot. Now I must go off about the guys who post really scary pictures that make them look more like Jeffrey Dahmer than an attractive guy. We’re talking grainy, looming, glaring, frowning or just leering headshots. Guys, let me ask you this, “Why do you think that kind of photo is appealing?” When I get “friended” by a Charles Manson look alike, I am more likely to ignore the request. Photos of beady-eyed, scary freaks just don’t entice me to friend you. And if you’re scratching your head right now and wondering if I mean you then the answer is probably yes. Because if you have to wonder if your ugly-ass headshot might bother women then chances are, it does. Please go get a nice headshot done by a professional photographer or even a friend skilled in the area and post it. And please don’t take looming, sneering or sleazy shots as sexy. P.S., shirtless shots of your rubbing your ripped belly don’t pass either. I’m just saying.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I am faced with a question: Should I start Tweeting on top of all of my other social media activities? I know you can link all of your social media, but any good marketing person knows that if it's not personalized, it's a waste of time. You have to actually nurture and pay attention to your social media. Your posts should be specific to your audience, and you should participate in the community. Anything less than that is obvious to the community participants who will be turned off by your mass responses. So the question, "To Tweet or not to Tweet?" I've steered clear of Twitter, because I do things like write this blog, manage a Meetup group, and post daily on Facebook. I am a fan of Facebook, and I am a fan of Mark Zuckerberg, a huge fan. I admire his focus and dedication to his company. From what I've read, he's not all in it from wealth and fame. He's a passionate guy who loves what he does. I can relate. I love my company, and I love what I do. And then there's the pure innovation involved in Facebook. Many of you may not realize it, but Facebook's technology is pioneering. I love the creativity. So as a die-hard Facebook fan, not sure if I feel like flitting over to Twitter. Besides, "Tweeting," really? I don't know about you, but I don't "twit," "tweet," or "trot." So I think I just answered my own question ... "sweet!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mac Rules the World and Clouds Rain on My Desktop

I am a Mac lover. I have been a Mac lover for 20 years (yes, I just dated myself). I have Mac on my desk, Macbook Air and iPhone. Rumor has it with cloud computing starting, my gadgets are all going to automatically and wirelessly synch up. Since I've had technology clients in the technology standards area, I already knew this was coming. Awhile back, they called this your wireless personal area network (WPAN), now they're calling it cloud computing. Don't ask me why, but I always imagine a dark, little rain cloud hovering over my desk when I think of cloud computing. Now my faithful readers are wondering, "Is she going to talk about her Mac, cloud computing or rain?" Well, I am feeling somewhat unorganized today so I'll just meander through this blog and hope you find something useful. Well, cloud computer or WPAN -- it's all the same automatic synch. Way cool stuff if you ask me. I would imagine somewhere out there Hal is applauding us all. If you don't know who is Hal, you very likely don't know cloud computing either. Oh, well I just lost 75 percent of my readers just now. Whoops ... sorry. Hal is the out-of-control computer from 2001 A Space Odyssey that esoteric film we all sort artistically lauded while we scratched out heads trying to figure out what the black monolith really was. And she meanders some more ... does any of this matter? Not really. But I will say once more that Macs should rule the world, and when I say Mac I mean "Mac" and not Hal. Do you see my cheshire smile right now? And don't tell me you don't know what that means either, because I can give you a complete dissertation on Alice in Wonderland too or Lewis Carroll -- take your pick. I have a master's in English ;).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Being Cheap is Just Ridiculous!

Some things in business you spend money on. I always find it slightly amusing if not ridiculous when companies or even individuals skimp on tools or equipment for their offices that they absolutely should not try and save a dollar. A few examples: your office chair. Your chair is what most of you sit in minimally for 7-8 hours per day. I would wager two dents fit your behind's shape perfectly. Yet when it comes time to buy an office chair, some business people look for the cheapest one. They don't care about back and lumbar support, no. They aim to save money. They don't sit in one until they find the right one. The one that will help them feel comfortable and support their backs. Just how crazy is that? The one thing you're going to spend at least half your life sitting in you, you won't spend money on? The other is computer equipment. Some companies go in search of the cheapest equipment on the market. They give no consideration that cheap equipment breaks faster and easier, and can impede production. Again, focus goes on saving a dollar or two. The short-sighted wisdom in that decision-making process is somewhat absurd. Most people, like they do with an office chair, spend up to half their lives on the computer. Why in the world would you invest in something that is a hunk of junk to save a dollar or two? Your computer equipment should be a long-term investment in productivity. Every time you have to service a lame computer, you lose valuable, productive time. There are just some things worth spending just a little extra money on -- and those two I just described should top the list. I'm just saying

Monday, June 6, 2011

Build Your Reputation by Being Responsive

The one thing that shocks me the most are business people whose idea of being responsive to customers, clients and associates is maybe (if they're in the mood) a monosyllable yes or no ... if they respond at all. Did you know that being responsive to the needs of your constituents can actually build a reputation for you? Yes, quick, effective and careful responses via text or email or phone can make or break your reputation. How so you ask? Because here is a simple fact -- people do not take kindly to being ignored. When you ignore or neglect your constituents, you send a simple message whether intended or not: you don't care enough to send your very best ... or you don't care at all. When you're responsive, the opposite message gets sent. You do care. People want to do business with people they feel really care about them. They don't want to feel used or discarded. It is especially imperative you be responsive when dealing with clients, especially if they've already paid you for your services. Doing the opposite suggests you're not putting in your best effort even if that may not even be the case. Never feel annoyed, irritated or put-out when a client needs or wants your attention. Not only give them your best attention but put 150 percent of your effort into it. Your reputation will become unparalleled all because you either picked up the phone or immediately replied.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stories from the Road-Preneur

My new boyfriend!
Funny things always happen when I travel. OK, that really depends on what you define as "funny." I guess we could also call them annoying. I am a people-watcher for sure. When I travel solo, my people-watching skills are in full tilt whirl. Out of sheer boredom when I landed in LAX, I took a seat at an open cantina just to observe the comings and goings of the many travelers. As I crunched my orange-colored chips amply dipped in salsa, I started to make a bet with myself if I could identify who lived in Los Angeles and who was merely marching by to get to the next concourse and gate. In LA, it's not a challenge. You can call LA the "look-at-me" capitol of the world. The guys, who I assumed with probable accuracy, strolled by the in the latest, too-casual-to-travel looks that were comprised of designer t-shirts that probably cost a fortune but nothing to make; and the girls, who strolled by in impossibly high heels to be flying or walking in for that matter, would stroll passed with their too-perky-to-be-real breasts all up and center. The girls and boys each had on their too-cool sunglasses, because god forbid the brightness might cause them to squint and create a wrinkle or two on their sublimely smooth, Botoxed brows. Most of the women were either sun-kissed blondes or bottle blondes (not that yours truly has anything to say about that). As I stood in security earlier that day, I also noticed this woman who wore at least five-inch heels and despite the added height was way shorter than me. I figured she was trying to add some inches to her short stature, but I have to say, "Is that worth it?" In my oh-so-humble opinion that would be a big, "No way!" I cannot imagine walks all over an airport in those tortuous shoes. Now the capper for this trip came on the airplane ride to Salt Lake City (yes, I had a lay-over in Salt Lake City on my way to Vegas and yes, it was quite a ridiculous detour). I had the unpleasant encounter with a fellow passenger seated in the aisle seat who had this snuffing and snorting problem. I decided to name him Mr. Snuffalofagus after Big Bird's secret best friend. Good God, he snorted the entire trip. I wanted to reach across the aisle and hand him a tissue and command a good nose blowing ... in the bathroom! I will say, though, this was far better than the woman who sat next to me wearing day-old Depends and smelled like an open sewer. The only thing I can really say is, "Fly first class."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Magic of Momentum

A book rolling down hill does gather fans ... now you're thinking, "What the heck is she rambling about this time?" Well, the idea of marketing momentum. Momentum when you're selling products is when that product by word of mouth and enthusiasm from adoring fans pushes sales beyond a PR campaign. Once, for example, a book has gained momentum it takes on a life of its own outside of all of its rave reviews. Once that happens, your PR campaign has definitely paid off and the sale of the product continues on without a tremendous push to move sales forward. It's really what all marketing and PR people want to see happen. Momentum in a sense is the big payoff -- and we like our payola. Now momentum is not something that happens with every product. Some books, while reviewed in many media outlets, never achieve that magical moment where they take on a life of their own. With a hope, a prayer and a lot of PR -- and a really great book -- some do and we enjoy watching the passive revenue generated. A Feast at the Beach has fallen into that lucky momentum category and taken on a life of its own. The Fertile Kitchen Cookbook also achieved the same status. Now we're leaning on Daughter of the Caribbean and Silent Voices to begin their journeys into stardom. We love these books, and we believe in them. And soon so will you (wink).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Perils of Using Email in Place of Real Conversation

Between texts and emails, I have found many people have given up the notion of a complex and rich conversation. First, email conversations can be perilous and detrimental replacements for real human interaction. On one hand, I like email because I can be more thoughtful and make sure I touch on all necessary points. On the other hand, email lacks tone, intonation and true inflection for what I really mean -- especially if it's a joke. Email or texts for other people can be dangerous because they don't bother to express anything more than a one-sentence response to something that might actually require a thoughtful examination. In fact, I know some text addict who have become so accustomed to monosyllabic answers, they could be dubbed the new "Neanderthal" man or woman. A simple "yes" or "no" to a complicated matter does not suffice. The scary part is that is how some people's brains work in the first place. Getting a thoughtful answer out the text-trained brain can be as difficult as pulling a tooth out of their heads. And then the worst offenders have taken to using often vague acronyms that no one uses with the expectation that we all know what he or she just said. I've scratched my head over some of those. The real message is that if you have something important or meaningful to say, you should pick up the phone. Or here is something to truly blow your braids apart, invite the person to a face-to-face meeting and discuss it over coffee. Wow! Real, live interaction -- and no that did not go the way of the caveman!

It's the "Little" Things

Publishing as a hybrid, which 3L is a hybrid publisher that crosses traditional with self-publishing to provide a totally unique service, is no easy proposition. As a hybrid, we form a true partnership with each author. The author pays for the services they consume. In exchange, we provide the much-needed credibility as a true publisher and we do not publish just any author who asks. We vet the process to determine if the book is essentially a good choice not only for the author to make money but to be another show piece for our expanding catalog. This means we carefully evaluate and correct writing skills and manuscripts to bring the quality up to levels that can, in fact, compete with major publishers. I've even had an editor from a major publisher tell me our book editing services rival big publishers. Also, the partnership and the payment for services means a bigger payday for authors. Unfortunately, it also means more responsibility for the overall production costs fall on authors too. We don't have a core corporate revenue generated from royalties. Without much core revenue at all, we rely on our client work as our primary revenue generation. Sometimes this becomes sticky when it comes to expectations. Without seeing the hard costs sometimes assumptions get made. Perceptions can fall into the belief that we've got cash flowing in like a huge corporate -- and why can't we pay for the little things too? Fact is we would love to pay for the little things. We have a generous spirit and we truly want to. But bottom line in this particular partnership means that those higher royalties also have to cover those little things. If we were a traditional publisher, we would cover the little things too, as the author would only be getting 10-12 percent in royalty checks -- that from my understanding get cut once a season. We cut monthly checks. Publishing is a tough world. It's a lot of work. More work than I think most authors realize before they get into it. It's also rewarding work too. When you go into any publishing agreement, just remember it's almost like starting a small business, and you need to ready to deal with the demands of a small business.