Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Call to All Insecure Writers!

All writers who feel insecure about their work, raise your hand. Okay, all writers reading this probably raised their hands or at least chuckled to themselves. Here is a really funny one for you. I am the CEO of 3L Publishing, and I've published five of my own books. I've won literary awards. And yes, I am an insecure writer. A dear friend of mine who is also a successful writer turns in each chapter of his book to me, and he then eagerly awaits comment. He, too, even with his success has joined the "Insecure Writers Club." Now it's one thing to feel insecure about your work. It's another thing to allow your insecurity to paralyze you and prevent you from publishing. You have to just write and accept that not everyone is going to love your work. I know it's hard. I face the demon every day yet I still write. I have to write -- it is who I am. Writing brings me peace. When I write I'm in the zone. So, if I allowed my insecurities to determine whether or not I write something, I would deprive myself of my art -- and get this ... I would deprive the world of my art, too. My best advice for all insecure writers out there: just get over it. Just write! And don't be afraid to publish it otherwise what is the point. Who are you writing for anyway?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Passionately Publishing Books

So I just texted this to one of my 3L Publishing associates fellow writer and book coach Scott D. Roberts. I said that to this day I still marvel over what I get to do for a living. We're both coaching two new books that were submitted to 3L for review. I recognize every single day how blessed I am that I don't dig ditches for a living (not that there is anything wrong with that ... digging a ditch can be a rather Zen experience, too). I am so blessed to own my own publishing company. I have such a great story behind it, too. I get asked all of the time, "Why did you open a publishing company?" The answer is simple: I had customers ask me to open it. It was a no-brainer. Opportunities like this happen all of the time, do you seize them. The difference between me and the other person who marvels over my successes is that I recognized and seize the opportunities. You have to be able to see those chances that pass before you and go for it. I went for it. I've now been specifically publishing books since 2009. I opened my doors for business originally as a marketing and PR firm in 2006. I have never not made money. In 2009, I published Second Bloom and the rest is history. Other authors asked me to publish their books and away we went. Now I get to sit and just feel gratitude and appreciation to do what I do: Make writers dreams come true. How amazing is that?

If you would like to work with my company on your book, send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Monday, October 29, 2012

eBook Vs. Print

When considering whether you should do just an eBook or a combined eBook print run, here are some considerations to weigh in your decision-making process.

Are you a first-time author without a following or platform? Releasing your first book as an eBook and selling it for free or $2.99 or less will built a following for your next book. You can begin to build your platform and create a following.

Are you writing a book series? Again, an eBook enables you to build that important following without spending a bundle to produce the book. You can release the first book for a lower price or for free and then increase the price on the next one.

Are you a first-time author who can't get a publisher's attention? You can produce your ebook for a lower price and release it to build interest and create a built-in audience for you to prove your value if you opt to go traditional on the next book.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How Should You Price Your eBook?

The representative from Smashwords visited our amazing Writers Who Mean Business meeting and shared his well-earned wisdom on the eBook market. An important point came out about pricing your eBook higher or lower. He noted that at the price point of $2.99 versus $9.99 that the quantity of sales at the higher price point was much lower. Yes, he conceded you make more money but you sell fewer books. At the lower price point you sell more copies at a lower price, but in selling more copies, it comes out the same price-wise, but you have reached more readers, and over time more readers creates a snowball effect. They tell their friends -- and you continue to build an all-important following. You earn the same amount of sales or perhaps more as word of mouth spreads, and if you end up with a solid following (aka fans), you can increase your price point on the second or even third book. You can also create a solid following by selling the first book in your series for free and then when you're ready to put a price on the second book, you have built-in demand for your books. Interesting isn't it?

If you would like to work with 3L Publishing to publish your eBook, please send us an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Only the Enlightened

I am staring at a blank blog screen. I keep thinking, "I need to market my business..." I don't want to repeat the same ole thing. What do I say? Anything meaningful? Like why blogging is important, and I should be saying something here that will matter to women-owned business, business in general, and authors. What am I going to say? How about that my life is crazy and I can't tell up from down? Does anyone ever feel that way? You don't know if you're coming or going. I love being single again. I have been dating like crazy -- and that's fun. But at the end of the day, I still like that one stable point ... that one person who gets me. I do have someone like that in my life. He does get me. And here is what I should share with all single people -- and he taught me this ... don't try to control anyone. Let it be -- that is how you go with the flow and the direction of the current will scoop you up and take you where you need to go. And my next lesson, trust your gut. I had another situation come up where this little sentence that to the not-perceptive ear might have been missed, but it was a message. I double-checked the message -- and guess what? I was right. I spotted it with dead-on accuracy by trusting my gut. So two lessons: don't try to control anyone, go with the flow, and trust your gut.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Low Risk eBook Publishing

eBooks are slowly emerging on the publishing scene as a viable, less expensive means to publish your book. The risk of losing money with eBooks is much less than print publishing, as the costs are considerably less. In working with a hybrid publisher such as 3L Publishing, the author's self-investment in his or her book is much less and much less risky. While the investment in the editing and book production is about the same, the cost to pay for printing is much less. You pay a one-time eBook conversion fee -- and we do the rest. Unlike printing, you convert your book once and then reap the rewards. We like to suggest authors do shorter digital print runs and print up 100-300 copies at an average cost of $2-$3 a book vs. $5-$7 for print on demand (think Lulu or Lightspeed). Then focus on the eBook channel. If the print version sells better than the eBook version, it makes sense to focus on the print media. Otherwise, if the eBook version sells best, authors can count on larger overall royalties and less overhead costs.

For more information on 3L Publishing's eBook services, please send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Positivity for the Payoff

My mantra: I make a lot of money easily and frequently I am grateful for everything I have.

Today's blog is an exercise in the power of the mind to stay positive. 3L Publishing has gone through some transitions and changes. My move down south and personal challenges wrought havoc on the company. So now I am in rebuild mode. When faced with challenges, the best mindset is to know you can do it. Use what the time-tested book The Secret teaches. Focus on making money and not on the bills piling up. The more you focus on making money, the more money you will make -- and the reverse happens, too. What you think most about you attract, so pay attention to what you're thinking about. Are you thinking about the bills? Or are you thinking about opportunities and ways to make money? Also, a good friend of mine taught me this about money: Are your bills paid today? Then what are your worried about? Tomorrow hasn't come. Today is today. The bills are paid. It's all good. So keep a positive mindset. Use my mantra. Mantras are powerful. They are like running a string of positive energy through your brain. Stay positive. Stay winning. Know you can do it -- and you will do it.

If you have a marketing, public relations or publishing project -- and you want to work with positive, powerful people, please call us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Only the Lonely ... or the Desperate

It's humorous Saturday so nothing serious. In my newly single status, I have encountered so many different ways men try to meet or pick up on me. I find the biggest offenses seem to almost always involve social media or at the very least something electronic. Here are my top 5 picks that we'll sarcastically call: who are you kidding? Here it goes from the bad to the worst:


  1. "Hi" -- who ever thought that monosyllabic "hi" was somehow a great conversation starter. Just so you know ... where exactly can I take "hi"? Seems to me not very far.
  2. Texting a stranger with "how are you?" It should be more like, don't text a stranger at all. Don't ask me how I am when I have no clue in the world who the hell you are. And why I am responding to some random strange guy from area code 209 is beyond me.
  3. Posting wine, roses, love cups or anything else completely random on my FB wall. Let me back up ... I don't even know you and you're posting stuff on my page. I don't think so.
  4. Texting me after midnight -- never, ever, don't do it (I don't care if you're in China). Even if we are dating, don't do it. You will land in the no-go category. It's disrespectful, and believe me when I say, "I don't do booty calls -- EVER!"
  5. Telling me I'm sexy and you want to do me -- and we've never met. UM NO!!! Or better yet, here is the whopper heard round the world, "You're gorgeous! Would you marry me?" Hmm ... let me give you a monosyllabic, "No!" 
And there you go my friend: My top 5 worst offenses in the dating world. And yes, all of those did indeed involve electronic devices LOL. Now go have a great day. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Marketing and Public Relations

If I were to survey and ask authors, "What is the most important part of the publishing process?" The answers would vary but most likely be missed. Is it the book? Is it the story? Is it the character development? Is it the content for a non-fiction book? Is it the subject matter? Is it the genre? What is it? None of those things. It is very simple and one word: marketability. Can we successfully market your book to an audience that will not only buy your book but tell all their friends to buy your book? You can write a brilliant tome. Your writing can beat the competition. Your book can be captivating, award-winning, and well done; but if we can't find its audience and attract their attention enough to buy it -- none of those things matter. And for authors who feel only self-satisfaction in the idea they wrote books and don't want to take the next step, which is to sell and promote the book, then a book is all you will ever have in your hands and not cold, hard cash for sales. Book marketing and public relations cannot be the last consideration in your journey to write a book. Book marketing and public relations must be given equal weight to the book itself. Anything other than that (investment in marketing and promotion) will mean you have a book that gathers dust on the shelf.

If you would like to market and promote your book, give 3L Publishing a call at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com, or visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just Go with It

Are you like me? Got a plan. You think you're going to stick to the plan -- and then boom! A curve ball comes from left field to leave you a little surprised. Your plan all of a sudden looks pretty questionable. We think we can plan. We think we can control. And in fact, we can't plan. We cannot control. And thus, the curve balls get lobbed, and we have to stop and think about it. Since my divorce, I have kept a firm plan in my head about my social life and dating. My plan is still in place (don't get me wrong), but I had a little curve ball tossed at me, and I started thinking, "Maybe I'll have to make some adjustments here." Isn't that what life is about? You can plan and you cannot control -- and sometimes you have to make some adjustments. And you know what else? Those unexpected people, moments and connections can be liberating, exciting and amazing. So, like everything else in life the best plan is: just go with it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Three Reasons Why Business Owners Should Write a Book

Nothing can enhance your credibility and promote your business better than a book. A book is 10 times better than a brochure -- and depending on who creates your brochure and whether it's full color or not, a brochure can actually cost more money. Yes, I have had some business owners show me brochures that cost them $10 a copy just to print it up. A book can cost anywhere between $2-$3 a copy. Here are three reasons you should write a book about your area of expertise in business:

Credibility = Expertise = Speaking Gigs
The fact that you wrote a book makes you an expert. "An expert?" you cry. Yes, a book makes you an instant expert. You knew enough to write the book, right? Well, what do experts get asked to do? Share their expertise with others. You will automatically get asked to speak to groups about your book.

Speaking Gigs = Exposure = Opportunities
When you get up in front of a room to speak, what happens? People focus on you. They learn more about you and your business. Speaking exposes people to you and your business. Exposure leads to increased visibility and more opportunities to do business.

Opportunities = More Business = Increased Profits
If you play it right, you will have people walk up to talk to you after you speak. They will very likely ask for your business card. Leverage that chance and ask for their business cards, too. Ask to meet over coffee. You will then have an opportunity to build relationships. Relationships typically lead to business. And of course, more business means success.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Two Key Marketing Tools

Do you know what I consider my two most valuable marketing tools? My blog and newsletter. Here is why ...

Blog: a blog refreshes and keeps your website at the top of the search engines without having to do search engine optimization. You constantly add keywords to your "labels" and keep your company name and presence on the Internet refreshed. Now couple this with education-based marketing, which enables you to keep your prospective clients or customers informed but not pitched to. You don't want to pitch, but rather provide information about why your services are valuable to your client by educating them about how things works vs. selling them something. Blogs enable education-based marketing and keep your name on the top of the search engines.

Newsletter: I've been doing my newsletter weekly for the last six years. Every Sunday my readers can count on seeing First Word (you can sign up at www.3LPublishing.com) arrive in their in-boxes. This tool acts as an ongoing follow-up mechanism to keep my name and company in front of readers. They may not need my services now, but they could need them in the future. Who do you think my prospects are going to go to? A nameless, faceless publisher and marketing expert or to the company and person they read about every week?

A blog and newsletter are two key tools each business owner should have in their arsenals. If you are not a writer then hire one of 3L Publishing's professional editors and writers to do your blog and newsletter for you.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break, Chapter 1

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book California Girl Chronicles, Brea's Big Break due out this winter. For more information on the book, visit our website at www.3LPublishing.com. 


1
I arrived at the pristine offices where, as usual, Erin the receptionist, greeted me with a warm smile. Every time I saw Erin, I intended to ask her out to drinks. She was so sweet and charming. I knew she would make a great girlfriend. She offered the requisite Perrier and brought it out and placed it on a coaster in front of me. I was nervous. I had not seen Kale in weeks. He had been in Arizona on the set of his new movie. I missed him even though I had no right to miss him. I had thought about calling him several times, but realized he needed time and distance away from me. As I sipped my Perrier, Erin smiled at me.

“You look so pretty,” she offered.

I looked down at my collared, white blouse and silver-colored skirt. I had dressed conservatively but sexy enough to remind Kale of what he was missing. I was a screenwriter now, after all, and I ought to dress the part. I had long since ditched my bikini shop dresses with the awful, suggestive slogans on the front.

“Thanks,” I replied and shifted uncomfortably. “You know, Erin, we should go out for drinks sometime,” I offered. “You know, a girl’s night out.”

Erin smiled and replied, “Yeah, I would like that.”

Then a handsome man with dark hair and sophisticated, squared-off glasses came to the doorway and waved at me. “Brea?” he asked.

I stood up, “Yes.”

“Come on in,” he said as he moved back into the office.

I got up and followed behind him. What I saw from behind was impressive, and I found myself staring.

He glanced over his shoulder with a broad smile. “My name is Curtis. I’m also one of your executive producers. I’m glad to meet you,” he said with a grin and a wink.

The wink threw me. It was flirtatious, especially combined with that grin. This Curtis guy was super hot, too. I had to literally unglue my eyes off of his sculpted backside. I didn’t want him to catch me looking – not a good start to my new job. I imagined that Kale might not appreciate this attraction right now either. I walked into an empty conference room. Kale wasn’t there yet and I sat across from Curtis, who couldn’t suppress his smile.

Curtis was so obviously smitten it was almost embarrassing. I couldn’t help it. I had to smile back. Our eyes locked for a moment, and then I felt Kale’s energy enter the room first, followed by his physical body. My back was to him, but an electric surge went through my entire body and made me quit smiling. I shifted and looked. There he was: my blond, handsome, tall, lean and muscular man. He looked so stunningly radiant, it was hard for me not to touch him or go to him. I shoved my hands under my butt and shifted hard on them.

Unfortunately, behind him followed a short, cute brunette. More female energy in the room calmed me down, but I wondered who she was. She looked fresh with silky, unblemished white skin, radiant and pretty in a natural way. She followed closely behind Kale, and I wondered immediately about their intimate distance, as she was in his personal space. He didn’t seem to notice or mind, which raised my sensitivity to the potential that my lover had moved on. I felt like crying, but I quickly got my emotions under control.

Kale looked me straight in the eyes as he said, “Brea, this is Monica. She is the script supervisor. She will be working with you directly on script notes.” As he said this, his blue-green eyes stayed fixed on mine. It felt intense, and I wanted to look away, but I committed to maintaining eye contact.

“Okay,” I replied quietly as insecurity raged through me – not just because of my fear that he had moved on, but also because here was Monica and something about “script notes” and whatever that meant, good or bad. I figured I would find out soon enough.  I looked shyly down and asked, “How was Arizona?”

“Good. Look, we have some notes for you,” he said and shifted toward Monica, who handed me a script with different colored pages.

I glanced at the first set of colored pages, which were typed out notes regarding pieces of dialogue. I closed the script with the intention of examining it privately later and not falling apart in front of these people. “Okay, can I look at these in my office?”

“Speaking of,” said Kale, “your new office is down the hall, last door on the left.”

“Oh,” I replied surprised. I hadn’t realized they were going to give me an office.

“You can work from home or use the office; it’s up to you,” said Kale. “Now I have another meeting. Any questions?”

I shook my head. As Kale got up, our eyes locked in a searing gaze. Monica looked from me to Kale. She grabbed her briefcase to avert her eyes. She looked uncomfortable. I again had an impulse to grab him, kiss him and do him right on the conference table, which of course, was not going to happen. Then he lifted his gaze and walked out. I stood there like a star-struck child – that is, until I felt Curtis walk up behind me. 

Curtis was taller and leaned over to whisper in my ear, “You shouldn’t stare so hard.”

“What?” I asked as I regained my senses.

“Girl like you, wasting your time staring at that guy? You should go out with me instead,” he said with a quiet laugh.

“I don’t think so,” I replied as I turned and met his eyes. “Bad idea, don’t you think?”

“Probably,” he said and laughed again. “But undoubtedly worth it. Let me show you to your office.”

He walked me up the hallway, opened the door to a cute corner office with big picture windows, and stepped aside so I could walk in. A big-screen iMac sat on the barren cherry-wood desktop with a phone next to it. The office was devoid of personality. I would soon rectify that.

“We need your revisions by Friday,” he said flatly. “A current copy of the script is on the network in the intranet file labeled “Calif. Girl.”  Just pull it over, and you’re good. If need any help, ask Erin.”

I walked in and sat down. Curtis followed and before I knew it, he had aggressively turned my chair to face him. “If you need anything else, call me. Extension 12,” he said and winked in that sexy way again.

He was stunning and shocking all rolled up into this dark, sexy man. He had just made his intentions quite clear. I wasn’t planning to enlist his “anything else” offer, but I filed it in my memory for future reference if I needed any kind of favor. I turned to look at my new view – the hazy outline of buildings and palm trees in the afternoon smog and the rolling Hollywood Hills in the foreground. I sighed and smiled. It felt like a real “I-made-it” moment.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who-Cares Saturday!

Do you think I should write something serious today? It's Saturday ... I don't think Saturday should be serious. It's supposed to be my day off. I have to confess something: I usually take time off during the week and work on Saturdays. Why? Because Saturday is quiet and I can get the most focused work done. I will be proofing the book Fortune is in the Follow-Up by Heidi BK Sloss all day today. The phone doesn't ring on Saturdays. I don't have a million emails coming in. I don't have text messages to answer. The downtime to concentrate is marvelous. My only meandering thought is when to get dressed and run a few errands. Do you have a brain that goes a million miles per hour? I do! So, the peaceful energy of Saturday lets me slow down. Now you're reading this and thinking, who cares? Yep, who cares LOL.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Advice on Memoir Writing

Sitting here staring at a blank screen ... just start writing ... okay, what can I say to help people who are in business ... maybe I should just tell you what I did last night ... whoops! Nope! Not going to do that. The world doesn't get to hear about my private life ... okay, there is a great topic: How to write about your life in memoir and not offend half your family. First, you have to realize that if you don't get family members to sign up for your version of the truth, they can sue you for defamation. So, if you're going to write your "version" of the story then get them to sign a release. If they are dead you're fine. If they're alive and they don't like your version of the story, you will have to back off or run the liability of a lawsuit. Now if your story is amazing and upbeat, you won't have much of problem. Telling your parents you love them doesn't draw too much wrath. Telling your parents they screwed you up, well, that might "bring it on," as it were. I always think you should save the "book of revelations" memoir for after someone it affects has past. Just some sage words of advice from a publisher who won't publish a memoir that is wide open for the courts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Funniest Email Subject Line of the Day

Join the number one sex dating hookup site and get laid today!

Okay, THAT subject line just came into my in-box -- and I am thoroughly cracking up. I think (and think is the premium word here) that headline is maybe a centimeter up for this one: Go online and get laid by a hooker or man "ho" (new word for male prostitute). I figure it must be some sort of spam or virus, but it's so funny I couldn't resist reposting it to my blog. Do you think that site will get lots of click-throughs? Just asking ... vote and tell me LOL. Maybe I ought to change my tagline for 3L Publishing to: where you writing will get you laid! I bet that will make my hits and business skyrocket. What do you think? LOL

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Love and Happiness is ...

Some days I just don't know what I'm going to say on this blog. I had some very powerful, spiritual feelings today as I was driving back to Folsom. I looked up as the sun was literally rising, and I thought, "I've got the best life, and I'm so blessed to be surrounded by such love." The sunrise is a new day, and today is the first day of the rest of my life. I have had a really rough year with a lot of loss; but you know what I'm still standing and the fact that I can wake up and hit the road to see such a sight! And to feel truly alive again. Life is full of moments, especially in nature, loaded with such beauty. If you're not paying attention, you'll easily miss those moments. So pay attention. Wake up to the sunrise and go to bed to the sunset -- and live your life to the fullest in between. I am full of gratitude and love for this crazy, beautiful life. And I'm grateful to those who have stood by my side these past months and supported me in my rainbow of emotions. I love you all.

~ Michelle Gamble-Risley

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Hardest Job in Publishing: Copy Editing


Want to know what is the hardest job in publishing? It's what on the surface looks like the easiest -- the final proof. Ask any author who has gone through the process to get a completely cleaned-up book. The overall editing (big picture editing to ensure the copy flows and the story makes sense) is small compared to the even smaller -- copy editing every last word in the book. 

A fantastic copy editor not only must know grammar, usage and style backwards and forwards, but also he or she must have an amazing attention to fine details. Why is this so delicate and arduous a task? I try to distill it down to what is like math: imagine having to ensure 75,000 words are all absolutely correct. Just think of it like a jar of 75,000 jelly beans all spilled on the floor. Now I'm going to tell you to sort through each jelly bean one at a time and look for the ones with the blemishes. Are you wrapping your head around this incredible task? 

Why does it matter? Because many critics and general readers out there will take glorious pride in telling you which page(s) have the mistake(s). One mistake is forgivable. Two mistakes is forgivable. But a book loaded with mistakes on every other page becomes fodder for the critics to point to your mistakes and completely overlook the most important part -- the story or general content. Do you really want all that hard work to be reduced down to mistakes? It will make you feel frustrated and sad instead of joyous about your book being published. 

Even if you only intend to submit your book to a publisher for review, you need to hire an editor. Readers at publishing houses will get more caught up in your mistakes than they will your actual book. If you need assistance with editing and/or copy editing, please give 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) a call at 916-300-8012. We will happily assist you to get your manuscript ready to be published whether it's through us or a traditional publisher or vanity press. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Three Valuable Tips on Networking

Good morning land lovers ... yes, I'm feeling wacky this morning. So I read a great book over the weekend by Janice Jordan titled It's More than Wine and Meatballs: The secrets to more effective Networking and Growing Through Referrals. I've been in business six years now going on seven and most business books don't necessarily tell me anything I don't already know. I've long since hit the message home about the value and importance of networking and relationship building to grow your business. So, I thought this morning I would give you three meaningful tips that Janice's book simply reinforces:

Relationship building is not about throwing business cards at people. Relationship building is exactly how it sounds -- you build a real relationship and you help each other. Relationship building is not necessarily about making the sale. It's about getting to know each other and figuring how you can create synergies to flow the business back and forth. Sometimes it's just about making a dear friend.

Networking is not about you making yourself the life of the party. Networking is about doing what I just suggested -- building real, lasting relationships. When you attend mixers and functions and try to make yourself the life of the party, you probably won't get taken seriously and more likely people will whisper perhaps some unflattering things about you. So be friendly, courteous and outgoing, but most importantly be a good listener and act respectful. Do not drink more than one glass of wine. A social drink is one thing, but more than that and you look unprofessional and ... drunk.

Watch your image and keep it professional to project success. The biggest mistake I see beginning entrepreneurs do is tell everyone how successful they are yet their image doesn't match. Now I'm not suggesting you go out and purchase designer everything or drive an expensive foreign car. I'm merely saying that your wardrobe and accessories need to line up with what you're saying about your business. If you're truly just starting out, invest in a small handful of nice items -- and ladies please watch your shoes and handbags (those two items alone speak volumes).

If you would like to know more about my company 3L Publishing, please visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com. We also provide comprehensive marketing and public relations for businesses and do custom publishing.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Focus Groups: The True Peanut Gallery Critique

I have authors who show up with their manuscripts in hand and eagerly tell me things about why it's so great based on ... their home-grown peanut gallery. I like to call well-meaning friends and parents the peanut gallery. The peanut gallery tells the aspiring author they are going to be the next bestseller. Of course, they do! They love the author. Most friends and family aren't going to say something like, "Well, this is terrible." To bolster their positions even more, they will seek out other "more qualified" spectators to validate their absolute certainty that the New York Times best-seller list is within their reach with this masterpiece. They will find the local librarian or maybe some friend who writes articles. Then they will come to us and say, "Not only do my friends, family and loved ones think it's going to be a bestseller, but also Mary the local librarian loved it."

All right my beloved and aspiring authors, here is what you really need to do to get an honest perspective and feedback on your book. You put a little money where your passion is and you organize a focus group. You pay each person something like $25, give him or her the manuscript and a survey, and then send him or her off to read. Choose at least 5-10 people you solicit off social media or friends of friends. Do not ask your nearest and dearest (they're are biased, period). And when the solicited feedback comes back in, don't go ape over what they say if it's not what you expected. Take it as important and valuable input you paid for. Some of it may, in fact, be ridiculous or off-base. Regardless, read it with an open heart. And most importantly the information that resonates and makes sense accept it. Your book will be much more likely to be successful if you put your ego aside and open your mind and make the changes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Good Times at 3L Publishing

I don't feel like being serious today, so I won't how is that? A friend of mine called last night and he observed my keen ability to entertain myself as I cracked up over my own ridiculous humor. Yes, I am willing and able to make myself laugh. Not sure, though, that my audience is equally as entertained. I will keep trying. They say laughter cures all ills. I will tell you this much as true: it always makes me feel better. Just so all my readers know I am always a reliable source of entertainment. Listen to our radio show First Word Radio located on the 3L Publishing website (see blue dashboard), and we generally share lots of wisdom and plenty of giggles to go round. The show is done in a conversational, open format. From a marketing standpoint, we developed the show to give prospective clients and authors a sort of voyeuristic view into what it's like to work with my team. If you listen to enough shows, you'll see we are casual, fun, but knowledgable and professional. Who wants to work with a stick in the sad sack when you can work with someone and enjoy the process? And let me just make this one observation about working out of a home office: lawn mowers and weed eaters from the gardener are not a girl's best friend. It's hot and now I have to close the window. Who invented the contraptions? Oh yeah, I'm sorry I guess we all need manicured lawns and well "weed-eaten" flower beds. Fine ... mow away! And if you want to get your publishing or marketing needs met, send me an email at michelle@3LPublishing.com, and I promise to make you laugh ... or shoot the lawnmower guy ;).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Lazy River of Life ...

I have a dear friend who is like my armchair philosopher. I love his very mature, seasoned and fantastic outlook on life. He (without effort) teaches me amazing life lessons. Every time we talk casually (seemingly casually) about life and the events unfolding in front of us, he shares something and I feel enlightened. One thing I've learned from him is you can't force things -- and the best relationships in life are those where you go with the flow. Jump into the current and go with it. I have a mind that works 100 mph and sometimes it's hard to relax and go with it. I tend to overanalyze and try to understand and ask the never-ending question, "Why?" Sometimes why is futile. You can't know why. And banging your head against "Y" is like hitting your head on the tree trunk of the "Y" -- and it hurts and gives you a major headache LOL. Maybe that's why the letter has a trunk ;). You have to sometimes let go and not bang your head lest you end up with a concussion or worse go into a coma. Now I'm totally kidding, but the truth is, sometimes there is no answer. You just have to start by dipping your toe into the Lazy River and eventually just move to the middle where the current flows and go with it. If you can adopt that outlook on life you will be much happier. I know I am.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just When You Think You've Got it Figured Out

Life has a wonderful way of not just throwing curve balls but just lobbing unexpected things at you. I always find it interesting -- and in fact exciting that when I think one thing another thing happens. I just had an astrological reading done by Maridel Bowes who does what are called transients and progressions. You might not believe in astrology and think it's dome great '70s pick-up line, "Hey baby, what's your sign?" until you have your chart done by someone who is a skilled astrologer. You know Nostradamus was an "astrologer." Maybe you don't believe in him either … that's okay to each his or her own. Well, I had my chart done, and the revelations were marvelous. The last year's drastic and often sudden changes made a whole lot of sense when I found out what was on my chart. I believe she said I had seven different alignments all under relationships. She said that when I was done with this phase it would be like having a Ph.D. in relationships. I was also and have been experiencing a major 30-year shift. Ah, now I get why all of the drastic transitions are going on. And believe me it's all drastic. In any event, every time I turn around there is this ebb and flow of never-ending changes and surprises. Most of them have been happy surprises, too. Sometimes you have to let go. You have to jump in the river on your lazy-river tube and just see where it takes you. You might go through some gentle bounces, maybe some rapids, and then hopefully in the easy current. I keep hitting these ripples that seem to ricochet my experiences off and down forks in the river, too. Ah, but as my dear friend suggests, "Don't fight it. Go with it."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Networking is Useless Without the Follow-Up

Michelle Gamble-Risley, CEO
at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com).
As business owners, we spend a lot of time out networking and meeting people. What I see as a colossal waste of time is when you network and fail to follow-up on leads. You get back to the office and the non-stop phone or email or texts distract you -- and pretty soon you haven't had two seconds to make sure all those hot prospects turn into actual business. I ask you, what is the point if you don't follow-up? You ate rubber chicken, drank sour coffee, and maybe consumed a semi-tasty cookie (what is it with cookies for dessert these days anyway?). Your waistline expanded maybe, but your bank account didn't increase. You spent the money, ate the bad food, and you didn't follow-up. I say why don't you just take that cash, add it up, flush it down the toilet, and add some Drano just to ensure it goes down smoothly. The whole point of networking is to build relationships to grow your business. So when you take those business cards, don't just shove them in a pocket or purse. Make sure you give it a few days and then follow up on the lead. Just ask the person out for a cup of coffee. What's the worst that will happen? You'll make a new friend. Or just ask the person is there anything you can do to help them in general. In Heidi BK Sloss' fabulous Amazon best-seller Fortune is in the Follow-Up, she teaches business owners the value, benefit and need to follow-up and how to do it. 3L Publishing is publishing the second edition.