Thursday, January 31, 2013

What is a Hybrid Publisher?

The publishing industry has been in rapid change for the last 10 years. With the advent of easier publishing methods and now the rise of eBooks, many authors (even famous ones) are bypassing the traditional publishing method that has become driven by big name celebrities and well-known authors to bother to give the new and emerging authors a shot. This is why companies like 3L Publishing have risen to open new doors and create opportunities for new authors to have a way to publish.

So, what is a hybrid publisher? A hybrid publisher offers all of the services of a traditional publisher only authors pay to have their books published in exchange for higher royalties. Traditional publishers typically offer royalties that range from 10-12 percent. Here at 3L Publishing, we offer royalty rates that range from 35-70 percent. Additionally 3L Publishing selects roughly two to three titles a year to publish traditionally, which means we not only pay advances, but also we pay the entire freight to publish the book.

Why go with a hybrid publisher? Here are the benefits:

New and emerging authors have a real shot to publish with a quality publisher. A hybrid is NOT vanity press. Vanity press or self-publishers will publish ANYTHING! Got a book titled 10 Reasons to Wash Clothes ... they'll publish it. Here at 3L Publishing, we will not publish any book walked in the door. We have a vetting process aimed at looking at quality products we think will sell.

If we believe in a title's viability, we offer editorial services by expert professionals to raise the quality up toward excellence. We provide a variety of editorial services, including ghost writing, literary coaching, editing, and proof reading. Our coaches and editors are professionals who have their own books published or have been in the publishing business for years.

Super high royalties result in higher return on investment (ROI). Most authors (depending on the cost to produce their books) can break even at around 800 to 1,000 books sold. A best-selling Amazon book (which 3L has produced three Amazon best sellers), and the money stays in the author's pocket. 3L Publishing doesn't reap the riches, the author reaps the rewards.

The author retains the copyright. If 3L Publishing doesn't acquire a title, it means we don't acquire the copyright. An author who uses the hybrid method retains his/her copyright. If the book becomes a best seller and the author elects to move publishers, he or she can easily do so.

The author still gets into all of the online publishing sites and bookstores. We provide the framework and infrastructure to get the author into the bookstores and online sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble or even Target's online store. We also own all of the eBook channels including Kindle, Nook and iBook via Apple.

Does this sound like something you've been searching for to publish your book? Please send a sample chapter and summary of your book to info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Favorite Vengeance is Now Quotes

The forthcoming 3L Publishing book Vengeance is Now by Scott D. Roberts is loaded with absolutely entertaining and funny moments. Roberts is a screenwriter so it's not surprising that some of the dialog is priceless. I thought I would pull out some of my favorite quotes from the book for your enjoyment. The book will be available for advanced release on the 3L Publishing website (www.3LPublishing.com) only and release nationally on Amazon and into bookstores in May 2013. 


“Nothing says I love you like a fake abduction." ~ Tate Holloway

"Bonnie called," notified Rita cent n’all, "Now that you're innocent n'all the thought of you being a fugitive turned her on. She’s willing to pay triple n’all if you dress in a prison jumpsuit. She wants to be the naughty prison warden.” ~ Rita Jones

He remembered the first time he met her at the precinct and his girlfriend at the time brought him lunch. He walked by her desk and introduced himself.
“Welcome aboard, I’m Detective Holloway,” offered Tate.
“Well, howdy, Detective,” she said. “Don’t y’all ever sleep around here? You look like shit.” Rita continued, “And that was so nice n’ all of your daughter to bring you lunch.”

Could you imagine if there was a table set up with a sign that read: Sign up here to get paid to have sex with wealthy women? That line would’ve curled around the gym three times and the people that operated the other career tables would’ve been twiddling their thumbs — and then getting in line themselves. Not to mention, Tate had a couple of close friends on the girls’ softball team that would have cut in that line.

“She’s not answering and probably won’t ‘cause she’s embarrassed,” responded Rita. “Maybe she saw the enormous bulge in your pants n’all — and she knew she couldn’t handle your manhood.”
“Yeah right,” he laughed. “Chicks hate big dicks. They’d much rather sit on a Vienna sausage.”

“How ‘bout I grill up some steaks and pop a good merlot?”
“Will we be naked?” she asked. 
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” responded Tate.

“You’re married, dude,” quipped Ramon. “Who gives a fuck how you look, bro?”
“Just wait ‘til you turn 40,” lectured Steve. “You’ll understand what I’m talking about.”
"We'll be flying around in spaceships and shit by then," laughed Ramon.
“Fuck off,” joked Steve.
“Don’t worry bro,” chuckled Ramon. “You’ll have that Alzheimer’s shit and won’t remember any of this.”






Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Do You Stay Organized?

I think organization is the foundation to success. How are you supposed to run a business when you're unorganized? You wouldn't be able to find stuff on-the-ready. You wouldn't be able to keep track. Now I am not an attention-to-detail girl. I have an operations manager who keeps her finger on the pulse of the little things. She manages our office activities and keeps the royalties accurate and on track. She is great at keeping the foundation of my company 3L Publishing firm and holding. But when it comes to personal organization, I think it's critical to keep my own activities on track. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:

#1 Calendar -- you can't beat a calendar. I live and die by my calendar. It helps me do two critical things: first, I use it to track appointments. Second, I use it to break my goals into bite-sized pieces. So, each day I itemize goals to accomplish and then check them off. I actually write on my calendar (I know, so analog, right). Did you know that by writing your lists you reinforce your goals in your brain. The act of writing reinforces what you're doing. So don't pull out your iPhone just yet. An old-fashioned desk calendar is great. As stuff comes up, I write it down. I also write down weekly goals and then daily goals. I get asked all of the time how I accomplish so much for just one person. Well, organization is the linchpin to success.

#2 De-clutter the "cludge" -- I am a neatness fanatic. Part of organization is keeping things orderly. I don't let stuff pile on my desk. Why is this important? I always find that the more chaos around me; the more it causes distractions and keeps me off my goals. So make sure you clear off your desk and keep few distractions. Make sure you also have a proper order and place for everything, from filing cabinets to in-boxes.

And if you can't figure out how to get organized, I suggest you hire an organizer. I have worked with some terrific organizers, and you can't begin to understand their value until you've used one. An organizer can help you pull your literal "life" in order. If you want a reference for a good one, send me an email to info@3LPublishing.com. I will send you contact information.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"If You Can't Say Something Nice Don't Post It on My 'Wall'"

I don't know why I am still shocked when people are just so rude for no good reason. For our radio show First Word Radio, I recently had a random, rude comment posted on Facebook that cited the show as the worst show ever. I sort of knew the "friend's" name and was shocked. It was a pointless comment from a guy I hardly knew. First and foremost, it's my Facebook Wall you're pretty much defacing with "graffiti". Second, no one is forcing you to listen to the show. It's a show we do as a marketing and entertainment tool for my company 3L Publishing. We do it for fun and to promote other authors. We're up to between 1,000-2,000 listens per show. If people happen to like it and apparently some seem to enjoy it then bravo and yaye! We're not asking for anyone's approval anyway. If you don't like it, that's cool and no problem. But I do have a problem when someone blatantly goes out of their way to post some mean-spirited message on my "Wall" on my Facebook page. I especially find it offensive, because it's just pointless and mean. Well, the so-called "friend" immediately got blocked. And let me give you a piece of advice. If you're going to post negative comments on someone's Facebook Wall, expect to be blocked. Facebook and social media are designed to connect people and help them network. In my opinion, posting negative comments on someone's Wall is only making YOU look bad. If you're using social media to build your network, be careful what you do. It affects your brand and image. Posting negative stuff anywhere for no obvious reason will lead to aforementioned blocking -- and a block coming from a business leader in your community isn't going to help build your business. So just remember what your mama used to say, "If you can't say something nice don't post it on someone's Wall" LOL ... well, that is a slight twist on the saying.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Education-Based Marketing Rocks!

Bo Bradley discussed how
to set and achieve your
goals at our meeting of
Writers Who Mean Business.
Last night we held our monthly meeting of Writers Who Mean Business, 3L Publishing's regional writer's group. My boyfriend Kirk Donnelly attended with me. Afterward he made an important comment that resonated and made me nod. When the meeting ended, the members approached me to ask questions about my company. He was astonished how this generated so much interest in business. He said, "You give them a free service and loads of information -- and then they feel indebted to you and want to do business." He is right. Over the years, I have many people comment about "giving away the farm," and I always laugh. I'm one smart cookie, and I understand the value of education-based marketing, which is what organizing and managing a writer's group is really about. We host and manage the group, and we bring in interesting and provocative speakers to provide insight into writing, publishing and marketing and PR. The end result -- people are exposed to our 3L Publishing brand. As the host, they turn to me to meet their publishing needs. Not only have I shown them I care and know my stuff, but also I build long-lasting relationships. "Giving away the farm" isn't anything more than "renting the knowledge about how to farm." No one in that room knows how to publish. They need a publisher. The need to be educated about publishing. I educate them -- and I am a publisher. If you are a business owner, I believe education-based marketing is the only way to grow your business -- that an relationship building through networking.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Facebook and Facebook Advertising

We are finalizing the work on the amazing and forthcoming 3L Publishing book Vengeance is Now (please become a fan if you like thrillers) by the incomparable Scott D. Roberts. Scott, who is also a phenomenal businessman, decided to procure one of those Facebook advertisements to promote the fan page. The results were impressive and nearly doubled the "likes" -- and for me it was an incubator experiment to see how social media advertising might provide results. Well, I was most assuredly impressed to see that over 46,000 people also viewed that advertisement -- that is A LOT of views and impressions. It is also an excellent tool to create brand recognition. So while those viewers did not all become fans, they did see and become familiar with the brand. Brand recognition is valuable for future sales. Maybe these viewers didn't have an interest right then, but like all highly recognizable brands, it will help with future sales. Remember the more people see something, the more likely they are to buy it when they are in the mood for that form of entertainment. So, the increased visibility for the brand itself was worth the nominal investment in the ad. So as a veteran marketer, I give this approach with social media a big thumbs up. Facebook should give me free ads for that endorsement LOL.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse and Marketing

What does it say about me that I drink coffee out of a Hello Kitty mug on a Mickey Mouse coaster? I have no idea, but I thought it was amusing when I thought about it. No, I swear there is coffee in the mug and not hot coco LOL. Now I'm not opposed to hot coco, mind you, but it's too sweet and not my thing. I say bring on the mocha instead, but can I just complain for one moment ... what's with $3.50 for a Tall Mocha at Starbuck's. Wow! What a racket the Starbuck's corporation has created. Imagine your coffee costs almost as much as your lunch! Now this begs the question of market positioning ... yes, I had a point in here somewhere that related to business. Who do you want to be in the market? Do you want to be Mercedes or Ford, because at the end of the day, how you position your company is how you're perceived in the marketplace. Believe it or not, it is a choice and it's all done through your marketing and branding campaign. In my 3L Publishing world, I positioned the company to be high-quality products at a mid-range price. That way authors know they are going to receive the very best product at an affordable price, but by no means did I position the company at K-Mart or Wal-Mart prices. I do not want to be the K-Mart of publishers. While so many people like those K-Mart prices, the quality of the goods isn't so great. Ever washed a Wal-Mart shirt just once and seen the results? Just remember, you (as the business owner) decide how to position your company in the marketplace. The marketplace doesn't have to decide that for you. If you would like to do business with a company whose CEO is playful enough to drink coffee out of a Hello Kitty mug and loves Mickey Mouse, send us an email at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sales





If you're an author, I have a HUGE, worthwhile piece of information to share with you this morning. Are you just eager to know what it is? Here we go ... did you know that your book cover can make or break your book sales? Yes, it's true. Does it dishearten you because your prose seem so much more worthwhile -- and isn't that really what the point of a book is? Well, yes of course; but truth in "storytelling," we live in a visual society. Why do you think the TV draws people in or movies are so popular. People buy books based on the cover. As disappointing to the writer as that truth may be, it's just reality. I once heard a rep from Smashwords say that a simple switch of a cover can take a poorly selling book and make it a top seller. True!  So if you're self-publishing or working with a hybrid publisher like my company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), you better make that all important investment in a cover and work with a talented graphic artist or illustrator. A misstep with your cover can cost your book sales. Take it very seriously. The two covers I am showing you right now -- one for the forthcoming 3L book Vengeance is Now by Scott D. Roberts and the other for my book series California Girl Chronicles -- have been lauded as incredible works of art. We design some of the most interesting and best covers in the independent book publishing world. Do you want your book to look this great? Then contact us by sending an email to info@3LPublishing.com or calling 916-300-8012.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Public Relations Realities



Now this year 3L has switched gears when it comes to public relations and marketing. We realized that our core competence is geared toward publishing. Many clients showed up with the expectation that we could turn their books into the next New York Times best-seller. So in order to amuse you, I thought I would debunk unrealistic expectations with reality and do a tongue and cheek PR myths to make you laugh at the funny, outrageous reality of public relations in the modern media. Here we go.

"But Ma I want the review to be published NOW!" All right my beloved Friend-Os, you do realize that most magazines work about three to six months in advance. Do you also realize that the competition for that prime real estate in free print is fierce. Do you have any idea how many books arrive DAILY on an editor's desk? I was an editor for 10 years, so let me tell you. I didn't have enough editorial space to cover all of the books delivered to my desk. I had to pick and choose the good ones. And you know what else? One reader's good one is often a matter of personal taste and what I wanted to review. Nothing personal, but you know a book on frog breeding over a scintillating thriller ... well, you figure it out.

But I bought 20 hours in public relations time ... why didn't I get a year's worth of publicity? So, so sorry I have to put this into reality. Have you ever worked a part-time job for one week? You do realize that 20 hours is drilled down to essentially a half a week's work, right? And you expect to plaster your bathroom wall with thousands of reviews? Many authors invest in that little time and then sullenly get upset when, well, 20 hours gets them 20 hours worth of work. You know it's basic supply and demand, right? If you want a year's worth of publicity, invest in a year's worth of publicity time. Just saying. You can't squeeze water out of turnip ... or is that a "horseradish" you can't lead to water ... hmm. Maybe neither LOL.

Reviews, Reviews and more Reviews, why am I not seeing sales results? Public relations math works like this ... 10 reviews of a book that doesn't appeal to the market doesn't spark sales. Three reviews of a book that the market LOVES drives tremendous sales. I know it's sad but true. And sometimes authors are bummed that those 10 reviews we sweated over just didn't produce results. The problem is sometimes authors get upset and accuse us that we didn't do our jobs. Well, Friend-Os if I knew the magic bullet to create $1 million books every time I would be floating around on the Caribbean, sipping Pina Coladas, and laughing my way to the bank. Reality is that sometimes a book hits a sweet spot - and sometimes it just doesn't hit right on and more reviews won't make any difference. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we didn't do our jobs. You know sometimes as in life it's a bit of a crap shoot. But you know what, it's a really fun way to shoot the crap for sure!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Vengeance is Now Coming Soon

3L Publishing is so excited that erotic-thriller Vengeance is Now by new novelist Scott D. Roberts is almost ready to go on press. The book has been a labor of love for the writer, and I have been working closely with him for months to get it nailed down and perfect. Roberts is a gifted writer and a natural talent. Much of the dialog and interactions are often priceless and funny. The dark quality of the book -- and Roberts' ability to lead us into the mind of a serial killer while at the same time creating an authentic, funny and flawed character in his hero Tate Halloway, police detective turned "man-whore" turned private investigator, makes Vengeance is Now the book to buy in 2013. I am impressed with Roberts ability to switch back and forth between the creepy, gory and disturbing chapters into action, sex, humor and intrigue. I can't reveal too much about the book quite yet (who is the serial killer ... you will be hard pressed to figure that one out). In fact, I may have to give my staff a reward if one of them is able to tell me before they finish the book who the diabolical maniac is.

Vengeance is Now is set to release in advance sales in late February exclusively on the 3L Publishing website at www.3LPublishing.com. It will not go into wide release on Amazon and the book stores until May 2013. Readers who purchased advanced copies will be able to get Roberts' signature. After that, well, it will be nearly impossible for him to sign the millions of copies we expect to sell ;). Watch out, too. Roberts is deeply connected to Hollywood. You can expect to see Halloway's character adorn either the small or big screen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Make me a Best Seller

I have so many prospective clients show up with their book ideas and the absolute certainty they have the next best-seller. I get asked the critical question, "Do you think this idea will be a success?" First, without doing some kind of market study, I can't answer that question without any level of certainty. I can take an educated guess. I have really great instincts. The three top-selling Amazon books published by my company 3L Publishing were my selections. What I can tell you is the no. #1 fail point every time. Do you want to know what it is? And actually this response came when a good friend of mine asked me how a particular book in the 3L catalog was selling. What is the fail point?

Failing to invest in promotion. Many authors spend the time to write their books, and then once the "creative" side is finished, they often drop the ball. They don't procure our public relations and marketing services OR they invest very little money in it, and yet still expect BIG results. We've been criticized when an author invests 20 hours for PR and it doesn't produce enough results. Do you realize that 20 hours is less than a half a week's work? That is like asking us to do what is a full-time job for a half a week. And when the book receives very little attention, because the author in a sense has given the project very little attention, the author is disappointed.

How exactly should authors approach this business endeavor (and yes, it's a business):

1. Treat it like it's a business. Promoting a book is a major effort. Without the investment in promoting your book, it's not going to sell. Some books only require placement in key media and the snowball or momentum effect occurs. Once sales momentum is achieved it can last many, many months via word of mouth. Some books hit that "sweet spot" right away with just one exposure in a key media outlet with a audience that is eager to read that genre. Our book A Feast at the Beach was a book that when it hit key media, it sold very well. Other books, though, no matter what media or how many outlets will never take off and pick up speed.

2. Nothing sells the book better than the author. Author often think, "I'll hire a publicist and let him or her handle the business aspects." Fans love to meet the author. Fan love to get the author to sign the book. Fans love to hear the author speak. A publicist cannot be a stand-in for the author. So authors have to be prepared to hit the promotional trail.

If you would like to hire a publicist to promote your book, please contact us at info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Accountability and Transparency in Business

Lessons in life and positivity. First, everything is what you make of it. I had some major things come up over the last few days. I always try to live from a positive perspective. I try not to stress out. So, here are some great outlooks to take when you're running your business to keep it positive and avoid what I'll coin as "sad-sack-itis" to which the cure is a good dose of smiling even if you don't feel like it.

Always stay grounded and professional. I am going to tell you the ultra secret to my success. Do not react to people. Ground yourself. Think it all through. Then in an unemotional way respond. Come from a fact-based place. Do not bring in personal thoughts. "Just the facts ma'am."

Keep all of your documentation and stay transparent. Clients can complain. Heck people complain in general. But make sure you have a back-up in place. I buy extra storage space on Gmail to ensure I can keep my emails dating way back. So, if a client accuses 3L Publishing on not delivering something, I can go back into my historic records and show them otherwise.  It may not quell their hard feelings (and some people just need something to complain about anyway), but it keeps my slate clean.

Keep all administrative paperwork and accounting current. When working with vendors, keep the paperwork in order. Again, documentation always saves the day over accusations. If you're not good at keeping the paperwork orderly, make sure you hire a manager or assistant who is organized and can keep everything straight.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Three Tips for New Authors

You're an aspiring author. You've just finished your new book. You're ready to shop it to agents and publishers. What are three things you should consider before you begin the process? Here are three things you should know (as told by the CEO of 3L Publishing, www.3LPublishing.com).

Your chapter 1 better rock! If there is anything you should ensure as you go to move forward and publish your book; your first chapter better be "da-bomb". It better be THE best chapter in the book or certainly as good or better than the other chapters in the book. If you have any doubt about the quality of chapter 1, you are not ready to publish.

Don't worry about a cover. So many authors feel compelled to often put together ridiculous-looking, amateur covers. Don't bother. The only thing the publisher cares about is the content. An amateur cover (even if you think it's great, because unless you're a graphic artist it's most likely amateur) detracts from your book and leaves a weak first impression when your book might be fantastic. Put your best foot forward and just include a title page.

Do a focus group for feedback, but only from qualified readers. It's great and a fabulous idea to ask for feedback to improve your book before you shop it; but I recommend you find people who are qualified to provide feedback. You can even hire a book coach (we do book coaching at 3L Publishing; send an email to info@3LPublishing.com) to help you refine your book before it's finished. Never ask what I sarcastically refer to as your "peanut gallery" (friends and family) to provide that kind of feedback. They will not be as honest as is necessary. Remember, no one wants to hurt your feelings (that is, unless you have a critical mother LOL ... just kidding ... sorta). So hire a professional to provide feedback of your book.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Excerpt California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break


2

Later that week, I met Maya at a small café up the street from the office. It was a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf with patio furniture sitting on the terrace outside of the main street. I was sitting in the cool morning sunshine, sipping my hazelnut-flavored coffee when a shadow passed over my table. I looked up to find Curtis standing there. I had not seen him much that week after our initial encounter, but every time I passed him in the hallway, he winked and grinned. He seemed like an affable, flirtatious guy, and he was really cute. Despite our mutual attraction, I had no desire to start up with him. I kept holding out hope for some kind of peace treaty with Kale, and I knew a liaison with his executive producer would err on the side of bad taste and ill-advised company behavior. Yet here he was, acting all cheerful and smiling.

“Hey, how’s it going?” he asked with that familiar grin.

“Good,” I replied, taking another sip of coffee.

He moved forward and asked, “Can I sit?”

I motioned for him to sit and he did. Maya would be here soon and deflect any overt come-ons, so I felt comfortable. “How long have you been working with Kale?” I asked.

“About five years,” he replied.

“Really? That’s pretty long for this town,” I said.

“Nah, good relationships last,” he replied and eyed me for a moment. “You know, Kale mentioned you two went out.”

“Is that all he said?” I asked, feeling out the situation. I hoped Kale had not told him about the mess I had made because it was embarrassing.

“Pretty much,” he said. “He’s kind of private. Are you still seeing him?”

“No,” I said and looked down.

“No?” he asked as he cocked his head to try and grab my attention again. “You’re single?”

“Yes, but … ”

“But?”

“But I’m not looking,” I said with disinterest. I wanted some firm boundaries set with Curtis right away.

Curtis seemed entertained and laughed. “That so?”

And then Maya showed up and eyed Curtis with suspicion. I stood up and she kissed me on each cheek European style and said, “Hola, chica.”

“Maya, this is my executive producer, Curtis,” I said as I sat back down.

Maya nodded and took a seat between us at the small table. Curtis looked at Maya who seemed serious and guarded. He took it as a cue and stood up. He nodded at Maya and grinned at me, “Hey, nice to meet you. I have a meeting so I’ll see you later,” he said and waved as he left.

“Oh I see, yes, he’ll see you later, will he?” she said with a look that suggested disapproval.

“Come on! I work for him,” I protested at the suggestion.

“Sí, and it’s best you keep thinking that way, chica,” she replied.

“Oh, but they’re going to cast the movie soon.” I laughed. “That will be fun!”

“Kale said you never play with the talent.” She looked at me seriously again.

“But I can look,” I said with a laugh. Then I shifted and leaned forward to speak in a low voice. “Is Kale seeing someone new?”

Maya looked uncomfortable. “We should not speak of this,” she warned.

“Oh, come on. I won’t tell,” I reassured her.

Maya looked ready to squeal when the person in question, Kale, walked up. I made a mental note not to take breakfast so close to the office. He looked at the two of us and smiled. My heart jumped in my chest, and I shifted away. I felt a surge of desire and frustration. I missed him. He looked me straight in the eyes and nodded. God, this man was striking to look at. His deep blue-green eyes always lit my fire. I also found his well-built body balanced by his broad, lightly hairy chest a big turn on. I feared I might need to wipe drool away.

“Ladies, you having a nice breakfast?” he asked, looking right at me.

“Sí,” replied Maya. “You join us, yes?”

Kale shook his head and maintained my gaze. “No, meetings all morning, but you enjoy,” he replied and walked on.

My stare stayed fixed on his sculpted backside – that made two perfectly shaped derrieres in one morning, and I was in heaven. He was wearing slacks and a white shirt and tie. He was a “suit,” that was for sure, but one who looked more like a male model with those high, angular cheekbones and his perfectly slicked-back blond hair. He didn’t normally wear suits, so I figured something was up today – maybe with the financiers. He had once said he had to look the part when he met with the money people. He normally wore casual T-shirts and jeans – all, of course, expensive and pressed. He never looked sloppy.

“You feel for him?” asked Maya.

I nodded ever so slightly and felt my eyes water a little. I quickly composed myself and responded, “Yes, but I fucked it up.”

Maya nodded, “Sí, and he a good guy.”

Was she rubbing salt in my wound? I didn’t think she meant to, but she wasn’t making me feel any better. I sulked for a moment, then sighed and sucked in air. Maya changed the subject and mentioned she was going to Mexico for a couple of weeks to see family. I listened but was distracted. It hit me how hard it was going to be working by Kale’s side in these coming months, but I was determined not to mess up my first professional screenwriting job. I didn’t need to compound everything and make it worse.

My mind momentarily drifted to Drew, my love-hate nemesis. I had not seen him since the day he confessed his love and his desire to avoid any significant commitment that could lead to marriage. Remember, I had an affair with Drew, got caught, and broke Kale’s heart. In turn, Drew confessed his relationship issues, and in turn broke my heart. We have not even texted or emailed. I needed to stay away from him. Our encounters had ruined everything with Kale – and here I was full of feelings of loss, longing and despair with no one to blame but my weak self.

Maya noticed the sadness in my eyes. “You need to move on, chica,” she urged. “You can’t let this go on. It makes you sad. I don’t like you sad. You’re too beautiful.”

I sighed and nodded. “You have fun in Mexico. I’ll miss you.”

Maya stood up and leaned over to hug me. “Be safe,” I said.

“Sí,” she replied and stepped back. She smiled and left with a cheerful step and spring. She seemed happy. I realized I had not asked her a thing about her own life. I decided to find out what was putting that spring in her step when she came home.

A short time later, I walked into the office to find Curtis and Kale in a heated discussion with Monica. I walked right into it and all three turned and looked at me with unhappiness. I was stunned and wondered what it was all about. Monica stood there and stared at me. She seemed very hesitant and then finally shoved a stack of notes at me.

“What’s this?”

Monica’s eyes shifted from Kale to Curtis and then back to me. “Notes on your revisions.”

“Oh, okay,” I replied uncertainly. I started to read them. My eyes widened. “This is a complete rewrite,” I protested. “Am I not doing what you want?” I asked with insecurity coursing through my veins.

Kale looked at Curtis and then at me and sighed. “Just do the revisions,” he replied in an unpleasant way. Kale turned and walked stridently back to his office. He looked annoyed and frustrated.

Curtis stared at me. “Well, you heard him,” he said.

Monica shrugged and walked away toward Kale’s office, which bothered me. She had his ear, and she was the script supervisor, not the writer. Something about that on both a personal and professional level bothered me. I wasn’t sure what the subtext in that interaction meant. Anxiety rushed through my mind. I wasn’t feeling like myself at all – it was all much too serious. I needed comic relief – all good California girls can joke their way through any situation. I tried to think of something entertaining to say.

“This isn’t Water World,” I said with a sniff.

Curtis grinned at me. He got the joke and replied, “You better hope not.”  He moved in closer, and I looked up from the notes. He smiled at me in a genuine way. “You want some unsolicited advice?”

I nodded, and he stared at me for one more second. “You should just sleep with me and get it over with.”

He laughed and snickered. I think my mouth must have dropped open. He wasn’t being the least bit threatening. Was this sexual harassment? What did he mean by that? And what did any of it have to do with the script notes? He touched my shoulder and rubbed it, and then he turned and walked away. I felt like a confused child. Between the artistic insecurity and the puzzling comment, I was just lost. I decided to go back to my office and follow the script notes to the letter.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tips for Effective Leadership

Another day in which I begin here in Blogland not sure of what I'm going to say, so I'm going to just start writing (hint ... just write if you feel blocked). How about the idea of getting in action to solve problems. What's the difference between a leader and a worker? Leaders take action. Followers ... well, they follow the leader's action. I also lead by getting out ahead of potential problems. How does that work? You think through a scenario and you get out ahead of your client's thought process. Let me give you an example. One thing I do with books during the editing and production phase is to keep the client in the loop. If I were to just start editing a book and focus exclusively on the editing process, which takes weeks and not show any progress to the client, the client would not see the value in their investment. Instead, I always edit chapter by chapter. That way, the client sees the work being done on a continual basis. He or she knows (because they see some results) that the money invested is producing real results. The key is communication. I am getting out ahead of any potential problems by keeping the client in the loop and communicating.

So as a leader, here are three things to be effective:

1. Take action -- don't let problems fester. Don't ruminate or worry about problems. Think it through and take an action to resolve the problem.
2. Communicate -- always stay in communication with your team and/or clients. When you communicate on a continual basis your staff is apprised of what is going on. Clients feel informed and are not questioning whether you're doing your job -- or they understand what is going on that is perhaps delaying a job. People are extremely understanding if you effectively communicate and explain the situation.
3. Get out ahead of the problem -- if you have enough experience as a leader then you can often see a problem coming and head if off. Think about possible outcomes and take the lead to solve anything before it happens. Your life will stay happier and smoother, too. It always feels much easier to get out ahead of problems rather than be "in reaction" to problems after-the-fact.

If you have a book that you want to publish or you have a marketing campaign you want launched, contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com or log onto the website at www.3LPublishing.com.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You Image as Your Brand

With social media, your website or blog, and your newsletter, your own image often becomes a part of your brand. One thing I swore when I left corporate America is that I would never wear a  suit ever again. I also wanted to do things my way. And I consider myself a lot of fun to work with and be around. So, when it came time to do the perfunctory head shots for social media, in particular, I was mindful of what exactly I wanted to convey about my image. (P.S., companies that put logos on social media instead of individual images, I think are missing the boat. I hate it when I'm talking back and forth with a logo ... it's impersonal and I don't know if you're a man or woman.) You will never see a boring head shot on any of my marketing materials. I am not a staid corporate executive. I will never be a vanilla girl who will bore you to work with me. And as you can see, I have played up in my image what I want the world to see -- fun, easygoing, not conservative, and about as far from vanilla anything you could ever get. Authors or executives who want to work with someone who looks cookie-cutter corporate know automatically that is not what we're about at 3L Publishing. Life is too short people! Live it the fullest. And live it your way. And if anyone doesn't want to work with someone who is absolutely vibrant and full of life then I would suggest 3L Publishing isn't your game.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ode to Coffee

Let's review the importance of coffee in the worker's life, shall we? As a coffee drinker for 25 years, I feel obliged to share with the rest of the world the importance of my friend Joe.

Coffee is a necessary non-alcoholic beverage designed to kickstart every worker's day.

One can barely manage to put one's seat in the executive chair without a full, well creamed cup sitting squarely on one's desk.

The coffee cup has been expanded in the 21st century to introduce a two-cup fill sure to wake up even the sleepiest fellow from his late-morning slumber.

Coffee itself is hot enough to warm up the mind AND feet.

And the bottom line ... I can't manage my morning without my daily cup and a sip of Joe.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Social Media is so Valuable to Your Business

When it comes to social media, it can't be ignored as an effective marketing and promotion mechanism. I run into people who still eschew its value. They look at social media like Facebook and mistakenly believe that it's only good for reconnecting with old high school flames or playing Farmville. The real value of social media works likes this (and if you're not participating you are missing out on a huge opportunity):

Replacing the community newsletter or bulletin. In many ways social media like Twitter or Facebook have replaced the town crier. The news feed give equal access and lack censorship. I've often learned the headline news of the day on Facebook vs. the news. I don't like watching the news anyway, because it's so negative. On social media, you can read about the events as people react. You can also hear what is truly going on with your neighbors (if you're connected to them). While loaded with minutia, social media often provokes great discussion and debates among its participates.

Reaching your network. Facebook and Twitter enable you to reach out to your network. You can build your network to thousands of "followers" or "friends" and then you have access to reach them via your ability to post announcements.

Making it personal. Facebook also enables you to create a real "persona," so your prospective business or clients can actually get to you know you before they do business with you. They can friend you and then watch what you post; how you behave online; and assess whether or not you are someone they would want to do business with in the future.

Keeping your audience informed. You can use social media to keep your community updated and informed about your business, products or services. Avoid, though, making it like an advertisement. Instead, make it fun and interesting. I keep people informed about a book's progress while in production. I provide pithy but interesting updates. I let people know what I'm working on. By sharing this kind of information, it incites interest in the book and builds anticipation for when it's released. You can also create "Events" and then invite your social media community to attend.

If you're not using social media, you are behind the wave of modern marketing and promotion. It is the grassroots way to do outreach directly to your target market. And its main cost is time and effort to maintain.

Tip: If you want to stay at the top of people's news feeds on Facebook, make sure you post at least twice a day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why I Use a Life Coach and You Should, Too

It's Friday so it's time for ... Friday morning musings, which means I'm going to blog about something completely useless almost in the vein of Andy Rooney. But wait! Usually when I "muse" over something you end up reading about something meaningful ... sometimes. I think I'll coin a new phrase, "Life is like a box of Cracker Jacks, you never know what is the toy surprise." Reminds me of Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never what you're gonna get." I can hear Tom Hanks' voice as Forest in my head right now. Well, I think life is more like a meandering trail with lots of pretty bushes and flowers on the road side and every now and again, a rattlesnake that if you're either smart you stay away from or you get too curious and get a poisonous bite. Ouch! Here is my recommendation for the best snake-bite kit ever ... E-V-E-R :). Use a Life Coach and in particular, I recommend Bo Bradley, who among her many roles still coaches. She is the best, and I've worked with her for a very long time. I adore Bo, who has recently in honor of Paddington Bear been given the nickname Boington :), with nothing but an overflow of affection, of course. If you would like to schedule a coaching session with Bo, please send her an email at 1HappySuccess@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is the Value of Education-Based Marketing

I had a very good question posed to me yesterday about marketing and the value of doing certain education-based marketing programs, such as blogs and newsletters. First things first, as a business owner I never advise clients to do anything I don't do. I blog, use social media, and write a weekly newsletter. In Heidi Sloss' insightful book Fortune is in the Follow-Up, she discusses the CEO's role in the company -- and that is to be the head visionary, marketer and sales person. She is right. In my opinion, the CEO should spend at least 50-70 percent of her time marketing and promoting the company. I think Heidi suggests we spend a higher percentage of our time doing marketing, but for realistic purposes, I'm going to say 50-70 percent. My client asked me about the value of her blog and newsletter. She felt she wasn't seeing direct and concrete return on investment (ROI). I gave her the answer I give everyone and it's twofold and goes like this:

Education-based marketing is the only way to market (in my opinion), and the value and return on investment comes for INCREASED INVISIBILITY and EXPOSURE of your brand to your audience. When you combine your education-based techniques with your social media (that you should have grown through what? Exposure to your name and brand), your name and brand become familiar to your audience. Your audience grows accustomed to your business and what you do. Your audience may not need your product today, but perhaps sometime in the future they will need it OR a friend they know will need it. What happens? They think of your brand and name -- and the important word of mouth spreads your brand out even further. Can you concretely measure that result? It's not that easy. Someone calls or queries you, you can ask them, "Where did you hear about us?" Want to know what they will say nine times out of 10? "Someone I met in Rocklin mentioned you." Who? They don't remember or they mention a name we don't know. Did that person learn about my company through my marketing campaign? Probably. Can I quantify the result as: it came from my blog or it came from my newsletter or it came from my social media? No. But here is the kicker, without those activities Joe from Rocklin might never have heard of my company in the first place -- ROI.

Is it time for you to invest in education-based marketing? Yes, absolutely! Again, I don't recommend any activities I don't do for my own company that I know work. Do you have a newsletter or blog you need someone to brand, create and write content? Contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Setting Goals for 2013

I am a huge believer in goals. I have short- and long-term goals. Each year, I try to make goals versus resolutions. Resolutions always seem to get broken. Goals are something I strive for and move toward through actions. Goals suit me. I like to make personal and professionals goals, too. I've learned the key is to make big goals and then develop smaller, more do-able action steps. I recommend you write down your goals, too, or make a vision board with your big goals in mind.

Here are five big goals I've made for 2013 for my company 3L Publishing to accomplish.

No. #1 Publish and Make a Top Amazon Seller, Vengeance is Now.
No. #2 Roll out and publicize the 10 Powerful Women Book.
No. #3 Refocus and push the California Girl Chronicles TV script to the Entertainment Business.
No. #4 Publish and promote California Girl Chronicles: Brea's Big Break
No. #5 Write and Publish for Valentine's 2014, 20 Reasons NOT to Date that Guy

No what are your goals? On our website sells Wayne Kurtz's fabulous book Never Say, "I Wish I Had..." which teaches readers how to set and achieve goals. It can be found in our catalog: http://www.3lpublishing.com/books.html.