Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Morning Musings

I always notice little marketing ploys or things in business that I find absurd. I was out last weekend at Northstar and among the snack shacks (that were closed incidentally) was this little glass-enclosed structure called the Euro Snack. Hmm ... what might the "Euro" Snack sell? Maybe some unique European snack foods (hence the name). I laughed. They offered "French" hotdogs. I thought, where did the hotdog come from? Germany maybe ... but France? I didn't know hotdogs were a French specialty, but to further my amusement they were "frog" dogs. Now I don't know about you, but frog isn't really a common snack food. And it's not necessarily something I want in my hotdog. Well, honestly I don't eat hotdogs unless I'm desperately hungry for non-sugary snacks at the theater (and we'll call that true desperation). It's scary when the ingredients add the word "filler" as in filled with unknown substances. Well, back to the "frog" dog ... are we talking real frog? Now the Bavarian waffle sounded way more intriguing. I'll tell you what. Next time you're in Northstar you buy one of those frog dogs and let me know if you croak. And THAT bada-bing! is my Friday morning musing! ;)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

To the great Maya Angelou

I saw the great Maya Angelou speaking once. Her words are inscribed in my soul. To be able to touch lives with such authentic wisdom, grace and knowledge is a beautiful talent, and she had that talent in spades. My greatest wish is to be so enlightened and insightful that one day I can provide such inspiration and truth to others. As writers we have an amazing talent to share with the world pieces of our souls -- small parts of ourselves that we can bring to the page. It is an honor and a privilege to be graced with the talents to inspire and motivate other people with words. Maya could use words through her stories to accomplish great emotional feats to change lives. Think about it. The talent and gift to transcend time and space with your words and thoughts to transform lives ... to make other people think ... to challenge people to go inward and consider something greater. It is a monumental responsibility that writers are given from the heavens, and so like Maya Angelous use it wisely. Practice it with great consideration that you too can in fact change the world.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vengeance is Now (The Tate Holloway Series)

Scott D. Roberts
3L Publishing (2013)
ISBN 9780989136006
Reviewed by Tamra LeValley for Reader Views (9/13)
Click here for review on Reader Views

What is a disgraced ex-cop to do?  Open up a Private Investigator firm, become a gigolo and surf the waves to your heart’s content, of course.  In “Vengeance is Now” by Scott D. Roberts, that is what Tate Holloway did anyway and he was doing a darn good job too.  He was kicked off the police force for asking all the wrong questions about a case that he thought should not have been closed.  The real killer was just waiting in the wings to start his killing spree again and to have his nemesis, Tate, take the fall.  It was fail proof, wasn’t it?  This story starts with the tragic upbringing of a young boy who is traumatized by his sister’s consistent rapes and their mother’s inability to help herself, let alone her children.  They are eventually put into foster care where their lives became even more of a living hell.  Who could blame the boy for growing up to be a serial killer with a fetish for eyes?  Tate Holloway just had the bad luck to land this case and work for the wrong people.
I absolutely loved this book.  It was non-stop thriller action from the start but not overwhelming. Tate Holloway was every woman’s dream man and the love scenes were hot and erotic.  The way the author wrote the story in the second person, except for the killer which was in the first person, made the book much more entertaining.  By doing this style of writing, it made it easier to adjust to the transition of which character you were reading about.  The characters were so well written that they felt real.  The killer was actually someone that you could imagine as a serial killer.  His upbringing, his fetish for killing animals at a young age and his need for revenge from all the abuses he suffered are what made him so evil and easy to accept.  Tate Holloway’s assistant, Rita, was by far my favorite character because so little was known about her yet she was so vivid and alive.  What surprised me the most about this book, however, was the ending.  This book is a wonderful read for anyone who enjoys reading James Patterson or David Baldacci.

I am really excited to read the entire series if they are as well written as “Vengeance is Now” was. Throughout this book another story was unfolding that will be the next installment and the author wrote it in so well that I actually thought it was part of this plot.  Kudos to you Scott D. Roberts!

Destination Unknown: Stinson Beach and Fairfax

I like nothing better than to jump in the car and take a road trip -- destination unknown. Feel like going to the ocean? Okay, let's go ... and off we went. Which beach? Stinson Beach, an old favorite located near Marin and Mt. Tamalpais. The only detractor about Stinson Beach from the San Francisco side are the hairpin twists and turns down the coastline (if you suffer from motion sickness it's almost guaranteed you'll get sick unless you take Dramamine).

After a lazy afternoon in Stinson, our next destination unknown took us along the Sir Francis Drake Road and into the small town of Fairfax. I had no idea a place called Fairfax existed. I found the town to be a curious place. First, the restaurants seemed to take bragging points for foods like an alligator sandwich and boar ravioli, which for all intents and purposes could be an old country favorite I have never heard about or just an odd combination ... you decide.

Next in the "strange" land was this place called Gestalt Haus: Beer, Brats and Bikes. The beer and brats made perfect sense. Bikes? My curiosity sparked I poked my head into the establishment to find a garage-like feel with bikes in upright holders on the side wall. Now I wondered if those bikes really belonged to the patrons who were imbibing and eating at the small tables. No idea, but it was an unlikely combination.

Also notable about Fairfax, the main street sported not one not two not three but five bars in a row. I would suggest you could find more bars on a closer inspection too. This town was a drinking stop. Most of the bars also offered entertainment in the form of rock bands. But the real curiosity was the ice cream shop Fairfax Scoop. Although the rest of the town was relatively quiet, Fairfax Scoop had dozens of patrons milling around out front and licking their frozen treats. A line had formed and was trailing out the front door into the street. Not in the mood for ice cream or to stand in a long line, we marveled and wondered what had attracted so many patrons. We'll assume something about the ice cream ...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book

This is a rough draft of the Introduction from my forthcoming nonfiction book Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book. 


When I open my presentations, I ask two questions: “How many of you throw away books in the trashcan?” I follow this question with the next one, “How many of you throw away brochures in the nearest garbage can?” The second question provides the audience’s a-ha moment.
Most people feel value when they buy or are given a book. A book has weight. It has pages. It has merit. It conveys the perception of knowledge and expertise and time and money to publish. A feeling of guilt or at least a sense of environmental responsibility overcomes the desire to toss all that time, money, expertise, and most importantly “paper” into the garbage can.
On the other hand, how many flyers, tri-fold brochures or one-sheets create such a moral or ethical dilemma that you actually feel guilty to throw it away? I’ll be honest. I’ve thrown away countless brochures. I even curse when someone shoves a flyer under my car windshield wiper because now I have to find a garbage can so I’m not a litterbug (anyone raised in the ’70’s era of trash propaganda knows what I mean about litterbug guilt pangs … insert crying Native American here). Meanwhile, I can only think of one time I deposited a book in the nearest trash receptacle – and that was because the author annoyed me with a bad presentation. I figured if she couldn’t even speak on her subject with intelligence, what were the chances her book would be much more interesting?
Truth is when people either buy or are given a book, they are unlikely to throw it away. In fact (and this is the real value), if the reader doesn’t need the book or can’t use it, he or she is more likely to give it to a friend. This is the other a-ha moment when audiences responded favorably during my presentations. The pass-around rate on a book harkens back to that old Faberge commercial, “and she told two friends…” Not only do authors get mileage out of the first point-of-purchase sale, but also the pass-around value makes a book even more attractive – especially to business owners or those who wish to become a subject matter expert in support of their businesses. Brochures go away. Books last and are passed around.
This concept alone should convince entrepreneurs and executives to publish a book. In fact, a book’s value proposition to any business far exceeds its shelf life. A book is your entrée to new opportunities AKA sales and customers. I am about to cite the extreme value proposition that is sure to cement your desire to publish a book. The opportunities are so amazing I don’t know why when a book doesn’t cost that much money to publish that a smart business executive would not publish one.
When I share this information I am speaking from experience. My business books have built my own publishing company 3L Publishing (, and sometimes even paid for the book’s cost in mere hours off press. The first thing I teach anyone interested in publishing a book is VERY IMPORTANT:

Do NOT measure the individual book sales as your return on investment!

My third book Vanity Circus came off press, and I took it the Book Expo of America held annually in New York City. The first person I handed a copy to; she took the book with her on the train back home, read it, and by the time she reached the station, she called me and a $20,000 deal was cut. The book cost me $6,000 to produce and publish 500 copies. Do you think after that one contract I needed to sell the other 499 copies to make a profit? That book sold dozens of other copies (and some were giveaways), and many more contracts were derived from those sales. It made a lot of money. I still have 200 copies I decided are dated so now this book will take its place. Do I care that I have 200 unused copies? The answer is simple: no.
What else does a book do to create opportunities? It creates prospects that would otherwise not exist if you didn’t have a book to sell or giveaway that supports your business? What are these opportunities?

A marketing platform—a book becomes the centerpiece to build your marketing platform, which will promote your business. I will drill down to the essence. A book provides a theme and content to populate your platform, which includes newsletters, blogs, social media, websites and more.

A news hook and creates exposure to your name, company or service—a book creates news; real news that the media can feature. It gives you something to tie to a greater story at large. For example, a book about reinvention could be tied to the headlines for New Year’s resolutions. A book about a social issue could be tied to an “awareness” issue such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Exposure or increased visibility—the book and your name in the news and on the Web increase awareness of your name, book, product or service. More people hear about you, and the benefit snowballs into more interest in you and more “followers” or “friends” on social media. More exposure on social media generates more interest in current and future products.

Makes you an expert—now you are identified as an expert on your topic or subject matter. What happens when someone thinks you’re an expert? You get asked to speak in front of groups and share your expertise. What happens when people think you’re an expert and they see you in person speak (and you’re an especially persuasive, interesting or entertaining speaker)? People hire and buy from experts. Now you have two opportunities: speaking engagements and exposure to potential customers and clients. The media may even invite you to share your expertise for interviews, and what does this mean? It means even more exposure to your name, product or service.

            After I just outlined this fantastic sales pitch, you are likely convinced you need a book for your business or to support your profession. Yet maybe you’re not a writer or you are a writer but a so-so one. Maybe the idea of 200- or 300-page books just scares you. You want to run right out of my presentation or put this book down now and forget it.
Forget your fear. Don’t be scared. Don’t run away.
What I’m about to do is layout the specific value of what a book does for a business, how it does it and why, and then I’m going to calm your nerves. Publishing with a reputable and knowledgeable publisher or book coach doesn’t have to scare you. Many different techniques can be used to produce your book, including ghost writing for those who don’t want to write at all. I’m even going to give you the shrewd update on publishers or “scary” signs of publishers to avoid working with these folks. I’m going to share a few horror stories not to scare you but educate and inform you so you’re armed with information and don’t get scammed.
Let me tell you something depressing: an author who shows up to work with my company 3L Publishing and sadly shares his or her rip-off tale. Now this person is working on a shoestring budget or cannot afford my services. I wish I could help him or her, but I am in business too and cannot cut a deal because he or she got scammed. Regardless I feel badly for this person each and every time I receive that phone call.
So I hope after you finish reading my book you will realize that in fact Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book, and you will be well armed to go forward with information to achieve success and avoid common pitfalls. I’m going to give you all the information you need to make a sound decision, and then I am going to share specific case studies of authors/entrepreneurs/business people whose books created unprecedented opportunities for growth and success. By the time you finish this book, I am certain you will be clamoring at my door utterly convinced Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book.
                        Michelle Gamble, CEO, 3L Publishing,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

3L Publishing Produces Award-Winning Authors

This week was all about awards. Author Scott D. Roberts was a Finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards for his freshman effort Vengeance is Now, and Jori Nunes won an award from Kohl's for her first book Chocolate Flowers written to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. These authors' wins represent the kind of excellence in publishing that 3L Publishing makes its mission. We set ourselves apart from other publishers by striving to make each book its very best. New and emerging authors like working with our team of award-winning editors and designers to publish books that are award worthy.

As a publisher and in an industry where many people want to break in, I could make a lot of money publishing just anything. I personally do not want to contribute to the deluge of bad writing that is hitting the eBook market because publishing has become more mainstream. Writers mistakenly believe that because the distribution methods have become more open that they can just publish anything without qualifying the material. The hubris involved in that effort results in a lot of really poorly written books on the market. The problem has gotten so prevalent that Amazon is starting to become more discerning based on reader complaints.

Gate-keeping and standards are not bad things. Standards promise at least a somewhat positive reading experience. No one wants to feel ripped off because he or she inadvertently bought an eBook littered with mistakes with no clear story. So yes it's easier to publish a book then ever before, but the real question is, should you even publish it on your own? My company solves that problem and gives authors an alternative to publish a high-quality book that they can feel proud to put their names on.

Are you interested in being an award-winning author? Contact my company 3L Publishing at 916-300-8012 or send an email to

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Award-Winning Author Scott D. Roberts' Next Book Hidden Agenda -- Coming Fall 2014

Tate Holloway is back in a big way after riding the national media attention from capturing and killing the notorious serial killer “The Eye” and in the process uncovering political corruption in the City of San Diego. After being exposed by the media as a male escort and dumped by his girlfriend Nicole, in true Tate fashion he continues his lifestyle vs. recognizing his true feelings for her. All he wants to do is get back to work as a private investigator with his trusted sidekick Rita and attempt to get his life back in order.
A phone call from one of his “regulars,” Bonnie thrusts him into a missing person’s case when her curious nephew, who was interning for the summer in Washington, DC, ends up missing, and she fears foul play. You see, Bonnie isn’t just any attorney. Her law firm represents and handles high-level security clearance matters between the defense department and civilian defense contractors.
In his hunt for Bonnie’s nephew, Tate investigates the possible reason for his abduction and in the process uncovers a potential national security threat in North Africa that is being ignored by the State Department and could potentially implicate the White House. After stirring up problems, once again Tate has to step up his game to elude agents from the various federal agencies who have put out an APB for his capture and evade the nefarious groups and organizations who have put a bounty on his head. Follow Tate on another thrill ride from Seattle to Washington D.C. as he reveals the Hidden Agenda.
For more information on Scott D. Roberts' award-winning book Vengeance is Now, visit the website at  Vengeance is Now is also available on Amazon and in eBook versions for Kindle, Nook and iBook. It is carried upon order in Barnes and Noble and other select bookstores.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vengeance is Now is a Finalist in the Prestigious Indie Excellence Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              MAY 20, 2014
                                                            Contact: Michelle Gamble
                                                            Mobile: 916-300-8012


SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Regional author Scott D. Roberts can now add to his list of acknowledgements for his freshman novel Vengeance is Now ( that he is a Finalist in the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, one of the most prestigious book awards in the nation.

“Your book truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work,” said Ellen Reid, president and CEO of the awards, in the announcement to 3L Publishing, the publisher of Vengeance is Now.

"It's always nice to be recognized for your work," said Roberts, "but I'm more excited with the fact that this recognition will drive people to the book and hopefully fall in love with the story and characters."

Vengeance is Now, named twice as best in new fiction for 2013, is a thriller about a down-and-out and disgraced former police detective and P.I., Tate Holloway. Tate has turned to a life of soaking his sorrows in a bottle of Tequila, smoking weed, and turning tricks with high-class wealthy women to make a living. Balancing his empty life of surfing and keeping his secret life away from his girlfriend, Tate finds his entire world turned upside down when he’s set up, framed, and forced to go on the run for unspeakable crimes.

"I'm very proud of Scott's freshman effort," said Michelle Gamble, CEO, 3L Publishing. "Scott is a true, natural talent whose first novel Vengeance is Now far exceeded my expectations. I personally love this book and believe in his work as blossoming novelist with a great future in the industry. We at 3L Publishing congratulate him on placing as a Finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards." 

Vengeance is Now is a taut, erotic and action-packed thriller about a fallen detective whose redemption can only be found by bringing a killer to justice. Tate has to shrewdly turn the tables from being the hunted to the hunter in this heart-pounding, adrenaline rush of a thriller. Each stunning, breakneck-paced revelation brings Tate closer to the dark truth and uncovers departmental and political corruption that leads to a final showdown of good vs. evil in the race for vengeance.

Roberts was also named one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Read by the Author’s Show. Vengeance is Now is a part of the Tate Holloway series, and the next book Hidden Agenda is due out in Fall 2014 (see synopsis at the end of press release). Vengeance is Now is available on Amazon, the Vengeance is website (, 3L Publishing’s website (, and select bookstores. It is also available in Kindle, Nook and iBook. For more information, contact Michelle Gamble at 916-300-8012.

Coming in Fall 2014 – Hidden Agenda
Tate Holloway is back in a big way after riding the national media attention from capturing and killing the notorious serial killer “The Eye” and in the process uncovering political corruption in the City of San Diego. After being exposed by the media as a male escort and dumped by his girlfriend Nicole, in true Tate fashion he continues his lifestyle vs. recognizing his true feelings for her. All he wants to do is get back to work as a private investigator with his trusted sidekick Rita and attempt to get his life back in order.
A phone call from one of his “regulars,” Bonnie thrusts him into a missing person’s case when her curious nephew, who was interning for the summer in Washington, DC, ends up missing, and she fears foul play. You see, Bonnie isn’t just any attorney. Her law firm represents and handles high-level security clearance matters between the defense department and civilian defense contractors.
In his hunt for Bonnie’s nephew, Tate investigates the possible reason for his abduction and in the process uncovers a potential national security threat in North Africa that is being ignored by the State Department and could potentially implicate the White House. After stirring up problems, once again Tate has to step up his game to elude agents from the various federal agencies who have put out an APB for his capture and evade the nefarious groups and organizations who have put a bounty on his head. Follow Tate on another thrill ride from Seattle to Washington D.C. as he reveals the Hidden Agenda.

Scott D. Roberts is the writer, producer, and co-director of the award-winning documentary, “Gas Hole,” narrated by Peter Gallagher. He is also the executive producer, writer, and co-host of the monthly segment, “Gas Hole of the Month” which airs on FSTV. He wrote, produced, and/or directed two reality pilots in the last three years, “Giving, Celebrity Style,” starring Melinda Clarke (“Nikita,” “The O.C.”) and “Ted & Jason: Building an Empire,” featuring the hair stylist to the stars, Ted Gibson. He’s written over 50 screenplays and TV shows during a career that spans over 20 years and has had his projects optioned and/or developed by New Line, Warner Brothers, Paramount, MGM, EUE/Screen Gems and Columbia.

3L Publishing offers both traditional and hybrid publishing contracts, which provide a unique business model for authors, individuals and businesses interested in publishing a fiction or non-fiction book or custom manual, guide or white paper. Our staff of award-winning authors, writers and editors provides unsurpassed expertise to deliver an end-to-end publication. We specialize in business, technical and engineering, education, memoir, self-help, motivational, general nonfiction and inspirational books guaranteed to sell. For more information, visit the website at

Friday, May 16, 2014

Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book

In my not-thinking-ahead way I got myself into a situation. A local promoter asked me for my speaker's sheet. I haven't been on the speaker's track in two years, and speaking can breathe new life into sales and present new opportunities. Seizing the day, I quickly put together my speaker's sheet and to my surprise I was booked at numerous organizations. Knowing full well that the best way to leverage speaking is to have a product or service to sell, I realized I was now in a bind without anything to back up my talks. Being a quick thinker and a professional writer and author, I took the concept from my presentation and quickly developed a book concept. Problem somewhat solved, right? No. I now have to write that book as quickly as possible to leverage the upcoming opportunities.

So here is my announcement. My new book Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book is being written to be released in the next month. Yes, I'm crazy and yes, I'm a publisher so this should be a no-brainer. The book offers business owners and individuals insight into the value and benefit to your business of having a book, and then highlight how to create your marketing platform to support your endeavor and how to publish the book whether through self-publishing or traditional. For readers the value is information on building the marketing platform along with information on publishing -- win-win.

The book will go up for pre-sale in the near future, and I will keep you posted on the blog. For more information, visit my website at

Thursday, May 15, 2014

When Characters Come to Life

I was talking to a fellow writer about character development, and she said the funniest thing: "Sometimes I almost feel embarrassed to be a voyeur in my character's lives." Many writers talk about how their characters take on lives of their own. I always chuckle and think we're a bunch of crazy people with imaginary friends. It's true. My characters imbue their lives in my mind with all the facets of who they are. As I tell a story it unfurls much like life. In this case, I typically have an end in mind while most of us don't know our "ever after". It's like sitting as fortune teller and seeing the future in the crystal ball of my computer. You know where the story is going but what happens in-between is a bit of an enigma until you actually get to that point in the story.

Writers write stories in different ways. A friend of mine uses note cards and says his desk looks like a serial killer's shrine. I write stories straight from my mind's eye. I can literally sit down and just have the concept in my head, and the rest of the story spills out of my mind onto the page. The gift is to keep it all orderly, paced, and working efficiently to move the story forward. My technique boggles some writers' minds. And it's definitely not something you can teach. Talent isn't a tangible tool to be passed on to someone else. Talent can be honed. Talent can be nurtured, but talent cannot be taught.

If you want to come and commiserate with fellow writers, join my writers' group Writers Who Mean Business. We meet the last Thursday of the month. See you at the next meeting and you can tell me about your imaginary friends.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Staying Proactive vs. Reactive

Yesterday a situation arose with a client. We were talking, and the client was duly upset about a disputed matter. We talked through the issue, and she wanted to talk with the other person involved. I told her to let it sit overnight and we would address it in the morning when cooler heads prevailed. As a manager, the "let-cooler-heads-prevail" philosophy is a good strategy to adopt.

Automatic reactions to situation produce more automatic reactions, and misunderstandings can grow from what could have been a much more manageable issue into a major fallout. I do think there is a difference though between proactive management and "simmering" leadership. Being proactive is working out of Stephen Covey's idea about the 4th quadrant. Simmering on issues is a whole other thing in business we'll call "boiling pot" management. Boiling pots don't react or even behave proactively. Simmering pots boil and boil and boil until the issue spills over and burns everyone.

I am guilty of simmering and boiling over. I am one of these people who under the guise "easygoing" I sometimes allow people to get away with things that make me uncomfortable, but the idea of confrontation is even less appealing. Problem is when you simmer and do not express your ideas, conflicts or viewpoints, it can only stayed stuffed in the pot so long. It eventually comes out -- and it's usually not pretty.

In proactive management, it means being thoughtful but not stuffing it up to mention weeks or months later. You give yourself enough time to come out of your reactive mind, calm down, think it through, and then in a professional manner address the problem. But here is the key: when you address the problem do not roll over just to make it go away. If you roll on an issue you feel is important just to end the conversation, you're right back to the boiling pot analogy. So make sure when you proactively resolve something you fully express your feelings and when you disagree you respectfully disagreement, fully express your opinions and viewpoint, but (and again this is key) be prepared to let it go. Some things are just not worth the stress and heartburn, and you need to identify the true sticking points vs. the trivial matters. And that my friends is a whole different blog.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How to think like an entrepreneur

The business environment regardless of the economy is constantly changing. As a business leader you have to be prepared to reinvent and change. If you're not growing you're shrinking and that's just a flat fact. No business stays stagnant or level or unchanging. The rule is (let me repeat) if you're not growing you're shrinking. So the idea is to keep your eye on business growth and be prepared to look at it over the long term. Has business been growing for a month or shrinking for a month? If you review your long-term growth pattern and it's overall shrinking then it's time to ask why? As you ask "why" and devise answers then your next step is to "solve" not worry. As a consummate worrier I have to push myself into the solution-oriented mindset.

In the solution mode, get creative and think outside of the box. Try different ideas on for size. In my brainstorming session, I realized I had some opportunities on the horizon with a series of speaking engagements coming up. Every speaking engagement represents a plethora of opportunities. The question is: If I have these speaking engagements how do I leverage and wring out every potential sales opportunity? Back-of-the-room sales and information on the company. The next problem was my book on marketing is dated. Solution: time to write a new book. Even better ... in writing a new book I would also be supporting both our marketing and public relations and our publishing business. Not only would I be able to generate book sales, but also I could attract new clients. And here is a bonus: I position myself as a consultant, too. And yet another opportunity, should I decide to take a corporate position and keep 3L Publishing ( operating as a side business, what an incredible extra to give someone along with a resume to cement my knowledge. Who wouldn't be impressed with an executive who hands over a resume and a book on their subject matter expertise?

And BOOM! You have now unearthed why brainstorming and problem-solving is way better than worrying. The exercise I just walked you through is what sets someone like myself apart from Joe worker's mindset. Thinking like an entrepreneur requires vision and creativity. Thinking like a worker doesn't get a business in success mode.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Unless You're Being Shot -- It's Not that Stressful

I used to work with a guy who said that every time we were on deadline for the magazine. I thought it was funny and pretty true. Stress is something we perceive. It's how we manage that perception that can either feel stressful or not. Think about it. Unless someone really is firing a gun at you maybe life isn't as stressful and you "feel" it is.

I always liked what the book The Secret said about time: there is always enough time. I was thinking about stress because I was running late for a meeting yesterday. The phrase, there is always enough time soothed me in that moment. The "stress" melted away. Perception! I perceived it stressful because I was running late. But when I put a different message through my mind, the stress alleviated itself.

My point is most stress is about perception and what we put on ourselves. Our self-talk is directly related to our stress levels. I'll give you another example. For some unexplainable reason I put a lot of pressure on myself to get stuff done for my business. The underlining pressure always exists and motivates me which is sometimes good except then I realized it was taking a lot of the enjoyment factor out of my work. I love what I do. I realized this invisible pressure was coming from within. I needed to stop doing that to myself: and hence reader that's is what we in this society are doing. We are stressing ourselves out. So let me get back to the original line: unless you're being shot at ... it's not stress! Think about it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Marketing and Follow-Up

I recently hit a lag in projects and work. I believe that when faced with business decline you don't spend any time focused on the "deficit" but on the "reboot". Business works that way -- it ebbs and flows. You have flush times and then you have dry times. The overall goal is to get it evened out, but it never seems to work quite that smoothly.

When I worked in corporate one of the ideas I was taught is "outflow gets inflow" -- and I have found that to be true. If you're not marketing (outflow) and reaching out toward new projects you're not going to attract what you need to grow your business.

Tip 1: change your business strategies.

Reinvent or think outside of the proverbial box and be open to stretch into new areas. We tend to fall into routines or ways we attract business. That channel is likely to dry up over time, and that is natural. If a channel dries up then you have to look to new revenue streams and that may require some creative thought or even differently approaching your marketing strategies. I'll give you an example, I've started looking at contract work vs. client work. Contract works means I'm working on contract for a company, but I'm still in charge of my time. Big companies have bigger budgets, and some contract work can be very consistent.

Tip 2: Take charge and tell prospective what you think they need AKA be the expert. 

If you're approaching other companies and you're a business owner, don't apply for the work as a simple worker. A follower follows; a leader leads. Maybe a business never thought of the idea or saw it the way you do. As business leader shows the prospective client what is needed to make business better or increase business. Be the expert! Your expertise will likely inspire and motivate others to think about it differently too.

Tip 3: Do at least 1-3 marketing activities per day.

Do not look at business decline -- ignore it. Focus all your energy on business creation. Make it your personal goal to market and do outreach to one prospective client or customer per day. Even if it's an exercise in "futility" do it anyway. The more you put your name out there the more business you will draw. In maybe in indirect ways you don't understand, but also that is the way the flow of the Universe works (outflow gets inflow). Keep your focus. Make your daily goals. Try different marketing avenues.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

People are Smart Phone Crazy

Ever see someone walk across a busy intersection absorbed in texting on his/her Smart Phone? How common is that scene (and how dangerous)? When I lived in LA the scene of a guy or girl walking obliviously down a busy street texting or doing something else on his/her Smart Phone was as common as a McDonald's on every other corner. People go to restaurants to enjoy a lovely meal and instead of conversing with each other each one's head is down and each one is absorbed in something on the Smart Phone. Bored waiting for something? Just watch a movie on your Smart Phone. Don't feel like talking to your companion, play on your Smart Phone. Forget magazines in the waiting room. Download an article.

Some of the conveniences are really great. Who doesn't want to watch a movie while waiting for something. The issue at hand is the disconnect and alienation. When I was married the TV was on 24 x 7. When I got divorced I swore to put an end to the major disconnect the flat screen invited. Now the TV in my house is off more than it's on. I've started cooking meals and learning culinary skills. We read more books. We spend more time talking about the day's events.

But I'm guilty of using technology to disconnect from loved ones and keep a safe space (or perceived safe space). I have a friend that I routinely text vs. talk to and have real conversations. Most of our friendship was built on the text. I'm not even a text-type girl. I don't like texting round the clock. Yet the nature of texting in that friendship became so common and so atypical that I find it hard to change it. We've even had arguments in text. Here's the issue: you can't hear inflection, intonation or tone. The nice thing is you can't hear a raised voice either. And if you have a tendency not to listen during arguments or talk over the person the text somewhat cures that problem. However, it's a disconnect in personal interaction. It's a cold vs. warm media.

The technology generation wouldn't find my text relationship at all disconcerting. I've heard of people having entire online relationships and never even meeting. These same people don't even care if they do meet. I was talking to a friend who told me that one. It's a slippery slope into true alienation of affection when you literally don't touch or see someone, and after experiencing the majority of my aforementioned relationship in text I understand how it happens. But at the end of the day, I will say this one: I much prefer the real thing to virtual living any day. Nothing beats hearing and seeing a hearty laugh out loud vs. a LOL. And I would much rather give my man a kiss than see a XOXO. You know what I mean?!

Monday, May 5, 2014

No Free Lunch or Free Publishing

I saw an ad: How to publish your book for free. I found this annoying. I would imagine that it's how many graphic artists might feel when someone says I can color therefore I am a professional artist. We all run into those people who devalue your profession and think "anybody can do it" and then add to insult to it by suggesting it can be done FREE. I will just say one thing: free is as free does. Ever heard there is no such thing as a free lunch? There is no such thing as a free publishing service. Let me debunk some myths and then you'll see why it's never free if you want it done right.

Anybody can write. Yes, it's true we're all taught in grammar school how to write. In every writing profession (and yes many different levels of writing exist, from technical to journalistic) there are specific rules and structures to follow. Do you know what are those rules? I always like this one (it's true): you can't break the rules unless you know the rules. So, no not everyone can write professionally. And notice writing involves skill and talent.

I don't need an editor. I've said this so many times ... even the editor needs an editor. A professional editor knows those aforementioned rules and which ones cannot be broken. My other favorite: you don't know what you don't know. If you don't know something has been written incorrectly or misspelled how are you suppose to correct it OR even know to correct it? I will admit that even after 20+ years of professional editing I often forget rules or even learn something new all of the time.

I can push graphics around on a page. First, the minute I hear this belief I know the book is going to look terrible. No, not everyone knows graphic art, which is also a profession with rules and structures. Like editors graphic artists go to school to learn their profession. Graphics programs like InDesign require skill to use, and the depth of those programs require lots of hours spent in class to figure it all out.

I could go on, but back to the premise: free publishing. Unless you've got multiple college degrees, boundless talent, and many different skill sets, it's NOT free. I haven't even touched on production and project management -- other skills. So no free lunch or free publishing!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Depth of Experience in Writing

It has been said you can't really write anything until your 40's. I remember hearing this information and thinking, "Ack! I'm 20 ... that is a long ways down the road." How do you define or describe how inexperience influences writing? The essence in the knowledge of really knowing something or having a frame of reference from which to draw knowledge deepens your ability to write about it. Writing about visiting another country without ever having visited that country is not the same. You can research it and write about it, but can you really describe it -- the exact smells, the people, the places, the cracks in the sidewalk ...

For young writers this news might be disheartening. You might be like I was at age 20 and think that is a long ways off ... so my best advice, stick with what you know and can relate to. When you're 16 and attempt to write about being 40 and getting a divorce because of your midlife crisis, it will show in the work. Something is just ... missing. Defining the essence of what is missing from inexperience is like trying to write about a country you've never visited. A depth and level of experience and firsthand knowledge is missing. As a reader you can almost feel a palpable difference.

The good news is we all age and gain experience. As you gain life's treasured experiences it will round out your writing and give you that intimate sense knowledge. You have been there and done that -- and you know in your heart how it really feels. You are not guessing based on observations of human behavior. You know because you understand and sympathize or empathize. Young writers should focus on young adult themes that will make their material resonate with common knowledge shared among their peers. But I would never recommend a 16-year-old writing about a 40-year-old's midlife crisis and divorce. For those of us who have gone through those very real issues, it will smack of what I just said ... something is missing in the work -- real experience and intimate knowledge. Now writing about divorce from a 16-year-olds point of view would work.