Thursday, July 28, 2016

The One Bad Apple Policy

Here is what I've realized. If a newsletter is one of your favorites, it could land in your email box every day and you would be thrilled. Yes, I am stating the obvious, but then again I never thought about it like a favorite pillow or favorite food. I've always been aware that the word "spam" and First Word weren't a good combination, so I might want to avoid activities that could link the two concepts. Then I thought, "Why lead a business from a place of fear?"
 
Stop and think about that for a moment. Hit pause! Yes, and now what do you think? Do you find yourself worried about everything you do in business getting a negative or positive reaction? It hit me that I'm constantly worried about the criticism than the accolades.
 
Let me give you an example of why I found myself wallowing in this mindset. When you're doing something right and everybody is happy, most people don't say anything. They're happy to receive your newsletter or information. But as the old cliché goes: one bad apple spoils the batch.
 
Recently Meetup sent me the most ridiculous email saying that "members" were complaining about my articles being sent out through the group. Keep in mind I founded and maintain the group activities. The offending articles were all related to education and writing tips. The only plug for 3L Publishing said if you wanted more information to contact me.
 
So here is my reaction to this nonsense: when you say "members" do you really mean one particular "hater"? Why would writers not want FREE information to support their success? My assumption is one person didn't like it and complained. Therefore, it went from all of the quiet members (1,000 + of them) now being deprived of valuable information. See, the one bad apple theory. Furthermore, how does one construe information-based content and education as Spam? I equate Spam to blatant advertisements and nonstop Cialis and Viagara advertisements.
 
What is the net result? Everyone loses based on one whiney member who somehow construed an article titled "15 Great Tips to Market Your Book" as Spam. I soon realized the great "Spam Avoidance" complaint was the reason I was avoiding sending out information to my audience. The label of "spammer" was causing me such anxiety that I wasn't marketing and providing the kind of rich and important information to help business leaders and authors succeed.
 
And here we are ... do you avoid doing things for your business, book or life because you're trying to avoid something? What one whiney member of a group I founded and have ran for years shouldn't be able to push my buttons (or for that matter Meetup's buttons) to stop a valuable service. Meetup's general policy shouldn't be based on "whining winning over value". People are going to complain. Some people are generally unhappy campers so no amount of "love" can clear up a case of bad attitude.
 
It matters that you care. You should care, it's your life and business, right? It's when caring goes over the line and turns into general anxiety that prevents you from living your best life. Believe me. I'm no expert. What I have learned without a doubt these last few years is to set my own course and go for it. Caring too much about being the "ultimate Spammer" vs. serving my audience and fulfilling my own vision is a sad comment on personal neurosis.
 
I'm 50-years old. My mantra needs to shift from caring too much about negative reactions and promoting and reinforcing positive outcomes. It's time to quit caring about something that isn't even based on sound reasoning. If I had sent out articles that were either offensive or blatant ads then I would see the point. But labeling valuable information designed to help others in a negative context deprives everyone based on one bad apple. Does that make sense? Is that a good way to run a business. One person doesn't like it so I quit?
 
When you put it that way, it seems ridiculous, doesn't it? Meetup, your so-called "spam" policy is ridiculous! And with that in mind, here is today's lesson learned:
 
Always do what you know in your heart is the right thing. The right thing can never be the wrong thing.
 
Now Friend-Os go take on the last half of the week. And I hope First Word is that one newsletter you look forward to reading - at least that is my goal!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Harris Estate by Stacey Cotter Coming Soon

Pre-Sale link to be posted.
A family mystery unfolds deep in the heart of Texas as a grisly discovery is made in the farmhouse she has inherited. As the truth unravels so does the woman’s sense of identity and self.

Leah Murphy arrives in the small town of Oakdale, Texas with the intention of selling the Harris Estate, a property left to
her by her Uncle Kent Harris. She soon learns about hidden family secrets buried in the dark reaches of the decaying
old farmhouse. The discovery on the property sparks an investigation with local authorities, which opens up Pandora’s box. Leah’s entire identity falls apart as her family becomes a jigsaw puzzle of new pieces rearranged and fit back together. During these trials and tribulations, her marriage is tested, her desires are amplified, and she has decisions to make that will affect everyone she loves.

Harris Estate is a cryptic and intriguing story of betrayal,
buried secrets, and a woman’s life come undone.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Americans Aren't that Complicated - We all Got to Eat!


Are you afraid of failure? Most people fear falling down and having to get back up – again. Did you know that most successful people realize that failure is only a PART of the process of finding success. Successful people keep the right mindset about failure and don’t allow it to keep them down. If you think about it: success and the road toward it is paved really in trial and error. As you try new things you may do it right the first time, but most likely it could take two or three or four or five or even six times to get it right.

As a business owner I’ve learned my greatest lessons through failure. As I’ve failed or made mistakes, I remember them. As you know the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a new outcome. So, you have to think about your mistakes like a newly invested formula. As you make a mistake, remember it, but don’t repeat it. Take a different approach and do it differently. Your new approach works, great. It fails, start over again. The key is:

Don’t allow failure to become your quitting time. Failure should be your OPPORTUNITY to reboot and try again.

Here is something interesting that my life partner Chris said. He was doing security in San Francisco for The Beauty Bar, a nightclub. He watched this hotdog seller out with his cart in the street. The guy had lines of eager eaters standing in line to buy his hotdogs. Chris talked to the vendor cart dealer and found out the guy made upward of $5,000 a night – yes, a night! Selling what? Hotdogs!

Chris then said it simply, “Americans aren’t that complicated. We make it much more complicated than it has to be. Imagine success through a hotdog cart selling one product and sodas. His point is that sometimes success can be found in pure simplicity. We don’t need to over think it to death. Follow the basic formula and the end results might surprise you.

So think about it. Think about ways to pare it down to the basics. Basic human behavior. Basic stories we all can relate to and talk about. Universal themes exist in the human experience. The easiest way I can say this: “We all got to eat!”

Now Friend-Os go eat, drink and be merry! Need a public relations, marketing specialist or publisher? That’s me! Call me at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Friday, July 22, 2016

How to Write a Best-Selling Novel

Since Romance Novels are selling, check out my romance books, California Girl Chronicles by Michelle Gamble-Risley available on Amazon as eBook and print.

I just read that came out of HARO/Vocus, which is a public relations database tool. Want to know the "anatomy of a best seller"? Guess what they said recent publishing studies revealed?
 
Romance is the no. #1 genre. I guess romance is back and hot again. For a while romance was dwindling. Usually when times are tough, romance novels become escapist entertainment. Maybe something is in the air right now that have readers turning more toward romantic adventures. Perhaps recent terror attacks and the like have made general readers not want to explore too much reality.
 
The most successful novels are 375 pages. Funny they revealed this number because just yesterday my mom, who is a voracious reader, told me she prefers books at least 350 pages. She said it made her feel like she got her money's worth. Hmm... I guess her opinion is reflected by mainstream readers' feelings too.
 
Female lawyers or detectives are the most popular protagonists. Okay, so I realize girl power has been in for a while. I know my preteen daughter has a tremendous attraction to powerful girl characters. So, it seems the majority of readers (BTW, most readers are women) want to see the women in the power roles. Good to know.
 
The median author advance (when doing traditional publishing) is $10,000. Well, that ought to put to rest the arrogant young woman who attended my writers' group and insisted that $100,000 advances were being given out like business cards. What is true and more common is no advance at all unless you have a strong business case and following to back up your success. I frequently remind authors to always remember one thing:

Publishing is a business, and as a business the bottom line is to make money.
 
There you go - the anatomy of today's best-seller.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

5 More Tips to Market Your Book

Creating a best-selling book is contingent upon three things:

Great promotion + great story + market interest at the time + plain old luck

Every author that comes for a consult with my company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) generally hopes for a successful book. No one comes to me and says they want to fail. When I counsel people I always tell them that their mindset determines failure. If the one outcome is a national best seller and the dream of joining that 1% of elite authors who dominant the market then that's loftier than I can promise. Of course, as an author who doesn't aspire to be in that 1% dream slice of the pie? For the sake of not setting up false expectations, I always tell them that if the idea is for the very fact that they authored a book to create new opportunities then with all assurance I feel confident the book will absolutely reach that goal.

In the meantime, authors can either hire a publicist to help them promote their books (and you can contact me at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com) or do the following promotional tactics on their own.

1. If you have an author website you can for one day (or frankly as many days as you prefer) run a special and offer a FREE download. This effort will help get as many copies out in the public eye as possible. You want to create awareness about your book. So the more readers who become your fans, the more your fans will talk about your book. Then you close down the free downloads and direct them to purchase your book off Amazon or your website. Although generally speaking most people feel more comfortable purchasing books off Amazon.

2. Giveaways to book reviewer sites. Many book reviewers like to do giveaways. Even if they don't review your book, they will be willing to run a giveaway contest. Again, the idea is to build your following. When you have a first book, this tactic lays the foundation for more sales on your second book. For a series you will find this especially useful.

3. Set up pre-sales on Amazon and/or your author website. You can actually have an Amazon top seller based strictly on the pre-sales of the book. This effort generates buzz before the book even releases.

4. Give copies to your local book club and ask them to post reviews on Amazon. Now if you don't want to give the book club copies, you can offer them copies at deeply discounted rates. Book club members will spread the word about your book, too. More buzz is good. You want to get people talking about your book.

5. Celebrity endorsements, and if you can get a celebrity endorsement to put on the back cover even better. They have these shows in LA where you can buy a table and give your books away to celebrities in exchange for them holding it up and taking a picture. People tend to believe celebrities (just the nature of the game).

Monday, July 18, 2016

15 Ways to Promote Your Book


What are the easiest ways authors can promote books on their own? Now many of you may read these 15 things and feel daunted. Just know that 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) offers marketing and public relations services, too. We can help you and guide you through this process.
  1. Social Media (it's free)-Facebook, Twitter are great starts. The jury is out on SnapChat and Instagram.
  2. Goodreads (social media for readers and authors to connect)
  3. Blog (blogger.com)-blogging services are free, too, but you have to provide your own content
  4. Book launches-it's a party so why not celebrate your accomplishment and sell books
  5. Book signings via your regional independent bookstores. Leave some books on consignment if they're open to it or maybe they will purchase the books on their own.
  6. Newsletters like this one focused on promoting your book reviews and signings and sharing excerpts and experiences with your book.
  7. Regional nonprofit book festivals (not all book festivals charge $2,000 for a booth). Smaller, regional book festivals sometimes charge up to $50-200 for a table.
  8. Book trailer video posted on YouTube and then promote in your newsletter, blog, social media and talks.
  9. Use a publicist to promote the book to reviewers and general media to gain exposure.
  10. Literary Awards-even if you don't win you might become a finalist. The cache is being a winner though and putting that "win" sticker on your book cover. Entry fees are involved, and the big ones are: Indie Book Awards, Writer's Digest, Indie Excellence Awards.
  11. Amazon reviews-I will give away a certain number of copies with the request that the person post an Amazon review if they like it. This approach helps to create buzz, too.
  12. Author Page on Amazon-you can create an Author Page on Amazon that will be linked to your book page. The system will send me a notice and I just have to give you permission.
  13. Speaking engagements to regional author's groups-you can offer to speak to literary groups. Use your media kit and speaker's sheet to promote your talks.
  14. Readings at your local library-offer to do a reading at your local library and donate some books just to get interest.
  15. Author website-post all of your reviews, appearances and anything else related to the book along with a sample chapter, media kit and general information for people to get a hold of you.
There you go Friend-Os! I just gave you 15 great tips to promote your books. If that list makes you want to pull out your hair and go screaming for the door, call us instead and let's discuss our marketing and PR services. Call 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Let's Get "Ducky" with It!


My company 3L Publishing releases a weekly newsletter designed to provide information, intelligence and insight to both entrepreneurs and authors. Below is a sample of the current issue. It's cheeky, fun and insightful. To be added to the mailing list, send your email address to info@3LPublishing.com.

Hello First Word Friend-Os. I bet you’re thinking, “What is she doing now?” As I’ve mentioned these last few months, I keep playing with my newsletter release day. My open rates dropped so I’m trying to spark some new readership by not doing the same old, same old. So, here I am on a Thursday just typing away and releasing it today to see what happens. The market is a fickle place. You know sometimes Friend-Os are busy. Sometimes Friend-Os just think this Friend-O maybe isn’t relevant anymore. Who me? Not relevant? Ah, no … I’m always trying to stay abreast of what’s going on in the real world vs. the bubble I’ll call my office.

Speaking of keeping up with the latest thing or things, I had a conversation recently with a prospective author. We were discussing publishing his book. I made him laugh. I said, “When it comes to publishing a book I’ve got plenty of swag, but when it comes to predicting the market reaction, I have no clue. Remember, this is a nation that gets excited about really surprising things.” He laughed about the “swag” part. But let’s get to the real point.

I’ll share it with you through an example. In a profile I received from Dr. Lance Casazza’s forthcoming book Habits and Attitudes, this guy got rich off selling “Celebrity Ducks”. Yes, rubber ducks sculpted to look like celebrities. Say what? Quack! Yeah, I’m trying to make my fortune publishing books, and this guy creates rubber duckies and gets rich. Hmm … you know that’s so American! And that’s why it’s tough to predict how this market will react to new products.

As entrepreneurs and authors we put our hopes and dreams into our endeavors. When it comes to books, I try to emphasize that regardless of market reaction something in your life will change in a positive way by writing and releasing your book. I can’t promise that you’ll have the next best seller. I can only promise that I’m absolutely positive that somehow your life will open up in whole new directions and experiences – and most importantly, lessons learned. I’ve never spoken to a single author whose experience publishing their first book didn’t somehow create new opportunities and open new doors.

I know that my first book Second Bloom (see event in sidebar) definitely opened a whole new door and actually became the basis for MGR Consulting turning into 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com). Yes, Second Bloom only sold around 1,000 copies, but it did so much more for me as a businesswoman. When it won so many awards, and we did the press tour for it, other authors saw that I had the “right stuff” and wanted me to publish their books – and voile! 3L Publishing was born. But here’s the lesson learned:

When an opportunity presents itself you have to know when to say YES and seize the day!

My point, had I felt overwhelmed by the idea of publishing other people’s books, I could have let me entire opportunity slip away. We hit crossroads in our careers and personal life journeys. We have to know when to say yes and when to say no. Since my goal was always to work in publishing, then I recognized at that particular fork in the road I had a chance to pursue my dream. The door opened. I could have been scared and not walked through it. After all at the time I had no idea about physical book distribution. Believe me, $20,000 total in losses in the coming years learning physical distribution the hard way was a tough and expensive pill to eat and try to swallow. But here is the next lesson:

Don’t EVER let FEAR be your guide!

Fear is not your invisible friend, but it’s your freaky foe! The voice of doom and gloom in your head. It’s the voice that says, “It will never happen. You can’t do it.” Ask anyone who has enjoyed great success if they’ve experienced the anxiety of the fear monster. I’m going to wager that at least 99.9% experienced some level of fear. Fear isn’t real. It’s something we make up that keeps us from doing the things we want to do. Learn to master your fear and harness the power of it to do what needs to be done. I liken my fear monster to something I just keep ahead of and away from. When I imagine all of the things I wouldn’t have done because I was afraid then my life wouldn’t be extraordinary – it would be marginally ordinary.

Lastly, what people think about you or your dreams or your ideas doesn’t matter. I’ve seen naysayers and haters over the years. I’ve been backhanded insulted right to my face. I remember this one woman with a snarky smile on her face said, “Yeah, I’m being published you know … by a real publisher.” She said that to me as easily as she could breathe. In retrospect I realize people who say nasty digs are “jelly” and “haters”. Now I would much rather have fans (wouldn’t we all), but ultimately these people at least had a feeling about me. My life partner who is also a therapist said, “If you have haters you’ll know you’re relevant.” I like to think of it as at least they’re catching an actual feeling about what I’m doing vs. thinking I’m boring and irrelevant.

So, Friend-Os just know this when you work with me. Yes, I have a lot of swag. I can masterfully publish your book or create your public relations and marketing campaigns. I can PROMISE you’ll be pleased with your end results. Remember though, the market made a guy rich of rubber ducks that look like J Lo. So who the heck knows what’s going to happen, but at least you made it happen. Period.

And I can help you. Want to discuss how? Call me at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com. Until then, “do the dream.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Presenting at Happy Hour with Dr. Lance Casazza


I will be giving a presentation to the Happy Hour with Dr. Lance Casazza on July 22nd from 7pm to 9pm on the following subject: I will give a presentation based on my award-winning book Second Bloom, 10 Steps to Reinvent Your Life. The discussion will review the 10 step planning process featured in the book. This planning process is based on the method used to do annual strategic plans. My inspirational presentation will teach participants that any kind of change, big or small, can be accomplished. Second Bloom was the winner of the Indie Excellence Awards in the self-help category and runner-up in the Indie Book Awards, Writer's Digest Indie Awards and Franklin Awards.

Location to be determined. Please contact info@3LPublishing.com for details.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Business Policymaking 101

I've been discouraged by a few business issues. It always seems that if you're not clear and blunt about your business policies then people will walk aimlessly all over them. Whenever I put my proverbial foot down and say: This is how it is ... period. I'm always nicely surprised by the overall reaction. I've found it's almost like putting up the "Rules" and once people know what are those rules they fall in line.

Lesson Learned: put strict, clear policies in place, communicate them to those impacted.

My case study in point has to do with a "pass-through" service 3L Publishing provides. A "pass-through" service means we are the middle business involved. We work with a vendor to provide that service, but it's not a service 3L makes money off. It's a service that is part of providing service to our clients. Recently a mistake got made and 3L had to absorb the cost of the mistake. Now the problem with it is that 3L doesn't make money off the service. So when asked to absorb the mistake we had to essentially fund the project that had no connection to us actually making money. 

This mistake, which mistakes are fine as long as you learn from them, made me step back to evaluate our liability in providing this service. As a result, I realized I need a new policy in place regarding the liability. 

So my next step is to write the new policy, implement it, and communicate it. 

Because this policy wasn't in place, there were no guidelines to follow. I had no recourse to apply any accountability. Normally when business is going great this kind of mistake can absorbed, but when business isn't going great this kind of error can actually become a true setback. 

Strict, clear and consistent guidelines (The Rules) will hold the line. You then have something to reference and hold both sides accountable. I don't want to carry liabilities when I'm not making money off a service -- that is bad business formula.