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Smoke and Mirrors?

I vividly remember sitting in the back seat of my grandmother’s baby-blue Studebaker as she made a U-turn in the middle of a highway to avoid the smoke and find another safe, clear path to our destination.

Growing up in Oklahoma, it was a common sight to see signs like the one above on highways, “DO NOT DRIVE THRU SMOKE.” Add fire to rambling tumbleweed, blurred by the billowing smoke of a prairie fire . . . and driving through smoke could be quite dangerous.

Fast-forward a few decades, and much like the Wild, Wild West of my childhood, today’s world of self-publishing can be just as dangerous and smoke-filled as those prairie grass fires. It can very much be a buyer-beware, smoke-filled highway.

Just about anyone, who has ever self-published a book, now calls themselves a “publisher”. So, would you rather work with someone who has published ONE book . . . or a team who has published HUNDREDS?

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Experienced Professional

The company . . .

  • provides multi-faceted expertise in publishing, branding, target-audience identification, design, messaging, pricing and distribution
  • employs veteran marketing professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable in book writing, book design, branding, publishing, and the marketing of small-business services
  • aligns itself with expert resources for social media, websites, public relations, digital marketing, Amazon Bestseller Campaigns, etc.
  • offers bundled packages and programs for maximizing an author’s investment

The project management team . . .

  • exhibits a depth of knowledge of the publishing process and top industry standards; answers those questions you are not even aware to be asking
  • creates client relationships built upon the mentor/student model of trust, patience and willingness to share expertise
  • freely shares process details, establishes goals, and manages time-lines to meet your deadlines

Your completed book will . . .

  • rival those produced by the top 5 traditional publishers
  • reflect professional best-practice industry recommendations
  • be customized to meet your specific author platform, to better position yourself in your market

So, how do you protect yourself from getting “burned”?

Hire us.

Honoring Our Personal Empowerment

During a conversation with one of our clients last week, she mentioned how affected she has been this year by all of the gray-sky days, stating, “I need to get motivated . . . I can just feel the HOPE draining right out of me!”

I know what it’s like to be pulled down by the lack of sunshine, and her statement stayed with me. After a week of pondering, it occurred to me  . . . “H.O.P.E.” is the acronym for . . .

Honoring Our Personal Empowerment”

  • When looked at from a place of empowerment, H.O.P.E. becomes a call-to-action. Without H.O.P.E., we have no motivation.
  • H.O.P.E. allows us to take the next best step . . . as in, “I won’t take this sitting down!” (or laying down, perhaps even in a fetal position!).
  • H.O.P.E. clears a path for making things happen . . . giving us momentum when it would be easier to just stay in bed ‘til noon.

During this same week, coincidentally, I also had a conversation with one of our referral partners about confidence. A couple of her clients were involved as contributing authors to one of our anthologies, and she was sharing the impact of their participation in our Anthology  Program . . .

“I watched her transform from being the introverted, shy little caterpillar . . .
gain the confidence to share her story, spread her wings,
and fly like the beautiful butterfly she is!”

You see, our Anthology Programs are so much more than simply writing a chapter in a collaborative book of essays on a similar topic. As a contributing author, you reap the rewards of . . .

  • H.O.P.E. — Honoring Our Personal Empowerment
  • Placing the proverbial “stake in the ground” for your business. Who are you? What do you stand for? Who do you help?
  • Finding your voice, sharing your story, and monetizing your business.
  • Gaining clarity of purpose, vision, and mission.
  • Brainstorming with our Creative Writing Coach on the outline for your chapter . . . it’s a great exercise to reinforce your WHY.

With Spring right around the corner,
I challenge you to step out of the grey skies,
and step up into the bright light of H.O.P.E.!

If you’d like to learn more about our budget-friendly Anthology Program, CLICK HERE.
2018 pricing good through March 17th!

If you’d like to schedule a phone call with Cathy to get your questions answered, CLICK HERE.

 

Concierge Publishing Services

Some believe the word ‘concierge’ evolves from the French ‘comte des cierges’, which means ‘the keeper of the candles’, which was essentially the main duty of a concierge during the Middle Ages.

Need to shed some light on the path to the stables?
Summon your concierge for those back-up candles!

Fast-forward about 500-plus years, and today’s, ‘concierge’ has evolved into a business model for just about any service you can imagine: from hotels, travel, and banking to healthcare, personal assistance, and . . . yes, even publishing.

Rachel was a successful business owner, mother of twin teens, and volunteered as a board member for a non-profit in her community. Her calendar was already filled with plenty of TO-DOs, having no time available to finish writing the book she desperately wanted to complete. As an expert in family dynamics, she knew having a book in her proverbial toolbox would add credibility and help open doors for additional engagements as a speaker and trainer.

Rachel was referred to us by another of our author-clients and hired us to help her finish her book . . .

  • We paired her with one of our professional writing coaches who helped Rachel organize her thoughts, create an outline for her book, and as her accountability partner, delegated easy-to-handle homework assignments in small ‘bites’.
  • We maximized the return on Rachel’s time- and financial-investment by setting up all her vendor accounts for her while overseeing the editing, design, printing, publishing, and marketing . . . enabling her to keep 100% of her royalty, copyright, and profits.
  • We minimized her stress by handling the details, allowing her to relax, reassuring she was in highly-experienced hands . . . helping her publish her book in less than 7 months!

Working with a team of publishing professionals expedited the fruition of Rachel’s book. Having a high-quality published book in-hand allowed Rachel to book more paid speaking engagements, sell more books at the back of the room, and quickly recoup her publishing investment.

Need to shed some light on the best Publishing Path for YOU? 
Ask about our Concierge Publishing Services and
 how we can help you finish your book!

No matter where you are along the publishing path . . . from concept to completed book-in-hand . . .  our concierge publishing services help you find your way.

Click HERE to schedule time on Cathy’s calendar to discuss your book! 

Let us help you find your voice, write your story and monetize your passion!

 

Shred, Thread, and Breadcrumbs!

As a life-long Midwesterner, one would think I’d be used to the never-ending cold, grey, winter days. NOPE. This winter has been one for the record-books, as even the local weather announcers are lamenting the record-number of grey days since January 1 . . . reporting there have been less than 5 days of partial sun in the last 50 days.

No wonder we’re all walking around in a foggy funk . . . like zombies . . . just going through the motions!

What to do . . . what to do . . . ?

When I finally recognize I’m stuck in the fog (literally and metaphorically) and not moving in a positive direction, I rely upon a tried-and-true path for pulling myself up and getting myself back into a proactive mode . . .

SHRED, THREAD, AND BREADCRUMBS!

SHRED . . .

Decluttering, sorting and organizing have been getting a lot of attention lately, with promises of “clearing out the old energy to make room for the ‘new and improved’ positive energy.” I KNOW it works . . . when I make the effort to DO IT. My old-habit pattern is to focus on the client work-at-hand, letting the stacks on my desk get higher until I reach a point of not being able to find the ONE thing I desperately need NOW.

LESSON LEARNED (again), “Shred and shed what no longer serves me.”

TODAY is the day to clear off my desk and get the “stuff” off the floor so I can look forward to walking into my office every morning!

THREAD . . .

I re-learned THIS lesson over the past weekend from our dog, Chewy. One of his favorite stuffed toys is a large green frog which “ribbits” when you shake it (he LOVES toys with sounds). I had placed the frog up on a shelf, as it needed repairs from when he chewed off one of the legs. Chewy spotted the 3-legged frog and proceeded to bark incessantly as his way of asking to play with HIS frog.

Silly me . . . I grabbed the needle and thread I keep at-the-ready for toy repairs and quickly stitched the frog leg back on before tossing back to Chewy. A few minutes later, I noticed the just-stitched leg laying all by itself on the floor. Yep, apparently Chewy prefers his frog with only three legs. He was even careful enough when he chewed it off again to leave the new stitching intact so the stuffing didn’t fall out. How NICE of him!

LESSON LEARNED (again), “The threads that bind us together don’t have to be perfect; perfection is in the eye of the beholder.”

Chewy is perfectly happy with his 3-legged frog. Who am I to try and convince him otherwise? It doesn’t have to be perfect to be loved. That extra leg has now been “shed” into the trash bin.

BREADCRUMBS . . .

Even though the breadcrumb trail failed Hansel and Gretel, we still use the term breadcrumb trail to denote connected bits of information that may be followed back to the source. The “source” in this case is my WHY. My WHY is to serve our clients by helping them Find Their Brand Voice, Share Their Expertise, and Monetize Their Passion. When I’m caught in the fog of winter and not sure which path to take . . . I’ll ALWAYS be led back into the light of clarity and my WHY when I remember to follow the breadcrumbs . . .

  • Return that phone call
  • Answer that email
  • Take care of ‘loose ends’
  • Take a chance and connect with new people

LESSON LEARNED (again), “watch for the breadcrumbs  . . . AND pick them up.”

I’ve also learned that even if I can’t see the breadcrumbs, just keep walking . . . they WILL show up . . . as long as I keep in motion, with my eyes open wide.

SHRED, THREAD, AND BREADCRUMBS!

What to do . . . what to do . . . ?

Are you in a foggy winter-funk with your overall brand or with the writing of your book? Then it’s time to activate the SHRED, THREAD, and BREADCRUMBS process!

Click HERE to schedule time on Cathy’s calendar to discuss your brand and/or your book . . . and breadcrumbs!

The Author-preneur Advantage

You are not just writing a book, you are growing your business!

. . .  and YES, you get to hear me say it again . . .

“It’s not about how well your book sells . . .
It’s ALL about how well your book sells YOU!”

The potential reader who picks up your book will always want to know “what’s in it for me?”  

Our goal, as Author Consultants and Book Designers, is to keep potential readers interested and wanting more so they ultimately buy your book! We want them to be “pulled in” by your cover, intrigued by the title, and motivated to read more based upon the relief they find in the sub-title.

Studies show when potential readers reach for your book, they notice aspects of the book in a particular order.

In our mind, the ultimate goal is to get a potential reader to pick up your book and buy it.
If the potential reader identifies with the front cover, it is highly likely the reader will continue to the back cover copy to learn more. If the overall cover copy and images have addressed their need for relief, the potential reader will then scan the table of contents, then look for your author credentials (via the endorsement page and author bio).

  1. Front Cover
    • title
    • picture/image
    • sub-title (offers relief)
  2. Back Cover
    • headline
    • subheads
    • photo captions
    • bullets
    • call-to-action
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Credibility (endorsements and author bio)

As an Author-preneur, you not only want to sell your book, you also want to engage your audience to begin a relationship with you and your business. Your book is one entry-point into creating a long-term relationship with your potential client. Working with a team who understands the idiosyncrasies of book design gives you the Author-preneur Advantage.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level through the power of publishing, give us call, 888-598-0886, or email Cathy HERE.

There’s SO MUCH MORE to publishing your book than uploading it to Amazon.

Join the hundreds of other authors who have relied upon us to help them find their voice, write their book, and monetize their passion.

Tax-Exempt Status for Authors

Q: How can I avoid paying sales tax twice, when I am purchasing books I’m going to resell?  

Our authors are scattered throughout the US, and at least a half-dozen foreign countries. The greater majority are self-employed and are using their book as a marketing tool to build their brand and grow their business. Many are speakers and sell their book from their website as well as at the back of the room when they are speaking.

If you are an independent, self-published author, and are selling your own books . . . make sure you are not paying sales tax when you buy your own books at cost.

The best way to avoid this is to fill out the Tax Exemption forms on both Amazon/KDP and IngramSpark. Even if you filled out the Tax Exemption form previously on CreateSpace, you will want to check your new KDP account to make sure the information followed you to KDP when your account was transferred last Fall.

  • Click HERE for the Amazon/KDP Tax Exemption Form
  • Follow these instructions for the IngramSpark Tax Exemption Form
    • Log-in to your author account dashboard
    • On the left-hand side of your screen is a row of items to select; click on “Tax Information”
    • On the next screen, click the option, “Claim US Tax Exemptions”
    • Read the next screen, and answer the question, “Do you wish to claim an exemption from US State and Local Sales Tax? Click the “Yes” radial button.
    • Click the “Continue” button and follow the instructions to complete the process.

In addition, if you have arranged for the printing of your book through a local traditional printer, remember to also ask them for a Sales Tax Exemption Form. They will have one on file for you to fill out and sign.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all . . .

Top 100+ Book Marketing Ideas for 2019

As Professional Author Consultants and book designers, we’ve helped a long list of people — business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, doctors, therapists, helpers and healers — publish hundreds of books over the past 15 years. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and although the industry sometimes feels like it changes daily, we’ve captured what we consider to be top 100+ of the most important ideas for optimizing your book marketing impact in 2019. Remember . . .

 “It’s not how well your book sells . . .
It’s all about how well your book sells you!”©

Promoting and marketing your book is a full-time job, and if you are serious about growing your business, your non-fiction book is a key marketing tool in promoting that growth. Do not be intimidated by the depth of the ideas contained in this document. You do not need to do EVERYTHING listed here in order to have a successful publishing and marketing experience with your book.

For ease in organization and discussion, our “Top 100+ Book Marketing Ideas” list is divided into three phases:

PRE-LAUNCH: Ideas to add to your TO-DO list BEFORE your book launch.
LAUNCH: Ideas to add to your TO-DO list DURING your book launch.
POST-LAUNCH: Ideas to add to your TO-DO list AFTER your book launch.

Many of the ideas mentioned in each phase are interchangeable. Start small, step outside of your comfort zone — pick one (or two) and JUMP IN!

Click HERE to get your copy of Top 100+ Book Marketing Ideas!

If you’re telling a story, make sure it’s a SUPER one.

Research indicates that building one’s brand (personal or business) is NOT about telling everyone WHAT we do or how great we are . . . but rather about telling a story which paints a picture of WHY we do what we do. Kind of like seeing ourselves as entrepreneurial SUPER-heroes . . .

According to PIXAR , there are 22 rules for storytelling, based upon the simple formula of the “The Story Spine” created by professional playwright and improvisor Kenn Adams.

 

Be willing to build a SUPER Brand.

Sharing stories about how your work contributes to helping people or contributes to a broader movement creates connections and embeds you and your brand in the mind of those you meet. It’s how you build your SUPER Brand.

FOR EXAMPLE: Let’s say you are a bricklayer. Someone asks you what you do. You have three possible answers to this question:

  1. I lay bricks in a row.
  2. I stack bricks with mortar to build walls.
  3. I’m building a school so our children learn to love learning. (HINT: this one makes you a SUPERHERO!)

Who wants to hear more about STORY #3?! . . . this option will spark interest and lead to more conversation!

Share Your SUPER Story.

Sharing a SUPER story builds stronger relationships. When you have strong relationships with people (family, friends, clients, prospects, etc.), they are more likely to share their G.I.F.T.S.:

  • Give you the benefit of the doubt
  • Introduce you to their friends
  • Forgive you for your faults
  • Trust and value you and what you offer
  • Send referrals your way

When we connect our functional duties with a larger vision, we work with a greater sense of purpose and energy, and attract more interest . . . and more new business.

Stories build the foundation of our lives . . .

  • If you are the best man at your brother’s wedding, you better have a story or two in your pocket to share during the toast.
  • If you are giving a keynote at the local Chamber luncheon, you’ll want a local community success story to share.
  • If you are writing a non-fiction book to highlight your expertise, you’ll want to use the power of storytelling to make your points and offer a real-life connection for the reader.
  • If you are writing a children’s book or novel, the entire book IS the story.
  • If you are providing copy for your website or e-news, prove your point by adding in a SUPER story.

SHARE IT AND THEY WILL RESPOND.

So the next time you find yourself in a conversation, and you’re asked, “What do you do?” . . . avoid the redundant WHAT and share your story around the WHO and the WHY . . . emphasizing the SUPER RELIEF you offer.

Stories create relationships and relationships help brands thrive.

If you are ready to tell your story, make an impact, and transform lives, we can help.

Send me an email and let’s schedule a time to talk about branding and publishing.

(. . . and remember to pick up your SUPER SUIT from the dry cleaners!)

 

Hearts, Darts, and Thunderbolts.

I’ve been working with a client, Claire, who is positively in LOVE with what she does and absolutely KNOWS her topic.

. . . and THAT’S when the magic happens!

You see, we don’t work with just any body.

We work with people who are ready to
make a positive difference in this world.

 

Hearts, Darts, and Thunderbolts make the magic happen.

HEARTS. Our clients see the craziness we are living in right now and make it their personal mission to take a stand, lend a hand, and make a difference. They do not define nor segregate themselves by race, religion or nationality. They are global thinkers, feelers, healers, and helpers. Much like Claire, their passion is to UNITE, not divide.

She engages with HEART.

 

DARTS. Claire hired us to guide her through our Maximum-Impact PASSION, PURPOSE, & PROFIT Brand Program because she is ready to use her gifts to create meaningful change in the world. She recognizes it is time to take her business to the next level in order to make that happen. After helping her identify her purpose and clarify her target audience, she is ready to take aim and help more people using her unique set of talents and gifts.

She focuses and becomes the DART.

 

THUNDERBOLTS. The thunderbolts are the “aha moments” generated by our process. A thunderbolt moment usually comes with goosebumps and/or a quick breath of recognition that you are on the right path! Walking our clients through our PASSIONATE BRAND INTERVIEW is always an exciting time for each of us. Our interaction takes us down the path of discovery, releases “chaos, clutter, and confusion” and replaces it with “clarity, confidence, and connection.” As the thunderbolt “AHA” moments increase in frequency—much like the after-effects of a rainstorm—Claire becomes ever-more excited as the “old” washes away.

She welcomes the enlightenment which comes with a THUNDERBOLT.

 

Are you ready for Hearts, Darts & Thunderbolts?!

If you are like Claire and are ready to monetize your passion . . .
let’s schedule a time to talk.

I’d LOVE to show you how to take your helping, healing,
and transformational business to the next level.

Planting Seeds

As I watched the movie, The Lorax, this past weekend for the very first time, I fell in love with its message about planting seeds! January typically has us thinking about RE-solutions — a time for planting “thought seeds” to help us work better, feel better, and function better.

“When you plant a seed, it’s not about what it IS . . .
it’s about what it will BECOME!” — The
Lorax (via Dr. Seuss)

To help us plant our seeds for growth, many start their new year by reaching out to a personal or business coach for help. If you are thinking about writing a book, you would contact an Author Consultant, a Book Coach, a Publishing Mentor, a Book Shepherd or someone with a similar title.

Recently, it seems like just about everyone who has self-published a book claims to be an expert at teaching you how to write a book. In the wild-wild-world of self-publishing, there are a lot of people out there who are willing to share what they know, based upon their own experiences. But, there’s a HUGE difference between hiring an Author Consultant/Book Coach and hiring someone who has recently self-published one or two books.

You may be able to get some great advice from these novices, but they are only able to give you advice based on their own limited experience.

Sadly, I meet a lot of authors who say things like, “My neighbor just published her first book and she said ________________ ” (fill in the blank).

I can literally feel my heart sink as they begin to tell me the UN-professional advice they followed, thinking it would help them save money or time. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice . . . following this person’s advice has cost them money and time, with little or nothing to show.

An EXPERIENCED Author Consultant, on the other hand, will help you . . .

  • Minimize your investment
  • Maximize your return on royalties
  • Retain 100% of your profits
  • Secure ownership of your copyright
  • Access global distribution
  • Avoid self-publishing pitfalls

Ready to chat with THAT kind of book coach?

Give me a call. I’m an experienced branding expert and after many years in corporate marketing, I’ve spent the past 15 years growing our own business. I’m known for my combination of brand strategy, business-growth mindset, and my highly-intuitive radar for identifying your unique position for both your brand and your message (aka: your book).

Jack (my husband) joined me in 2008, and along with our team of hand-selected creatives, we have a solid track record of helping service professionals and solo-preneurs use the power of publishing to:

  • Establish Credibility
  • Attract More Clients
  • Monetize Your Passion

Let us help you plant the seed which will BECOME more than “just a book.”

Join the hundreds of other authors (well over 300) throughout the US and around the globe who call us first for our one-on-one hand-holding.

Ready to make the rest of 2019 amazing?

Click here to schedule a time to talk with me!

I can’t wait to help you save time and money . . . and reduce your overall level of stress!