Tag Archives: self-publishing

Author Spirit Corley: Offers Children Self-Discovery and Self-Love

Spirit Corley’s, first self-published multi-ethnic children’s easy reader picture book, Jewels and the Treasure ME Discovery takes kids on an adventure of self-discovery and self-love through joy, empowerment, wonder, esteem, and shine ignited by vivid storytelling and imagery.

Spirit poses by day as Youth Workforce Investment Act state auditor, yet she is also an artist and advocate for children, with over 13 years case managing youth with barriers, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  It is Spirit’s true passion and purpose to work to empower all children; especially those who may be disenfranchised at no fault of their own; she stands for them.

Spirit’s endeavors are simply beginning with her new book, Jewels and the Treasure ME Discovery to reach out and do her part in her community.  More books and tools of empowerment that mirror multi-ethnic children will continue to unfold, as well as the I AM ME Discovery project and “Read with Spirit” which will allow for more collaboration and joining hands in common unity in the community she serves.

For more information on Spirit and her books: www.spiritsjewelsbooks.com.  You can contact her at: spirit@spiritsjewels.com

Welcome Spirit,

Author Spirit Corley

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Spirit:  I wrote my first easy-reader children’s storybook two years ago, and then I decided to publish it a year later. It was my way of honoring my inner child, as well as to empower kids through positive imagery and messaging.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Spirit  To date, I’ve self-published one children’s book, Jewels and the Treasure ME Discovery, and currently working on the next children’s book. Easy-reader children’s book genre evoke such imagination, it is the genre  I’m most fond of because I reminds me of my son and I reading together at night and the joy it brought us both. Such wonderful memories!

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Spirit:  I’m currently marketing my book through social media. I keep my messaging personal by writing short messages etc. on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Spirit:  I wish I would have had Jill’s blog during the self-publishing process, but most of what I discovered was through just research, and sometimes trial and error. www.selfpublishing.com, and ww.write4kids.com I found to be resourceful as well for new authors like myself.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Spirit:  My greatest challenges are time, being just one person, and resources. What I’ve learned is to remember why I’ve chosen to write in the first place, for the joy of making a difference, however small.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Spirit:  Don’t make the assumption that after publishing your first book, the ROI (Return of Investment) is automatic. Secondly, don’t take things personally because once the book is written and published, you gotta get down to the business of marketing it. Moreover, be fearless in your approach to reach out for others support, and “think outside of the box,” for better results. Lastly, just do your best and keep believing in yourself and your work. I always aspire to be inspired, and making a difference in my community infuses that spark.

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

Some of my next blogs will be about getting your book into the library system and marketing your book through Amazon.  Click the follow button to be notified as soon as these are posted.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

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Kristi L. Stout: Writer, Author and Illustrator

Kristi L. Stout was born a Californian in 1980 and has moved around more times than she can count. After a three-year stay in the beautiful, Pacific Northwest she found herself back in sunny, southern California where she continues to write, create art and raise her daughter. A loving spiritualist and inquisitive adventurer, Kristi has been drawing and writing stories since she could hold a pencil. Graduating from college in 2005, majoring in Media Arts and Animation, Kristi’s professional career has involved everything from graphic design, to industrial design, fine arts and illustration.

Welcome Kristi to the table,

Kristi L Stout Image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Kristi:  I have a message that I want to share with the world and stories inside me that just have no other choice but to come out.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Kristi:  The Quest of Heart is my first officially published book. However I am a contributing author to an online European-based forum called www.RebelleSociety.com. Where I write articles about creative rebellion and conscious thinking.

Kristi L Stout Cover

Short Book Description:

Follow a girl as she searches for the other half of her heart. Along her journey she meets friends and almost loses her imagination along with all the color in her life. Her encounters remind us of the hope that can be found inside our hearts. 

Purchase:

The Quest of Heart is available for purchase through www.thequestofheart.com and Amazon.  eBook is available through Kindle and Google Play Books.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Kristi:  So far my Rebelle Society platform has been a wonderful tool to spread the word as they are a world-wide forum. My book sort of ties into self-help and spirituality so I am also approaching Unitarian Congregations in San Diego County via a close connection with one particular congregation in the Philippines.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Kristi:  There is a great authors blog through Infinity Publishing that has some excellent ideas for marketing yourself. I have taken lots of their tips and advice as well as just some creative ideas of my own with the fantastic help of my business manager. Thinking OUT-OF-THE-BOX in this case can be excellent and fun.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Kristi:  Just getting it out there. Getting it seen and marketing in general. When you are the creative mind behind the stories and illustrations, marketing proves to be a time-consuming challenge for the creative. But a necessary step in getting the message to the world, one I am charging head on like some kind of warrior.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Kristi:  Well, I am a new author and it’s been blood, sweat and tears to get to the point I am now and I’m still going strong still without any huge breaks. It is quite helpful in this case to have a strong faith when pushing your book because it is the driving force behind what you do. For instance, the thought: If I just keep going, something will break. The hope that something is just around the corner. Hang onto that with ferocity and I think something good will come. 

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

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Famed Author and Freelance Writer: Sibylla Nash

A New Jersey native, Sibylla has written hundreds of articles that have appeared in a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites including Vibe, Essence, The Chicago Tribune and on Launch.com.  She is the author of Baby Modeling & Beyond: From The Stroller To The Red Carpet – a how to guide for parents, a novel, DreamCity, and she co-authored The Fan Survival Guide: 50 Ways To Meet Your Favorite Celebrity.

As a freelance writer, she has written about subjects ranging from entertainment to parenting issues to topical matters.  As an entertainment writer, she has interviewed celebrities such as Academy Award winning actors Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Academy Award nominee Will Smith; comedians/actors Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx and Kim Coles; CEO/film director Chris Stokes; and actress Constance Marie. (…see more about the author below)

Take advantage of the current promotions on Sibylla’s books:  Bumped is $.99 and  Baby Modeling & Beyond: From the Stroller to the Red Carpet is $4.99.

Thank you for joining us, Sibylla,

Sibylla Nash image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Sibylla:  I started self-publishing back in the 90s. My first book was a guide book for independent filmmakers. I chose to self-publish that particular book because I had access to that market (and used direct mail to reach them) and the information I had was timely in terms of deadlines for contests and grants.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Sibylla:  To date I have published four titles, one was co-written under a pen name – DreamCity, Little Black Book of Filmmaking (out of print), Fan Survival Guide: 50 Ways to Meet Your Favorite Celebrity, and Bumped.

Sibylla Nash cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Sibylla:  I read somewhere that marketing your book is like a marathon and that is certainly the case! I haven’t found a magic bullet. It takes a consistent effort across all platforms, your blog, social media, other blogs, advertising. You can’t create a buzz through just one channel. I’ll tweet about my books daily because your tweet has such a short shelf life. I did the Amazon free promotion and it was ok but didn’t give me the great bump in sales I was hoping for but I heard that if you have a series, you are more likely to see an increase in sales with the free promotion than stand alone books.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Sibylla: I love reading Galley Cat on Mediabistro.com, PW Daily (Publisher’s Weekly), Where Writer’s Win (writerswin.com), doing giveaways on Goodreads has been great, there are also a bunch of promo sites (free and low cost) that promote ebooks to their lists (Galley Cat has a list of them).  Also, in terms of finding editors and graphic artists, I’ve had pretty good luck on sites like guru.com.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Sibylla:  Continuing to write! It’s so easy to get caught up in the marketing end of things and not continue to produce new work. I’m so far behind on my sequel to Bumped, it’s not even funny. Oh and the second hardest thing, self-promotion in the real world (vs. online). Some people are great at it, me? Not so much. If you self-publish though, it’s part and parcel of the game, you have to let people know about your book(s).

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Sibylla:  Keep writing, keep reading and keep learning. The marketing aspect is always evolving thanks to technology, you’ll want to stay on top of things as well as see what works for others. Most importantly though (after you’ve written that fabulous best-seller of course!) make sure you do research about the best vehicle for YOU in order to get your book out into the world. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, everything you need to know about being traditionally published or independently published, there’s a blog, conference, Yahoo or Facebook group about it somewhere. So do your due diligence before you put your work out there [steps down from soapbox]. 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in print journalism, Sibylla has also worked in the entertainment industry at film production companies as well as for major talent agencies.  She lends this experience to give authenticity to the pages of her debut novel DreamCity.

DreamCity entices readers to delve into the intimate musings of Adrianna Whittaker’s personal diary. It pulls you into the Hollywood drama of drugs, betrayal, relationship dilemmas and growing pains that Adrianna experiences as she comes of age.

“I’ve been keeping a journal most of my life,” says Sibylla. “So I guess it’s only natural that my first novel would be written in a diary format.” A big believer in journaling, she facilitates a workshop, “Journaling Your Way to Success.”

Sibylla balances her writing life with the varied demands of parenthood.  Many of her experiences as a single mother raising her daughter Kortney weaves its way into her work. She was recognized by the WB11 News as an Unsung Hero for her parenting newsletter, In The Corner.

Sibylla currently lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on several other fiction and non-fiction projects.  Sibylla and Kortney have appeared on TLC’s Ballroom Bootcamp and recently filmed a Rice Krispies commercial.

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Author Rick Brambrink: a Victorian Lover and Publisher

Rick Brambrink started his self-publishing career in 2010 and already has seven books with more on the way.  He has a passion for touring Victorian style homes and meeting with the owners.  Rick is currently the president of the James J. Hill Society and will be holding a presentation at the Princeton Depot on November 13.

Another event coming up is ‘The Titanic’s of the Great Lakes’.  It is about the two passenger ships that James J. Hill had on the great lakes. There will be one model ship on display along with all of the photos and blue prints of the ships.  James built two passenger ships that sailed only on the great lakes, North West and North Land. They were sister ships and they were the largest and fastest ships on the great lakes at the time they were built and many years later.  Please comment if interested in more info on event.

Let’s welcome Rick Brambrink,

Rick Brambrink image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Rick:  I decided to publish because I think that it is important to record history. The first book that we published was in architectural style. We wanted to record historic fences and gates of historic mansions. Then we went into coloring books but also kept that on the historic side. Recording history is very important no matter what form it is in.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Rick:  Grand Fences and Gates of the James J. Hill House, Summit Avenue Coloring Book, Cathedral of Saint Paul Coloring Book, Glensheen  the Historic Congdon Estate Coloring Book, Minnesota North Shore Coloring Book, Twin Cities Coloring Book and Summit Avenue Mansions. 

Rick Brambrink cover 2Rick Brambrink cover 4Rick Brambrink cover 5

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Rick:  We do books on locations that have a good customer base. We make sure that before we do a book that they are willing to sell it. I have a good relationship with all of my customers so that they are willing to keep selling them.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Rick: I know that having a good website is very useful. But I have did not research publishing books before I got into the business. My business partner already had some background experience with publishing a book, I just had to be the front guy and make things happen. I have not read any books on publishing.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Rick:  Getting the word out on a new book.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Rick:  Don’t think that all you have to do is publish a book and watch the money roll in, you have to work long and hard at it to get your book to sell. You have to stay in contact with the book stores at all times and make sure they don’t run out of your book. It’s not easy.

 

Check out my previous author interviews and blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.   If you would like to be included in the author interview series and get some (free) book exposure – just email me at jill@mirabooksmart.com

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

 

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Author Mark Tierno: Turning Tragedy into Triumph

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, he spent 25 years of his life caring for them and watching his Dad’s health deteriorate from Parkinson’s Disease.  It was during this time that he discovered his talent for, and love of, writing stories.   The result was joy brought to the Tierno household as well as an epic that spans 13 novels.

“A world beyond time… an adventure beyond imagining.”

Let’s welcome Mark Tierno,

MarkTierno image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Mark:  Well, my old publisher who shall remain nameless (cough_PublishAmerica-cough) simply did not look out, or care for, its authors.  Their idea of marketing was to nickel and dime their own authors instead of trying to sell to the general public.  Since 100% of the work of marketing, selling, and distribution was left up to the authors, then why not publish it myself and get 100% of the profits.  After all it IS my hard work and creativity.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mark:  “Maldene” is my big fantasy epic, with the first novel out as a two-volume set due to sheer size and my lack of notoriety.  It is a story of epic fantasy that also blends in some Sci-Fi in future novels in the series.  Seeing as how it’s a 13-novel series, I really need to get this first book selling first before I bring out the others.

Mark Tierno cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Mark:  Right now I’ve been looking into Social Media Marketing through Facebook.  It’s the cheapest alternative that I can currently find, doesn’t require a really big marketing firm, and is something I can do while still at home working on my next story.  As far as results, it’s still too early to tell yet.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Mark:  Definitely!  LinkedIn is a great treasure trove of contacts just waiting to help you out.  I have seen people on there where I’m thinking, “Hey, I’ve seen the movie this guy wrote!” It’s where I got into contact with a couple of helpful people as well as a group of other authors that I am currently working on a set of stories with.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Mark:  Letting the world know that you exist, finding out what to do after putting your own label on your book, and interacting more with the real world.  A lot of us writers aren’t really on great terms with the real world.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Mark:  Don’t give up!  Some people may tell you that you only have a one in a million chance of making it as an author, but you have a ZERO chance if you give up.  If writing is your passion, if you start to go through withdrawals if you’ve been away from the keyboard for too long, and if you have some stories that you REALLY need to get out, then just keep on trying.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, while Mark had a good enough childhood that allowed him to develop both intellectually and creatively, in the middle of High School his father developed Parkinson’s Disease. What followed was 25 years of watching his Dad and the family finances get worse and worse, helping out his mother with his Dad while finishing up his MS in Physics. A lifelong reader of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, when added tragedy, in the form of his grandpa’s old house burning to the ground, struck, the resulting insurance money eased off the collective burden enough to allow Mark to start writing a series of books that he had been developing in his head for the previous 15 years.

The result was some joy brought into the Tierno household to offset the bleak circumstances that an ailing father can bring. Caring for his father up through his death became a full-time job, but even so he was able to pen an amazing series of books that have few- if any- equals. This creative effort became the light in the darkness, bringing back some hope and joy and turning the house back into a home.

His father never lived to see it published, but his mother lived long enough to see it first published and a chapter or two read in a library before a small audience. Now his goal is to see his life’s work bring pleasure to the world outside his own.

In total, Maldene spans 13 novels, 5.2 million words, 250 characters, many worlds and dimensions, thousands of years, and is a unique blend of both Fantasy and Science fiction, coupled with skillful prose and realistic characterizations that put it head and shoulders above everything else out today. You will get lost in a story that will have you wondering if- somewhere out there- the world of Maldene just might exist.  Maldene is the first book in a series that will redefine the word Epic.

 

 

 

 

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Conquering the Beast: Part 1

amazon--621x414

Amazon is the most wonderful place on Earth – or is it?  We all know that if you want to get book exposure then you need to have your book on Amazon.  The only problem is they take a hefty 55% when they sell your book.  They have the leverage to take a high dollar because of who they are and what they can offer a seller.  So I have decided if they are going to take 55% then I am going to make them work for it.  There are some basics to setting up an account but you can go further and figure out all the little tricks to get exposed faster and by more people.   This blog will review setting up the accounts.   The next blog, part 2, will go further into what you can do within the accounts.  Be sure and click the follow button on the top right so you are alerted to when the next blog is posted.

First you have to open an Amazon Advantage account.   Once you review the page on ‘What is Advantage’ and like what you see – sign up for the account.  This is your login screen once you have created an account (click on screen images for larger view) :

image 1

I was surprised at how ‘business like’ the site is but then I thought – this is for all sorts of sellers and some people have multiple products, items, pricing, etc so it is built to host a wide range.  There are a lot of tools for inventory control and analytics.  I would recommend just reviewing the site and click through some tabs.  I always feel a bit overwhelmed when starting a new program because there are a lot of features.

When you first sign up, you will need to add your book information and photos.  Just go under the Items tab and ‘Add an Item’.  You will then have to go through the steps and fill out the book info.  Then upload your images.  When uploading your book images, be sure and review how to properly name the images and the image size.  I actually went through this a couple of times because I didn’t pay attention to the labeling system they want used.  Once you submit then they go through a review right there and you quickly see if it was rejected or accepted.

Now that you have an item for sale, Amazon will send you a PO (Purchase Order).  This is usually for just 1 book to make the product ‘in stock’.    You will see a tab for ‘Orders’ so click there and select ‘Purchase Orders’.  Here is a screenshot:

image 2

You have to click on the little box to open the PO and then confirm it.  The PO will give you the basics of how many books to send and the address to send them to.  You then print the shipping label and packing slip (for inside the box).  Here is a screen shot of the PO I received:

image 3

So my thought is – I pay to print the book, they take 55% and now I have to pay at least $2.53/book (media mail – up to 9 business days) for Amazon to receive it.  Well, that’s not cool because I am now in the hole and will lose money on this book.  So I found a ‘stock up feature’ in their help section.  The help section is surprisingly helpful, btw.   You can go to Help/Orders/Stock Up Request and send them an email.  Just let them know it is for a promotion or launch of the book.  They need a reason to allow you to send more books.  Personally, I requested to send 10 books and they accepted within 2-3 business days.  They sent me a new PO for 10 books.

You have now officially put your book for sale on Amazon.  That wasn’t so bad now was it?

…Wait, we are not quite done…

AUTHOR CENTRAL

Amazon realizes that many authors are selling their books and they have created a separate site for Authors to share their info, reach more readers and get author help.   This is not part of the Amazon Advantage account you were just setting up.  This is different.  You can join here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/.   Once you join, your home screen will look like this:

image 4

First, go in and update your author central profile.   If I had a dollar for every profile I have setup while promoting my book, I would be rich from that and not book sales…anyway….This is like any other profile where you can add info about yourself such as:

  1. Bibliography, Photos and Video
  2. Blog, Twitter, Facebook feeds
  3. Any upcoming events

Then go and add your book.  Just click on ‘Book’ tab and add more books.  You want to make sure that all the books that you have with Amazon are added to this page.  Your Author Central profile is then linked to your Amazon book sales page like this:

image 5

You can sign up for the ‘Look Inside the Book’ feature through Author Central.  There are certain obvious rules like owning the work and having a valid ISBN#.   There are directions to signup under the Help tab.  I thought this part was strange but you have to send an email to insidethebook-submission@amazon.com.  First they have to accept your request which can take 2-3 business days.  Then they will send you an email with upload instructions and ANOTHER site to log into.  There are instructions on how to send your file so review carefully.  Once I uploaded, I received a Submission ID# but that was it.  It said successful so I just waited and waited….until finally 9 business days later it appeared online.  I was surprised to see things take so long because it is Amazon – I assumed it would be automatic.  I guess they have to review all materials first before making them live.  And it is a bit comforting to know there are actual people behind the site and all the emails.

So now you have an Amazon account setup and an Author Central account.  All we have to do is sell books!

Next up is Conquering the Beast: Part 2.  Be sure and click the follow button at the top right and you will be alerted with each new post.  As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

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Word on the Street with Mike Haas

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Aloha to Mike Hass,

Mike Haas image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Mike:  While a professor at a university, I wrote many conference papers, but I did not have time to prepare all of them for publication. Now I do, and I am writing and writing as never before. I will incorporate reasons for each book below, as I identify them.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mike:      a) Looking for the Aloha Spirit: Promoting Ethnic Harmony (2010) was published to bring my essays on Hawai`i together in one volume–essays about combating discrimination, voting, interracial marriage, and similar matters. Hawai’i is a model for excellent though not perfect race relations, and the world needs to know how that has been brought about and sustained.

    b) America’s War Crimes Quagmire: From Bush to Obama (2010) consists of short chapters that were originally blog essays written after completing a comprehensive book of the 269 war crimes of the Bush administration that were inherited by Barack Obama as he became president. Some of the blogs explain how to close Guantanamo, why a Pakistani-American tried to set off a bomb in Times Square, examples of how the subject of “war crimes” is taboo in the United States, and other exposes about violations of the four Geneva Conventions and related international agreements.

Mike Haas cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Mike:

a) website www.publishinghouse4scholars.com

b) appearance at book fairs

c) exhibiting and passing out leaflets at public lectures

d) converting them to ebooks for amazon.com

e) sending email with book notices

f)  sending copies for review to academic journals

g) social media announcements

Frankly, I do not know which worked best. 

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Mike:  No

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Mike:  Marketing

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Mike:  Enjoy what you do.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nobel Prize nominee Michael Haas is the author of more than forty books on international relations and human rights. He holds a doctorate in Political Science from Stanford University and has taught at Northwestern University, Occidental College, Purdue University, the University of California (Riverside), five California State University campuses, and the University of Hawaii. Internationally. He has also held positions at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore), the University of London, the University of the Philippines, and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok).  Active in bringing research to the attention of policymakers, he filed civil rights complaints in Hawai`i during the 1970s, played a role in stopping the administration of President George H. W. Bush from financing weapons that went into the hands of the Khmer Rouge during the late 1980s, and is now a member of the California Senior Legislature as well as president of the Political Film Society (Los Angeles) while continuing to write, most recently the second edition of his widely acclaimed textbook, International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction. His work continues.

 

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Word on the Street with Monica Hudson

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Monica Hudson has a radio commercial and banner on www.praiseradio1.webs.com with Jerry Silversand podcast with www.writersinthesky.com.  They have a blog/newsletter and podcast that you can find on their site about Monica’s new book, “Over There: Raindrops of Reflection and her journey as an author/publisher. She will also be in Shabbach Magazine for the Winter Publication 2013 and all of 2014.

Monica Hudson is working towards various reviews from Dennis Moore who is with the East County Magazine and has also been invited to do a guest spot on their radio show East County Magazine Live to discuss her new book.  She is a contributing writer for the online magazine ‘The Cofield Report’ and has accepted a membership with the AR Pen Women.  Monica is currently traveling on a book tour.

Monica Hudson Image 2

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Monica:  I have always had a passion for journalism ever since I saw Barbara Walters as a teenager. As a adult, writing became a calling into a vision to serve others through books.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Monica:  The Bride and The Bridegroom: A Spiritual Romance, Changed: In the Heat of The Fire, and the upcoming book launching in early Sept….Over There: Raindrops of Reflection all of these books are part of a series called, “Sleeper Awake!”

Monica Hudson Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Monica:  My website acts as the motor that drives everything else around it, from platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Goodreads. The internet is full of information to market your books and company from literary magazines, radio commercials, blog talk radio, writing news, newsletters, having a blog page and book trailers are absolutely fun and entertaining to showcase your work to the public.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Monica:  Yes. The Self-Publishing  Manuel by Dan Poynter, The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman, Creating Multiple Streams of Income with Information Products by Antonio Crawford, Pam Perry (marketingministriessolutions.com,www.EzineArticle.com.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Monica:  Balance. It’s not as easy as it looks – editing, layouts, design, marketing and distribution can take away from family and even friends so give yourself some space.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Monica:  Vision. Create right from the start a vision for your customers of your company, brand and reading. Make yourself stand out and make yourself available to your readers.

 

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Word on the Street with Ralph Morin

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Come on down, Ralph Morin:

Ralph Morin Photo

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Ralph:  I felt that I had something interesting to say and thought that by writing a book that it would be read by people who would be interested in the subject matter.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Ralph:  “The Cold War: A Remembrance”, “The Autobiography of Eve”, “The Autobiography of Eve: Empire”.

Ralph Morin Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Ralph:  Since I am deeply involved in another and completely different  project, I am not currently paying much attention to marketing, although I occasionally get a sale or two from the exposure that I first developed.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Ralph:  A couple, but I have forgotten what they were and I suspect that they would be out of date by now.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Ralph:  Hitting the promotion trail and sticking with it.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Ralph:  Be prepared to NOT hit it rich right away. it will take time and maybe even not pan out, but at least you will have something to leave as a good legacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A little music, if you please. I’ve always had music intertwined with my life, Born in the middle of the 1930‘s depression and spending my formative years during the cataclysmic World War Two era, I was surrounded by the glorious music of the forties; the show tunes, the classical music, the love songs, the martial music. It has had a lasting effect on the things that I do and the way that I live.

Early on, I found that writing was a great way for me to meet some of the responsibilities of school. I received praise from an English teacher in high school for an essay that I had spontaneously composed. It inspired me to continue, but the draft intervened.

After a four year period in the Air Force during the Korean “Police Action”, I attended UCLA film school, studying under such luminaries as Jean Renoir, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kramer and many other award winning directors and producers. I made my way, albeit sometimes somewhat shakily, through the sixties. My output during those times consisted of educational, documentary, industrial and short entertainment films, which I usually wrote and produced. Some of my clients included CBS Educational, Encyclopedia Britannica, Rocket dyne, Lockheed, Volkswagen of America and Nissan.

The next phase of my life centered around developing and operating an Electrical Contracting business in Los Angeles, something which fit into my background of engineering which I had acquired at the University of Denver right after I left the Air force. I was a State of California licensed Electrical Contractor until 1999, all the while keeping my hand in the film business by writing and producing home-made backyard films.

In 2008, I began a script than dealt with the Cold War, a period which I know intimately. After developing the idea, I realized that it would have to be a rather longish film, so I decided that it would be best treated as a television series rather than one long film. The more I wrote, the longer it became; after all, the Cold War period ran from the mid 1940’s until 1990, about 45 years. After the script was finished, it dawned on me that if I ever hoped to get it sold, it might be a good thing to start as a book and continue from that point of view,  and so I wrote the book from the script.

In the book, “The Cold War, A Remembrance”, my character, Walter Vorley, always carries his music with him in his head. Sometimes it’s repetitive (i.e. Bolero), or sometimes it plays straight through a song or a short phrase. Walter is a photographer and he is there to record the events of the Cold War Years. His life, his family and the political events that surround him during the telling of the story, culminates with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is my hope that this little known and less understood era can be brought to life and told to as wide an audience as possible.

Ralph Morin

2545 Foose Road,

Malibu, California 90265

310-589-2519

Ralphmorin@verizon.net

 

 

 

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Word on the Street with Josh Frank

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Josh Frank is an author, trainer, and consultant with 20 years in the federal space.  He is a leading authority on small business government sales and speaks nationally on small business acceleration.

JoshFrank

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Frank:  It started as a concept back in 2003. Before I ever considered the value of publishing, I recognized that my success in business had been the result of an academic approach to how I worked with colleagues and clients. Having worked for both Fortune 500 and small business, I found myself studying the techniques and strategies used by other professionals, identifying gaps, improving those strategies, and successfully using them to win new business. For ten years, I captured and developed thousands of techniques and strategies that simplified processes and accelerated the federal sales cycle. Then in 2006, I tailored these processes into what I later called ‘Realignment Solution Methodology’ (RSM), which became the name of my company two years later (RSM Federal).  I knew from talking with other authors that you don’t write a book to make money. In the consulting industry, my peers published in order to brand themselves and to increase their perceived level of credibility. So in 2008 when I decided to start my company, I made sure I had an emergency fund (one year’s living expenses) and I started writing the book. The first three months were focused on planning and organizing my thoughts. Like most industries, there are competent professionals and those not so competent. In the consulting industry, there are equal good stories and horror stories. Every client we’ve had the last several years was hesitant to hire a consultant because they had previously hired a consultant that provided little benefit. As a result, communicating the value of RSM Federal’s services was competing against the memories of past consultants.

 I realized that in order to differentiate myself in the market, I had to successfully communicate that my expertise and the expertise of my company was proven, valuable, and an industry leader. This also required that I communicate a highly ethical approach and that I do not simply work for clients, but actively partner with them. To achieve this vision, the thousands of techniques and strategies were communicated in a way that shifted the consulting paradigm. In effect, my book was designed and published to provide a level of credibility that facilitated instant trust and communicated a high level of thought leadership.  Of course, it always sounds easier than it is. It took a year to write the book while consistently asking the question ‘What value do my clients require and does this technique or strategy provide that value?’ Today, the manual does not simply provide credibility. It serves as the foundation for every client engagement. Why did I decide to publish? I published because it facilitates personal and organizational credibility while simultaneously differentiating the value of RSM Federal’s services.

I had to ask myself one simple question. Am I selling the book to make money or am I selling the book to differentiate and position in the market?  For me, writing the book was about value . . . not revenue. However, value leads to revenue. . .

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Frank:  I have published two works. The first is only known in the US Intelligence Community and within the United States Army; Techniques and Strategies for Virtual Teams, March 2000. I then published the 450 page federal sales guide, The Government Sales Manual in April 2009.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Frank:  Marketing any product, let alone a book, is a difficult undertaking. I should point out that The Government Sales Manual is more expensive than your average book. The cost of printing a single manual costs twice as much to print as what it would cost you to buy a book on Amazon. The retail cost of the manual is more than a hundred dollars. As a result, when I first tried selling via Amazon, I found the price too high to compete with the average book. Without knowing who I am or what my company does, why would someone spend seven times what it would cost to buy what appears to be another similar book? I have two graduate degrees including an MBA and no matter how much content I included in the description or how I positioned that content, I realized that I was priced out of Amazon. I also tried Google Ad Words. However, the only way to generate sales required that I pay expensive pay per click rates. For my market and industry, I simply could not sell enough manuals to cover the cost of an extended Google campaign. Some months it paid off but there were more months where it did not.

It took four years to identify the best marketing strategies. As an example, I spoke at the National Veterans Conference this year.  Several hundred business owners attended my sessions. Unlike most authors, I didn’t simply put the book on the table in front of me and refer to it throughout my session. Conference attendees really dislike sessions where the speaker is consistently making a sales pitch. Instead, I took a very strategic approach. I spent two months preparing my sessions – based on a small subset of what is included in the manual.  When speaking at a conference, I don’t actively sell the manual – the credibility and trust that is generated from my session sells the manual. It’s also important to note that how I market the manual at a conference is a multi-tiered and integrated strategy. Similar to business cards, I developed a card with a picture of the manual and a dynamic QR code. I then created a landing page on the company website for this specific conference and session and linked the QR code to this page. The QR code was also integrated into each presentation on the last slide.  Additionally, I required an emotional trigger so in supporting the Veterans Business Resource Center, donated $20 from every sale to helping Veterans.  Additionally, and this runs contrary to today’s best practices, but I do not provide a digital version of the book. To obtain the most value from the book, it needs to be a true desktop reference. When you read the book, the average customer wants to take notes, tag pages, and be able to quickly find those techniques and strategies that will add value to their company. Furthermore, a hard copy becomes a sales tool and we make sales simply because one business owner saw another business owner using the manual. Finally, my web development team spent eight months redesigning our website in 2013. We had professional pictures taken of the book in a conference room overlooking the New York skyline and these pictures were used to develop modern and professional graphics for the website. There are another dozen strategies we employed to facilitate our multi-tiered and integrated marketing strategy but that’s for another time.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Frank:  Actually, no. I found my network and colleagues to be the most beneficial. Of course I researched this online. I looked at several hundred websites and purchased several dozen books. They all provided some level of value but none provided as much value as talking with other authors and colleagues.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Frank:  My greatest challenge has been the cost of goods sold (COGS). Ordering and printing fifty manuals would cost thousands. That’s several thousand dollars in cash flow sitting on my shelves waiting for orders. So my greatest challenge remains identifying a way to decrease COGS.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Frank:  I guess the answer depends on the type of book. I can’t answer this question for non-professional works. But if you’re a business professional looking to differentiate yourself and brand yourself as an expert, self-publishing a book is an excellent project. But before you go down this road, get feedback from your colleagues. Not your family. Not your spouse. Not your friends. Ask your colleagues if what you plan on writing is needed by the market? Are you truly qualified to write about your subject? Do you have at least half a dozen clients or past clients who will write a testimonial saying you are one of the best in your industry? This is why you want to bounce your ideas off your colleagues. And when you’re ready to start writing and you plan on six months to complete it – it’ll take twice as long! At the end of the day, the book is just a tool.

 

AUTHOR INFO

Author, trainer, and consultant with 20 years in the federal space, Josh Frank is a leading authority on small business government sales and speaks nationally on small business acceleration.  Mr. Frank specializes in the development and implementation of techniques and strategies for sales, marketing, and teaming activities. These techniques and strategies facilitate improved positioning, competitive advantage, and sales cycle acceleration to win new contracts and increase revenue. His seminars are consistently rated as being real-world, highly educational, and thought provoking.

Principal of RSM Federal (www.rsmfederal.com), Mr. Frank is author of The Government Sales Manual, one of the most comprehensive and educational resources on the market for small business government sales.  Since 2003, the manual has helped small businesses win more than 180 government contracts with more than two dozen contract wins in 2013.

Mr. Frank also serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Veterans Business Resource Center (VBRC).  In this role, Mr. Frank provides oversight, mentorship, and recommends operational strategy in support of the Center.

An avid outdoor enthusiast and Boy Scout leader, Joshua lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and daughter. A former Military Intelligence Officer, he is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in English and post-graduate degrees in Management Information Systems (MIS) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Webster University Walker School of Business.

For more information on Josh and the RSM Federal, please visit http://www.rsmfederal.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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