Sunday, March 3, 2019


When I read Alexa Person’s first book, I felt like I was journeying right along with her to an incredible, albeit very unfamiliar realm. While I wholeheartedly believe and am in complete awe of people who remember their otherworldly origins, I had never experienced this myself. With her tactile descriptions of what she saw, heard and felt during these encounters, Alexa opened my eyes to places and beings far beyond what I contemplated during my own spiritual practices.    

In Zero Point II: Ahy and the Divine Matrix, Alexa continues to explore the beauty and acceleration of her spiritual gifts alongside the challenges of life on planet earth. This journey was just as profound and powerful as the first installment, yet it also communicated to me a warmth, comfort and familiarity of the light beings and ascended masters who guide her through a joyous, often very challenging process.    
Wherever one stands on the spiritual spectrum, there is no doubt that Alexa Person has set a new bar for honesty and authenticity in recounting such journeys, and she invites, inspires and empowers the rest of us to do the same. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Curse of the Blood Moon (The Troublesome Tribble Twins Book 1)The Curse of the Blood Moon by Lisa Corbin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is nothing quite like reading a children’s book as an adult – it not only allows us an escape from our daily lives, but a trip back to our own youth, with all its innocence, optimism and curiosity. That’s how I felt while reading The Curse of the Blood Moon.

The story took me on a fanciful and suspenseful journey that toggled from modern-day, small town America to a mysterious, mystical village deep in a haunted forest. With its twists and turns and rich descriptions, I felt like I was right there with the heroes, wondering whether it was day or night and what was real and what was not.

The showstopper here was definitely the cast of characters. Everyone, from ten-year-old Basil Tribble and the old seaman Cappy, to the centuries-old evil witch and her band of ghouls, was fascinating and lovable. If I had to choose a favorite, it might be the ever-loyal and all-knowing hound, Blackbeard, who searched for his missing friend with all the gusto he would a juicy T-bone.
I was so glad to see that Corbin plans to write another adventure with the Tribbles – and I am sure everyone who reads The Curse of the Blood moon will agree.

View all my reviews

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Demise of Labor: The Brian Ahakuelo StoryThe Demise of Labor: The Brian Ahakuelo Story by Ahakuelo Brian
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We all know someone who got a raw deal in their careers; who, after dedicating years, even decades, to a company or organization, found themselves cast aside or even thrown under the bus. This book is the story of how Brian Ahakuelo was ousted and maligned by the union he had served so passionately for thirty-five years. It also describes the decline of Organized Labor from a once-fierce advocate of the American worker to a bloated, largely irrelevant political machine.

What impressed me most about Ahakuelo’s book is that it goes far beyond his personal story. He touches on the importance of having faith in family, in God and in oneself. We all have a purpose, and we all have the right and the responsibility to find that purpose and live it every day. A disreputable company/organization can take away our livelihood and even our good name, but it cannot stop us from making a contribution to the world. This is Ahakuelo’s primary message, and it’s what makes The Demise of Labor a must-read for anyone who has been unjustly treated or is simply trying to find his/her own path.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A New Must-Read from Powerful You Publishing

It’s every entrepreneur's dream to grow their business while staying aligned with their highest values and purpose. That's why it has been such a great blessing for me to be one of the authors in “Keys to Conscious Business Growth – A Teaching Guide”. It is a book dedicated to helping you grow in your own business and career journey, achieve your dreams and manifest your intentions. Get your book today, #ConsciousKeys

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Join us for a Conversation with Author and Mental Health Advocate Linda Baron-Katz

Being an author is about so much more than enjoyment; it can be a vehicle for giving back and improving the lives of others. This is certainly how Linda Baron-Katz looks at it.

Linda, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young adult, knows full well the struggles that those with mental illness face when trying to recover their health. She wrote her first book, Surviving Mental: My Story to help them know they are not alone, and for the past several years she has also served as a mental health advocate/peer counselor in her native Queens, New York. Her second book, Peter & Lisa: A Mental Illness Children's Story, was a collaborative effort with her husband, Charles. The book is designed to help kids, particularly those with a loved one suffering from mental illness, to understand that he/she is not "crazy," but has a disease as real as any physical ailment.

It was my pleasure to speak with Linda about her work and why she is so passionate about educating people about mental illness.

Click here to listen to the interview.

You can order these inspiring books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


“So many people wish, too late, that they had saved the stories of their late parents and grandparents. I want to help prevent that situation for others,” says Nashville personal historian Deborah WilbrinkThe journalist and former English teacher has assisted over a dozen seniors in writing and publishing their memoirs. She’s now writing a book about saving one’s life story or family history, with chapters about the people she wrote with and songs she penned about family histories, magic moments in life and mementos that generate memories. Quilters from East Tennessee’s Rose Center Quilt Guild are providing some of the illustrations. Wilbrink is also writing songs!  

Her book and accompanying CD are titled Time To Tell: Your Personal & Family History. Wilbrink is serving tips to start writing one’s life story and importantly, motivating the readers with stories from seniors who have authored their own personal histories. The songs will trigger those ‘Oh, I remember!’ and ‘I should do that!’ reactions. Whether you just want to enjoy the music, read the stories, or… start writing or recording your own, that’s for you to decide!  

Using treasured mementos from the past to inspire a story is one tip Wilbrink writes about. A year ago she volunteered to lead Show and Tell events with seniors. She heard about earthquakes, emigration, equators, equal rights. Other stories surfacing featured a vaudeville act, a typesetter, even a kidnapping in a cotton field. Some of those stories are in Time to Tell and the song “Yesterday’s Trash, Today’s Treasure.”  

 She wants to have the book and CD out in time for Mother’s Day.  For more about Deborah see  Follow the project at  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Join Us for a Conversation with Author Joy Frawley

It was a great pleasure to interview author Joy Frawley about her new novel, Two Worlds, Two Men. Joy has the soul of a writer and the heart of a romantic, and she clearly poured both into this exciting, passionate romance. The book's heroine, Jocelyn, is an ordinary woman whose plans for a vacation lead to an extraordinary journey of love, passion and suspense.   

Jocelyn, the book's heroine, wasn't expecting any excitement, just some time away from the daily grind. After browsing the various travel brochures, she settles on Scotland, figuring she'll do some sightseeing, have a pint or two, and regain some of her pep.  But her plane has no sooner landed when she experiences an overwhelming feeling of ...home.  How strange, when she has never even been to Scotland before? The thought is quickly forgotten, especially after meeting Neely, the handsome innkeeper where she is staying.  But as Jocelyn will discover, she has not only been to this land of rich traditions and history--she has lived there. She soon finds herself torn between two countries, two times, two worlds, and two men.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Two World, Two Men is available on Amazon and Resplendence Publishing

Joy is currently working on a nonfiction inspirational book, and we can surely expect more novels from her in the future. She is also  passionate about helping other authors achieve their dream of being published. To learn more about Joy's work, visit her website or Facebook page.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Top 10 Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid

As any author discovers, there's plenty of free advice out there for what they should - and shouldn't-- do when publishing a book. If I had to create a Top 10 list of mistakes authors should avoid at all costs, I'd focus on the following topics, because these omissions can really set you and your book back:

1. Not Understanding the Publishing Industry: Writing a book does not guarantee you readers. Before you publish, do some research - who are your competitors? What do they publish? How is your genre faring in the industry right now? Knowing your market is vital to finding and connecting with readers, receiving book reviews, and getting book sales.

2. Not Realizing Book Covers are Key: Readers and book buyers spend only seconds looking at book covers, and many of them now view thumbnail-size images online. Investing in a professionally designed cover by someone who understands book design and the publishing industry is a smart move. If you can't capture people’s attention with a strong cover, you've likely lost a prospective reader and buyer. You've put a lot of work into writing your book; apply the same philosophy to your book cover.

3. Not Knowing That Editing is Your Best Marketing Tool: There are at least 300,000 books published each year, according to Bowker. With all that competition, you want your book to be the best you can make it. A poorly edited book will not gain you readers, reviewers, or fans. If your book is your resume, what kind of message are you sending if your book is full of errors? This is the most common complaint about self-published books: lack of quality control, aka, editing.

4. Not Getting Good Advice: Sure, your mom and your friends support what you do wholeheartedly - but what do they know about publishing and promoting a book? There are so many reputable, free resources available to authors for every phase of their publishing journey - from blogs to social media groups to online forums and more. Take advantage of these resources, ask questions, learn from others, and share your insights.

5. Not Working Your Market: One great thing about social media is it really does let you find people who read books in your genre. And you can cultivate these readers in a number of ways beyond buying, reading, and reviewing your book. Why not seek beta readers from your market before you publish? Many authors have successfully built a stable of pre-publication beta readers who offer their insights. Beta readers are not editors - while they may find a grammatical error or typo, what they really do is help an author understand if the story works, if it's authentic.

6. Forgetting That It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: If you're going to publish a book, you have to be in it for the long haul. Those "overnight" success stories are never true. By the time you've heard of the author they've already put in years working on their writing, getting published, and building a following. Approach your marketing with the long-term in mind.

7. Not Knowing That Timing Matters: This is where a writing, publishing, and marketing plan comes in handy. If you want reviews, you need to build that into your publication schedule because if you seek major review sites or publications, they'll want a copy of your book at least two to three months before it's published. If you want a distributor for your book, it's going to take some time for them to get your book placed. Work out these dates in a flexible plan (to cover for anything that will go awry, this does happen) for publishing your book.

8. Overlooking the Importance of Your Website: Your website is your 24/7 sales hub, and unless you know how to convert web visitors into buyers, you should find a professional to design your site. DIY websites rarely sell books, nor do they help an author’s ranking in Google search. These things matter, and that’s why having your friend’s teenage son design your site is probably not a good idea – unless he knows all about web conversion and SEO.

9. Not Building Relationships: Are you getting book reviews, interviews, or other coverage? If so, be sure to thank them for taking the time to review your book or interview you. These not-so-little things do matter in the long haul. These are people you can approach for your second, third, and subsequent books - and your requests will be successful if you've taken the time to build relationships. I can't believe how rarely authors take the time to say thank you, when that little step can go a long way toward developing a following.

10. Not Trusting Your Team: If you're hiring people to help you publish and/or market your book, trust their advice. You chose them for a reason (I hope), so take advantage of their expertise. Look for someone with a good track record in the industry who understands the market. Then let them do what you've hired them to do - otherwise, what's the point?

Publishing and promoting a book is a huge challenge, and authors often feel overwhelmed by a myriad of choices. But focusing on a few key areas can be the difference between a book that finds traction versus one that gets lost in the crowd. In the end, it’s worth the time to invest in your book, your team, and your promotion.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner August 2014


Champions come in all shapes and sizes,
Every color the rainbow imagines,
Reaching for stars in a far distant galaxy,
Braced and prepared for the battles ahead.

Rising from underdog,
Capturing moments of untold adventure
With banners unfurled.
Aware of the fanfare but unfazed by fame
From a frilled flock of followers
Riding the wave.

Pulling on bootstraps,
Constantly focused,
Flaunting due diligence,
Always prepared.
Riding the wind on the winged steed of glory,
Humble in victory,
Grateful to win.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Making the Grade

Year after year of brain-stretching agony
Bending the limits of tempered endurance,
Tables and intos and plus-minus posers
Til X becomes Y becomes, magically, Z.

Long-winded tales filled with dates and dead people
Wasted on battlefields far, far away.
Stories of Camelot, Sherwood and Hannibal
Camped beneath bed sheets with flashlight in tow.

Cries of rebellion for useless assignments
Fall on deaf ears, go completely unheard.
Oft being quoted, “Oh, you’ll thank me later.”
Though never quite clear when this “later” occurs.

Days wrought with dread of those sheets lined with questions,
Problems and essays and multiple choices.
Waiting for marks through unbearable agony,
Never quite sure…
Never quite sure…

Time marches sideways through twelve years of prison,
Forced into labor ‘til all due is paid.
Finally, time boldly steps to the future,
Silent and thankful for making the grade.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Friday, August 15, 2014

How Authors Can Profit From Teleseminars and Webinars

by Dana Lynn Smith

Teleseminars and webinars are a terrific way for authors to share the message of their book, do educational presentations, conduct virtual conferences, interview other authors and experts, hold group coaching sessions, and more.

Using a teleseminar service, the host sets up a "bridge line" for participants to dial into at the appointed time, and then does a presentation. Programs can be presented by single speaker, done in an interview format with two or more people, or conducted as Q&A or coaching sessions.

A webinar or webcast is similar to a teleseminar, but participants are able to view visuals, such as a slideshow, during the presentation.

Here are just a few of the benefits of hosting your own teleseminars or webinars:

• The events are free or very low cost to produce.
• There's no travel expense and you can conduct the event from the comfort of your home or office.
• It's a great way to build your reputation as an expert in your field and to build your mailing list with the names of attendees, which can lead to sales in the future.
• You can make money by charging for the event or by conducting a free teleseminar and then offering attendees a paid product or service at the end of the presentation.
• Another way to profit is to repurpose your teleseminar content into other products such as audio programs, ebooks and home study courses.

There are also many benefits to attendees:

• It's easy for participants to attend via their phone or computer, with no travel required.
• Usually a recording of the session is available for those who are not available at the time of the call.
• Most teleseminars have a question and answer session, allowing audience members to participate and get input from the speaker.
• Participants can learn a lot in a short period of time.

As a teleseminar or webinar host, you’ll need to organize details such as these:

• Choose a teleseminar service provider and decide whether to offer recordings afterward.
• Determine the format, length, date and time for your event.
• Decide whether to require advance registration and how to handle registration.
• Decide how much to charge and how to collect money from attendees.
• Prepare an outline and/or script, and produce PowerPoint slides if necessary.
• Promote the event and send reminders and follow-ups to registrants.
• Coordinate with any other speakers.

Put the power of teleseminars and webinars to work for you and you'll be on your way to profiting from virtual events.

About the Author

Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer, teaches authors how to sell more books through her blog, newsletter, guidebooks, and training programs. Her How to Make Money with Teleseminars and Webinars program will teach you everything you need to know to ensure a smooth running and profitable event. Get more book marketing tips at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WITS Book Reviews August 2014

Book Title: Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Author: Zaheen Nanji
Publisher: Aviva Publishing
Genre: Health and Fitness
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Book Length in Pages: 48
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

This is not just another diet book. In fact, it’s not really a diet book at all. Instead, Zaheen Nanji has incorporated her life coaching and her passion for Law of Attraction into a new way of eating—and living. Attracting Your Idea Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off explores the relationship between how we view food and how we view life.

The book is geared towards people who are ready to delve into the reasons behind their struggle with weight, as this is only way to permanently transcend the obstacles. For example, many women sabotage their diets because their husbands may be uncomfortable with them becoming thinner and therefore potentially more attractive to other men. Attracting Your Ideal Weight teaches us how to heal these other issues even as we are improving our physical health.

Nanji’s plan does include nutritional planning and healthy food choices, but unlike so many diet plans, it does not include self-denial. It’s all about changing one’s mindset. For example, if one of her clients wants a cookie, she encourages them to choose another, healthier food that will satisfy that craving for sweets. Eating a Fiber One or a granola bar will stave away the craving and keep him/her empowered and motivated.

More importantly, Attracting Your Ideal Weight does not focus on society’s fluctuating—and often unattainable—standards of beauty. The person’s goal is not to be thin, but to reach the weight at which they feel comfortable in the own skin. Success is measured not by the size of their clothes, but the ease with which they move in them.

The best part of this book is that it gives us the tools to change many areas of our lives, not just the number on the scale.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Podcast Schedules August 2014

WAO Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed:// You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

This month’s interactive call includes group coaching for empaths on August 12th at 2 p.m., central time. Learn more about the group coaching calls at

WITS Podcast

Writers in the Sky Podcast is a Nashville-based talk show about writing, publishing, and book marketing. An educational tool for people who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing, this show offers interviews with authors and writers, as well as the latest news about books currently on the market. You will also learn about publishing methods and marketing techniques as we interview publishers and publicists. Listen to archived shows via RSS Feed. Download WITS Podcast on iTunes for your iPod or iPad.

On August 1, author, life coach and Law of Attraction expert Zaheen Nanji was our guest on the WITS podcast. ‎To listen to the interview and learn about Zaheen's upcoming workshops, visit:

Friday, August 8, 2014

WITS Announcements August 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at

Writers in the Sky’s Deborah Wilbrink has been chosen competitively to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Association of Personal Historians. Print on Demand? Your EZ Guide to Online Publishing will explore the different online publishing platforms and sites, and teach what questions to ask and where to look for answers before you choose a site for your project. Perfect for those lost in the maze of internet publishing options, and those new to online publishing. Deborah's presentation is October 25 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a consultant editor, ghostwriter and personal historian. Contact Deborah to give workshops to your group or for private coaching. See events at
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00.
Dennis Martin’s latest book, So You Want to be a Writer: Discovering and Developing the Writer Within, is now published and available on!

This book covers a wide variety of areas in the craft of writing; from poetry, novels, plays and even screenwriting. Dennis shares his 50+ years of experience in hopes of inspiring others to enter the fascinating field of writing and explore the writing life. Other books Dennis has written (Including novels and poetry collections) are also available from his Amazon Author’s Page:
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Editor's Corner August 2014

Welcome to the August 2014 edition of the Writers in the Sky Newsletter!

If you’re like most authors, you divide your time between writing your book and wondering if there is a market for it. While this is a legitimate concern, it’s important to concentrate on what inspired you to write in the first place: you have a story to share with the world.

For the past few weeks, the Aspects of Writing radio show has focused on writing from life experience and has featured guests who take the adage “write what you know” to a whole new level. Nancy Nelson, Linda Jarosz and Renee Mollen-Masters are three exceptional women who have channeled their life experiences into their writing. Nancy’s collection of poems, Blue.River.Apple, expresses and processes her feelings about being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Renee used her childhood frustration in school to create a program, You Are Smarter Than You Think. It explores different ways in which people learn and discusses how teachers and parents can facilitate learning for all children. Linda Jarosz has used her experiences in a fifty-five-and-older community as the backdrop for her novel, Detour: Fossil Creek Estates.

So the next time you’re wondering whether your personal story makes a marketable story, remember that your book may help someone else who is going through the same thing. It may teach them how to deal with a challenge, recover from a trauma, or even laugh their way through one.

And be sure to tune in to Aspects of Writing every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST. It covers the craft and business of writing from every angle, and features traditionally and self-published authors across all genres. I learn something from every show, and I know you will too. The show airs on KLAV 1230 AM. You can also visit the show’s Youtube channel to listen to past shows.

Happy writing, everyone!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit

Friday, August 1, 2014

Join Us for a Conversation With Author and Weight Loss Specialist Zaheen Nanji

It was a great pleasure to speak once again with author, weight loss guru and life coach Zaheen Nanji. Zaheen, who owns the Shanti Wellness Centre in Canada, was on the show last year after contributing to the anthology, Unlock the Power of You: 12 Keys to Health, Happiness and Success. This time, she spoke about her own book, Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off. The book is an outgrowth of her workshops on the same topic.
What makes Zaheen's approach to weight loss unique is that she explores the connection between our relationship with food and our relationship with life. "Ideal weight does not mean thin," she said, "it's the point at which you are comfortable in your skin and your clothes." It's also about being comfortable in their lives. Zaheen challenges her coaching clients to figure out, not only why they became overweight, but the hidden barriers to achieving weight loss success. They usually find they are carrying around limiting beliefs, often from childhood, that affect how they interact with their spouses, families, friends...and food.  

You don't have to be struggling with weight to get something out of this book. Its principals are rooted in psychology and universal laws and can help you improve any area of your life. Click here to listen to the podcast. 

In December, Zaheen is launching a six-week home study course to go with the book. And in January, she will host an online weight loss training. Also six weeks, this group coaching class includes a  phone call each week to keep everyone on track. One-on-one coaching is also available for those who prefer it. The class will hold only ten people, so sign up soon!

Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off is currently available as an e-book on Amazon and iBooks. The print book, which includes a workbook, is available at  or at the Shanti Wellness Centre.  You can also connect with Zaheen on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Content Fatigue: What You Must do to Stay in Front of Your Customer in a Cluttered Market

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data that’s already online via blogs and social media, consider this: by 2020 that information will increase by 600%. Overwhelming, no? I was just at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and a lot of talk was around the noise, as well as a term you’ll be hearing a lot in the future: Content Shock. What’s Content Shock specifically? Well, it’s too much of just about everything. Out of Content Shock comes what I call Content Fatigue.

The problem is that people are exhausted from all the content and all the work it takes to keep up with social dialog and news. Yes, there are shortcuts and some handy tools for automation, but at the end of the day, it still comes down to our time and our attention. Both of which are in short supply.

Your consumer faces this, too. This never-ending barrage of information that finds its way to their doorstep. They then find themselves sifting through seemingly endless streams of information trying to find the kernel they were looking for. Let’s face it, it’s not easy.

As time propels us into this age of overwhelming news feeds and information, it will be important to figure out ways to stand out and gain attention without overwhelming your market. I attended a session by Mark Schaffer where he talked about this trend of endless data and what we can do about it (See here:,) and while I loved his insight and input, I wanted to break this down even further and make it a bit more palatable for those of us who don’t have teams at the ready to create some new game to enchant our buyer or who can develop videos that can go viral.

Most of us don’t have that kind of access, but we still want to rise above the noise. Though Mark’s tips are tremendous, I think that even before we dig in there, we must first look here:

Be an Expert: First and foremost you need to be an expert. If you’re not comfortable with that you need to get over that and realize that people love experts – even if you are a fiction author, be the best, be the most knowledgeable, and be the kind of expert that you’d want to follow. Why does this matter? Because in the years to come (and even now) consumers would rather gravitate to one voice they can trust, than 20 voices they aren’t so sure about. It’s a way to help them cut through the noise and a great way for you to stand out.

Know the Experts: Beyond your own expertise, you’re going to find you need to align yourself with experts in your market. People with a significantly bigger platform you can get to know. Why? Because you’ll want to engage with them, and build a relationship with them so they trust you and your product enough to share it with their people. We’re finding that people don’t trust messages, people trust people. As we build even more “noise” around ourselves we’ll find this statement becomes even more pronounced.

Be Excruciatingly on Point: When people like Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan or even Gary Vaynerchuk meander off of their core message, I really don’t give it a second thought. Why? Because they’ve spent years honing their original message so we’re willing to give them a bit of leeway or creative license to “meander” as they see fit. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Once you zero in on your message (benefit statement) you’ll want to own it and stay true to it. Don’t one day talk about the fabulous new workout routine your team developed and the next day talk about Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce. It doesn’t make sense and the more you meander, the more you will lose people, and your message will vanish in the ether.

Email Lists: Email is pretty un-sexy these days, isn’t it? I mean let’s face it, when you have sites like G+, Instagram, and Pinterest, can create Infographics, and post short videos onto Vine, it makes email marketing seem like the distant cousin of something very 1976, doesn’t it? The truth is that despite its lack of sexy, email marketing still works, and as social media becomes more cluttered it’s getting harder and harder to get your posts seen. But an email opt-in list is one way to get onto the radar screen of your reader (with their permission) and share helpful information with them which a) helps to establish your expertise and b) keeps them in your funnel, something social media does too, but only to a point.

Know Your (Readers') Limits: I have a friend who has great content and sends it in daily email posts and therein lies the problem: daily emails. I don’t know about you but unless you’re giving away a free Starbucks gift card in every email, there is very little that I need to see on a daily basis. If you’re in this situation (i.e. sending daily emails) I would recommend instead that you consider changing this to weekly or even better, biweekly. Or, what if you created a G+ Opt-in circle group which encourages daily emails? Even better. I can now check in when I want and don’t have to be overwhelmed with a new email to open, file, or delete. As information from a variety of sources continues to clutter our inbox and radar, you don’t want to contribute to that clutter.

Mind Your Tone: Would you watch a TV show that was all bitching all the time, with no reprieve? Likely not. Still it amazes me how many people use a social setting to promote their own negative agenda. The thing is, the more cluttered things get, the less tolerant your reader or consumer becomes. Be positive and be consistent. If there is a challenge your industry is facing, share that challenge and solution with your end-user. They will appreciate that much more than an endless rant about all that’s wrong with the world. Consider the folks who love to rant about Amazon. This negative banter accomplishes nothing and does not contribute to the overall conversation in a constructive way. Be good or be gone.

Dominate a Narrow Market: Yes, we’d all like to be kings and queens of our market, but the truth is it’s harder and harder to get to the top of anything. I get that you want to “own” the business market but, frankly, consumers are seeking much more finite information these days. Case in point, when it comes to books: short is the new long. Content that is hyper-focused on one, singular area can draw in a readership or consumer following faster than content that is too general. Own your niche, and while “niche” seems to imply small, the effects can be anything but. For example, the Amazon classes I teach: How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I can’t keep these books on the shelf and the class is the most popular session I’ve ever taught. This niche is anything but small, in fact it’s among the biggest things I’ve ever done.

Be. Human. In a world full of automation, a human element is not just helpful, it’s mandatory. Recently, after presenting at a large event I was speaking to a few attendees who commented that they were surprised that I responded to my own emails. Wait. Really? They said they loved the human touch of my firm, more people, less automation. While automation isn’t a bad thing, and every company needs to automate some aspects of their work, going 100% automation is never a good idea. I find that consumers really appreciate the human connection and, as things become more cluttered in terms of online noise and social media activity, the human element will become even more crucial to connecting with your reader or consumer in an authentic and memorable way.

Unself the Selfie: Maybe it’s just me, but I think we need less “me” in social media. Also, I think that selfies, or the unselfie, could be used in ways that will help promote reader or customer engagement. Instead of creating selfies, which really just push you, why not encourage customer participation and give them a reason to share your content with others? Encourage readers to share a selfie with a copy of your book (and give them a prize to share this picture). Consumers do things for their reasons, not yours, and as more and more content gets filtered through the system, we’re too disengaged to share and yet, consumers have the power and voice you need. Consumers/readers are the key to the success or failure of your marketing. Finding creative ways to engage them will become even more paramount as new products, services, and books continue to flood the market.

Thinking about these things early on will help you avoid getting lost in the consistent onslaught of messages and products. As we continue to add more noise to our lives, it will be the consistent, helpful messengers who remain steadfast on their message that will get our attention. But, you might argue, doesn’t flash capture us, too? It does, but typically only for a little while. You have a choice between a long-term audience, or a quick, fleeting romance. Which will you choose?

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Embracing Change

In 2008 I was having apocalyptic visions of floods resulting from global warming. I have since realized that along with preventive action, I have to accept and embrace the change. Essence of Wife is a song about evolution, love, and hope in the time of climate change. I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid! Contact me for the chords -

Essence of Wife c.2010 Deborah Wilbrink BMI

The world spins in your hazel eyes
Polar twilight, tropic sunrise
Seven known seas rearrange, part
Albatross leaves, hurricanes start

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Souls new, and souls old return
Watch together wells of black gold burn
Earth’s fever rises, oxygen falls,
With the fury of a full moon tide, your heart calls,

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Glaciers calf into our warming sea
Mermaids rise, to ancient melody
Sirens unchain the sailors
Winged victory flies in the face of failure

And I . . . Must swim into your arms
And I . . . Must rest upon your chest’s reef
Inhaling the scent of your life
Unveiling: Essence of Wife

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner July 2014

Just Because You Are You

Splendor bides to celebrate
The magic that is only you, and
Wonder wanders commonplace
When cradled, nestled by your side.

Moonlight pales as constellations
Ride your wave of endless sky, and
Ocean overflows her bounty,
Tranquil in your evening tide.

Not because the world stops spinning.
Not because time takes a pause.
Not that logic dictates that
What once was false is somehow true.

Words can never be a profit
To predict your story’s end.
You fulfill your destiny
… Just because you are you.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:


Sweet whipped cream memories, Ghosts from the past
Sleep soft on my shoulder, a whisper away,
Come calling, revisiting simpler moments of
Moon Pies and Mary James back in the day.

Skate keys and Bobbie socks,
Pigtails and poodle skirts,
Pin curls and Bobbie pins,
Raggedy Ann.
Bosco and Mickey Mouse,
Jukebox and saddle shoes,
Flying with Peter Pan through Neverland.

Baseball cards slapping on bicycle spokes,
Eight tracks and Betamax, bad knock-knock jokes.
Viewmasters, Lincoln logs, erector sets,
Lone Ranger’s sidekick… As good as it gets.

Old wringer washers and rotary phones,
Listening on party lines, waiting your turn.
Lost on the day that the music fell silent.
Peace symbols, love beads and incense to burn.

Dark drive-in movies and black high-top sneakers,
Jiffy pop, rabbit ears, spats and D As.
Pick-up-sticks, Polaroids, tears for Old Yeller,
Time capsule mem’ries tucked safely away.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creating Bestselling Book Ideas That Amazon Will Love

It’s one thing to write a book; it’s quite another to write a book that will sell. We all want to follow our passion, write our dream and dance creatively with our muse, but wouldn't it be fantastic if, amidst all of this creation, we also managed to produce a bestselling book? That is, after all, the dream.

Specifically we’d all like a high ranking on Amazon and though I've addressed that and reviews in other pieces, I thought it might be a good idea to take a step back to the beginning.

Finding Bestselling Book Ideas

I know this gal who fraternizes with a lot of SEO people; for those of you not familiar with the term, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These are the folks who spend their life trying to get on the first page of Google. One day several years back, she and I were talking about how to create ideas that sell. She told me that many of her SEO buddies would write books literally just based on keywords. It had nothing to do with their passion or what they really wanted to write about; instead, they focused on saleable terms, meaning phrases that were getting a huge bounce in Google. Now this may not be how you would ever consider writing a book, but there are merits to this methodology:

Book focus: Where will you focus your book? Don’t get too caught up in a set plan. Leave some room for flexibility and consider what’s “hot” to write about right now. What is an immediate need? You may still stick with your original plan, but slant it a bit more towards seeing what’s hot in search or in the media. Keep in mind that the speed of book production often allows us to jump on a trend or hot topic so take advantage of that when you can.

Book title: If you have identified your best keywords for this market, then you can and should use them here. Keywords in a title can really help to boost your exposure, not just on Amazon but on Google as well.

Book subtitle: If you already have your title set in stone, consider using keywords in your subtitle to help boost your exposure in search.

Book topic: Let’s say you know your market, but you aren't sure what to write about. Sure, you could align this with “book focus", but consider that you’re an expert in consumer finance and want to write a book on this topic. Knowing what consumers are searching on (as it relates to finance) could be a great way to address the immediate needs of your reader. This is where keywords come into play but the research I share further in this article will help with this, too.

The other element here is to create a topic that’s narrower. Instead of focusing on one broad area, focus in more granularly. For example, I recently taught a class about this very topic and we brainstormed ideas on creating segmented topics within one broader umbrella. Consider the real estate gal who has a book on buying or selling your first home. I suggested that instead of trying to reach a big, broad and cluttered market, that she instead focus on isolated industries.

The ideas we brainstormed were: Buying Your First Home for Singles, Buying Your First Home for Seniors, Buying Your First Home for Domestic Partners. You get the idea, right? Create a series of books that sits under a broader market. This will net you better sales. Consumers like specialized topics that help solve a specific problem. And the books don’t have to be long, but we’ll cover that in more depth later. Once you find this market or niche, you’ll want to publish regularly to it. Amazon and the associated algorithms tend to trigger quicker when an author has multiple titles so consider that as well.

So, let’s assume that you've done some keyword research or are at least familiar with the keywords in your market. Let’s see how these searches relate to popular topics on Amazon.

Step-by-step, here is what you’ll need to do:

• On the Amazon page, search in the Kindle store tab. I want you to isolate your searches there for now.

• Plug in your search term and see what comes up. You’ll generally get 5-10 suggestions. Click on one of them.

• Look at the books that come up in search and click on the “customers also bought” section.

• Your focus should be on books that have a low sales rank. Depending on the category, it could be as low as 20,000 or as high as 50,000.

• You want to make sure there’s a variety of books in this segment, preferably more than five and they should all have this range of sales volume. If it’s lower than 20,000 that’s great, but when you get into the super saturated or unpopular categories, neither of those will help you.

• Some Amazon experts say that a 20,000 rank indicates that the book is selling five copies a day, but I find this hard to prove either way. Just know that given Amazon’s volume, it’s definitely not languishing. Regardless, this research will really help to expose hot topics and market segments within your area of expertise that are selling well.

Staying on the Short and Narrow

While full-length books will never go away, there’s a surge towards shorter, niche books—books that “own” a narrow market segment. When I first published How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I was surprised at how the sales out-paced my other books. While I know the title had a lot to do with this, it was also the fact that the book was shorter and focused on one particular area.

If you decide to do this (write shorter books), I wouldn't suggest just keeping the book short. While short is the new long, there’s still plenty of room for full-length books, too. So, in other words, if you can mix it up, that’s the best track for success. How short can short be? Ten thousand to seventeen thousand words is generally acceptable. Keep in mind that if you do short, you don’t have room for fluff. You’ll want to be as crystal clear as you can be on specific instructions, maybe even include step-by-step instructions or checklists, which readers love.

Other Ways to Develop Book Ideas

There’s an element of research that goes into every book you create, and I’m not just talking about the topic research, but content, too. When you’re developing your book idea and trying to decide what to include and exclude from the book, consider spending a bit of time doing a comparison with other, similar books in your market. Take a look at their book pages on Amazon, read through their reviews. In particular, the negative reviews that give constructive feedback about what the reader thought was missing, or things they wished had been expanded upon, will be particularly helpful. Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review.

One Final Note on Shorter Books

On Amazon there is the “look inside the book” feature. This covers just a short section of your book, so be cautious when you’re preparing your final content. If your book is too short, the “look inside” feature will reveal most of the book, or enough of it that readers may glean what they want and not buy it. You want to fill the book with sufficient content so that you don’t end up with this problem. If you've finished the book and it seems a bit too short, consider adding things like checklists, free resources or bonus chapters from other books you've written that relate to this topic.

Keep in mind that this isn't meant to pump up your book page count just for the sake of doing that, but if the book looks too much like a white paper or report instead of a book, you may end up with a lot of window-shoppers who don’t end up buying. How short is too short? Anything under 50 pages is too short. Generally I’d recommend that you sit somewhere over 55 pages, ideally 65 pages to be safe. And again, don’t stuff your book with useless content. Make sure that if you need to add pages, you are adding helpful, useful information.

Doing some book research is not just a great idea to help develop some high-selling product, but a great idea overall. We invest so much of our time and effort into our books that the more we can make sure we’re on target, the less time we’ll spend languishing in obscurity. Given that there are 3,500 books published every day in the US, whatever you can do to stand out above the crowd can make all the difference.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.