Feeling Nostalgic for Asia in 2016

I can’t believe it’s already been almost a year since I embarked on my “Eat, Pray, Love” working holiday in Asia. What an amazing year it was! Here is a video I created, ahead of time, to help me obtain a teaching job once I got to Thailand…

And here is a page where I wrote about my experience: click here for more details regarding my inspiration for this trip. There are a couple of pictures contained on that page specific to my time in Thailand, but I thought I’d also share a few more with you today. It was an amazing year for me. So glad I did it!

1. DELICIOUS food in Singapore
2. Evening tour of downtown Singapore
3. The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand
4. Tour of George Town in Penang, Malaysia, to see all the street art
5. Afternoon visit with the Long Neck Karen Tribe
6. Visited The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand
7. Visited The Bund in Shanghai, China
8. Watched a Buddhist monk being ordained in Thailand
9. Hugged by a baby elephant at the Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin, Thailand

I hope you enjoy these pics. And if you ever get the chance to visit any of these places, I highly recommend it.

So, what inspired this blog post today? I received an email from my old school in Bangkok, Interkids Bilingual School IBS, that tugged on my heartstrings and made me nostalgic for the whole experience again. Click here to read it.  It makes me smile. I love these people, and I miss them very much. Thank you for giving me such a beautiful experience in your country.

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[Thinking Outside the Box] T-Shaped Marketing for Authors

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

Online marketing—blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising—to name only a few kinds, provides today’s authors with a vehicle to reach a worldwide audience where, in the past, they were limited to their own backyards. But to make any kind of real headway in this crowded space full of millions of people doing the same thing as you’re doing online, you’ve got to think outside the box. You’ve got to figure out a way to stand out among the rest by combining analytical and creative skills together. I’m talking about T-shaped marketing.

I invite you to click on this link because it will bring you to a diagram that depicts the T-shaped marketing concept really well: The T-Shaped Web Marketer. To quote the author of this Moz blog entry: “T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).” Your deep knowledge/ability (the stem of the T) is the content you’ve written about in your book(s) whereas the flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various other creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the Internet in selling your book(s).

Many of the most successful online companies of today used T-shaped marketing (also referred to as “growth hacking” which will be discussed in an upcoming blog entry) to grow their businesses when no venture capital was available to help them. AirBNB utilized Craigslist users as part of their growth hacking strategy. PayPal paid people for referrals. DropBox gave people extra storage for referrals. There are many more examples of this, as well.

I believe authors can do the same thing as these companies did to really put themselves and their books on the map. If you have any doubts about that, I invite you to read this online Forbes article: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. Mark Dawson was first trade published. But when he saw how few copies his trade publisher sold for him, he switched to self-publishing for his next book and learned how to become an entrepreneurial author instead of a mere trade published author. This is T-shaped marketing at its best.

I hope today’s blog entry will whet your appetite enough to join me again for the next one. I’ll be talking about growth hacking in a bit more detail when we meet each other again.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Modern Marketing for Authors: Post Your Readings and Interviews on YouTube

There are a lot of different ways that authors can use YouTube to promote their books and get more leverage out of past publicity (e.g. radio or television interviews). Here are two examples…

Video Readings

A few years back, I decided to create a video of me reading the introduction to my third book, titled 11:11, with Canmore’s renown Three Sisters Mountain Range behind me. Mother Nature seemed to approve of the idea by gifting us with mild temperatures—it was a balmy +2 degrees Celsius on March 8, 2010, even up in Alberta’s mountaintops!—which allowed me to be filmed without a coat, gloves, or even a hat on. (You can imagine how much easier it is to turn the pages of a book without gloves on!) I couldn’t have asked for a nicer winter day.

In addition to agreeable winter weather conditions, I had the honour of working with two consummate professionals—David Joseph of David Joseph Photography and Patricia M. Gallagher of PMG Creative—who added their creative ideas to mine to help make this video come together. This is yet another testament to the fact that two or more brains are better than one. A combined mastermind can create wonderful results.

Here is a link to my YouTube video reading:

Media Interviews

In 2016, Brent Gill, a correspondent for the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT) in Stockton, California, conducted this very unique audio interview with four-time PPG author Colin Manuel … unique because Colin is 70% hearing impaired. How do you conduct an audio interview with a hearing-impaired author? With a little finagling and clever innovation, that’s how!

We asked Brent to provide us with the audio file for this interview so we could convert it into a YouTube-friendly format and re-post it for our subscribers. In the description portion of the interview, we posted all the ISBNs for all Colin’s books and let readers know where they can buy them. Now, our author can further leverage this publicity by sharing the YouTube link with his current and prospective readers any time he wants to.

Here is a link to that interview:

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2010 (original post) 2017 (updated post) Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Media Tour: Watch for Barbara Paterson’s New Book This Coming Month!

A media tour is a series of interviews with newspapers, magazines, and/or broadcast stations to promote you and your new book. Tying in this type of publicity with a bookstore signing or an evening launch (reading) is a great way to increase traffic to the event plus establish yourself as an author. This is exactly what PPG’s latest author, Barbara Paterson, is going to be doing over the next six weeks to promote her new book titled Malignant Memory. Click here to view details of Barbara’s upcoming event through McNally Robinson in Winnipeg. 

You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to stir media interest. All you need is a good angle. For example, if you’re from Manitoba as Barbara is, you may want to promote yourself as an “up and coming Manitoba author” to the media in that province. Or, as another example, if you’ve published an historical fiction or non-fiction work about a particular region, you can contact the media within that region for an interview.

In Barbara’s case, we are promoting her as a doctor with an interdisciplinary doctorate in nursing, psychology and education, as well as a master’s degree in post-secondary education. She served as a professor at the University of Manitoba, the University of British Columbia, the University of New Brunswick, and Thompson River University until her retirement in 2013.

Malignant Memory paints a portrait of how to put one foot in front of the other in the face of unimaginable trauma. It shows there is power in bringing dark secrets into the light, particularly in the face of acceptance and forgiveness and how bad times can become an opportunity to gain strength. The stories of abuse, trauma and grief in the book are based on actual accounts Dr. Paterson received in her work as a nurse and a researcher; they are real-life narratives of survivors of residential schools, adults who experienced profound childhood trauma and people facing life-threatening illness.

Once you reach J.K. Rowling’s level of renown, a press release with a one-liner such as “Announcing the latest release by…” is about all you’ll need to generate buzz and arrange interviews for yourself. Until that day comes, placing a personal phone call to request an interview is much more effective than any press release, fax, or email alone. Or you can hire an experienced publicist through Polished Publishing Group (PPG) for even more impact.

Who do you contact to book an interview? It varies depending on the media: you’ll want to talk to the book review editor when contacting a newspaper; your best bet is the news editor at a radio station; and you should ask for either the producer of the morning show or a community events reporter at a television station.

Each time you complete an interview, it’s a great idea to ask for a copy of it so you can continue promoting it even further. For example, you can scan a copy of a newspaper article to display on your blog; or you can ask for copies of your radio/television interviews in a YouTube-compatible file format and then post them to your YouTube channel like PPG did here:

There are many effective ways to sell more of your books … from readings, to bookstore signings, to trade shows, to speaking engagements. A timely media tour will complement all of these events to make them even more successful.

Good luck to Barbara on your upcoming media tour! We wish you all the success in the world!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 (original post) 2017 (updated post) Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Why Do We Use Social Media Marketing? What’s the Point?

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

As you know, I’m a strong proponent of social media marketing and am always telling my authors to use it in conjunction with blogging so they can sell more books. You may be asking yourself why. You may be one of the many people who ask, “How do you monetize it? How do you make money using social media marketing?” If you’re one of these people, then you need to read this blog entry because it will clarify a few things for you.

There are experts out there who will teach you specifically how to earn money using Twitter or YouTube or whatever other social media platform … and I share some of those with you in this email campaign. But I personally use these websites in a different context. I use them as advertising tools. I use them to drive more traffic to other e-commerce sites where I sell my books and various other services (e.g. personalized and customized sales coaching for authors).

I want to give you a couple of examples to help explain. Take a look at PPG’s Twitter page here. And take a look at my personal author Twitter page here. Every single day, one or two different tweets are sent out to our respective Twitter followers from these pages. Sometimes, events are being promoted. Other times, positive book reviews are being shared. We post our blog entries and links to the opt-in pages for our email campaigns here. And, occasionally, a link to where our books can be purchased online are being tweeted, too. It’s a mixture of everything, and it’s done on a daily basis.

Consistency is key. Regular advertising is all about creating top of mind awareness—staying in front of your prospective readers/customers so that, when they’re in the market to purchase what you’re selling, they’ll recall you (your book, your services) above all the rest.

We live in a wonderful world where we don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to achieve this anymore. Where we used to have to buy expensive newspaper, radio, or television ads to reach our target markets, we now have the Internet which allows us to reach an unlimited audience free of charge. All it takes is the time you have to build your subscribers, followers, likes, et cetera, on the various social media platforms.

Why do companies with prominent brands such as Coca Cola and Disney and Nike advertise regularly? Because it works! It allows them to stay top of mind for you—their prospective (possibly repeat) customer. And that’s what social media marketing can do for you and your book over time.

Go ahead and follow us on the two above-mentioned Twitter pages so you can watch how we do it. It may provide you with some inspiration for your own Twitter page.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

New Author Ash Borodin Discusses the Writing and Editing Process

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SHOP NOW

First and foremost, I want to thank Ash Borodin and his editor, Elisa, for providing this unique guest post about the writing and editing processes for the PPG Publisher’s Blog. I smiled all the way through the below dialog and found myself nodding “yes” through much of it.

The creative process of writing a book takes on many different forms, as Ash discusses below, and the editing/ghostwriting processes require much patience and collaboration between two willing participants…

The editing/writing process

My name’s Ash and my debut novel is called The Jealous Flock. It’s about the parallel lives of unique individuals struggling to define their values and identity in relation to the major culture clash(es) the world is experiencing right now.

My name’s Elisa and I edited the Jealous Flock…

Ash: Everything I do is experimental, including this interview (which we are collaborating on live through Google Docs). I can imagine I’m an editor’s worst nightmare…

Elisa: Yes, you can say that again.

Ash: Can you elaborate on that… On second thought, actually don’t. Well, give us a rough idea of one of the challenges.

Elisa: Well for starters, having the chapters written in no particular order, so I couldn’t really make sense of the story. And using speech to text didn’t always give the words you intended, so I had to guess what they might be.

Ash: Ah, yes, I’d forgotten about that. I think I had this general master plan in my head for what the final book should be but I had no idea how to weave it all together. So initially it was more just a bunch of short stories. And then I gradually wrote some bridging stories to connect the others and from there more changes had to be made. It really was a mess. I still think it was a pretty good mess, from my point of view, it was like a band improvising, each person takes a solo and the others fit in and react.

Elisa: I also found it strange to read when it was initially in present tense, and I told you it sounded like a play.

Ash: Well, in a sense it was. And when you said that, I thought – alright I’ll make it a play then. But that was more stubbornness than resolve on my part. I think it could easily be adapted to work as a screenplay and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind if the opportunity ever arises.

Elisa: I think it might lack the beautiful descriptions you have put into the writing though, and perhaps make it more bland.

Ash: Yeah, and in part it was vanity that spurred me on to rewrite the whole thing in past tense. I didn’t want to lose my poetic vision, my voice. But finding some way between the two extremes was a real challenge for me as a writer, this being my debut novel especially. Because I wrote a lot of it live – I method acted the lines through a voice-recorder – it had that zeal, the immediacy you only get from the spoken word and some of the intimacy of conversation. To then put that into past tense, well it felt like prostitution of my passion at first. I was really adverse to it.

Now I tell people the importance of having an active reader (or an editor, really) from the beginning. Because writing is one thing, but storytelling is really a higher level of writing and that involves connecting, relating to your audience.

Elisa: Yes, it is, but it’s a hell of a difficult thing to try and convince an author that he needs to make a change like this. Authors really don’t like criticism of any kind.

Ash: Not naming any names, of course….

Elisa: None at all. And by the way, just so people know, I’m editing your writing as we speak. That’s why there are no spelling mistakes.

Ash: Ha! What people don’t know is that you just wrote ‘smelling mistakes’ and I saw it!

Elisa: Yes, okay, you caught me, but I did fix it immediately.

Ash: I think if we were to work on a book again it would be much easier this time because we’ve both mellowed a lot. For those who came in late, Elisa and I are married. And in the 3 years since we wrote the book we’ve been through a lot personally and as a couple, and I think though we blow up at times under great stress, we are generally able to plan ahead for stress and compartmentalise it a lot better.

Elisa: Sometime a good yelling match is exactly what you need to release it all.

Ash: I know, yesterday’s was great. We called each other unprintable names. A good time was had by all…

Elisa: So, back to editing… another thing that was difficult to get a handle on was that each character used first person, which was really confusing during the editing.

Ash: I think I would do that differently now, but surprisingly no-one’s complained about it yet. Yet….

Elisa: I think it actually works… now.  Now that we have each character’s name in the title of each chapter (thanks to me).

Ash: Yeah that was a necessary evil I was forced to accept as well. I was trying to be so clever in my writing that the reader would intuitively know who the character speaking was – that this was now their perspective. But it was too high a bar for me and maybe an unnecessary bar at that.

Elisa: You can’t expect the reader to do too much work themselves.

Ash: Well that was probably the final thing I relented on. I wanted it to be more work than it eventually was – for the reader. I wanted them to really pay attention like one would with a textbook or work of philosophy. But in the end the need to relate overcame the desire to be very serious.

Ash’s book is available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01NAPZWB8

https://twitter.com/0rWouldUrather

http://ashleyborodin.weebly.com 

© Ash Borodin 2017

Guest Bloggers Welcome!

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

Hello fellow writers, authors, bloggers!

I do my best to balance the many daily tasks involved in my full-time work with writing/posting at least two quality entries on my blog every week. I could sure use some help to keep the content fresh and entertaining for my growing list of subscribers, and I’m more than happy to return the favour. I’m looking for guest bloggers. And I can guest post on your blog, too, if you’d like.

A little more about me to help you decide whether we’re a good fit for each other…

The purpose of my blog is to provide free tips to help aspiring (and already-published) authors with every aspect of the book writing, publishing, sales, and marketing processes from conception to publication. Since I’m a TESOL-certified sales coach for authors, my blog already contains a lot of post-publication content regarding book sales and marketing. More pre-publication advice, specifically tailoured toward helping writers complete their manuscripts, is welcome.

Of course, I’m also more than happy to help out a budding author by posting an excerpt of your upcoming book so long as you also provide a front cover and/or author photo along with a link to your blog. Whichever publisher you used/plan to use to publish your book makes no matter to me. I will also ensure your copyright notice is listed at the bottom of your excerpt.

If you think this is a good fit, then please send me a message. I hope we can help each other out, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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FREE Daily Tips Emailed Directly to Your Inbox from Kim Staflund

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

I’ve made it my mission in life to help authors the world over enjoy more commercial success. As a bestselling author and sales coach, I can show you how to write, publish, advertise, sell, market, and publicize your own book(s) using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade. My books, my blog, and my Sales Coaching for Authors webinars are three of the teaching tools I use.

In addition to these resources, I’ve also put together four email campaigns tailored directly toward three different types of writers/authors. By subscribing to any one of these campaigns, you’ll receive free daily tips from me directly into your email inbox. Whether you’re in the writing stages of your book or have already published it and are now looking for ways to sell it, there is something here for you:

FREE Book Publishing Guide: Learn How to Create a Best Seller

Learn How to Protect Your Creative Work! FREE ADVICE from a Trademark, Copyright and Entertainment Attorney

Writing and Publishing for Business Professionals: Learn How to Save Time, Earn a Profit, and Stand Out as an Industry Expert in Your Field!

Time Management Tips for Writers … and Everything Else You Need to Help You Write That Book!

Whether you subscribe to one—or all—of these email campaigns, you have my personal guarantee that your privacy is 100% assured and your email address will never be shared with anyone else. My intention is simply to provide you with some true value in the form of useful information that will help you achieve your goals. And I’m providing it for FREE!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Don’t Call Procrastination Laziness. Call it Fear. (PART TWO)

In part one of this two-part blog series, we talked about the difference sections of the human brain—the reptilian brain, the limbic brain, and the neocortex—and how they each affect our decision-making processes. We discovered that our unconscious, compulsive, automatic fear of things unknown is created in the reptilian portion of our brains. And we discussed that any of the irrational concerns we may have about book publishing, sales, and marketing are variations of the exact same thing: the reptilian brain’s unconscious, automatic “fight or flight” survival instinct triggered by its fear of the unknown.

Instinct is a good thing that serves a valid purpose in our lives. God gave us all an instinct for a reason, and we should pay attention to it; but, whenever your fear of the unknown has you avoiding potentially advantageous opportunities simply because they’re new to you, then it’s time to consult with your more evolutionarily advanced neocortex—the logical, rational portion of your brain—by writing your fears down. Articulate them to yourself in writing. Read them out loud to yourself. When you do this, you’ll begin to see just how irrational many of those fears really are.

Fear #1: What if it’s a bad idea?

I can’t tell you how many authors I’ve sat and had a coffee with who have sheepishly shrugged their shoulders and said, “It’s probably a stupid idea. Maybe I shouldn’t do it.”

To which I always reply, “How long have you been thinking about this idea? When did it first come to you?”

For many of them, the answer is, “Several months.” For others, the answer is, “Several years.”

I always tell them the same thing: “An idea is a life form of its own that wishes to be expressed. It wants to be given life, and it has chosen you as the conduit for its life. That’s a gift . Accept this gift and use your God-given talent to give it the expression and life it craves. The fact that you’ve been thinking about this idea for several months or years tells you that it’s not simply a fleeting thought. It’s a real living, breathing thing.”

As an entrepreneur starting my own book publishing business, and writing and selling my own books, I had my moments when I thought to myself, “Maybe this is a bad idea.” I’m just like you. What I did, in those moments, was seek out inspiration from other people who had succeeded before me, to help me push through that fear and self-doubt. I read books. I watched videos. I used whatever tools I could find to help myself move forward.

One of my most cherished sources of inspiration is a video of Sara Blakely (2011), the founder of Spanx, Inc., speaking to a group at The Edge Connection in Atlanta, Georgia, about how she built her hosiery company from a mere $5,000 initial investment into a billion dollar empire in a short ten years. Very early in her presentation, she describes listening to a speaker at a convention who stated that he would prove to the room, in only four words, that there is no such thing as a bad idea: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES! Sara herself eventually went on to prove to the many early doubters, in only two words, that there is no such thing as a bad idea: FOOTLESS PANTYHOSE!

I highly recommend this video of Sara Blakely to all authors who doubt themselves and their current ideas—whether it’s a book topic idea or a sales idea you have for an already-published book. It is a beautiful example of what’s possible when one pushes past that instinctive, reptilian-brain fear and perseveres in the achievement of a goal—any goal. For those who love humour, you’ll enjoy this video all the more. This woman is not only inspirational; she’s downright hilarious. I truly admire her on so many levels.

Fear #2: What if nobody reads it?

Well, then nobody will read it. And you’ll be no further behind nor any further ahead than you are today. You’re surviving right now, right? Fear busted.

Fear #3: What if people read it and don’t like it?

First of all, if people are reading it, that’s a good thing! That’s the ultimate goal!

Second, accept the fact that you’re entitled to your own opinions— and so is everyone else. Once you can do that, you’ll experience a freedom you’ve never experienced before.

When I published my first book, everything was quite new to me, and I had an expectation (possibly an unfair one) that my friends and family members should support me 100 percent and compliment me on my book, no matter what they thought of it. Luckily, that did happen with my first book. Everyone around me was very supportive.

Unfortunately, when my second book came out, it was a different story. I received an unexpected criticism from someone dear to me that left me shocked, hurt, and unsure how to react. I’ll be honest; it took me a couple years to come to a place where I was willing to put myself out there again. During that time, I had to rethink my expectations of those closest to me and find a way to remain confident in myself and my craft regardless of others’ opinions.

In retrospect, I’m glad I experienced that criticism so early in my publishing career because it taught me a valuable lesson about how I should measure the true merit of my work. A few times, I’ve had to ask myself the question: What is the truth here? Is it the joy and enthusiasm I felt when I held a printed copy of the book in my hand for the very first time? Or is it the self-doubt I felt when someone criticized it later on? Which one of those two moments will I use to determine the value of my book?

A wise woman named Lisa Nichols once said:

Oftentimes, you give others the opportunity to create your happiness, and many times they fail to create it the way you want it. Why? Because only one person can be in charge of your joy . . . and that’s you. So even your parent, your child, your spouse—they do not have the control to create your happiness. They simply have the opportunity to share in your happiness. Your joy lies within you.

A beautiful sentiment, don’t you think? I believe the same can be said for self-confidence and faith.

I’ve gone into every book project since then with a new set of expectations that take the pressure off both me and those around me. It’s always nice when people acknowledge a new book with a hearty congratulation, but I’ve decided that’s where their obligation ends. I no longer base a book’s worth on whether others read it, agree with it, enjoy it, or discuss it with me after the fact. The truth I try my best to hold onto is the joy I felt when I held that first printed copy in my hand. I hope you will do the same for you. I hope you will find a way to hold onto your enthusiasm even if you come up against any criticism along the way—whether it’s from friends, family members, reviewers, or anyone else. Keep writing! Keep the faith!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.