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How to Start Writing a Book


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I’ve published over a thousand books in my career and have worked with a variety of interesting authors worldwide. Their backgrounds range from university professors and bank CEO’s to Olympic athletes and technology executives.

Because writing is an art, it is easy to get stuck in the process. I’ve seen many authors become paralyzed by their own over-analysis of their topic. Others will research so meticulously that they never seem to make any progress. Many authors will take 12 months or more to write a book. Some take several years to come up with a complete first draft of their manuscript. Others simply don’t finish at all.

The key to completion is harnessing the power of momentum. While each author has a unique process for completing a book manuscript, there are dozens of different methods for writing books. In response to this thorny issue, I’ve discovered a system that will cut that time down to a few weeks.

Let’s explore a couple methods.

We’ll start with the ”straight A student” when it comes to writing a book so that you can see the best-case scenario. This writer is Chris Widener, and he is a professional speaker. Besides writing a New York Times bestselling book, he is the fastest writer I know. After he conceived his book over a couple of months, he sat down at his local Starbucks for 12-days straight and wrote a 35,000-word manuscript. Most mere mortal authors have a different experience. Let’s look at a few more examples.

Many authors start their book projects by taking time off of their “day job”, or taking a sabbatical. The most common methods people use to write a book is to step away from their everyday life for 6 to 12 months, and then go off somewhere interesting and write. On average, this approach takes about a year.

Another way that’s quite common, especially with non-fiction books written by hyper busy executives, is taking a few months to draft the essence of the material, creating a cogent outline, and coming up with stories to support each point. Once this outline is in place, they hire a professional writer to do the heavy lifting of crafting the body of the book. A good ghostwriter will take the author’s ideas and concepts, then translate them into the written word, expressing the material in a style that meshes with the author’s voice.

Ghostwriting is an excellent option for authors who are clear about what they would like to say but haven’t yet honed the craft of composition. It’s an efficient way to work, and it’s completely legit. As long as the ghostwriter and the author of record speak the same language, this can produce some highly successful results.

However there is a downside to this tactic. The reason many authors want to hire a ghostwriter in the first place is that they have difficulty expressing themselves. This can make for muddled communication and imperfect results. If you choose to hire a ghostwriter, you will need to be clear about your content and your objective.

The final method for writing a book is a system we use at Made for Success Publishing called Book in a Weekend. It’s a high-velocity, time-compressed system for writing books inspired by agile product development methods. This is great for the author who may want to write a book themselves, or come up with an outline they can hand off to a ghostwriter to do the writing for them. This is the most effective method for setting up the writing project and producing a time-compressed outline of a book in a weekend.

The most important aspect of writing is to get the project started. Once you have started the writing process, it’s easier to gain momentum and complete the manuscript. It is essential to work from a detailed outline of the book, much like a Table of Contents. This helps you organize your writing and stay on track.

What we do with this Book in a Weekend process is fairly intuitive, but it’s easy to put off completion. We work with the author to break the book down into a series of small chunks. By chunks, I’m talking about chunks of writing, so each part of the book gets broken down into 800-word sections. Now, you’ve got a plan for writing each 800-word piece.

These sections of writing can be thought of in the same way you might think of writing an article or an email. In my line of work, I type a lot of emails. A really long email is usually about 800 words. If I’m writing a short email, it might be 50 to 100 words. By breaking the project down, the author might think of each section as a series of long emails.

Most people can sit down for an hour or so, write a long email and overcome any typical distractions. Carving out an hour to write is a fairly achievable goal. If the author can string together those messages into the timeframe that we recommend, the book will develop naturally like clockwork – usually in just a couple of days.

The Book in a Weekend process entails following these 7 sequential steps. In fact, I use this exact method to write my own books.

1. Conceptualize your book by answering the question of “What’s the big picture of your writing?”

2. Identify your target audience.

3. Brainstorm title options for your book.

4. Gather and organize pertinent stories that can be used to make key points.

5. Build the Table of Contents with your key ideas.

6. Assign stories to each Chapter.

7. Assign how many words you plan to write for each Chapter.

When I wanted to create my first manuscript, I went on a retreat for a few days. I rented a hotel room on a mountain lake, removed all distractions and didn’t even answer my cell phone. It may sound like a dream vacation, but believe me – I was definitely in Work mode. I’d wake-up early to write as the sun came up, and then would reward myself at the end of the day with an early evening motorcycle ride around the lake.

I found that organizing my ideas using these steps really helped me overcome my natural tendency to procrastinate on the project. Ponying up the cash for the hotel room also helped give the project the gravitas is needed. By the end of my stay, I had an actionable manuscript, which I later published first as an ebook, then as a physical book and finally as an audiobook. Since then, that book has gone on to sell thousands of copies on autopilot.

With that, there’s only one question left to ask: what are your plans for the weekend?




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.

  

icon1August 9, 2016
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Like Climbing a Mountain – The 5 Things to Know in Writing a Successful Book


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Like Climbing a Mountain – The 5 Things to Know in Writing a Successful Book


Bryan Heathman

Few things are as satisfying as that feeling you get once you see the book you’ve written on bookstore shelves. At the very least, it’s a valuable conversation starter at cocktail parties. At the very best, your name becomes a household name.

Some people say the best part about being a published author is the passive income you receive from your quarterly royalty checks. Patricia Fripp is famous in my office for her thank you letters about receiving “mailbox money.”

For those who are already published writers, you probably know that there is nothing passive about your income. There’s also nothing glamorous about the sweat involved in bringing your opus to market and banging your drum for months leading into your launch to attract the attention of book buyers. Hence, there needs to be more to your reward than riveting conversation at cocktail parties.


The Key to Reaching the Top Is Actually Starting


This reminds me of a story. One weekend a few years ago, when my son was still a teenager – eyebrows fashionably bushy, girls squabbling over him, physically fit and taking it for granted – we set out for a day hike to the summit of the famous Mt. Saint Helens. Yes, that Mt. Saint Helens, the semi-active volcano which continues to brew to this day under a dome of hardened lava.

We arrived at the trailhead early-morning. The path was strewn with sharp gray rocks, pieces of ash and pumice left over from her famous explosion back in May of 1980. Even though the terrain on the trail was rough, my son and I got started – he with the rash haste of a 16-year old; I with the more practiced gait of a silverback. The point is that we started, a delicate point that most fail to appreciate. As they say, “The start is what stops most people.”

The morning wore on, and the trail climbed without any consideration for my physical condition. I looked around to see if we were keeping pace with the healthy couple from Connecticut who were climbing 3 summits in 3 days. I was hanging in there. However, in the back of my mind I was hoping that after a while my son would tire, slow down, and give his ol’ man a break. Not a chance. He pushed ahead, summited with ease, and waited impatiently for me at the top.

The air was thin towards the top of this 10,000 foot peak, but despite the elevation everything was going great. Then suddenly, 50 yards from the peak, my thigh seriously cramped-up. There I was, so close to the elusive summit that I could hear the conversations from the group at the summit. As I sat there on a rock stretching my thigh, I wondered flippantly if there were any rickshaws nearby that I could hire. It was only a persistent inner resolve that got me off that rock and up the steep, rocky path to the summit.

Writing a book can be like that.

Whether you start out writing your book with high hopes and a burst of energy, or you pace yourself with the long view in mind, the key is to start. Once you get started, momentum works in your favor. Then, your next challenge is to finish it. The rewards will be many and finishing a book is incredibly fulfilling, despite the challenges along the way.


5 Things to Know about a Published Book


Knowing that it’s hard to tell stories at events about a book you haven’t finished yet, here are five steps for getting your book manuscript done, out the door, and into the hands of readers.

1. Derivatives: Consider the different types of book derivatives that are available to you, such as physical books, eBooks and audiobooks. Choose the format that’s most appropriate for your ideas and your audience. Some authors launch their ebook first. Others will record an audiobook first, get it transcribed, then convert that to their book.

2. Licensing: Know about licensing for both domestic and foreign rights. Getting your book translated into foreign languages and published can make an attractive ancillary income from your writing.

3. Title: Come up with a gripping title for your book and don’t underestimate this part of your writing. Do some social media research study to get the book’s title and subtitle locked down. You can get opinions from fans in real-time this way. It’s a great use of technology!

4. Structure: Use your table of contents as the essence of your book. It will help establish the flow of your ideas and serve as an outline for your material. You can refer to it as you write and create the structure of your book.

5. Refinement: As the writing progresses, always have someone proof edit your work to make sure that the writing is sharp. Have a trusted ally provide you with ongoing feedback. This means that through the writing process, you’re not alone and you have help every step of the way.

Using these steps can accelerate your writing process and help you complete your manuscript at a brisk pace. What I’ve discovered after years of working with authors is that even people who maintain a crazy busy schedule can complete a book inside a three-month time frame, by disciplining their time on their writing project.

What kind of conversation will you start at your next cocktail party? Challenge yourself to get started with a book and push it across the finish-line in the next 6-months…what comes next may surprise you.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1August 2, 2016
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7 Reasons Social Media is a Powerful Tool for Authors


Social MediaIf you aren’t already on a social media platform, chances are your editor, agent and publisher are probably hounding you to get with the times. There’s a lot of contradictory information out there on whether or not a social presence increases book sales, but most experts agree there are plenty of other reasons to keep an active profile.

 

If done properly, it’s an incredible tool that can help you connect directly with your audience, among other things. Unfortunately, not all social media sites are available in every country due to geo-restrictions, limiting your access if you’re travelling for your latest writing project. However, you can circumvent geo-restrictions and gain access to them by using a Virtual Private Network such as IPVanish. If you’re still on the fence about the using social media or not, the reasons below might change your mind.

 

Increase Your Reach

 

Unless you’re already a world-renowned author, chances are you can do with a larger audience. Social media provides you with the opportunity to reach billions of people. Literally. Facebook alone has 1.65 billion monthly active users. Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reach every single user, you can definitely reach a good portion of your target audience on there. Facebook and other social media sites offer relatively affordable ads that allow you to pinpoint your exact demographic. But it isn’t just through ads that you reach new fans. Social sharing and tagging can deliver your content to the friends of your current followers.

 

Connect Directly with Readers and Fans

 

As you might expect, social media is about being social. The best authors frequently engage with their followers not just to promote their books, but to answer their questions, participate in conversations and even reveal new information about their books. It’s a great platform to keep your current or upcoming book on the forefront of their mind. It also makes you more approachable and shows your audience that you appreciate their support and enthusiasm for your projects.

 

Stay Up-to-date on Industry News

 

Social media isn’t just for chatting with other people; it’s also a great place to stay abreast of recent developments. Twitter tends to be one of the best places for breaking news due to its steady stream of live tweets, though you can find recent news on Facebook as well. Your feed can often get cluttered with too many updates, especially on Twitter, so the best way to keep everything organised is to create your own lists to focus on specific areas of your industry. They could be anything from tech news to your favourite authors. The main thing is to keep it organised and check in on your lists every day. You’ll often learn about major publishing developments that could affect you.

 

Meet Other Authors

 

Let’s face it. As an author, you likely spend more time in front of your computer than attending networking events. Social media is a perfect outlet to connect with other people in the industry without having to walk away from your book. It’s a great place to talk about the craft, get some feedback, encourage each other and even give and receive constructive criticism. There are many groups on LinkedIn and Facebook you can join to connect with others. Besides authors, you may even find editors, publishers and agents on these groups. Of course, the goal of joining isn’t to find people who will publish your book; it’s to chat with other like-minded people and maybe even forge friendships. If your writing gets noticed, that’s just icing on the cake.

 

Save Money on Marketing

 

Whilst it’s likely you’ll still want to attend in-person events to meet your fans face-to-face, social media can save you a lot of money. Not only are you reaching out to a group of people who are already interested in your work, but you also don’t need to spend too much money to connect with them. Most social networks allow you to set a limit to the amount of advertising dollars you spend per day or even as a one-time boost. Of course, the more you spend, the more people you reach, but even $25 can get you in front of thousands of new people.You can even leverage platforms such as Google Hangouts to have “in-person” chats with your fans and then post these videos to YouTube. Something like this costs you nothing, but it goes a long way to increasing loyalty. Eventually, these people will become your advocates and will market your book to their own circle of friends.

 

Refer Traffic to Your Site, Landing Page or Amazon Page

 

Whilst it’s a no-no to bombard your fans with promotional posts about your books, you can still make these posts on occasion. The general rule of the thumb is 80 percent engaging content and 20 percent promotional content. This means the majority of your posts should be something that interests your followers and also aligns with your author brand. This might be content from authors within your genre or industry news. You’ll want to focus your attention on posts that will earn shares as well as start a conversation. The more you engage your followers, the more likely they will be to click on your promotional links. Besides posts, make sure to include links to your Amazon page or site in your social media profile. This stays at the top of the page, and the better your rapport with followers, the more clicks and potential new readers you will have.

 

Spark Your Next Book Idea

 

Many authors find inspiration by observing the world and people around them. There’s no better place to people watch than social media. Billions of people post status updates every day some of the life events might catch your eye as an idea for a good story. Other times, it might be a piece of news that sparks your creativity. Or perhaps it’s social media itself that gets your gears turning. It’s also a great place to develop characters who have differing opinions from your own. You can find several real people who might be similar to this character and ask them questions about their beliefs for a more believable and fully formed personality. Before joining, make sure you know not only know social media etiquette but how to stay safe on it as well.

 

About the Author: Caroline is a freelance writer who enjoys reading as much as she loves technology. She wants to help authors get discovered by more people by using powerful tools already at their disposal, such as social media. You can find more of Caroline’s writing at www.culturecoverage.com

 

I’d like to thank gokopublishing.com for allowing me to write this post. They provide a lot of fantastic information for authors who are looking for better ways to promote their books. I highly suggest first-time or even veteran authors to check out their article How to Make Your Author Website the “In” Place To Be for some amazing tips.
  

icon1June 28, 2016
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Goodreads and the Power of Massive Book Exposure


bigstock-Content-Marketing-Arrows-Hit-92741999-300x225 When it comes to talking about the fundamentals of book promotion, using GoodReads is about as fundamental as you can get. Can 41 million readers be wrong? Probably not. With that in mind, here are steps you can take to maximize the return on your investment of time and attention to your book marketing campaigns.

The Goodreads Trifecta of Promotion 

1. Community & Good Citizenship: Get involved in the GoodReads community and when your book is released, ask people to review it on the site. As a member of the Goodreads community, you’ll want to observe decorum. Use the same common courtesies you would in any other online social setting. Take a week or so to observe the tone and the content of threads within the groups. When you feel confident that you’ve got the knack, start participating by leaving considered comments. Once you become a bit more known you can create threads of your own. After you’ve become a trusted member of the community, you can add your book title or have someone add it for you. This gradual approach means you are less likely to look like an amateur and more likely to be considered a respected voice in the community.

2. Book Giveaways: Once you’re established on Goodreads.com, you can create buzz and get reviews by giving away free copies of your book. To do this, click the Goodreads link to “Create A Giveaway.” These are physical books you’re giving away, so you’ll need to have copies of your book on hand to send to reviewers who request it. Be sure you conduct only one Giveaway at a time or this can get expensive and confusing. Some experts suggest allocating 25 books to Goodreads Giveaways, and run multiple giveaway campaigns over a period of time. With that said, this is an excellent way to generate the best kind of publicity for your book – word of mouth.

3. Paid Advertising: Goodreads advertising means you can reach an ultra targeted market for an incredibly low investment. Here is real data from an ad I bought on Goodreads. The budget was $49, but in fact we only spent $1 on the total campaign in 30-days. This cost may seem like it’s too low to be effective, but the ad for the book generated 13,300 impressions. Because there were only 2 click-throughs, there was virtually no cost to the author for this phenomenal exposure. Where I come from in the world of book marketing, this is an astonishing amount of reach for very little expense.

Following are the stats for the ad, promoting the book “Gotcha” by Dr. Sally Ernst.

Daily Views: 181

Daily Clicks: 0

Daily Cost: $0.00

Total Views: 13,300

Total Clicks: 2

Total Cost: $1.00

Promoting your book is fundamental to your success as an author, and leveraging the power of Goodreads makes it an easy call.

Good selling! Katherine Owen

  

icon1March 7, 2016
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Goodreads for Authors: Reflections on Fundamentals


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“Gentlemen, this is a football.” Vince Lombardi famously spoke these words to his team when he took over as head     coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959. While it’s probably true that the players he was speaking to were well aware of the ball’s name – reinforcing the fundamentals never hurt anybody.

In fact, the Packers went on to unprecedented victory under Lombardi’s leadership because of his relentless drills on the fundamentals. The Packers became champions many times over, helping football to become the U.S. national mania it is today. The Super Bowl trophy is known as the Vince Lombardi cup, and winning it is a testament to the team’s ability to master the basics.

So what does this have to do with you as an author and the success of your book marketing? It’s simple: if you want to succeed, never stop reviewing the fundamentals. Return to bedrock as often as you can. Honing your book marketing skills in just a few basic areas can launch your career and keep it aloft for a long time to come.

As an author, one of the most basic steps you can take to promote your book is to be present places where the readers show up. This means a portion of your promotional time needs to be focused on Goodreads.com. Not only is this good for you, it’s good for the millions of Goodreads members who are wondering what to read next. Unlike some social media sites, this is one place where your book promotions are not only okay, people are hungry for them.

Simple Does Not Mean Stupid!

Goodreads has a simple premise: it’s a free membership site devoted to books and book lovers. It started back in 2007 with the intent of allowing readers to make book recommendations. Since then, the site has grown to over 41 million members with nearly 300 million page views per month. That’s a whole lot of eyeballs.

This makes Goodreads the biggest book club on the planet and getting involved in it is a smart move for you as an author. The average members are well-heeled, well educated professionals and interestingly, mostly women, with a deep seated passion for the written word. They work in fields like Education, Law and Market Research, which means they’re pretty sharp cookies. You don’t have to worry about talking over their heads.

Still, just because this is the average reader profile, that doesn’t mean you can’t find other bookish types on the site – men, women, young, old, rich, poor, conservative or whatever. The sheer number of members means you can find just about any kind of group you’d like to reach, with tastes that range from Horror to Humour and from Self Help to Sci-Fi. Whatever you’ve written, Goodreaders are likely to give your material a fair assessment.

Once you’re a member of Goodreads, you can engage in their Author Program. This status is free, and it allows you to take advantage of the rich pool of avid readers and hungry buyers and promote your magnum opus. Upgrading your status from a standard member to an Author means submitting an application to Goodreads’ staff for review. You should hear back from them in a couple of days, so sit tight. It will definitely be worth the wait.

Here are 10 fundamentals to have ready when you set-up your Goodreads account:

1. Book Title

2. Sub-Title

3. Description

4. ISBN number

5. Cover artwork

6. Author photo

7. Author bio

8. Links to other social media accounts

9. Link to your website

10. Link to your blog (an RSS feed is preferred to automatically keep your blog posts current on Goodreads)

Whether you want to participate in group discussions, create a Book Giveaway, or advertise on the site, the sheer numbers of this social media giant make it fundamental to your book promotion campaign.

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing, GOKO Publishing’s U.S. partner. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

  

icon1February 8, 2016
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The Book Launch Formula – Becoming a Home Town Hero


Have you ever noticed that no matter how successful you become, there’s always someone who likes to knock you down a peg? Maybe it’s an older sibling, an in-law or a friend of yours from your high school days.

Maybe you are the exception that makes the rule, and you don’t have anyone who fits this description. I imagine if you think hard enough, the odds are high that you’ll think of someone like this not too far from your inner circle.

The reason I bring it up is that, when it comes to your success as an author, this paradigm is repeated on a large scale in your home town. The people who know you best or for the longest time are the ones who are least likely to give you the kudos you need to succeed on a grand scale.

There’s always going to be a clique in your neighborhood who believe they know you too well, or they think they do. They figure you’re a known quantity – they knew you when – and there’s little mystery to be revealed where you’re concerned. These people don’t mean to be dismissive or disrespectful. It’s just human nature. It’s only when you’ve got your name in lights in someone else’s town that your neighbors will accept you as a success.

This means when it comes to your career, your home town is the absolute best place to hone the skills it takes to successfully promote your book. It’s nice and safe. No matter what you do, the people close to home are going to love you anyway and hold to their stubborn opinions. This makes it an excellent place to take risks, refine your media publicity skills, and do lots of live events.

Book signings, media interviews and keynote addresses are the recipe for becoming a home town hero. As your skills get more refined, you can get your act together and take it on the road. That’s when your career will be ripe for that “overnight sensation” miracle we all read about in Huffington Post.

The Magic of Book Launch Events

If you’re an author, it’s essential to plan a series of promotional events in your local market to launch your book. Don’t just release your book and try to convince people to buy it. Create tension and excitement in advance, centered around the big day your book will finally be available.

Think about it. How many sunny days have you spent with your nose pressed against the window, tapping on your keyboard instead of playing volleyball on the beach? How many family gatherings have you attended where people have asked, “How’s your book coming along?” For that matter, how many events and celebrations have you missed because your writing came first?

There needs to be a payoff for the monumental investment of time, heart and soul that you’ve poured into your manuscript. Your fans and would-be followers want to share in the success of your book launch – which is why it needs to be a book launch instead of a book release.

Along with this comes the responsibility to have a series of appearances right in your home town. It’s not all that difficult to schedule these events. Just call your local bookstore and ask. The worst odds you face are 50/50. It’s surprisingly easy to get your foot in the door, and many bookstore managers are hungry for authors to show up and create some buzz for their store.

In fact, Barnes & Noble stores have a position in each store called the “CRM” whose responsibility includes scheduling author signing events. So ask for the “CRM” when requesting a signing in your local B&N store.

Libraries, schools, country clubs, civic organizations and social fraternities also make great venues for book signings. Usually all it takes to schedule an event is making that initial phone call, then following the thread until your date is inked on the calendar.

Let the Local Media Be Your Mouthpiece

Once you schedule your book launch event, naturally you’ll want to make sure you invite colleagues, friends and family. But don’t neglect the local media. This is a huge piece of the puzzle, yet so often it’s overlooked by humble authors with a “who, me?” attitude. This is true even of retired corporate executives, professional speakers and others who’ve enjoyed success but are still tentative about promoting themselves in the author space.

Yes – the fact that you’re having a book signing is a big event. Let the community share in your excitement. Put yourself out there, and you’ll be amazed by the return you get on your investment of time and heart.

Contact local media outlets such as radio, TV and publishers. Journalists are receptive to submissions, and many strongly support the work of local authors. Also, don’t be shy about reaching out to the media in neighboring cities as well. The farther afield you travel, the more likely you are to broaden the scope of your celebrity.

Local media coverage is not always easy to get, but it can be had for the right price. Often that price is simply your respect for their format. Look into the specific requirements of each of your local media outlets before you get in touch with them. You’ll find that they’re much the same across the board with a few subtle variations on the theme. Make it easy for them to promote you, save them time, be interesting and be easy to reach.

A friend of mine got his product featured in the USA Today by counting the average number of words per article by the journalist who covers his topic. When he submitted his article, it took the journalist very little time to modify the article for publication to her tastes.

Working with the media is where having a press kit comes in handy. We cover this topic in an article called Book Publicity Media Kits – The 5 Essential Elements Journalists Need.

When you have your author bio, book descriptions and press release prepared ahead of time, contacting the media is a breeze. And when you play by their format rules, you’re handing them every reason to cover your book launch events.

Combining book launch events with local media promotion is a great recipe for becoming a home town hero, one that plants the seeds of red carpet celebrity and stellar book sales. I’ve seen this happen many times in my career as a publisher and look forward to reading about your success stories.


The Writer’s Advantage: Harness the Power of the Written Word

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Let Dianna Booher, author of over forty books, share her insights on transferring ideas from your head onto paper and gain insights from bestselling author Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, on how to turn a complex writing project into a manageable task within your normal workday.

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Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.

  

icon1January 5, 2016
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How To Make Your Author Website the “In” Place To Be


Once upon a time, when books were only printed on the static page, the conversation was more like a monolog. This meant the author’s career was a bit like a college lecture on, say, frog dissection. It was a lonely, dusty, echoey place to be. I mean, who wants to wake up and smell the formaldehyde? Not fun. Not fun at all.

Even as recently as ten years ago, there was little chance for a reader to get involved in an author’s work except by writing to the author, or maybe showing up at a lecture or book signing. Thankfully, all that has changed.

In the age of digits and downloads, the author’s website is, well… electric, and even electrifying. Now it’s more like a hip coffeehouse, or a dinner of nouvelle cuisine at 10:00 pm. It’s become a busy hub for a wide array of content and media – interactive and highly actionable.

This shift in dynamic may seem obvious, but it’s overlooked more often than it should be – much to the detriment of the author. If you’re not sure where your own author website falls on the scale between humdrum and howling – between frog dissection and sautéed frogs’ legs – these tips may lend you just the clue you’re looking for.

Whisper – You Don’t Have To Shout

Does your website shout at readers with a dozen or more calls to action? You want to involve them, not confuse them. The adage from the advertising world is to direct a Visitor’s attention to just one thing, with one “Call to Action” message. Make sure your website is easy to use, with just the right balance between form and function.

Focus on content over design. You want a crisp, clean look with one clear call to action. Still, the substance of your message is more important than the look and feel, so keep the bells and whistles to a minimum. Don’t use Flash if you can help it (due to mobile phone limitations), and trim your images to a manageable size before adding them to your posts. Let the site load time be fast and light.

The intent of your website should focus on the reader, not on you. Yes, this is your website, but you’re not the one using it. It’s all about your readers and what you can do for them.

Use your About page for boasts, toasts, testimonials and kudos. Keep the rest of the site focused on your reader. Have a tab for book news and reviews, offer a newsletter, and make sure you’re easy to contact – things that show you’re not only aware of their presence, but you’re glad they came.

Think of your role as something like being the gracious host of a great party. If you just talk about yourself, you’ll only inspire a lot of yawns, and folks may decide to turn in early or head to the shindig down the block. Instead, present your guests with a scintillating array of topics to nibble on. Also introduce them to other personalities they may enjoy, and get the conversation going.

When someone shows up at your site, offer them exclusive unpublished content that they can’t get anywhere else. Give them juicy morsels they would gladly pay for, like a short video, podcast episodes, short fiction, white papers, explainers and sample chapters.

Create content worth sharing, something your readers might pick apart over coffee or happy hour with their incredibly interesting friends.

How To Keep Readers Coming Back For More

  • Be generous. Whose work do you read or recommend? Why is it worth anyone’s precious free time? Support your peers and your fans at the same time. Shine a spotlight on people and topics that might not otherwise cross your reader’s path.

  • Be human. Talk about your works in progress, and share the biggest triumphs and trials you have in the writing process. Are you stuck on one idea? Did you just shift the gender of your lead character and now you have to rewrite half your book? Did you suddenly realize that your magnum opus on finding happiness is really more about finding faith? Are you simply bored with the sound of your own voice and can’t wait to finish your manuscript? Let your readers peek behind the curtain.

  • Be social. Encourage your readers to promote your fresh content on social media, and make it easy to do. For example, you can use the free service at ClickToTweet.com to socialize your blog content. Summarize the topic of your blog post into about 100 characters, and include your ClickToTweet link. This will automatically post your headline, witty comment or quip to Twitter. For added link juice, use a hashtag.

Encourage comments on your blog and get involved with the conversation. In fact, why not encourage comments on the comments to build a real sense of community?

With a slight shift in focus, you can transform your author website from a dusty lecture hall into a roaring success. The career you wake up may be your own!




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.

  

icon1December 29, 2015
icon2admin

Tell the World with a Book Trailer Video – Author Training Series


by Bryan Heathman

Get out the popcorn and dim the lights! As an up and coming bestselling author, it’s time to promote your book the old fashioned way: with a promotional trailer.

Whether your book is a fictional story or it’s the true story of a brand, passion or success philosophy, your book ought to be in pictures. Posting book trailer videos online is a solid step on your path to publishing success.

Seriously, take a look at the way a single movie can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in a single weekend. How did you first hear about the movie? Was it social media, a movie critic or word of mouth?

The same dynamic of movie awareness works equally for books. So it is important for you, the author, to get the ball of momentum rolling with a book trailer to tease interest in your book.

To get people to spend a week or two reading your book, they are going to have to want it… bad! So your promotional activity will need a hook, which often starts with your book trailer video.

From the Big Screen to the Screen In Your Hand

Video promotion on the internet is far less expensive than traditional advertising, and after a few preliminaries, many authors can do it. As an author with a book to promote, this includes you. About 1-2 minutes of video is all you need to get your message across to smartphones and tablets everywhere. With the right planning and a little push, these mobile devices are where you book may be read as well.

You can use inexpensive tools to make your book trailer if you know which ones to shop for, such as EasySketch Pro or VideoMaker FX. Because they’re user friendly and widely available, using these tools may mean that your video ends up looking the same as everyone else’s. The difference is how you use the tools. Creativity is key. If you can hire someone to create a quality book trailer for you, so much the better.

Making and sharing your own videos does seem exciting to a lot of authors, and I admit it can be fun. But before you cast yourself as the next John Huston or Cecil B. DeMille, take time out to do some planning.

Think about your process and map it from start to finish. The video production process includes only a handful of steps, but each one is key to your book trailer’s success.

First, start with your book trailer’s concept. Decide ahead of time what the viewer’s key take-away will be. Create a clear call to action that is the natural conclusion for the message they’ve just seen.

Next, decide how much of your story you want to reveal in your book trailer. What’s the heart of your video? Where do you want the viewer to begin and end? Script it, and have a clear idea of the visuals you plan to use. Video production professionals call this step storyboarding.

Record the audio first, then use it as the anchor for your video. It’s much easier to sync the video to the audio, instead of the other way around, and the results are more professional. Whatever approach you use, there’s almost always a creative solution for any production obstacles you find.

Online Traffic = A Packed House For Your Book Trailer

Now that you have a finished video, it’s time to get the word out. Though it’s not the only game in town, YouTube is the obvious distribution channel of choice. It’s where the viewers are, and viewers are what you want most for your new book trailer.

YouTube has so many astounding statistics, it would be a waste of space to try to name them here. If you want to research it, here’s a link to the source itself.

I will add, though, that YouTube.com boasts more than 1 billion unique users, or one-third of all people who use the Internet. That’s nearly as many people as inhabited the planet 100 years ago, when the movie industry was new. It’s 1/7 of the world population today. You don’t have to convince people to go to YouTube. You just have to get their attention.

To get your share of viewers for your trailer, start with a keyword rich title. It should include your book title or central character, as well as any other descriptive information or keywords you’d like to capitalize on.

Next, your description should also be keyword rich. Begin the first line with a link. This should coincide with your call to action, either to the page where viewers can join your mailing list, or where they can buy your book directly. Your description should be as long as a full article for best keyword optimization and Google juice.

Finally, give a clear compelling call to action, such as subscribing to your YouTube channel, joining your mailing list, or simply buying your book. It may seem obvious to you, but your “call to action” won’t be to your viewers. They’ll be too mesmerized by your masterful storytelling prowess!

If optimizing your videos is too slow a process for you, advertising opportunities abound on YouTube and Facebook as well. Find videos on the site that have an audience similar to yours, and buy inexpensive ads that attract a crowd to your own video. You’ll find hordes of people showing up on your channel, hungry for more.

After posting your book trailer video to YouTube.com, be sure to upload the video to your Amazon Author Central Account and Goodreads account.

After that, what more can you say – except, “Pass the popcorn.”



You Tube Marketing: Social Marketing Media for Your Business

YouTube and other video networks started with a social intent, but their use in online business promotion has exploded as social marketing media has become part of the everyday. Google gives high marks for inbound links to a site from YouTube, and no SEO campaign is complete without including YouTube. Creating video content to market your business is a breeze with this entertaining program. Liv Montgomery, the eCommerce Gal teaches you how to leverage social marketing with video and YouTube. Put your online business promotion on the fast track now.







Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1December 16, 2015
icon2admin

Book Marketing with Facebook Ads – Who Says You Can’t Buy Happiness?


by Bryan Heathman

The tale is almost as ancient as writing itself. Picture the author in an ancient Italian city, scribbling away into the night by the dim amber light of a candle. He eeks out his living in a garret above the crowded street below—one teeming with readers he hopes to entertain, influence, convince or transform.

His livelihood depends on it. Somehow he must overcome obscurity and get his book into the hands of as many readers as possible. As an author, he must reach them to survive.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and—BLAM!—a burst of light explodes onto the scene in the form of technology. It spreads like wildfire to the far corners of the world in the span of a decade.

The garret is now a home office in outer suburbia, and the crowded street is replaced with a finely edged lawn. Ink spilled from a quill becomes the glow from a tablet, spread at the touch of a button to a prospective audience of billions through Audible and Kindle. Friends and followers who were once as far away as the moon are now near through social networks, video and Skype.

In the history of the world, authors have never had it so good. Yet with so much opportunity available to everyone, the ancient question remains unchanged: how do you stand out? As an author, how do you keep your family (and your banker) happy, and reach those teeming masses of readers? The answer may surprise you and is not a closely held “secret” as some would have you to believe.

Reaching a Massive Audience

Twenty years ago, social networks had more than their fair share of social misfits. As AOL was supplanted by MySpace, the color and candor of the scene started to change. It became mainstream. In the era of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, social media gradually has become reason enough for late adopters to join the world online.

Social media networks keep your message in front of the consumer. But how do you do this if you don’t’ have an established list of followers? Reaching out to like-minded people one-by-one on social networks isn’t the way to reach large numbers of people. If you join a Facebook group and post something that says “Buy now and save!” you’ll get no response and may even get banned from the group.

Paid advertising on these networks is an efficient way to reach the people who want and need your book. It puts the power into the hands of the author. This spells opportunity to connect with far more than your immediate social circles as well, and that makes everyone happy: your friends, your family, your banker –and especially you, the author!

Over the years, marketing tools come and go. Smartphones and social media have changed the landscape of marketing in ways no one could have predicted. The next disruption is right around the corner. Regardless of the latest marketing technologies, there are three principles that hold true for decades.

1) Audience Targeting: Segment your audiences, and cater your efforts just to the buyers. Clearly identify what makes them tick (emotionally). Consider going beyond old-fashioned demographic segmentation and look for patterns in personality types. Take, for example, two 45-year-old women that live in the same city—one is a successful real estate professional and one is the CEO of a software company. Would the same advertising appeal to one woman who is motivated by building a massive network versus another woman who is focused on leading software development?

Paid social media advertising offers some of the best audience targeting opportunities ever afforded by the marketing community. No longer do we target large blocks of unsegmented people via network television buys. Now, authors can easily target readers based on where they live, age, gender, books they have read and movies they watch.

2) Multiple Campaigns: If you’re launching one marketing campaign at a time, you won’t get very far. In today’s climate your offer will need to cater to multiple audiences simultaneously. This may require launching multiple marketing campaigns with highly specific targeting. Taking the example of targeting the two women – perhaps one campaign targeting the real estate professional is themed around entertaining while another campaign is geared towards leadership education.

3) Specialized Messaging: Your promotional messaging can’t be a catch-all for multiple audiences. Using a catch-all philosophy only “catches” a few. Profile your target audiences to increase conversion rates from your offers.

Take a look at your ideal audience and identify their greatest pain and their biggest pleasure. Then apply these pressure points when designing your social media campaigns for higher conversions.

You may think that paying for advertising isn’t necessary for your business, but in the final analysis, when do you want to succeed—now, or someday? Are you enjoying the warm amber glow of that dim candle, or would you like to explode your book awareness from the comfort of your suburban office?

Opportunity doesn’t wait. With sound advertising practices, you can apply leverage to your book marketing campaigns and invest your time wisely somewhere else—say, edging that finely manicured lawn.


Marketing for Millions: Proven Marketing Strategies for Million Dollar Success

Marketing for Millions: Proven Marketing Strategies for Million Dollar Success by Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, et al. is presented by Made for Success Publishing. This standalone audiobook app combines a 15 hours of marketing audio training and inspiration, with supplemental features for download-once and listening anywhere.

Learn successful marketing techniques, attract new opportunities, and create a “millionaire mindset” with advice from Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Bob Proctor, and others who have created and marketed successful enterprises and changed their own lives and the lives of millions.





Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1December 7, 2015
icon2admin

Building Social Proof in Social Media Circles – Personal Branding Tips


by Bryan Heathamn

Since the taming of fire, people have aligned themselves with various clubs, clans, groups, movements, organizations and sports franchises. The obvious illustration of this is rooting for your home team. Where were you last Super Bowl Sunday? The odds are high that you remember where you were, and that you weren’t watching the big game alone.

This fact about association presents a great chance for anyone promoting anything, not just advertisers with over the top TV ads, but individuals too. In your case, this collective behavior offers a ripe opportunity to promote your book.

I live in Seattle, a city where football team spirit is high. No, wait – high is an understatement. Football here is a mania, after the local team took a couple trips to the Super Bowl. Walk down any street on a Sunday afternoon, and you may feel like Charlton Heston in a scene from The Omega Man or Will Smith in I Am Legend. It’s that quiet; everyone is inside, watching the game.

Fans don’t cheer feverishly only on game day here. Head out some Friday night to any pub, tavern or bistro. You’ll find that nearly 50% of the folks are dressed up in team jerseys and logoed sports caps. They’ve joined the tribe, and they live it. These fans give new meaning to the term “die-hard fan”.

Imagine if just one-tenth of them were wearing the logo from your book cover too. What would your career as an author look like then? What if your book could revolutionize the culture and galvanize people together the way a sports team unites beer drinkers, even on a team’s night off? Using social media, this idea may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

Social Proof Can “Show You The Money”

Social proof is a concept that plays to the deep-seated human need to be socially accepted. We assume that if other people are doing it, it must be the right thing to do. We don’t take into account what they know – just borrow their actions, believing the research has already been done for us. We don’t do it because we’re mentally lazy. We do it because we want to fit in and be accepted.

This desire is so deep-rooted that we will even do things that are contrary to our best interests – financial or otherwise – in order to stay consistent with what we assume about other people’s decisions. Most people leaving a theater will go through the same door everyone else is using, even if there is an unused door right next to it. We subconsciously assume it’s the right thing to do. We do it on autopilot.

The principle of social proof means we will convince ourselves of the correctness of other people’s decisions and make choices that conform to them. To speed up the decision-making process, we choose the path more traveled in the blink of an eye. Flying on autopilot is a fundamental aspect of human nature, and it helps us process the bombardment of messages we get all day long.

Leading the Pack

According to a 2014 study by Edison Research, 67% of Americans are active on some kind of social media. More than 75 million Americans check their social media accounts several times a day. About 58% of us use Facebook.

With two-thirds of the country checking in with their friends, family and neighbors at breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s a whole lot of opportunity for you to promote your book – just by showing up.

5 Tips to Build Reputation on Social Media

  1. Testimonials & Reviews: Using testimonials on social media are a great way to access the phenomenon of social proof. Using social media, you can publish testimonials and reviews from people who fit the demographic or psychographic profile of your target audience. The idea is to show that there’s support for your book from people who look “just like me”.

    To do this, ask your biggest fans for real testimonials (yes, this can include your mother). You will be surprised by what people have to say, and you just may learn a thing or two about your book. The more you can demonstrate that many people support your work, the more others will perceive your book as something worth reading.

  2. Join Groups: Another tactic you can use is to join groups within your social network. Find congregations of people who most closely match your book’s natural demographic. Groups make for a ready-made audience, and often they are hungry to associate with published authors. You can find groups that are indirectly related to your topic as well, populated by your ideal audience. The key is to become a regular and active voice in the groups. LinkedIn is a great place to get started.

  3. Start a Group: Consider creating your own group, either within your social network or on your own membership site. You can promote your group to your network of like-minded friends of colleagues, and watch your engagement numbers skyrocket.

  4. Solve a Problem: Communicate a compelling promise or purpose that speaks to an intense pain or pleasure for your group. Offer a newsletter or ecourse so you can stay in touch with them, and show them how to overcome the pain or increase the pleasure.

  5. Street Team: Finally, you can create a tribe with the groups you affiliate with. Use these contacts to build a street team, a small collective of three to twenty people who are avid fans of yours. If you put them to work to promote your books in social media channels, you could well find yourself at the hub of a jersey-wearing crowd – one with your number on it.

When it comes to measuring your influence in social media, many professionals turn to services like Klout.com to measure their effectiveness. Setting up a profile takes a few minutes, and the ongoing reports will help keep you on-track with your effectiveness in social media channels.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.




icon1November 25, 2015
icon2admin

Social Media, Book Promotion and the Sweet Smell of Success


by Bryan Heathman

Ah, the sweet smell of success: your book is finally a household name, the topic of conversation in coffee houses and the subject of toasts in fine dining establishments. Just yesterday, you turned down a media interview due to your busy schedule. Tomorrow you’re off to Barbados for a quick dip in the salty surf, then a date with a rum-laced umbrella drink under a palm tree. Lucky you!

Or was it luck? Maybe it was all that time you put in on social media, carefully cultivating relationships with your fans and followers. You lost track of how many late nights you spent loading up your Buffer account, cheese popcorn crumbs littering the front of your PJ’s like so much dandruff.

“Oh, if they could see me now,” you mutter, catching a sideways glimpse in the mirror. Whatever happened to that polished look you cultivated so carefully for your book jacket? Gone is the mohair suit and the carefully waxed hairstyle. “Uff, it’s a good thing I’m not on my web cam…” you say under your breath.

But in reality, checking in with your fans doesn’t have to mean looking polished all the time. Unlike days gone by, you don’t necessarily have to show your face to sell a lot of books.

The thing about promoting yourself (and your book) on social media is that you can literally do the work anywhere you choose to be. The magic combination of a solid manuscript, the right book cover and a good social media promotion campaign can put your readership over the top. It just takes a little planning and a couple of good tools, then you’re off to the races! Or the sands of the Caribbean. Whatever.

Social media sites are the most efficient and cost effective way to get your message in front of potentially millions of people. Google’s $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube and Facebook’s multi-billion dollar IPO shouted a wake-up call to anyone who’d been hitting that marketing snooze button. There’s good reason for these high price tags; social networks offer a pool teaming with commercial opportunity for major players and individuals alike. As a published author, this opportunity now includes you. The playing field is about as level as it gets.

As an author you can leverage the ready-made audiences on social media. This means you can get involved with groups that either are tailored to your audience or dovetail nicely with your topic. Take a look at how big publishing companies are using social media to promote their top authors, then borrow a page from their playbook.

Using Social Media to Generate Social Proof

Social media helps you generate what marketers call “social proof”. Publishing your carefully cultivated testimonials from your readers can build the bond of trust for your would-be fans and their immediate social circles. The psychology of word-of-mouth testimonials is a powerful ally for authors who don’t yet have huge brand awareness. According to a survey by eMarketer, an overwhelming 99% of people surveyed believe that testimonials are credible and influence their buying decisions.

To leverage social proof online, follow these 3 steps:

1. Clearly understand your target audience – both their demographics and psychographics. Who are they? Get clear about their age, income, location, family life, interests and peeves. Find out what makes them hurt and what gives them pleasure.

2. Create messaging and imagery that is consistent with your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting empty nesters who are between 50 and 63 years old, you would use inspirational messages and images consistent with their outlook. In this case, you might use imagery of happy grandchildren, RV travel to national parks, beach vacations, spas or wine tasting.

3. Pick your “call to action” campaign strategies from options that are consistent with your target audience’s lifestyle. Then consider which techniques will influence their buying behavior. Do you want them to take a survey? Tell their friends? Watch a video and comment on it? Get creative, and keep your audience involved.

Keep Your Message In Front of Your Fans with a Book Marketing Timeline

You can increase your sales and your free time by creating a social media campaign timeline. Timelines are essential, and all successful authors use them to organize social media campaigns. Some authors even use their timelines to set and track their campaign goals.

Come up with your present and future goals, along with action plans for today, tomorrow and next month. Have a method for tracking sales so you can see what’s working for you. Pick a few social media networks to focus your activity, and post to them 2 to 3 times a day. Increase this frequency for the 3 weeks on either side of your book launch, and stay interested in how people are responding to you and your message.

It may seem like a bit of work to pack in, but there are plenty of automation tools such as Buffer.com or HootSuite that can help you manage the workload. You can pre-write an inventory of Facebook posts or Twitter tweets in advance and load-up your free Buffer account to stimulate engagement with your readers.



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.



Online Business Promotion

Join serial author Liv Montgomery for a fun and fanciful look at the world of Online Business Promotion including “how to” tips for social media and YouTube videos.


icon1November 16, 2015
icon2admin

Get Swept Up In the Adventure – It Was a Dark and Stormy Night In November…


In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month, take an escape into the unknown as you explore the art of writing…

He passed a well-manicured hand across his balding pate. It was an absent minded gesture, an insecure idiosyncrasy that had evolved over the course of many years, despite his elevated rank. Renard gladly would have traded some of his hard-won wisdom for the boundless vigor of his youth – along with a few traces of that glorious head of hair he once had. Now his retirement was staring him square in the face. Yet somehow he wasn’t quite ready to be “mothballed”.

What occupied his full attention at the moment was the glossy tablet in his hand. He’d found it on his desk when he arrived in his ready room. He pressed the screen, and an image came to life – his assistant’s daily video briefing with his proven “6-up daily priority” system. “Captain, here is the piece you wanted to look at. I still have a few bugs to work out, but with luck it will transport you to another time and place. I hope you’ll go easy on me, since I had only a short amount of time to…”

As the bland female voice droned on, Renard opened the file she referenced. It only took a moment for his assistant’s voice to fade into the background as a strange glow filled his peripheral vision. He looked up to see lush green tropical vines now taking the place of furniture in his ready room and the humid scent of jungle loam clung to his nose and mouth. “What the…?”

Startled, Renard stood up so briskly he was sure he’d knocked over his chair. But when he turned around to look, the chair was gone. In its place was a small rowboat, its oars still dripping from the mighty river behind it. A creature yowled in the trees above him, an unearthly sound that penetrated his spine. Suddenly he heard footsteps in the bushes beyond the boat. He heard a pair of muffled voices speak, too low to be discernible. “Is someone there?” Renard called, but there was only silence.

What happened next he never could have imagined, even if he lived to be three hundred. A buccaneer came crashing out of the brush, flying through the air backward and landing prostrate on the sand next to the rowboat! A moment later, a black jaguar came bounding after him with a scathing shriek and leapt upon his chest. “Get off me, you she-devil!” he shouted, flinging the creature back into the brush. “You’ve crossed me for the last time!”

The pirate scrambled to his feet and hurried for the boat, sweeping up Renard en route. “Come on, we’ve got to get out of here. I tell you, she’ll tear us to pieces.” Renard stood dumbly for a moment, the words sounding like a foreign language to his addled brain. But the sight of the jaguar running at full speed directly toward him shook him back to his senses. “Dammit, man, get in and get down!” Renard obeyed just as the boat left the shore and caught the swift current of the river.

Stealing himself to peek over the side, Renard watched in amazement as the jaguar stood upon her hind legs and transformed into a buxom raven-haired beauty. She shook her fist and called after the sinewy rowboat, “I hope you found what you were looking for!”

Suddenly there was a rapping sound, and Renard shook off the trance. He was back in his office, standing behind his desk. The jungle, the buccaneer and the jaguar woman had all gone. There was only his mild assistant, standing in the doorway, looking expectantly. She tucked a raven lock behind her ear. “Captain Renard? I said I hope you found what you were looking for. Have you had a chance to read the draft of my novel yet? I appreciate your taking the time to indulge in my hobby with me, and I hope I haven’t…”

Renard stared for a moment, taking in the scene, shaken but unscathed by the encounter. “Hm? Oh… yes. Yes, it was quite engaging. You could say it really swept me away. I all but felt that I was really there. You say this is your first attempt at writing…? Yes, there’s something to this.”

Where Will NaNoWriMo Take You In November?

November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. All around the world, more than 300,000 people are boldly attempting the impossible – to pound out a 50,000-word book manuscript in a single month. NaNoWriMo lends a spirit of community and support to what is normally a solitary effort.

People from all walks of life are throwing off the bonds of self-consciousness, casting aside the conventions of quality and grammar, and launching the books they’ve always dreamed of writing. Waitresses and mechanics, executives and ship captains alike have all taken the challenge. Not all will finish, but many will – enough. Some books will go on to be published, and a few will even be best sellers. Will yours be among them?

December 1st will come and go, whether or not you participate in this worldwide writing event with the kooky name. Will you be counted among the adventurous who leave the sandy shores of complacency and sail the uncharted waters of a world of your own making? There’s only one person who knows for sure, and that is the writer within you.

To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, trek on over to their website at NaNoWriMo.org. And to find out what you can do with your manuscript, check out the publishing tools and book marketing services at MadeForSuccessPublishing.com. I promise, you won’t get eaten – and you’ll be in good company!



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1November 11, 2015
icon2admin

No Way….Write a Book in a Month?


by Bryan Heathman

November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. Around the world, more than 300,000 authors will attempt the impossible: to write an entire book in a single month.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a little background.

NaNoWriMo is not really a writing contest, but an event. You might say it’s a contest… with yourself. The object is to write a fresh 50,000-word book in the month of November and have a completed first draft by 11:59 p.m. on November 30th.

Most people think this is impossible; and for most people, it is impossible, purely because they defeat themselves. In reality, there are two obstacles that confront every author:

1) Getting started

2) Sticking with it

The hardest part about any long-term goal is staying the course. A lot of authors begin with a lot of enthusiasm but put their cherished manuscript aside when they become bored with it, stumble across a writing hurdle or simply have other priorities. It’s easy to become self-critical, get overwhelmed or simply lose heart.

NaNoWriMo’s approach is to encourage writers’ enthusiasm, determination and creativity by giving the project a hard deadline.

The question is, if writing 50,000 words in a month is so impossible, why has this event been going on for 15 years? Clearly someone is getting somewhere with it. Maybe it’s just the caffeine buzz that keeps this thing going. Maybe it’s the camaraderie. Maybe it’s momentum.

In reality, more than 250 novels written during NaNoWriMo have been published by traditional publishers, including Harper Collins. A many skilled executives and high achievers have become motivational speakers after publishing.

Business Books, Screenplays and Comics – Oh My!

This brings us to another salient point: novels aren’t the only form that writers are pursuing in this month-long verbal slog. Poetry, prose, non-fiction, screenplays and even graphic novels have been harvested as the fruit of this annual rite.

Some would-be authors get stalled because they’re afraid that others will judge their first attempts harshly. Others get stymied because the material they want to write goes against the grain of their personal or professional reputation. For instance, can you imagine an economist writing about his imaginary life on the pro tennis circuit? Or an out-of-work hospital administrator writing about starting a vineyard in southern Oregon? It could happen.

This kind of self-consciousness has kept untold books from seeing the light of day.

While NaNoWriMo’s brutal schedule can help to keep your writing on track, the venue itself is completely private – as private as you want it to be. It’s like Facebook for word nerds. No one has to see the material you’ve written. All you need to do is check in from time to time and report on your progress for the benefit of your writing friends within the platform.

Completing your first draft is all that counts. Grammar, punctuation and quality are all immaterial at this point. The whole point is camaraderie for a very loner kind of activity.

Even with this level of acceptance, if you’re a bit squeamish about writing your book, try using a pen name. Having a nom de plume has come in handy for established writers and newbies alike. Just ask J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

Most people with busy lives balk at the idea of knocking out a book manuscript in a month. However a lot of the authors I publish have the capacity to produce a quality first draft in just one week, with the bulk of the writing accomplished in a 3-week period. How does that break down? Well, if you are writing 50,000 words in 21 days, that equates to 2,500 words/day. That is about the equivalent of writing 4 long emails…something that many of us do many times a day already!

Are there a few cheats involved? Well… maybe. We in the publishing business prefer to call them shortcuts. If you’re short on time and want to compress your success, author Liv Montgomery offers at least a dozen unique strategies in her audio program “Draft Your Book In A Day.” I’ve used some of these techniques myself, and they’re surprisingly easy to apply.

Of Post-It Notes, Corporate Pensions and Ellis Island

Maybe you’re the kind of person who has scraps of paper lying around, Post-It notes jotted with plot ideas or character developments. Maybe you’ve got a self-help book outlined but you never quite got it off the ground. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to tell the story of how your ancestors arrived in this country. Whatever it is, the odds are high that you have a book inside you – something that the world needs to read.

If you’ve always wanted to start or finish a book, try capitalizing on the spirit of National Novel Writing Month. Who knows? The book you write could be just the one the world has been waiting for.

If you do take the challenge, your December just might look a whole lot different. Are you ready?



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1November 4, 2015
icon2admin

Sample Campaign – The Tried & True Book Selling Technique


So you want to promote your new book. You’ve witnessed other authors racing to the top of the best seller charts, and you wonder what they’re doing to build mega success. If you’re like most authors, you’re not sure how to go about reaping this kind of success for yourself.

Want to know a secret? You don’t have to be original to be good.

In fact, the less original you are in some cases, the better off you’ll be. As they say, success leaves tracks. Follow the tracks, and you’ll find success.

Take for example the traditional author’s boring, stalwart best friend, the Sample Campaign. Sending samples of your book to retail buyers, bloggers, reviewers and other influencers will boost awareness with the people who matter most, gaining exposure for your book and for you as an author. Using giveaways to create buzz while you are in pre-launch can be an inexpensive and effective way to generate publicity.

The Sample Campaign involves sending either physical copies of your book to reviewers or distributing e-copies to qualified centers of influence. Both tactics involve an investment of time, research, risk and reward.

Launching a Sample Campaign may sound expensive – and it is expensive if you try to get creative with this approach, but there are ways you can be both unoriginal and highly successful.

Copycat Book Marketing and Other Cheats

If you’re going to model the best, start by looking at the Amazon best seller list within your book’s category. Find the best-selling books that are most like yours and model their marketing tactics. What do you see? Would you buy these best sellers?

The odds are high that all of these books have received the royal treatment from a staff of pros, yet the approach is kept focused and simple.

What best-selling authors know is that the goal is to get attention from centers of influence. People who have a megaphone and a crowd who are always glad to lend an opinion.

If you want to get lots of good reviews from your Sample Campaign, you’ve got to make your book buzzworthy. Make sure it’s not just a scintillating read, but engaging from the first moment readers encounter it.

First Impressions: the title, book cover and description are the most influential elements when it comes to helping people determine whether or not they will buy your book – or review it for their audience.

Professional Design: your book cover is the most important feature of your book, and it should be intriguing. Make sure your cover is a match for your genre. If you’ve written a mystery, don’t use romance imagery – the kind with windswept lovers embracing on a naked rock above a storm-wracked cove. You might raise an eyebrow or two, but where’s the mystery? A poor cover will make it harder to sell your book.

Enticing Description: Your description needs to pull people in as well. Start your description with something provocative, and use your chosen keywords right up front. Make buyers and reviewers ravenous for more. Would you buy your book if you read your own description?

How Can You Distribute Sample Copies of Your Book?

Review copies are given away free, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t come at a price for the reviewer. Select only reviewers who are the most likely to come through with their promised action. Because you will be investing your time, resources and energy in distributing your samples, be choosy about who gets to have them.

Here is a 3-step formula to generate heat in your Sample Campaign, used by marketing pros who are “in the know” about how to sell books.

Step 1: GOODREADS Set-up

You may already know about Goodreads.com, but many authors use an ineffective approach. Start by creating a reader account using your author name. Before you do anything else, get familiar with the venue (this is called “lurking”), then review several books. After you’ve become a trusted member of the community, you can add your book or have someone add it for you.

Once your book has been added, you can change your status to “author”. You’ll have to submit an application to Goodreads’ staff for review, and this takes a couple of days. Be sure to add your social media links to your Goodreads account and website.

Once you’re established on Goodreads.com, click the link to “Create A Giveaway”. These are physical books you’re giving away, so you’ll need to buy copies of your book and send them to the reviewers who request it. Be sure you conduct only one giveaway at a time or this can get expensive and confusing.

Step 2: BLOG TOURS

Capitalizing on blog tours is an excellent cog in the wheel of your Sample Campaign. To do this, take a title from your Kindle best seller list and Google it with the search term “blog tour.” This search will yield bloggers who customarily review books and need something to blog about.

Your next step is to contact the bloggers and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing your book. Give them plenty of advance notice, typically about 2 months. Popular reviewers are often booked well in advance, and these are the ones you want to reach.

When you contact them, include a link to your Goodreads page so they can see your alluring cover and intriguing book description. Ask for their review to be published within the first 5 days of your release, preferably on your actual release date.

Step 3: BRICK AND MORTAR

Indie bookstores love authors, and many would welcome you for an author book signing. When you run your giveaway campaign, contact the store manager first before you seed the marketplace with copies of your book. Make it your goal to send out only copies that will actually yield results. Track where each one goes and follow up until you get solid results.

If you work with a publisher, ask them for a list of buyers from their Rolodex to send samples.

Book reviewers are real people with busy lives. When you request a review, don’t make the mistake of pitching your book like a used car salesman. A brief personal introduction followed by a simple paragraph describing your book should do the trick. Ask for permission to send them a review copy, and then be sure to follow up. Stay on track until you achieve the success you’re looking for.

With this kind of focused activity, perhaps someday you will find your work on the best seller list… and start reaping the success your literary endeavor deserves!



Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.





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Book Awards – Resting On Your Laurels and Other Thoughts on Winning Book Writing Competitions


Competing for a writing award is an often-overlooked tactic in the book marketing list of “To-Dos”. But is it worth it? Let’s take a look.

Back in the day – I mean way back – citizens of the Greek Empire knew they had made it big when they were crowned with a wreath made from bay laurel leaves. You know the kind: the pungent herb you use to season your holiday bird.

The ancient Greeks used laurel wreaths as awards for accomplishments in sports as well as poetry. Later on the Romans copied the Greek custom and awarded laurels to victorious conquering generals. Judging from the size of the Roman Empire, they must have gone through a lot of leaves. Eventually the generals got lazy, a lot of internal squabbling happened, and the empire declined. So too did the custom of awarding laurels.

Laurel wreaths are still used today as the symbol of academic success, and they’re sometimes used in graduation ceremonies for master’s degrees. A poet laureate is someone who’s been given this distinction.

After the ceremony, there’s a lot of feasting and often a sad good-bye to days of scholarly endeavors – no more burning the midnight oil or striving for literary perfection. This is where the phrase “resting on your laurels” comes from. It means relying on your past successes and not pursuing new challenges or paths to glory. Well, at least for some….not for authors!

Popularity vs. Profitability

Why does this matter today? As a matter of habit, or maybe just human nature, we are obsessed with competition. As soon as something is invented, right on its heels comes a new kind of award. We just can’t seem to stop comparing one thing to another and crowning the moment with a token of our esteem. Ask any Nobel laureate.

And it’s fitting, isn’t it? What better way to memorialize the moment or benchmark the best? A stroke of genius deserves recognition, whether it’s a gold medal in the international Olympic games or a regional award for a new work of fiction. Usually with this recognition comes some kind of remuneration and some amazing publicity opportunities.

We just love to recognize the best, hold it up for example, and challenge anyone to do better. It makes for forward progress in the most wonderful way.

This brings us to the topic of book awards and the enormous boost they can give to your reputation – and your book sales.

Bryan Heathman’s Top 7 Book Awards for Authors

Winning an award for your book may seem unlikely at first blush. After all, the competition and requirements for submission are usually thought to be pretty stiff. But in reality, the fee for submitting your magnum opus for Pulitzer Prize consideration is only $50. Some authors spend that weekly at their friendly neighborhood Starbucks.

Imagine carrying around the title of “Award-Winning Author” on your business card. You just might get past some velvet ropes a little easier with that kind of clout (hey, it could happen).

Besides Pulitzer and Nobel, the list of prominent book awards reads like a “Who’s Who” at an acronym convention: PEN, NBA, NBCC and Booker to name a few. But there are lesser-known, more accessible challenges to meet, such as Benjamin Franklin, Independent Publishers Guild and Writer’s Digest. Besides bucking the competition for the major brass rings, you are much more likely to win the Sophomore Cup and be the proverbial big fish in a small pond.

Besides lots of celebratory perks and a cash prize, winners are announced to major trade journals, news outlets, public libraries, social media and blogs. Consider your entry for the following awards when you publish your next manuscript:

The Benjamin Franklin Awards: the Independent Book Publishers Association is a non-profit organization that offers advocacy and education. Their Benjamin Franklin Award honors independent publishers and self-published authors for excellent book editorial and design.

Independent Publishers Guild Award: the IPGs Independent Publishing Awards celebrate the achievements and successes of IPG members. Frankly it’s a great way for them to drive membership, and it’s a great way for you, the author, to connect and network with other serious professionals.

IPPYS – Independent Publishers Book Awards: the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the IPPYs) shine a light on excellent independent, university, and self-published books each year. The independent spirit comes from all corners, and books are judged on merit, not necessarily polish.

Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards: Foreword Reviews is dedicated to discovering new indie books. The INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards help showcase the best indie books for readers eager to discover new stories by unknown authors.

Dan Poynter Global Book Awards: winners of this ebook award get the customary hoopla that accompanies book awards – stickers, social media buzz and press releases. As a winner you’ll also be considered for a one-year scholarship award for Dan Poynterís Para Promotion Program.

eLit Awards: the eLit Awards are committed to illuminating and honoring the best of English language entertainment. The eLit Awards include digital publishing in a wide variety of reader formats with submissions from around the world.

Do you have any favorite literary awards? If so, send me a message via www.MadeForSuccessPublishing.com/blog or LinkedIn Messaging and I’ll update this list periodically for the benefit of the writing community.





Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1October 21, 2015
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Noisetrade – A Hidden Gem for Book Marketing


by Bryan Heathman

The Author’s Dream

There you are, sipping coffee and cognac by the stone fireplace at a lodge near Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Your muscles are warm and loose from a day of skiing, and your mind is on the fine meal planned for the evening.

Recent sales of your best seller have funded this little getaway, and you can’t believe how easily – how quickly – it all came together. It was all so sudden.

You lean back, gazing out the window at the gently falling snow, and smile. Yes, you can trace it all back to that one pivotal moment, the one when you decided to give away copies of your book on Noisetrade. After all, doesn’t everyone?

“If only they knew it was this easy,” you muse, “then everyone really would be doing it.” The sweet aroma of the steam fills your senses while the down-stuffed armchair cradles you in comfort. The thought whispers at the edge of your mind, “Yes, it is truly a good life…”

CLANK!

You’re startled awake with a clatter. The spoon you used to stir your powdered instant Swiss mocha mix has fallen to the kitchen floor, jostling you back to the reality of the moment: the onerous task of writing your book marketing plan.

If you don’t figure out some way to build your readership, your dreams of Swiss-inspired success are hosed. You might as well use those overstock copies of your ebook to fuel the virtual fireplace app on your smartphone. Not glamorous. Not at all.

Using Noisetrade to Build Your Best-Seller Dream

Using Noisetrade can be one great step on the journey to market your book. Noisetrade is an author-driven marketplace for ebooks and audiobooks. Rather than direct commerce, contributors are rewarded through donations that readers make on the honor system.

For example, a reader downloads a juicy sci-fi novel and has the option to pay for it after the aliens have been summarily dealt with. Score one for the author.

Authors can build an audience by giving away full-length ebooks or audiobooks, or alternatively authors offer sample chapters. Readers can find fiction, non-fiction, study guides, graphic novels and audiobooks galore. It’s the utopian version of Amazon.com without the coffee makers, winter coats and toy ads.

And it’s true: Noisetrade can be cool. When I work with authors to develop and execute their marketing plans, we do use NoiseTrade, but not for its idealistic original intent. Putting partial ebooks and audiobooks on this site has generated hundreds to thousands of new subscribers to email lists for many of my authors. Here’s how it works.

When a reader selects a book to download, they are prompted to make a choice from the pop-up window. They can either log in with Facebook credentials, use their free Noisetrade account, or download anonymously as a guest.

Those who log in are prompted to join the author’s mailing list and agree to receive email from them. After that, the author is free to build a relationship and market to them as often as they wish.

The Reality

This is a great email list-building tactic, but a horrible tactic for generating revenue when you post your entire book.

Noisetrade is not a good platform for making pots of money and retiring to the slopes of Neuchâtel. For one thing, the appeal for consumers is that the downloads are free. This attracts freebie-seekers.

Even though the Noisetrade site advises users to leave a tip (and they recommend an amount), the timing of their recommendation sucks. The pop-up asks for the money before the meal – before the reader has a chance to be inspired, amused, educated or tickled by the enormity of the author’s wit. Who’s going to pay for a sci-fi novel when they aliens haven’t been vanquished yet? Most authors don’t include a payment link at the end of their book, so the sale is lost.

If you can keep this in perspective, you can capitalize on Noisetrade’s innate sexiness as a marketing tool. Our best success has come from this model, or recipe, for using Noisetrade to promote books:

  • Give away book 1, and publish links to purchase books 2 & 3
  • Get email addresses when people download your ebook/audiobook
  • Add these emails to your email database and wow your subscribers with your clever words

Noisetrade is great for getting your creative works into the hands of consumers, building your mailing list and staying in touch with them. If you keep this in mind as you use Noisetrade to market yourself, you can maximize its potential and start adding a little VSOP to your afternoon coffee. Santé!




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1October 13, 2015
icon2admin

Big Exposure for Authors – Trade Publication Reviews


by Bryan Heathman

Publicity - Title of Grey Book.

Of all the tactics an author can use to become noteworthy, getting your book reviewed by the New York Times is right up there.

A thumbs up from the likes of Publishers Weekly or the Library Journal is not just some stroke for the author’s ego. It can translate to big bucks in terms of buy-in for your book. The right recommendation can open doors for an author where before there only seemed to be a brick wall.

Once you’ve finished writing your book, getting wide distribution in the marketplace should naturally become your focus. Book buyers hesitate to engage with an author they’ve never heard of. I mean, even you and I hover briefly over the 1-Click Order button on Amazon before committing to an unknown author. Book buyers and readers alike look for a source of information they can trust before making a buying decision on a book in a sea of millions of book titles.

Reviews provide that confirmation, whether the comments come from consumers or professional critics. So, let’s explore how to get your book reviewed by major trade publications. Every successful author has been unknown at some point, and reviews help to bridge that gap between obscurity and celebrity. Finding reviewers who are willing make your name known is a simpler process than you might expect.

Why Book-Trade Reviews?

Reviews have a permanence that time-based media just doesn’t have. TV and radio shows can offer a wide audience. However, their time-based quality means a lot less leverage for you, the author, in getting your name in front of your chosen audience. The shows typically air just once, and then they’re gone.

Written reviews in trade journals, libraries, magazines and websites will last for years. Any time your book-buying public is looking for information about you or your topic, they’re going to stumble across those reviews. In fact, you can even excerpt these reviews and use them in your marketing materials.

So how do you do it? What’s the secret to getting the guys at the top to notice you? Is there some kind of mojo that only hired publicists have the license to practice? Let’s look at a two-pronged effort to do just that.

Freedom of the Press and Other Juicy Tactics

One method you can use to publicize your book is writing press releases and getting distribution. Sometimes press releases are picked up by major publications, which can provide amazing support for a book release.

In addition to reprints from major media outlets, your press release can end up being indexed by Google for your main keywords. This puts your announcement in front of all kinds of book reviewers, online bloggers and the buying public.

To request a book review from one of the major trade publications, the process is not that complicated. In fact, it involves only one step: ask.

Start by sending a personalized e-mail with details about your book, then wait for a response. Make your query tailored to the publication you’re submitting it to, and use the editor’s name in your greeting. Don’t make your submission about you; make it about them. Be direct about how your material will interest and benefit their audience.

This method may yield a certain amount of failures, but that’s part of the process. The best baseball player hits the ball only 3 out of 10 times. You can make up for what you lack in skill with a large number of review submissions. And over time, you’ll get better.

With that in mind, here is a list of contacts for Media & Trade Review Submissions:

New York Times

Publishers Weekly (retail trade buyers)

Library Journal (library buyers)

Kirkus

Foreword

Shelf Awareness (retail trade buyers)

The hardest part of putting your book in front of the professionals on this list is getting started. It can be overwhelming. Contacting any publication you respect or admire can be intimidating. So muster-up your courage and dive in. Get organized, and keep moving.

Remember that reviewers would be out of business if it weren’t for authors like you. You have an obligation to give them something to talk about. Who knows? The next review you read may be your own!




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Check out the Bryan Heathman’s book Conversion Marketing: Convert Website Visitors into Buyers

In today’s business climate, transacting eCommerce on the Internet represents the fastest growing marketplace in the world – but few people really understand how to make it sing! Harness the online money making potential of your business with trade secrets from this acclaimed industry insider, veteran of more than 150 marketing campaigns in the corporate Big Leagues. From creating hefty mailing lists to launching powerful viral marketing campaigns, you’ll learn the tricks of turning the noise of the digital realm into a chorus of eCommerce for your business. Let this eBook show you how to make money while you sleep!






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1October 7, 2015
icon2admin

Book Publicity Media Kits – The 5 Essential Elements Journalists Need


by Bryan Heathman

Successfully marketing your book basically means letting people know that it exists. After all, you wrote down your best ideas so that others would read and enjoy them. Getting more book sales translates to more people sharing your best ideas – fact or fiction— and benefitting from them.

As the person who’s primarily responsible for promoting your book, one smart move you can make is to leverage the huge media potential available to authors. Doing this will mean you won’t be the only person touting your book. You’ll have massive media outlets helping you out.

The problem with using traditional publicity is that the process can be intimidating. Buyers for book distributors and retail book stores decide how many copies to order per outlet based on publicity and demand. Getting regional or national exposure helps drive that demand. But how can you get publicity for your book when there’s so much competition for face time in the media?

The answer lies in preparation. Having a complete media kit prepared ahead of time for all your publicity contacts will ensure that they have access to everything they need to decide to put you in front of their audience. In fact, a media kit will stack the odds in your favor, and getting mass exposure becomes a matter of making yourself available to media outlets.

Time starved magazine editors, radio personalities and TV talk show hosts are all looking for completeness and professional presentation. They need to see a total package that will help them out with their stories. If you can present them with the material they need ahead of time, you are much more likely to land that interview, book review or feature. This preparation comes in the form of the media kit.

The 5 Essentials of a Book Media Kit

There is a wide assortment of materials that authors include in their media kit, but many of them are overkill for a journalist in a hurry. Sometimes less really is more. Your complete media kit should include the following elements:

1) Your Author Biographies – Yes, you need more than one bio. Depending on the length, these may include your professional background, your experience as an author, and even information about your lifestyle such as where you live.

Your bios should be offered in the following lengths:

  • 2 lines (120 characters)
  • Short bio (50 words)
  • Medium bio (100 words)
  • Long bio (400 to 600 words)

2) Your Press Release – This should include meaty useful content, citing you as an authority on the topic with a reference to your book. It should not be an announcement that you’ve written a book. There’s no quicker way to bore a journalist, and these are the people you want to excite.

Besides meaty and content and sound bites, your press release should include the following often omitted data:

  • Headline up to 20 words
  • Subheading (optional)
  • Dateline (City, State, Date)
  • Call to action at the bottom of the release
  • Your contact information – don’t make people work hard to find you

Click here for tips on writing a Press Release for your book launch.

3) A Book Synopsis and Sample Chapter — Pull your most important information onto one sheet. Include a cover image, the title & sub-title, table of contents and key selling points. Include reviews and endorsements if you have them. If you don’t have them, then set aside time to get them. Include book review excerpts if you have them, such as, “This book is a thrill ride! I couldn’t put it down.”

4) Publicity Photos — Offer more than one type of publicity photo. Make sure these images are professionally done with nicely balanced contrast and clear, sharp focus.

  • Image of your book cover created by a professional book graphic designer
  • Head shot of just you with even lighting and an approachable facial expression
  • A candid shot of you in a relevant context, showing you in an environment that relates to your topic

5) Sample Interview Questions, Tips, Quotes and Sound Bites — People in the media may not have the time to read your book, so make it easy for them to understand your work. Include sample interview questions in your media kit. Radio and TV personalities especially love these. Journalists love to see list of tips that they can reprint in connection with your book. All media people love to use quotes and sound bites, so feed them what they want.

The thing to remember about your media kit is that it’s a work in progress. It will constantly need to be updated. If you set it and forget it, in time it will forget you. Stay active in the life of your book’s publicity. With proper care and feeding, and it will provide you with fat royalty checks for a long time to come.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1September 22, 2015
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Traditional Media Exposure = Rocket Fuel for Your Book Launch


by Bryan Heathman

There are several thousand ways to successfully publicize a book that I’m aware of, and some are more effective than others. For example, you can promote your book by selling it back-of-room during speaking engagements, and you may actually make thousands of sales this way. The problem with this approach is that your own involvement limits the number of sales you can make, as the opportunities to speak are scarce… as is your time. This “scarcity principle” applies other marketing tactics I’ve seen authors use – not just public speaking engagements.

Imagine how much more effective your marketing efforts will be when you invest your time instead of spending it. Think of the activities you can do that will offer you leverage. Using traditional media such as radio, TV and print can give you massive leverage.

By putting your book in the hands of other people who can reach a large audience for you, you are leveraging their audience. Imagine sitting down for an interview with a radio talk show host. How many people can you reach in one 10-minute chat? What would audiences for your book look like if a dozen radio shows picked up a press release you distributed? How might your book launch change if your interview became syndicated? What would a stint on Good Morning America do for your sales?

Traditional Publicity Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring

Using traditional media such as radio, television, newsprint and magazine exposure for your book can make or break your sales numbers. This is anything but boring. By distributing your book through channels that will automatically publicize your work to large groups of people, you are investing your time and resources wisely. Let’s take a look at how you can apply this kind of leverage to your Book Marketing Plan.

Whether you’re looking for a burst of heat from your initial book launch, or your topic is evergreen and you’ve got your eye on long tail sales, publicity can give you the leverage you need to put your book into the hands of readers. Social media and other interactive types of publicity are great for this.

Yet for most authors who take the time to draft a Book Marketing Plan, somehow traditional publicity keeps getting lost in the mix. Despite the prevalence of social media in our daily lives, traditional media is still not only an effective publicity generator, it’s often the most effective way to sell pallets of your published book.

The three months surrounding your book launch are a time of intense activity. With the right chemical mix of traditional publicity and social media, you can be sure that your book continues to make sales long after the launch is over.

A Media Kit Is Rocket Fuel for Your Book Launch

A media kit helps establish your credibility and enhances your reputation before you even start your marketing campaign. This means buying resistance to your books will be much lower. People will be more inclined to believe in you when you have a solid reputation.

A media kit is a branded set of marketing materials that’s rich with content, not hype. It includes collateral material for journalists, book reviewers, talk show hosts, bloggers and consumers. Frequently a time-starved journalist won’t take a minute to look into the media kit to make their decision about whether to cover you. They’ll rely on the summary you provide. If your information is complete and looks professional, they will simply use the material you have given them.

People in the media don’t have time to read your book, so make it easy for them to understand your work. If you are considerate of their needs, they are more inclined to cover the story of you and your book.

Include sample interview questions in your media kit. Radio and TV personalities especially love these. Journalists love to see list of tips that they can reprint in connection with your book. All media people love to use quotes and sound bites, so feed them what they want.

Above all, make sure you provide your contact information right up front. In fact it should be on every part of your media kit and every page of your website. No one should ever have to guess how to reach you.

Do you have questions about what to include in your book media kit? Click here for the 5 essential elements of a book media kit.

By leveraging traditional media, you can launch your book to stellar status join – maybe even join the galaxy of published superstars. The only question that remains is, how high do you want to go?




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1September 22, 2015
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Book Reviews: How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon


by Bryan Heathman

As an author, the best thing that can happen for your book is that titillating four-letter word we all love and fear at the same time: BUZZ. Getting people to read and talk up your book is what it’s all about.

Buzz is the reason for those late nights hunched over your keyboard with an empty cup of something at your elbow, while a long-suffering significant beckons from the next room to come back to bed. An audience for your greatest ideas is the reason to lie awake, staring at the ceiling, piecing together the right words to express your ideas. Buzz is the reason to take the contents of your head, convert them to verbiage and digits and publish them in an ISBN-backed, endorsement-bedecked, jewel-tone-covered volume called My Great Work.

Clearly, buzz is what you want. The goal is to generate a flurry of well-deserved hype over the 3-month time frame surrounding your book launch and thereby tell the world your story. But how does a lone author working from a spare room get buzz, and how much is enough?

Let’s start this question of buzz by addressing the topic of book reviews, or what professional marketers like to refer as social proof. There are 2 types of reviews which authors seek – professional reviews (trade reviews, media outlets, etc.) and consumer reviews. Let’s take a deeper look at getting consumer reviews.

Separating the Papyrus from the Chaff

From legacy publishing digests to rogue Indie publishing specialists, information abounds online about how to successfully launch your book and get reviews. After all, consumer book reviews are the bread and butter of many a book launch campaign with good reason. One thing has been proven…consumers make buying decisions based on social proof.

Last week I took a fantastic scuba diving adventure with my daughter, exploring reefs and shipwrecks off the coast of Florida. After seeing the tropical fish in the delightfully warm 86 degree water, Alex, the store manager of the scuba shop, asked us to log into TripAdvisor to write a review. Alex knows how important reviews are to his business – both in terms of positive reviews and the quantity of reviews.

The same principles of getting reviews for a scuba diving shop can be applied to books.

Plenty of quality reviews on Amazon.com alone signals the difference between the roar of the crowd and the figurative chirping of crickets. With authors I advise on book marketing, I require at least 30 reviews on Amazon before we can take your Marketing Plan to the next level. The reason is that several highly effective book marketing tactics require that you have this number before you can launch a substantial campaign.

So, what are the steps you can add to your marketing checklist to kick-off your book launch with lots of reviews?

The 5 Most Effective Steps You Can Take to Get More Book Reviews

1. Develop an overall Marketing Plan. Think about how you can market your book as you’re writing it – not as an afterthought. If you wait until your manuscript is finished, you will either delay the launch or suffer from low book sales. Include book reviews as part of this plan, and draft a clear, specific strategy for getting them.

2. Write a great book. The book you write should stand up to thoughtful analysis, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Have it professionally edited, commission an excellent cover, and let your book stand on its own merits.

3. Keep a list of reviewers. Develop and organize a list of people to tap for reviews as you’re writing your book. Ask yourself “Who has a vested interest in expressing their opinion about my work?” Begin this task early on, and maintain steady activity. Here are a few ideas to get start building your list:

  • Friends and Family: reach-out to your inner circle of people closest to you and ask for a favor to write a review once your book is published. Some authors can achieve the requisite 30 reviews from this source alone.
  • Fans & Supporters: keep a list of people who know, like and trust you. These folks will have the greatest emotional investment in the success of your book. Many authors will organize a “book launch tribe” who perform various tasks throughout the book launch. Using social media networks is an excellent forum for organizing tribe members.
  • Colleagues: list the people who are in your industry who would be interested in supporting your work. You can trade promotion with them and perhaps even launch a joint venture promotion.
  • Reviewers: these are people who have an established reputation in the field of literary criticism. This category includes book bloggers, media personnel and celebrities. Notable reviewers can be your most effective allies in getting attention for your book.
  • Podcasters: remember podcasting? Well, it’s back, and it’s on the rise. Currently Americans listen to 20 million hours of podcast material every… single… day. (No lie.) Team up with podcasters to review your book and help you spread the word. Better yet, recommend that they tie their review to a 3-part series that includes an interview with you and a retrospective on your topic. The more you prepare material for them, the greater the chances of success for both of you.
  • Online Retail Communities: request book reviews on from top reviewers on Amazon.com, GoodReads.com, iTunes, BarnesandNoble.com and other similar e-tailers. Be polite, be informative, and follow up. Finding these reviewers is easier than you think…keep reading.

4. Get engaged. Cultivate relationships with the people you want to review your work. Be willing to trade your engagement with them for their thoughtful comments about your book. Be ready to get involved in their conversations on their blogs and social media. Participate. In this area, the more attention you give, the more attention you will receive.

5. Get social. Use social media to generate excitement about your work in progress. Don’t just release your book – launch it. As your big day approaches, make it clear that advance copies of your book are available in exchange for credible reviews. The number of copies you give away will have a marked impact on the number of reviews you receive. However, scarcity sells. Position the review copies as a scarce commodity, even when you’re giving away a thousand of them. In fact, expert review campaigns in advance of your book launch can lead to best-seller status for your book. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Promoting review copies on social media is a great way to jump start your campaign.

Getting quality book reviews isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t have to keep you up at night. After all, those long hours spent staring at the ceiling are best kept for crafting your magnum opus. Using these 5 steps will make your book promotion that much easier and help you get the kind of buzz you’re looking for. The right reviews at the right time can be just the nudge you need.

Author Resources for Getting Book Reviews:




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




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Book Endorsements: The Power of Third Party Validation


by Bryan Heathman

In the realm of book marketing, there’s an axiom that goes like this:

“If I say it, it’s up for debate; if someone else says it, it must be true.”

Third-party validation is a sure-fire method of getting people to draw a conclusion about me or my book. In fact, a well-known endorser has proven to add instant credibility to books and professional speakers.

Do you doubt me? You can prove it for yourself. Try this exercise: decide for yourself which of these statements sounds better if you say it about yourself, or if it sounds best coming from a trusted third-party expert:

  1. This book is the most efficient, effective path to living up to the potential inside you.
  2. No other author delivers so much yet still leaves the reader hungry for more.
  3. Each delicious word lolls around on the palette like a chocolate-kissed gem – you’ll want to try these foolproof recipes for yourself.
  4. The author is clearly the most knowledgeable person of our time and a credit to society.
  5. Put on your thinking cap – this book is lightning in a bottle. You won’t be able to put it down.

Got your answers? Good.

It probably didn’t take you long to decide that if you had written these blurbs about yourself, then you would have probably stopped at #2 (if you were feeling generous).

However, if any of these quotes about your work came from a head of State, a New York Times best-selling author, or the winner of a Nobel Prize, you’d probably crack the cover on your book and read at least a couple of lines (chocolate-kissed gems, anyone?).

Third-party validation is the most compelling reason to go after book endorsements for your work. It’s also a very intimidating step in the list of things that an author must do to get noticed in the crowded book marketplace. In terms of phobias, requesting endorsements is not far behind root canals, furry South American spiders and that dreaded numero uno… public speaking!

But unlike the items in the paragraph above, getting book endorsements doesn’t have to be all that scary. There’s really very little risk involved, and the benefits far outweigh the price of your request. The few steps below will help you ask for—and get—the endorsements that are so critical for your book’s success.

It’s simple. Don’t ask, don’t get.

Ask, and you just might collect a priceless recommendation from someone you really admire. Having the thought leader in your field say good things about you is sure to up your ratings, not to mention your book sales. So ask for the endorsement.


Five Essentials for Getting Quality Book Endorsements

Now that we’ve established this is an important step to take, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your first “Yes”.

1. Ask an Author. Authors are usually responsive to requests for book endorsements. They “get it”—start with the experts in your field or genre. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a response, especially when you remind them of the exposure they will gain from your marketing.

2. Ask an Expert. Experts also thrive on exposure and professional courtesy. Aim high when asking for an endorsement. I typically get a 20-50% response rate using the system I’m giving you here.

3. Send Your Endorsement Letter. Starting with a letter, request a endorsements for your book. In fact, I’ve gone as far as creating an Endorsement Request Template which I share with authors published by Made for Success Publishing. Your letter can either be inserted into the body of an email, or it can be mailed as a physical letter. Your tone should be complimentary without sucking up, and you’ll need to briefly state something that the two of you have in common. Make sure they know how to contact you in reply.

Just last week, I sent an endorsement request to a famous author whose book has sold 25 million copies. His book also has a major motion picture releasing this quarter. He sent me a response saying “maybe,” based on his ability to squeeze-in this request during his upcoming new release book tour and red carpet movie premier schedule.

4. Send Your Book Review Materials. Once your endorsement prospect has answered your letter and said “yes” or “maybe” it’s time to give them the tools to do the job. Offer an at-a-glance summary of your book: the introduction, the table of contents, and a couple of sample chapters. Use your judgement about whether to mail a copy of your materials or send it via email. If you send an email, provide a website link with a protected URL where the endorser can download a PDF as some folks are shy about opening email attachments they receive from strangers.

5. Include Endorsement Samples. Make some suggestions about what your endorser might say. Prepare three or four sample endorsements, since people in your network may ask you to write the endorsement for them. Make the comments easy to digest, but also let them glow a little around the edges.


To Best Seller Status and Beyond

The endorsements you collect can be quite valuable for you and your book, long beyond launch day. It helps to think of the time and effort involved as an investment. What you put in will return to you in the form of dividends.

Book endorsements will be featured on your website, Amazon.com, in your marketing materials, on your book jacket, on sell sheets that are sent to retail book buyers, and many other places.

The time and resources you invest in this stage of your marketing campaign is more than worth it. The right book endorsement will open doors for your writing endeavors, your book, and your paid speaking opportunities.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.





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Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1August 31, 2015
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The Write Stuff – Choosing the Best BISAC Genre for Your Book


by Bryan Heathman

In the beginning, the world was void – formless, nameless, unreadable. Then everything got categorized, and we’ve been trying to file it ever since. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So too with books. Just as soon as an author writes something, somebody comes along and categorizes it. The most successful authors categorize their work first, then write it.

When you have information, you need to put it somewhere. You’ve got to be able to access it again, and other people will probably want to look at it too. Thus was born the BISAC, the Publishing industry’s answer to the Dewey Decimal system.

The BISAC is a list of hundreds of categories and sub-categories that has rapidly becoming the industry standard for classifying books by genre. There are those who argue that in time it will replace the venerable Dewey Decimal System. Others contend that it already has.

If you’re a published author – or would like to be – it pays to educate yourself on the technicalities of book publishing. You only need to be a little bit more savvy than the rest of the pack in order to be miles ahead, perhaps even capture that elusive best-seller status.

Let’s take a look at how choosing the right category can help you sell more books.


Dewey or Don’t We?

The Dewey Decimal System is most commonly associated with stern-faced librarians and dusty book covers. I can remember volunteering at the Arbor Heights Grade School library as a kid, hoisting abandoned volumes into gaps on the shelves, putting away the day’s reading material while Miss Marian looked on from behind her half-glasses while adjusting her bun.

It was kind of fun. I could sort and organize, while enjoying the smell of ink and leather that when combined makes that “library smell.” Come on, you know what I mean! The fact that I grew up to be a publisher is amusing to my high-tech executive sensibilities – but then, certain advances in publishing technology have helped take the toil out of hocking Tolstoy and his modern-day equivalents.

This leads us back to the BISAC, more formally known as the Book Industry Standards and Communications list. What I’ve found in working with authors is that very few of them have ever heard of the BISAC. Little do they know how essential this tool is for their publishing success!

Unless you’re writing for your own amusement, we can make the argument that your book needs to fit into an established genre. People need to find it, and book sellers need to be able to organize War and Peace next to your masterpiece.

Many would argue that the Dewey Decimal system does this, but that does little for the author when it comes to selling books at retail. This archaic system is too confusing, and it takes an entire course of study in Library Science to learn to speak Dewey.


ISBN for Ibsen, BISAC for the Basics

The ISBN (International Standards Book Number) is a numeric commercial book identifier based on a 13-digit code (generally), and it serves as the anchor for your book’s bar code. Retailers and e-tailers need to have one for your book in order to sell it – even if your name is Henrik Ibsen and you’ve won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

But the ISBN doesn’t do anything to help customers find your cherished volume. It’s for machines only – not at all user-friendly. The Dewey Decimal System is the next best thing, but it still doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Way back in 2007, there was a flap in the news about a public library in Texas doing away with the Dewey Decimal System altogether and organizing their catalog like a bookstore would. The nerve! Imagine helping people find what they’re looking for in an easy-to-understand way. What system did they use? The BISAC.

The BISAC is the brainchild of the Book Industry Study Group, and their list itself is copyrighted material. But just about every bookseller in the world refers to it now. I predict that it won’t take long for libraries to catch up. You can find the BISAC master list on the BISAC website: https://www.bisg.org/complete-bisac-subject-headings-2014-edition

At the core of every book is a sense of relativity – where your book fits into the grand scheme of things. As you set about to draft, polish and market your magnum opus, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who else has written a book like yours?
  • Why is their book successful?
  • Who will want to read your book?
  • What is the single most relevant category for your book?
  • What is the most appropriate BISAC genre for your book?

Some authors don’t like to be pinned down to a single category as they write. What they don’t realize is that they’re doing themselves a disservice by ignoring genre requirements. Books aren’t supposed to be elusive. Even books on cryptozoology are easy to find with BISACs.

When you sit down to write, try to think like a book seller. Choose a BISAC that matches your material. With a little discipline and forethought, your manuscript will serve more people with less effort.

In the end, you’ll actually sell more books. Now that’s a category any author can live with – the best-seller category.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






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Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1August 26, 2015
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How to Write a Press Release for a Book Launch


For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for driving laser sharp traffic and increasing book sales.

Of all the self-promotion options available, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked method. It’s unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. In a few rare cases, it can even launch you to stardom.

The mistake most authors make with this tactic is believing that the launch of their book is news in itself. Nothing could be more boring to the buying public than banging your drum about launch dates and press runs.

Your angle needs to be one that touts your problem and solution, mentions you as an author or expert, and includes the name of your book almost as an incidental point of fact.

The topic of your press release needs to be timely or even cheeky – something with an off-beat hook that captures the reader’s imagination. You’ve got to make them feel what you feel about your topic, and then demonstrate that reading your book is the only logical next step.

Besides being a gripping read, a good press release is timely, newsworthy, and contains links to your book listing so readers can get more information about it. Every day, publishers, editors and journalists pick up press releases as they mine for breaking news within an industry. This offers valuable exposure for you and your book.

One success story I want to share with you is from a professional speaker and author I know named Keith Harrell, who had an extraordinary experience with this kind of publicity. One day Keith was contacted by a reporter who had seen his press release. The reporter was writing a “Day in the Life” story about half a dozen professional speakers for a financial newspaper.

Sounds a little drab, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be relegated to a by-the-way blurb in a dry-as-toast financial journal like this? That’s what all the other speakers thought. In fact, the reporter had contacted six speakers and asked each one for an interview. But Keith was the only one who responded to her call, so the reporter ran a full-page article devoted just to Keith. Lucky Keith!

It turned out that the reporter was writing this article for the Wall Street Journal – yes, THAT dry-as-toast little financial journal. Through this one event, Keith Harrell went from virtual obscurity to fame overnight. This led to his success with a New York Times best-selling book and a multi-million dollar speaking business.

I have to add that in order for the reporter to contact Keith in the first place, Keith’s press release needed to contain certain elements, and it had to be a good read. It had to capture the reporter’s imagination, and it needed a clear call to action at the end. Here’s an outline you can use for your own press releases.

First, plan to write more than one. Then make sure that your press releases all contain the necessary elements, which I’ve listed below. Make it easy for anyone interested in your work to find you, contact you and promote you. Finally, distribute your press releases to as many relevant media hubs as possible.

In your press release, include links back to your website to create more traffic and create buzz about your website. Writing articles and distributing them via partner websites and article distribution websites (such as ezinearticles.com) are also excellent sources of free traffic.

Contents of a Standard Press Release

  • Headline – this can be up to 20 words
  • Subhead – this is optional
  • Dateline – city, state, and date of press release
  • Article beginning – catch the reader’s attention, including problem & solution
  • Author quote – this a meaty and compelling sound byte
  • Author info – a paragraph or two about the author
  • Book info – a paragraph or two about the book bout the book
  • Contact – include links for review copies and media interviews with you, and include your website address
  • CTA- conclude with a clear, compelling “call to action”
  • Hashtags – include social media hashtags
  • About the Author – your author biography, about 500 words

For Non-Fiction:

Lead your press release with the main problem and its solution in the first paragraph. What problem does your book solve? What solution will readers find? Lead the press release audience to your book obliquely. That is, state the problem and solution, then mention that your book supports this premise. Include anywhere from 3 to 7 tips from your book, and tell people how they can find out more.

For Fiction:

Lead with the key character at the beginning of the press release. Include the emotional angle of your premise. Tell people what emotions they will experience as they read the book, and help them preview their reading experience. As you write your press release, be clear about your target audience, and speak directly to them.

Write your press releases for consumers, bloggers, journalists and the Google search algorithm. There are several large news services where you can distribute press releases with newsworthy information to reporters worldwide. Some of these include PRNewsWire.com and businesswire.com, to name just a couple.

As you dive into this promotional medium, you’ll find a whole new world to discover. Now… get cracking! The world is waiting to discover you.




Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Shout out to Paul J. Thomas, author of Bite Size Advice

Bite Size Advice is now available in both paperback and as an eBook.

While there are many blogs, not all are created equal. One which stands out from the crowd is a thought-provoking and eclectic blog written by Paul Thomas. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of Gateway Credit Union in Sydney. Gateway was a relatively early adopter of blogging and maintains one of Australia’s leading business blogs.

This book is a compelling collection of some of Paul’s blog posts – 100 to be exact. His weekly posts are a combination of economic commentary, thought leadership and financial hints. What ties these seemingly disparate categories together is that they are all written through the prism of a banking and financial services lens.

For a limited time, eBook is available for .99!


icon1August 19, 2015
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Smarter Amazon Listings for Books, eBooks and Audiobooks


by Bryan Heathman

Getting a book into tens of thousands of reader’s hands is no easy task. One of the greatest challenges an author faces is overcoming the problem of obscurity. Digital book catalogs have unlimited shelf space, making it increasingly difficult for interested readers to find your book.

Over the weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a senior executive from Amazon.com. I was sitting in his freshly remodeled home, enjoying appetizers on the porch on a warm summer evening. This executive manages a team of people at Amazon who perform the software development on Amazon’s search algorithms.

This conversation took an interesting turn when we started talking about Amazon’s search results, such as what you see when you type in search terms like “high performance tennis books.” I was curious as to the weight (if any) they give to historical conversion rates when deciding which books to display in the search results. This was interesting to me as the author of a book called Conversion Marketing, which delves into how to optimize a website to boost ecommerce conversion rates.

What I discovered was interesting in that Amazon displays the most relevant search results as possible while resisting the temptation to display the highest converting items in their catalog.

Why is this important to authors? What this means is that when you, or your publisher, creates your book listing on Amazon, it makes a material difference in the sales of your book based on how you structure your book listing and your book’s information (or metadata).

I like writing about the topic of online book conversion because authors keep asking me, “How can I sell more copies of my book?” Over the last decade of my experience publishing books, I’ve discovered that getting a book into the marketplace effectively involves the collective knowledge of 30 different people.

From slick cover design to writing punchy marketing copy, the demands of publishing your book involve some highly specialized skills. If you’re not an expert at all of them – and trust me, no one is – it’s time to work a bit smarter.

I own a company that helps authors publish their work, then distributes their books and audiobooks internationally. That gives me a unique perspective on the question of how to sell more books. Not a week goes by when I don’t have authors approaching me for help boosting the sales of their books. The most common mistake independent authors make is that they try to do too much themselves. I’ve witnessed a lot of missed revenue opportunities from false starts, poor workmanship or negative reviews. These mistakes can be very costly indeed.

So what can you do to create a great looking book listing on Amazon.com, which also drives high traffic from Amazon search results? Here are my top 3 marketing tips for structuring a great performing book listing on Amazon.com:

Tip 1 – Keyword Research: establish what keywords people use to find books in your genre. Use these keywords throughout your book listing. If you can include key phrases in your title, sub-title and/or descriptions, you’ll be doing great. To research keywords, consider resources such as AMZ Tracker.

Tip 2 – Book Description: structure your book description with over 1,000 characters. Also, it can help if your description is HTML coded. Finally, make sure your description is well written. A search will begin and end here if the description cannot get the point of your book across quickly.

Tip 3 – Bullet Points: many Amazon shoppers like to have a quick summary of the book, at a glance. Using bullet points in your description can help, with the key selling points of your book. What goes into your key selling points? A few ideas include mentioning awards, endorsements, a synopsis and the genre of your book.

Follow these simple guidelines for your book listing in electronic catalogs, and you will be well on your way to getting your work into the hands of eager readers.




Congratulations, Paul J. Thomas, on your newest book Bite Size Advice: A Definitive Guide to Political, Economic, Social and Technological Issues.



Bite Size Advice is an indispensable tool for those wanting to increase their political, economic, social and technological literacy. Written in clear and concise language, it demystifies the key issues impacting our day-to-day lives and delivers invaluable advice in bite size chunks. Now you can find out everything you wanted to know about almost everything.










Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing, GOKO Publishing’s US partner. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.





Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1August 10, 2015
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Publishing History: It Didn’t Start With Gutenberg


Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock (or a clay tablet), you probably know that the publishing industry is in the middle of a revolution right now. You see the evidence everywhere.

Mass publishing has seen greater changes in the past ten years than at any other time in history since the invention of the Gutenberg press.

In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg built a machine to mass produce books, and the first one he printed was the Bible. That one event helped change the world, putting consistent and important information into the hands of the public.

Now producing and distributing information is accessible to the general public. This happened because of sweeping changes in technology, including the Internet, ebooks and smartphones. For better or worse, any Joe can publish a book now, and it doesn’t have to rival Holy Scripture in order to be published.

This means there’s never been an easier time to get your name out there as an author. What used to be nearly impossible in the context of legacy publishing is now commonplace. No longer do you need an agent, publisher or publicist to claim the Holy Grail called “published author”.

But is there a downside to this change? What roles have these publishing professionals traditionally filled to earn their keep? Let’s take a quick look at some history and assess whether publishing is really the smart choice.

It Didn’t Start with Gutenberg

Though the Gutenberg press launched the mechanized publishing industry at the dawn of the Renaissance era, the process of distributing information is thousands of years old. The job of scribe – one who copied books for a living – dates back to ancient Egypt. Scribes were commonly authors as well. Knowing how to read and write was not all that typical; and so you could say these authors were really published!

With the Printing Revolution of the 1400′s, quality control became a factor. Publishers needed to make sure that the manuscripts they produced were up to grade. Thus, the job of editor was born. There was also a glut of manuscripts on the market, and so publishers became a bit choosier. This spawned the role of book agent.

Up ‘til now, book and magazine publishers spent a lot of their time buying or commissioning content. Typically these seemingly stuffed shirts would only consider manuscripts submitted by an agent. (Imagine!) To get an agent, an author had to write a book synopsis, market analysis and sample chapters of their handiwork. It was a lot of work, though it did focus the project in a way that is now seemingly unheard of.

Once a book was accepted for publication, the negotiation would start, nailing down a number for the purchase price, with haggling back and forth. Intellectual property rights and royalty rates were the chief commodities, but there were also movie rights, tie-ins and merchandising to consider. Think Harry Potter, one of the most successful book series in history.

All of this activity was – and is – predicated on conversion, the act of converting prospective readers into buyers. As with all industries, commerce is key.

Gutenberg Didn’t Have Conversion Problems

The difference between Gutenberg and today’s publishing industry is that Gutenberg published the Bible. He just didn’t have the distribution problems that you and I face today, and converting book browsers into book buyers was no problem. You wanted a copy of the Bible? You’d go see Gutenberg. He was the only game in town.

Now the publishing industry has exploded, and it’s easier than it has ever been in history to get your book in print, literally or virtually.

Services like Smashwords, CreateSpace and Pronoun make it possible to make your book available worldwide at the click of a button. Any first-time author who’s repeatedly been rejected by the stuffy agent/publisher model can see why this opportunity is so attractive.

However, there is a downside. Easy publishing means there is no mandatory check on an author’s skill or quality of the work. Any person with an Internet connection can publish their work, regardless of its literary merit or readability.

Beyond this obvious point is one that’s even more compelling. Because there’s so much content that’s now being dumped into the marketplace, overcoming obscurity is now the author’s greatest challenge. Competition is at an all-time high!

In fact, it takes a team of about 30 well-qualified people to put a book into play – to take it from the author’s mind to the readers’ heart. It seems those old fuddy-duddies who once provided a filter between the author and the marketplace actually did perform a viable service. Editors, graphic designers, distributors and a salesforce all play a useful role in a successful book launch.

This means that in order to be successful as a published author, you need to get really good at wearing about 30 hats. You can either grow a lot of heads, or call in some reinforcements.



Congratulations, Dr. Sally Ernst, on your newest book GOTCHA! Your Little Black Book for a Safer E-xperience.




Cyber Security in a Language Anyone can Understand. Gotcha! The essential handbook on Cyber Security for business executives. Gotcha! raises awareness of the serious nature of the cyber security threat and provides practical steps and key questions that will help assess potential threats. Gotcha! Is an easy-to-read, yet deeply informative resource book that addresses the crucial issues of 21st century life.








Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1August 3, 2015
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Book Marketing – The Achilles Heel of Authors


by Bryan Heathman, CEO of GOKO Publishing’s US partner

He was in his 50’s and his steel-blue eyes could bore a hole through a sheet of steel.

“What do you mean I need to launch a $25,000 marketing campaign?” Rod’s voice was steady, from years of practice leading teams for technology companies.

“Listen Bryan, I didn’t sign up for this – press releases, blog posts, cowtowing on social media, butt kissing on talk radio, writing jacket blurbs. I’m not a marketer. The only thing I’m going to write is my story and my ideas will sell themselves.”

I sighed, as I’d heard this story too many times to count. “I’m sure you can see that the work needs to be promoted,” I offered, thumbing the corner of his thick manuscript. The meeting had dragged on longer than I’d expected, and the chic seafood restaurant was now empty of lunchtime traffic.

“You’re a promoter and that’s what I’m evaluating you for, isn’t it?” he quipped.

“Um, actually I’m a publisher,” I retorted. “You see, my job is to move books through distribution channels in order to exponentially expose readers with your writing. “

“Fine. Whatever. You can do that too. I’m just not going to do anything but write my stories. I’ve been leading teams for 20 years, and I’m not going to change that now.” He took a sip of his ice tea. “I’ll leave the marketing up to you to figure-out. My game is technology and leadership.”

The man was formidable. If it weren’t for the fact that he was referred by a high-profile professional speaker, I would have called for the check and gone to my next meeting.

No, book marketing was definitely not his thing. While he went on on with a voice of authority, I mused about how he would come across at a book signing.

But there was something about Rod that made me stay on. Maybe it was the quality of his work; it really was good.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Of Jangled Nerves and Disruption

I’m telling you about Rod because his situation is common among writers. In my work as a publisher, I usually deal with two types: those whose motto is “I breathe, therefore I speak,” and those whose motto is “I write, therefore I don’t need to speak.” One is outgoing; the other is not. One is people oriented; the other is well qualified to work in a Forest Service fire watch tower – alone.

In both cases, their medium is words. And in both cases, “sale” is a four-letter word. Sales and marketing are the last things either of them wants to think about. They just want to work with the words they love.

Unfortunately, a love for words just isn’t enough to get a finished book into the hands of readers. In fact, as I’ve said so often before, writing your book is only 5% of the work involved.

Unfortunately for authors like Rod, writing is all they know. The good news is that I’ve got a crew of about 30 people who handle the tasks of editing, book design, sales and distribution. So many authors try to take on all of these tasks at once and succeed at only a few – if any. It’s just too much for one person to master.

I think young authors are a little less buffeted by the disruptive storms of change and technology than those who are more seasoned. But anyone trying to keep up with a market that has changed as radically as publishing has is in for a bad case of jangled nerves, as evidenced by the number of Create Space authors that cross my desk on a daily basis. The average book launched last year only sold 500 copies, which is far below the expectations of people like Rod.

Selling the Sizzle

When my team and I take on a new project, the first thing we ask is, “Who’s the audience?” My job is to find authors who want to be published, but have made strides towards the enormous task of selling their work to the public. It starts with assessing the playing field and crafting a story that resonates with a hungry audience. How this story gets told is up to each author.

Here are a couple successful book marketing practices to get you started:

  • Blog Tours – provide articles to high traffic bloggers
  • Radio shows – guest appearances on local or national radio shows
  • TV appearances – many New York Times best-selling authors get their start with appearances on Good Morning America
  • Social media – this is a great vehicle to build a big audience at a low cost
  • Bookstore signings – bookstores and libraries are always a fun place to talk about your book
  • Speaking engagements – there is nothing more effective than sharing your ideas with a crowd to generate book orders
  • Advertising – it has never been easier than today to purchase advertising to a highly exact audience. We have partnerships with several email newsletter publishers that still get amazingly high response-rates with readers
  • Partnerships – professionals in this business build relationship with others who have large audiences, effectively structured deals with the philosophy “I’ll scratch you back if you scratch mine”

What I love about my job is that I help get words and ideas into the hands of readers around the world – readers who wouldn’t have access to these ideas without easy access to a book.

Whether it’s through libraries in Liberty, Kansas or on Kindles in the Amazon jungle, the authors we publish have a reach that wouldn’t have been possible for them otherwise. It’s great to see them realize their goals, and the quarterly bottom line shows how effective a publisher can be in the distribution food chain.

For authors like Rod, a publishing relationship is a godsend. Now his business philosophies can be enjoyed everywhere, and his book sales show it. That’s something any author can sink their teeth into.



Congratulations Robert Spillane!

Goko Publishing wants to congratulate and support one of or new authors, Robert Spillane. Getting a book from concept to reality is no easy task and Robert has just completed publishing his second book in just 1 year!!



EyeforanI_TransparentAN EYE FOR AN I
This book discusses ancient and modern philosophers whose ideas enable us to gain insight into and mastery of ourselves. While this sounds like psychology, it is what the ancient Greeks called moral philosophy and its main precept is ‘know oneself’.

GetAccessNow1-300x97











EntertainingExecutives1_3_1ENTERTAINING EXECUTIVES
Office politics, power struggles, ulterior motives, personality differences …all combine to make this cynical poke at the “executive branch” of a typical office highly entertaining. The setting takes you to a management training program where several managers are invited to attend.

GetAccessNow1-300x97









Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1July 20, 2015
icon2admin

Captivate Your Audience: Storytelling at Its Best


When you write—whether it’s a keynote speech, an article, or a book for publication—your material has to be relatable for your audience. You’ve got to draw them in and keep their attention. Nothing does this quite as well as using the story as your format. A number of religious texts are written this way for one compelling reason: it works.

I grew up listening to audios from motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn and Napoleon Hill. I acquired the motivational audio habit from my boss as a young salesperson, and you could say it just stuck with me. Now I own a publishing company, and Zig remains our most popular talent.

I still listen to Zig from time to time as my car winds its way up a mountainside on a summer day, or on freeway crawls across the metro area to meet with some of the authors I publish.

The legendary Zig Ziglar is a personal favorite of mine because of his expertise in storytelling. I had the good fortune to work with him directly while he was alive, and his folksy manner was authentic. He was a likable guy, as well as a genuinely gifted speaker.

One of Ziglar’s programs recorded years ago, tells the story of the Cookie Thief. It goes like this.

A traveler, waiting to board a plane, sits down next to his pile of luggage to enjoy the bag of cookies he just purchased. A lady next to him dips into the bag, believing that she owns the bag of cookies, and eyes the man like he is a cookie thief. They each indulge in cookies eyeing each other, one stolen morsel at a time. Once the man boards the plane, he realizes that she was right—he finds his untouched bag of cookies underneath his carry-on. It’s too late to tell her he’s sorry or to make amends, and the plane takes-off without his ego. The man is utterly humbled.

Ziglar tells this story in a way that’s charming and engaging—pure classic Zig—and he draws a conclusion from the story that’s undeniable: humility is always the wisest option. The story works because it’s personal, and as listeners, we feel like we’re there with Zig, reliving the moment.

This is why I was dumbfounded when I reviewed another classic self-growth program and heard exactly the same Cookie Thief story told by Wayne Dyer. This was not some unknown hack, but a multi-million-dollar keynote speaker and best-selling author known around the world, using exactly the same parable.

In his talk, Dyer read a poem called the Cookie Thief, credited to Valerie Cox. He drew a similar conclusion to Ziglar’s, but Dyer worded it in a different way. Like Ziglar, he was personally engaged as he told the story, and I felt like he knew the author of the Cookie Thief. I felt like I was there.

Real Comfort Food or Mere Snacks for the Mind?

The poem by Cox that Dyer read is included in the book A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. I’ve worked with both of these authors, and my hat goes off to them for the publishing model they’ve honed to a fine point.

The Chicken Soup series is one of the most successful franchises in publishing history. At more than 130 million copies sold, it’s right up there with Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, Star Wars and Fifty Shades of Grey. We should all be so lucky.

I bring up the series’ popularity because it lends weight to the fact that the Cookie Thief story has been used as exhaustively as a Tollhouse recipe. The 3rd Serving was published only as recently as 2012, about 20 years after Zig’s recording.

This means the Cookie Thief story certainly has made the rounds since Zig’s talk. It’s a good story, to be sure, but is it THAT good? Frankly, it all depends on the storyteller. Having the right ingredients is only the start. What you do with them is just as important.

3 Questions for Storytelling Success:

When you want to use stories to peak the interest of your audience, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Whose interest are you peaking? Consider your audience when you’re choosing your material.
  • Do you have a message they can relate to? Make sure your material speaks to a common pain or pleasure that your audience can feel with you.
  • Are you saying it in a way that is relatable? Express your point in a way that is unique and personal to you. Make it your own, and share it with the world.

When you want to make a point, be sure to tell a story. But when you tell a story, make sure the story you’re telling is your own. Make it personal, make it unique, and put your own stamp of individuality on it.

You just never know where your words will end up or whose life will be changed because of them.

Good writing!



Congratulations Robert Spillane!

Goko Publishing wants to congratulate and support one of or new authors, Robert Spillane. Getting a book from concept to reality is no easy task and Robert has just completed publishing his second book in just 1 year!!



EyeforanI_TransparentAN EYE FOR AN I
This book discusses ancient and modern philosophers whose ideas enable us to gain insight into and mastery of ourselves. While this sounds like psychology, it is what the ancient Greeks called moral philosophy and its main precept is ‘know oneself’.

GetAccessNow1-300x97











EntertainingExecutives1_3_1ENTERTAINING EXECUTIVES
Office politics, power struggles, ulterior motives, personality differences …all combine to make this cynical poke at the “executive branch” of a typical office highly entertaining. The setting takes you to a management training program where several managers are invited to attend.

GetAccessNow1-300x97








Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1July 14, 2015
icon2admin

LIBRARY DISTRIBUTION: THE SWEET “Shhhh” OF SUCCESS


When you write a book, getting book distribution is a major component of publishing success. Getting the widest distribution possible for your book should be your main goal. Once you’ve gone to the trouble of writing your best ideas and publishing them, you’ll want as many people as possible to engage with you.

As a publisher, a number of the authors I coach come to me with many misconceptions about book distribution. They think that all they need to do is publish their book on Amazon Kindle, and they’ll have a best seller on their hands.

In reality, Amazon represents fraction of the book market. Of the scores of methods for distributing your work, online retail is just one of them. Likewise, there are many money-making derivatives for your work. eBook sales comprise only a fraction of the revenue you can make when you publish intelligently.

Having a publisher on your side will help you navigate the maze of details involved in getting your book to market. A good assisted self-publishing company will have access to hard numbers you may not even have considered before as an author. They will also have inside connections you just can’t leverage any other way.

Shhhh! Libraries Are Publishing’s Best Kept Secret

The Theological Hall In Strahov Monastery In Prague.

When you publish your book, one of the best ways to ensure that you have a captive audience is to distribute your book through the public library system and a network of corporate libraries. For you as an author, this could mean having a printed volume of your manuscript available in every town and city in the country. There’s nothing sweeter than that sweet “Shhh” of success when you show up for your book signings.

Libraries buy huge quantities of books all the time. Why not yours? To get started, first you’ll need to understand how they buy and what influences them to make those buying decisions. Once you know this, you can sell untold volumes of your book (pun intended – sorry).

The reality of this distribution tactic depends on how popular your book is to start. Unless you have a team of sales people promoting your book to libraries through their own catalog, your book would need to be immensely popular in order to shout above the noise of the overcrowded book marketplace.

On the other hand, having a sales team promoting for you is not some pipe dream, as many might expect. For the authors I work with, it’s a reality.

Just about everyone agrees that library distribution sounds like a great idea. But how do you actually make it happen? For the answer, let’s take a quick look at how today’s libraries came by their current circulation system.

How To Get Your Book Into Libraries

At one time, Andrew Carnegie was the richest man in history. He made enormous gobs of money in the steel industry, and he became famous as a philanthropist. In fact, he spent the first half of his life making money and the second half giving it all away.

Carnegie was influential in promoting lending libraries throughout the U.S. The story goes that he would approach cities and towns, Chambers of Commerce and local fraternal organizations with an offer to help them build a library. He would put up half the money for the library if the townspeople would come up with the other half through taxes or other fundraising. This meant a boom to the existing library system, and the result is what we see today throughout the U.S.

To put books into the branches, committees discuss the topics and authors that people want to read most. The library commission meets regularly, usually annually, to decide generally what should go into the library. Libraries can order books for their patrons, and they often keep track of the most requested books.

There is also an inter-library lending system. If you order a book from your local library in Seattle, your cherished volume may come to you from as far away as Boise, Idaho. The Internet has changed much about the way libraries work, including speed, but the lending concept remains the same.

Each library has a procurement officer who decides which books to buy to put on the shelves locally. If there’s enough demand for a book and they have the budget, they will buy it.

On the other side of this equation, publishing companies have teams of sales people who meet with the book buyers at libraries and library conventions, convincing them to order the books in their catalogs.

Many libraries will only work with a restricted number of catalogs. This means if you’re a lone wolf trying to get your foot in the door at your local branch, you may have a bit of a hurdle to get over. The place to start is the procurement office at district headquarters.

One author created a musical stage play for children to promote his children’s book, complete with 5 actors and dancers. The author took his troupe on the road to local bookstores, libraries and schools to perform a live musical depicting characters from his book “The Kid with the Red Juice Mustache.” Parents of children attending the show lined-up to buy his book, as did the librarians hosting his events.

Having a publishing house do the ground work for you is ultimately the easiest option for increasing your book’s distribution. This is true not just for getting your book into libraries, but getting it into the scores of other outlets clamoring for new books to loan or sell.

With the right kind of push, you could be hearing the sweet “Shhhh” of success!




Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






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icon1July 7, 2015
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PUBLISHING – Blessing Humanity with Words & Ideas


“I don’t know if I can do this anymore. Sometimes I think I just might have to quit.”

I looked at my friend across the table from me as he spoke. The cheerful chatter of the coffeehouse around us played a striking contrast to his mood. It was obvious he was carrying quite a burden.

The pastor’s brows knit together, his eyes were downcast, and he was leaning forward with intense interest. “I love counseling young couples – I really do – but it’s just so hard, seeing them on the brink. It’s like I get them too late.”

I hadn’t listened to him long, as the answer started clearly unfolding before me. He had the same predicament as so many other business professionals with whom I work. Still, I let him talk it out over coffee, laying down some of his burdens from the past week.

Finally he said, “I wish there was some kind of instruction manual for young married couples, you know? Then all the words and tools I give them could make a difference before they even get married. But nobody’s written that book yet, and I don’t know what to do.”

“Then you have to write it,” I said. “It sounds to me like you’ve been called.”

He looked up at me from his coffee, a bright light of recognition in his eyes. “Huh. You think so? Maybe you’re right – stem the crisis before it starts by giving them the manual… You know, that’s not a bad idea. In fact, I think I really could do this.” He leaned back in his chair, mulling over the idea.

“Sure,” I told him. “It’s a question of leverage. Don’t you think we’re given the answers, contained within the problem?” His response told me he agreed.

And so, another book was born.

As a publisher, I see the act of publishing as a blessing. It’s not just about saying your piece for its own sake. It’s about blessing the world with your discoveries. Whether you’re writing fact or fiction, the words you publish offer the world something new, something valuable, and something uniquely your own.

Standing On the Shoulders of Published Giants

Gutenberg made a wise choice when he published Bibles as the first mass-produced books. Those in power accused him of working hand-in-hand with the devil. Certainly they didn’t want their most priceless knowledge to be in reach of the common man. Truly, knowledge is power.

But Gutenberg pointed out that no one in league with evil would publish the Bible. By making this choice, he demonstrated that the printing press was not developed as an influence from dark forces. It was a convenient way to spread wisdom through the land.

Publishing spreads information democratically. That means it’s not just in the hands of the few, but it’s accessible to anyone who can read. Each generation can build upon the knowledge of the previous one – as Isaac Newton put it, “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

I strongly believe that writing is a gift to humanity, bettering the human condition. It also can be the most powerful weapon on earth. Ideas can be used to kill, or cure.

Sharing your thoughts through the medium of books means you can reach people around the world, now and in the future. The words you write today are a blessing to the generations to come.

Like my new friend the pastor, the world is hungry for your knowledge, experience and wisdom. It is important for you to write your book and see it through. Who knows what lives your ideas can change?


Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump Bryan_Heathman and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.


icon1June 29, 2015
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Nobody Becomes a Success Alone, Period


by Chris Widener

Nobody becomes a success alone, period. There is no such person who is “self-made.” I know this because I have regularly involved myself with some of America’s most successful people and as I listen to their stories I realize that all of them have had what I call their own “booster club.”

When I think back over my life I realize that I have had my own booster club: People who gave me a boost, either through direct help, opening doors to others or opportunities, or through their belief in or encouragement of me.

encourage

I think of my mother who was left a widow at age 40 to raise me alone. She believed in me. She sacrificed for me. She gave up much so that I could become what I dreamed of. My mother was my booster!

I think of a man who is the CEO of a twenty five billion dollar a year company who, when I was only three years out of college and striking out on my own, sent me a check out of the blue. It wasn’t an investment; it was a gift. Then he sent another… and another. Every month for nearly 7 years he sent me a check. Nothing large enough to live on but enough to be a sign that he believed in me. When I asked him why he did it, he said, “Because I believe in what you are doing and that you are the one to do it.” To have someone of his stature believe in you! Wow – is he ever a booster!

I think of my good friends, Tony and Jenni. When they were married they moved in right next door to us. They have become our best friends. Every step of the way they have loved us, challenged us, and encouraged us. They have been there in the darkest hours and in the brightest days. They are definitely boosters!

I think of my two friends named Kevin. The first, my best friend, lives here in Seattle. He is a guy that I laugh with, talk about things with and thoroughly enjoy all of my time with. He always comes through for me. In fact, as I right this, he came through for me just yesterday! When I know that I need a boost, he does whatever he can. And being one of the most competent men I have ever met, he always gets the job done. Major booster!

The second Kevin lives in Atlanta. He is a “new” friend but has already been a big booster. He has been willing to open doors for me that I never would have been able to budge because those on the other side would have been unwilling to open them. But on his recommendation, they have. A great booster and a person I will get to know better throughout the years.

I think of Kyle. Kyle has boosted me literally millions of times – ever time he publishes my articles he helps me bring my message to the masses. To know that a person like Kyle sees the value in my message is an incredible boost!

I think of my most fanatical booster, my wife Lisa. No one believes in me more than she does. In fact, there are many times I wonder who she thinks she’s married to! She sees the best in me even when there is nothing good to see. She sticks by me through it all and encourages me to go for my dreams. What a blessing – what a booster!

I think of my kids. They boost me every time I leave in the morning and when I come through the door at night. They boost my life and my career! Above all, they boost my happiness and my spirits each and every day. Big boosters in little bodies!

So where does this leave us? Is this just a trip down memory lane? No, in fact, I have two specific actions for you as it relates to boosters:

One, make a list of your boosters. Then take a moment to send them a note to say thanks for what they have done and been for you!

Second, decide for yourself that you will be someone else’s booster! Be very specific and begin to invest yourself into that person’s life. Encourage them. Open doors for them. Challenge them. Give of yourself to them so that they can soar. Be their booster!

Bring on the boosters!

Chris Widener has been speaking professionally since 1988 and has shared the stage with top political figures, nationally known TV news anchors, best-selling authors and professional athletes. Chris has written over 450 articles and is the author of eight books including the New York Times best seller “The Angel Inside”. He has produced over 30 audio programs on leadership and motivation and is one of Goko Publishing and Made For Success Publishing’s prolific authors.


icon1June 24, 2015
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7 Steps to a Best Seller


What are the key factors that cause a book to climb to the top of the “Best Seller” lists on Amazon, The New York Times or USA Today? Watch this webinar by book publishing expert Bryan Heathman and you will get a picture into the 7 common denominators of what it takes to create best seller.

This material is not theory. In this recorded webinar, Bryan examines case studies such as a story from one first-time author whose audio hit #1 on the iTunes International best seller list…for weeks.

This 7-part formula for a best seller is achievable for everyone and the beauty of this formula is that it CAN be replicated, many times over.

There are numerous highly respected sources of “best seller” lists. Achieving best seller status on any of these lists will put you in exclusive company and will set-up powerful marketing opportunities for your writing: Amazon Best Seller, New York Times Best Seller, Wall Street Journal and the USA Today Best Seller List to name a few.

  

icon1June 13, 2015
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The Perils of Pricing a Book: Pricing Tips for Maximum Profits


Have you dreamed about writing a book? Getting your book into the marketplace has just become easier than it ever has been in the history of writing. For the first time ever, you can pen your prose and publish to the world at large in about as much time as it takes to bake a cake (Okay, maybe a little longer).

The Expert is in 1200x1200

Gone are the days of traditional publishing: writing your book proposal, shopping for an agent, pushing your manuscript to 47 publishing houses, signing away your copyright (and the bulk of your revenue), hiring a publicist, and running the grueling circuit of a PR tour – all for the glory of being a “published author.” There’s no more need for a middle man when it comes to publishing your cherished work.

Or is there?

Let’s say you are indeed an author. You’ve just finished writing your book. It took you a year to finally get your best ideas into manuscript form, scribbling into the wee hours while your friends are out doing… well, whatever normal people do on a Saturday night.

Finally the last comma is in place, and your weekly writers group has given your book the coveted Seal of Peer Approval. In fact your work is so polished, you’re bored with it. But you’re excited to get it in front of millions of readers, who of course will become millions of raving fans just as soon as you can figure out how to actually get your book out there.

What’s the first thing you do? Well, if you’re like most first-time authors, you give your book a title, grab some swell stock imagery, throw a dart at a price-tag, and upload your book to Kindle Direct Publishing. And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more, wondering why your royalty statement is producing big goose eggs. So when will your sales reports hatch into real, hard numbers?

Welcome to the plight of the vast majority of authors.

It’s only during the fourth week after you pushed the GO button that you realize your book’s title has a typo in it, or you’ve misplaced a period in the “Ph.D.” after your name (these are real stories from real self-published authors). You also start to wonder if pricing your book at $99 dollars instead of 99 cents was a good idea. Many people read “Self Publishing for Dummies” and then start to wonder what went wrong after they hit the big green “Publish” button.

Tapping the Price Experts

Do you know the perfect pricing formula for a book? How do you find the perfect price point for your book? How is the physical book pricing related to ebook pricing? Most authors are in love with their work and want to price it confidently. They grab a number from one of their favorite books and throw it at the wall to see if it sticks. Such an approach makes for a tangled mess. It’s not long before we’re back to wondering why we keep seeing zeros on the sales report.

The odds are high that you’re an incredible writer, but not a publishing expert. Did you know that it takes a team of 30 people to get a book onto the shelves of a bookstore? How are you supposed to know what your book should cost? Here are some practical tips to consider when determining your book pricing.

Let me encourage you to price your book confidently. You actually can sell it for a higher price if you have a focused audience. But what authors don’t understand is that if you price your book at a lower price point, counter intuitively it does not create more demand for your book. In fact, often a lower price has the opposite effect. Here are a few book pricing tips to price your book like a publishing pro.

Sell For a Higher Price If…

Your topic is exclusive or about a celebrity

You are a celebrity with a major audience

You are highly credentialed or experienced

You are revealing guarded secrets

Your topic is in high demand

You have an incredible marketing strategy to launch your book



Sell for a Lower Price If….

You are writing a series of books

You are breaking into a marketplace of avid readers, like sci-fi or romance



Amazon is not the only game in town when it comes to book distribution, but they have significant influence over book pricing. Amazon does offer massive sales potential if you play the game intelligently. Therefore it’s worth giving it special attention here.

Publishing with Kindle Select is one way that authors drive traffic to their book title. The program’s main benefit is that your book is free for 5 days, sometimes generating a ton of traffic if promoted correctly. The problem is that you’re required to publish the book exclusively with Kindle Select for 90 days, and the exclusive status is set to auto-renew unless you remember to turn that feature off. After you give away your ebook for free for 5-days, where should you price it after the promotion? $.99? $3.99? $11.99?

One of the little known pieces of research is this: sadly, people who download free ebooks generally don’t read them. Your cherished manuscript just sits on someone’s tablet or phone, collecting digital dust. It languishes between the second volume of the Harry Potter saga and a scanned copy of War & Peace. Unless you’re blessed with uncommon celebrity and awesome cover artwork, don’t give your book away for free unless you have a strategy behind your pricing plan. Your accountant will thank you.

One pricing study from $12 million of ebook sales suggests the optimal ebook price point is $3.99. But is that the optimal price for a 196 page book priced at $17.99? Or is it the perfect ebook pricing for a 450 page hard cover book priced at $29.99? What about a children’s book or an electronic-only cookbook? This is where the guidance of a publisher, a battle scarred author or agent can yield rich dividends for your writing endeavors.

After pricing over 1,500 book derivatives, here are the questions we ask to determine the perfect pricing:

• How famous is the author?

• What is the genre of the book? What is true for a serial sci-fi novel may not be true for a business book.

• Will the book get reviewed by a respectable Reviewer?

• Has the book been submitted for awards?

• What is the page count of the book (or word count of the ebook)?

• What marketing endeavors will support the book launch?

• Will the physical book be sold into retailers?

Book pricing is part art and part science. Since you have invested a year of your late-night Saturday nights pounding the keyboard, spend some time researching the pricing strategy of books in your genre (over time). Don’t you think your book deserves the best possible chance of getting read? When you take the time to understand your marketplace, you can beat the odds and increase your chances for impressive royalties.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1June 9, 2015
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I Could NEVER Write a Book!


by Bryan Heathman

Did you know that over 70% of people have written down “writing a book” on their bucket list? As such, I get business executives frequently asking me on planes or at the gym about what is involved in writing a book.

This Is My StoryYears ago, I was one of these people who wanted to write a book but didn’t know how to get started. Now having done written a book (on top of a busy schedule), I share the process of writing with aspiring authors all over the planet.

My advice for aspiring published authors is simple…all it takes is the right kind of preparation. In other words, you have to prepare to succeed.

But many people in my sphere of influence don’t just want to write a book – they want to write a best selling book. In fact, they come to me on their quest to get famous as a result of writing a book.

So the question remains, even though the marketplace is swamped with books, can you become a best selling author?

The answer is “of course!” But why am I so sure? Because the best seller lists are populated by authors – and somebody’s got to be on those lists. Why couldn’t it be you? The right kind of preparation and the knowledge of where to apply some extra effort can make all the difference between just another book release and a runaway hit – with you holding the reins.

As a publisher, I’ve worked with some of the best-selling authors in the world. Some of them truly are great writers. Ironically, others are merely great marketers. To me, it takes a winning combination of both in order to be truly successful as an author, to have staying power and to reach the top. Like any goal, you need to begin with the end in mind.

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

In high school, my wrestling coach had this quote on the wall of our gymnasium: “If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail.” Every day our team would reflect on this philosophy, and we were encouraged to develop a plan to overcome our weaknesses and leverage our strengths. Now many years later, this philosophy has proven to hold true in many pursuits…including building best-selling books.

Writing a book that becomes a best seller is feasible if you start your book project with the proper planning. Following the same niche-vetting process is required for every book, fact or fiction, no matter what your reasons may be for writing your manuscript. Once you determine what to write, preparing the book for your selected niche market becomes part of the writing process.

The first decision to make about your book is the decision to approach it with a sense of professionalism. Decide what your book is about and who it’s for. Understand who your competition is. Decide that you will complete your book and that you will publish it. Give yourself a deadline, and work steadily to meet it. Commit fully. This is the one distinguishing factor that all successful authors have in common – professionalism.

To get started with the proper planning and preparation you’ll need to create a book proposal, no matter which publishing model you choose. Whether you’re going to shop your manuscript to legacy publishers, self-publish it or choose something in between, proper planning is one of the biggest steps you can take on the road to best seller success.

The reason is that your book proposal will help you focus your writing ideas and help you treat your book as a business. The proposal includes a synopsis of your book, an analysis of your market, a comparison of competing books that are already in stores, and your plan for marketing your book.

In my travels with breakaway best-selling authors I often ask about their success stories, then look for common denominators of success. Here are a few of my discoveries – each best-selling author has at least one strength which include elements like:

  • Writing a syndicated newspaper column
  • Regular writer in an industry-specific magazine
  • Being a charismatic salesperson
  • Writing a high traffic blog
  • Large email database (or access to several)
  • Media savvy in radio or TV
  • Speaking within industry associations
  • Having a large social media following, typically on one social media platform (oddly, rarely on multiple social media platforms)

If you are already in the business of writing or speaking, take a look at the sales figures from your previous works and include these numbers in your proposal. Also include the number of speaking engagements you can line-up during the next twelve months, along with any book tours, media appearances, press releases, blog posts, and social media figures and projections. When your details start to take shape, so does the outline of your book.

Crystalizing Your Vision

As part of your preparation, ask yourself the following questions. Include your answers in the pages of your proposal.

  • Why do I want to write about this particular topic? Find your topic and angle. Do you have any story ideas or other compelling points to make? Start with a seed idea then build on it. Even the great works of the ages began with a simple seed that blossomed into rich maturity. Using stories is a great way to create a gripping, readable, authoritative book.

  • What do I want my book to do for me and for others? Determine whether your book will support another part of your business. Decide how you want your book to affect others and what you want them to take away from the experience of reading it.

  • Which specific audience do I want my book to attract? Are you writing fiction for stay-at-home moms looking to spice-up their daily routine? Are you writing Leadership materials for up-and-coming executives under 35 who are striving to build their career success? Know your target audience and get inside their heads.

  • Who else is writing successfully on this topic? What kinds of tactics are they using to gain exposure for their book? Success leaves tracks, so follow in the footprints of other best sellers.

  • Which format is best suited for my book? Should I publish in print, digital ebooks or both? Amazon sells more digital eBooks than print books. Surprisingly however, most authors make more income from their physical books. Having a well-designed physical book will boost your credibility.

  • Who would most likely be a good evangelist for my book? Take a look at the people in your inner circle and your social networks. See who is the most likely to serve as a center of influence for promoting your book, then figure out an incentive for them to talk-up your book.

    It’s well within your reach to become a best-selling author. In fact, in some cases you can be a #1 Amazon Bestseller with a minimal marketing effort, given the right niche. When you break it down and take the right steps to reach your publishing goals, what sounds unwieldy today becomes matter of fact tomorrow.

    The important thing is to get started. You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – so take a shot. Why not get started sharing your legacy with the world today.

    Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.



    Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




    Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

    Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

    Leadership App

    This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

    FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

    learn-more
    icon1June 2, 2015
    icon2admin

3 Steps to Grow Brand Recall: Has anyone got a tattoo of your brand?


A brand serves as an important placeholder for your company’s reputation. This means good business for you and peace of mind for your customers. When people have a good experience with a brand, they’re more likely to make a repeat purchase. In other words, they become brand loyal, even when given the choice to buy a competing product. This leads to brand recall, and the cycle repeats itself resulting in enormous growth potential.

Tattoo artist at work, close-up Here’s something to contemplate. Rumor has it that more people have the motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson™ tattooed on their body than any other brand name in the world. Whether its truth or fiction, it’s at least plausible. Now that’s loyalty!

If you’ve been reading my series on Branding, by now you now that we’re talking about a process of creating distinctive and durable perceptions in the minds of your customers. We do this by distilling what your company represents down to its purest essence- something that your target audience can grasp in a matter of moments – a look, a feel, a song, a sound.

The effort to brand your company or yourself can pay off handsomely, sometimes to the tune of billions of dollars. In my branding talks, I refer to this as a business’ growth factor. The brand of the #1 soft drink company in the world is so tightly monitored – so Mega – that I’m at risk using their name in this article for possible intellectual property right infringement.

However, that company’s CEO once famously said he could walk into any bank anywhere in the world and take out a loan….based on their brand value alone! Imagine that kind of clout in your business.

In fact, this soda company’s global market penetration is so strong that people can identify the white-on-red logo even without seeing the brand name. I don’t even have to say their name, but I’m sure you know which soda company I’m talking about. We’re talking about a growth factor to salivate over.

People who closely identify with a brand are not only more likely to buy what they bought a second time, but they also will buy related items from the same brand. In fact, they’ll recommend the brand to others and even remain brand faithful in spite of a competitor’s price cut. That’s the kind of brand identity that anchors true loyalty and spurs mega growth.

I know you’re asking “How can I relate this to my business?”

So the question to ponder is this…how can you take these lessons and generate your own brand growth factor? Here are 3 practical recommendations to get your customers to stick to make repeat purchases.

1. Make It Memorable:

Your company can’t benefit from referrals and repeat business if people don’t remember your name. When it comes to making your brand memorable, try using an unusual color combination, the way FedEx does with their purple and orange. Use shapes and sounds that convey your brand’s image, or even distinctive behavior or gesture. Jingles, cartoon characters and spokesmen are great for this.

We all remember our first trip to Les Schwab Tires, because the mechanics are trained to drop their tools and literally run to your car to provide service. Savvy career professionals use a style of clothing to make their personal brand memorable. Author Tom Wolfe was known for his famous white suits, and Flo from Progressive Insurance is unmistakable with her retro look and flippant attitude.

Develop your own unique image and make it stick in the minds of your buying public.

2. Keep It Familiar:

Branding has a big effect on customers and non-customers alike. Think about that catchy jingle that just won’t get out of your head. It’s familiar, isn’t it?

Psychologists have found that familiarity leads to affinity. In other words, when people get to know you, they like you. This means people who have never even done business with you may recommend you even when they’re not your customers – simply because they know your brand. Seeing your ads around town, having one of your pens in their desk drawer, or seeing your social media posts all add up to contributing to your growth factor. Those who are familiar with your brand will spread the word the next time a friend or colleague is looking for your kind of referral.

3. Be Rock Solid:

When consumers make a buying decision, there’s less risk in choosing a brand name over an unknown commodity. With an established brand, you can spread the respect you’ve garnered. This means your latest, greatest product, service or location can gain acceptance in spite of newcomer status. But start by being reliable in the first place. Mind your reputation, and keep it clean.

For fun, I play the jazz trombone in a 17-piece swing band. Recently our band was hired to perform in our region’s largest winery, Chateau Ste Michelle, where we delighted visitors with party music to augment their wine tasting experience at the chateau. Ste Michelle established a good reputation with regional winery tours which are close to a major metropolitan city, thereby solidifying its brand and goodwill with millions of wine lovers. Subsequently, the winery added brand extensions to their mix with new sub-brands at various price points. With this approach, the primary brand benefits from the positive perceptions generated from both their premier line and their affordable line.

Following these 3 steps to brand recall can lift what you sell out of the realm of a commodity and contribute to your growth factor. Instead of dealing with price-shoppers, you’ll have customers who would gladly pay more for your company’s goods and services.

Who could ask for anything more?

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
icon1May 26, 2015
icon2admin

Creating Desire: The Heart of Branding


People make buying decisions with their hearts and try to justify those decisions with their heads. Yet true desire can’t be rationalized. How many times have you yourself said, “I dunno… I just WANT it!”

burning_heart_by_dracu_teufel666-d49u67jBrand advertising takes an otherwise ho-hum product and incites a burning passion in the buyer’s mind. The product becomes associated with a certain lifestyle, frame of mind or emotional state. This is the soul of aspirational branding.

“What’s Love Got to Do with It?” ~ Tina Turner, circa 1984

The mark of an exceptional branding campaign is when your audience feels passion. And how can we inspire passion?

An effective brand gets the message across as succinctly, as efficiently as possible. It says that something really great is now available, and savvy folks can take advantage of it. Does that sound a bit like romance? It should. And marketers have capitalized on it from the beginning.

Take for example a slice of this car commercial from the early 1990′s. A sexy middle-aged celebrity spokeswoman enters the frame of a pale fog gray set, the kind where the floor meets the wall at some indistinct point in the infinite background.

Her eyes sparkle. There’s a slight bounce in her step, but she’s cool and confident. The soft lighting adds a whisper of halo to her honey colored hair.

She’s there with The Car, speaking in direct address to the camera. “Cars are like men. Some you want to date, some you want to marry.”

Zing! And there it is: tightly focused, painfully poignant, reaching through the television and clenching the heart of women across the land.

So what is this ad saying?

“Are you in, or are you out? You love this car, that’s clear. Are you going to buy it or take a walk? If you want to be like me, then do what I do. Drive what I drive. Live my lifestyle. Decide you’re worth it. But do decide. Time’s up!”

With the right branding, desire turns attraction into commitment. It cuts to the chase and drives the point home with such crystalline clarity, it makes the buyer say, “I dunno… I just WANT it!” before they can even formulate the idea into words.

In the blink of an eye, all doubt is removed. It’s only a matter of their finding a rational justification to support the purchase.

Where do I sign?

Vance Packard, author of The Hidden Persuaders, made it his mission to demystify the world of advertising for the average consumer. Though his slant was a bit biased against advertisers, his points can be mined for effective use in everyday business branding.

Packard identified eight human needs that effective branding appeals to. These essential eight needs include emotional security, reassurance of worth, ego-gratification, creative outlets, love objects, a sense of power, a sense of roots, and immortality.

Speaking to these basic human needs means meeting your prospect at their deepest level. It means speaking their language, and giving them permission to invest in with you.

When your brand’s message speaks convincingly to these core desires, the response from the buyer is automatically primal. The only question they have left to ask is, “Where do I sign?”

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia. Check out cutting-edge work in the field of publishing with Katherine’s latest mobile app published by GOKO Publishing’s U.S. partner, Made For Success Publishing.


icon1April 27, 2015
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Could Your Brand Inspire A Gold Rush?


by Bryan Heathman

Have you ever experienced the frenzy of a gold rush? I have, so let me tell you a story of what it is like to experience the exhilaration of a gold rush!

My experience was not a gold rush in the traditional sense. You see, a traditional gold rush looks like this… I live in Seattle which has roots in the gold rush era, where 100,000 prospectors from Seattle and San Francisco raced to Alaska during the 1896 Klondike Gold Rush. In this gold rush, a select few of the prospectors got rich. Interestingly, it was the merchants in Seattle and San Francisco who got rich selling supplies to miners on their way to Alaska, who were required by the Canadian Government to stock-up on items such as packs, non-perishable food, denim jeans, picks and shovels.

My gold rush experience was far different, but was equally as competitive as the Alaskan gold rush. In the late 1990’s, there was a phenomenon knows as the “Dot.com boom”. I was one of the figurative miners, known as a Dot.com’er, working to figure-out ways to commercialize this new thing called the Internet or the Information Superhighway. I was fortunate to have worked for Microsoft during this period and learned the ropes from a big technology company. So I ventured-off, climbing up the equivalent of Chilkoot Pass (pictured above), and helped pioneer a company in the online advertising industry.

Gold RushBut did you know that there is gold just about everywhere you look, even today? What if you could create a gold rush for your products or services without competing in the fast moving business of technology?

The magic is right in front of you – in your brand. You’ll find customers just about everywhere. But until your brand addresses the needs of a SPECIFIC audience, you could easily wind up prospecting in the wrong place. All your effort will be wasted, and you could end up tired, cold and broke just like the thousands of men trudging through the Alaskan wilderness.

The reason behind a successful brand is simple. If you don’t know your customer demographics, you may try to make your brand appeal to everyone. An axiom which I teach in branding is that when you try to appeal to everyone, you wind up appealing to no one at all. When your logo, slogan, sales videos, website and marketing materials are geared toward the wrong demographic, you wind up turning off potential buyers.

In order for your business to hit paydirt, focus your company’s brand so that it appeals to the needs and desires of a select few versus the teeming masses. These select few will thank you for it with their wallets. Let me share 3 simple tricks on figuring-out what your audience looks like.

Know Thy Field

Before you brand your company, you need to know who your customers are – their demographics. Knowing your ideal customer’s profile is essential to your company, your branding and ultimately your sales conversions.

Knowing this information will let you focus on targeting the right audience and on their specific desires, setting yourself up for success. With a little research and planning, you will have the keys to branding success.

You can use this information to craft all of your promotions and messaging. When you know what your customer looks like, then you have found your golden customer-base.

Suppose your best customers are female, college educated, married, suburban, with an average age of 35. This population has a specific set of likes, dislikes, pleasures and pains. They tend to have a common perspective, even their own lingo.

Knowing this empowers you to speak to them in their language and address their desires. These people will want different things, even look at the world differently than blue collar men over 55, or urban college kids just starting out in life.

You need to know everything you can about your audience – their gender, age, amount of education, income, profession, geographic location, hobbies – everything that influences their buying decisions.

Without this information, you can’t put a face on your audience. Sales conversion becomes a roll of the dice. With this information, you can dominate your marketplace.

The good news is that others have had this challenge before you, and I’d like to share 3 tools for getting the job done is less than an hour. There are three benchmark websites you can use to figure this out, and we’ll cover them in a moment. Learning to use them in the right sequence will provide you with a 3-step system that sets up your brand for success.

Roll Up Your Sleeves and Start Mining

The way look for gold is to start looking. Take advantage of these powerful resources to get to know the sweet spot of your marketplace. Then start addressing their desires.

There is more good news…these sites are all free to use and do not require any technical know-how. All it takes to begin prospecting for your ideal customers is to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

  1. Competition: Know your target market. Head over to Google.com to research your marketplace and locate the top five competitors in your field. To start, enter the keywords that are most closely related to your field or product, then review the top search results that Google displays.

    Take a look at the websites of specific competitors, and get a feel for what they offer. How are they addressing the needs of your demographic? Your competition has invested heavily in market research, both time and money. Leverage their assets for your own advantage.

  2. Traffic: Go to Alexa.com and look up your competitors’ websites. Enter the domains (the website URLs) of your top competitors into the search box. This will show you how popular your competitors are worldwide, as well as locally. Where is their traffic coming from? How are those traffic hubs satisfying the needs of your customers? Is there a lesson you can mine here?

  3. Demographics: Go to Quantcast.com to research demographics for the sites you’ve found. What kinds of people are using these websites? How much money do they make? Are they married? Do they have kids? How long did they go to school? Where do they live?

Quantcast measures market profiles and displays the demographic information for free, which offers you a slick marketing advantage indeed. However, because the service is elective, not every website you research will be Quantified. That means the demographics you’re looking for may not be available. You might need to search for several sites before you hit paydirt and find real the real gold – market data. Keep digging. What you’re looking for is out there.

For the business executives who take the time to know their market, the job of mining for new customers comes naturally. No shovels or pick-axes are required!

Bryan BWBryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He has worked with bestselling authors such as Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher, rainmaker and marketer. Download the Sales & Success mobile app to start your journey with free access to audios by Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar and Dr. Larry Iverson.







Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






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icon1April 20, 2015
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The Inclusion/Exclusion Principle of Branding


When did you attend your last professional networking event? It was probably not too long ago. From holiday parties to corporate mixers, we’ve all been there. Mixing and mingling is what it’s all about, getting to know interesting looking people around us, meeting new colleagues, letting our hair down and finding glamorous new opportunities. Ah, what an exciting concept!

But once you’re there, what does your experience look like? If you’re like most people, you grab a beverage, walk through the gathering crowd and look for people you know, thinking there’s safety in numbers. You want to have a good time, sure – a little excitement is all that’s called for, playing it safe, nothing too crazy.

We can do it_bandwagon Marketing1200x1200 What you’re looking for is called Inclusion.

And then it happens: you meet someone you don’t know. After trading names, what’s the first thing they say? They ask you The Question: “What do you do?”

Ah, The Question… so much is wrapped up in that one little query. A world of meaning is woven into it, and your answer in those first 5 seconds will have more impact on your relationship with that person than anything else for the rest of your interaction.

Your answer to The Question could mean all the difference between a passing encounter at a party and a long term commitment.

The same is true of your business. How you come across – your branding – means all the difference between a passing prospect and a committed buyer who gives you years of repeat business. Your brand is the answer to The Question about your company.

The Decision

Creating a strong, memorable and compelling brand is essential for successful marketing. It only takes a bit of thought and a smattering of research, yet it may be the single most important decision you can make about your company.

You have to decide how you want to come across to your customers. Your brand is the set of expectations they maintain about your product and what they will tell their friends, neighbors and colleagues about you.

More than just a name or a logo, your brand is infused into your buyer’s total experience with your company. It’s expressed in every touch with your customer, from their first glimpse of your website, to their experience with your products or services.

If they like your brand, customers will choose you over your competitors every time, even if your product costs a little more – sometimes especially if your product costs more.

In fact, if you can offer your customers a way to fit in while qualifying for membership in a select group, you’ve found the Holy Grail.

The Bandwagon Marketing Paradox

Bandwagon marketing embraces the idea that since everyone else is doing it, it must be a good thing. If they want to fit in, they just have to buy the product. Inclusion may be had for a small investment.

Peer pressure is definitely a factor here. Consumer confidence is also fueled by hard data available online. Blogging, social media, reviews and ratings -such factors influence buying decisions mightily.

Demonstrating that your brand is widely accepted will go a long way toward qualifying your prospects, making them want to fit into the crowd who’ve already engaged with you.

Closing the sale becomes a matter of tactfully turning The Question on them, basically “Are you in, or are you out?”

The Inclusion/Exclusion Principle

Bandwagon marketing is in direct contrast to the Inclusion/Exclusion Principle. Since branding is all about creating product associations in the minds of consumers, brand exclusion seems at odds with getting people to support your company brand.

Excluding people from your brand assumes taking a posture which implies that your product or service is such high quality that only a very few can acquire it. Scarcity is the key here, and people tend to want what they can’t have. Using the Inclusion/Exclusion Principle is aspirational by definition. It’s exclusive.

Think of auto brands such as BMW, Mercedes Benz or Lexus. Are they expensive? That’s relative. Good quality? Reasonably so. Are they so exclusive they’re out of reach? Probably. A friend of mine got a great deal on a used BMW. But he learned the Inclusion/Exclusion Principle the hard way, when he discovered that he signed-up for paying $800 for a simple oil change on that used BMW.

Integrating Bandwagon marketing with the Inclusion/Exclusion Principle results in a psychology that implies both scarcity and compliance with group norms. Using the Inclusion/Exclusion Principle, owning your product allows a consumer to fit into a very select, discerning group.

In all cases, your brand needs to respond to your target market’s ongoing desires. For example if you are marketing to BMW owners, consider organizing nationwide events such as performance driving sessions at local race tracks. The one thing that’s certain not to change, is a buyer’s need to belong. When you target that need for inclusion and make your customers feel special at the same time, you’ve struck a chord. The result could be a brand relationship that lasts a lifetime!

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
icon1April 19, 2015
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Aspirational Branding-What does THAT mean?


Let’s start by defining a prestigious brand. Does your brand promote a feeling of Aspiration? Better yet, does your brand have what it takes to kick start a movement?

How are you creating prestige for your brand, and what are you doing to influence your buyers?

Aspirational brands appeal to people who desire something better. They buy products with “prestige appeal.” From a business standpoint, businesses who sell products/services with prestige typically enjoy very high profit margins. When creating a Brand strategy, they will make ownership just out of reach for most people. Meaning, their buyers may need to aspire to engage.

On the other hand, an Inspirational brand is a product that’s produced to satisfy the wants or needs of everyday needs and desires. Basically, it’s a commodity like toothpaste or bananas. How do you inspire consumers to purchase a commodity product?

With an Inspiration brand, the logo on the label matters but does not align with the identity of the consumer. The product is commonplace. This applies to everyday things like orange juice, auto tires or coffee. The buyer believes quality varies across brands, but you have to shout to be heard above the noise in the marketplace through advertising and promotional tactics (i.e. direct mail, coupons or purchasing in-store display space).

The Absolute Opposite of Ordinary

The other day I received a direct mail piece that caught my attention. In fact, the skilled marketer who created this mailer “set the hook” so effectively that I have the brochure sitting next to my computer.

Yes, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I actually saved a piece of direct mail.

The tagline on the brochure says ” The Absolute Opposite of Ordinary.” Hmmm, I think.

This brand is obviously trying to distance itself from the commodity brand.

The product this company is selling has all the hallmarks of an aspirational brand. It is expensive. The brand is associated with quality. The products are rare and you don’t see many people using it. But when you do see this brand, the discerning eye takes notice. This is the perfect situation for an aspirational brand.

So I open-up the flyer and the first thing I note is the thick paper and high gloss printing. The photography used in the flyer is stunning – crisp in detail. The copy is minimalistic, so I can read it instantly. Here are some of the phrases they used:

“Discover the extraordinary details.”

“Take control.”

“We invite you to experience dynamic and distinctive driving, firsthand”

Well, if you haven’t guessed it yet this flyer was for a new model of car. But by the time I flipped to the 5th page of the flyer I was shocked by what I discovered. In my minds-eye the brand of this vehicle, Maserati, is out of my reach. But the “call to action” message in this flyer made me think differently….in fact, the arresting discovery made me think that I could aspire to own one of these vehicles. You see, the company is promoting a new model of Maserati that is priced lower to compete with mainstream luxury vehicles.

So all of a sudden, I’m their target market.

Exhilarating Performance is Just a Click Away

Your brand is at the core of what you do. What feelings or emotions does your business inspire in your customers? Think about how you present your brand, not just on your website but whenever you meet people, connect with them on social networks, or even in your direct mail flyers.

How are you setting yourself apart, making people aspire to own your product? What is it you do that makes you stand out from the crowd? Think about your brand around your unique strengths and go forth to generate a new level for your customer to aspire.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






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RIP-ROARING INFLUENCE?

Rip-Roaring Influence -2Being influential is as good as gold, and far more valuable. Anyone who has ever made a significant and lasting difference had the power of influence on their side. Once you have mastered the essential lessons Mark Victor Hansen shares with you, you will have the power to take your life to a bold new level. Dare to master your own personal and professional influencing power and experience the difference that having Rip-Roaring Influence will have for you.

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icon1April 13, 2015
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Leverage – The Secret to Reinforcing Your Brand Recall


by Bryan Heathman

Is there some secret branding sauce you can slather onto a marketing message that is otherwise dry as toast? Does your brand need to be as searing as a blacksmith’s red hot poker, scorched into the buyer’s mind? Does it need to be cooked up over some sorcerer’s caldron during the dark of the moon and sprinkled like fairy dust onto your logo?

Quote_On-emotional-connection-in-branding_K2MD-Brand-Consulting_Albuquerque-NM-1

When I started an ad agency called iPromotions.com back in the ’90s, I got a lot of questions like these about branding. Whether the client was a venture capital funded start-up or a half-billion dollar brand, the misconceptions about branding were remarkably the same.

These branding questions are good – but fortunately the answer to these questions is no. In fact, I wish I’d written a book about brand messaging before. I could have upped my fees, back in the day.

So then how do you use your brand to reach more people and successfully market your products or services?

In reality, your brand is like a simple device. You use this device over and over again to put across the essence of your company. It’s boiled down to a simple image of what you represent. The operative word here is “simple.”

Let’s play a little game. What are the Brands you associate with these slogans?

“Oh, what a feeling!”
“The King of Beers”
“The happiest place on earth”
“Just do it”
“American by Birth. Rebel by choice”

How did you do on your brand recall? Show me your brand savvy and post the Brands associated with these taglines onto Katherine’s facebook Facebook page. That last one is a little hard…

To Woo or Not To Woo

Branding is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your brand needs to reflect the needs of your marketplace. It needs to be both classic and timely. It begins with your startup phase and never stops.

Because it’s simple, your brand needs to be repeated to be effective. Conversely, because it needs to be repeated, it must be simple. Here’s why.

The average person has to be exposed to information 7 to 15 times before acting on it. Even a highly intelligent person requires at least 3 exposures to that same information in order to retain it and internalize it. That means if you’re not reinforcing your brand, you’re leaving money on the table.

Consider your customers’ experience as they go through their day to day activities. Your message, sales proposition and your brand are a blip in a sea of messages.

Your brand needs to be powerful enough to rouse your customers into action, and at the same time it needs to actively express you – what you’re about and the uniqueness of your offering. In fact, for people to decide to hire you or buy from you at all, your brand needs to be crystal clear, exciting and alluring. It needs to stand up to relentless reinforcement.

We learn by repetition. I think about the power of repetition every time I automatically start singing-along with songs from my high school days.

The question is, did you set out to learn those words by heart? Or did you just pick them up after hearing the song a hundred times? Once you catch a sonic glimpse of the song’s chorus, how easy is it to get that song out of your head? Odds are that it’s not easy at all. It’s catchy. Persistent. Relentless, even.

So it goes with branding. Once you design your marketing message, carry it forward through all your promotional materials. Consistently use your slogan, logo and other brand elements throughout your marketing materials and other types of customer communication. Let it be persistent.

Branding is Like the Wheels on A Bike

In order to get your message across in all its subtle glory, it needs to be simple and seamlessly circular…. like the wheels on a bike. It needs to go around and around in your prospect’s head like that song on the radio.

You may feel a bit self-conscious about repeating yourself, thinking that your prospects might become bored with your message if you use it too often. In reality, brand repetition equates to consistency in the vast majority of consumers’ minds.

Using this tactic lends a sense that your business is bigger than it actually is. It also lends consistency to your message, regardless of which rookie on your staff is trying his level best to louse it all up (LOL). Brand repetition means consistency.

Do you want to see the latest branding our action? The tagline for the company is “You Tell the Story. We Tell the World.” Follow this link to GOKO Publishing to see how this brand slogan is used to reinforce the company’s mission.



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors such as Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher, rainmaker and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1April 6, 2015
icon2admin

Can Your Brand Create an Avalanche of New Business this Quarter?


Your brand is the core of your marketing, the central theme around your products and services. When it comes to your bottom line, your brand is not just the sizzle. It’s the steak.

Snowball MoneyI am working on a book launch for a book themed around the ancient Greek story of Mt. Sisyphus. If you’re not branded, you may feel like Sisyphus – the ancient Greek who was cursed to push a huge rock uphill only to have it roll back down to the bottom every time. Trying to promote your business without a brand can be a frustrating, fruitless task – one that gets you nothing but a sore back.

But the right branding can mean all the difference for you. After pushing your rock up the mountaintop, it can create a giant snowball of momentum for your business as it rolls down the other side.

Your brand is more than just a name and a logo. It’s your essence. It impacts every aspect of your buyer’s total experience with you, because it colors their perceptions. Your buyer’s perceptions color their relationship with you and ultimately whether or not they engage with their wallets.

So, are you branded? Is branding turning people on? Or is your lack of branding putting people off?

The problem is that most people are so busy going about their business they’re not thinking about how they’re coming across. They’re not branded. Yet all it takes is a simple choice to stay one step ahead of your competition.

Who Is Filling Your Cash Register?

Get to know the people in your marketplace, and get a clear idea about who you’re marketing to. You want your customers to spend money with you, and you know that means you have to make them feel confident about dealing with you. So find out who they are.

What do they want? What pain keeps them up at night? What rewards do they want the most? How can you add value to their experience?

When you send a clear message about your brand and the values you represent, your customers can feel comfortable entrusting you with their business. Using the right brand strategy, you can create a lasting impression and build a bond of trust.

Your website and social media accounts are sometimes the first place your customers will get to know you. From the fonts and color palette to the logo and tagline, your marketing materials should evoke a positive response with your target audiences.

You want your look and feel to set you apart, yet at the same time you want to create a natural fit within your marketplace. You also want your image to attract the kinds of people who can benefit from your offering. Here is 20-second branding exercise: close your eyes and picture the edgy and aggressive colors and fonts used by a wakeboard manufacturer. Next, visualize the elegant script font used to brand a prestigious jewelry company.

OK, now open your eyes and let’s give some thought to your company. Business cards, press kits, and print materials are tools used to reinforce your brand. Though the world is relentlessly driven to the digital realm, we are still living in a 3-D world. There are opportunities everywhere to take advantage of print media, from tradeshow brochures to buses.

Branding is a long term strategy for any business but should be implemented into your marketing and communications from the start.

If you own a small brick and mortar business in a small town or city, you can still follow branding strategies just as if you ran a national franchise or corporation.

There is no excuse for not using a branding strategy for your business. If you own a business, you need a solid and reliable brand.

Practical Steps to Finding the Right Branding Resources

It’s fine to talk about branding your company, but where do you start? If you’re looking for top quality logos, images and marketing materials, there is a wealth of services available to you at a fraction of the cost compared to what the big Branding Agencies bill their clients.

Freelance sites such as LogoContest or Fiverr offer a wealth of opportunities for getting the job done cheaply – if you know what you’re doing. The downside of throwing a virtual dart at your computer and randomly choosing a designer is that you never know what kind of results you’ll get. You may get lucky; then again, you may wind up with brand representation that does not connect with your audience. And that can be quite costly.

Getting a referral to a reliable contractor is another way to get branded. Take a look at the brands you know, like and trust, then see if you can discover their source or ad agency.

If this all sounds like Greek to you, schedule a meeting with a marketing pro- and you can finally push that big rock over the mountaintop and create an avalanche of new business.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Personal Branding Basics: Identify Your Personal Brand in 60 Minutes

The key in getting people to remember your name and ideas is having a clear Personal Brand. Learn the essentials of establishing and communicating your personal brand in this insightful audio series. People who have established their Personal Brand are promoted faster in the workplace and have a clear sense of their future. In this program, you’ll be guided through a system which helps establish your course and how to communicate your vision of the future to people you meet.


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icon1March 30, 2015
icon2admin

Branding for the Big Bucks


by Bryan Heathman, President of Made For Success, GOKO Publishing U.S. partner

Where could your business go if you released your limitations? With the right kind of branding, you can break through untold barriers and realize your professional dreams.

branding3What exactly is branding? Your branding is the way people perceive you and your mission – whether it’s your company, your personal career branding at work or even your private objectives. Branding distills your ideology into a series of elements that together create the look-and-feel of an ideal.

Branding is the practice of using your business name, logo, slogans, color choices and other assets in your marketing communications so that consumers can easily recognize you. In short, it’s your image.

Your brand communicates the qualities, ideas and user experience that your products present to the market place. Using these assets in all of your business communications will reinforce your brand with every consumer touch.

The largest and most successful companies in the world all use these strategies to build their brand equity into billions of dollars. The industry giants of yesterday and today – Google, Apple, Tide, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Xerox, Kodak, Nike, Ford, Disney, Kellogg’s, and many more – all successfully built their brand to household name recognition.

Consumers know these brands by heart and trust the products enough to purchase them without debate. The safety, quality and dependability of the product is assumed – even expected.

Of Rutted Roads and Grizzly Bears

I began my career working for one of these mega-brands – Kodak – and it literally changed the way I perceive my place in the world. It also has had a deep and lasting effect on my success. By associating with a major household name, my employers, clients and colleagues look at me a little differently. Some of the brand’s magic dust brushed off on me, and it launched my early business career.

Early in my career, I landed one of the largest Sales territories a young guy in Sales could hope for. It was also in one of the most remote areas on the planet. My job was to sell Kodak branded film throughout the State of Alaska. It may sound prestigious to have a territory so large, but before you get overly impressed I’d like to put this data point into perspective.

Now, Alaska is not an easy place to promote a brand. Half the state’s population lives in one city, Anchorage, and Alaska is the largest State in the USA – in fact the State is one-third the size of what Alaskans call the “Lower 48.” You just can’t drive across it in a day. In fact, most parts of the state are undriveable. One of the most popular modes of transportation is the float plane. Even these hardy vehicles have trouble reaching vast expanses in the rugged wilderness, largely because there’s just nowhere to land.

Let me put it this way: As a Kodak man, I had a lot of muddy ground to cover in my shiny loafers, and my wide yellow tie was a little hard to miss among the fireweed on the tundra. Even the herds of caribou would roll their eyes when they saw me coming.

I’ll never forget the time when a sales call took me to a gold mine located some half a day’s drive from the big city where I lived. I thought someone at the home office had made a typo on my sales sheet – either that or they were playing a practical joke. I mean, who sells Kodak film in Hope, Alaska? I couldn’t image a gold mine wanting anything to do with my goods.

The road to the mine was a dirt track, now awash in runoff from the spring breakup. The farther away I got from the main highway, the more I was sure there’d been some kind of mistake as my Chevy Celebrity bounced through the potholes.

It was more than 15 rutted miles after I left the pavement before I saw another soul. You can imagine my relief when I turned a corner to find this replica of an old western town – a fly-in tourist attraction, a relic from the days of the Klondike catering to Japanese tourists who wanted a wilderness experience. I wandered into the only open building I could find, a tavern populated with a few of old salts that smelled of smoke, bacon and Jack Daniels.

Yet even in the farthest, most remote corners of the world, the Kodak brand was recognized and I was welcomed to pull-up a stump at the table for a hot cup of coffee in a tin cup. After talking to the mountain man at the end of the table, it seems that tourists to this gold panning paradise preferred Kodak film over Fuji film….all I had to do was show up and write the order.

Branding does more than create recognition. It builds trust and loyalty among the consumers in your market, allowing you to penetrate future markets with new product offerings more successfully – no matter how remote they are. Successful branding carries awareness and trust, even in a land populated with more bears than people.

So as you think through your marketing efforts, pay attention to your brand. You’ll discover many unintended benefits by crafting a message that will stick in the minds of your audience.

Bryan Edired 1

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors such as Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher, rainmaker and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.





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icon1March 23, 2015
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Falling In Love With Your Future


Is there a secret formula for Leadership? No, it’s not really a secret.

Being an exceptional Leader requires passion, commitment and intuitive vision. In a word, it takes heart.

If you have a passion for the thrill and independence of being a Leader, plus you have the commitment to follow through on that passion, here is a breakout formula that can take you wherever you want to go. Falling in love with your future is as simple as letting your heart lead the way.

Research

Do-things-with-passion-or-not-at-all-Wherever-you-go-go-with-all-your-heartFirst you have to know where you’re going, so research is key. Find a successful cause or company similar to the one you envision leading. Study how it started and how it grew.

Next, learn all you can about the Leader behind it. Pick apart the Leadership style, and see if you can ferret out the steps or elements involved.

Devour books and publications related to your Leadership concept. Talk to other Leaders and ask them about their best practices.

Vision

A successful Leader is a bold visionary, seeing what others cannot. You have to be willing to follow that vision despite naysayers.

Many Leaders never finished college, but that hasn’t stopped them. Some visionaries started small companies that grew into large enterprises, such as Dell Computer. Other captains of industry chose to stay small, like your favorite neighborhood bistro or that consulting firm your friend owns in Kansas City.

Regardless of the size of their teams, they’ve all relied heavily on their vision – not necessarily on an MBA program.

Leaders handle ambiguity with ease and are fearless pacesetters. They get a thrill out of leading the way into unfamiliar territory and thumb their noses at the word “failure.”

Let other people manage the details for you, but keep a tight hold on your vision. You must be the guiding force that inspires your people to follow that vision. Shoulder the responsibility for the outcome, and hold yourself personally accountable. Let your passion for your cause show you the way. Focus on the big picture and trust others to focus on the details.

Strategy & Action

When you know where you’re going, the only thing missing is the strategy for getting you there combined with the courage to act. But this is no small thing. Jumping into Leadership without a strategic plan is like jumping in the ocean without knowing how to swim. You may reap unfortunate consequences and discover it all too late.

To create the strategic plan, picture your outcome exactly as you want it to be. Then write down your goals and objectives for achieving that vision. For each goal, create a strategy and a target date for achieving it. Begin with the end in mind, and work backwards until you reach the position you’re in today.

Assess your strengths. The odds are that you already possess the knowledge, skill and experience your team will draw upon. Now list all the strengths you can apply to reaching the object of your ambition.

Then appraise your challenges. Maybe they involve market penetration, profitability, expertise, competition or location. Challenges change as your objective changes. How will your challenges impact your goals?

Be willing to act. You can get things done by delegating, outsourcing or leveraging other people’s talents. Being a Leader means tapping untold reserves of innovation and unflagging determination. It means being willing to endure long, fast-moving days if you want to reap the rewards.

Get things done through delegation, and create a framework of people who can help you achieve your vision as a Leader. Even if your plan means working solo, you can benefit from accessing all kinds of talented consultants, vendors or subcontractors. Expect your framework to change as your vision grows, but build it only as big as you need it to be.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
icon1March 16, 2015
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Integrity-Who is Watching?


Integrity means aligning your actions to be consistent with your internal framework of principles. Integrity is a state of wholeness. This is a good thing. It makes for happy circumstances.

Integirty1The power of Integrity is evident when you realize that everything you do and say is guided by this internal framework. When you recognize it as the yardstick that gauges and guides your life, then you gain the power, the will and the right to do and be just about anything you want. Success in business and in life becomes much easier. Well, up to a point.

Whether you’re going solo, serving as a leader, or you’re one of the crew, there’s no way to fake Integrity. You are either in a state of Integrity with your values, creating a positive condition. Or you’re out of Integrity, which creates a negative or mixed condition.

When you’re out of integrity, you’re literally in a state of duplicity. Your attention is divided and this dilutes your personal power. All kinds of distractions can occur. Forward motion becomes entangled in trying to keep the threads of deception straight.

We’ve all been there – from snitching a cookie as a child, to more complicated actions that go against the grain of what we know to be good and right. Even if you’re not trying to cover up your dis-integral actions, you’re probably riddled with remorse or any number of other negative emotions. These dilute your ability to give your full focus to more important things. In short, being out of Integrity is disempowering.

I think most people are good at their core – decent, loving, compassionate and kind. Most people would agree with me on that point.

Now here’s the catch: not everyone shares the same definition of “good.” Having integrity doesn’t necessarily imply conforming to public opinion. It also doesn’t imply sharing the same moral guidelines that others take for granted.

This fact can make for a shifting landscape, especially in business. If an organization’s internal culture is outside the boundaries of the law, then major conflicts erupt, making for sensational – even volcanic – headlines.

Is There A Mt. Integrity?

We’ve seen this over and over again with firms like Arthur Andersen and the notorious accounting scandal that led to the fall of Enron. This enormous scandal made headlines for months as it exploded on the international landscape back in 2001 and beyond. In fact, this type of corruption ran amok during the decade that led up to the worldwide economic disaster of 2008. If you are unfamiliar with this event and are interested, click here.

Climbing To the Top With Integrity

It’s been said that character is defined by what you do when you think no one is watching. Most of us have a public face and a private face. We tend to hide the aspects that would not be viewed favorably by society – greed, lust, jealousy, pettiness, fear and so on. No one needs to know if we can wolf down a gallon of ice cream in an hour, do they?

The best answer to such a question is that none of us actually need to indulge in those dark tendencies in the first place. We ought to have the courage to kick our darker side to the curb. We ought to have the integrity to act in accordance with our values. Ah, but such is the fodder of Sunday morning sermons and Monday morning quarterbacking. After all, we are human.

If you find yourself in a leadership position, there is a great deal that you can do to ensure that your team makes headlines for all the right reasons. Your organization probably has a list of values that define your mission. Take time out to evaluate where you and your team stand with those values.

Here are 5 questions you can ask that will help you maintain the integrity of your core mission:

  1. Do you and your team believe this list of stated values is accurate?
  2. If the list isn’t accurate, what can you do to update it?
  3. Are the members of your team acting in alignment with these values?
  4. What can you do as a leader to encourage integrity and consistency in your group?
  5. How can your team’s processes be improved to contribute to the organization’s integrity overall?

When you recognize integrity as the quality that empowers you, then success becomes much easier, both in business and in life. Wherever your actions take you, make sure you get there in one piece!



Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Trust-The True Foundation of Leadership

Trust_the _True_Foundation_by_John_MaxwellTrust is the foundation upon which relationships in every setting are built. Discover how the four Levels of Trust can propel your effectiveness as a leader in your organization by John C. Maxwell.

Known as America’s expert on leadership, John Maxwell’s audio program, in an easily downloadable format, hits on the key elements you need to be a Great Leader.

DN
icon1March 9, 2015
icon2admin

Laughter is Good Medicine


“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” ~Mark Twain

If you are in a Leadership role, giving a presentation, or talking in front of a group, then you know how hard it can be at times to get your ideas across. Winning over your audience can be tough, especially if you don’t first establish some kind of rapport. You need to get them on track with you in order for them to hear your most salient points.

LaughThe good news is that there’s one trick that will almost always help make your job a whole lot easier. Use humor! From kings to pawns, everyone loves to laugh, take time out, and find relief from our all too serious world.

See what a new study by Bell Leadership Institute says about humor:

A new study by the Bell Leadership Institute in Chapel Hill, NC, found that when employees are asked to describe the strengths and weaknesses of senior colleagues in their organizations, “sense of humor” and “work ethic” are mentioned twice as much as any other phrases. Bell Leadership surveyed approximately 2,700 employees in a variety of workplace settings over a two-year period.

“Humor is a vital tool of leadership,” says Dr. Gerald D. Bell, the founder and CEO of Bell Leadership Institute. “People are used to associating laughter with the best medicine, but they are often surprised that ‘sense of humor’ is the phrase most frequently associated with the best in leaders.” Bell Leadership’s findings show that people appreciate leaders who have fun and work hard to get the job done. “Those who can combine a strong work ethic and sense of humor may have the leading edge in their organizations,” says Dr. Bell.

Humor serves as an effective tool for putting your clients, colleagues, listeners or readers at ease. It can break the ice and set a tone that helps loosen up the atmosphere. Humor makes your job easier and much more fun to do.

What is humor?

The topic of humor is highly subjective. One must be cautious about what they say or do so as not to be offensive to others in any way. The great news is it’s not expensive or time-consuming to put a laughter in the workplace. Share a funny story with your co-workers on your break, hold a joke contest, or if you have a great idea, pass it along to your supervisor. Employees who are happy and fulfilled are also more productive and motivated.

Even though the essence of humor itself is subjective, there is one definition that transcends every comedic law. Humor is the amusing build­up and release of tension.

Whether it’s in print, in media, or in a live setting, humor requires some degree of tension in order to be effective. This is why it’s such a great ice breaker in professional settings – the tension is already built in.

It’s also why people laugh when they’re uncomfortable or nervous. It’s the reason for gallows humor, and it even explains why some wakes are so full of laughter. When it’s applied in the right way, humor can be the perfect antidote for dark times.

How Can You Be Funny When You Mean Business?

Humor’s effect will always ride the emotional tide of your audience. Stay attuned to how your audience is feeling, and always assess the atmosphere you’re in to determine whether humor is a good choice.

How well you come across may depend on whose company you are in, where you find them in their work day, and how many pressures are distracting them. Other factors include the temperature of the room you’re in, their state of alertness, and even whether they have a headache or any number of other distractions.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to your humor’s effectiveness in persuading someone. Recognize that what may be funny to one person one day will not be funny the next, even if it’s the exact same joke told in the exact same way.

Often the mood or situation itself will make it obvious whether humor is appropriate. If you’re speaking in a religious setting, a certain amount of reverence and sobriety are naturally called for. But even here, some kinds of humor can help move your audience to your point of view.

Here are a few tips for using humor effectively:

Don’t Tell Jokes: The object of your humor is to break the ice. Because humor is so subjective, your well-­meaning joke may be funny to a few people but offend others. Even worse, it may bomb. Telling one bad joke at the start means you’ll spend the rest of the time trying to recover instead of compelling your audience.

Use Stories: Different types of humor work best in different situations. Bridge the gap with a funny story or anecdote from real life. Use the story to make a point, and let it launch you into your topic.

Let Your Humor Breathe: Sometimes you may find that you’re funny even when you didn’t mean to be. Allow your audience a moment to enjoy it. When laughs come, pause and let the roar start to fade like a passing train. Then start speaking again before the quiet fully returns.

Keep It Kind: If the object of your humor is someone else, make sure your audience is laughing WITH them and not AT them. Mean spirited humor can leave a lasting scar on your reputation.

It’s Okay to Make Fun of Yourself: A touch of self­-effacing humor can win over your audience if it’s gently applied. Don’t be afraid to be the butt of good humor. A dash of vulnerability can make you seem like a more sympathetic character. Remember, a little goes a long way.

Your own brand of humor can be an original, effective way of delivering important messages to your clients and colleagues. You’ll build stronger bonds with them and stand out from the crowd.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.


Did You Say What I think You Said!?


Words Have Power red sign with a landscape background

As a leader, you’ve probably heard lots of talk about empowering others. It’s a great concept, but when you get right down to it, there’s little evidence that it’s actually happening whenever it really is happening.

Even more important, there are times when the leader’s job is to, uh… y’know – LEAD. As a leader, you’re privy to a lot of facts and insights that your team just doesn’t have. Your job is to make judgment calls, and sometimes go against the grain. Sometimes your team may not understand why you’re making the calls you do.

The bottom line is that you need each other. The team needs the leader to point the way. The leader needs the team’s unique talents so that all of the various nuances of your collective project are handled thoroughly and efficiently. In order to get the team on board with your abundant wisdom, you’ll need to know when to coax and when to shove.

For all that, you’ll need to understand how you’re coming across to them. In other words, you’ll need to be sensitive to them and their perceptions.

Understanding how your actions influence the empowerment process will allow you to decide when coaxing is sufficient and when shoving is actually required. Combining these two ticklish prospects can often yield stellar results.

How To Be Sensitive Without Getting Stepped On

Empowering your workforce is not likely to happen all on its own. Everyone involved will need to apply some real effort. The result of this effort will create an environment where people have enough freedom and responsibility to act independently whenever they have to. At the same time, it should offer some firm guidelines, leaving room for your leadership.

A team that understands the rules has a better chance of winning the game. Their ability to do this comes through understanding your team’s needs and what’s required of them.

It means becoming sensitive to how they regard you. Your attitude towards their empowerment and your sensitivity to their perceptions will guide you. You’ll know just when it’s time to coax and when to shove.

Here’s an exercise you can do with your team, either as a group or in a one-on-one setting. It will help raise potentially difficult issues in a safe environment. You’ll emerge from it with a clear picture of how to proceed, what to keep, and which aspects of your style you need to improve.

The exercise highlights the aspects of your leadership style that are likely to enhance or limit your team’s ability to act independently. How much they can do on their own will have a direct impact on the degree of their empowerment as individuals within the team framework.

Start the session with a brief explanation of empowerment tailored to the your team’s unique circumstances. Either working in small groups or as individuals, ask your people to come up with answers to each of the following four questions. As an alternative, you can ask each person or group to answer just one of the questions in detail.

Here are the questions:

  1. What do you need me to start doing as a leader?
  2. What do you need me to stop doing?
  3. What do you need me to do differently?
  4. What do you need me to do more of?

Asking for a succinct, honest appraisal will help people feel they are able to air their views without restrictions. Your team’s responses will play a key role in how you approach empowerment in the future, so let them know you’re listening.

Give them time to consider their answers, and be on hand to respond to any questions they may have about the process. Make it clear to your team that all feedback is extremely useful to you and, ultimately, to them too. Say clearly when you expect to get their answers. Make sure you follow up at the right time; be consistent.

Where Can You Apply What You’ve Learned?

Applying the lessons you’ve learned from this exercise will not only benefit your team, it will also show your degree of sensitivity as a leader. In other words, showing that you know how to coax makes you more effective when it comes time to shove. Reinforcing your sensitivity to the team’s needs and perceptions can actually build the team bond.

When you start this exercise with your group, explain that you will be writing up these suggestions and providing everyone with the results. Then deliver what you promise. Show them what the results are, and demonstrate how their feedback will be applied. Also, come up with some concrete ways that you’ll get their input in the near future.

If there are areas where your leadership needs to diverge from the group’s consensus, you can always try reverting to the ol’ tried and true: Talk. Communication is the key to understanding; and understanding is the key to gaining their support.

By opening up to your team, you stand to gain their understanding – and their sensitivity. With their trust and support, that makes you an empowered leader.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
icon1February 23, 2015
icon2admin

RESPECT-Find Out What it Means to Me


If we asked Aretha Franklin’s advice on leadership, what would she say? “RESPECT, that is what it means to me. Just a little respect, just a little bit!” For a little music interlude, check out Aretha’s original recording of RESPECT

Respect is a funny thing, especially as it relates to Leadership roles.

keep-calm-and-respect-others-10Some people offer their respect to everyone they meet, freely and gladly. They live by the credo, “My respect is yours to lose.” Others feel strongly that respect is earned, that no one deserves it until they’ve demonstrated real merit.

These attitudes are basically opposite ends of the same scale, and they both have the same requirement. In all cases, respect is subject to testing.

I once worked with a woman who volunteered her time to a regional co-ed baseball league as an umpire. Pam took the role pretty seriously, was always punctual, and her judgment was consistently impartial.

Pam was a lot like this outside the baseball park too, so it didn’t surprise me that she embraced the role of “ump” with so much sobriety. I thought she would’ve made a good judge.

I watched Pam at a night game once, and the way she conducted herself has stayed with me for many years. She displayed so much dignity and clarity under pressure that it changed the way I look at the concept of teamwork. It also demonstrated to me what real sportsmanship is, and it defined for me the meaning of respect.

Taking the High Road to Teamwork

As you might guess, being an umpire can mean being subjected to a certain amount of unpopularity. Name calling is common, whatever the league, as the umpire’s decisions are questioned by one side or the other. Usually, it’s not personal.

On this particular night, there was one player who came to the game with a grudge. The guy’s banter took on a personal tone, belittling Pam as an individual and questioning each call she made as an umpire. It was as if he were trying to start an argument every time he came to bat. To her credit, Pam didn’t react, just kept playing the game.

Finally, it was late in the action and the score was tied. This mean-tempered player was up to bat, and the next pitch could decide the game.

The air was thick with tension, and after a close call, the batter unloaded a tirade on my friend, the ump. But Pam looked him in the eye and told him coolly, “I’ve got my position down. Why don’t you just concentrate on playing yours.”

I don’t remember who won the game. I do know that since then, every time someone has second guessed me, I’ve traveled back in time to that night game. Once again, I’m sitting in the bleachers, watching Pam’s steely grace under pressure.

I know I’ve got my position down. And just as important, I have enough respect for my team and the game we’re playing to let them perform with dignity – even if sometimes they forget how.

Using Respect To Improve Your Teamwork Score

This idea can be applied to other kinds of teams, not just sports. Think of an ambulance crew, a fire crew, a yacht racing team, the crew on an airplane, a dentist with a support staff, a team of industrial designers, or a publisher.

Now think about the things that might improve team building in your own situation. Where are you succeeding as a team? Where can you improve?

Whether you’re leading the team, playing a supporting role, or serving as an objective outsider, there is always room for dignity and mutual respect. In fact, these things are essential.

To decide where to improve and how, ask yourself these 7 questions.

  1. How does each position on your team contribute to your overall effectiveness as a group?
  2. How is each position unique and deserving of respect?
  3. What unique qualities does each player bring to their position?
  4. Is cross-training possible for various positions in case there are gaps in your team down the road?
  5. Is it a good idea to offer extra performance incentives for team members who go above and beyond?
  6. Whatever role you’re playing, where are you demonstrating the qualities of Leadership to inspire others on the path to success?
  7. How can you improve as an individual to better support your team and enhance your teamwork skills?

There is no guarantee that you’ll win every game. In fact, the odds are overwhelming that you will have a taste of defeat from time to time. It’s essential that you and your organization build a cohesive team based on mutual respect.

Down the road, you may not remember who won or lost the game. But you will always remember the players who showed up with the right type of conduct – the ones with nerves of steel who were cool under pressure. In any game, these folks are rare and they deserve our respect.

Of course, the highest honor we can aspire to is to be counted among those who earn the respect of a team.

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
  

icon1February 16, 2015
icon2admin

Effective Leadership – the 7 C’s of Getting Result


Have you ever been cornered into buying something you didn’t really want? If you’re like most people, you’ve stocked your cupboards with more than your fair share of Girl Scout Cookies and other non-essentials sold door to door by smiling, big-eyed neighbor kids. It’s almost impossible to resist.

Good LeasdershipTime and again, people in cultures around the world have exhibited certain predictable responses to everyday situations. In fact, you see it everywhere. Because of these common reactions, it’s possible to predict behavior and influence people to adopt a specific point of view.

Unfortunately our common reactions make it possible for us to be manipulated by the unscrupulous – or simply the big-eyed cookie vendor. Politicians, salespeople, network marketers, entrepreneurs, colleagues, friends and family all have a stake in getting us to agree to their requests.

However, there is much to be mined here for the sake of effectiveness on the job.

If you find yourself in a Leadership role, you can gain from the gentle art of persuasion and take a cue from these common responses. You can apply the concept to Leadership for consistent results that look good on you – and your business. With the right approach, you can turn the tables and start getting the results you want.

Navigating the 7 C’s

There are 7 essentials for effective Leadership that you can apply to your projects or your organization starting today. They all happen to start with the letter “C”. In no particular order, here they are.

Care – Influence of any kind requires rapport. This means you have to care to some degree about the people you want to influence. What do you have to offer that will benefit them? What’s their greatest pain? What are their aspirations? Remember that people are most responsive to those who are interested in them and share common values.

The famous landmark book by Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People, can be summed up in two words: genuine interest. You can use your voice and body language to demonstrate your sincere enthusiasm, and make eye contact to get full engagement.

Communicate with Questions – Listen first. Communication is an interchange of information – a two-way street. Getting your message across depends on hearing and responding to the other person’s point of view. Learn from your interactions with them. Ask questions. Care about their responses, and express your expectations clearly.

Listening isn’t merely a matter of waiting for your turn to speak. Don’t wait quietly then jump in to tell your story. Make sure you ask questions and thoroughly understand their point of view. Be careful in your responses so your conversation doesn’t appear to be a verbal competition. Let it be cooperative.

Clarify – Not only do you want to get clear on your own your core values, but you also want to get clear on what people are communicating to you. A psychologist named Carl Rogers perfected a process called Reflective Listening back in the 50′s (click here for an overview on Wikipedia). When you ask clarifying questions, this will show up in your “music” – the things you say and the way you say them. When you’re clear on your own position, it’s much easier to persuade others to your point of view.

Consider – If the other person has a different perspective, find out more about why they have that point of view. The more you consider the reasons behind their thinking, the more you can understand them or perhaps help them to better understand your point of view. Weigh all sides of the question, and take the full picture into consideration.

Competence – Understand the details of the process that you and your team are pursuing. Enjoy at least a top line level of knowledge about the steps involved in completing your objective. When you do, it will be easier to understand the needs of the people you’re leading. Bringing in the project according to your objectives will be a breeze.

Consistency – Research shows that we have an in-born desire to be and to appear consistent. Once we’ve made a decision, we feel pressure to act consistently with that commitment. Once a commitment is made, we tend to table the topic and consider the matter settled.

Back in 1998, a Chicago restaurant was plagued with last minute reservation cancellations. But when they started asking customers for a commitment in the form of a question – “Will you please call if you have to change your plans?” – the no-show rate fell from 30% to 10%. To be effective as a Leader, ask your people if they will commit, and wait for their response. Require their consistency. Likewise, be consistent with your own commitments, and you’ll lead your people by example.

Completion – Personal accountability from yourself as well as your team will mean the difference between success and failure. Complete your objectives, and follow through. Don’t allow the agenda to change week by week.

Do you hold people individually responsible for meeting company objectives? When your people fail, as we all do from time to time, do you hold them responsible for sharing the benefit of their hard-won wisdom with the group? Have you created a culture that values personal accountability as a tool? Are you rewarding people for taking personal ownership for big-picture results?

To be an effective leader, it’s essential to stay in touch with the people you’re leading. It’s starts with caring about them and your mission. It takes involvement with them through the unfolding process and seeing it through to the end.

It means choosing activities and objectives that are worthwhile – appropriate for you, your values and dreams. Otherwise you might as well be selling non-essentials door-to-door. Those jobs are already filled by worthy, big-eyed 6-year-olds. You wouldn’t want to compete with the Girl Scouts, would you? No, of course not.

Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Try the free MFS: Leadership & Motivation iPhone app in the iTunes App Store today and enjoy a free copy of “Conflict Resolution” audio recording by Dr. Tony Alessandra. Leadership on iPhone

Loaded with popular audio programs from leading personal and professional development speakers, the Leadership & Motivation app is a must for the executive on-the-go.


icon1February 9, 2015
icon2admin

Leadership and Drive: Accessing the Power of Teamwork


A mentor of mine once said there are two reasons for doing anything: the STATED reason, and the REAL reason. The REAL reason is the thing that impels us to act.

Group of Multiethnic Designers BrainstormingSo, what drives us into action?

The REAL reason is what makes a football player finish a championship game with a taped-up dislocated elbow – an injury that would send most guys to the hospital begging for morphine. It takes a strong dose of conviction to get back into the game with such a debilitating injury.

When I was 22 and living in Anchorage, I attended dog races for fun. The REAL reason is what causes an Alaskan musher to bundle up and drive a team of sled dogs 1,100 miles through the dark and wintry sub-arctic wilderness. Running the fiercely competitive race known as the Iditarod could only happen with a very good REAL reason. Yet it happens every year.

The REAL reason is what makes a soldier stay awake for three days, what makes a fireman return to a burning building, what makes a scientist review the results of an experiment just one more time.

The REAL reason is what’s known as Drive. The beauty of it is, we all have it.

Each one of us can be a champion under the right circumstances. With the right leadership, we can all tap into our own inner drive and bring home incredible results against all odds.

Capitalizing On the Inner Game

As leaders, we can tap into the drive that motivates the people we are charged with leading and reveal their finest strengths to the world – and to themselves.

The word “drive” is defined as an inner urge that stimulates activity or inhibition; a vigorous onset or onward course toward a goal or objective.

If you find yourself leading a team, there’s only one way you’re going to get to know what drives the players as individuals. First you have to get to know them as people, find out what makes them tick, touch their minds and motives.

No one was ever pushed across the finish line and called a winner. Winning comes from the inside, from the inner drive – from the real reason. Winning is evoked, coaxed like a feral cat out of the shadows. Winning is invoked, not imposed.

Driving the Team to Win

If you find yourself leading a typical pack, you’ll notice that they’re probably a pretty diverse group. They come from varied backgrounds, and they have plenty of different real reasons.

This is actually a good thing. Their diversity is your strength. It’s up to you to unite them to work as a team.

You’ll want to be cautious, though, not to completely dampen the wild individuality inside them. Instead, you can channel it to work for the benefit of your common cause. Here are questions you can ask yourself to accomplish just that.

Getting the Team Together: Do my people have a clear sense of where we’re going and why? Do they know the role they need to play? Is each player holding the right position?

Playing By the Rules: Are my decisions and actions consistent with our stated goals? Are my team members aware of those decisions? Are we all striding together? Does your team personally understand and agree with the direction?

Using the Right Equipment: Have I created a culture that values drive as a tool? Does our culture embrace the value of the individual as well as the cohesion of the team? Do they have the tools they need, not just to play the game, but to win?

In It To Win It: Am I rewarding my team for taking on the tough duties? For making critical decisions? For giving their all?

The reason for doing anything may seem obvious to us all, at least on the surface. Harnessing the REAL reason – the inner drive – and putting it to work will inevitably yield the fruits of victory.

What will spur you on to play your best game? Your victory cup is waiting!

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icon1February 2, 2015
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Leadership and Endurance: Staying Up When Things Look Down


Endurance-Shackleton

Everyday the world is made fresh, and no two days are alike. No one stays the same from day to day, or even moment to moment, because each experience brings new opportunities and fresh perspective.

We touched on this lightly in a previous article, Effective Leadership: Igniting the Vision for Others. You can tap this concept and put it to work on your behalf.

Today is a whole new day. Today your spouse is different. Your coworkers and colleagues are, too. Your friends and companions are 24 hours older today than they were yesterday, bringing with them a world of new encounters. Because of this, the way they think today is different from yesterday, no matter how slight that difference is.

If you keep this in mind, it will cast a fresh light on your world and your way of thinking. You can get to know them all over again each time you connect.

Even you are different.

Your cells are renewed constantly. I’m told that there isn’t a cell in your body that’s older than 7 years, right now, no matter what your birth certificate says.

If you trim an eighth of an inch off your fingernails, that means you cut away one month’s worth of growth. Think of all the things your fingertips touched in the past month, all the experiences your fingernails had during that brief span of time. Has your mind grown as much?

And what about your enthusiasm?

Does your perspective need a little freshness dating? Every now and then it’s a good idea to check the contents of your head and throw out the ideas that are past their peak.

Without even being aware of it, a repetitive routine can let boredom creep in, stale yawns trudging on the heels of monotony. Before you know it, your enthusiasm has tanked and you’re not sure why.

The Hazards of Breaking New Ground

If you’re in a position of Leadership, the habit of stale thinking can spread like a deadly-dull virus through your team and the others around you. If you’re not careful, it can spread to your home life and your other relationships too. This can play havoc with your success, both personally and professionally.

Here’s a case where maintaining a fresh perspective aboard a sinking ship was literally a matter of life and death. There’s much to be mined from it on the topic of Leadership.

About a hundred years ago, a crew of 27 men (and 70 sled dogs) led by Ernest Shackleton sailed from South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic. Their intent was to land on the coast of Antarctica and trek across it shore to shore on foot, something no one else had done before. Unfortunately, they never even got to their destination.

The ocean between South America and Antarctica is notorious as a sailor’s graveyard, owing to high winds, deep swells and no small smattering of icebergs. Just six weeks after they began their voyage, the ship Endurance was lodged in an ice floe somewhere in the Weddell Sea. A few weeks later, it sank.

It took Shackleton and his crew some 18 months to return to South Georgia Island. During that time they camped on the ice, sailed across mountainous swells in little more than row boats, endured frostbite, hunger and desolation, never knowing if they’d see home again. But they persevered, and they did return.

It seems to me, if you were a crew member on the Endurance, you’d need a whole lot of enthusiasm for the taste of adventure. Just to get on the boat, you’d have to have a pretty tough inner game, a love of dogs, and a whole lot of gear.

You’d also need a very big idea about why the trip was necessary. There would be many chances to give up, all of them good ones.

The greatest threat to their successful return after the shipwreck was not so much the idea of quitting while they faced danger amid the storms and swells.

The greatest jeopardy to morale would have been the days on end of relative monotony – the cold, the gray, the unending sameness of their diet. There was no sound but their own voices, the wind, and the water lapping against the ice for the nearly 700 days of their journey.

The Rewards for Renewed Perspective

Surviving through this kind of ordeal takes a kind of camaraderie and a freshness of spirit that’s hard to find in this era or any other.

Every person on Shackleton’s team brought a set of skills essential for the mission. As a leader, Shackleton must have been keenly aware of this. Each one of the crew contributed a unique perspective to the group, along with the experiences gained during each whole new day. Together they persevered, and their survival itself was a triumph.

Whether you commute to work in an office, plow a field all day, or sit at home and knit, you are selecting the moments of your life and the thoughts that go along with them.

Now is a great time to give your enthusiasm a boost and see your surroundings through fresh eyes. Why not take time out for a little shift in perspective today?

You can give your doldrums the brush off while you trim your fingernails and think about where your fingers have been during the past month. If you find it dull, promise your hands that they’ll have a more stirring adventure to tell next time.

This article on Endurance and Enthusiasm is
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icon1January 26, 2015
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Leadership and Ambition: Get Your Dream Into High Gear


What’s your greatest ambition? Do you know where the road of life is taking you? Do you know who’s taking the ride with you – those who share your ambitions?

Ambition fuels your goals, ignites the fire of life that kindles behind your eyes. It makes smoke curl from your nostrils as the restless engine of your desire is stoked when you contemplate your ultimate success. It torques your actions into high gear, and impels those around you to act with vigor on your behalf.

Chasing The Horizon

For many people, the idea of getting a great job and staying with the same company is their ambition. However, this scenario is largely becoming a thing of the past and having three or more careers in a lifetime is now the norm. This fact carries with it both an opportunity and a daunting responsibility to become clear on your own ambitions.

Don’t Arrive by Accident

It’s all too common to find that you’ve arrived on your current path through a series of coincidences, each one taking you a little farther away from the dreams you had when you first started. For most people, there is a huge gap between the results they get and the results they want.

Whether starting your own company or as an employee, more and more people are unsure of their ambitions. If you’re one of them, maybe it’s time to take time out, sit back and have a talk with yourself.

For example, some years ago I had a buddy who was confronted by just such a challenge. When we were both fresh out of college, we both went to work for Xerox selling office copiers.

Jeff and I had met years before in college, bonding over Top Raman and the love of fast cars. Jeff drove a Porsche and we took that car to every pizza joint near our campus (my college car was a classic VW Fastback, no match for the Porsche). We both shared a passion for starting our own business and becoming the next Henry Ford. Some things just don’t need to be explained.

After college, he had a successful career with Xerox followed by stints with other Fortune 500 companies like HP and Dell. He worked his way up into an executive position, in time making a pretty good salary with cushy corporate benefits. He was tied to his job with a velvet rope, plush but limiting.

Let me say here that Jeff did not aspire to be a corporate employee. For years, Jeff would talk with me about getting the nerve to “make the jump” and pursue a tech start-up.

Once you’ve been in corporate life for a while, you may feel locked into your job and your plush lifestyle, the way my friend did. Unless you get in touch with your true ambitions, your only options are to move sideways to another company or to move upward in the hierarchy of the company.

So what do you do? The answer is to finally ask yourself that most elusive question: what do you want to be doing five years from now? Ten? Twenty? What is your true ambition?

These are the questions my friend Jeff avoided asking himself for years, as the time slipped by and the rut got deeper. If your own answer isn’t “exactly what I’m doing now” then what you need is decisive action. Not tomorrow: today.

What my friend didn’t realize is that forging out a life’s ambition, or a major definite purpose, isn’t all that difficult. He was afraid of taking a momentary step back in his lifestyle for the sake of pursuing his longtime dream of starting his own company.

Eventually Jeff got his chance, seizing an opportunity to exercise his expertise in mobile technology.

Over time, he grew his idea into a steady business with the CTO’s of major cellular phone companies. He even has staff, inventory and a schedule of glamorous tradeshows he attends on an annual circuit. It’s a career he loves, but he never would have gotten there without making a change – the thing he dreaded the most.

If you can free yourself from the fear and pessimism that commonly confront change, you can free up enormous reserves of energy to fuel your dreams.

Getting Your Goals Into High Gear

In order for things to get better, things have to change. Even if your ambition lies a bit farther down the road you’re already on, progress means change. Anything else will mean stagnation.

Whatever your ambition is, the chances are that there’s an opportunity for your next step not far away from where you are right now. The key to your dreams lies somewhere in your immediate surroundings.

If your ambition really is something you’ve seriously wanted to do, then it should be as simple as getting started and getting noticed. It’s okay to start small. If your first steps don’t work out the way you’d hoped, don’t give up. Keep your ambition in sight, letting it always fuel the passion for your dreams.

Whether you succeed or fail, it’s always better to try. At least you won’t find yourself years from now asking those two most terrible words: “What if…?”

Living out your ambition is not as hard to do as you think, especially when your actions are powered by your true passions. So what are you waiting for? Drop it down a gear and hit the gas! You never know what’s waiting for you around the bend.


icon1January 19, 2015
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