An Interview with Chuck Gallagher with Some Straight Talk about Second Chances

I have to admit taking a short unplanned hiatus from my blog writing due to a whirlwind of personal and business activities the past few months.

The launch of Emerald Lake Books took off like a wild horse out of control! (But in good ways.)

And my oldest child graduated high school and headed off for Basic Training. So, the Alemany household has been just a bit flustered of late. Even the cat seems dazed and confused most days…

But now it’s time to get back into the routine of things, and bring you some great new author interviews!Chuck Gallagher, author of Second Chances

If you haven’t heard of Chuck Gallagher before, you’ll want to listen to the video at the bottom of this post. He’s got a riveting story and an engaging sense of humor that you won’t want to miss.

When I reached out to Chuck in January to ask if he’d be interested in being one of my Featured Authors this year, he was happy to oblige, but requested October for his interview month.


Here’s what he had to say about it:

I know October is strange, but that will be twenty years since I was incarcerated, so the book Second Chances will have its beginning two decades ago.

I don’t know whether to say we’re happy to help him “celebrate” the anniversary or not, but I’m happy we put this on my calendar back then. It’s just the push I needed to start working on my blog schedule again.

It looks like Chuck’s not the only one who got a second chance. 🙂

Tara: What motivated you to write a book?

“On the day I took twenty-three steps into federal prison, I did not recognize all the choices that resulted in this consequence. By the time I took twenty-three steps out of prison, my understanding had deepened. Writing this book took perseverance and led me to twenty-three insights about turning negative choices into positive results. I offer my story to remind you, and me, that our prisons are often self-inflicted.”

Second Chances, by Chuck GallagherIf writing a book can change a life, then pouring my heart and soul into Second Chances was an act of love that will bear fruit that I will never see…but that nonetheless is bountiful.

Tara: What publishing options did you consider?

Writing a book is one thing, but how that book will be published and distributed is quite another. Honestly, the concept of mainstream publishing was not an option for me. Unless you have a name or large tribe, mainstream publishers aren’t interested.  Therefore, the only logical option was some form of self-publishing.

Tara: Why did you settle on the option you chose?

The idea of maintaining ownership of and content control was appealing to me. While I went with a local provider of self-publishing services, the second edition was published through Createspace (an Amazon company) and through BookBaby. Both allowed easy distribution in both eBook and traditional print publishing. The simplicity of getting quality material to market is quite amazing and since I am responsible for the sale of my books, the easier the better. Both avenues have been outstanding.

Tara: How easy was it to get your book done?

The initial phase of writing Second Chances took me on a journey that lasted three years. Once the initial draft was complete, the project took on real and valuable form with the inclusion of a qualified editor.

As a side note, far too often I see people get so caught up in their story or their writing that they fail to secure the services of a professional editor. I can say with great candor that my editor challenged my assumptions and that the book that finally emerged was far better than the manuscript that he initially received. That taught me a great lesson. Use a professional who gets your voice, but will be willing to challenge you to make your product (your book) the best it can be!

Tara: How did you distribute the book after publication?

“How are you going to sell your book?” That was a significant question that I was asked along the way and the one thing that I caution most authors to examine.

For me, as a professional speaker, I knew that the majority of my book sales would be “back of the room” sales at seminars where I was invited to speak.

Distribution of the book would most likely be: (1) paperback copy at the back of the room; (2) through Amazon and (3) via eBook (iPad, Kindle and to a much lesser degree Nook).

Tara: How are you marketing and promoting your book?

Book marketing is 100% me. I sell the book from me to consumer. I sell the book in bulk to organizations I speak to as a “leave behind” for their people and through social media outlets from shameless self-promotion. (Actually selling your book is far from shameless.)

Tara: What’s working best for you to generate sales? Are there things you’d recommend avoiding?

You are your best sales person. Unless you’re an established author, the reality is you are expected to sell you! The one thing that is annoying to me are those who promote their ability to help you sell your book, when in fact they are more interested in selling that concept to you.

Books are bought because people feel that they will be better off because of their purchase. So the question you need to ask yourself is: What problem do I solve for the buyer?

If you can’t easily answer that question, you’ll have problems selling your book.

Tara: Which social network do you use the most and why?

Facebook for broad-based consumer connection and LinkedIn for impactful business connections.

Tara: If you had one piece of advice for someone thinking about writing a book, what would it be?

Be clear about who your audience is and what problem your book is positioned to solve.

Let’s be clear, you won’t make a fortune from selling a simple book. Rather, your book gives you credibility that can propel your career (speaking, coaching, consulting) forward, which is where the more lucrative fees are found.

Who’s your audience, what problem do you solve, and how will you position your thought leadership (through writing your book) to help you capture that audience in a way that moves your career forward.

Answers to those questions represent the key to success in book selling.

Want to learn a little bit more about Chuck? Check out what he has to say about Business Ethics in this great video.

What’s Your Social Selling Index?

Do you use LinkedIn as a means of building your business? If so, LinkedIn’s new Social Selling Index (SSI) may be of special interest to you.

You might have heard the term “social selling” before. But if you haven’t here’s a quick definition.

Social selling is when sales people use social media (LinkedIn especially) to interact directly with their prospects. Sales people provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

LinkedIn’s new Social Selling Index (SSI) measures the 4 key elements of social selling.

  1. Establishing your personal brand by completely filling out your profile and sharing content regularly through status updates, blog posts and engaging with the content of others.
  2. Finding the right people to add to your network by using available search tools to identify better prospects in less time.
  3. Engaging with insights LinkedIn provides, so that you can discover and share conversation-worthy content so that you can create and grow relationships.
  4. Building relationships to strengthen your network by finding and establishing trust with decision makers.

Your profile is rated daily based on each of these elements to give you a score, as well as recommendations for improvement, and an idea of how you rank in comparison with others in your industry and network.

To view your own SSI rating, visit your Social Selling Dashboard on LinkedIn.

You’ll see the breakdown among the 4 different elements, with scores for how well you’re doing with each. A perfect score is 25. If you have anything lower in a given area, it means there’s room for improvement!

Need some help figuring out how to improve your score? We offer two LinkedIn Mastery courses on Udemy, one on Creating an Awesome Profile and the other on Growing Your Network.

You’ll learn enough in these two courses to significantly shift the needle for all 4 elements of your SSI rating.

And for our readers, we have a special offer good through the end of August.
Use the coupon code “SSI2015” to receive 25% off of either course.

Creating_an_Awesome_Profile_course_listing Growing_Your_Network_course_listing

If you find that your SSI isn’t as high as you’d like, consider taking these courses, ask questions in the Discussion area, and let’s see if we can’t improve your SSI.

Happy Networking!

5 Steps to Success in Social Marketing Your First Book

”This is the first time that I’ve offered someone a Featured Author interview with whom I had no prior relationship.

Victor Prince headshotHowever, when Victor Prince reached out to me last April to see if I might support his book launch in mid-July, he did everything exactly how I tell my clients to do it.

  • He provided plenty of time.
  • He explained what his book was and why it was important.
  • He shared with me what he was offering to do.
  • He told me clearly what was in it for me, as well as for my readers.
  • He made it clear that he was willing to bend over backwards to make the whole thing as easy as possible on me.

Victor had reached out to me, I believe, because I’d co-authored a book in the same niche as the one he’s releasing, leadership. His co-author, Mike Figliuolo, had even endorsed it.

And while Victor’s original vision for how we might collaborate wasn’t exactly what fit my needs, I was impressed enough with how he was conducting his book launch outreach efforts that I asked him to share some insights with my readers.

So, here’s what he had to say… [Read more…]

Remembering What It’s All About

A friend shared a video on Facebook this morning that I found particularly inspiring. Although she shared it in the context of a responsibility that speakers have, the same message applies to authors, to coaches, to artists and to those who stand in a public spotlight sharing their thoughts and ideas with the world, in whatever medium them use.

For some creatives, we get caught up in the process of creating. Passion for our art fulfills and sustains us, and that’s enough.

The problem is, that’s a very self-focused view of what we do.

For other creatives, there’s the ego-boost that comes with having our work recognized, whether through awards or rampant sales.

And once again, it’s a very self-focused view.

That’s not to say that we ignore the business aspects of what we do, because we do need to earn a living in order to keep creating. There’s no two ways about it, unless you’re independently wealthy already.

However, we also have a responsibility. And the success of our business and the reception of our message, no matter what form it takes, can only be assured when we remember who we’re doing it all for.

If I cook a meal that looks delicious, but tastes awful, what have I accomplished?

We need to always remember the experience that we’re giving our audience. They are our customer, whether they’re paying for the experience or not.

It doesn’t matter if, as a speaker, I have an audience of 2 people or 2,000. I have to give the same performance and imbue my delivery with the same energy, because those 2 people deserve my very best.

Quality counts.

I don’t care if you’re self-publishing a book, choreographing a dance piece, giving a presentation at work, performing on TV, coaching a new client, or whatever other unique skill and talent you have to share with the world.

If you don’t take that responsibility seriously, you may as well not do it at all. Or at least, don’t try to build a business around it.

If it’s about you, it’s a hobby. If it’s about the person who’s going to experience what you have to offer, you’ve got a business.

Care to see the video that got me all fired up today? 🙂

Jamie Fox and Steve Harvey

Animoto’s 2015 Video Marketing Cheat Sheet [Infographic]

According to a recent study by Animoto, more than 7 billion videos watched each and every day on Facebook and YouTube.

You can read the press release about the Animoto Online and Social Video Marketing Study to learn more.

However, one thing is clear…

If video content isn’t part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out! And Animoto is a great way to get started…

Consider this:

  • 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
  • Customers are nearly 50% more likely to read email newsletters that include links to video.
  • 4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works (or what it’s about) is important.

Remember, your book is your product. Your name is your brand. You are your company.

So, how are you going to use video to promote your topic? Share in the comments below!


Wondering What Theme or Plugin that Site Uses?

Have you ever looked at a website and thought to yourself, Gee, I wonder what plugin they’re using for that? or Wow! I really like that theme. I wonder which one it is?

It doesn’t matter whether you have one website you maintain or scores of them, we all look for inspiration from other websites we like.

The Old Way of Doing Things

Does this story sound familiar to you?

I found a website that did something I liked, but I had no idea what theme or plugin they were using to do it.

So, I right-clicked and selected “View Source,” then scrolled through the source code, hoping I might recognize the part that provides some quasi-identifying information.

Once I found it, I’d Google it, and then try to figure out which of the search results was the one I wanted.

If I was really lucky, after a few minutes, I’d find the right one and I’d be happy.

But if there was more than one thing on the site I liked, I had to go back and repeat this process for each element I wanted to identify. [Read more…]

Taking the Mystery Out of Image File Types

We all know the benefits of using images and video in our social content. And then there’s the question of what to use in eBooks, presentations, on our websites, in blog posts and more.

I’ve recently begun teaching myself how to use Pixlr to do some of my own image editing and save my graphic designer’s time for things that absolutely require his talent.

So the question kept coming up for me. Which image file type should I be saving things as?

I tried asking my designer, but I have to admit… This is something that gets those guys jacked up, and I was lost after just a few sentences…

However, when you need it, the answer comes, right? [Read more…]

An Interview with Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

This month’s Featured Author in our continuing interview series is Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman) from, a popular blog on book design, book marketing and the future of the book. If you haven’t spent any time on his site, I highly recommend checking it out. But I will warn you… Set a timer! Otherwise, you’ll find you’ve spent hours reading all of his great material and advice, without even knowing it.

Joel Friedlander - The Book DesignerSo, let me tell you a little bit about Joel. While I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet, it’s clear that he knows his stuff! He is an award-winning book designer, a blogger, the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish and the recently published The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide.

Joel has been launching the careers of self-publishers since 1994. He is also the founder of the online training course, The Self-Publishing Roadmap and provides pre-designed book templates and other tools for authors at BookDesignTemplates.

With all of that experience, you’re in for a real treat as he shares his knowledge and insights into the publishing (and marketing) world. [Read more…]

Is Your Website Ready for Mobilegeddon?

Typically, when Google makes a change to its algorithm, website developers are left in the dark. We don’t know when they’re coming or what the change is. If we did, then it might allow us to “game the system” to ensure that our websites have just the right bells and whistles to rank the best in search results…

Google webmasters logoSo, website developers around the world snapped to attention when Google announced last month that “As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.”

This prefaced their announcement that:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

As Chuck Price from Search Engine Watch put it “In the world of SEO, hummingbirds, pandas, and penguins are akin to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

It’s this prevailing opinion that has led developers to refer to this impending algorithm change as “Mobilegeddon.”

So what does that mean for you? [Read more…]

5 Tools to Manage Your Social Media Content

Part of building your online presence, whether you’re an author, business owner, consultant, speaker or even an astronaut, is to keep it flowing with interesting content.

It’s all well and good to set up your profiles on each of the hot social networks out there, but then what do you do with them?

This topic came up recently in a Facebook group I’m part of, so I thought I’d share with my readers some of the tools and techniques I use to keep content flowing smoothly, even when my schedule is choppy.

Keep in mind that every social network has a different posting etiquette. Twitter, with its speed, requires more posts in a day to remain visible and relevant than, say, Facebook (although there are some studies that show that’s beginning to change to combat Facebook’s reticence to share page posts).

So, the tools I use are configured in such a way to ensure that I’m posting to the appropriate network at a pace and on a schedule that suits that social network.

That said, here are 5 tools and techniques I use for maintaining a flow of content for my followers. [Read more…]