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.

[Tweet “Whatever you do, remember that you have a responsibility to do it well. – @eandtsmom”]

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

An Interview with Eva Marie Everson, Multiple Award-Winning Author and Speaker

Welcome to the New Year! I hope that 2015 is off to a great start for you. We’re starting off this year’s Featured Author interviews with the first author who I don’t actually know in person, but her work has affected me profoundly.

Eva Marie Everson - Author and SpeakerYou see our guest today is Eva Marie Everson. She is a multiple award-winning author and speaker, as well as owner of Pen in Hand, where she coaches new authors in their writing pursuits. She is also the founder of Word Weavers International, and it’s through that organization that she has had an impact on my writing and work.

Word Weavers is a writers’ group that was founded in March 1997 to provide a forum for Christian writers to critique each other’s work in a face-to-face format in order to learn about and improve our craft. [Read more…]

How to Market Your Book Yourself the Right Way

Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Landry, a dedicated web journalist living in Malibu, California. Jennifer specializes in writing articles about business, marketing and the social media landscape. You can follow her on Twitter at @jkalandry.

Start Marketing First

Jennifer Landry headshot

Jennifer Landry

This may sound counter-intuitive, but hang with me for a minute, and this will make sense. Start connecting with your potential readers long before you plan on asking them to purchase a book from you. Building your network, or as Seth Godin terms it, “your tribe” takes time.

There is only one sure way to build a tribe: consistently deliver value of some kind over and over so that people know they can trust you to deliver value over and over.

For writers, this means writing things that do one or both of two things–entertain and inform. Typically non-fiction writers work more on the “inform” end of the spectrum and fiction writers operate more on the “entertain” end. But there is no rule that says you can’t do both. The fact is, one of the reasons writing is so hard is that there aren’t really but a few rules, and they are more like general guidelines. Unfortunately, the same goes for marketing. [Read more…]

11 Reasons Why Writing a Book is Good for Business

Emerald Lake Books logoHave you ever wondered how to make a bigger impact than you already have?

For many business professionals, time is the rate-limiting factor. You can only connect with so many people in a given number of hours. So how do you take things to the next level?

Well, there are a number of different ways.

Speaking is one of them, and something I do a lot of and enjoy, but it’s not for everyone.

Creating videos is another. Video content is easy to share, simple to create, and has the potential to make a viral impact, but it requires some technical ability.

Blogging is another means of connecting with more people with less effort, yet it requires steady website traffic.

So there’s no one magic bullet. You’re better off if you try to implement a mixture of all of these.

But there’s one more thing I’d recommend, assuming you have it in you. There’s writing a book.

Not everyone is cut out to be an author. It’s time-consuming, hard work and can take months or even years to pay for itself.

However, for those who do take up the challenge, writing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Here are some of my top reasons why I think becoming an author is good for business. [Read more…]

An Interview with Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Children’s Book Illustrator

Mark Wayne Adams, Award-Winning Children's Book IllustratorThis month’s Featured Author interview is with Mark Wayne Adams, an amazing children’s book illustrator whose work has won more than 50 awards over the past 6 years.

I’ve seen his work and heard him speak about book marketing, and can highly recommend him as both an illustrator and a children’s book publisher if you’re in the market for one. He was also recently installed as the President of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at The Business of Writing International Summit and absolutely love the enthusiasm and energy he brings to everything that he does. Mark was inspired to chase his entrepreneurial dream in the 3rd grade, selling drawings to classmates. To hear him tell the story, you had to admire his gumption!

Here we are now years later, and 3rd grade is far behind him. In this interview, he shares a bit about how he got his start as an author (not simply an illustrator), and some of the techniques that have worked well for him in marketing his books. [Read more…]

Researching Killer Topics Using KindleSpy

KindleSpyEarlier this week, I came across to the new tool that quickly has become my favorite new toy. It’s called KindleSpy.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, KindleSpy allows you to research book ideas and competing titles on Amazon.

Consider this, perhaps you’ve got a few different ideas for the next book you want to write. But where should you spend your time and effort? KindleSpy can help you answer that question quickly and easily.

This tool comes as a Google Chrome extension. When you use it to access Amazon, you can research any category or author page to learn vital information about the books that are selling there.

Not only that, KindleSpy can gather information about the best-selling titles in a category and show you the top five words used in those best-selling titles. With a little wordplay, you can use those five words to create a potentially best-selling title of your own.

With the information the KindleSpy shows you, you can research your various book ideas and determine which ones are most likely to earn you money. [Read more…]

An Interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett, Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

As our Featured Author series continues, I decided to ask my friend and mentor, Jeffrey Hayzlett, to share some of his insights and experience with us.

Jeffrey Hayzlett - Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

Jeffrey is a primetime TV show host with his own show on Bloomberg TV called “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett.” He is also a bestselling author and a sometime cowboy, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Sioux Falls (because he can!).

I first met Jeffrey in an elevator at the Speakers and Authors Networking Group (SANG) led by Larry Benet in October of 2012, soon after my second book was released.

As Jeffrey and I were riding in the elevator, a young woman joined us and noted my book among the things I was carrying. She struck up a conversation with me about writing and how she hoped to become an author someday, completely ignoring Jeffrey the whole ride down to the lobby. [Read more…]

An Interview with Chris Westfall, the National Elevator Pitch Champion

Chris Westfall, author of BulletProof BrandingThis month’s Featured Author is Chris Westfall. To most folks, he’s known as a speaker who is the National Elevator Pitch Champion, the owner of Westfall Online, and the author of The NEW Elevator Speech and BulletProof Branding.

People turn to him when they have a very specific problem that needs addressing. You know the one… It’s that feeling when you are so close, but not quite there yet? Yeah… That one…

Well, Chris helps people move beyond that so that their business and brand can flourish.

And while I appreciate all of those things about Chris, to me he is also a great friend, colleague, inspiration and client. He’s just one of the sweetest guys I know. Every conversation I have with him leaves me smiling, and I’m pleased to be able to introduce you to him today.

So without further ado, here are Chris’ answers to my Featured Author interview questions… [Read more…]

My Long-Awaited Story Cartel Results

Story Cartel logoEarlier this year, I wrote about my experiences using Story Cartel, a service that connects willing reviewers with authors in need of honest reviews for their books.

I discussed my reasons for giving away my book for free and how I got more book reviews using Story Cartel.

Since the first of those posts covered my thoughts prior to trying the service, and the latter was my perspective of things as the experience was drawing to an end, I promised that I would post one final wrap-up post for those who wanted to hear the final outcome.

Unfortunately, I got busy with other subjects and never came back to pull together all the numbers that you might be interested in.

Hoping you’ll feel that it’s better late than never, I’m finally pulling that information together for you. [Read more…]

What is Google Authorship and Why Should You Care?

As content creators, we want to have our work viewed by as many eyes as possible. Getting the word out there about what we’ve written, what we’re doing, and where we’re going is important, right?

We like to think that if we create great content, Google will love us and will give us all of the credit that we’re due for being such wonderful innovators of ideas.

The sad truth is, unless you give Google a reason to know who you are, it’s not going to notice…

To put it bluntly, you are nobody to Google until you’re somebody.

Google is great at being able to judge the authority of a domain (a website) based on a number of key factors like traffic, engagement, authority, etc. However, it has no idea who you are or what you’re writing until you stand up and say “Here I am!”

That’s why they introduced the Google Authorship program. [Read more…]