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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Words can be like x-rays…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Words can be like x-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

Word x-rays

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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We’re two months into the New Year. How’s that book marketing plan coming alonBook-Marketingg? If it’s sputtering, stalled, or you don’t know where to begin, it’s time to sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing strategy. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new steps you may want to implement in 2015 (or for your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com 

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I would be selling more books, but…

I attended a personal development seminar this past weekend. One of the goals for many affiliated with the seminar organization is to eliminate three words from their vocabulary: can’t, try, and but. Those participating in one particular program are even fined every time they’re caught using these words during group coaching calls. I am not participating in this program; I learned about it from the gal who sponsored me to attend the weekend workshop.

The thinking makes sense. The reasons for eliminating can’t are pretty obvious. If you’re familiar with Yoda, you know why try is equally limiting. And the thought around eliminating but is that it is more often than not the prelude to an excuse. cant but try

What I found very interesting is that, to a person, everyone participating in this change-your-vocabulary/change-your-thinking program is wildly aware of their use of the word but. The thing is, they’ve all replaced it with the word however. They’d be speaking in a normal tone and would come to the place in a sentence where they typically would have used the word but. Instead, they’d catch themselves, and replace the but with a loud and extremely pronounced – exaggerated even – HOWEVER.

I went to the store – HOWEVER, I left my wallet at home, so I couldn’t pay for my groceries.

Every. Single. Time.

In my opinion, this language shift misses the mark. I tried to explore this with a staff member from the seminar company, with little to no success. Replacing one word with another word doesn’t do anything to shift the behavior behind using the word if the excuse still follows the replacement word. Instead of using however, they could use the word purple – or a nonsense word like sprugmulch – and the result would be exactly the same. Unless and until they actually work to rephrase their language and the thoughts behind it, all they are doing is calling attention to the replacement word preceding the excuse. And then they’re STILL making the excuse!

If, instead, they made an effort to actually shift the meaning of the sentence not just replace the but – I could see the purpose of the exercise. It’s quite doable.

I went to the store – and then I realized I’d left my wallet at home, so I had to run home again before I could pay for my groceries.

I went to the store. Once I noticed I’d left my wallet at home, I decided to buy only the groceries I could get for the cash in  my pocket.

What’s the point? Our language does matter. Eliminating excuse-making words is a very good idea. And it will only work if you follow through all the way.

Then yesterday, I heard an ad on the radio for an anti-litter campaign titled Don’t Trash Arizona. Having been trained for years (including during the seminar this past weekend) in the idea that our goal should be to focus on what we want – as opposed to what we don’t want – I was immediately taken aback by the name of this campaign.

The Law of Attraction teaches that what we focus on expands. Want more money? Focus with Focus_Mindgratitude on the five dollar bill in your wallet. Don’t look at it and think to yourself, “I’m so broke. I’ve only got five bucks.”

Why isn’t the campaign called Keep Arizona Clean? I checked, and that domain name is available – so that wasn’t the reason. It was likely just an oversight. And yet I could only think how much more effective a name it would have been. Not to mention that donttrasharizona.com has two adjacent T’s – which is another problem, potentially affecting the site’s SEO.

Have you thought much about your language as it relates to your excuses and your goals? Are you focusing on what you want (finishing your book, finding the perfect cover designer, selling 4,000 copies) or on what you don’t want (I can’t get this last chapter written, My cover is terrible, or No one’s reading my book)? Are you using supportive language or limiting language? Are you even conscious of it?

Here’s to deliberation in our language!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re seven weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Stories are the thing we need…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Philip Pullman

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

2015 is RIGHT around the corner — are  you READY? If you haven’t begun 2015 Goalsmapping out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

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Which song best introduces or accompanies your book?

I am blessed to be married to a guitar player, and a pretty talented one, at that. If you’ve never had live music to accompany the workday in your home office, you don’t know what you’re missing. Recently, Mickey was hired to write a jingle for a sales coach and trainer friend of mine. Just 18 words and a pretty simple sound, it was a lot more work than one might expect.

Mickey sings

For Christmas 2013, I wrote a post about the idea of creating a jingle to market your book. Now that I’ve seen the jingle-creation process up close and personal, I might revisit that post to tweak things just a bit.

Nevertheless, Mickey’s jingle gave me an idea for an icebreaker for a networking event I hosted for members of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup. While our Meetups typically have prepared programs with handouts, the networking-only events are just that – the chance to ask questions, share ideas, and get to know each other socially. Since there are always at least a couple new people and the networking group is generally much smaller, I search for engaging ways to have the authors introduce themselves.

Last night, I asked each author to choose a song they feel represents their book. This is kind of an interesting idea, if you think about it. Why not have that song playing at the start – or during – your book signing events? Of course, you’d need licensing permission if you were going to record the event for any sort of distribution. Just reading or signing, though? Music that relates specifically to you book might add something very special.

I broke the group into partners and gave them 10 minutes to come up with the song they’d each use to introduce their books. Here are their choices:

  • Cristina Whitehawk chose the Beatles’ perfectly titled “Ticket to Ride” to introduce her book in progress, A Ticket to Ride, about overcoming cancer by embracing it, rather than fighting it.
  • Tim Kelly selected Three Doors Down’s “Kryptonite” to tell us about his book in progress, Brothers in Blood, which features characters with superhuman powers.
  • Tim Benson chose “It’s Easy,” by JJ Cale and Eric Clapton, to introduce his forthcoming political novel, King of the Trailer Park.
  • Lesley Sudders, who writes under the pen name L.S. Brierfield, gave us Ray Charles’ “You Don’t Know Me” as an intro to her fantasy novel with the working title of Posie, because many of the characters are not who they seem to be.
  • Eduardo Cerviño, whose pseudonym is E.C. Brierfield, chose “In Cuba,” by renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, to introduce his forthcoming book, Alligator Island, based on the last years he lived in Cuba during the Castro revolution.3d cover
  • David Waid chose “Adagio for Strings” to tell us about Conjurers, his forthcoming historical fantasy novel, because he believes it captures the mood and feel of the novel.
  • And I gave the group John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” What better song to introduce the story of a man who leaves life as he knows it to travel the world for two years? Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World is a little bit love story, a little bit travelogue, a little bit social consciousness, and a lot about a guy who’s just trying to figure out what he wants out of life.

So if you had to choose a song to introduce, explain, or accompany your book, what would it be? Tell us in the comments. And feel free to give us a link to the song and/or your blog or website.

Here’s to letting the music flow!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

Change your thoughts to change your outcomes

If you live in Phoenix, you’ve likely noticed a giant increase in panhandlers at intersections in every part of the Valley. As I understand it, we have looser restrictions on “begging” than many other major municipalities. That – perhaps coupled with our temperate homelessweather – means that we’re seeing a lot more presumably needy people asking for handouts.

Whatever your feelings about these folks, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t envy them. I don’t care whether they’re homeless. I don’t care whether it’s a “scam.” Seriously – who would choose that as their life’s work, unless it was some sort of temporary sociological experiment?

One guy, in particular, got me to thinking the other day. I work from home, so I don’t typically drive the same path on a daily basis. Last week, though, I did have occasion to drive the exact same route at roughly the same time, two days in a row. As I arrived at a busy intersection, I noticed a man sitting on a battered cooler in front of a convenience store. He was bearded, wearing a blue ball cap, and, as you might expect, fairly scruffy looking. The next day, there he was again. Same man, same battered cooler, same blue ball cap, in exactly the same place.

That got me to wondering about him. Where did he sleep at night? When was the last time he’d had a shower? A hot meal? There was a report on the radio at that moment about MLB pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. When was the last time this guy had sat on a couch and watched a baseball game? Where was he from? Where was his family? What had he last done for work? What kind of education did he have? All this went through my head in the minute or so I sat at the stoplight noticing him.

As I continued driving, I pondered further, wondering what might have happened in his life to lead him to that place. Had he lost a job? Had he broken up with a girlfriend and wound up homeless? The interesting thing to me was that he had managed to make something normal of his circumstances. That cooler might have been his only possession, but it was his, and as such, it gave him a place to sit while begging from his corner at the same time, two days in a row. I’ve no idea if he’s out there again today. And if he’s not, I’ve no idea where he’s gone. But for the times I saw him, he’d adopted that corner as part of his routine.

So that led me to thinking about how any of us adopt routines – both healthy and unhealthy. One might take the stand that adopting the routine of panhandling on a street corner is unhealthy. On the other hand, the routine of staying alive by any means necessary is probably a pretty good idea. There are always two ways to look at a situation, aren’t there?

A big part of what leads to a routine is our mindset – deciding to do something on a regular basis. But it’s often developed rather unconsciously, isn’t it? We stumble into something, do it once, and then one day we look up to notice that we’ve created a routine for ourselves, whether or not we intended to. Sometimes, like I imagine it might have been for my panhandling friend, it may amount to settling for things. Maybe he did lose his job – and unable to find more work right away, accepted unemployment as his new normal. Maybe then his girlfriend threw him out, and without any real friends in the Valley, he wound up sleeping in his car. So that became another new normal. But he still had to eat – so he decided to make a sign and pitch his cooler in front of a Circle K on a busy corner near a freeway entrance. My point is that he probably didn’t plan to become a panhandler. I’ll bet if you went and asked him, he’d tell you the other, bigger dreams he had. This just happened. In no small part, because he agreed to each step of his new routine, accepting them as the way things are.

While the panhandler is an extreme example, this is the way most of our lives unfold. Things happen, and we accept them. Unless and until we decide to take action and move in a different direction, they will keep happening along whatever trajectory we’re currently following. Are there places in your life where you’ve just accepted that “that’s the way it is”? Inability to find time to write as often as you’d like? Not enough money to market your book properly? You don’t have to be living in your car or begging on a street corner to have found yourself settling.

Here’s the thing: you can change your outcomes. You simply have to decide to make a shift. The what iffirst step is knowing what you want. The second step is believing something else is possible. Even if it seems absolutely impossible at this moment, allow yourself to think – and more importantly, feel – “But what if it were possible? What if I could find more time to write? What if there were a way to market my book on my tiny budget?” What if…? can be a powerful trigger, if you let it.

We all get stuck sometimes, yours truly included. We stagnate, find ourselves settling for less than what we want, deserve, and are capable of achieving. The great news is that we have the ability to choose to become unstuck. Whether that means reading this blog, finding one supportive person to help you, or rearranging your schedule so that you live on your own terms, the answers and support and solutions are out there. You just need to ask, and they will appear.

Here’s to changing your thoughts AND your outcomes!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

Inspirational Quotes for Writers from Presidents of the U.S.A.*

US-Presidents

We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience. — George Washington

A pen is certainly an excellent instrument to fix a man’s attention and to inflame his ambition. — John Adams

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. — Thomas Jefferson

Philosophy is common sense with big words. — James Madison

A little flattery will support a man through great fatigue. — James Monroe

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. — John Quincy Adams

It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word. — Andrew Jackson

Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs, but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe. — Martin Van Buren

To Englishmen, life is a topic, not an activity. — William Henry Harrison

I can never consent to being dictated to. — John Tyler

I cannot, whilst President of the United States, descend to enter into a newspaper controversy. — James K. Polk

I shall pursue a straightforward course, deviating neither to the right or left, so that come what may, I hope my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty, and fair dealings are concerned. — Zachary Taylor

It is not strange … to mistake change for progress. — Millard Fillmore

Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion. — Franklin Pierce

The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there. — James Buchanan

Whatever you are, be a good one. — Abraham Lincoln

I have reached the summit of my ambition. — Andrew Johnson

Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished. — Ulysses S. Grant

Since I came here, I have learned that Chester A. Arthur is one man and the President of the United States is another. — Chester A. Arthur

A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out. — Grover Cleveland

Great lives never go out; they go on. — Benjamin Harrison

In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest. — William McKinley

The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing. — Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood. — William Howard Taft

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. — Woodrow Wilson

Ambition is a commendable attribute without which no man succeeds. Only inconsiderate ambition imperils. — Warren G. Harding

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. — Calvin Coolidge

Words without actions are the assassins of idealism. — Herbert Hoover

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need not fear the expression of ideas — we do need to fear their suppression. — Harry Truman

I never saw a pessimistic general win a battle. — Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. — John F. Kennedy

The noblest search is the search for excellence. — Lyndon Johnson

A man who has never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s mountaintop experiences. Only in losing himself does he find himself. — Richard Nixon

Things are more like today than they have ever been before. — Gerald Ford

If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement. — Jimmy Carter

Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They’re just braver five minutes longer. — Ronald Reagan

Don’t try to fine-tune somebody else’s view. — George H.W. Bush

If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit. — Bill Clinton

We are not limited by what we have done, or what we have left undone. We are limited only by what we are willing to do. — George W. Bush

We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent. — Barack Obama

*These quotes are attributed to the people listed. However, the Internet is not infallible, as you well know. So if you know/think/suspect that a quote listed here was originally spoken by another, you can either make a polite comment below or just know we made our best effort and keep reading. :-)

Happy Presidents Day  now go write something!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

We’re six weeks into 2015 — are  you READY? If you haven’t yet 2015 Goalsmapped out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

 

 

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: I write to be the characters I am not…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”

Joss Whedon

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

2015 is RIGHT around the corner — are  you READY? If you haven’t begun 2015 Goalsmapping out your book marketing efforts for the New Year, it’s time to get started! Sit down with Laura – in person or via Skype – and review your book marketing plan. We’ll evaluate: what’s working, what isn’t working, and which new strategies you may want to implement for the new year (or your newest book). Regularly $150 for a 45-minute session. Marcie Brock special: $99 for the first five who respond. mktg@WriteMarketDesign.com

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