Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tips for Authors and Self-Publishing on Amazon

Tips for AuthorsTips for Amazon Authors

When I published my first book on Amazon in 2010 I knew that what I was experiencing was a revolution in the world of publishing. Just a few years earlier Amazon had rolled out its Create Space POD (print on demand) program, allowing people like you and I the opportunity to publish books and get them into the hands of readers without having to go through the traditional publishing process or the expense of a “vanity press” company.

Over the years this system has changed and evolved, and several years ago that was instrumental in leading me to create me own small publishing house, Hunter’s Moon Publishing. I’ve published a dozen of my own books through this company, as well as almost fifty books for entrepreneurs and small business owners who wanted to publish their book on their own terms.

But in order to play in this world of self-publishing, you must understand how it all works. I was reading a post by Brooke Warner over at Huffington Post on the topic of the top ten things all authors should know about Amazon and this one jumped out at me:

“You need to claim your book via Author Central. Many authors know this and somehow forget to do it. When you publish a new book, you must claim it. Claim books you’ve contributed to as well, if you can. Claiming books on Amazon is like collecting chips; you’re building your little empire and making your bio page more robust. Amazon Central is an extension of your author platform and should be tended to as such. Update your photo, bio, and other information as regularly as you would your website.”

I will highly recommend that you read all of Brooke’s post and bookmark it for further review. She makes some excellent points there and shares very detailed information on Amazon and self-publishing in general.

I visit Author Central regularly to update my books on Amazon. I just published my fourteenth book this week and immediately claimed it so that it would appear on my author page. I also updated my bio while I was there and added the details of my upcoming live event. Knowing the ins and outs of how everything works gives you a distinct advantage over those who do not take the time to do so.

Becoming a multiple bestselling author has changed my life in so many ways. None of this would have been possible without Amazon jumping into the publishing world. What other questions do you have for me on the topic of self-publishing on Amazon and becoming a published author?

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Build Your List with YouTube

Build Your List with YouTubeHow to Build Your List with YouTube

I’ve had my own channel on YouTube since 2011, but I haven’t truly utilized it as a list building strategy as I should have done. Recently I was reading a post from Joan Stewart (AKA The Publicity Hound) and found myself mesmerized by what she was sharing on a livestream about how we can effectively build a list with YouTube.

This is what Joan has to say about our video descriptions:

Your video descriptions (and mine too) are one of most overlooked opportunities on YouTube. That’s probably because by the time we shoot, edit and upload the video, we just want to write a few quick sentences in the description, add some keywords, and be done with it.

That’s a mistake. YouTube offers 2,000 characters for the video description—the equivalent of a 900-word article! And that’s a lot of real estate you can populate with keywords to help pull traffic.”

I have more than a hundred videos on my channel, yet I have never taken the time to write a complete description of any of my videos. This has to change!

Joan also discusses the importance of replying to the comments people leave on our videos:

Return to YouTube at least once a week and check to see if people are commenting on your videos. If they are, reply to their comments. The more interaction Google sees on your videos, the more traffic it will pull. I moderate my comments which means they don’t show up below the video until I approve them.

Pay attention to the questions people are asking within their comments. Take the time to answer. This is an excellent opportunity to encourage them to subscribe to your email list.”

I certainly hope that you can see the possibilities of putting these strategies into action so you can build your list with YouTube.I will add that Joan Stewart is one of the first people I met when I came online in 2006, and she was the first person I interviewed for a teleseminar to promote one of her courses. She is a consummate professional in the world of business.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see how I will be implementing what I have learned as well.

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Content Creation Marketing for Small Business

Content Creation for Small Business MarketingContent Creation Marketing for Small Business

I was reading a post by Ron Tester, small business marketing expert at Do This Not That Marketing, and in it he shares eight trends of content consumption that are noteworthy. I would like to elaborate on his fifth trend, the need for content to be multimedia in nature:

“Content Needs to Be Multimedia — Video, infographics, images, audio, eBooks, articles, blog posts and more should all be used together to create a storm of new content that works together to promote the products and/or services that you want to promote. Content can still be repurposed into new forms, but you need to put a unique spin on it. This is such an important trend, even I am creating videos. Believe me, I wouldn’t be doing it if people weren’t wanting it.”

Read this over a couple of times to make sure you understand the power of Ron’s words here.

I couldn’t agree more and would like to include one of my “lifestyle videos” from my YouTube channel to show how I use video to get my message out to the world.

I also repurpose my posts into articles, audio trainings, podcasts, and short reports on a regular basis. I learned while working as a classroom teacher that people have different learning styles, and I have kept that in the back of my mind over this past decade that I’ve been an online marketer and entrepreneur. Think about how you can use audio, video, and other types of written content to share and promote your products and services.

Content creation marketing for small business is a worthy endeavor and must be implemented regularly for best results. Learn more about the small business marketing course taught by Ron Tester and myself and join us in the member’s area.

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Focus on One Thing for Extraordinary Results

Focus on One ThingHow to Focus on One Thing

There is great power in having the ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. I was first introduced to this concept in 2005 when I was introduced to a concept referred to as the “68 second rule”. The idea was to sit quietly and focus for seventeen seconds on one thought or idea and to hold it in your mind to the exclusion of any other thoughts. You would then work up to thirty-four seconds and finally be able to do it for sixty-eight seconds. This may sound like an easy task, but it truly takes great focus and determination to be able to do this.

I was reading a post by James Clear on The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time and he discusses the concept of automaticity. He states:

Here is another science-based reason to focus on one habit at a time:

When you begin practicing a new habit it requires a lot of conscious effort to remember to do it. After awhile, however, the pattern of behavior becomes easier. Eventually, your new habit becomes a normal routine and the process is more or less mindless and automatic.

Researchers have a fancy term for this process called “automaticity.” Automaticity is the ability to perform a behavior without thinking about each step, which allows the pattern to become automatic and habitual.

But here’s the thing: automaticity only occurs as the result of lots of repetition and practice. The more reps you put in, the more automatic a behavior becomes.

A decade ago I came online and realized that I needed to turn myself into a writer. I focused on that thought for the requisite sixty-eight seconds that I explained above each morning and each evening, but it wasn’t until I started writing each day that automaticity came into play. The number of days required for you to focus on one thing before it becomes a habit is different from person to person and also the activity, but I would say it took me somewhere between twenty-one and thirty days before I thought about writing each day and actually sat down to write without having to remind myself. Clear cites a study in which uninterrupted focus was required for sixty-six days to become automatic. Experiment with this and let me know what happens for you.

The bottom line is that the ability to focus on one thing will increase your productivity and affect other areas of your life as well. Be more determined with your thoughts and actions and enjoy the results of your efforts. I also highly recommend a book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan called That ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. You’ll gain even more insight into this fascinating and important topic there.

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Role Models for Entrepreneurs

Role Models for EntrepreneursRole Models for Entrepreneurs

I do not remember having role models while I was growing up, Sure, I thought a lot of my teachers and some of the other adults I spent time with, but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I began to think of anyone as a role model for what I wanted to achieve.

Even then, they weren’t people I could relate to directly. The first person I truly admired was Oprah Winfrey. I was working part-time as a production assistant for a film company and one of the producers was from Chicago. She had a poster of Oprah in her office and talked about her incessantly. I was intrigued and began to watch her talk show on one of the smaller stations that was carrying it in the Los Angeles area. Even then, Oprah was someone you had to admire for how she talked and carried herself. But it wasn’t as though I felt that I could emulate what she was achieving in her life. Instead, I merely enjoyed watching and listening to her over the years as she became a personality who impacted people around the world.

Recently Adrienne Dupree wrote a post about legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summit, who passed away at the age of sixty-four after being diagnosed a few years earlier with Alzheimer’s. In her blog post she includes Pat’s “Definite Dozen” rules to live by:

“Pat Summitt had set of rules to live by called the Definite Dozen.

  1. Respect Yourself and Others
  2. Take Full Responsibility
  3. Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty
  4. Learn to Be a Great Communicator
  5. Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To
  6. Make Hard Work Your Passion
  7. Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart
  8. Put the Team Before Yourself
  9. Make Winning an Attitude
  10. Be a Competitor
  11. Change Is a Must
  12. Handle Success Like You Handle Failure

These rules are rules that do not just pertain to basketball. They pertain to life. What if we all lived by these rules and conducted our businesses with these rules in mind? What a better place the world would be. When I think about the trailblazer that Pat Summitt was and the hard work and dedication that she had, I know that I can do better.”

These days I have several role models in my life, and they are primarily people I know personally who continue to guide and influence my life and my business ventures. Do you have role models in your life? What is your thinking on this topic of role models for entrepreneurs?

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Releasing Your Writing Inspiration Into Reality

Writing InspirationHow to Find Writing Inspiration

Once I came online and began writing I decided not to look too deeply for writing inspiration. Instead, I choose to be inspired by the bigger picture of what I’m able to achieve in my life because I write every single day. With that said, there is something to being inspired to write a post or an article or even an entire book based on a single, or even a series of events and this has certainly happened to me on a regular basis over the past decade.

Earlier today I was reading a post on writing inspiration from author Jeff Goins, and this is what I’d like to share with you from his latest post and podcast:

Quotes and takeaways

  • You have to dig deeper than others to create interesting ideas that are going to move, motivate, and connect with others

  • “What is obvious to you is amazing to others.” -Derek Sivers

  • Don’t settle on your idea until you have time to explore it

  • “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” -Michelangelo

As a writer we have an obligation to our readers to come up with ideas that will motivate and inspire them to think bigger and do more. Connecting with others is a natural way for us to be inspired, both in a positive and negative way. For example, someone may react in a disapproving manner to something you have written and this may result in you rewriting it and making it better than it was before.

The quote from Derek Sivers resonates with me as an online entrepreneur because of my own experiences with friends and family. When I began blogging they thought it was the most awesome thing in the world, and this made me take a closer look at what I was learning at that time.

Allowing our ideas to percolate is a part of the process. While driving across the country recently I had time to reflect on the various aspects of my business and to map out changes in my mind that I implemented each night in front of my computer.

I think of writing inspiration as being composed of the ideas I have that are currently locked inside of the block of stone. It is up to me as the sculptor to discover and release them. What inspires you to write and create?

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How to Eliminate Procrastination

Eliminate ProcrastinationCan We Ever Truly Eliminate Procrastination?

Long ago I was a procrastinator. I would say I was going to do something and it would never happen. People began to point out to me that when I said “I’ll try” that meant I would not do it. Remember when Yoda said “Do. Or do not. There is no try” in The Empire Strikes Back? That was the message I finally got loud and clear. I started doing what I said I would do. I challenged myself to complete tasks ahead of schedule. I bit off more than I could chew on a regular basis and accomplished more than ever. My life changed in ways I could not have imagined and life became sweeter than it had ever been previously. I could not believe the difference and neither could the people closest to me.

Procrastination is resistance to change and to life’s possibilities that we may not be ready to face and work towards.

Recently I was reading Tanya Brockett’s post, reviewing a book both of us are featured in. The post is titled No More Procrastination and in it she says:

“Procrastination can impact us all in various ways. Usually, if you look at it square on, it exists because you have delayed a decision to do something about it. So there procrastination remains, breathing heavy in your face. Sometimes its impact is suffocating. Sometimes procrastination wears on your nerves or causes stress and anxiety. Sometimes it causes fear, which left unreleased can manifest in your body as illness. And why? Because we have delayed a decision to act on whatever opportunity or challenge has presented itself.”

So how do you go about eliminating procrastination from your life? One day and one action at a time. Understand that “not feeling like it” into a reason to not do something. Push through to start the tasks and activities you are resisting, and notice how they seem more doable once you get started. And once you have completed something or accomplished a goal, hold on to that feeling and know that it can be one that you experience on a very regular basis once you commit to doing what you say you will do each and every day.

This book, No More Procrastination, was compiled by Leslie Cardinal and contains chapters by seventeen Eliminate Procrastinationentrepreneurs and small business owners. I was honored to be included here and hope that you will get as much from reading about this important topic as I did from writing it. I recommend that you read the book one chapter at a time, making notes and thinking about what each author is sharing before moving on to the next one. In this way you will be able to incorporate the ideas, strategies, and techniques each of us is describing into your knowledge base and be better able to combat and eliminate procrastination before it gets a stranglehold on your daily life.

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When is the Best Time to Publish Blog Posts?

Best Time to Publish Blog PostsWhen is the Best Time to Publish Blog Posts?

When I was a brand new blogger over a decade ago, my primary concern was with what to write. Then I became concerned about what to recommend. It was only after I had been blogging for about a year that I asked the question “when is the best time to publish blog posts?”

It turns out that everyone seems to have an opinion on this topic, so I chose to listen to the people who had been blogging for the longest period of time and enjoying the best results. One of these people is Darren Rouse from ProBlogger, and his post on when you should publish your blog posts makes some excellent points.

Darren says that years back, when people subscribed to blogs through RSS feeds and used something called feed readers to go through them (raise your hand if you remember this) then it was more important to publish your post at a time when the majority of your readership was online.

He goes on to say:

“Today, I’m not sure that the timing of your blogpost being published has as much impact as the timing of your social media post and your emails. They’re probably the big effectors today, but I guess there are a few things that you might want to consider when it comes to the timing of your blog post.”

So now it’s social media that comes into play. I know that most of my readers and subscribers are on the East coast of the United States and that the majority of them are still working at jobs. So I make every effort to hold back on publishing my posts until six or seven in the morning eastern time, and then immediately promote the post using social media sites and channels.

But what about niche topics that appeal to people on a different schedule? Darren writes:

“I know a sporting blogger who finds that Monday mornings is the worst time to publish. He actually finds that Saturday mornings is a great time because it’s just before all the games that he’s writing about are about to be played. He also publishes on Sunday night, at the end of the football round. He publishes about the games that have just been played.”

And remember that people tend to have more time available on the weekends, so a well placed post on Saturday morning can do very well for you. Also, be sure to write something I refer to as a “flagship” post every month or so. This post would be more lengthy – typically five hundred words or more – and would link back to other posts on your site. This serves to position you as an expert in your field and to make sure each of your posts is indexed by the search engines and connected throughout your blog to other posts you have written. This way none of your content falls through the virtual cracks over time.

And to reiterate, I agree with Darren about the importance of promoting your post over publishing it at a specific time. He writes:

“Let me cycle back to something I said earlier and that is that the timing of your blog post being published is probably less of a factor than the timing of the promotion of that blogpost. This is where you probably do need to do some more analysis to really get things right. What’s more important than the publishing of the blogpost is the timing of your social media and the time of your emails.”

Write meaningful blog posts, share as much as you possibly can, and know that the best time to publish blog posts is completely up to you as you do your research and become more experienced as a content creator and publisher.

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Productivity and Your Brain

productivity and your brainIf you’ve noticed a connection between your productivity and your brain power, you’re not alone. Brain fog and a feeling of lethargy can spell trouble for anyone, especially entrepreneurs who need to stay sharp and focused in order to achieve their goals.

If it’s true that we are what we eat, then it only makes sense to fuel our brains for maximum productivity. For most of the years I worked as a classroom teacher I ate a sugary, processed cereal with milk for breakfast and had something sweet during my recess break around ten in the morning. I usually included a banana and with my limited knowledge of nutrition I honestly believed that I was eating a balanced and healthy diet, at least until lunch time rolled around. No wonder I was exhausted by noon and irritable, too.

Recently I have begun working with a nutrition coach, Cheryl Major CNWC and she has taught me so much about this topic of productivity and your brain function. In a recent post entitled Eat for Productivity – You’ll Be Surprised at the Difference it Makes she wrote:

“Our brains need glucose to stay alert and to function well.  That’s why it’s hard to concentrate when we’re hungry; our glucose levels are low, and our brains are “running on empty”.

Nearly everything we eat during the day is converted into glucose by our bodies.  The tricky part is that not all foods are processed at the same rate.  Foods like breads, pasta and sugary foods are processed quickly which gives us a “glycemic bump” only to let us down shortly after that which is why you get a burst of energy after eating something that your body processes quickly and then feel tired shortly after.  Other foods that are high in fat, like hamburgers and pizza, are processed more slowly, but our digestive systems have to work harder to process them.  When this happens, oxygen levels in the brain are temporarily lowered which also makes us feel sluggish.”

Cheryl suggested lots of fresh veggies and some nuts for me to snack on during the day, and to start my day with some protein. I only eat a banana about twice a week these days and have included Greek yogurt and some other protein rich foods into my morning routine. The result is that I have more energy, feel less bloated, and definitely sleep better than I did just a few months ago. I’m also more alert throughout the day and feel like I make better decisions more quickly. This is part of your “inner game” that you can control and optimize through proper dietary habits.

She also says:

“To be an entrepreneur requires discipline and a plan.  That plan should include how to eat right to keep you brain healthy and your mind sharp!”

As an online marketing strategist and mentor I help my students with the discipline required to be successful online. Cheryl helps us with the plan for productivity and your brain to make sure it all comes together.


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