Monday, November 24, 2014

Heart Healthy Business

Often times we hear about how to make healthy food choices and exercise right so we can protect our hearts. A major problem here in America and around the world, heart disease affects millions and decreases your life span. Many people call it the silent killer, slowly choking your heart until a major event like atrial fibrillation. It can happen through body changes or it lies lurking in your DNA, taking advantage of circumstances like poor food intake and dehydration.

This is a deeply personal issue to me, it has cut short the lifespan of four of my relatives and leaves many more still closely monitored by medicines and doctor visits. As of this weekend, heart disease has struck another family member taking him and his pysicians by surprise.  That's why I would like to reach out to everyone and warn about the levels of your personal stress. Whether its a small business owner/partner or a writer, a single parent or a student...everyone has to worry about something. It's human nature. 

There are many things to do about stress, check out my older post called Funny Business, dealing with ways to be creative and stress less. Finding things to do about stress is how you manage it, but you have to know about stress to treat it. Women tend to recognize they are stressed waaaaaay before men do. (That's not just my opinion btw) That is, I am sure, at least a small contributing factor as to why men struggle with heart disease more than women. That doean't leave women off the hook, we all have to watch out for stress.

Running a heart healthy small business practice is the best way to ensure you can minimize stress for you. Heart healthy business should be mindful of many stressors including:

1. Admit you have stress (everyone experiences stress, even Jesus, so don't try and tell me you're good or ok!)  Identify what punches your buttons and deal with managing that first.

2. Overworking- if you work for "the man" you have a time card. Don't be chained to a format, but if you're putting in lots of overtime, find a way to give yourself a real break. Make time for it!

3. You're in charge- being "the man" is a great stress relief, but it comes with the burden of well, being in charge. You are the person who gets the credit and the accountability. It's tough how to treat this type of stress, but my best advice is talk to other business savy individuals. This small business community on google + is great. Ask advice, so if in the sad event you experience disappointment, you won't experience regret. You will know that the best informed choice was made at the time.

4. Connectivity- staying constantly connected to the world of your business is stressful on you and your family. If a date, vacation, or meal is on the table don't talk about business or engross yourself in your mobile devices. Disconnect and increase your endorphins (which lower stress) by enjoying special time with special people.

5. Deadlines- as the big cheese you can set and expand your expectations at will. Don't add stress to you business and your life by letting you expectations run wild. Learn to manage your deadlines, priorities and expectations.

These are just my thoughts and my ideas that I have seen work for friends, family, and myself. Don't end up on the "overly stressed and under medicated" list. If you can manage your stress you are one step closer to a healthy heart and a happier you.

This does not replace talking to your PCP and getting screened for heart disease and other heart related issues. Know where you stand and move forward informed. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

I was looking for an inspirational picture and this is what I first saw...I am NOT sure how I feel about this, but I know I am not inspired. Hehe *looks over shoulder nervously*

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Let It Go- How to take a break and still be productive

Most of you might be wondering- where the heck has Vera been? (I am left wondering the same thing too sometimes) Ok, so here is the low down: I started a class at Brown, had the flu, and made a pretty decent costume. Ok the flu does not count.
The truth is I was swamped with worries, plagued with doubts, and just felt overwhelmed. So I decided to take a break from the business so to speak. I started taking classes from Brown, worked at a BigFoot Military Tires to get a work out, and I took on a commission as a semi-professional seamstress to make a homecoming character gown for the lovely and beautiful Alexis Gilbert.

The whole project of sewing really got me thinking: if I needed a break and didn't do anything productive...what would be the point in taking a break? Small business owners know what I mean. If you don't work, you don't get paid, you don't expand, and you don't get advertised.
It's really tough building a company and your reputation...but it's not unlike building a costume.

1. Visualize you customer basis and the strengths of this basis.

My client was Alexis Gilbert. She loves Frozen, Disney movies in general, has a fun and proud personality. A marvelous dancer and a total smarty pants.

2. Plan what you can offer you client. (In this case I was hired as a spur of the moment but it works just as well) Alexis knew I had made several costumes in the past and had something very specific in mind for her homecoming character.

3.a Understand the client's wishes and know if you can provide excellent service. I had the experience and confidence to make a wonderful costume, however; I would have never dreamed of making a wedding dress, that I would have passed on to another person I know. I knew my limits and strengths.
                  3.b (Know the budget and financial breakdown of your client so that you can always meet their financial and mental expectations, and in finances always go for under budget when possible. Your client is top priority and so are their funds.)

4. Next brain storm and project plan. Know how to personalize your business for you passionate client base. In my costume plan I wanted something that reflected Alexis in every possible aspect. Elegant, graceful, and 'go big or go home' attitude. So I made my list and went shopping (fabrics, thread, contracts fabric, glitter, zippers, bling, and pizzazz) I also considered even the eye color and skin tone of my client when selecting colors of the fabric, no aspect of the client is too superfluous.

(The beginnings of the order)
 5. Start from the bottom up. Much like a business a costume has basic pieces it needs and you can solidify a good reputation and plan if you get the basics down first. You cant have a princess dress without a skirt ;)

(Basis skirt model)

6. Step back and reinvent the idea of your project to better streamline the process. I altered the pattern in seven key places because I knew my client and I had wanted excellence (as much as I could)
(End of week 1)

7. Quality trumps QUANTITY! Especially in the small business world you have to prove you are different and the quality (not quantity) will prove that to your client. Not only had Alexis already shopped around for a costume, she was not impressed with the price and quality of the gowns. Quality is what brings customers your way. Knowing this I tailored the dress to fit her athletic tastes and bought the performance fabrics for durability, sheen, and feel.

(Photo I sent to Alexis to get approval on the train)
8. Always keep the client up to date on advancements, changes, and further ideas...seriously that's a no brainer. It makes and keeps your business human. Never automate and be a personal as possible. (I added embellishments whenever possible to give regal elegance to the costume but not to over do it and make it itchy or impractical)
9. Fit the product to your client and make sure all is well. I had two minor things that I needed to do before the final turn over. Hem and trim the dress per her shoe selection, and add the final touch to the collar. Honestly it was a simple process and I gave the materials for embellishments to her in case she made a last minute choice. Check and double check before you turn the product over. Your name and your reputation are contained within each project. Make it shine.
And boy oh boy did it shine! I was so pleased to see this mornings pictures and look forward to many more.
Remember, if its a costume or business, simple, smart steps that are all customer focused will get you further than any amount of convention.
Be YOUnique!!!
Props to Andrew of A&L Adventures Inc for the gorgeous photos before class at oh dark thirty this morning. He took plenty more and the special effects are beautiful. If you ever need professional, well priced photography with an amazing turnaround you should look his company up. Just another small business trying to make it by.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Nice Vice

Ever thought about what you're top vice is? I've so many, I lost count years ago. Not to brag, but suffering from chronic perfectionism, OCD (CDO for those of us who understand), mega artist complex, and anxiety they can't live without me. They define that person I like to call my evil twin, and if I stopped feeding them, I wouldn't have an evil twin.
A long time ago someone told me that weaknesses were strengths overdone...well I that didn't help this monstrous ego I am saddle with because out came the snob. "Hahaha so really you're telling me I am too good at everything." (evil monologue laugh.)

(courtesy of google images)

Ok, so that got me thinking and being sick recently has helped me calmly formulate an idea for a post. All writers are artists, and even business persons have a unique creative intellect. We are a special kind of OCD (boy, it hurts to even write that) and have a huge chip on our shoulders. We all have vices, and some of the best ways to change said habits are to realize we have them in the first place. They do affect us negatively, and it is something we can why hide it anymore? Believe me, often times the last person to know about the vice is the person who has it. You won't surprise anyone but yourself with this introspective assignment. 
In an effort to ameliorate our imprisoned souls from the stigma that all artists/business persons are stuck up, I propose we allow a moment of honesty pierce through our ever creative worlds and think of our vice that we most often struggle with. I am actually collecting and making a scrapbook of the neatest takes on vices, so to kick of this new honesty fest here it goes...

I have the worst, and most embarrassing habit of assuming everyone is entitled to my opinions and not their own. Technically they aren't facts so I shouldn't be so full of myself. No matter how much truth I have use to levy off any rivers of doubt regarding my heavily fortified opinion, that doesn't mean that one day the rivers might swell and overwhelm the dam. I need to become a more appreciative of people's opinions. (Note: this is NOT including morals- we all know what's wrong and no matter the excuses just because you don't like it doesn't make a moral issue an issue of opinion.)

(courtesy of google images)
My goal is train my spirit into the ultimate sai-keirei- so far I meet everyone disrespectfully face to face...FAIL

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Too long fair world!

I have missed this so much! I'm so behind on updates and emails, and goodness gracious work with my publisher. Since my mental capacities are always stretched I have little energy for any other exercise- hence low immunity, yup, constantly sick. Been laid out with the flu... But it has inspired me to write a new-perspective post. Will post soon :) 

I miss you all!!! 

By the way, anyone remember the contest I started a while back? Here's a hint: Nuna in Korean means what? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

5 o'clock Charlie

Whoever watches MASH knows what I am talking about. It's just something that you depend on from your enemy, that predictable cheap shot that comes at the same time, every time. Well after my encounter today I am actually feeling pretty good.
Life has a way of catching up with those "5 o'clock Charlies" we know and being bitter won't help. And on a lighter note, we often get good news after bad news! Today my good news is about my book! 

The design team is done with Songs of Many Seasons! Yeah Buddy!!! Check out the cover and back view. 

Remember don't let others depress you or bring you down. A long, happy life is the best revenge! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Folly of Facebook

Weekend update:
1. After weeks of being ignored, my editor came to see me! We were able to make some ridiculous headway in the final revisions of my new novel and map out the content for the sequel!
2. I should have my electronic plate proofs for Songs of Many Seasons by Friday!!
3. I found out some really interesting things about marketing and Facebook pages.

Let's talk about some controversial subjects to get going today. First, what is your personal opinion of what's happening in the NFL, currently? Adrian Peterson, Ray should know both, or at least one story well. Here is a cap: Ray Rice knocked his wife out cold after she slapped him repeatedly and spit in his face. Adrian Peterson is accused of beating his child with a wooden switch till it caused lacerations. Now Facebook, Twitter, social media, and sports news stations are going nuts! It's an emotional topic for many people. It matters not where your opinion falls on either side. I am pretty heated too, but let's not get caught up. Take a step back with me and let's explore how issues like this can really affect your small business negatively.

(Peterson and son courtesy of google images)
(Rice and daughter courtesy of google images)

If you are like me you have a business Facebook page. Most people do, the harm that is posed by mega social issues like these above often doesn't hurt big business, but the small ones. Here's why. YOU. The owner, the proprietor of your small business website. You are human, you have opinions, but unless your personal account is distanced effectively from your business account, beware! Google +, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and all social media sites you own personally can either protect or seriously harm your small business by the content you post.

 For example, I am an Author. Any site I run automatically becomes a business platform to me because my name is on it. I have my image, my fans know who I am, what I discuss, and they are use to me. Your business may not be John Doe's Supplies, but as a small business, your name as the owner/proprietor is inexorably linked to your livelihood. Now listen careful: What YOU post on your PERSONAL accounts will in some way affect your business.

I purposefully avoid heated topics like the NFL's recent trouble. I may talk freely about the case, but I will not publish my opinions because I know that there are people online waiting to get into a dirty, ugly fight on both sides. Also, I don't want an opinion I hold personally to change my business image as an Author. I have tackled so many issues in my novels and poetry its crazy, but I don't want to influence the market in a negative way by openly getting involved in every controversy known to man.

Your business is your baby, protect it with guarded words and thoughtful speech. You won't ever lose business by posting hopeful messages, interesting tips, or stories of achievement on your personal social media sites. You will lose business, however, if you blare your opinions across the world wide web with powerful language while being inconsiderate to those who have an opposing view. You define your business with your personality. It shouldn't matter to a printer if a football player has seven children from two different relationships. It shouldn't matter to a fiction Author if a professional athlete has been married multiple times. We are our business, anything else is a distraction to our viewers and followers from what we do and who we are.

Remember though, there are some issues worth standing on. Moral integrity in business, kindness, love, encouragement, ethics, legal practices, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Express your opinions in areas where you can prove you are different than bigger, soulless companies. You care, the little guy matters to you. That is the opinion your viewers and buys care about. Don't waste words on situations to which you are unrelated, and if you are related, all the more reason to keep the matter amongst close family and friends. You would be surprised what such a little change can do to boost your image and help you stay focused in a blurring market of emotional sensationalism.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Bob's Your Uncle...Intelectual Property Up For Grabs

The ultimate in colloquial speech. Entomologists are baffled, people have supposed...but no one knows the truth about the funny little phrase: "Bob's your uncle." I would love to survey all 90's babies and see if they heard that phrase for the first time in the animate 101 Dalmatians. Trust me, as a little kid, that was funny stuff. Because I actually had an uncle, named Bob. Except he demanded to be called, "The Great and Wonderful Uncle Bob..." Again, narcissism doesn't run in my family...right.  
So, a little bit of education now. This phase can mean many things, listen up all you internet surfing softies born in the golden age of brutish slang; as opposed to the iconic slang of my time ;-) I digress. The proper use of this 3 word combo is to evoke a sense of mystic ease while doing a chore, job, or explaining steps.
Example: "Look; run in, grab the loot, and bob's your uncle; we're living like kings!" Notice the many pitfalls if the plan are neatly summed up with Bob's Your Uncle?
While everyone is puzzled about the phrase, what I want to know is not who is Bob or who was his nephew or niece...but what impossible circumstance did Uncle Bob overcome? It must have been pretty stinking impressive. Considering it was 1880s time frame possibly earlier I wonder what it could have been? Puzzling, no?
Either way I feel like there could be a book written about the crazy impossible things Uncle Bob did, and no, I am not referring to my Uncle Bob. But it would be a great idea for a children's story book. Do you know how many little boys would laugh if every weird situation in the book was solved by some mysterious power of "Bob's Your Uncle?" How about all the Uncle Bobs that would buy the book and be like, "Yes, I am magical." Its a golden idea right? I should publish the book myself.
So, now we get to the meat of the article and talk about the BIG mistake I made with this post. Most people worry about their intellectual property when signing contracts to turn over or release their art. It is a valid concern. But few think of their intellectual property before contracts. What does this mean? Well consider this.
If I did want to publish a book for children, using this idea (and trust me the thought crossed my mind) I made a huge mistake by sharing that idea with the world before I developed it further. The intellectual property I own, you own, and everybody owns is idiosyncratic ideas and projections. Once you share your intellectual property freely, people are free to take the ball and run with it as they like.
Continuing the notion that I wanted to publish this book. Telling the world my idea leaves anyone in the world free to write/draw the book and market it as their own. Imagine my dismay as I finish the cute little manuscript, only to find out a book with the same core thought is released. A publisher would be crazy to agree to print my work. And I could say all I wanted: "that's my idea!" But, legally next to nothing could be done because the idea came from my public blog, and the story gendered from a private source.
The moral of this story is that your ideas and future projects should have a certain anonymity to them if you want to receive credit and/or compensation. Your ideas are your property, intellectual property to be exact, but if you spread them someone can take your metaphysical idea, make it physical, and they own it. Not you. Unless it's irrelevant that the public know what you are up to and what you are working on as an artist, please keep in mind that the first two w's in www, stands for world wide. Don't get hurt as an artist and protect your intellectual property in and out of contracts.   

PS: I will not be mad, insulted, or upset if anyone uses this idea to publish a good book for children with little cartoon pictures. All I ask is for you to let me know, because seriously, I would love to do review on that! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To Publish or not to Publish...

Most people I know want to be writers. They think they want to be published and have a major contract and all the glory that goes with it. 
Pay attention to the operative word in that sentence...think. That's right, most people see the gold and glory and don't know what goes into it. Hours and hours of PAIN! It's like pregnancy except gestation can take years. The publishers are the doctors and your in full blown labor trying to get your baby out into the world. It's not fun. But ask any mother if it was worth it...
Now that you've been warned here is the good news. Go for it! Accept that it's a process that is not easy, be ready to make mistakes, be ready to embrace criticism, and be ready to stand on your own and still have the courage to move forward. 
Most authors (and some mothers) will tell you, "It's so hard- it's this- it's that." "Don't do it." I read 0 encouragements as an aspiring author months ago. 0. And dozens of painful, mean spirited articles about why I should give up. Because hundreds are like me and I am a poor writer because if I wasn't I would already be published. I was told by every word they wrote to give up. But I didn't. 
If you want to write and publish here is my advice. Don't let the negative, sorry stigma other have burden your own success. If they want to complain or quit let them, but don't you dare let go of something you believe in. Don't give up something you value because of someone else's thoughtless remarks. Authors are sensitive, we hurt easy. I half think the big ones that tell us newbies to be quiet are because they fear that we could compete with their books. It's a fair market, write better then me and I won't hold it against you, I will even buy your books.
So, don't let refusal letters, editors, authors, or anyone else tell you, you can't do it. Because the truth is, if you do it with all your might, you will succeed. 
Succeeding isn't a $1,000,000 contract, or a fan base that worships you. It's your book, your baby, finally making it out from the stereotyped womb of unworthiness to the light of individualism. 
Blog, get one reader and you've already proven people wrong. Because even if only one person reads your work, you touched one life. Sometimes the world focus too much on the big names like Nicholas Sparks, Stephan King, and Stephanie Meyers. Not that they aren't amazing, not that they don't have greatness; but there is greatness in you too. The same greatness that these people have is inside you in a unique form. Don't try and be them, it will only mask your true talent, you don't have to be or say anything that isn't 100% you. 

I don't make money from this blog, I am not trying to sell you something, I am only trying to undo the hurt that others may have caused you or someone you know. Don't be depressed. A single, true fan is better than the 100,000s people buy to look popular. Yes, people actually buy viewers to look like they are popular. 
So if you ever meet me on the street, conference, book signing, or anything; I will answer the question the same any day of the week. To publish or not to answers is: Publish. A blog, a book, a news article, whatever it is; publish and don't look back or be anything but you. 

Updated Contest; news

I am so excited to announce my book has officially been set and I have already spoken to the design team that are constructing the cover. This is a huge first step for me. 

Songs of Many Seasons is so close to debuting! See the full discription at:  

Also if you were wondering here is your first hint for the contest; what does Nona mean in Korean? 

(Don't forget post your answer to the blog and sign up via my website.) 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bloggables and Swashbuckling

My life as an author basically consists of lots of sleep, writing, and a little odd jobs here and there. Since I started this blog I have had the time of my life building up my fan base and just finding interesting things to say to engage an audience. One thing that never works, math titles. Don't try it. It kills views.
So today, as I was rummaging through my office (fancy word for any place I have cluttered to death) I found all sorts of old poems and stack of papers that are ages old. And my first two thoughts were: I wonder if this would make a good blog and this page looks like a pirate beard, hahaha arrrrrg! You can guess which one I had more fun with off the bat.

(This is totally what I saw in my mind
check out the original at DeviantArt)

So going through your old writings can be a horror storm of emotions, but ultimately its like watching a child grow. You can see how you have evolved and honed your skills, maybe even realize your old self had a purity to it that you would like to regain. Whether is looking at pictures of your youth or seeing something your wrote in third grade, those things are priceless treasures. (And no I am not an narcissist...maybe)
(My reaction... "A pirate cross dressing story!")

So now for the informational section:
Would any of you believe that the posts on a blog that generate the most views are the nonsensical ones? I totally was taken by surprise on that one. Apparently according to feedback and viewer trends, not many people are interested in step by step instructions and clear cut plans, but would rather be distracted by an amusing post with once central lesson. So as you go about creating your blog or even having conversations about your business, keep it interesting.

As many of you are aware the goal of this blog is to help people get to know me, and perhaps even learn a few things themselves about marketing, authorship, writing and such, but by popular demand I am changing things up. So look forward to more fun posts and a lot less technicalities.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nerb or decide

"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
-Robert A. Heinlein-

Take some time and reflect on two basic parts of speach. The noun and verb.

Now, consider these three nouns: Love, happiness, you. Only one is also a verb...which is an interesting thing to recognize. It's like a voun or a nerb. When you tell someone "I love you", you are using the words in an actionionable (verb) sense, but you are also implying that your love is a thing making it also a noun. Looking at the reverse, when you say "I am looking for love," the word is a noun, you are looking for it, making love a thing. Yet, in "looking for love" you are also giving it an actionable quality because we associate the word with feelings and responses. Love may be equivalent to a gift of roses or love may equal a no invitation to an upper class date. Either way it is a thing (noun) that is irrevocably associated with particular actions (verb).  Neat huh? Take that Engish 101. 

If you have a favorite voun or nerb post it here! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Blah, Blah, Blah, Zone of Life

Spicing up your blog can be tough. Sure magazines and social media teach you how to add spice to just about anything, including your love life. But what if you just don't feel like spicing that one up just yet, it's already too hot to handle or you just aren't past cuddles yet and that's ok! Either way there is more to spice up than just a love life or relationships.
For me, adding spice to everyday tasks is a must. A little dash of flava, a pinch of sprinkles, and a whole lotta attitude makes for a great triple threat. But have you ever looked into your cabinetry of ideas and found that (GASP) they are pretty empty? I write every day, probably over 1500 words, and that's not including my profess jobs like my novels, blog, email, and stuff. While I am a full time writer and talker (if you ask my sisters), eventual the doldrums seize me and I have nothing to say-yes, be at awe- even I can be out of words. It's like all my inventive spirits are exhausted like my nerves and I end up having a string of nothing but Dick and Jane sentences (miles away, my editor faints in horror).
Even when things are going well, I find that I can't help occationally wanting and having self pitty that things aren't better. So what can be done about a dried up muse? What can make a day fun? How can one add pizazz back into their life and not feel so empty and depressed? 
Truth is, till recently I hadn't a clue. I would clean my room, vacuum, wash windows, shop, read, watched cartoons, cook...I would just exist... and eventually happiness and inspiration would  just come back. Recently though I've seen some neat ideas that I have begun to implement and though I would share. They really work!

Journal: While it may seem silly, no one will read your diary, so Dick and Jane away. But journal about meaningful experiences, don't focus on drivel, go for thought provocative topics. Like how you witnessed a homeless man share his meal with a stray dog who was just as hungry.

Spend time with children: Unless you're a shrew or particularly nasty man, the laughter and joy of a child is contagious. No one like to see a spoiled one, you got me there, but try and walk by a park or playground just to hear their laughter and fun. It's scientifically proven to stimulate endorphins and help you gain an extra pep.     

Silence: While in actual depression, silence can be a negative experience. For those who experience the occasional plight of melancholy, there is some benefit from meditation while looking at a peaceful scene. If you tend to link happy thoughts with cafes, grab a light Danish and just relax. Do you find the park, lake, or walk along the beach sound just right: then go for it. Do something that catches your fancy and that is fairly local. And don't be a downer and think on what you would rather be doing if you had more time or money, enjoy a simple moment and set aside extravagances. The point is to be free of stress and ill-bred thoughts.

Stress Management: I can't mention being happy without mentioning stress levels. Who ever you are, whatever you do, you have stress and chances are if you are working class, Asian, student, parent, or newly-wed you have wa-ay more stress than a human should. Try and seek help if your stress seems to be a daily issue, otherwise find a stress relief program that fits your schedule and makes you smile. If it's changing your environment by rearranging things, printing out a picture of your loved one, or just asking a friend to listen over a cup of tea, relive your stress frequently in healthy outlets. The more you relieve stress the more it tends to roll off your shoulders.

Though I'm not a doctor lots of my information has come from MDs. I am a ticking time bomb of medical issues but it doesn't help to dwell on your problems alone. Talk about them openly and honestly with someone you trust, find a resolution, and move on. Life is too short to be contained in the grey-clouded mindset. Each day is a gift and each breath a chance to enjoy it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marketing Project: follow up #1

First, today I would like to give a shout out to my fans and followers, particularly my first link with a viewer in Poland! Way to go, I am honored to have be supported outside the USA. 

Ok. Now for the the update. I am impressed already to have a substantial increase of views since the new marketing campaign began the day before last. In fact for a daily increase we've already hit 35% over the average. That's amazing! If you are new to this refer back to my old post "Increase Marketing" to see why I've already had a great boost in numbers and how you can do the same.

And last, to my viewers who aren't on my lists. While 35% is wonderful progress, I still need more website sign ups (,  FaceBook page likes, and more people to follow my blog! So if you haven't already please do! 
You can find my Facebook page at
Thanks so much and stay tuned for more posts and updates. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Increase Marketing

Marketing is an amazing, yet hard to understand promotional field of business for many people. De-mystifying the idea of marketing is essential before you can actually market a product. The principle is marketing is promotion, but if you think you need banners, billboards, and expensive adds you are mistaken. Here is what marketing capitalizes on that you can take advantage of for free: personal interest. If you don't know how your product will help individuals, you can spend thousands and still not see a great increase of interest. The more you understand how your marketing strategy will touch personal interest of the viewers, the more money you can save while increasing fans and followers.

One of the best ways is to offer discounts, or even host a competition. As an example I decided to throw my own give away challenge. Once the results are recorded at the end of the competition I will write a second post. I can expect my views to increase by 20% anything above this would be a huge success for my new marketing idea and I can implement it later use when the seasons becomes a little dry again. I've publicized the event on my blog, my website, and Facebook: let see how the numbers add up and if it's a worthwhile strategy.

Songs of Many Seasons GiveAway
WIN 1 of 5 first print editions, signed and personalized the authoress (me).
As a 'thank you' to all my incredible supporters and for an example-post in blogging, I am going to host a giveaway competition. *Throws confetti* According to my contract with my publisher I have first crack as my books are printed. Become the owner of one by joining the competition. See below for instructions.
1. Sign up to follow updates by email for Songs of Many Seasons by entering my website Click the 'books' tab on my website and scroll down to find the simple form.
2. Log on to my blog:
2. Read the post titled "Increase Marketing" (the post you are reading right now!)
3. Use the contact form on my website, (click 'contact' tab) to send me your answer via email.
OK so here is the question:
After staying up for 48 hours straight, I wrote a beautiful dedication in a foreign language for Songs of Many Seasons. I do not speak this language fluently, nor does the person to whom I have dedicated my book. However this person will know based on the type of book, that it was published in (his/her) honor. If you are a fan and have read my website and kept updated, you should know who this person is, so for your chance to receive a limited edition signed copy of my newest creation, answer me this: To whom is my book dedicated? 
Don't forget to sign the email list AND and use the contact form from my website to email me the answer.
Note: No person may win or receve a prize without being on the email list and answering the question on the blog. This is open to all who have followed the rules and prizes will be autographed and mailed at my expense. Be the first of 5 to answer the question correctly and I will contact you with fursther instructions after the deadline is up to prevent cheating. There are only two people who know the dedication, myself and my editor. Neither of us will be participating in this competition. Good luck and keep updated with me on all social media sights, because hints will be posted all over. You may answer as many times as you would like, but only will receive one prize if you are correct according to the rules.    


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Funny Business...seriously

Writers (may also appear as writer's) block, its the deadpan, dreaded monotone voice in your head denying your creative juices to flow through your pen! So today let's take it deep... (sings in Phantom of the Opera voice) "down we plunge to the prison of my mind!" *tosses aside mask and cape.* Are you laughing yet? Well that's all I had for theatrics for this post, but it ties nicely into what I am about to talk on.

Everyone touts their proven methods to cure this mental anguish. Chances are if you are reading this, you googled a cure because you have suffered or are currently suffering from this malady. Now here is the good news, I have the cure. In two words and three steps I will have your writer's block cleared, no problem. Unless you're manic depress, then get help...I know, I've been there; no one's judging.
First the two words: Funny Business.

Author definition: Funny Business (n. or v.): specifically meaning, but is not limited to, the act of having fun on the job particularly when one is drained, fatigued, stressed, or bored. Or has writers block.

If you are writing newspaper articles, scientific articles, business articles, scholarly articles, that boring term paper then you need funny business. All other articles will benefit from funny business, but its extremely beneficial to the serious type. Now for the three steps to clear your mind and refresh the little grey cells.

1. Sing
Think of the most happy childhood song you remember and start singing it. (If you are currently in childhood, you're too young to suffer from these problems, have a lollipop and play hopscotch, you have precious years left to enjoy.) Where was I, ahh yes, sing your song. This will prep your mind for the advent of renewal. Keep singing as you switch from writing to a different task to clear your mind of the problem.

2. Doodle
Try to draw your frustration out in a little meme. Mine usually makes me think of an angry rice ball...soon after that I get hungry and forget I had a problem to start with. You're doodle should be as simple as possible, make it comical and then sit back and laugh. You should be able to feel much better and happier.

If the singing didn't help you feel all that refreshed and the doodling left much to be desired, then you are in for a heavy hitter.

3. Google
This next step cannot be avoided if the first two haven't helped. You are to google "shocked anime face". That's right those three words in your search engine, right now. Or get creative and look for angry, mad, expressive anime faces. Scroll down and look at the expressions. Connect with them...see how they typify how you feel? Don't think 'ohh this is childish', please, politicians are childish; this is just plain necessity and its good clean fun. If you cant laugh at the emotion drawn maybe you should lighten up a bit. Just because you are looking at a freaked out animation style you didn't grow up with doesn't mean it can't help you. (Scroll down to see my writers block pictures)

So that's it. Seriously the best cure I have found so far and I have written everything. Journalism, fiction, poetry, term papers, business reports, press releases, scientific journal articles, fan fiction...I know that your writing project is sacred, and most likely serious...but you have to relax and get those endorphins swimming about your brain chemical again. Endorphins are what help you create and enjoy writing. So if all else fails, just have some funny business.

 When I realize I have a writer's block.
Me trying to empty my mind.


Staring at my project wishing it would write

 Me once I sign my child hood song. I normally don't have to go any further because it's such a conditioned response.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Branding Your Name

No lie, every author want's to have their baby (AKA book) prominently featured on the New York Times Best Seller list. It's a coveted position, but rarely do you see people transcribed to the list that don't have a strong branded name. I haven't see one name on that list that I can't research and find a plethora of information of them already. I mean it can happen, but for the wide majority it wont, and it has to do with two little words: name branding.
Name branding isn't about putting your name out on books, articles, blogs, and FB...if it were that simple my life would be made! In reality name branding is an effective marketing strategy in which you , the name, begin to brand it and set image standards for it. Your brand can be anything you want: funky, cool, calm, collected, professional, but never can it be conflicting.
Here is what I mean. When you are looking to brand your name, don't promote a charismatic wild nature and then appear to your first news interview as 100% professional. It confuses fans, it confuses you, and it confuses your brand.
If at all possible let the people around you choose your brand for you. Everyone who knows me is always telling me this blog, my website, my business cards, my writing, in fact everything I touch mirrors my personality. That's because I let the people around me explain to me how they saw me, and then I branded it. So ask your connections how they see you, are you professional and serious? Then brand it. Are you funky retro? Brand it, baby! Tap into who you are and let free. It will only mean good things for you. Once you have your brand pinned down, then you can start to market your name and make it your own. This is what is referred to as branding.
Many authors share my niche and will share yours, don't view it so much as a competition but different interpretations on the same brand. Some authors are professional and serious, I know several, but they each portray it in different ways to market their professionalism and serious outlook as unique.
Don't ride off the ideas of others, instead shape and cultivate your brand name and get to branding it publically. This is where your business cards, social media, interviews, and all that jazz come in to play. But notice how they don't shape the make of your name, your name shapes and makes them unique to you.
Last lets talk about your writing as a form of branding. When you make a written post public, it's the same as publishing an add for you as an author. Do you want that add to blend in? Or worse, portray the wrong message? Your words have power, the only difference between being an author or not is embracing that truth. Famous or not, your words are important and meaningful and should always portray the purity of your flair and style. Use your words to your advantage; step out from the shadows of anonymity and give yourself an edge that can't be found anywhere else.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Everyone will tell you, if you want to be a published first. Coming at it from actually the opposite trend, I can safely say blogging is worth the time and effort 100%. I was a little scared and intimidated by the idea, and actually ran three blogs under pseudonyms till I was confident. I can attest to the usefulness and needfulness of a blog to an author based on that experience alone. I hade hundreds of followers spread between the sites and all of them were supper supportive and wanted more. It was a mistake to not blog as, well, me and use those supporters to build a more personal fan base.
On this side of the coin, it is much harder to convince publishers you are note worthy if you don't have a running, frequented blog that promotes your brand name as an author. I would suggest once you have committed to writing, part time or full time (like me!) start a blog and be faithful to it. I just started Pen Noir, not too long ago and am super happy with the results already. I can be me, publish my personality to my fans, and be honest with the world. It's way better than the alternative.
If you've started a blog and would like my opinion on it, comment with your link to this post and I will share my thoughts with you. I don't view new authors or aspiring authors as competition. In fact I value and support the effort it takes to get where I am at and I hope that we can enjoy success together.

Business Card

Look how nice the new business cards came out! I am loving them. Next time I think I will put script on the back of the card as well, but for my first experience with a new company...these will do quite nice.  

Remember: A business card is essential to maintaining the look and prestige of your name as an author. Choose a simple logo, or picture of you, to ingrain your image to the recipient. I am in love with vintage looks and history, the business cards fit my image and my passions. Make sure to always design a card that speaks for you.