Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Marketing a POD Book in 2009 - Reflections on What Worked and What Didn’t

Reflecting on marketing Children of Dreams this year brings me to some interesting conclusions. The things I thought initially would be the most effective weren’t. Some of the things that cost nothing except my time were. To focus my efforts for my next book and how I will market it, I will share some of my results. Hopefully I can help another person to make wiser choices about where to invest their efforts who, like me, may be a new author without huge sums of money to spend.

First, Children of Dreams was written as a memoir and published POD. If you have published a romance fiction or nonfiction book as an expert in some field, or some other type of book, your results may be different using these same marketing strategies.

Now to the marketing aspect:

Most of the things I spent a significant amount of money on marketing Children of Dreams, I doubt I would do again. The marketing people will say, “We guarantee exposure, not book sales,” and they have that one right. You can easily Google my name and find twenty or more pages where my name pops up. Based on these results, you might believe I am a best-selling author. I am not. What marketing experts guarantee is exposure, not book sales. As far as I am concerned, considering that information now borne out in experience, it makes me much more leery to invest dollars in the future on expensive marketing campaigns.

Some of the methods I used included the following:

1. Email blast. I spent around $250 on an email marketing campaign. I don't know that I sold one book out of it, and for that amount of money and not being able to document its success, I feel like it was a waste of money.

2. Email of my book cover and relevant information to all libraries and independent bookstores in the United States and Canada. This cost around $400, and again, I don't know that I sold a single book out of this campaign. Would I do it again? No.

3. RTIR, or Radio-TV Interview Report: Cost around $400. I was promoted two weeks in a row on radio only, and received two radio interviews. I am not aware of a single book that I sold as a result. One of the radio stations was in Canada and one was in the Boston area, I think. Would I do this again? Yes. I felt like it gave me a great experience and I enjoyed being interviewed. I was also able to take one of the interviews off the radio station's website as an MP-3 audio and posted it on my website. If I had the money, I would have done the TV portion of the promotion, but it is very expensive and I couldn't afford it. Maybe with my next book, instead of wasting money on email campaigns, I will put it into this marketing venture.

4. Other things I did that were free or inexpensive and more effective as far as book sales.

Videos: Make lots of videos. I made five and posted them all over the web, not just on YouTube. There are many other video websites and they get picked up in the search engines as if they were magnets. The interview of me personally wasn’t particularly “exciting,” I suppose, but I think what the viewer can see is who I am; my character, and that I am a real, live, living, breathing human being. Besides, I know the next one will be better because the first one of anything is always the hardest and usually the worst. You are testing the waters, breaking new territory, going where you have never gone before. Experience counts for something.

Book Reviews; I found it very difficult to get friends of mine to post reviews of my book on (or any place else). Most people, unless they are in the writing or marketing field, are intimidated by the thought of having their words on the web. I submitted free books and e-books to several different sites for free book reviews, which met with only limited success. Would I send out free books for reviews again? No. Most of them produced no reviews, and they probably took my free books and advertised them on or EBay. Some of the free eBooks I sent for reviews, however, did produce reviews.

My goal was to get twenty-five reviews on When I found it so difficult to get book reviews in a timely manner, I paid for a service that was very reasonable and legitimate, in my opinion, and rounded my review total to twenty-five reviews for five stars. Was it worth paying for some of the reviews? Absolutely. They were real people that read my book whom I did not know. I wasn’t paying for five stars. I was paying to have my book read and reviewed, and I don’t mind doing that. I would look at a book that has twenty-five reviews with five stars before a book with only two reviews with five stars. I feel this was money well spent. Also, the inside-the-book program on Amazon is excellent. If I can’t look inside someone’s book and I don’t know the author, I won’t buy the book, plain and simple.

The Masters of Marketing: The elite, the best, I believe, in the U.S. and probably the world is QVC. I close caption it almost on a daily basis, and have watched with interest how it is they can sell so many kinds of products and make millions annually. From hours of captioning, what I have observed goes like this.

The head person of the company actually appears on the network programming (and I mean “the boss”) and they are passionate about their product. They eat it, sleep it, dream it, and whatever else comes to mind. It is their life. I have captioned an hour of a product that I had absolutely no use for, and at the end of the show, have been convinced that I can’t live without that product. That is advertising and marketing as its best. If someone can be passionate about cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaners, I better be passionate about my book. Otherwise, I am in trouble.

To sum up what was only going to be a few comments is this: You must believe in yourself, in what you are writing, and have a passion never to give up or compromise, and finally, to give your book every ounce of tender-loving care that you possibly can. Then it’s your job to be the best writer you can be. That might mean you need to hire an editor to help you. Then you need to do everything you can to be that excellent writer—attend writer’s conferences, enroll in writing classes, read books about writing, search the web for all the information you can find. And there is a lot of good, free information out there. Finally, you must have something in your book that will make a difference in people’s lives. It’s your job to convince everybody they can’t live without your book. I know that’s easier said than done. But with POD, you have that time. Your book never goes out of print.

Don’t forget, you need a good website, you need to have a blog, you need to be on social networking sites to connect with people, you need to be willing to get out and speak to the public about your book, and you need to get on as many free e-zines from marketing people as you possibly can. There is more I could write, but this is a start.

Am I discouraged I have only sold about two hundred books so far? Hardly. I have the rest of my life as a POD author. I am working on my next book in connection with my Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and look forward to “meeting” new people on the web, appearing on more radio shows, blogging about things that interest me, and sharing information like I am doing here. I have complete control over my book Children of Dreams, I love marketing, and as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t get much better than that. I truly believe the sales will come because I won’t give up. I am going to continue to write about the things I am passionate about, do what I can to promote good information that people can use, and because we live on a big planet, with the Internet, I know there are others out there that are interested in the same things I am. My job is to find them. It’s intriguing to me when I see people have visited my website from as far away as Japan and Israel.

If you have learned anything here, please let me know. Hopefully my reflections will help you to use your money more wisely in your own marketing campaign. Happy Writing and Marketing in 2010 and beyond.

You can visit my website at

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beauty and Writing

It's interesting to me that Jesus never said in the Beatitudes, blessed are the beautiful, blessed are the popular, blessed are the smartest, or blessed are those who are the best--whether it be as a teacher, artist, carpenter or writer. But He did say, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

I have sensed in my spirit that when I am creating I am most like God than at any other moment. There is a subconscious link between the creative aspect of who we are and God. When we choose to glorify Him in that endeavor, the beauty is far greater than we could have created (or written) on our own. When our motives are tainted, we lose part of that beauty. By tainted, I mean for fame, money, popularity, or acceptance.

One thing that has struck me is I have scuba dived all over the world, and there is a good possibility I have seen things that no one else on earth has seen—beauty that surpasses anything that I could describe here. I wonder why God would create beauty that would only be seen by me, or create beauty that would never be seen by even one person. New species are being discovered every day in science, and if I were a betting woman, I would say there are hundreds if not thousands of things out there that are still not seen or known. If we ask ourselves that same question, it can lead to some profound answers. Why create beauty if no one else will see it, believe in it, appreciate it, pay us for it, or give us accolades?

It's because that is the way God is. We will always have the Audience of One, and if that Audience of One chooses to bring us recognition here, then we can be grateful for that. But I believe our rewards will be far greater in heaven if the beauty we create here is for Him, and maybe even more so if never appreciated by anyone, because the rewards we receive in heaven from our heavenly Father will dwarf anything that we could receive from man.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Empty Paper Tray

One night in a dream I stood before the Great Judge as He sat at the bench draped in His official black robe. The courtroom was immense and dark. I was all alone and stood quietly pondering my fate. As I waited to be sentenced for my unspecified crimes, my stenograph machine, set up before me as if I was to record the proceedings, began spitting out the record of my life—everything that I had ever done from the time I was born until that point.

Just as a court reporter writes it all down, my notes unraveled and overflowed from the paper tray faster and faster until the courtroom was covered in thousands of interconnected loops of stenograph paper strewn everywhere.

I knew I was condemned as I stood before the Great Judge. I wanted to fix all my mistakes, but I couldn't. It was too late and I had no defense. He was about to sentence me, but from the back of the darkened courtroom, a lone figure came forward and stood beside me. He was a towering individual, and I was covered by His shadow and enveloped by His omnipresence. Dare I look into His eyes? The room was empty, except for the three of us, and I suddenly recognized it was Jesus who now stood next to me at my darkest hour.

He approached the bench and there was a conference out of my hearing between the Audience of One. I wondered what the Masters of my future would decide; I knew I deserved death. The ugliness of my life was no secret to them. They knew every sin I had committed, every secret thought, every wasted action, every omission and commission of things of which I knew better.

Suddenly, as in a flash of lightning, the ream of stenograph paper rolled backwards on itself and disappeared. The paper tray was empty. The scroll of my life was "remembered no more." There was no record that could be made, no court reporter's notes, no transcript. It was whisked away in an instant.

Jesus stepped down from the bench and returned to stand beside me. Again, without warning, the reams of paper now quickly reappeared, as a tornado, unraveling and covering the Holy One’s body. The Master stood condemned, my dirty, stained stenograph paper wrapped around Him as garments of cloth. He was bound as if he were to be laid in a borrowed tomb—or a manger. He would take the punishment I deserved. No longer guilty, God redeemed me by His love.

I now stood before more than a righteous judge. I stood before the Audience of One. Love compelled Jesus and my Heavenly Father to remember no more my past vulgarities. For the joy set before Him, Jesus was escorted away in shame. It was Love that took my place, Love that covered my sin all recorded on stenograph paper that spoke of condemnation.

As we share the joy of the Christmas holidays, let’s remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Let’s keep Him in our traditions and celebrations as we adorn Christmas trees in colorful ornaments and exchange lavish gifts. The greatest treasures we give, however, may not be wrapped in Christmas tissue but rather in what we do—our forgiveness, joy, and love filled to the brim, poured out, and shared unselfishly. Let the light of Jesus burn brightly through the window of our heart.

May it begin with me—more patience, more time, more of everything I lack. If Jesus gave His all, maybe, just maybe, I can venture out of my own comfort zone. If I try to be more like Him, if I allow His Word to mold me, perhaps I can be the difference maker in my own world filled with the most precious lives I touch—my children, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and my neighbors.

Most of all, I want to remember what I have to be thankful for—and it begins with the empty paper tray. Because of Jesus, I can write the greatest story ever told, of how a baby came from Heaven to earth, born in a manger, wrapped in rags, and who redeemed me….Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gold and the Yellow Brick Road

A man tried to sell a one‑ounce Maple Leaf on a beach in a prominent section of town.

"Will you buy this gold coin for $50?"

"No, I don't have any money."

He approached a woman, "Would you like this Canadian coin for only $25?


"Why not?"

"I don't have $25."

"Suppose I offer this to you for free, will you take it?"

The woman turned it over and examined it.

"It's beautiful."

"Do you want it?"


No one recognized the value of the coin worth over $1,100. Have we become so fooled by paper money that we believe the counterfeit is worth more than gold?

A look at history might reveal a clue. During the Great Depression, governments around the world abandoned the gold standard. In 1933, Congress and President Roosevelt banned private ownership of gold and asked citizens to turn in their gold at the rate $35 per troy ounce-essentially robbing Americans of their wealth.

Although it became legal to own it again in the 1970's, the money changers (Federal Reserve Bank and central banks) suppressed its value to bolster the dollar and manipulated the system to their advantage.

Gold became worth less than the counterfeit because it was not considered currency. This enabled the Federal Reserve and the central banks around the world to control the vast money supply.

Gold, a precious metal, has been used by man since ancient times for commerce. He recognized it for what it was-rare and valuable; but today, gold can't even be identified on a beach by passersby.

The yellow brick road in "The Wizard of Oz" symbolized gold. It carved its way through a beautiful fairyland called Oz inhabited by Munchkins, but the fabled Land of Oz was overshadowed by evil witches. Perhaps today they would represent the self-serving money-changers, the greedy capitalists, or the Washington bureaucrats who recklessly spend our money but are mortgaging our children's future.

While counterfeits abound, God never abandons the true believer. The Good Witch of the North, Glenda, loved the Munchkins. God has given us His Holy Spirit.

"The mysterious Wizard of Oz might be able to help you to return home," Glenda and the Munchkins told Dorothy.

So Dorothy set off on the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard of Emerald City. Along the way she greets three friends who join her-sojourners in search of a brain, a heart, and a nerve.

But when they meet the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy discovers the horrible truth. The Wizard was an imposter. The dog Toto exposed him as a fraud.

Today, as in "The Return to Oz," our yellow brick road is crumbling, paved in green fiat money as financial establishments teeter on the brink of collapse.

In heaven, no longer will we be standing on broken yellow bricks. Our eyes will recognize the intrinsic worth of God's creation and the counterfeits of man-the idols, the liars, and the fakes. All except the pure will have vanished-not destroyed with water but with fire, as gold is refined by fire.

I hope to be like a Munchkin, but even more so. Heaven won't be inhabited by evil witches but angelic creatures that serve a risen Savior. God will be our King, not a cowardly wizard hiding behind a curtain. He will be dressed in kingly garb as He bathes us in His light. Neither will ruby slippers be able to bring us home. A deeper magic, more costly than gold, more valuable than riches, hewn from wood and thorns, will transport us. The counterfeit world left behind, Jesus will welcome us on a real yellow brick road richly paved in gold.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There is a Coming Economic Earthquake

"It is hard to imagine any action that our government could take that would affect our economy more adversely than to attempt to nationalize our healthcare system. Not only has the Federal government demonstrated time and again its ineptness in controlling costs and operating anything efficiently but, in fact, they have continued to set the standards for inefficiency, bureaucracy, complexity, and cost.

“Look at any area the government has touched and see if you can say honestly it is cheaper, more efficient, and less complicated. If so, please write me so I can put the information in the next book.

“While other countries are desperately trying to privatize government run agencies to avert financial ruin, we are trying to socialize another one seventh of our whole economy!

“Based on what is happening in Washington today, I have concluded that no real changes are being made to bring Federal spending under control. Consequently, it is my conclusion that sometime prior to the end of this century, we will experience a severe financial downturn caused by taxes that are too high, too much debt, too much regulation, and too many Americans on government "dole."

“Perhaps this downturn (recession) will be precipitated by a stock market crisis, as in 1929, or perhaps the stock market crisis will follow the downturn. The two are not necessarily directly related.

“The recession will expand into a depression as businesses fail, unemployment rises, and consumer confidence plummets. Even so, taxes will be increased to feed an ever expanding program of government supplied entitlements. The government will soon exhaust the last available resources as they tax all benefits, raid retirement savings, and eliminate the remaining middle income deductions. Politicians will be caught in a Catch-22.

“The more they tax, the lower the net gain in taxes and the more Americans are put out of work. With fewer available wage earners to tax, taxes are raised again. Finally, when taxes and credit are exhausted, the government will resort to the ultimate debt reduction plan: Inflation—soon to be followed by hyperinflation, as the government attempts to print its way out of debt.

“I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but I do want to sound an alarm: This healthcare plan can destroy the foundation of our free enterprise system all by itself."

This could have been written by any number of pundits on television or radio for last night's financial news. But it wasn't. It was taken from Larry Burkett's book, The Coming Economic Earthquake, pages 249 and 250, published in 1994.

I read this book when it first came out in 1992, and I have to admit, I didn't believe that many of the things he wrote way back then would happen—at least in my lifetime. It took some finagling to even find the book on the Internet. But I remembered some of his predictions and wanted to go back and reread them.

Larry Burkett was a Christian economist predicting these things when no one else was listening. Let's take heed to his warnings. I pray that our Senate never passes this disastrous healthcare bill that will destroy our country and burden our children with taxes they won't be able to pay.

I am fifty-four years old and always felt like the economy was too complicated to understand. I wanted somebody else to worry about it and tell me where to put my money in my IRA.

But about two years ago I forced myself to start keeping track of all of my expenses and learned how to live on a budget. I began to reduce my standard of living in simple ways and this last year I have done everything I can to pay off all credit card debts. I am close to having my house paid for.

You soon learn what is hard to do without, and it won’t be what you might think. For me, it’s that Starbucks Latte that is far too expensive that I'm addicted to.

I urge you, open your eyes and realize things can't continue down this road. The first step is knowledge. I have posted a video on my website, “The Money Masters—How International Bankers Gained Control of America.” It's three hours long, but if you don't know this stuff, you should. I think of what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “…be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Get out of debt. Live within your means. Encourage your Senator to vote against this healthcare bill. Yes, we do need healthcare overhaul, but we can't afford to pay for the bill that was just passed by the House—especially a government healthcare plan that will ruin this country. If we aren't socialistic now, we will be with national healthcare. Worse than that, it will be rationed. Healthcare will be so expensive, the old folks won't be considered worth saving. And I, for one, would like to think I am entitled to whatever I might need in my old age.

We are headed for deflation, more inflation, or hyperinflation, depending on which economic guru you want to believe. The only people who seem to think there are no major problems with the economy are the Washington bureaucrats who don't tell the truth anyway.

Although I'm not sure when or how, I know God will judge us just as He has judged the nations that came before us when they turned from Him. Many factors come to mind but the two most egregious are the millions of babies that have been murdered (aborted) and greed, including the money changers, the bankers, the government, the mortgage holders, the insurance companies, the people buying houses they couldn't afford, the advertisers convincing the public to spend, spend, spend—think of all the clich├ęs; i.e., you deserve a break today.

Make the time to read, listen, and get informed about the economic issues and healthcare problems facing our country. Pray that God will show you what you can do to be ready for the inevitable—whatever that may be. By preparing now, God can use you to help others less fortunate down the road. The challenges may be as difficult as they were during the Great Depression or worse. As Larry Burkett wrote many years ago, there is a coming economic earthquake.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Prolife Adoption Pamphlet

Please remember to pray for the unborn, especially during this time of attack on our families. You can visit my website at for a downloadable free pamphlet on adoption, that might persuade a woman to place her baby for adoptiion instead of having an abortion.

For my daughter's 11th birthday, I gave her a kitten. If her birthmother had chosen to abort her, I wouldn't have Joy.