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Friday, December 11, 2009

Thankful to be an author: Yvonne Perry

I first e-met Yvonne Perry* a couple of years ago when she inspired me to participate in the "30 articles in 30 days" challenge. I learned so much from that experience, and have been following her work ever since. Most recently Yvonne has written The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children and is v-touring with it this month. Lucky me, I'm today's host of her visit. Being that this is a "gratitude" blog, I asked Yvonne to share with us what it is she is grateful for in the world of writing and publishing...

Having My Book Published by Lightning Source

When I think of things I’m thankful for, the first thing that comes to mind is my relationships with my family and friends. I think the interaction and love we share with others is the most wonderful part of life. The time I spend with my husband, children, grandchildren, and family of origin are special no matter what time of year, but especially during the holidays.

I don’t always have the ability to visit with my friends in person, but thanks to the Internet, I am able to stay in touch by email, Twitter, or Facebook on a daily basis. Some of the friends I consider most important are the folks I’ve met and corresponded with online. Many of them I’ve never met in person—I never will—but that doesn’t matter. We have a spiritual or business connection that transcends the distance between us.

Speaking of business brings to mind another thing I am very thankful for—my writing and editing talent. I am blessed to have a job that I can work from the comfort of home. Operating my own business (Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services) is a joy; and my clients add spice, laughter, and a bit of challenge to my life. Even though I sit in front of the computer day after day, there’s never a dull moment. I’m either enthralled in the pages of a client’s book that I’m editing, or I’m answering a question from a new author, or researching a topic that I didn’t know much about.

This year, I have four very special reasons to be thankful: four new grandsons! Having Lochlan, Liam, Jonas, and Payton born in 2009 means I now have ten grandkids/step-grandkids. What a blessing! I figured since I have a whole new batch of babies, I’d better finish a project I started when my first biological grandson, Sidney, was a baby. Now that he’s almost nine years old, I have finally self-published the book I wrote for and about him.

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children features 12 fully-illustrated stories that present subtle messages to build self-esteem, increase environmental awareness, teach children to care for their bodies, make good decisions, be honest, and help others. I’m looking forward to sharing these stories with my newest grandsons as soon as they get old enough not to drool on the pages! The audience for these stories is children ages 2 to 5 years.

Publishing the book was a little more difficult than I first imagined. I did a lot of research and decided to skip the middle person (the publisher) and go straight to Lightning Source (LS) since this is the printer most all publishers use anyway. Why pay a publisher when you can be one, right? I already had a batch of ISBNs from a previous book I self-published, so I figured how hard can it be to slap one of those barcodes on the back cover and send my files to LS and have them print my book. That was in August. It took me until October 28 to get it right. I ended up having to hire someone to lay out the book for me because LS’s specs were so complicated that I didn’t have the knowledge or the software program to create files they would accept. However, I had an incredible opportunity to work with some very nice and talented people in the process. Hayley John is a 15-year-old high school student who provided illustration for four books and the art for the cover. I also worked with James Ville to illustrate two of the books. Rick Chappell did a fabulous job of creating the interior design and the cover. I just sent him a mock up in a Word document so he could see how I hoped to have the book look. I sent a separate file with the jpgs, and he did the rest. Even though he followed the specs from LS to the tee, we were both surprised when the proof copy of The Sid Series came back with line turns out of place, words hyphenated where they should not have been, and photos on the wrong page! I’m not sure how we missed that during our proofreading. It took another few days to get the errors fixed and the book re-uploaded (LS charged an additional $40 fee).

I thought we had crossed the finish line and I would be able to start sending people to to purchase the book. My rep at LS was extremely helpful and courteous, but I was disappointed when she told me it would take another 4 to 6 weeks to get the title listed in the catalogs. I could have cried. I had already begun to organize my book tour and didn’t even know if the book would be ready for purchase by November 20. My word to those who want to self-publish or use a publish-on-demand company’s service is to start earlier than you think you should and plan to have the book available about two months after you send the final files in. Hopefully, my sharing this will help someone avoid an inconvenience or missed marketing opportunity.

* Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and editor, award-winning bestselling author, podcast host, blogger extraordinaire, newsletter publisher, Internet marketing guru, and an outstanding keynote speaker. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

funniest thing i've seen in ages

i dunno... sometimes something random just makes me laugh... for days... so good bro!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Funny: Australia's Stimulus Package

Australian Prime Minister Revin Kudd answers questions about his stimulus package.

Q.  What is an Economic Stimulus Payment? 

A.  It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers. 


Q. Where will the government get this money? 

A.  From taxpayers.  


Q.  So the government is giving me back my own money?  

A.  Only a smidgen. 

Q.  What is the purpose of this payment? 

A.  The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.  


Q.  But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?  

A.  Shut up. 


Below are some helpful guidelines on what to avoid spending your payment on: 

  • If you spend that money at K-Mart, all the money will go to China.
  • If you spend it on petrol it will go to the Middle East.
  • If you purchase a computer it will go to India and China.
  • If you purchase fruit and vegetables from Woolworths or Coles, it will go to China and Mexico (unless you buy organic).
  • If you buy a car it will go to Japan and Korea.
  • If you purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan. 


None of the above will help the Australian economy. We need to keep that money here in Australia.

You can keep the money in Australia by spending it on one of the few businesses still owned in Australia – ''. So when your stimulus money arrives, buy yourself some cool and uplifting oils and books crafted by a goddess sister. In fact, buy lots of it. You know that bookshelf you always wanted to start? Now is the right time. You know that big girls'-night-in you're planning? Stock up now with oils to get the party started.

It's such a simple solution I don't know why nobody's thought of it before.

  • Stimulate the Australian economy
  • Stimulate's bank account
  • Stimulate yourself

Enjoy your week :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Business Brainy Man or Sacred Savvy Goddess?

Today I'm grateful I discovered Twitter. I have been having so much fun learning and sharing with my fellow WAHTweeter Tweeps (that's People who are Work At Home Tweeters) (#WAHTweeter in twitter language). 

Who'd have thought a few weeks ago that I'd be mastering a new language by mid March? RT, hashtag, followonFriday, tweeple, twitterverse... and who could have imagined I'd ever think that calling myself a TwitGirl could be a good thing?! ha ha ha. ... and who'd have thought one could have tweeky conversation with virtual strangers and laugh well into the evening over non-existent competitions? 

This happened to me last night, when a guy I'm following tweeted his support for Ellen DeGeneris to be the cover girl of the next edition of "O" (Oprah Winfrey's mag). Not sure how the segue happened from the women's mag "O" to the businessman's "Business Review Weekly" happened, but nevertheless we decided Ellen could have "O" if she left BRW alone for Aussie talent. That evolved into a debate about who would be the better cover person for the next issue of BRW - me or Wayne. 

Help us out... What would you rather see on the cover? Business brainy man? Or sacred savvy goddess? 

Who would you prefer to see on the cover of BRW? The Maverick Spirit, Wayne Mansfield, or the WAH goddess, Anita Revel? See their profiles: @WayneMansfield @igoddess and vote here.
@igoddess Anita

View Results

Friday, March 13, 2009

7 deadly sins by email marketeers

Now that I have joined twitter, I'm discovering a whole new world of incredible resources, inspiring people and endless websites to visit. The downside of twitter, however, is the rampant hard-sell approach taken by a few users who don't take the time to know me before pushing their products on to me. The first step in any relationship is to introduce yourself, engage in conversation and find common areas of interest. Same goes for relationship marketing. In short, get to know me before forcing yourself upon me!

In response to the Pushers, here are The 7 Deadly Sins of Email Marketing (by PUPPET MASTER). 

(Note: To this list I'd like to add: Act Unethically. Ignore the privacy laws set out by the Australian government designed to protect individuals from spam. What this sin looks like: a) No explanation of where you got my email address from; b) No opt-in or opt-out option in your blanket email.)

1. Oversell.

This could be described in its simplest form as an excessive belief in your own abilities or in the abilities of your product, that interferes with the your realisation that your marketing message is not targeted at you or your product –it’s about the prospect.

What this sin looks like: Selling, and selling hard. Pushing your product, and praising it to high heaven. Forgetting to talk to (and about) your prospect in a way that addresses their needs and what they care about.

2. Safety First.

Dare to stand out and be different! 

What this sin looks like: Bland, standard, blah, meh type of emails. No variation in style, nothing exciting, no changes of development, it’s stagnant. And don’t paste your sales letter and try to make it pass for an email - it’s not!

3. Try really REALLY hard.

The email sounds too smooth, too glossy and too perfect - in other words, you don’t sound like a real, honest, down-to-earth, trustworthy person that your prospect can relate to and trust.

What this sin looks like: You don’t write like your Grandma. This is leading on from what I mentioned — email is intimate, it’s personal, it relates. Yes, good sales letters are meant to do that, but you can’t disguise a sales letter when you paste it in.

4. Be Spammy.

Even if you’re doing everything else right, this one sin can (and will, ultimately), kill your email marketing.

What this sin looks like: Your email doesn’t even get to your prospect’s inbox to be marked as spam because it gets caught by the spam filters. This involves using the wrong language, not testing your email with a spam filter prior to clicking ’send’, etc. (A very good one is E-filtrate, for example.)

5. Swipe like a dummy.

We all know that it is possible to swipe your way to the top. Swiping is a way of transferring others’ genius traits, status, abilities, and especially way of writing emails to become your own.

What this sin looks like: Copying others’ emails, word for word, without matching the tone, style, manner and phraseology to what your own list best responds to. This can be a tough one, especially when you’re not sure what to test, which leads us to the next sin…

6. Never Test.

Sloth is the avoidance of work. When it comes to email, many people aren’t slothful by choice. Often, it’s because they don’t know:

a. That they’re supposed to test,

b. They don’t know what to test,

c. They don’t know how to test, and

d. They don’t know how to interpret the results. eg. What’s a ‘good open rate’? Does it vary from niche to niche? How do you maximise a good response to certain emails?

What this sin looks like: Ultimately sticking to sending out emails at a certain time, never testing when you get the best open rates and clickthrough rates, not testing what kind of emails get the best response from your list,

7. Be Unlikable.

Unlikeability is manifested in the marketer who spurns love and likeability, and opts instead for disconnect and facelessness.

What this sin looks like: No persona, no personality, no distinguishing features, no riveting subject lines… and your email gets lost in the clutter of the inbox.

Bonus Sin…

8. Take Everything As Gospel Truth.

What this sin looks like: You listen to what every Tom, Harry and John Marketer has said. You test and try different things, sometimes not sticking to one thing long enough to see results; other times sticking to something for way too long without seeing results.

For example, I know one top marketer who teaches ‘newbies’ to do this to save costs when they’re starting out, but I reckon there’s a reason why he hired the top email autoresponder guy to write his emails. So, be careful whose ‘good advice’ you’re listening to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Excerpt from Maenad Prophecy

Mama Donna is a fellow columnist for United Press International. I love her work as an urban shamanist and promoter of queen-dom within women. Her latest newsletter contained a wonderful event in Washington DC to celebrate the "out" of dirty politics and the "in" with the new, to coincide with Obama taking office on 20 January. Her invitation reads:
Hallelujah! We made it through eight years of filth! And now after all the dirty politics, dirty deals, and dirty wars our government needs a deep cleaning!


Dupont Circle at the fountain, Washington, DC. Please bring smudge sticks, lighter wands and drums and/or bells. And please let us know you will be there.
I was also thrilled to be reminded of a piece of wonderful prose by a favourite author, Starhawk, and excerpt from Maenad Prophecy:
When kings wage unjust war,
When poison fills the skies,
When the rich prey on the poor,
When hope for justice dies

When a spell lies o'er the land,
Of malice and of lies,
Then a wild and fearless band
Of women shall arise

Crazy saints, yoginis,
Peering through the gloom,
Maenads and dakinis
Witches grab your brooms!

Sweep away the stench
Sweep away the sneers!
Sweep away the clench
Of hunger and of fears

Monday, January 12, 2009

Full moon 11 January 2009

We're expecting full moons on days 11, 13, 14, 13, 13 and 11 of each month from January to June this year. There is something magical in that series of numbers alone, but even moreso when the first moon of the series was an absolute cracker. This photo was taken last night at our farm of the moon as it rose over the tree-tops.

I'm very grateful to be a witness to this, and I'm super grateful that I was able to find enough batteries to put in my camera in time to take the shot!