Rollercoasters of praise and rejection, which one will you dare to ride?

Huge rollar coaster at Six Flags Texas

Ride the waves of your writing career!     Being a writer, is not unlike being a bipolor, manic-depressive.  Would you not agree?   One minute, you are full of emotion, supercharged with motivation, and typing away furiously on the computer with your latest story idea.   The next, you are staring at the computer wondering why no one has like your brilliant tweet or blog post.    Can you relate to this juxtaposition?

Many writing coaches and publishers will tell you, the writing is easy.  It is marketing yourself and your work that is the killer.   It is flat out exhausting.   Tweeting, facebooking, links, and hashtags.  Talk, talk, talking about your book to grocery store workers, women at the salon, book clubs, book signings, and book festivals.   Seemingly, there are not enough hours in the day.     This constant demand on your time can fuel the rollarcoaster of emotions.   You, like your public will find that you vassilate between self confidence and self-flaggelation.    You are not alone.

Recently, there was a presentation at the Lexicon Writer’s conference entitled, Marketing your business on a shoestring, by Julie Hall, owner of Custom Websites 2 Go.    She talked about the importance of getting the word out there constantly about your book, especially with the short attention spans of your potential buyers.    At some point, you might consider investing in a service that would help you automate your tweets and generate connections for  yourself.   If you are Twitter naive or Facebook naive, take a course.    Only you can make your facebook and blog postings personal.    But at some point you have to care for yourself too.    Research and invest on small business that specialize in promotion of writers.  Several have been mentioned in previous posts (Ralphs Designs and DeliAskthepublishingGuru; AuthorMedia).

In utilizing these specialized services, they can help extend the connections that will make an impact for your book and your sanity.   The hard part is patience.  It can take from three to six weeks for the results of your marketing to show.   Not every effort, or blog post, or tweet will “go viral.”    Don’t you secretly wish they would?   But stay the course.   Keep putting one foot in front of the other.    Pay it foward by supporting other authors.    Like pages you really like!   Retweet posts that mean something to you.   But be genuine!    Establish your voice and brand.   Don’t just “like” to “like.”    Make those followup phonecalls;  log those book signings and book festivals;  and keep on writing.

The waves of emotion come in whether your book or poem is praised or rejected.    You surf to Amazon hoping to see likes, wait on baited breath to see your book review,  or eat a tub of Ben and Jerry’s after reading a not-so-positive review.    One minute you are being praised at a signing.  The next minute no one opened your mass email containing your book reviews.    It happens.

The biggest lesson, which is the hardest of all?    Don’t be afraid of the big coaster.    The journey up it can be terrifying, but the payoff for your efforts is a huge, exhilarating high at the end.

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Belles of Steel – meet P.K. Scheerle one strong, dynamic woman changing the world!

P.K. Scheerle, RN

P.K. Scheerle, RN
CEO of Gifted Nurses, Inc.

A few weeks back, a search began for Belles of Steel. Strong, dynamic women who through  tenacious ingenuity, or sheer guts, changed the world with their accomplishments.   The are powerful mentors for those of us trying to “make it.”  It wasn’t very hard to find a litany of them.   For the most part, they are unsung heros.   Some are known publicly, but many remain obscure.   Until now.

It is a pleasure to present the first inaugural belle of Belles of Steel, who describes herself as anything but that!    Please meet PK Scheerle.   Ms. Scheerle, a Registered Nurse with a clinical background in pediatric intensive care, is a self-made entrepreneur who saw a need in the nursing industry to keep experienced and talented nurses at the bedside. By utilizing her remarkable vision and tremendous determination she created one of the nation’s leading nurse supplemental staffing companies.

P.K. Scheerle, RN, a graduate of the Executive Program of Harvard Business School in 1991, founded American Nursing Services (ANS), a privately held, highly successful nurse staffing company in 1982. Under her direction, the company grew from five employees to over 3,000 employees with locations in 12 states providing local nurse staffing, travel nurses, therapists and private duty nurses.   The idea for starting the company literally came one night after a group of nurses went out for early morning cocktails at Riverbend in New Orleans for a gab session.  She and her colleagues were watching fellow nurses leave the bedside in droves;  feeling powerless and voiceless in a healthcare system with no leverage.   Talking over drinks, her colleagues discussed  starting their own staffing agency with nurses who were the best at the bedside.  Nurses with passion and intelligence who wanted to be there;  providing outstanding care to patients.    According to P.K., she was the only one brave enough in the group to go to the bank and sign a note.  “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” she laughed, referring to the challenges and risks in running her own business.

During her 24 year tenure at the helm, ANS received numerous awards including the American Business Ethics Award from the Society of Financial Service Professionals, a Top 100 Business by New Orleans CityBusiness for eleven consecutive years, and America’s Top 500 Women Owned Business by Working Women’s Magazine.

Ms. Scheerle has and continues to serve on numerous for profit and not-for-profit boards. She has also received many awards for contributions to the community and the nursing profession including, but not limited to, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross, induction into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, the Boggs-Bourque Woman of Distinction Award, and the New Orleans CityBusiness Women of the Year Award for three consecutive years. She also served as Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization for Louisiana and served on their Southern Regional Board.

In addition, Ms. Scheerle continues to be in great demand as a consultant and speaker for businesses, entrepreneurships and value creation. Additionally, she is regularly sought after and relied upon for her expertise by successful CEO’s.  P.K. is married to Bruce Bolyard and they have three daughters and a son.

P.K. attributes her success to the hundreds of incredible men and women in leadership who were “a little older and a little smarter” than she, but who were willing to share their kindness and guidance to a young pioneer striking out on her own.   “I never missed an opportunity to pay it forward with networking.   A hand written thank you note, a contact or connection for another colleague.  My shoebox full of business cards was never out of my reach.”

Ms. Scheerle doesn’t consider herself to be a Belle of Steel she believes that she is “just like every other self-made entrepreneur, blessed to create a better world.”  In her case, “better patient care for people I don’t even know.”   She remarks, “A rising tide lifts all ships.”   P.K. founded The Great 100 Nurses” Celebration in Louisiana – a program that recognizes and honors the top nurses in the profession.  It has now been modeled in numerous other states.

Five years from now, Ms. Scheerle hopes to still be running Gifted Nurses, Inc her current firm which provides programs by which nurses design initiatives to decrease costs within healthcare.  Yet,  increase patient satisfaction and quality of care.   She strongly affirms that our burgeoning elderly population needs to make informed choices about the astronomical and oft times futile healthcare expenditures which occur during their last few months in life.   “Nurses are high on the food chain.  They need to work collaboratively with physicians to reform models of care into best practice.  There needs to be an aggregation nursing’s expertise in this area.”  She remains committed to nurses designing and financing cost effective means to increase the dignity and satisfaction of patient care while limiting expenditures.   “It’s about basic human dignity, not 97 year olds suffering on a ventilator.”   Ms. Scheerle remains as passionate about the art of nursing today, as she did when her only goal was “to be a great nurse.”

For this and many reasons, P.K. Scheerle continues to be a shining beacon of what can happen when one doesn’t just talk or dream about an idea.  P.K. encourages women to think outside the box,  pull resources together, and makes it happen.   For her personal mentorship to me as a nurse and author,  it is an honor to select P.K. Scheerle as the first of 100 Belles of Steel.  I hope you find her story inspiring.   So much so that you take hold and begin your own metamorphosis.   Congratulations to P.K. Scheerle for being AgeView Press’  top, freshly pressed Belle of Steel.

The social media maze: how to effectively get the bang for your book

ImageSo you’ve written your book, set up your blog, twittered your tweets.   But no one is coming.  Your book cover it hip, your tweets twangy, your blog boisterous.  But still no one is coming.   There is an art to social media.   The basics just won’t cut it.   An author this weekend at the Lexicon Writer’s conference was overheard to say,”I write books.  I just don’t do that whole social media thing.”   Jaws dropped in amazement.  Even in the big publishing houses, they publish your book, but you are the one who will have to market it. 

It literally takes 3 or 4 times of contacting your customers before they might order the book.  The average self published book sells only about 100 copies.   The main bulk of books published by the big whig houses only about 200.   If you are ever going to make that top seller list, you must embrace social media.    That doesn’t just mean ebooks.   There will always be biliophiles that love to turn a page, but you have to get out to them.  Their must be buzz about your book, or you are a mere spec of dust amongst books a million.   

Here are few helpful links.   If you want someone to do it for you, then hire the right service.  Once such service is Ralph’s Design and Deli, a social media site specifically targeted to authors.  They know what you need and why you need it.   Their services are ala carte.  You only pay for what you need.  

So you have started a few things own your own, you do-it-yourselfer you, except one problem;  they aren’t working!  No customers.  In that case, you will want to get a consultation from Author Media.   They will take a look at your website, your blog and what yo have done and either blow it up and start over or point you in the direction of some things you have missed. 

For the adamant go-it-own-your-own author, this is the best $99 you will spend.  The Publishing Guru, Jason Rutheford.   He will write you a review and blast it out to milliions of radio talk show, newspapers, book bloggers and publicists who will review your book and the world out there.

Another author, with a book not selling said, “well the last thing I want to do is network with other authors, they aren’t the ones that will buy my book.”  Maybe not, but that isn’t the point.  They will network with their followers who will.   Again, the messge here?  Pay it forward.  Join groups that will help shout out your work.  If they won’t, why are you a member.

Tid bit for the day, don’t give up.  If what you have been doing isn’t working, scrap that plan and make another.  Don’t just sit in a dark corner and think, I have written it, they will come.   Not!!!

“More Self Published Authors Making Waves” will your book make it?

BABBLING ABOUT BOOKS, AND MORE!: 20 Weeks Running and More Self Published Authors Making Waves.

Yet again, Indie publsihers are making waves.    A long time book blogger named Katie Grant, who writes under KT Grant blogs about the phenomenon that is taking over the industry.   Indie publishing.    Hard to believe that he pendulum is shifting.   But one only has to look at the success that many Indie pub authors are achieving.

They are posting sales.  Generating great blogs.   Literally turning the industry on its head.

This weekend, it has been a priviledge to network with some of these powerful forces in the industry at the innaugural Lexicon Writer’s Conference in Denton, TX.   Honestly?   Wasn’t sure what to expect, but it has been a smashing success.   Over 120 writer’s, publishers, book bloggers,  screenwriters, writing coaches and agents convened for a weekend of powerful networking led by Indie author Mitch Haynes.    Just ask the successful writing team of Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer, writers of military fiction.

Mitch’s message was simple and powerful.  “Take your ego to the door.  No one wants to stand around and hear you babble about your book.”  But if you meet 10 other people and help them sell theirs while here.  Pave the way for what you can do for them, then just imagine how many more books you will sell if 1o people do that for you!”   Brilliant.   And guess what!  It works.

Black Force Eagle novel

Don't Cry daddy's Here novel

Flying Solo

More Great Indie Published Books

Just goes to show you, paying it foward pays off sweetly in the end.  Even if you have to wait to see it.   So don’t hide in the shadows of your work, get out there and make waves for your book.   Pay it foward for another author and they just might pay it foward for you!

Top five social media links you don’t want to miss!

Wagon full of social media logos facebook twitter youtube

Is your bandwagon full?

Just when you think you are hitting the wall, BAM!   A great networking site proves to be gold.   The World Literary Cafe, both their website and especially their group facebook page  are just platinum!    This site is for authors who are genuinely supporting authors.  There are plenty of sites that say they support authors, but come to find out the TLC comes with a  $$ price.    The synergistic networking that takes place immediately on signing up at World Literary Cafe just cannot be beat.

Traffic to my website AgeView Press, blog, twitter and facebook accounts increased exponetially in a week!    Thanks guys!    You really rock.   In surfing to the World Literary Cafe FB you will find discussions happening live with answers to many common issues within Indie Publishing.   There is a force moving!   The Indie world started as a ground swell, but expect it to surge to tsunami status.

Here are the Top Five Social Media links for today that you don’t want to miss!

1.   World Literary Cafe     Super discussions.  Author links.  Book reviews.   Fab networking gold!  Slogan?  #sharethelove4authors

2.  Reviewer Roundup on Facebook       Great place to find a jumping off point for your virtual book tour.

3.  Kobo     Now accepting Indie published ebooks with a 70% royalty!

4.   The Bookseller.com    This is an article published just recently.  Evidence of the movement.  AM Heath  now supporting Indie authors!!

And the top link of the day which made the day worthwhile?

5.  The Online Converter         A way to convert your books and other files to epub for FREE!  That’s right.  FREE!

Enjoy and thank you for visiting.   Please share and link this page for your fellow writers and friends.   Don’t forget to follow on Goodreads !

Do you know some Belles of Steel?

Amelia Earhart flying solo

A dynamic aviatrix is born!

A new weekly feature of this blog will be to highlight the accomplishments of some inspiring women.  Those women who are true pioneers, movers and shakers, and thus Belles of Steel.   Throughout the course of history we have been inspired by these strong, dynamic, oft times ballsy women.   Many dared to test the unthinkable.   Some strived to prove that women could accomplish what men could.   Their actions brought about historical change.    Sometimes the choices they made had devastating consequences personally,  but furthered their cause.  Right now in your head, I’ll bet you can think of at least one.   

They were and are pillars for us all.   We love reading about them and writing about them.  Their antics provide fodder for books, magazines, and movies.  Many are famous and deservedly so.   Florence NightingaleMarie CurieSusan B. AnthonyEmelia EarhartAnnie Oakley,  and Rosa Parks to name a few.   You recognize those names, but what about Belles of Steel that you may not have heard about?   There are plenty of stories that are jaw dropping and phenomenal right in our own backyards.   These women quietly go about changing our world.   Some have reached notariety, but many have not.  

Thus, I am proud to introduce Belles of Steel.   Each week, the accomplishments of one woman who has made a difference will be featured.   Many of these women influenced why Flying Solo , my debut novel was written.   Flying Solo was based on a true story about a woman who most certainly was a Belle of Steel.   Her choice to become an aviator in the 1960s was unconventional within her social stratophere.    Not to mention the actions to which she was willing to resort in order to regain her children.  One of which was stealing a plane!    

Be looking forward to the first installment this week.    If you were influenced by a Belle of Steel, please shoot me an email or tweet.   It might be considered for a segment.     Happy reading this week!

50 Shades of Shock Value: how much is too much for your novel?

When it comes to shock value,  that is nothing new.   Remember Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind?   The year was 1931.   This book was banned from many stores.   Why?  All because of its last line.   Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.   Spoken with aloof, rancor by none other than Rhett Butler.   Famously played by Clark Gable in the movie version.   We were heart broken for Scarlett and wanted to scream out at Rhett,  ‘you scoundrel.’   But it hooked the readers of the world.   The sheer audacity of using a curse word in print!   Thousands of copies with damn in black and white.   And would the producers dare to put in the movie?  Hell ya!   Are you kidding?    Just the controversy over that one word drove thousands to the theater.

What has transpired, however, is an escalation in that shock value.    In the 1950s it was rock and roll and Elvis‘s shaking pelvis.   The 60s?  Twiggy and her miniskirts.   The 70s, an entire new generation was revolting against the establishment, conventionalism, and the Vietnam war.   In the 80s, can you say Madonna?  Come on.  You know you had those leg warmers, permed hair and lace tops with jean jackets.    Her latest tour is mimicking the  overtones of 50 Shades.  She is an absolute master in shock value!   In the 90s we saw the introduction of gay characters on TV.   In the millenium, we saw them kissing.    The trend to shock has been embedded within our culture for decades.

Madonna carressed in the MDNA tour

Madonna still sells salciousness at its best.

The question becomes where do you draw the line?   Sadistic sex is nothing new.  It has been around since Egyptian times.   Its participants, just discreetly hidden in the dark recesses of culture.   Is 50 Shades that great of a book?   Is it well written?  There are those that would argue ‘No.’   Then you might be asking how?  How then did it reach the NY Times best sellers list and stay there for months, selling over 500,000 copies to date?The answer is simple.  Shock value.  For the first time, the lunching ladies of middle America were reading a salcious story about sadistic sex.    From one of their own.    Tabu was taken mainstream.   It was so shocking, they found themselves embarrassed while reading.  Yet, unable to stop.  How naughty would it get?   What was the outcome?    Not to pay the book more undue homage; but from a marketing standpoint, a writer salivates with envy.

The concern?  How far must one go?   How dark, and twisted must the shock value be to capture the attention of today’s society?   Remember, it isn’t all about shock value.  It is about a good story.    Nicholas Sparks is hugely successful.    His first book, The Notebook has now sold close to a million copies.   It is rated G.    Your grandmother could read and probably has read this story.    A good book is based on a great story, tightly written with well developed characters that generate emotion by what happens to them.

The message here?   Sure, shock value sells.  But don’t sell out the quality of your story just to outdo.  Quality is job one!