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Friday, March 30, 2012

New Rules For Authors

It used to be not all that long ago that a book was launched as a hardcover and then a year later, the trade paperback was released.  Some books may have been published in other forms as well, such as the mass market format (small pocket book-sized paperback).  The foreign rights may have been sold to other countries, too.  Today, the formulas have changed.

Many publishers simultaneously release a hardcover, trade paper, e-book, and sometimes, the audiobook.  Fewer are waiting to do different versions over time and instead make every format available at once.  Mass market paperbacks are disappearing and fewer are releasing hardcover editions.  Some are going paperless but make a print-on-demand version available along with the e-book.

There are over 50,000 new titles published weekly in America and many compete for shelf space, digital supremacy, and mindshare.  Now, adding to that mix is a new trend.  Authors are competing with themselves.

First, authors with an extensive backlist will never see their books go out of print, thanks to the Internet, which means readers are choosing amongst your titles and everyone else’s that ever existed.  But the good news is that if you develop a fan, he or she will have easy access to buy more titles from your collection.

Second, many authors are releasing new books without spacing them out.  Prolific, best-selling authors, used to release a book a year, then two per year—spread out over six to nine months.  But now authors are experimenting with dual releases or in churning out books at a frequent pace—three or more in a year.

This makes it harder to properly promote each one and to give each one its due.  Further, the chances of quality suffering for quantity are greater.  Writers love to write but being prolific comes with responsibility.  The market is flooded with more product than consumers can handle, suppressing prices and causing readers headaches to keep up while they wade through excessive choice.   

Writers, in order to be successful, will need to find a balance between expanding the book buffet that is out there, and their desire to be embraced as a quality but scarcer author.  Otherwise, too many writers will struggle just to give away their books.

Check out yesterday's post on the need for authors to be realistic about book marketing


Interview With Author Jeffrey Hayzlett

1.      Jeffrey, what inspired you to write “Running the Gauntlet”? I was motivated to write Running the Gauntlet from my years of experience of trying to drive change and how difficult it is; it’s the number one thing holding back most leaders and businesses owners.  It’s extremely difficult even when you have permission.  After the last decade where we’ve all become great at cutting businesses, it’s about time someone stood up and said it’s time to grow them. After the overwhelming success of The Mirror Test, I realized that I still had another book in me; I still had more to share.  I’m passionate about business, and I’m even more passionate about working with passionate business leaders. 

2.      What does it offer readers that they can’t find elsewhere? I introduce some new concepts that drive change in business, including friendsourcing, the 118 Pitch (the elevator pitch 2.0), conditions of satisfaction, and the chief listening officer.  There are certainly people talking about these kinds of movements and industry changes, but I really wanted to focus on how to go about actually driving change by implementing them and putting them into practice. The reasons most leaders fail, and most businesses are hindered is because of their lack of ability to affect change.

3.      What qualifies you to write this book? An MBA from the school of hard knocks.  I had spent my entire career re-starting and fixing businesses that had previously failed to adapt and change.  My business experience extends from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, the c-suite to SMBs, Main St to Wall St, and so on.  I have worked with companies that have 3 employees to 30 employees to 35 thousand employees.  That provides insight that few have.

4.      You write about the things that stop people from thriving in business.  How does one overcome them? I can categorize the top 5 reasons for failure:  fear, tension, radical transparency, risk, promises.  These are ever present in leaders who don’t recognize that change is crucial to the longevity and success of their business.  You must believe that your best days are ahead of you, not behind you, and then work towards them with radical transparency.

5.      You appeared on Celebrity Apprentice.  What do you admire about Donald Trump? He is who he is.  A brand is a promise delivered, and what you see is what you get with Donald.  He is true to his brand, and you have to respect that.  There is no public persona or private persona; it’s not for show.  It’s showy, but it’s not for show.  He’s a bigger than life personality, and even people who don’t like him have to respect that he’s delivered time and time again, even his detractors.

6.      Many authors let fear hold them back.  What could they do to change their mindset? Declare yourself a beginner and understand that in order to be a maestro, you have to play a lot of bad notes first.  Scary part of doing something new, and it only lasts for a few seconds, so get on with it.

7.      Why do you love to write? I love the printed word.  I’m the biggest fan of print since Guttenberg, and when it’s written, it has a sense of permanency, and it’s probably one of the best ways in which any individual can inspire others to act.  Tradition is tradition for a reason.

8.     Any advice to a struggling author? Decide why you’re writing a book.  Is it for yourself as a personal record? Business gain? Education? What is your purpose?  Once you understand that you will have the tools in place to approach everything around the book; be it distribution, marketing, use, business model… or lack thereof.  It will drive all of your decisions.

9.     Where is book publishing heading? Publishing is going through massive transformation.  In our present society, there will always be printed books.  They will not be going away in our lifetime.  We must consider that the way in which we look at books today will be different 10 years from now, even 1 year from now.  Why can’t books include video, hyperlinks, engagement platforms?  I wouldn’t have imagined that most of my books were purchased in digital form and accessible for instant purchase without leaving their homes or that they need an LED screen to read them.  Publishing is going through an exciting transformation.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Realistic Book Marketing

How do you stifle your creative impulse when it comes to book marketing?

Writers are often creative people.  They think all the time and see ideas in everything.  They dream, they imagine, they see things in shades, they see possibility and not probability, they can touch their emotions, they can read between the lines, and they can be very sensitive.  But most suck as businesspeople.

Just as many, people for whatever reason, rarely possess beauty and brains; few possess the skill of creative writer and great entrepreneur.  I see it time and time again when talking to authors.  They are terrific writers, but struggle at planning and executing a solid marketing plan.  The main culprit, aside from their lacking time, knowledge, or desire to market their books, is they lack the reality gene.

Their strength to visualize new ideas and whole worlds out of nothing is also a weakness for them to act in accordance with logic and business acumen.  They will dream of how they could get” so and so” to do this, that one “can do that,” and they believe everyone will want their book.  It doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.  Now, this isn’t about optimism or pessimism, for you need to be optimistic in your approach to life but it must be tempered by the reality that it takes skill, resources, time, planning—and luck—to succeed in any business venture.  And book marketing is all business, whereas book writing is all creative.

So where do many authors go wrong?

1.      They don’t know what to do to sell books.

2.      They don’t plan ahead so they can execute in time.

3.      They fail to apply resources to marketing or to hire a pro to help.

4.      They only see their greatness and don’t acknowledge weaknesses or drawbacks to their book.

5.      They wrongly assume/believe everyone wants what they have, ignoring the competition, understanding the mindset of consumers, or overvaluing their work.

6.      They don’t have the proper distribution to take advantage of their marketing efforts.

7.      They pursue the wrong market or use the wrong marketing tool.

8.      They lack a bigger picture of how their book fits in to their overall writing or career branding strategy.

9.      They do some things right in regards to marketing, but not enough to make a real dent

10.  They waste marketing opportunities that present themselves in the marketplace.  

The list goes on.  I’m not here to bash authors—I love them.  I just wish many would realize three simple rules:

1.      The vast majority of books won’t sell without a comprehensive but targeted, well-planned, and executed marketing plan.

2.      You more than likely need a marketing professional to help you.  It’s hard to think like a marketer and a writer.

3.      Listen to the advice of those in the know and don’t look to second-guess them.  Some of marketing is a gamble and an experiment -- even the pros fail.  But let them do their thing and you do yours—which is to keep writing.

Above all, be realistic in your marketing approach and leave dreamy creativity to your writing.  


Interview With Award-Winning Journalist Karen Feld

1.      As an award-winning journalist, what do you make of the new publishing landscape? Standards have gone south; it’s often difficult for readers to rely on accuracy and sift through the massive amount of information. Seasoned journalists with an institutional memory are often over-shadowed by less reliable citizen journalists aiming for immediate visibility.

2.      You have written hundreds of articles for major newspapers and magazines, among them: Parade, People, Time, Money, George, Family Circle, Vogue, and USA Weekend. Which topics do you like to write on? Why? I’m curious about people and writing about personalities –both bold-face names and private achievers -- most rewarding: what drives them, what keeps them awake at night and how each has made a difference. I like to discover the little known side of a public figure as well as to uncover the off-beat in trends, travel and the arts.    

3.      What advice do you have for struggling authors? Write, write, write! Stick with it. Seek and accept constructive editorial critique but try not to internalize rejection. Concentrate on being accurate even if you’re not first.

4.      What inspires you to write? My passion for the written word and insatiable curiosity about people. I feel I have a unique story to tell and often an unusual perspective.  

5.      What do you love most about the process of writing? The interactive conversation with my sources and/or subjects. Each story is a learning experience.

6.      What makes for a great writer? A creative approach to the story; knowing your audience so as to capture and hold their interest; and a sense of humor.   

7.      Which skills must a writer possess? Clear organization, keen interviewing and research skills, and the ability to become part of an ongoing conversation.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does Your Book Marketing Need A Bra?

I recently befriended a woman who is intelligent, interesting, and very nice. My wife and our kids get along with her husband and their kids. But she lacks one thing – a bra.

It is difficult for any guy to say women should wear bras, but in this case, it is true. She chooses the improper settings to go braless and calls the wrong attention to herself.

There she is at a temple function – sans a bra. Having our family over to her backyard – minus a key garment. Oh, and how about dinner at a restaurant – again, absent chest underwear.

If you want to go to a club and look sexy, fine, leave the bra home. Panties too, if you like. But in family-friendly settings in the light of day, please cover up. Topless beach, good; at a school function, not so good.

It occurs to me that one’s book marketing, like this woman, needs a bra. Your method of promoting your book may need some firm support or a new look. Bras, after all, can cover up a beautiful asset but it can also present it in a better light. You might just need a marketing bra – something to better position you.

Here is how to tell if your marketing needs a bra:

1.      Your book’s promotions need a lift due to sagging sales.
2.      Your book’s Web site is getting the wrong kind of attention.
3.      Your press release is no longer perky and firm.
4.      Your marketing materials don’t fit perfectly around your book’s message.
5.      Your book would gain greater interest if only people could pay attention to the bigger picture of your offer, rather than concentrate disproportionately on one area.

Bras today can transform a woman’s look, her body shape, confidence, and sense of self. It is never too late to do a marketing makeover and give your book marketing a new bra.

 

In Case You Missed It...

Is book publishing like printing lottery tickets? Read this recent post: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/publishing-your-lottery-ticket.html

Interview With C. Hope Clark, Author, & Editor of FundsforWriters

1.      You are the editor for FundsforWriters. What is that? FundsforWriters consists of a website, various social networking venues, and four newsletters. The original FundsforWriters provides advice and calls for submissions for contests, grants, freelance markets, jobs and publishers. All of these opportunities pay. I don’t post calls that do not pay in cash, because writers depend on me to point them to ways to earn a living. The second newsletter is FFW Small Markets, again with paid calls but paying less than FundsforWriters. WritingKid offers markets for children who are trying to find ways to publish their work. TOTAL FundsforWriters is the paid subscription - $15 per year for 26 biweekly issues of 75+ contests, grants, markets, jobs and publishers, just like the original newsletter. Just much bigger. The website receives around 750,000 or more hits per month. The venues are vetted. I visit each one and discard many to cull what’s worth keeping. I’m reachable to answer questions. The voice of the newsletters and website as well as the blog (www.chopeclark.com/blog and www.chopeclark.blogspot.com ) tend to draw people. We’ve been around for 13 years. That still stuns me.

2.      Writer’s Digest said you had one of the best Web sites for writers. Why do you think they love it? First, the material is fresh and checked before being posted. The readers love the motivational voice of the site and the editorials. Writer's Digest considers FundsforWriters each year because readers are recommending it highly. The site and newsletters also cover grants, which is unique as well. The mission is to help writers earn a living, therefore, I do not post markets or opportunities that do not pay. Writers need to be compensated for their efforts. Frankly, it still amazes me that so many people love FundsforWriters. I just post what I find, or what markets ask me to post, or what editors ask me to mention (assuming I agree with what they offer), but I believe in being ethical and moral, so no scams, no cheap deals, no flim-flam sites in my newsletters. Honesty might be another good reason FFW has lasted for 13 years.

3.      You are also the author of a just-published book. What is it about? Lowcountry Bribe, the first in the Carolina Slade Mystery Series, is set in rural South Carolina and introduces readers to a new protagonist, Carolina Slade, who is a bureaucrat turned sleuth. The reviews emphasize the characterization and the beautiful setting descriptions, which tickles me greatly. Take a look at its blurb: “Threats, a missing boss, a very dead co-worker, a high-level investigation and a sinister hog farmer.” Lowcountry Ag Department manager Carolina Slade is a bean-counting civil servant in hot water. Carolina Slade is a by-the-book county manager for the Department of Agriculture a civil servant who coordinates federal loans for farmers in the coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina. When one of her clients, a hog farmer named Jessie Rawlings, offers her a bribe, Slade reports Jessie to her superiors. She’s besieged by Resident Agent-In-Charge Wayne Largo from the Feds IG Office in Atlanta. He and his partner arrive to investigate Slade’s accusations, and, if possible, catch Jessie in the act of handing over money. However, the IG isn't telling Slade everything. The agents are also investigating the disappearance of Slade's boss the year before in connection to possible land fraud. And when the sting on Jessie goes bad, the case is put on hold and Wayne is called back to Atlanta, leaving Slade to fear not only for her life and job, but for her children’s safety.

4.      What inspired you to write it? I was offered a bribe once upon a time when I was also a Federal employee. While my story wasn't nearly as intriguing as this one, the threat and fear were genuine. After writing a semi-memoir about the event, I was advised by an agent and another author that the story wasn't compelling enough. So I tossed it, retained the concept of the bribe, and created a new story, full of twists and turns. It's taken me 14 years to write it since I wanted my writing to shine. During those years I not only stayed busy with FundsforWriters, but I also strove to improve the quality of my writing, to include throwing the novel away twice and editing it at least a dozen times via critiquers and editors. I'm  happy with the results.
5.      What do you love most about writing? I adore reading back what I’ve struggled with and realizing it makes sense or spins a neat scene. Then when someone else reads it and gets just as excited as I do, I feel like I’ve tapped my soul and shared it with the world, leaving a piece of me for remembrance. Writing is one of the few careers you can teach yourself to do and be fully responsible for the outcome. I love stretching my parameters, and writing lets me do that.

6.      What advice do you have for new writers? Don't try to publish so fast. You'll regret it, because your first novel/book/manuscript/project is never good. Never. Most writers say they can't throw their work away or can't fathom not trying to publish it, but they shouldn't. Those hours are fully invested even if the work isn't published. Remember that once published, it's there forever, and ten years from now when you're a much better writer, you'll cringe at the fact that premature piece was released too soon.

7.      Where do you see publishing heading? Where it's always headed - into the hands of readers. Just because electronic books have come into their own means nothing to the future of publishing. Frankly, we shouldn't worry about the medium we read or write in. Instead, we should focus on telling stories and presenting them in whatever venue we can so that the public can enjoy them. People worry too much about how to publish instead of how to write, and it's evident in many, many books that do not sell. Publishing is fine. It's just going through growing pains.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Publishing Your Lottery Ticket

To enter into the world of book publishing is to sign up to win the lottery; few generate the big payoff but everyone loves owning a ticket for the big drawing.

What are the odds of success for today’s author?  It depends on how you define success.  If it’s to be measured in book sales, how many sales constitute a “win”?  If it’s to be measured by some other standard, how do you measure it?

For many, books that don’t sell well enough to even break ever still serve a purpose and a need or desire.

But when it comes to sales, how many people make real money?  When you subtract the value of your time that was invested to write, publish, and market the book, how much did you really net?  When you compare what you made to what you could have made if you put your time and resources elsewhere, what do you discover?

People become authors for many reasons-
·         To share an interesting story and enlighten or entertain others.
·         To inform and educate others.
·         To brand themselves so they can write future books.
·         To position themselves as an expert or authority and then cash in with consulting, seminars, speaking gigs, etc.
·         To build their resume qualifications to get a better job.
·         Ego and legacy-building.
·         To sell other rights: movie, audio, foreign, digital, etc.
·         Professional requirement.
·         To shape opinions and minds for political or ulterior motives.
·         To expose a secret, confess a wrong, or set the record straight.

You can’t get into publishing expecting to make a lot of money from book sales but you can make money in other ways as a result of the book.  Further, some do break through and sell a butt load of books.  Kardashian-supersized butt load!

According to Publishers Weekly, only 340 titles sold 25,000 or more e-books.  Just 35 of those executed sales of 200,000 copies.  Many of these big sellers were written by celebrities and best-selling authors—or the books were about famous people, such as Steve Jobs.  James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich, Tina Fey, Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, Lee Child, Bill O’Reilly, and Nora Roberts surprised no one as they had e-book hits.  Some of these authors had multiple titles sell well.  But what does that say for the millions of other authors looking to win the lottery?

In print books the numbers are bleaker.  Only 194 books sold over 100,000 copies in 2011.  234 hit that level in 2010 and 247 in 2009, so there’s a downward trend.

But these stats are not telling the whole story.  They only calculate sales through certain sales channels.  For instance, no one is tracking sales through authors.  If you sell books on your Web site that aren’t processed by B&N or Amazon or a few other sources, the sales aren’t counted, nor are various bulk sales such as when an author speaks somewhere and sells hundreds of books—unless they are processed by a standard retailer.  For mass market paperbacks, the decline is steeper.  A decade ago, 47 books sold a million.  In 2011, only eight book sold a half-million plus copies, the lowest amount recorded since PW tabulated these numbers.  At its peak, mass market books had 226 sell at least one hundred thousand copies.  In 2011, that number was more than halved, to 106. 

The bigger issue for authors for profitability rests in two areas.  First, how does the book fit in with your overall strategy/ability to make money?  Will the book help you sell other materials, such as a CD or DVD?  Will you earn more money as a speaker with a book?  Can you repurpose the book’s content and earn money from other sources such as an ad-based blog or a fee-based Web site?  Secondly, can your book serve as a loss leader to sell other books?  Can you sell your book at a lower price—even give it away—in hopes of building up a readership or capturing customer names so that you can sell a massive amount of copies of the next book?

While the industry experiments with publishing formats, pricing, and marketing strategies, what will happen to how writers create their content, to bookstores, and to the supportive cast of professional editors, publicists, and cover and book designers, etc?

According to PW, e-book sales jumped 117% last year while print sales declined by 17% but the massive increase in digital sales failed to offset the revenue lost on print.  The combination of print and digital sales fell 5.8% last year, according to a survey of major publishers.  But despite the lower sales figures, profits are up.  This means publishers are making more with less income.  Further, audiobooks are up by 4.7% from 2010.  The CD sales fell 8.1% but the digital downloads shot up 25.5%.

What all of these numbers add up to us hard to decipher in terms of what they mean to authors.  Only the individual author can tell you if they “won” the lottery with their book.  Though the odds of achieving significant sales numbers from the sale of a book are astronomical, authors can find success in publishing if they have a long-term strategy and a broad plan.  A well-written book that is packaged nicely is the starting point, but a well-executed PR and marketing plan coupled with publishing-related sources of income could help more authors to feel like they won the lottery even without hitting the jackpot.

Personally, I believe that once you put pen to paper or finger to screen/keyboard you have taken the biggest step of all and you greatly improved your chances of winning the lottery because in order to win it, you have to be in it.  They only cost of your ticket is your ego.  It may get bruised along the publishing highway but the journey is worth it.   


Interview With Lori Foster,  also writing as L.L. Foster, Author Of A Perfect Storm

  1. Lori, what is your upcoming book about/called? A PERFECT STORM is the 4th and final book in my “Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor” series featuring ultra-Alphas opposing human trafficking. Because I write romance, each hero finds and falls in love with a woman who’s in some way been impacted by human trafficking. A PERFECT STORM is a little different in that Arizona has a more tragic background. Part of the backstory is that she wasn’t immediately rescued. Now she wants to join the fight against human traffickers so that she can both get revenge, and prevent other women from being hurt. It takes a very strong-minded, capable, and understanding hero to break down her barriers, and to accept her for who she is, and what she wants in life.

  1. What inspired you to write it? Human trafficking has become a fast growing problem for ALL areas, in ALL societies. Many don’t realize that it’s happening in our own back yards. It’s catastrophic, and it has to be stopped. After seeing the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson, I both wanted to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking, and show that even in the most tragic situations, people are survivors. But finding the focus and drive to survive is always easier when we have love.

  1. Why will consumers want to read it? I hope that readers will be entertained by the fast pace, the action, the characterization. I’m also told that even though the subject matter is heavy, there’s plenty of humor involved with dialogue (people need to laugh!) and I’m known for writing sensual scenes. Publishers Weekly has already put A PERFECT STORM in the top ten for romance. PW said, “Foster has an amazing ability to capture a man’s emotions and lust with sizzling sex scenes and meld it with a strong woman’s point of view.” Romantic Times gave the book 4 Stars HOT. ;-)

  1. Do people often ask you if your writing is in anyway autobiographical? All the time, and obviously, pieces of “me” float in there. Things I believe in, personality traits that I value. I write “good” people, and that’s definitely MY perspective on what is considered good. But as far as characters as a whole, of course not. I’m a 53 year old woman, married for 34 years to the same wonderful guy, with 3 wonderful sons and now 2 adorable grandsons. My life is beyond blessed –but thankfully I’ve never needed to be “rescued,” have never faced major danger, and I’m not in the least adventurous. LOL

  1. What do most readers look for when reading fiction? I write romance, so I can only speak to that. And we always want a happy ending. There can be all types of hurdles on the way to the end goal, but we want to see a resolution that makes us happy, one that leaves us satisfied that people can get past the bad things in life, and find the “happy ever after.”

  1. As a former NYT best-selling author,, where do you think the book publicity industry is heading? Hey! I’m a CURRENT NYTimes bestseller. Don’t bump me out of that bracket yet! LOL.  You know, I don’t bother myself with the realities of a shifting industry. I can’t control that. I write the best book I know how, I turn it in on time, I try not to give my publisher grief while at the same time protecting my voice, and I never forget my blessings. Yes, I know the industry is changing, and sure, eventually it’ll affect me. But grieving over it, trying to forestall it, is a waste of energy. I’d rather be writing and talking with readers and enjoying life – so that’s what I do!

  1. Any advice for struggling writers? Stop trying to cut corners. For the majority of authors, it takes time. Lots of time. You write the best book YOU can write (get away from critique groups!) and you submit it to the appropriate publishers in the appropriate manner, then you start writing another book. And so on, and so on. Don’t get caught up in entering contests. You’ll fall into that cycle of writing the requested 3 chapters, and nothing more. Don’t decide to self publisher because you receive rejections. We ALL received rejections. I wrote 10 books that never sold before I finally got an editor to take a chance on me.

Write what you love to read, in YOUR voice (again, get away from those critique groups!) and remember to have fun with it. Not to diss critique groups, but honestly, the only thing you have to sell is your voice, and how unique will your voice be if it’s honed by committee!? Your critique group can’t edit your book – only an editor can do that. And they can’t buy your book – only a publisher can do. Other than checking for obvious mistakes and typos, critiques groups are a very bad idea. My advice – take it or leave it! LOL

For more information, please consult: http://www.lorifoster.com

Brian  Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Former Model Inks Beautiful Ambition; The Writer Turns 125

Interview With Former Model Tara Brooke, Author Of Beautiful Ambition

Tara recently became a client of the firm I market authors for. She is a beautiful person inside and out.  The former model and mother of four-year-old twins shares her insights on many interesting areas below:

1.      Tara, what is your new book about? My book is about finding out what you really want in life and going after it with everything you have. It could be a fabulous guy/relationship, a career that you’ve always dreamed of or becoming a million air or all of the above! I believe that everyone out there can have and deserves to live their dreams to the fullest. My book will help you believe in yourself and inspire you along the way! I discuss all the important topic’s women need to know about.

2.      What inspired you to write it? My life, when I was a young girl, proved to be challenging for me. My parents went through a difficult divorce while my mother was having health challenges plus there were very difficult financial issues going on that made life hard! I knew I wanted a better life and I had big dreams. I found hope in reading motivational books and it fueled my desire to succeed   no matter what. So once I was able to change my life I wanted to provide other women with valuable information that could impact their lives for the better in every area quickly!

3.      You were a model at the age of 17 and went on to grace numerous magazine covers for a number of years. What did that experience teach you? It taught me that I could do anything, that I shouldn’t put a limit on myself. It was exciting and I enjoyed it a lot because of what I had been through. I also learned a lot about the industry and that just because you get on the cover of a magazine things don’t just fall into place. You are still responsible for being happy and that happiness, as cliché as it sounds, does come from within. A cover only stays on the newsstand for two weeks so after that then what? Life continues and you have to roll with the punches!

4.      You are very attractive: is that an asset or a burden at times? Thank you, I think it’s both. You can defiantly make it work for your benefit but at the same time it can be a double-edge sword. For example, you are going to be judged and people won’t take you seriously so then it becomes your job to prove them wrong.

5.      What can you tell women about improving their sex lives? I think it’s important to be open and love your body; confidence is everything no matter what shape or size you are. If you love your body so will he. Men don’t see the little things that we see. Don’t obsess on a little jiggle here or there. He isn’t noticing that if you are having a great time and happy that is a huge turn on! “I always say you can’t fake enthusiasm! If you are married you have to make time for sex. It has to be a top priority and you should want it!

6.      Many people seek your advice on relationships.  What do you tell them? I honestly believe that there is a special person out there for everyone! It’s so important to pay attention to the red flags that come up. How a person makes you feel is HUGE! Don’t lie to yourself and make excuses for bad behavior if you are not being treated right it won’t change! I feel like life is too short to waste on a bad relationship when you are dating! I talk a lot about what men want and how to find Mr. Right in my book but it’s also about what you want and I believe you can have it all the total package!

7.      What do you have to say about how one can achieve success? What it means to be successful is different for all of us. But let’s say you have a dream to be a singer like so many of the hopeful’s that try out for American Idol. The first thing you have to do is realize your true talent. Do you really have a GREAT voice and if that answer is yes, then you do everything you can to prefect your craft. You practice create the image that you want others to see and start daily affirmations about what you want, who you are and what opportunities are coming your way. You visualize yourself singing in front of million’s of people and I mean visualize every detail. See it in your mind’s eye. Practice what you would say and imagine yourself being on that stage living your dream. Your subconscious mind does not know the difference between what’s real and what isn’t, be aware of who is around you that’s supports your dream and who hinders it! These people can make or break your dreams! Above all things never stop trying and pushing for what you want! To have true success it takes trial and error you have to learn from it all both good and bad like everything in life.

8.      You are the co-founder of a nutrition company. What health tips do you have for people? The most important thing that I have learned in all my years of working out and trying to be healthy is that by becoming “Alkalized” you can be thin and be incredibly healthy if you are too acidic your body will store fat and your body’s natural guard is off duty so to speak. Our company, www.sevenpoint2.com, is a category creator. We make great tasting products that help you alkalize your body so you have incredible long term health and the benefit is that it’s easy to stay slim! There is an alkaline movement happening now because so many people health is deteriorating quickly due to the food that we eat so we are excited to be leading the movement to get America healthy again.

9.      What holds many women from pursuing their dream? Fear is what holds everyone back -- fear of failure, fear of success. Fear can grip you and rob you of your dreams if you let it. I have a chapter on this subject because it’s a HUGE factor for everyone!

10.  You are a mom of twin four-year-olds. How do you balance that with your professional and personal life? It’s definitely not easy. My family is my first priority no matter what. If I am offered something that’s fun and exciting and it doesn’t make sense for my family then I pass on it! They are everything to me. Now that they are in school I have a lot more time to focus on personnel goals. We waited a long time to start our family so I was able to do a lot before we had them. Now I want to make sure I am here and connecting with them and experiencing motherhood to the fullest! But I still have dreams and personal goals.

11.  What type of childhood challenges did you overcome to become who you are today? The divorce that my parents went through was absolutely heart breaking for me. Watching my mother suffer from her health challenges was so hard at the time. She couldn’t work and had to stay focused on getting better and because of that we had no money. We moved around a lot! I was in and out of school all the time and at each school I definitely experienced my fair share of being bullied. Since I was always the new girl and I didn’t have the right clothes and shoes kids were cruel. I knew in my heart that it wouldn’t be like this forever that someday I would grow up and be able to make something happen for myself. I kept that dream alive and lived within my imagination. I thought about what I wanted every day and it saved me!

12.  How did you prepare physically for shooting the cover of Muscle and Fitness? Working as a model I knew the importance of working out and staying in shape, I also went to a performing arts high school so I was always dancing and I was a runner as well so when I booked that job I was in pretty good shape for the cover. I work out at least 5 days a week. Our bodies are made to move and it’s always been a natural desire for me to work out and be healthy!

13.  Which does more harm for a woman’s sense of image and self-confidence: Playboy or Cosmopolitan? Why? This is an interesting question because I think it depends on the women. Frankly if you are confident and more of a free spirit then both should be fine. Society will most likely look down on Playboy over Cosmopolitan but again I think it’s about being true to who you are and doing it for the right reasons. I think that if I had to choose Cosmo would be GREAT and I would feel good about it. Having a secure belief in who you are and what you want will help keep you planted firmly. It is also important to remember that you can’t please everyone all the time so do what feels right for you!


Happy 125th Birthday To The Writer Magazine

Anyone who has ever thought of writing for profit, fame, or as a hobby will at some point have read a copy of The Writer’s Digest, Publishers Weekly, or The Writer.

The Writer is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month. The publication was launched in April 1887, a mere 22 years after Lincoln was killed and the Civil War ended. A lot has happened since then – in the world, in publishing, and in society. But good writing has essentially remained the same, whether for a book, a blog, an essay, a short story, a letter, an email, a magazine article – or any form of publication. The Writer has consistently led the way to educate novice writers and to remind even successful professionals of a few tricks.

I recall reading the magazine during my college years, back in the mid-1980s. I still pick it up from time to time. I hope others do too. It is the 30th oldest magazine in the country and is a real treasure. As it noted in its current issue, “The Writer remains committed to offering our readers writerly advice that inspires, instructs, and informs.” It indeed does all of that.

Today’s writer is prolific and needs guidance to perfect and polish his or her craft. Thank you, The Writer, for always being there to lead the way.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.