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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interview With Author Amy Noelle


What type of books do you write? I write romance/humor, kind of an even mix of the two really.

What is your newest book about?
My first book, Code Red, is about a woman who has no interest in getting into a relationship but is forced to work with a man who tempts her in every single way. She's a bit nuts and a lot of fun. My second book, The Hot Corner, will be out next year and it's about a writer reconnecting with her famous ex to work on his biography. Sparks will fly!

What inspired you to write it?
I have a lot of stories in my head and after writing fanfiction for years, I decided to try to create my own characters.

What is the writing process like for you?
  I tend to be a fly by the seat of your pants type of writer. I have the idea, the main plot points and the ending in my head, but getting between the points just flows from the brain to the computer. I don't outline beyond a loose piece of paper with notes about characters looks and relationships so I don't mix things up down the line. I like to just let the words come out of me and follow the characters wherever they lead.

What did you do before you became an author?
I have a full-time boring research job that would take paragraphs to explain and would make bore everyone to tears. This is probably why I have so many stories in my head, to take me away from the mundane of my every day.

How does it feel to be a published author?
 It feels incredible, a dream that I never even voiced aloud that came to fruition. The idea that my words are out there for people to read, to hopefully enjoy and have fun with, makes me giddy. It means more than I can say really.

Any advice for struggling writers?
First, just write. Get the story out, tell it the way that you want it and write to please yourself first. Then, get ready for the storm. Not everybody is going to like your story. Publishers may not want it, readers may reject it. That happens to everyone. Keep going. Remember, YOU need to like your story. For every one that may not like it, there'll be another that does. Dealing with critics is hard but it'll make you a better writer and a tougher person in the end. If you can't get anyone to go for your story, I hear self-publishing is pretty darn easy these days. Keep on persevering.

Where do you see book publishing heading?
Self pub will probably get bigger and bigger. Obviously e-books and online are the wave of the future. I love holding a book in my hand, no doubt about it, but my house doesn't love me bringing more and more in. Convenience is the key I think. Big publishers are looking at indie writers more and more and getting their stories out to the masses which is pretty awesome. It'd be a dream come true for sure. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Building Your Author Platform



Writers may see themselves as writers first but they should also see themselves as book marketers a close second.  In order to have a prosperous writing career one cannot merely rely on writing great books.  He or she has to let people know about them.

In fact, your marketing efforts begin way before your book is published.  You need to build the foundation for a following so that you can grow a fan base overtime.

So who exactly do you want to connect with?  There are several kinds of people that you want to establish a relationship with – loud mouths and influencers, those devoted to your subject matter, those who like you and your style, and potential readers/consumers.  These groups are linked to one another and in fact can influence each other.  That’s the whole idea – you want to increase the number of people in your network and then leverage those assets when the time is right.

Platforms get established in a few ways, including:

1.      Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest – Create a profile on each one, build up your number of connections and followers, and use it to network.
2.      Blog – You need to have one and you need to share your posts or guest posts with others.
3.      Web site – It should really showcase who you are, have a means to sell products such as books, and a way to capture email addresses (such as offering free downloads of something interesting)
4.      Routinely visiting forums, chats, groups
5.      Being active on Goodreads, Net Galley, Red Room, Library Thing, Shelfari, Jacket Flap
6.      Having a page on Amazon’s Author Central, Filed By, and other reader-writer sites
7.      Speaking before organizations, groups, bookstores, libraries, or industry groups
8.      Contributing to a leading Web Site or media outlet

Resources for platform building include:

-          Help A Reporter Out
-          Café Press
-          Zazzle

If you want to monitor yourself – or others – go to:

-          Google.com/alerts
-          Grader.com
-          Sharethis.com

To build your platform, connect with those who have successful platforms.  If you don’t want to join forces with them, learn from them.

Find your voice.  That’s a biggie for you to think about.  Your platform comes from the image or character that you portray.  Be authentic, passionate, and helpful – but you need to also be provocative.  What will you be known for? How will you separate and distinguish yourself from your competition and the clutter out there?

How much multimedia will your platform consist of?  All videos?  All words?  A mixture of the two – plus audio, photos, illustrations?  Will you express yourself conservatively or liberally?  

Will you shake things up and be controversial?

Don’t forget to assess your progress and ask others for feedback as you build your platform. 

Keep making adjustments and never stop looking for innovative ways to get your name out there.  Even the most popular people can’t rest on their success – always be pushing yourself out there because there’s new competition growing by the minute.

Lastly, don’t give up or lose hope because of a setback or because you tried something that didn’t work.  There’s no surefire route to victory here – you just keep hammering away and see what sticks.  You may just look back and see that you have a substantive following.



Interview With Author Karen-Anne Stewart

What type of books do you write? I write in the new adult genre. Saving Rain, and the other two novels in The Rain Trilogy, are new adult romance/suspense.

What is your newest book about? Healing Rain: The Second Novel in The Rain Trilogy will be available in August, and it picks up right where Saving Rain left off. This novel jumps right in with the continuation of the powerful love story between Kas and Raina. Here is the back cover of Healing Rain:  Shattered when Raina runs after his marriage proposal, Kas is hell-bent to find her and bring her home, where she belongs. He will bend every law necessary to do so, willing to do anything to protect Raina from her demons and the men who haunt her, going as far as placing his career and life on the line to save hers. Raina will give up everything she has worked so hard to achieve, even flee the country to keep Kas from the wrath and powerful reach of her abusive father.
In the midst of the FBI team closing in on the Ghost, another ghost from Raina's past taunts her, promising that she will be his. Meanwhile, a different trafficking ring is gaining strength in New Jersey. Michael solicits Raina's help, needing her smooth, sultry voice to win the audition for the new singer in the ring leader's swanky night club. Raina knows her life is in jeopardy with the dangers of being undercover, but she is blindsided when she discovers that it's her heart that is threatened with a mortal blow.  Raina tries to heal from the nightmares of her dark past as the grisly bodies of innocent victims surface when the team gets closer to discovering the identity of the man responsible for the infuriatingly clever and powerful slavery ring. When Raina finally comes face to face with the Ghost, he quickly engulfs her in a twisted game of cat and mouse, delivering a veiled threat as he slips through her fingers. As the ghosts of her past and present ensnare her in their deadly web, Raina realizes the danger has just begun. 

What inspired you to write?
I have always loved books, especially romance. When I decided to write, I knew I would write about love, but I wanted it to mean more, which is why I included the dark social issues of abuse and human trafficking. My humble hope is to shed a little light on these depraving subjects through The Rain Trilogy. The love between Kas and Rain is powerful, redeeming, and the novels show how far each would go to save the other.

What is the writing process like for you?
Wow, I really love this question because I don't have a clear answer for it! I don't really have a process, I'm all over the place when I write. I can't seem to sit down and write from beginning to end, I write scenes depending on my mood at that moment. I had parts of After the Rain, the final novel in The Rain Trilogy, written while I was working on the first novel, Saving Rain. Music is a HUGE inspiration to me, I listen to music almost all the time when I write, it helps get my head where it needs to be. I also usually write in my PJ's, it's so much more comfortable that way!

What did you do before you became an author? I still have my "day job," and I'm also a wife and mother, so like everyone else, my plate's pretty full, but I LOVE it! I do have some experience working with survivors of domestic violence. I have a bachelor in Social Work. 

How does it feel to be a published author? That's a really interesting question. I was just talking about this with a friend of mine the other day. I'm not going to lie, it's a pretty amazing feeling in those moments when it hits me that I am really an author! It's also quite surreal. I don't want to sound cliche, but it really is a dream come true. 

Any advice for struggling writer's? Don't ever give up! Follow your gut, and don't let your fears hold you back. 

Where do you see book publishing heading?
I'm very new to this business, so I don't know all of the trade secrets, but I don't see paper books going away anytime soon. I adore my Kindle, I'm addicted to it, but my mother swears she will never own one. She much prefers the feel of a physical book in her hand.



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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Writing Expert Lends Insights


Interview With Author Lev Raphael 

What type of books do you write? Hopefully, the type people read.  :-)  But seriously, my publishing reflects my broad reading interests. I've published mysteries, short story collections, a memoir, essay collections, a biography and criticism, a children's book, a writer's guide, novels, fantasy, and even a Jane Austen mashup. 

What is your newest book about? Writer's Block is Bunk is a guide for writers at all stages of their career, sharing what I've learned in the last few decades about the craft and the business.  

What inspired you to write it?
I wrote it because most people don't know what's waiting for them when they start out.

What is the writing process like for you?
Joyful.  Exciting.  Fulfilling.  Relaxing.  Writing is as good as sex sometimes and half as messy.  I love every phase, from the glimmer of an idea all the way through to revisions.

What did you do before you became an author? I left university teaching in 1988 to write and review full-time, and 24 books later, I'm teaching again at Michigan State University, whose Special Archives purchased my current and future literary papers.  That was mind-blowing.

How does it feel to be a published author? Mostly wonderful, except when I get a bad review or book sales drop or  ---  Fill in the blank.  Writing I love, publishing can be difficult.  There's sometimes too little in your control.

Any advice for struggling writers? Be stubborn.  Read, read, read.  Perfect your craft.  Don't be dismayed by rejection.  Have friends who aren't writers so you're not constantly talking shop.  Travel, have a hobby, own a pet, do charitable work, play an instrument, engage in life in as many ways as possible that have nothing directly to do with your writing career. It'll keep you sane and make your writing richer.

Where do you see book publishing heading? There'll be more respect for indie authors as well as indie presses; more ebooks; a shrinking market for legacy-published books; and more confusion in an already confusing profession.  But none of that matters if you have something you need to say, if writing is like breathing to you: essential.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Burlesque Book Author Sheds Light On An Artform


Interview With Author, Actress and Award-Winning Documentarian Leslie Zemeckis


1.        Leslie, what inspired you to write Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America? It is very much an untold story, an impt part of our American culture that has been overlooked because of the “stigma” of stripping. When I met some former performers, all in their 70s 80 and 90s! I fell in love with them felt their stories were so compelling that I had to tell it.

2.       Why are you so passionate about preserving the legacy of the pioneers of what was once taboo entertainment? Because it is completely misunderstood. Few realized the size of a show (during its golden age, the 20-40s), few even knew men were in a burlesque show, that the comedians were kings! With shows in theatres all over, 3, 4 sometimes running 6 times a day, 6 days a week to full houses – there had to be something about burlesque worth remembering and telling. It was a highly entertaining show and employed thousands and entertained thousands more. I think the memories of the performers deserves to live in the correct light. Some were artists and they all worked incredibly hard – and it wasn’t a once taboo entertainment, it only became that way in memory.

3.       Why is the world of burlesque misunderstood? Because of the strippers and the fact that it did degenerate into pure naked stripping with go go in the 60s and on. But that isn’t at all how it started out. We forget our legacy. Saturday Night Live, The Carol Burnett Show – it all comes from burlesque. Burlesque was about humor. It was a form of entertainment for the common man – many of whom were immigrants and did not speak English. But they could understand broad comedy and a pretty woman.

4.       You got Blaze Starr to write your foreword.  How fascinated are you by her notoriety and accomplishments? I don’t think of her story as being “notorious.” I found her to be a brave, plucky girl who came from poverty, and a close family (they still are today) who made something out of her life. She has great humor, honesty and decency. She had affairs and showed her body for a living, but that doesn’t make her a good person. She conducted herself in a way to be proud. She didn’t hurt anyone. She is a lady. She was smart with her money and a smart business woman. She takes care of her large family. She’s a good friend to many. Beautiful, wild – maybe – she had a good life.

5.       What do we not know about America’s original entertainers – those who worked with strippers, such as the singers, comedians and variety acts? That burlesque was a training ground for comedians. And they could move onto other forms of entertainment, tv, radio, films. But the strippers could not. Even Gypsy’s films she did in Hollywood she had to use her “real” name as “Gypsy” was too scandalous. A novelty act – hand balancers, harmonica players, etc. Could and did made a decent living. Could you imagine today a hand balancing act (except for cirque de sole) being able to make a living and having enough venues to perform in for 25 years – as Rudy and Renald did, whom I talk about in my book? And they loved being a part of this big variety show “with a little more spice.”

6.       Could burlesque ever make a resurgence? No. Burlesque was, at one time, the only place where flesh could be seen – pre bikini in 1946 and pre Playboy Magazine. It was a ritual of sorts for high school boys to sneak in and see the girls. Our sense of humor has become more sophisticated. The neo-burlesque scene is huge – but that is strip acts – some incredibly inventive and creative. But it would be expensive to employ a cast of 20 show girls, 2-4 comedians, novelty acts, animal acts, singers, dancers and strippers. And we don’t have the venues or audience to sustain a “wheel” today and really “train” these performers to perfect their acts.

7.       How did you gain unprecedented access to the performer’s diaries, letters, albums, and memorabilia? Because I had done so much research – I continue to – they were impressed with my knowledge of a time that is clearly not of my era. I could recite names to them and know other’s histories. I treated them with respect and promised them this was their story – not mine. They were the most generous, heartfelt people I have ever met. They invited me into their homes and send cards on my childrens’ birthdays. They have become my friends.

8.       Can you still be a feminist and support burlesque? I don’t even know what a feminist is. I would see no reason why anyone couldn’t “support” burlesque. It was a fun humorous form of entertainment. Today’s neo-burlesque seen is undertaken by women who have the choice to strip or not. And some show nothing as it was in the old days of classic burlesque. However in the 30s and 40s there were less options for women – a lot from tough backgrounds of abuse and poverty and lack of education. Stripping gave these women an opportunity to see something of the country and to support themselves and often families.

9.       Did you feel more in touch with your sexuality and erotic side after researching this book? I’ve always been in touch with my sexuality. The misconception still seems to be that burlesque makes women sexual or erotic. To many working in it – it was a job.

10.   What challenges came up in writing this book? Organizing all my material. I have boxes and boxes of material. And sorting through fact and fiction. Hunting down little known facts about performers. I love research.

11.   Do most Americans today full appreciate what these performers went through to perform their ribald pastime? They have no idea how hard the work was, how much travel was involved, how lonely being on the road could be – and the stigma these performers lived under their entire careers. They worked incredibly long hard hours.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Meet An Author Who Raises Questions


Interview With Provocative Author Meg Mundell  


What type of books do you write?
  I’m not sure I have a type – in writing terms I’m more of a fox (an author with multiple voices, themes and styles) than a wolf (one who has a signature style, a dominant voice or theme). Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, my work aims to capture vivid moments of human experience, to stir the reader’s emotions, and hopefully raise questions too.  Besides my journalism and essays, so far I’ve written a short story collection (see below) and a novel, Black Glass (Scribe, 2011) <http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/black-glass/> – a darkly prismatic tale of hope, survival and surveillance set in a dystopian near-future. I’ve also worked as a ghostwriter and travel writer, but I don’t think of those books as truly ‘mine’. 

What is your newest book about?
 
My new collection Things I Did for Money (Scribe 2013) http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/things-i-did-for-money/ contains eight short stories, ranging from literary realism to crime, surreal tales and speculative fiction. Over the years they’d been published in top Australian journals and anthologies, and I wanted to bring them all together in one place. They’re all different, but there are common threads: characters struggling to come to grips with the past, to reconcile their dreams with reality, to navigate the tricky terrain of human relationships. Work is another common theme: you’ll meet artists, kidnappers, scuba divers and checkout chicks, charming cosmetic surgeons and failed bank robbers. 

What inspired you to write it?
  Seasickness. Injustice and beauty. Treasure hunts. Mysterious old ruins. Lost souls and outsiders. Half-remembered childhood crimes. A newspaper headline. A torn poster on a pole. An overheard argument. An embrace glimpsed through a train window. Friendship, loss, empathy. A story my dad told me. 

What is the writing process like for you?
  It can vary from a frustrating hard slog, to a thrilling sensation akin to flying. Even on tough days it offers small but sweet satisfactions: the pleasure of putting words in order, of creating a resonant image or moment on the page. It’s an incremental thing, writing – a bit like sculpture: you hack out a rough shape, build it up piece by piece, chop and whittle, mould and reinforce, add fine detail, then polish the final draft until it gleams. 

What did you do before you became an author?
  I’ve always written, and always worked other jobs too: I’ve been a journalist, researcher, university lecturer, policy analyst, magazine editor, stable-hand, zucchini sizer, children’s entertainer and ventriloquist’s assistant, among other things. Right now I’m a PhD student and new mother. 

How does it feel to be a published author?
  It feels as if I have so much more to do… Publication is a great milestone and a reward that keeps you going, but there are still endless reams of blank pages awaiting me. 

Any advice for struggling writers?
 Read, read, read. Write regularly, and always carry a notebook. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make a mess on the page – you can always clean it up later. Try not to compare your achievements to those of other authors: disgruntlement and envy won’t help. And don’t give up. 

Where do you see book publishing heading?
  Publishing is in a major state of flux, and it’s easy to get spooked. E-publishing and online platforms clearly hold great sway, but the industry’s future direction is not yet clear. We authors need to get our heads around the digital revolution. But let’s remember this too: if you want your local independent bookstore to survive, make sure you buy books from them! 

You can follow Meg on Twitter @megmundell or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/megmundell.writer . Check out:  www.megmundell.com

Sex, Drugs and Meditation Author Speaks Out


Interview With Author Mary-Lou Stephens


What type of books do you write?  My first published book Sex, Drugs and Meditation is a meditation memoir. I have written a novel which I'm told crosses too many genres; fantasy, comedy, ecology, romance and history. The more the merrier I say but publishers seem not to agree.

What is your newest book about? Sex, Drugs and Meditation is the true story of how I changed my life, saved my job and found a husband all through meditation. Not just any meditation - a silent ten day meditation retreat that I refer to as 'meditation boot camp.'

I didn’t go to a ten day silent meditation retreat because I was happy. I went because my life needed to change. Sex, Drugs and Meditation is told within the framework of that ten day meditation retreat. During those ten days I confronted the demons of my past; drugs, alcohol, food and religion…. and the demons in my mind; paranoia, self-loathing, fear and rage. I relived my time spent in Twelve Step programs, my years at acting school, the joy and heartbreak of my former life as a musician and the journey that led me to work in radio.

For ten days and nights I battled with my memories, mistakes and fantasies. The long hours spent meditating resulted in excruciating physical pain. Facing the pain, accepting it and overcoming it enabled me to understand, on every level, the basic tenet of the meditation technique – everything changes.

When I left the meditation centre I knew I had changed. What surprised me was that within two weeks something so wonderful and completely unexpected showed up in my life that even I, the great doubter, had to believe again in life and in love.

What inspired you to write it? When I used to read self-help books I would find myself skipping over the theory, ignoring the practical exercises and going straight to the case studies. A few years after I did the ten day silent meditation it became apparent that my life had really changed as a result. I knew I loved reading real-life case studies of people who had changed their lives and wondered if anyone would like to read mine. Turns out they would.

What is the writing process like for you? I love writing, sometimes finding the time can be tricky. I work full-time in radio. When Sex, Drugs and Meditation came out I took ten weeks off to promote it and to start writing the sequel. I would love to be able to write full time but at the moment it's about making the most of the time I have. I'm a very slow writer. i like a lot of time to ponder and metaphorically chew the end of my pencil. It's hard to comprehend how slow I am at memoir - I know how the story goes for goodness sake! But I keep chipping away at it. The time disappears in writing and reverie. I don't have a specific place to write although I do love the couch when The Hubby is out. 

What did you do before you became an author? I feel as though I’ve lived many lives already; as a bass player, an actor, a singer/songwriter, touring the country with bands. A friend of mine once asked me why all the good stuff happened to me, why I had such an interesting life while he was stuck in a small town in a small job. I told him it was because I said, “Yes.” Yes to adventures and opportunities and new experiences. I never had any money but I did whatever I wanted. I lived like a 17 year old boy with a driver’s licence and no responsibilities. When my last band broke up and I realised I was in fact a 36 year old woman, radio was there to embrace me.

After working in radio for a while I had enough money to go to the USA and visit the places where much of the music I loved was made. When I came back my friends asked to see the photos. I hardly had any. I’d only taken twelve on a disposable camera. A colleague at the ABC suggested I write about my travels instead. I haven’t stopped writing since.

How does it feel to be a published author? It was surreal at first. I felt as though I was breathing something other than air. I've been writing for many years and submitting my work to be met with varied success and a lot of silence. When I was finally signed I think I went into shock. The editing process was a revelation and then there's the cover choices and all the other bits and pieces. The publishing company put a lot of work into making this book the best book it can be and for that I'm very grateful. I see it on the shelves of bookstores where ever I go and it always gives me a jolt of surprise and delight. And I feel validated. All those years of work, I never knew whether I'd get published or not, but I wrote anyway. Getting a publishing deal was like getting a gold star at school. Good work. Well done.


Any advice for struggling writers? I’m going to assume that most aspiring writers are already reading voraciously and writing compulsively, those being the basic building blocks of a writer. So my advice is to get yourself some writing buddies. People who will become your allies and your cheer squad. Friends who will give you honest feedback when you’re feeling strong and heap praise upon your writing when you’re feeling vulnerable. A writing group who evolve together and whose bonds strengthen as the years go by. Writing can be lonely and people who don’t write often can’t understand why you won’t go out on Saturday because you have to write or why you spend so much time doing something that may never see the light of day. Your writing buddies will get it and they’ll get you. Don’t be lonely, there’s no need to feel misunderstood. A small writing group of like-minded souls to encourage and to challenge your writing is the balm to soothe and sweeten this writing life.

Where do you see book publishing heading? I was doing a book signing in a bookstore recently and the manager told me that sales of e-readers and e-books had levelled out and that people were still very much interested in buying books made out of paper. I was surprised. I'd felt grateful I was was signed when I was because I had assumed paper books would be disappearing soon and I'd slipped though with my book before that happened. Having said that my publisher has a digital only arm and I'd be very happy if my fiction found a home there.  Writers are still scoring million dollar deals so that shows there is still plenty of money and more importantly plenty of optimism in the publishing world. The situation at the moment with publishing companies reminds me of the situation with the record companies in the late1990's and early 2000's. As CD sales fell they all began to implode and merge but today CDs are still being sold and in my radio job I am still being sent CDs. It's the same with books. Publishers are still sending me hard copies for the purposes of reviews and interviews. I very rarely get sent a digital copy. The publishing companies will survive and independent bookstores will thrive.  I was watching You Got Mail the other night with The Hubby. In the film the big multi-store book chain puts the little book store out of business. Today we see the big book stores going under and the small independents surviving. Well, t in Australia at least. We love our independent book sellers here.

For more information, please see: http://maryloustephens.com.au/  

Can An Erotic Artist Be A Model To Us All?


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013