Monthly Archives: February 2012

Six Things to Think About Before You Self Publish

By Gail Z. Martin

With the rise of ebooks, many writers are going the self published route.  Is it right for you?  Before you decide, here are some things to think about.

#1 Is your book fiction or nonfiction?  In general, nonfiction is easier to sell because many nonfiction authors also speak on the subject or are in a business related to the subject.  That provides a natural avenue for sales outside of bookstores that fiction authors don’t have.

#2 How much do you like to do marketing?  Even traditionally published authors shoulder most of the burden for marketing their books.  Self-published authors do it all.  If you don’t like it, aren’t good at it or won’t get around to it, better think twice.

#3 Can you deal with snobbery?  There’s still a lingering stigma in some corners (mostly fiction) about self-published work (at least, until you sell a gazilliion copies, which is more the exception than the rule).  Bookstores won’t stock you, and even genre conventions may not roll out the red carpet.  There’s little enough glamour left in publishing even in the traditional manner, so if you’re in it for the ego boost, better think twice.

#4 Can you sweat the details?  If you’re going the self-pub route, you’d better be obsessive about details.  That means paying for editing (no, you can’t do it yourself), formatting, cover art, ISBN numbers and similar details, shopping cart workings, etc.  You are essentially launching a new business.  Are you up for it?

#5 How will self-publishing this particular work affect your brand?  Again, in some  corners of non-fiction, like Internet marketing, there are people earning seven figures off self-published home study courses.  In other industries, there’s still a bias toward traditional publishing credits.  Make sure you help, not hurt, your brand with how your book represents you.

#6 Are you really angling for a traditional book deal?  Yes, a few people gotten invitations to publish their originally self-published book with a traditional publisher, but many others have lost the ability to sell that work to a publisher because it has had prior exposure.  The verdict is still out on this, and publishers aren’t consistent.  Make sure you can live with your decision.

Self-publishing is more acceptable than ever before and technology has closed the quality gap.  With the Internet, you can reach a global audience.  But to succeed, you need to ask yourself six questions and be honest with your answers.

Writing a book is a fantastic step toward achieving your dreams, promoting your business and exploring your creativity.  Make this the year that you make your dream come true!

“Like” my Thrifty Author page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a prize package of author resources: The Thrifty Author –

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Keywords Are King

By Gail Z. Martin

Consumers and reporters often turn first to search engines like Google for their news. When they look for information that is relevant to your products and services, how likely are they to find your Web site and your press releases? Think of your own behavior as a consumer. It’s rare for someone to look further than the first page of search results.

“Keywords” are the terms customers use when searching for information with a site like Google. Many companies make the mistake of focusing solely on getting their company and product name onto search engine results and forget that prospects may not yet know the name of their company or product. These valuable prospects are going to search on more generic descriptors, “used car” instead of “Ford”, “plumbing services” instead of the name of a company, or “color printers” rather than a brand name product.

Choose the keywords carefully for your online content to make it easy to search.  Your content will work harder for you when search engines serve it up in the first page because you’re using strong, popular and relevant keywords.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide –

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What the ______ is Happening to Me?

by Gail Edgell

All of us can relate to being pulled in a thousand different directions, but when do you say enough is enough?

Peri-menopause tends to be a time of re-evaluation for many women.

According to Dr. Northrup, the brain totally rewires during these years. On top of it, altering hormones levels can cause
irritability, anxiety and forgetfulness which can add to uneasiness. The combination of the two can add up to a very ugly midlife if you are not careful.

I recently co-wrote the first book in the six part series, ‘What the Hell is Happening to Me?’. You can get a copy at It is a perfect title for a book about midlife. It is almost as if things add up over the years and one day you say, how did I get like this and what can I do about it? Unfortunately, some women never get to this point and struggle the remaining years of their life. On the other hand, there are women who breeze through this time of their life.

Again, the question is why the difference?

So what do we know about women who feel great at this time of their life?

1. Self – women tend to worry about everyone else and put themselves at the bottom of the list. These women take time for themselves by getting a massage, meditating, deep breathing, taking a walk in the park, etc. Even if it is just a few minutes a day.

If your feathers are being ruffled from this statement, here is what I have to say. You only have so much in your emotional bank account. If it is continually being drained, eventually you will have nothing to give.

Taking care of you helps to balance hormone levels which really get out of whack with stress.

2. Mindset – we know that women that have a positive mindset going into this time of their life, have a better midlife. If you are constantly talking how bad things are in your life, you will emit that energy to the world and it will continue to be fulfilled in your life. Take a moment each day and be grateful for what you do have instead of what is not going right in the world. Most important start changing your beliefs. Realize that stress is only created because we are not living up to a belief that you have set in your own mind.

3. Peace – women who have unresolved emotional distress from prior years, will most likely have a more difficult menopause transition. Things such as marital difficulties, incest and physical abuse are all examples. If you have dealt with these things head on, that is awesome, but if you have stuffed them under the covers, it is time to face them head on. Journal your feelings and even get a professional to help you work through these issues.

4. Healthy Living – women who live a clean life which includes eating whole foods, exercising and minimizing their exposure to environmental toxins, have less menopausal symptoms. This goes hand in hand with every disease out there; making healthy choices decreases your risk of just about every ailment or disease on the planet. You may be asking, but how do I start and my simple answer is just pick one thing to change. For example: commit to drinking one more glass of water a day or eating an extra vegetable, perhaps buying organic poultry or laundry detergent that does not harm you or the environment. Just start.

5. Last, but certainly not least – sit down and make a list of things that are no longer serving you. Start clearing your plate to spend time with you and things that really feed your soul. Perhaps releasing a group you belong to, friends that are negative or even a business relationship. What is draining you?

Then, on a separate sheet of paper write down things that would “feed” your soul. Perhaps it is nature, spending time with your kids, getting a massage, etc. Then put it in your calendar and commit to them.

You are worth it. You have a lot to contribute in this world. Be of service to others but most important love yourself.

Menopause does not have to be a mystery. But it certainly is a cross road in life and a choice. Which one are you going to take.

Take a step toward great health and well being. Get your copy of part 1 of the 6 part series, ‘What the Hell is Happening to Me?’ kindle version by going to Or go read more great articles and find menopause experts at

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A Cart of Your Own

By Gail Z. Martin

Now that you’ve decided on how to accept payments, it’s time to shop for shopping cart programs.

Online carts vary tremendously in cost, ease of use, and flexibility. Ideally, you want a program that has capacity for you to grow without being prohibitively expensive for your transaction volume. is a program popular for its user-friendly attributes. There are many other programs to choose from; just be sure to investigate cost and capabilities before investing.

At a minimum, an online shopping program should enable you to do the following:

  • Accept some form of online payment (ideally, several types of credit cards plus PayPal or a similar online money transfer program)
  • Offer a variety of products
  • Set prices and edit descriptions for your products
  • Deliver your downloadable products as part of the purchase process
  • Notify you via email when a purchase has been made
  • Track applicable sales tax

In addition to the basic functions, you’ll find it helpful if your cart can also:

  • Handle multiple payments (enabling you to offer payment plans)
  • Accept “affiliates”–resellers who promote your products in exchange for a percentage of sales
  • Create autoresponders to continue the conversation with buyers by offering follow up messages via email
  • Provide you with options for how your “buy” link is presented and how your digital products are delivered
  • Create coupon/discount codes

Many template programs, such as Citymax, come with their own shopping cart functionality. While convenient, these programs often have limited capabilities. If you outgrow the template program and want to change your Web hosting, you’ll also have to rebuild your shopping cart. These built-in programs often do not offer enhanced capabilities such as the ability to accept affiliates or process payment plans. Think ahead to determine what range of functions will best serve your business over the next few years.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide –

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What Story are You Living?

by Valerie R. Sheppard

One of my Lollipop Ship sisters (long and lovely story for another time) mentioned being asked this question as part of one of her transformational workshops.  I love its simultaneouslysimple yet profound nature, which I’ve experienced is often the case with big questions or statements.  I couldn’t help but ponder.

The “story” that I’m living has been a primary subject as I’ve been immersed in and devoted to my journey of transformation over the past several years.   This journey started with the simple question of “Who Am I?” in the midst of a profound experience that landed me in the emergency room at Hoag Hospital.  It’s continued with many variations on that theme, as well as completely different themes altogether, as I’ve peeled back layers to get beyond the surface.

I uncovered the past being lived as if it were the present, fiction being lived as if it were truth, and worn-out habits being lived as if they were the only options for how to live.  At the beginning, the journey often left me exhausted and weeping, feeling judgment, blame, shame and guilt.  But as I’ve gone higher into Consciousness and deeper into the True nature of mySelf, I know everything is part of a Greater Plan, and every situation is a gift of my Soul’s unfolding evolution.

The story I’m living now is about being the Peace, Love, Joy and Freedom I came here to be, and to shepherd as many people there with me as I can.  I like to think big, so I’m inviting multitudes into their own such journeys, and I’m sharing my experiences both as witness and supporter.

Is your current story about lack, limitation, fear, sadness, or hurt?  Does it have chaos, clutter, catastrophe behind every door?  Are your relationships characterized by betrayal, silence, anger, or abuse?   These situations are calling you to write a new story.

Is there happiness, but it feels too fleeting?  Are you doing fine, but not feeling content and fulfilled?  Is your life good when you want great?  These situations are calling you to write a new story.

Whatever the seminal simple and profound question is for you, whatever the time and place you ask it, I encourage you to get on with the asking. Ask the really juicy questions about your life, why you’re here, and why you do what you do.  Take time away from the busy-busy-go-go-go nature of that doingness, and invest some time in doingness that’s about getting clarity. Where do your own past and present collide, where is illusion masquerading as reality in your life, and where have old worn-out habits become all there is for you?  What aspects of the story are you holding as the very “you-ness of you,” when they actually no longer serve you? What will be your shift into the story you were meant to live?

It’s only in doing the exploration that we find the treasure.  My treasure chest of awakenings continues to provide me bountiful gifts. I’m living my Happy to Be ME!story.  When will you begin to live yours?

So here you go … What story are you living?

Blessings, Love and Light!

I can help you go deeper than the surface and become free from what no longer serves you in your story.  Join my FREE Heartful Awakening Circle online community at and receive my “Smooth Sailing” eBook, monthly coaching calls and more!  You can also contact me for a complimentary private “From Tired to Inspired” consultation or to book a private coaching engagement:

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The Magic of Setting Intentions

By Gail Z. Martin

My co-blogger Sheryl Eldene really woke me up when we were talking about setting intentions and she suggested setting them daily or even hourly, not just big life goals.

Wow.  That’s so simple, and so powerful—but it never occurred to me until Sheryl mentioned it.

Now, I do it all the time, and I find it makes a tremendous difference in how my days go.  I wake up and set an intention for the day, and it changes everything.  Maybe I have a challenging schedule.  Instead of thinking, “Wow, today’s going to be grueling”, I now set an intention, “Even though it’s busy, I intend to have a clam, productive day.”  It helps reduce the stress level, and makes my perception of the day much more positive.

Hourly intentions help, too.  If I have a meeting with someone who can be challenging, I don’t waste time dreading it.  Instead, I set an intention: “I intend to keep this meeting calm and stay on track, diffusing tension and achieving a win-win.”  It’s amazing how it changes everything!

I usually also try to set intentions for the week.  That’s a little harder, because so many variables can arise, but with an intention stated, it’s easier to stay on track.  An intention is not a to-do list, so it’s not just a list of what you “intend” to accomplish!  Rather, I set a weekly intention of making sure I get the most important tasks done well, refuse to stress about what doesn’t get done, and remain calm and positive to those around me.  I’m certainly not perfect and setting an intention doesn’t mean I’m never stressed or grouchy, but it’s amazing how many fewer rough patches there are when you program your mind with a positive intention.

There’s nothing wrong with setting long-term intentions, but it’s harder for us to stay out track with things that extend far into the future.  Why not break your yearly intentions down into intentions by day, week, month and see what happens?  After all, if we live out our intentions on a daily basis, the days add up!

Give it a try and see how it makes a change in your outlook!

“Like” my 30 Day Results Guide page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a grand prize worth $497! 30 Day Results Guide –

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Give Yourself a Gift — Self Love!

by Valerie R. Sheppard

The words are famous … “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.”   How wonderful to have those words spoken tous.  It’s even sweet to have someone very special to say these words to.  Very storybook romantic.  But here’s the thing.  How many of us say them to ourselves?  If you said “Ickypoo! Why would I do that?”  then I encourage you to read one of my favorite articles on the power of the relationship we keep with ourselves.

Yes, we need to have a relationship with ourselves!  It’s the centerpiece of everything that happens to us, for us, and created by us.  Do you know who you are to you? Hmmm.  If you are at all like I was in the past, you’re more judge, jury and executioner than nurturing advocate.  And I bet you wonder why you’re feeling judged and beaten up?  It’s time to get some SELF-love on. Check it out!

Blessings, Love and Light!


For help loving yourself unconditionally, join my FREE Heartful Awakening Circle online community at  You can also contact me for a complimentary “From Tired to Inspired” consultation or to book a coaching engagement:

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Six Ways to Make Your Book A Reality This Year

By Gail Z. Martin

So you want to write a book?  Congratulations.  Now it’s up to you to bridge the gap between “wanting” and “doing.”

The hardest part of writing a book is making the commitment to set aside the time to do what needs to be done.  That’s not just the writing; it’s also making sure that it’s proof read and as well-edited as possible.  If you decide to go the traditional publishing route, you’ll need to research and pitch your proposal to agents, and once you sign on with an agent, he/she will then pitch your proposal to publishers.  It can be a lengthy process.

If you decide to self-publish, you’ll need to format the book properly, determine things like cover art, and decide whether you’re going to do a paper book print-on-demand or just create an e-book (and handle the conversion, either or both ways).  There will be plenty of research and decisions involved.  And once your book is complete, you’ll need to plan for promotion, even if you have a traditional publisher.  Writing the book is only the beginning!

Still want to do it?  Good.  Here are six things you’ll need to do to make your book a reality this year:

  • Set aside time each week to write, and set a weekly goal of how many pages you want to write.  You may not always reach your goal (or you may even exceed it sometimes), but the goal keeps you on track.  You can always do more, but try not to do less.
  • Start researching now.  Start learning about what agents and editors do, what types of ebook formats are out there, how print-on-demand works and who the major players are.
  • Think about how the book fits into your business, and whether you’re willing to change your business model to take full advantage of the book (for example, adding speaking engagements to your calendar, making time to create and send press releases, write articles, be a guest blogger or pitch yourself as a radio guest.
  • Make connections with other authors and ask plenty of questions to see how they got published, what they would do over, and what they’ve learned the hard way.
  • Consider using a “book shepherd”, someone knowledgeable about the publishing industry who can help you finalize your book, determine your publishing options, and even pitch it to agents if that’s the route you want to go.
  • Take a hard look at the time and effort you’re willing to put into this project, as well as the money you can invest.  The price of book publishing has come way down with print-on-demand and ebooks, but it still requires some investment to hire a book shepherd, get an editor (if you self-publish or need help with the fine points of grammar and punctuation), format your book and create a cover (if you self-publish), and promote your book.

Writing a book is a fantastic step toward achieving your dreams, promoting your business and exploring your creativity.  Make this the year that you make your dream come true!

“Like” my Thrifty Author page on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a prize package of author resources: The Thrifty Author –

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