Monthly Archives: October 2013

Publishing’s Brave New World and What It Means For You

by Gail Z. Martin

We live in interesting times. That’s not just an observation; it’s also a Chinese curse. What makes something “interesting” also tends to make it dangerous, unstable, and uncertain. Welcome to publishing in the modern era.

Technological change, demographic shifts and lifestyle patterns have resulted in major transitions in how publishing works. The old pattern of having a career solely with traditional book or magazine publishers resulting in printed material is fast giving way to a variety of hybrid options that are as varied as the interests of the writers themselves.

I’m the author of seven published epic fantasy novels with major publisher in New York and London (Orbit Books and Solaris Books), three non-fiction books with a different New York publisher (Career Press), three more non-fiction books with a regional press (Comfort Publishing). I’ve participated in a dozen or so anthologies with small presses; some of these anthologies were funded by Kickstarter. And I self-publish two series of ebook short stories on Kindle, Kobo and Nook. I’m part of the Brave New World.

Authors with well-established traditional careers with major publishers are now experimenting (quite successfully) with bringing out their own reverted rights-books via ebook, either on their own or through small publishing companies set up just for that purpose. This means that authors are seeing revenue from books that may have been out of print for decades, and readers once again have the chance to experience old favorites they have not been able to purchase.

We’re also seeing traditionally published authors with major houses doing self-published short fiction on ebook, either between-the-books novellas or series-related short stories. This is a boon to readers, who get additional material with favorite characters to tide them over between books, but it also builds an income stream for authors independent of their publishing contracts.

In some cases, traditional publishers may choose to bring out books in ebook only format. This may be a novel with a niche audience, or it may be an older book whose sales numbers don’t justify additional print runs. The exciting thing for readers is that the books remain available, instead of going out of print. And for authors, the same is true, because their books still benefit from the editing, layout and cover apart services of a large publisher and remain on the market instead of disappearing from sale.

Yet another variation involves established authors working with multiple publishing houses at once, or working simultaneously with both a large New York house and a smaller niche press on different, unrelated books. Not long ago, such an arrangement might have been possible for superstar authors with enough clout to get what they wanted, but taboo for most midlist authors. Now, it’s becoming common among authors at all levels.

Small presses are coming into their own since technology allows them the production and print quality that was previously only possible with big publishers, and since the unfortunate demise of many physical book stores has made store distribution less of a differentiating factor. Not only is this good news for rising authors, but it provides more options for established authors who have a niche book that may be better served by a press catering to that audience.

An interesting option involves established authors, some with superstar track records, starting their own small presses to publish their niche novels and books of other authors. This reminds me of the trend for successful rock bands and artists to go start their own record labels and begin producing music for other performers. I think this is an especially interesting trend to watch, since it could be a way for more new and up-and-coming authors to get more ink in the marketplace while making connections with senior authors who can mentor them. This option seems like a promising way to get more good books into the marketplace without the bureaucracy that can sometimes paralyze large publishers.

Here’s the big advantage for aspiring and rising authors. Once the big pros blaze the trail, these options lose whatever stigma they might have had, meaning that the chances for publication and the career choices explode. I think we may be coming into an era where we see more fabulous book choices available for readers and more income-generating options for writers than ever before. That’s worth celebrating.

Ice Forged will be a Kindle Daily Deal with a special one-day price of just $1.99 only on October 31, 2013! Get it here:

Come check out all the free excerpts, book giveaways and other goodies that are part of my Days of the Dead blog tour! Trick-or-Treat you way through more than 30 partner sites where you’ll find brand new interviews, freebies and more–details at

Reign of Ash, book two in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga launches in April, 2014 from Orbit Books. My new urban fantasy, Deadly Curiosities, comes out in July, 2014 from Solaris Books. I bring out two series of ebook short stories with a new story every month for just .99 on Kindle, Kobo and Nook—check out the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures or the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.

About the author: Gail Z. Martin is the author of Ice Forged in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. In 2014, Gail launches a new urban fantasy novel, Deadly Curiosities, from Solaris Books. She is also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures. Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on, at blog and

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Promotional Tools on Facebook and Twitter to Grow Your Business

Growing your business productively means understanding all of the tools available to you.  Just as smart phones and tablet PCs have redefined productivity on the go, social media has redefined how people communicate, and more specifically, how consumers want to communicate with businesses.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the three major social media platforms.  It’s worth taking some time to look at how Facebook and Twitter can help promote your company while boosting your productivity.

Facebook basics for business

Facebook now has over one billion users.  While Facebook was originally designed as a recreational place to connect with friends, businesses were quick to see the potential.  In fact, businesses have embraced Facebook faster than the Facebook architecture has adapted, leaving Facebook often scrambling to catch up to how its subscribers want to use the site.

Being present on social media for a company today is much like being present on the Web: you are judged negatively if you’re not there.  Just as many consumers would not consider a company to be a “real” business without a Web site, so many purchasers look for a Facebook presence to see if you are “real.”  What matters is that consumers have decided that they want to have a two-way conversation with the companies they patronize, and firms that abstain from being part of the dialog do so at their peril.

At the very least, you need to have a Facebook Business Page.  As Facebook has adapted to the needs of business users, these Business Pages have become easier to create and use.  Facebook wants businesses to promote from a Business Page and not from a personal profile.  Ignoring this rule can get your page deleted from Facebook. Additionally, direct mail marketing is another effective tool for promoting business, allowing targeted communication with potential customers through physical mail, offering a personal touch and potentially yielding high engagement and response rates.

A Business Page works a little differently from a personal profile page in that a Business Page can’t “friend” individual users.  Instead, users are invited to “like” the page and thereby opt-in to receive automatic updates whenever the page adds new information.

Today’s consumers value a connection through Facebook because they want to be able to express their opinions, ask questions, and feel as though they are being heard.  They want to do business with people, not faceless corporations.  Companies that learn to listen can reap valuable benefits, from uncovering (and being able to fix) customer service issues to discovering competitive advantages when a rival firm has dropped the ball, to new product ideas from the suggestions of loyal purchasers. And if your business faces financial difficulties or challenges during this process, visit for resources and expert guidance to help maintain financial stability and long-term success.

When you create your Business Page, make sure both your logo and your photo are prominently displayed.  People need to find you as a business, but they want to connect with you as the person behind the business.  Fill in the Information section, making sure your content is all about the benefit you provide to your customers and what you do for them (not just a laundry list of products and services).  Include your other Web sites, links to blogs and podcasts and business contact information so your Facebook fans can find you on the Internet. Additionally, take some time to learn about voluntary liquidation cases to better understand how to handle your business strategically in case you ever need to consider that option.

If you already have a profile page, Facebook wants you to use it primarily for personal/recreational content.  However, it’s OK to talk about business some of the time, just as you would in real life.  Also, with a profile you can invite people to “like” your Business Page, and suggest that your “friends” also visit your Business Page.  Just keep your profile mostly personal, to remain compliant with Facebook’s Terms of Service.

Excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Z. Martin

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Trash to Treasure—What’s the Value of the “Junk” in Your Mental Attic?

When I was a kid, I thought the big boxes in the attic and basement were “junk.”

After all, no one ever opened any of them or did anything with them. They weren’t fun like Christmas decorations or useful like school supplies or enjoyable, like books.  The boxes had been in the basement before I was born, and they were still there, almost half a century later, when we cleaned out the house a few years ago after my mother died and my father went into a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.

Maybe it was all the childhood warnings that the boxes were “Important”, or maybe a vague idea that they represented a critical point in my parents’ lives, but with a little repacking, the mysterious boxes went to a storage unit.  I knew they were something my father wouldn’t want to part with in his lifetime, but I had no clue as to whether anyone else would find them as fascinating as he did.

When dad passed away at the end of March, everything needed to be appraised. That meant unpacking all the boxes in storage so the contents could be inventoried, photographed and their value identified.

That was when I truly realized the value of the “stuff” in the boxes.

You see, when my father and mother were first married, they went “Out West” to North Dakota.  Dad, a city kid from Reading, PA, always loved Native American culture since his childhood listening to the Lone Ranger on the radio.  As a newly-minted doctor, he seized the opportunity to go serve at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock reservation.

But his real passion was meeting the Native Americans who remembered the old ways, people in their 80s and 90s who had survived the Custer battle, who had seen Sitting Bull, who knew what life was like before the reservations.  He even learned to speak Sioux.

During the day, mom taught school and dad dealt with everything from delivering babies to tuberculosis to gunshot wounds at the hospital.  But evenings and weekends, they got to know the elders, participated in the traditions and celebrations, and captured the stories of history’s witnesses on paper, audiotape and 8 mm film.  On July 29, 1950, mom and dad were adopted into the Sioux tribe.  It was a life-long dream come true.

As they got to know their neighbors, mom and dad preserved pieces of that history—pottery, textiles, beaded clothing, moccasins….things many people at the time considered to be of little value.

Guess what was in the boxes?  A time-capsule of Native American history.  Dad’s collection is being curated by Freeman’s Auction House in Philadelphia for a sale later this year, and in the meantime, part of the collection is heading to a noted Western museum to be part of an exhibit.  Needless to say, it turned out to be a lot more valuable than I ever dreamed as a kid.

What does this have to do with your business?  Plenty.  Because I believe we all have valuable “junk” in our mental attics and basement that we haven’t put to good use.

What do you know that could be earning you money, but you haven’t used it because you don’t recognized its value?

What expertise do you have that you haven’t offered to the world because you (mistakenly) believe that if you know something, “everyone” knows it? (They don’t!)

Take a moment now to make a list of what you’re good at, what comes naturally, or what you have a knack for doing.  Take a good, hard look at the list.

Where are the hidden gems, the treasures you could be using to create teleseminars, webinars, live events, info-products, and other useful materials that help others AND boost your income?  (If you have difficulty seeing the jewels in the “junk” on your list, do this exercise with a friend and swap lists.)

We’re often too close to our knowledge and expertise to realize that what is “common sense” to us isn’t common at all.  It’s not just about what you know; it’s about your unique perspective that has been forged by the road you’ve traveled.  No one else can share that information in exactly the same way, no matter how many other people are out there talking about the topic.

And trust me, there are people who need what you have to offer who just haven’t been able to “connect” with the message of other experts.  These people—your “tribe”–will light up with a breakthrough because you speak their language like no one else.

So take a good look at the “junk” in your mental attic and make up your mind to turn your trash into treasure!

Want to continue the conversation and share your thoughts and questions? Connect with me on Twitter @GailMartinPR!

Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada improve their marketing results in 30 days. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast. She’s the author of 30 Days to Social Media Success and The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book. Find her online at, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and check out her Facebook page at 30 Day Results Guide.

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6 Business Breakthroughs I Learned from Superheroes

by Gail Z. Martin

Ok, I’ll admit it—I love superheroes.  Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Spider-man—I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, and a new movie will still see me standing in line, clutching my ticket and popcorn, waiting for a thrill.


But if you think superheroes are kid stuff, think again.  I’ve learned several important business lessons from those bigger-than-life characters, and I’d like to share them with you.


1. Bad luck can be the beginning of a whole new amazing career.  Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider, and became Spider-Man. Fantastic Four were exposed to radiation, and gained superpowers to save the world.  Batman lost his parents, but became the savior of Gotham City. In every case, these superheroes overcame tragedy and personal loss to become something far more than they ever expected they could be.  What have you overcome that has prepared you to step up to challenges and play at a whole new level?

2. With great power comes great responsibility.  Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben warns him that to whom much is given, much will be expected.  When you’re successful in business and have more than you need, remember to give back to your community and to those less fortunate.  Use your power, great or small, to make the world a better place and ease the suffering of those around you.

3. Teamwork gets you farther than grandstanding, even if you’ve got amazing skills.  It’s the lesson nearly every superhero has to learn the hard way early in his/her career.  Just because you’re hot stuff doesn’t mean you can go it alone.  You are far more powerful with the help of allies than you could ever be alone.

4. Everyone has his kryptonite.  Superman has X-ray vision, amazing strength and super speed.  He’s invincible, except for this green rock that makes him powerless.  Everyone, no matter how successful, has a kryptonite that takes the wind out of their sails.  The next time you are in awe of a celebrity speaker, fantastically successful entrepreneur or visionary leader and feeling insignificant by comparison, realize that they, too, have their weaknesses and insecurities.  They’re not Superman, so you shouldn’t feel as if you have to be a super hero and perfect in everything to succeed.

5. Don’t be a jerk.  Tony Stark (Iron Man) learns this the hard way, and the lesson is expensive.  Value the people who are in your life, and let them know it.  Thank those who enable your success.  And even if you are smarter, faster, and stronger than everyone around you, don’t flaunt your superiority.  Instead, use your abilities to help others shine.

6. Anger creates more problems.  Scientist David Banner turns into the Incredible Hulk loses control when he gets angry, and turns into a huge rage-filled monster.  During his angry rampages, lots of things get destroyed, but Banner wakes up bruised, battered and in worse shape than before he got angry.  Take a hint from the Hulk.  Anger makes monsters of the best people.  Don’t act out.

Those are just some of the things I’ve learned from superheroes, but the most important lesson is this: You can change the world BECAUSE you are not like everyone else. You are special, wonderful and unique, and the journey that brought you to where you are today makes you uniquely qualified to use your abilities to make a big difference in the lives of those around you.

Who are your favorite superheroes and what lessons did you learn from them?  I’d love to know. Want to continue the conversation and share your thoughts and questions? Connect with me on Twitter @GailMartinPR!

Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada improve their marketing results in 30 days. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast. She’s the author of 30 Days to Social Media Success and The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book. Find her online at, on Twitter @GailMartinPR and check out her Facebook page at 30 Day Results Guide.



By Gail Z. Martin

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