Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!


 19 LIFE LESSONS FOR SUCCESS CONVINCED THESE WOMEN ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
People told these women it couldn’t be done. They did it anyway.
Lorelei Kraft’s inspiring story, Anything is Possible!, tells of the successful efforts of 12 Founding Mothers to create a multi-building crafts-selling venue, The Village of the Smoky Hills in the north country of Minnesota, erecting the complex in five weeks and five days, welcoming over 100,000 visitors annually and providing work for hundreds of people in this relatively poor backwoods area.
The 12 Founding mothers ranged in age from 32 to 57, with most in their 40s. They included teachers, community volunteers, a nurse, an accountant, a candle-maker, wives, mothers and grandmothers. They applied for a loan in January, got it in February, bought the land in March, broke ground in April, and opened The Villages in May. In its first year, the Village got the top tourism awards for all of Minnesota.
In Part Two of her book, Lorelei Kraft lists 19 “Life Lessons for Success,” lessons she learned from her early efforts to start her candle-making company and from the creation of The Village:

Don't Let Reality Get in Your Way
Ms. Kraft says she never lets the "reality" of not having particular training get in the way of accomplishing her goals. She writes that determination and faith in yourself plus the wisdom to seek out knowledge is more important than training. Over time, she started several businesses and even became an accomplished painter…without formal training.

What If I Had Quit One Store Too Soon?
Hoping to sell wedding candles, she went from one store in Milwaukee to another to another, hundreds of miles from her home. She received one rejection after another. About to quit, she tried one more store, and she got her first order, which started a business that now sells candles to 6000 stores in the U.S.

Experts (and Critics) Are Often Wrong
Especially when they say it cannot be done.

Don't Laugh – There Has Got to Be a Way to Get It Done!
Where there’s a will, often there’s a way.

Don't Look Back and Whine
Look forward and laugh.

"Luck" Is Being Ready When the Universe Opens a Door
Rejection is information. Being ready is crucial to using that information.

Don't Take Your Eyes off the Goal
Ignore distractions.

Don't Be a "Yes – But" Person
Be a “yes – I can change that” person.

Be Flexible While Staying True to Your Values
Find a way to keep your principles while being practical.

Successful People Think Ahead
Don’t get surprised. Stay alert.

Women Have a Different Way of Doing Things
A nurturing attitude got the best from those who were helping out.

Combining the Best of Female and Male Leadership Techniques
Planning and delegating are important, Kraft notes, but so are flexibility and consideration, “I set up the candle factory to have the working conditions I would like if I worked for someone else.”

Capitalize on What Makes You Stand Out From the Crowd
Your distinguishing characteristics can be features, not flaws.

Know When to Pick Other People's Brains
Be humble enough to ask for and to take advice. Ask for directions.

Always Play "The Game" Well
Know the playing field and “the rules.”. When the Founding Mothers sought bank funding, they made sure to have a first-class proposal to present. It worked.

It's Just as Easy to Think Big as to Think Small
Why not? Thinking small limits your future, generates less enthusiasm. Big dreams power big accomlishments.

Harness the Power of Time
Make time your servant: do the most important 20% of tasks that will return 80% of the value. Prioritize and stay disciplined.

Extraordinary Businesses Can Come from Ordinary Things
Fried chicken: KFC. Hamburgers: McDonalds. Coffee: Starbucks.

We All Have Immense Power to Change Our Corner of the World
As Kraft demonstrates, “The Founding Mothers built a village and changed the face of tourism in their corner of Minnesota.” .

Don’t take “no” for an answer. Get to “yes!”

Questions: What project might you start yourself or with others? Which of these lessons can you apply to your goals? Please join in the conversation.
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Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his WriteYourBookWithMe.com. Douglas’s life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, now receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, care discussed at their website here
 ###

Published in edited form at

http://sixtyandme.com/these-19-amazing-life-lessons-convinced-12-women-to-start-a-craft-village/

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: FAITH THAT’S NOT BLIND

Faith That's Not Blind: A Brief Introduction to Contemporary Arguments  For the Existence of God
   
         In 125 pages with over 100 endnotes, educator, philosopher, J. Steve Miller of Kennesaw State University, co-author of Why Brilliant People Believe Nonsense and author of Richard Dawkins and His God Delusion, presents in this book the major arguments for believing in the existence of God.
Perhaps “balanced” with one of the books by atheists he cites, such as Dawkins, this would make an excellent textbook for a high school or college course. It is pleasure for the intelligent layman to read and ponder.
There are 20 “exhibits,” short chapters discussing approaches to the question of demonstrating and understanding the existence of God. Each one incudes discussion, references, and a chance to evaluate how convincing the reader found the arguments.
As a scientist, I am swayed by the idea that the Big Bang was the Act of Creation. Further, the “fine-tuning” of the significant physical constants of the universe, necessary for anything like it to exist, requires an extraordinarily small probability to occur by chance. Those scientists who posit an infinite number of universes (the multiverse) have chosen an option that makes less sense to me than God as the Creator. Why He created it and what He wants is unclear to me, however.   

Others have found the existence of evil a sticking point in their contemplation of God: “If God is good, He is not God. If God is God, He is not good.” Miller notes that this argument is surprisingly weak: we don’t know what “good” is, and we do know that freedom, free-will, includes the ability to make bad choices, harming ourselves and others. I once had a dream in which the world was perfect, and God (I think) asked me, “Now what?” Nothing was left to do, and doing something was likely to cause imperfection: this is the opposite of how the universe appeared to skeptical French poet Paul Valery, as “a defect in the purity of Non-being “.

The great mathematician and philosopher Leibniz was parodied by Voltaire in V.’s novel, Candide, for believing “this is the best of all possible worlds.” But Leibniz must be right, if God is benevolent: we just don’t know what is “possible,” nor do we know the trade-offs necessary to create what is “best.”

This handsomely produced, thoughtful, very well-written book deserves a wide audience. I received it as a gift from the author, without an obligation to review it. I’m glad I read it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Advertising on Social Media




Public relations management and book promotion are essentially ways to get free advertising. If you are making a few dollars per book or less, you need to be frugal. I spent almost nothing on advertising Ting and I. What I did do was promote it on its own website, tingandi.com, and on Twitter and through my blog, by serializing it, as described above.

As a benchmark comparison, we’ll price Social Media (Facebook) advertising against local classified ads. My paid advertising has been almost exclusively for my coaching program, Write Your Book with Me, as each person who enrolls will spend about $1000 on my coaching and editing, taking roughly a year. Over the past few years, I have run a weekly classified ad in our small local paper, The Wallkill Valley Times, at the modest cost of $5 per week:

     WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR BOOK
     With my help. Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
     845-778-4204. douglas@tingandi.com
 or
     TELL YOUR STORY. WRITE YOUR BOOK
With my help. Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
     845-778-4204. douglas@tingandi.com

I got about one client per year from these ads, at the cost of $250/year. Perhaps I picked up some goodwill from the editor as well, as the paper ran a couple of stories about me and my authors.

Accommodating myself slowly to the twenty-first century, I sought and received some valuable free consulting from SCORE advisor Edison Guzman, head of A E Advertising (aeadvertising.com). As I described in a testimonial I wrote for SCORE and Edison [reciprocity, one hand washing the other]:
“…and Guzman SCOREs!” If small business had a play-by-play announcer, that would have been his exclamation, commenting on the help SCORE’s Edison Guzman has given me. Edison’s seminars and counseling sessions have provided me the most value I’ve received from my membership in the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and I have gotten a lot from being a member.

Edison got my attention this April with his day-long free SCORE seminar, “Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners,” although I had already known, liked, and been impressed by him during my four years in the Chamber. Not only did the seminar awaken me to useful Facebook strategies, I found I was eligible and welcome to obtain free business counseling through SCORE at the Chamber. Who knew? Sign me up!
I really needed Edison’s help with advertising, in particular on Social Media, like Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. His first counseling session started with a discussion of my goals: I help people write and publish their books---as a coach, editor, even co-author---and I wanted another half-dozen clients this year.

Next came his exploratory question, “What is your unique value proposition? What sets you apart? Tell me about yourself and your business.” As we talked, Edison grew even more enthusiastic. He quickly nailed it, a theme for me: “Why would a former Harvard professor want to help you write your book for only $25 per week?” That became the basis of the Social Media campaign: on my blog, on Twitter, on Facebook. In subsequent sessions, he then showed me in detail how to use these tools successfully to recruit my next set of would-be authors.

The difference between a lecture and an expert’s hands-on consulting, which is what our SCORE sessions became, is the difference between learning a bit about something and actually knowing how to do it. I knew I wanted to advertise on Facebook as well as use its free features, but I needed help in negotiating the various set-up pages, in choosing my target market, my message, the optimal mode of delivering it, and even the best titles for my ads. Edison helped me by a combination of “fishing” for me and “teaching me how to fish,” so I could do it myself soon after. So many options existed, and Edison explained each of them to help me make good decisions.
Discouragement can come easily to the small businessman. Actually, I am of medium size, but my business is small, and I don’t always persevere. Without Edison’s guidance, I might have given up on advertising on Facebook, thinking the cost per response my ads were getting to be too expensive, but he reassured me that my Facebook ads were doing very well. We tweaked them, and they did even better.

Edison, drawing on his advertising expertise, taught me some of the factors that help motivate potential buyers to close the deal rather than procrastinate. We developed a campaign that reached potential clients with attractive messages about becoming authors [they are authoritative] or memoirists [they preserve memories], emphasizing the limited number of candidates to be accepted [six] in the limited two-week enrollment period. All along, we’ve had fun, as I have been learning so many things I had not been taught as a physics major.

I am looking forward to continuing to access Edison’s valuable expertise. The Social Media campaign he helped me with has already brought me half my quota of new clients, and the enrollment period has not yet begun.
I’d say, we SCOREd!

As the testimonial attests, I am high on advertising professional Edison Guzman and his help. I attended his day-long seminar “Facebook Marketing for the Small Business Owner.” [He tells me that these seminars net him 10-20% of the attendees as clients, even though he does no self-promotion during them.]

In April 2015, there were over 1.4 billion Facebook users. Almost 900 million of them log in daily. Let’s see: if I got only 1% of them, I would have 9 million clients. That seems optimistic. However, he reported that 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. Who am I to argue with that?

There are many ways to reach people via Facebook: Timeline, Like, Share, Chat, Comment, Photos, Video, Tags, Groups, Lists, Pages, Events, Subscribe, and Advertise. Edison focused on advertising, which has its own Facebook sub-specialties: buying ads for the Newsfeed or the Right-Hand Column, or for Mobile viewing; Boosting a Post, getting others to Like your page, etc.

Edison Guzman advised me that before we start an Ad Campaign, we recognize that our efforts to get others to know, like, and trust [K, L, T] should reflect an awareness that people are not on Facebook to be sold stuff, but to connect with others and be entertained and informed. His five crucial ingredients to advertising on Facebook: 

    You must create a Page specific to your audience. [I set up Douglas Winslow Cooper with a link to my web site writeyourbookwithme.com.]
    
    You must target your audience with laser-like precision. [Tricky, as a discussion of my subsequent efforts will reveal. I did figure my would-be memoirists would likely be women over 50 and my businessmen would be men over 50.]
    
        You must have attention-grabbing images. [As a writer, I naively put much more emphasis on words rather than pictures. Make sure you have free images or pay the producer, or you can get sued,]
   
       You must use logical headlines appropriate to your reader. [See below, I thought to reach adults generally with “Tell your story,” memoirists with “Memoirs preserve memories,” and business folk with “Authors are authorities.”
    
   You must have an appropriate Call to Action. [What’s that? Click here to…go to my web site, go to my blog site, go to my book site, Like my Page, etc.]

Edison next discussed how to target your audience. Some of this targeting is by demographics: geographical location, age, gender. Facebook also has information on their interests, the categories and hashtags they like, their friends and Likes and groups and …. Presumably the FBI has somewhat more information, but Facebook may be close.

To advertise on Facebook, get to know their rules, especially their taboos.

I already had a blog and a LinkedIn account and a Facebook page with a business page having 50 Likes. I had nearly 10,000 “Followers” on Twitter, about half of whom Followed me when I started as a political Tweeter primarily, and the other half of whom Followed me in my reincarnation as a writer-coach-editor.

I knew nothing about advertising on Facebook, and this became my first priority. Edison showed me how to set up a simple ad. First, we get attention with a headline: “Tell your story.” “Authors are authorities.” “Memoirs preserve memories.” Then we follow with a sort description, such as “Write your book with a professional book coach.” Don’t forget your Unique Selling Proposition and your Call to Action.

Although I got to it later rather than sooner, running a “Like” campaign on Facebook is a good idea, because you can then target those who Liked you with your ads. [No good deed goes unpunished.] Essentially, post stuff on your Page that your target audience will Like, then let Facebook seek out people in the categories you choose to induce them to Like it, using your ad and a Call to Action of “Click on Like.” Well-performing ads will cost about $0.01/person reached and about $0.50- $1.00 per person who Likes the site.

Edison directed me to Create Ads on Facebook. What I wanted to do was get people to go to my “lucrative” coaching writeyourbookwithme.com site, rather than my message memoir site, as I make less than a dollar per book from selling Ting and I. First, I ran a week of ads which targeted men and women in the U.S. I chose the lowest cost, $5/day. The goal was to get the readers to click on writeyourbookwithme.com. The metrics we followed were cost/reach, usually around a penny a person who saw the ad, and cost/click, which ranged from a half dollar to a few dollars per person who clicked on the link to my website.

Ideally we wanted people who clicked on the site to then fill out our contact form, getting their email address and their expression of interest in writing a book. I tried male only and then female only, with different pictures for each, and used “writing” as an interest. I stuck with targeting people over 50 years of age. I got much the same results with highly local ads as with all-U.S. ads. A Facebook staffer wrote me not to worry too much about optimizing demographic parameters. I learned elsewhere that Facebook does some dynamic adjusting of the targeting as the ad period continues, so understanding exactly what worked and what didn’t is obscured with this “black box,” while it does improve performance.

As it has turned out, most options tried gave us reach at a $0.01/person, with 1% to 2% clicking the site at about, thus $0.50-$1.00 per click. Spending $400 obtained about 4 new coaching clients, thus a cost of $100 per client. “About 4” indicates that how and why they found me was not always clear.

To put it into perspective, my classified ads cost me about twice per writing client as did my Facebook ads. My book site, tingandi.com, cost me only about $100 over four years, has had about 4000 hits, and I have no way to know how many books it sold, but it had to be at most 200.

I viewed the advertising expense as partly an educational expense. Facebook let me see how many potential ad viewers I had for a variety of demographic, geographic and interest parameters. I experimented with different photos [supplied by Facebook] and even different wording. The experiments had to be set up carefully so that only one variable was changed as we went from one ad to the next.

Edison taught me how to add a sense of urgency to the campaigns and how to develop attention-grabbing headlines. I also found on the Internet useful information and tools for generating effective titles and headlines (headlinerr.com).


I concluded that for high-value enterprises like coaching and consulting, Social Media advertising is worthwhile. For indie authors with books to sell, the price is likely too steep. Your experience may be quite different, and “past performance is no guarantee of future results.”


###

Excerpted from my Write Your Book with Me, available from Outskirts Press and online booksellers like amazon.com and bn.com.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Turned a $150 Legal Advice Lemon into $10,000 of Lemonade



At a local meeting on health care financing, a lawyer neighbor of mine, “Sam,” offered a free half-hour consultation on estate planning at the large law firm on whose staff he serves. Being hopelessly na├»ve, and forgetting the rule “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” I signed up, also thinking I’d be doing him a favor as he’d get a little credit from his colleagues for having gotten an enrollee.

A Form Arrives from the Firm

A few days before the consultation, a six-page questionnaire came from the firm, seeking lots of information, some of which I did not bother to ferret out and some of which was useful to me. Mildly alarmed at the formality and complexity of the request, I filled out the form partially and brought it to the appointment, wondering whether all this was needed for a simple review of our estate planning.

Meeting in the Big Room

Sam and I met in the firm’s large, handsome meeting room; we occupied a small fraction of the giant central table. His secretary made copies of my back-up material and left us to explore my plans.

Most of the free half-hour was consumed in Sam’s reading my material and asking me questions. Toward the end, he mentioned that any time over the half-hour would be billed to me at $300 per hour, six times what I made when I retired as a scientist 15 years ago. I indicated we’d have to wrap this up in an additional half-hour or less, as the free consultation was going to cost me more than I had expected. And so we did, with my free consultation costing us $150.

A $150 Lemon Becomes $10,000 in Lemonade

Our wills and our Power of Attorney forms were in good shape, and the trust fund for Tina, my beloved, disabled wife was appropriate. We did not make plans to minimize our marital net worth to qualify for Medicaid subsidies, as a philosophical position (we are not really the deserving poor) and a prudential one (you end up giving other people control over your finances).

What we did do, and what I advise our readers to do, is to assure that our assets became held in joint ownership or with the spousal partner named as the beneficiary, thus passing upon death to the other spouse without charge. Our home is jointly owned, as are most of our investments. However, several investments, totaling over $200,000, were in my name only, without a designated beneficiary. As advised by the lawyer, adding Tina’s name as beneficiary only took a few calls and filling out a few short forms. Furthermore, the search of our financial records also turned up a stock certificate we’d forgotten about.

Where we live, a lawyer gets 5% of the estate as executor, which means $10,000 on $200,000 in investments that are not jointly owned or having a named beneficiary. Avoiding this, for my $150 “free” consultation, turned this lemon into lemonade.

My Free Advice

There is no such thing as a free lunch, though occasionally you can find a diamond in the tuna salad sandwich…or take home a lemon and make lemonade. 



 ###



Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com. His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.


Published in a somewhat different form at
http://sixtyandme.com/how-i-turned-a-150-legal-advice-lemon-into-10000-of-lemonade/

Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: THE CON MAN OF LAGOS


  
Engrossing Espionage Novel

Have you ever been to Lagos, Nigeria? No? Neither had I, until I read this engaging novel by world-traveler Francesca Salerno. Her depiction of Lagos and of the now-capital of Nigeria, Abuja, made me feel I had landed in the west coast of Africa, along with her heroes, CIA counter-terrorism officer Kate Langley and former Pakistani spy chief Mahmood Mahmood, sometime allies, longtime friends, embroiled in trying to keep nuclear warheads from the terrorist Boka Haram al Qaeda fanatics and prevent a jihadi from detonating conventional explosives embedded in tons of toxic chemicals downtown.
The novel moves rapidly, with Kate Langley and other Westerners trying to find the causes for and prevent further consequences of the explosive sinking of a Russian nuclear submarine off the coast of Nigeria. They are aided by such admirable Nigerians as Goodfellow Obadu and his beautiful and bright wife, Kema, a couple determined to do what is right. They are opposed by an evil former schoolmate of Obadu: a fanatic Moslem man intent on bringing terror to Lagos. Many interesting characters populate this story, and most of them are more-or-less admirable, and several sub-plots add spice.
Although this is the second of Salerno’s novels about the Langley-Mahmood pair, it can be read without having read the first, The Pakistan Conspiracy, which I have just downloaded to read soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if a third in the series is in gestation.

Here's the amazon.com link:

REVIEW: DETOXING OF CAREGIVERS



Part memoir, part self-improvement text, part professional advisory, this often-moving book by Professor Lawrence T. Force implicitly and explicitly delivers for caregivers what its subtitle promises: key tips for survival, strength and patience. Pay attention: many (perhaps most) of us will be in the caregiver role, if we are not there already.
I first met Larry Force at a symposium on alternatives for care for seniors, held at local library. His keynote talk was impressive in its wisdom and its obvious caring. As a gerontologist, Dr. Force has decades of experience in the field, with particular emphasis on victims of Alzheimer’s, including his dear mother. His doctoral study, almost four decades ago, centered on the behavior of family members in accessing adult day care for their relatives. I was flattered to be invited subsequently to speak to his class about being an advocate for patients and about being a caregiver myself.
Dr. Force has written numerous professional articles, including one in which he described, as he does here, four styles of caregiving: the Hero (who does it courageously and without complaint), the Martyr (who grudgingly supplies help while bemoaning being a caregiver), the Snake (who slithers away from the situation) and the Devastated (who can barely help, due to overwhelming grief over the predicament of their loved one). The case histories he summarizes make the reader hope to be in the Hero category, while recognizing what that may entail.
Subsequently, he and his colleagues have also identified the Wolves (who swarm in, take control and isolate the patient from the family) and the Liquidators (whose concern is not the patient but the patient’s assets).
Dr. Force notes that every day, in the USA, 10,000 people turn 65, many of whom will need a period of prolonged care before they die. That care is likely to be provided by a spouse or a child and eventually a nursing home.
On the subject of nursing homes, it encouraged me to learn of the excellent experience Dr. Force and his family had regarding the care for several years of his mother in a Catholic facility New York, and his thank-you letter to that organization is a model of its genre.
It’s all about you, he emphasizes. “You cannot take care of someone else or be present for someone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.” Caregiving includes paying attention to your own well-being.
Part of his experience was nearly dying, “a yearlong odyssey that would change my life.” Bedridden for months, he was urged by a friend to change his thinking radically, to view himself as “competent, in control, healthy, strong….” He had been introduced to the healing power of mental imagery, a power that can benefit both the cared for and the caregiver. It led to his becoming certified in hypnotherapy and re-orienting his practice to include cognitive, wellness, and exercise elements. Often, diet and exercise produce big improvements in well-being.
Mentally, we are at our best when we are neither dwelling in the past nor worrying about the future, but experiencing and observing and being mindful of the present. Dr. Force discusses mindfulness and exercise (including structured breathing) and imagery/visualization. We want to establish beneficial habits and eliminate harmful ones. If we are aware we are repeating self-defeating habits, we are on the way to erasing them. He offers a detailed how-to guide to enhanced relaxation and imagery.
The book includes several short pieces by other caregivers, emphasizing the variety of situations and experiences, yet reinforcing the point that if the caregiver is not careful of self, he or she will not be able to continue to supply support when it is needed.
In his practice, Dr. Force applies “Holistic triage…natural supports to enhance cognitive (thinking and imagery), energy (nutrition, wellness and spirituality), and movement (exercise, strength building, yoga, Pilates, and breath work)… [and] internal reflection.” This discussion takes the book beyond do-it-yourself, but we are encouraged to do much of this on our own: “Change what can be changed.”   
While upbeat in tone and prescriptions, the book includes some very touching material, including M.J.’s story, about the nearly impossible situation she has been managing at home, trying to keep from having to put her cognitively impaired husband into a nursing facility. Declining health aggravated by medical errors have put their lives into a tailspin. There may not be a solution to her situation, but we read it and think, “I wish her well. Thank God, I’m not M.J.”
Chapter 10 discusses nutrition and exercise, with input from registered dietician Louise Turino. To have a sound mind in a sound body, you have to eat right and exercise. Lots of information is presented, though I skimmed it, as I think I already know how to eat and exercise. I did particularly like this quote from the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise is meditation in motion.”
The book ends with a helpful “Resource Section,” giving annotated links to organization web sites, with descriptions of what each contains.
As a long-time caregiver myself, I strongly recommend this book for others who rise to this sometimes-herculean challenge.



The book is available through amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Detoxing-Caregivers-Survival-Strength-Patience-ebook/dp/B01MDU3E8Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1478532145&sr=1-1&keywords=detoxing+caregivers









Saturday, November 5, 2016

Promoting Your Book by Twitter and Blog







TWEETING ON TWITTER

Twitter lets you reach a wide audience with a short message, 140 characters of less, a Tweet. On Twitter I’ve been  twitter.com/douglaswcooper, aka @DouglasWCooper] since June 2009, I have Tweeted 25,000 Tweets and acquired over 12,000 Followers, people who have agreed to let my Tweets pass through their Home page. On the average, my Tweets are seen by about 100 people each time. About 1% to 2% of each time, someone will respond, such as clicking on a link, Retweeting to others’ Followers, being Favorited, or inducing someone to go from my Tweet to my Profile page, where they see a very short biography that mentions my Ph.D., my memoir, Ting and I, as well as my coaching, and shows the link to writeyourbookwithme.com.

As they pass through others’ Home pages, Tweets have a short lifetime, one estimate being eight minutes. About 10% of my Followers are on Twitter during any hour, thus an audience now of 1000, so getting 100 of them to see the Tweet isn’t bad, the rather common 1% response rate out of the 10,000 person base.

Without celebrity, how did I build up to 10,000 Followers? My advice:

1.   Follow lots of people and organization whose Tweets you find interesting. The big fellas won’t Follow back, but they give you Tweets worth Retweeting, which will attract others to Follow you.
2.   Favorite interesting stuff, especially from those you want to befriend. It’s pleasant, positive, and appreciated.
3.   Follow all who Follow you, except those who are selling Followers on Twitter, useless stuff, pushed by people who Follow you briefly then are dropped by Twitter or who drop you.
4.   Almost never criticize others on Twitter.
5.   Retweet links to interesting material.
6.   Keep your promotion of your own stuff to 10% or less of your Tweets.
7.   Be active with the people with similar interests, indicated by hashtags, such as #promocave for writers and #tcot for conservatives on Twitter, for me. Retweet and Favorite their material, and they will do so for you, spreading it to a wider audience.
8.   #promocave in particular, run by @JorgeOlson, started with a campaign to get writers to Follow each other, and moved on to promoting books and sharing writing advice. It seems to be a labor of love for Olson, although promocave.com is an affiliate marketer for Amazon, and books that are bought by clicking through from promocave.com earn the site some money. I don’t do affiliate marketing, as I don’t want to seem to have a conflict of interest, perhaps recommending books only to get paid.

I don’t know how many visits to tingandi.com were induced by Tweets of mine, and I certainly don’t know if I sold any books that way, but I did get one valuable writing partner through Twitter and one bogus potential client from Nigeria, whose name I keep on my personal list of clients…to keep me humble.

BLOGGING ALONG

In mid-2011 as I was finishing Ting and I, I started a WordPress blog, douglaswinslowcooper.blogspot.com, to gain another outlet for free promotion of me and my stuff. I serialized my memoir on the blog, right after it was published, gaining it another 100 for-free readers on a typical week, and since it was written as a message book rather than a commercial book, I was pleased. 

I posted material I wrote for the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and some local businesses and posted articles that were later published elsewhere.

Once I started getting writing clients, I got the permission of some of them to serialize their books after they were published, giving them and me a boost. In one case, I serialized only the odd-numbered chapters, at the co-author’s request.

I blogged articles of mine on writing, many of which are the backbone of this book, and when I wanted to recruit more clients, taking the advice of my marketing adviser from SCORE, Edison Guzman, I blogged “Why Would a Former Harvard Professor Want to Help You Write Your Book for $25 per Week?” and “7 Questions Answered about Writing and Publishing with a Book Coach.” I also wrote “The Subjunctive Mood” and “---ing: Participle or Gerund” and put some of my 60-odd reviews written for Amazon on the blog. These posts each averaged a hundred views.

I pointed people to my coaching blogs via Facebook, and the coaching blogs themselves had a video of me and had the writeyourbookwithme.com link and a “Call to Action” to go to that page. A couple of my new clients, at least, can be credited to the blog-website combo. And I had fun writing and posting.

The exposure was “free,” unless you considered what my time was worth in doing it.


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Excerpted from my Write Your Book with Me, published by Outskirts Press in paperback and ebook formats, available from amazon.com and bn.com and other online booksellers. My writing-coaching-editing site is http://WriteYourBookWithMe.com.