I notice you are both CEO of a publishing company and an author. How did that come about?
Several factors have contributed to that dual role in the literary world. I have a long history of developing concepts into working companies. With this type of innovative development comes a need for written material. When the concepts begin to mature into a philosophy, and then into a provable, working methodology teaching materials, monographs, white papers and other hard copy publications are also needed. In most incidences where I needed written manuals and materials to go forward there was nothing on the new concept already out there and there was no one who understood my methodology well enough to write it. To move forward I found myself in the position of playing a myriad of roles -- developer, writer, and then author.
Okay. So. Your own innovative developmental style brought about your authorship of many papers, essays, books and professional writings. Where are these writings found today?
My collection of writings can be found as downloads on my website http://www.GlobalTANetwork.com. I also have several books available at the same site.
I can see how becoming a writer and then an author of books, manuals and papers was necessary for the kind of development you have done in your career. Now, tell me. How did that result in your going into publishing?
I entered the world of publishing "kicking and screaming" I assure you. As you can imagine, I really didn't have time to devote to running a publishing company for the sole purpose of "peddling my own product", so to speak. Now, this was before the digital publishing age -- back in the hard copy days. I was fortunate enough to have copying and printing capacity in my offices and was, of necessity, very good at putting out a professional-looking product in-house or with the help of small print/copy businesses that were scattered around. My first college major was commercial art, so I wasn't at a complete loss in these matters.
That was fortunate, indeed.
Yes. Back in "the day" it seemed that you either were an "author" who had your own agent, publisher, and other representatives around you, or you were nothing. And, as my business years rolled on, it became evident to me that a writer had to have either "made it" already or was destined to be a wannabe because the industry seemed to be partitioned off in cliques with "no vacancy" signs on the doors. Some help came with the advent of smaller vanity publisher who required large fees to publish your book, and then "print on demand" companies. I dabbled in each of these, but found that the end product was not up to my standards and that I was doing most or all of the editing, proofing and typesetting and they for the most part were simply taking my pdf file and slapping it into a book form. The result many times was not pretty to say the least.
When did you get into digital publishing of your own stuff?
I'm glad you asked that. After a particularly painful turning point in my life (my husband's long illness, loss of my businesses from focusing on his needs, medical bankruptcy, etc -- a situation, by the way, not uncommon today) I decided to reinvent myself. I could have resurrected any one of my businesses and made a nice living and retirement, but I wanted to do something different -- something that used my brain-power and was not so hands-on, dealing with people, patients, clients, etc. I ran across a group who were training Kindle authors when the new Kindle 8 (I think) was about to be introduced. I took that training and was excited at how much freedom that venue allowed me to think and write and publish with no obstacles in the way of my creativity.
Was that training lucrative also?
Yes. In a way. I tried to follow their training and use their software, but had to format my stuff myself in doc, but published my first primer on the Transactional Analysis methodology I developed with the TA guru Jut Meininger, which I hoped would lead the way to interest in a major TA work Jut and I had worked on for over 10 years entitled "Clarity". However, following and tweaking some marketing suggestions I received from that training I offered the book for a free download for three days and pushed it forward with an email campaign through my Linkedin connections, generated over 1,000 downloads in those three days and bumped that little book up to #1 in the Kindle Transactional Analysis category where it stayed for over a year, and may still be there today. It's called "Transactional Analysis, The Four Ego-States Method".
You said your Kindle experience was somewhat lucrative. What did you mean?
When people think of lucrative, they typically mean in monetary terms. I think of lucrative as anything that offers value of any kind. Let me explain about my Kindle experience: My little book continues to make me around $25-$50 per month. Woop-de-doo, you say. Yes. But I don't use that book for strictly monetary gain. Here's what that book actually gets me. It drives people who read it to my website. It explains TA in a new sense to people who are either steeped in the old-style TA or have never considered it at all. That book introduces people to me and my work that never would be exposed to me otherwise. AND -- In my estimation, this is the most valuable and remarkable thing: Dozens of times per month, people pay several dollars (from which I get about 2/3rds) to download my information and contact points into their PC or device. That is a remarkable thing. That is a valuable thing.
Was their anything negative about your first digital experience?
Actually, yes. Although the Kindle training was the first I knew existed (and, may have been the first, I don't know), and I was exposed to many innovative ideas and marketing ideas I can use in other social media venues, the negative aspects of my Kindle experience were that it was Kindle.
What do you mean?
At the time I had a small but significant audience for my TA methodology in several foreign countries -- China, Bangladesh, Argentina, etc. Shipping hard-copy books to those countries is extremely costly and iffy. When I announced that my book could be read in Kindle, I was shocked to find out that not every country supported Kindle. (That seems obvious now, but wasn't so at that time.) I ended up losing my momentum in those countries because they couldn't use Kindle in their country. I was told that I needed to go with Nook and with this and that. I was totally confused. I lost all my foreign momentum. That's disastrous for a new business. During all of this I happened to speak with a friend of mine who is a well-known archaeologist. He was in South America at the time and couldn't download my new book. He said you need to go with Smashwords. I hear great things about them. So. Several years later I had formatted and typeset my late husband's historical novel and attempted to interest several publishing houses in the manuscript, just to be told every time that "if I had the money, they had the time". About the time I got good and tired of that song and dance, Lloyd Pye's words rang in my head "Go with Smashwords".
And obviously you did "go with Smashwords". How has that been for you?
The only reason I remembered Smashwords is because, when Lloyd told me to go with them I thought that was the most ridiculous name I had heard recently. The rest is history! I hope to have a long association with Smashwords and grow with the company. I'm continually in a learning curve of some kind, but the instruction materials are the finest I've ever run across. It requires focus and concentration, but it is worth it. I love it! I'm going back to my contacts in the several foreign countries and stir that up again because NOW -- BECAUSE OF THE WORK THAT MARK AND HIS CREW HAVE DONE I can now service every known reading device known to man from one click of the mouse. What a wonderful world!
I notice you have several authors under your publishing umbrella. Besides the whole Smashwords experience, is there anything more you plan to offer them?
Oh, yes. I am always looking for a legitimate market that needs services. It is my intention to offer my authors everything that Smashwords has to offer, plus I am including other needs such as helping with writing, editing, proofing, typesetting, formatting to The Meatgrinder and marketing/managing their sales. I know that there are many times when an author has materials that he doesn't consider a "book" and doesn't think of bundling into a book. I offer that innovative thinking to created marketable product from their writings in whatever form they are in now. I also am partnering with an established printer/publisher to offer quality hard copies of their book if they want a few or a few thousand for their friends, family or for their business. I know many times an author has memoirs, recipe collections, genealogy, or other material that the family might want a few copies of for their archives and book shelves. I know there is a need for that and I am prepared to offer it. My logo is "From the Author's Mind to the Readers'". I am prepared to offer the budding author whatever they need to succeed. It's extremely exciting to me. I LOVE Smashwords. :)
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