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Issue #10: December 10, 2002
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Holiday greetings everyone!

Welcome to another issue of our newsletter. If you want to catch up on back issues of the Mind Like Water Monthly, please visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/newsletter.html.

Thank you ebook authors, publishers and directories for coming through on our Library Initiative. I am overwhelmed by the positive response. For those of you who have your listings in, you have secured your spot in our ebook catalog and Diane Faile will be working her heart out to make this marketing effort a success. For anyone still considering the offer, it's never too late, but we are getting started without you. So hurry up and don't miss out on a single library.

For more information and to get your ebooks in our catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or email Diane at  dino@mindlikewater.com.

Throughout 2003, Diane will be updating you each month on our progress with the library initiative. The updates will appear in a new section of this newsletter titled Library Campaign.

As you know, we recently released our Collection Creator software (http://www.collectioncreator.com), which allows ebook authors, publishers, or anyone else who manages electronic files to create compilations. Greg, our programmer, has done a fantastic job of creating and maintaining the software. If you have any questions about the software, feel free to contact Greg at mooretis@mindlikewater.com.

Enjoy our feature article, "Trading Links."

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Trading Links
2. eBook Publisher Interview: Nicki Chodnoff, On The Go
3. Library Campaign
4. eBook Author Interview: Paul Cutright, Straight From the
Heart: An Essential Guide for Developing, Deepening & Renewing Your Relationships

Feature Article: Trading Links
Perhaps you've heard about website owners who trade links. If you
own or operate a website, I'm willing to bet that you have, or that you do it yourself. Even if you just surf around and happen to see other links, it's interesting to know what all the fuss is about.

In other words, why trade links?

I suppose we can trace the roots of trading links back to the original architecture of the Internet itself, which is decentralized by nature. If one computer server goes down, communications continue around the problem.

The World Wide Web and hyperlinks also allow information to flow in a decentralized manner. The normal bottlenecks of front doors were eliminated by allowing web surfers to go straight to the information that they wanted. In essence, the true power of the Internet is in hyperlinks that take us easily from one page on one site in one country to another page on another site in another country in a matter of seconds.

Taking this one step further, it makes sense to think that some of the most important and relevant sites online contain many inbound links. That is, website owners and operators often place hyperlinks to these important sites. For example, a financial website might contain links to websites of the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street Journal.

This process has not gone unnoticed by search engines, especially by today's most important search engine -- Google. In fact, Google built its whole Page Rank process around the importance of links.

Links are so important today that merely submitting your website for listing in a search engine can be useless unless a search engine can find your site and index it. Search engines index popular sites continuously, checking for links to other sites of relevance; therefore, you need links to your website from other sites that are already indexed.

Now you're starting to see the importance, I hope.

What many websites are missing is what to do with the links. Usually, a website owner just creates a Trade Links or Link Partners' page. These pages are fine, except that search engines want relevance of topics, or content. A mish mash of links is not relevant content. However, breaking up all of the links into manageable information pages with relevance to your site's theme can be a huge boon to creating traffic.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Let's say you have an ebook entitled How to Buy a Computer Without Getting Ripped Off. Your website is called The Savvy Computer Buyer. Set up a section in your website and call it "Resources." Create informational topic pages that can be accessed from here, such as computer monitors, computer manufacturers, software, printers, ink cartridges, office supplies, etc. Find, for example, websites that sell ink cartridges and put links to their sites on the page you have dedicated to ink cartridges. Then contact these websites and offer to trade links with them; if they agree, leave their links up and give them your information for your site (your website address, your website title and a small description).

Target sites that are related to your topic for relevance. Soon you will be contacted by owners of other websites who want to trade links with you.

Approximately a year ago, we implemented a link trading strategy and the results were impressive. Now I am contacted every day by other websites that want to trade links, which I am happy to do.

Until next time, trade a few links.

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eBook Publisher Interview: Nicki Chodnoff, On The Go Publishing
Diane: You are an award-winning travel writer, a roving travel
reporter for a radio program, and your more than 500 travel articles have appeared in leading publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, the Chicago Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, Home & Away, and others. You also are the former online travel editor for Better Homes & Gardens. Before we talk about On the Go Publishing, tell us how you arrived at becoming a travel writer. What appeals to you the most about this genre of writing?

Nicki: Travel writing fuses two of my passions, writing and travel. As with many people, I didn't set my sights to be a travel writer. It was a long, circuitous route that brought me to travel writing. In the process of finally arriving at travel writing, I wrote about the computer industry, wrote technical reviews and served in a communications/public relations capacity for a number of nonprofit agencies.

Diane: On The Go Publishing (http://www.onthegopublishing.com),which you established in 1995, publishes your travel-related books, newsletters and guides that provide consumers with travel information. What else can you tell us about On The Go Publishing? Was establishing this site a natural progression from what you had been doing? What were the challenges for you in moving from writing for magazines and newspapers to writing for the Internet?

Nicki: On The Go Publishing (which was born in 1991 but went on the Web in 1995) was primarily the result of frustration with the mainstream publishing industry and a desire to help people get more from travel. I wrote one title for a mainstream publishing company that produced a lot of travel titles. Even with a good book contract, unless you are a superstar who can sell more than 100,000 books in a month, your royalties will be a pittance. From that time forward mainstream publishing companies began doing less and less for authors. Unless you generated buzz for your book and did most of your own marketing, your book would hardly sell. If I had to do most of my own marketing for a book, I thought I should reap most of the profits, so I started self-publishing.

The other reason for creating On The Go Publishing was sharing my deep knowledge of travel with consumers. OTGP started around 1991 with our first newsletter, Cruise Views. Travel is one of the most puzzling industries around. The person in the next hotel room, cruise ship cabin or plane seat may have paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars less than you. And the closer to the day of departure you come, the more expensive an airplane seat becomes.

To share these insider viewpoints and strategies with the general public and tell them about the many deals and discounts that go unused, I started the Value-Season Traveler Newsletter. It was a hard-copy, through-the-mail newsletter that was sold through subscriptions with no advertising. Two years ago we integrated the Value-Season Traveler into our Travel Savings Alerts electronic newsletter. Printing, paper and mailing costs skyrocketed so hard-copy newsletters couldn't compete against free electronic newsletters. Since so much of the Internet is "free," our strategy changed from a newsletter supported by subscription to an electronic newsletter supported by advertising.

As far as challenges in moving from hard-copy media such as newspapers and magazines to electronic media, the challenges are the same as writing for newspapers and expanding to magazines. As a writer, you need to learn about and understand your market -- whichever market it happens to be at that time. Writers must be chameleons, changing and adapting with each article we write and always focusing on the audience we are writing for. I still write for magazines and newspapers and I was in the forefront of writing for web sites on the Internet. It's a balancing act that I chose when, early on, I saw the Web as a media that would have a profound influence on writing and publishing.

Diane: Your books are offered both electronically and as paperbacks, and prices are the same for each. Which format tends to sell better? Many ebook publishers price print versions of their ebooks differently. What is the philosophy behind your pricing strategy?

Nicki: Since our books are non-fiction and require a lot of research time, we price paperbacks and electronic products the same since the same amount of research time is needed for both. The printing costs for paperbacks, because we get them printed in considerable volume, isn't really a factor in their pricing. And as non-fiction, we update and sell the same titles over many years. It's not like a romance novel or a mystery -- non-fiction travel books have a much longer shelf life. Ebooks get a price break as no shipping and handling is charged. We offer nearly all of our books in both formats for the reader's convenience. This is something we've done since we set up a web site in 1995. Over the years we've noticed a shift. At first, very few people ordered ebooks, it was 90 percent paperback. Now, we sell more ebooks than paperbacks (about 60 percent ebooks). I see that trend continuing. We will always publish a few paperback books as some people just like the feel of holding a book in their hands.

Diane: You began publishing your travel-related guides as ebooks in 1995. In the years since then, what have been the most significant changes in how you publish and market your ebooks? If you could offer one suggestion for moving the ebook industry forward, what would it be? 

Nicki: Since we headed to the ebook bandwagon right at the beginning, what we are changing is the different formats ebooks will be available in. Right now we offer text and pdf versions. We are looking to add electronic versions for PDAs and electronic book readers.

As for marketing, the biggest change is the shake-out in the dotcom world. Many sites selling ebooks no longer exist so we've been more dependent on sales from the survivors. We always want to share information on what's happening in travel, and as a by-product that information promotes our web site and stimulates book and product sales. My guess as to what will move the ebook industry forward is selecting a common standard. Once a single protocol wins out, such as when VHS beat out BETA in VCRs, consumers will be less confused and more apt to try an ebook. That standard may also spur the big boys such as Amazon and Borders to embrace ebooks. Once Amazon and Borders get in the picture in a bigger way, ebook sales will increase dramatically.

Diane: You have self-published several travel ebooks, including Acute Mountain Sickness Overview, Rule 240 Guide and Round-Up of Traveler's Diseases. What can those of us who travel look forward to next from you?

Nicki: As boring as it sounds, travelers can look forward to more of the same. Our approach and motto is helping make travel cheaper, safer and more rewarding. So in 2003, we will update our two best sellers: The Airline Consolidators Quick Reference Chart and the Volunteer Vacations Guide. We're also going back to our roots. We're reformatting what was our Cruise Views Newsletter into stand-alone Cruise Views ship reports. And of course, these ship reports will be available as ebooks (perhaps ebooklets would be more appropriate).

We continually monitor the pulse of the travel industry for new trends and topics. When warranted, you'll be sure we'll write a book about it.

In addition to our travel guides, we also offer travel-related products. For years (way before 9/11), we talked about security when traveling. Our Baggage Guard Seals, Luggage Stretch Film and Face-It Luggage Tags reflect our security concerns. Other products such as Insta-Cold Handy Paks and a first-aid kit address safety and injuries. We also know that people love to shop when traveling, so we offer select pieces of jewelry we have found in our travels that are particularly good buys. 

In short, with our links, guides, free advice and products, we want to be a one-stop shop for travelers.

-- Nicki Chodnoff, editor Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter.
For a free subscription, send an email to:
TSA is a publication of On The Go Publishing, bringing you unique
travel-related products and publications including the Airline Consolidators Quick Reference Chart, Hotel Consolidators Quick Reference Chart, Volunteer Vacations Guide, Cheap-Tix Chart, Face-It Luggage Tags and Luggage Stretch Film.

Library Campaign
Today marks the start of Mind Like Water's Library Campaign. We
are dedicating one person for a full year to market a free ebook catalog to over 1,000 public libraries. In this section of the newsletter, we will be providing monthly updates of our progress. As the momentum builds, so will this section. More next month... 

For more information and to get your ebooks in our catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or email Diane Faile at dino@mindlikewater.com.

eBook Author Interview: Paul Cutright, Straight From the Heart:
An Essential Guide for Developing, Deepening & Renewing Your Relationships
Diane: You and your wife Layne have been professionals in the
human potential field since 1976, and together you founded The Center for Enlightened Partnership. The Center provides coaching, education and consulting for people who want practical solutions for everyday challenges in their personal and professional relationships (http://www.enlightenedpartners.com). How did you get into this field, and what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?

Paul: Layne and I met at a seminar and personal development center in San Francisco in 1976 called Theta Seminars. We worked together and had a collegial relationship until one day when we shared a spontaneous mystical experience. There's just no other way to describe what happened. It occurred in the presence of about six or seven people, including Layne's mother! Well, that turned out to be a defining moment for both of us as our lives changed dramatically soon afterwards.

We discovered that we were deeply in love and neither of us had a positive relationship history. We determined to use our relationship as an experiment to find out what it takes to keep the love alive in a romantic partnership over time -- and to use our relationship for our personal and spiritual development.

Due to a fortuitous series of events, we became trainers for a relationships training organization and spent the next couple of years traveling around the country teaching workshops on relationships. We had the unique opportunity to be teaching what we were learning, which tremendously accelerated our own growth. We have been teaching and exploring the possibilities of relationship ever since. 

The aspect of our work that we most enjoy is watching our students' and clients' relationships and lives transform.

Diane: What is an "enlightened partnership"? If you had to offer one piece of advice for attaining such a partnership, what would it be?

Paul: An enlightened partnership is one in which both (or all) parties recognize that relationships are a co-creation and are able to take responsibility for their part of the relationship. The relationship is seen as a space of possibilities for learning and growing, not a thing to be manipulated or controlled through blame or guilt. Enlightened partners are able to inspire cooperation and find mutually beneficial outcomes.

The most important thing to understand about this is that lasting success in partnerships is the result of knowledge and skill that can be learned and mastered. And, since life is all about relationships, learning how to consciously create successful relationships is one of the most important things we can do.

Diane: The online bookstore of The Center for Enlightened Partnership offers ebooks co-authored by you and your wife Layne. Tell us about your ebook Straight From the Heart: An Essential Guide for Developing, Deepening & Renewing Your Relationships, and the accompanying audio program.

Paul: Straight From the Heart teaches a communication exercise called Heart to Heart Talks. One of the biggest mistakes partners make is not talking about things that need to be talked about, especially difficult things. We've seen in our private practice over and over again that it is often the things that people cannot talk about that end up destroying the relationship. There is a direct relationship between intimacy and honesty, trust and communication. We say in our book that "truth is love's doorway," yet many people have the experience that the truth hurts. Straight From the Heart teaches the reader how to tell the truth, how to hear the truth and how to deal with the truth in a way that produces more safety, trust and intimacy in relationships. Heart to Heart Talks are a tool that can be used in personal, family and business relationships. The audio program that accompanies the book consists of three audio files (MP3) from a live workshop we did in which we teach how to do Heart to Heart Talks, so the reader has the advantage of actually hearing how Heart to Heart Talks are done.

Diane: When did you begin incorporating ebooks into your business model, and what was the thought process that led to this decision? How important are the ebooks to your business?

Paul: Straight From the Heart was originally self-published and distributed by Ingram and Bookworld in 1996. We did a small book tour and promotion, all of which was very expensive. We launched our website in 1998 and began learning about the world of online business and virtual learning. We experimented with small, free e-books before creating *Straight From the Heart* as an e-book earlier this year. We used the original Quark Express files for the book to create a PDF file for the e-book version, thus maintaining the original layout and design.

Our plan is to turn all of our intellectual properties into digital products -- e-books, audio programs, e-courses, etc. It allows us to inexpensively have world wide marketing and distribution that is affordable for us, affordable for our customers and ultimately more profitable for us. We do not have the costs associated with printing, inventory or shipping, yet we can deliver a quality product to our customers. So, I would say that e-books are very important to our business.

Plus, we now have an affiliate program in place that allows our customers who have websites and e-zines to offer our e-books to their visitors and readers and share in the profits. You may read about our affiliate program by clicking on the following link: http://www.enlightenedpartners.com/affiliateinfo.html.

Diane: What is your strategy for choosing an ebook topic that will compliment your business and enhance its success? Are you currently working on another ebook?

Paul: We have a lot of material from our workshop manuals and handouts and audio programs that lend themselves perfectly to e-books. The great thing about digital products is that we can enhance the e-book experience with audio files, included as an optional feature for an additional price, or as a free bonus. We use a digital mini-disc recorder to record original content or digitize workshop cassette tapes to produce the audio files on our computer desktop. We are also seriously looking at digital desktop video for instructional and promotional videos. 

Our next e-book is entitled You Are Never Upset for the Reason You Think - The CURE for the Common Upset. The CURE is an acronym for Conscious Upset Resolution Exercise, which is a 13-step process of self-inquiry. This book teaches a method of conflict resolution that is grounded in what we call "radical personal responsibility." We are in the final stages of copy editing now and hope to release this book before Christmas (crossing our fingers!). This book will also include audio files demonstrating how to use the process and will have an optional five-hour teleclass based on the book.

-- Paul & Layne Cutright,
Founders/Principal Partners
The Center for Enlightened Partnership
Life Strategy & Partnership Coaching

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