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Issue #12: February 27, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

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

Maybe it is the dog days of winter, or perhaps I'm just going through some male hormonal cycle, but it seems good news is hard to find. With our economy sputtering, the likelihood of war on the horizon, and snow and cold weather prevalent, what is next?

Why am I feeling a little pessimistic? Is it the weather or the threat of war? Yes, but it's deeper than that. It is good old-fashioned human psychology. In gloomy times, even a rose is just a stupid thorny plant. In boom times, an Internet company with a few servers and programmers is worth more than a media conglomerate like Disney.

Our feature article explores using human psychology to your advantage.

Now, on to other issues....

Our library initiative is progressing nicely. The first edition of our ebook catalog is now online at http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebook_catalog.html! Everyone who joined our initiative has a beautiful, personal ebook catalog page on our web site. My complete Library Initiative Update is presented below.

For more information on our Library Initiative and to sign up, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or reply to this email for more information.

I have just instituted a new pricing policy for anyone wishing to advertise on Mind Like Water's eBook Directory. It is now $67 per year for either directory pages or site map pages (first come, first serve). Our old prices were $5.97 per month ($71.64 per year) for directory pages and $12.97 per month ($155.64 per year) for site map pages.

Please enjoy our featured ebooklet publisher and author interviews; be sure to pick up your free ebook; and learn how to make journalists want to call you with press releases.

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: The Human Psychology of Sales
2. eBooklet Publisher Interview: Paulette Ensign, Tips Products International
3. Library Initiative Update
4. eBook Author Interview: Kim Nasr, Sammy Star Adventure Series

Feature Article: The Human Psychology of Sales
It's interesting that few business people ever really talk about human psychology. Sure, you'll hear sales people talk about persuasive techniques to drive a sale, but do they really understand the root cause of human emotions? Probably not.

If you are selling anything from ebooks to washing machines, you must understand what drives people to spend money. Sometimes it will depend upon age, gender or other factors, but some characteristics remain the same.

We are all motivated to act by pleasure or pain, and many times by both.

Think about what you do every day. You wake up on time to avoid the pain of your boss's retribution and possible loss of a job. You shower, put on nice clothes and brush your teeth all to avoid ridicule (90%) and because it makes your feel good (10%). You eat and sleep because it makes you feel good (25%) and because if you don't you'll feel horrible (75%).

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. We humans are not the logical business units that we would like to think we are. Everything we do is motivated by pleasure or pain, and I believe that pain is the greater motivator.

So, my point is this: If you are selling anything (obviously I'm talking about ebooks here, but the message is universal), then you need to find a way to present your product in a way that helps someone "avoid pain" and "seek pleasure." I often see ebook authors and publishers using the "seek pleasure by reading this wonderful and enlightening story" approach. That obviously works given the right timing and mood of the individual. What works even better is helping someone solve a problem (avoid pain).

For example, if you have a cookbook for sale, you could tell me that it has wonderful recipes that will enlighten my soul and titillate my palate, but I probably won't buy it. On the other hand, you could tell me that you have the only cookbook with over 100 healthy recipes that can be created in less than 10 minutes. You could also tell me that with a busy schedule, activities, kids, work and school, I deserve to quit wasting my precious time on cooking. Now I'm thinking about buying. Throw in a free Ginsu knife and you've made the sale.

This is a universal concept and I'll argue with anyone about its validity.

That's why it is often easier to sell nonfiction ebooks than fiction. Nonfiction ebooks are generally informational, self-help and how-to type products. So, for example, an ebook on search engine optimization solves a huge problem: "How do I get affordable traffic online?"

Fiction writers, please don't think I've abandoned you. You just have to get a little more creative. For example, if your genre is romance, you are solving a problem of "love and fulfillment" that might not be met elsewhere. In this case, I believe that testimonials are crucial. Find a reader of your ebook and get a testimonial. Imagine a testimonial like this: "After reading Passion On Parade, I felt light-hearted and happy. I even shared it with my wife over wine and a romantic dinner. What a wonderful collection of ebooks."

Remember, the idea is to solve a problem. There are always problems to solve. I believe we humans move from one problem to another, never content with love, money, fame, family or health. Judging by my email inbox, I need to contact someone in Sierra Leone or Botswana to collect several million dollars. Then I need to order some Viagra, and purchase an email list of over 50 million people to really get my business going. I will then refinance my house, contact someone in Russia about a new wife and buy some diet pills.

Okay, I'm getting carried away. The point is those emails keep coming because they all address a problem and someone is responding to them.

Isn't it time they responded to your offer?


For A Limited Period Of Time, I'm Giving This E-book Away For FREE. The information everyone should have, because it may not be today or tomorrow, but one day we'll all get a Million Dollar Idea.


eBooklet Publisher Interview: Paulette Ensign, Tips Products International
Diane: You are the founder of Tips Products International, which helps people transform their knowledge into booklets and other information products. Among other things, your company has epublished over 150 ebooklets. Tell us how this business came about.

Paulette: The business started in the early 1990's when I was a professional organizing consultant, going into people's homes and offices, helping them organize their paper, time, and space. The economy was much like it is today, dragging bottom. The sales cycle was getting longer and longer for consulting and workshop work, and I had formed these crazy habits called eating and paying the rent, habits I had no interest in breaking. One day I saw a tips booklet someone had done on business presentations, and decided I could do one like it, with tips on getting organized. I wrote a 16-page booklet that fit into a business envelope (approximately 3 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches). The booklet was called "110 Ideas for Organizing your Business Life." It was based on sound bites that had come out of my mouth to clients and audiences during the previous eight years of being an organizer. There wasn't an original thought in it. 

Fast forward to today and I've sold well over half a million copies of that in three languages and several formats, without spending a penny on advertising. A lot of this happened before I got online in 1994, though certainly plenty has happened since. After several iterations of having a web site, I decided to develop an e-booklet catalog on my site. This was a direct result of a speaking engagement I did in 1999, I believe, in Las Vegas. I shared the stage with a number of other internet marketing people. Some of them were about half my age, and talked of making a ton of money in their business that weekend while they were out of their office at this conference. I listened intently to what they were saying. They were talking about selling automated, downloadable, digital information products. On the drive back from Las Vegas to San Diego, it dawned on me that an e-booklet catalog at my site would accomplish a myriad of things. It would provide my many clients an opportunity for me to sell their booklets for them, with no fulfillment headaches on my end. And that has been mostly true. The e-booklet catalog grows on a weekly basis, with new titles and even new categories being added frequently.

Diane: Many people are writing and selling information books on the Internet. What do you believe the benefits are to an information product in the form of a booklet, versus a book? Are you targeting a different audience?

Paulette: There are numerous benefits of a booklet over a book, and yes, the audience we target is different. First, a booklet, especially a tips booklet, allows the reader to read one tip, incorporate it immediately into their life, and experience success. They feel good about what just happened, and will then bask in their accomplish, or look to create more success right away. That will happen either by reading more tips in the booklet, or wanting more substantial products from the author, leading to more sales for the author. The booklet lets the reader get a jump-start on a topic, "kicking the tires" to see how approachable the information is, without becoming overpowered by a larger work. A booklet is also more approachable when it comes to printing it out. I suggest booklets be 16-24 pages. That's quite different than a full-length book. So there is greater flexibility for the reader, which continues making a statement of approachability about the author. A booklet takes less time to read, which is respectful to the reader as well. Creating a series of booklets can be more preferable to one larger book for many people's time budget. An additional benefit of a booklet over a book is that individual booklets can be priced less than a full-length book. A book can even be distilled into a series of booklets, and may sell better and make more money than a book. 

As for the audience, much of the focus of what we do at Tips Products International goes toward selling booklets in large quantity to individuals and organizations who would use the booklet as a marketing tool for their own products and services. Our primary market is not typically the "end user," though we do certainly sell single copies of booklets. Even the e-booklets are ostensibly geared toward being a sample that a potential large-quantity buyer would purchase to allow them to then decide to purchase a large quantity once they have seen the contents of the booklet.

Diane: You started off with print publishing of booklets, and then moved to epublishing. What have been your biggest challenges in the epublishing industry? What changes would you like to see to address these issues?

Paulette: Yes, we started with print and went to epublishing. We now do both. The biggest challenges in the epublishing industry are the different levels of technological understanding that exist among the population at large. What seems like simple technology to one person is totally off-putting and overwhelming to another. Even with the best instructions, there are people who freeze up when it comes to downloading a digital file, and then knowing where to find it once they saved it. Then there is the issue of troubleshooting a challenge between the provider of the information and the buyer of the epublication, to know where the problem exists. Is it on the buyer's computer, or the seller's technology, or the buyer's level of knowledge? I think epublishing is great for the publishers, with no cost of goods or labor for fulfillment. Most of the technology is still ahead of where many of our customers' technological knowledge and comfort level are. It seemed to me that PDF files would be the best equalizer of this, and that still hasn't cured it completely. The best change would be a standard delivery method for electronic publications. Email attachments don't seem to be the answer either, even with booklets.

Diane: You've written, "Everyone has something they want the world to know about. An informational tips booklet can help position you as an expert." What advice can you give to ebook authors regarding the use of tips booklets as a promotional tool for their works?

Paulette: My best advice is to start by distilling your book into what I call a "sampler" booklet. Put 10 or 12 tips that are written as directives under each of 10 or 12 sub-headings from your book. In my booklet on organizing your business life, I have 10 or 12 tips under "Desktop surfaces," another 10 or 12 under "Time management," another 10 or 12 under "Sorting," and so on. The booklet gives solid, concrete information that you have excerpted right from your book, whetting the reader's appetite so they want more of what you have. That means the sale of more books or any other related products or services from you.

We suggest using e-booklets as a promotional tool much in the same way that print copies can be used promotionally. An author can offer an e-booklet free with the purchase of one of their products or services, or free with a certain dollar amount of purchase, or with a purchase made during a certain time period. An e-booklet can be used as a thank-you for a purchase, or as an overall thank you at year's end to distinguish yourself from among other vendors of your client. A coupon for an e-booklet can be distributed at a trade show or an in-person or virtual book signing as an incentive to visit an author's web site. An author could give an e-booklet to the first certain number of people to register for a class or speaking engagement the author is doing. To incite people to subscribe to a paid magazine or newsletter the author produces, an e-booklet may be given free with a new or renewed subscription. The same concept holds true in any membership environment, whether it is a member organization or a membership web site. An e-booklet can be the reward for returning a completed questionnaire. These are a few ideas to get the juices going. The possibilities are truly endless.

Diane: Do you envision Tips Products International taking any new turns in 2003?

Paulette: We have finally entered the age of the Affiliate Program at Tips Products International. That means that many people can benefit financially not only from the content of our information. They can now also benefit financially by easily becoming resellers of what we have. This is a long-overdue step that came with the recent overhaul and relaunch of our web site at http://www.tipsbooklets.com.

The web site will continue to be refined, which is an ongoing process. The addition of new categories at the e-booklet catalog is anticipated, and will be in response to our authors and audiences. We will also be doing more teleclasses by phone during 2003. This is responding to the worldwide expression of interest for more information about transforming knowledge into tips booklets. I personally expect to be returning to the United Kingdom this year to present several in-person workshops.

We already have some dates booked for the Spring. It's always a joy to share this information with enthusiastic, receptive people. The excitement feeds on itself, with new ideas presenting themselves all the time. One of the greatest things to hear is a person saying, "I never thought about doing booklets before. Now I can't wait to get started!"

-- Paulette Ensign, Founder and Chief Visionary
"We help individuals and organizations transform their knowledge into tips booklets for marketing, motivating, and making money."
Tips Products International
voice: 858-481-0890

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Library Initiative Update
Well, it's been both a rewarding and a frustrating month of library marketing. As I mentioned above, Diane finished the ebook catalog and, with the help of Jeff our graphics genius, it looks very nice. Besides making the catalog available in a downloadable format (currently being done), we also decided to make the ebook catalog available for online viewing. I invite you to take a look at http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebook_catalog.html. Everyone who joined our initiative has a beautiful, personal ebook catalog page on our web site. Diane has arranged it so the ebook catalog is easy to navigate by author, publisher, genre, and ebook title. We would appreciate any links from your web site to our ebook catalog.

Now that the pages are online, I'll do a little of my own search engine magic to help the pages pull in traffic.

As far as libraries, this past month could best be described as exploratory in nature. Diane and I personally met with library staff at two of the largest public libraries here in Kansas City: the Johnson County Public Library and the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library.

Our trips were enlightening. First, I would characterize the library market as not fully worked out yet. Many of the large public libraries are offering ebooks, some even have ebook readers to check out, but ebooks are not being marketed very well by library staff. It appears that most libraries are uncertain how to proceed -- gee, that sounds a lot like the public in general.

It does seem as if libraries are hesitant to accept titles from small e-publishing companies, and especially from self-published authors. Their reasoning here appears to be perceived quality. 

Diane and I will be visiting a few more local libraries, and are using the information learned from these visits to help us prepare an email marketing campaign (to be launched next month) to introduce our ebook catalog to public libraries across the country.

As you may be aware, netLibrary, which is a division of the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, supplies ebook feeds to many of the libraries. According to their own estimates they reach about 8,000 libraries. However, from our discussions with library staff, it appears that few library patrons are actually using the service. I am currently working with a netLibrary representative to learn about their service. I will let you know more about this next month.

Finally, I am building a section on our web site with links to most of the major libraries around the world. I'll let you know when it's done.

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.

More next month...

eBook Author Interview: Kim Nasr, Sammy Star Adventure Series
Diane: You have written and illustrated over a dozen children's stories featuring Sammy Star and his adventures. Tell us about the genesis of this character. What is it about Sammy Star that appeals to you enough to keep writing stories around him? Which Sammy Star book is your favorite?

Kim: When my wife and I were newly married, our first Christmas tree was so small that we had to make all of the tiny ornaments for it! One of the ornaments that my wife made was a small, four point star man. It was very European looking -- really beautiful. An idea was sparked and shortly thereafter "Sammy Star" was born. I enjoy writing about him and drawing him because he is very simple and fun to watch. I really do not have a favorite, but MAKING NEW TRAILS is certainly in the running. This story has things in it that everybody should get to run into at some point in time, like gold mines, waterfalls, bears, and skeletons.

Diane: What age group of readers is the Sammy Star Adventures series aimed at? What do you hope children take away from your stories?

Kim: All of us kids -- any age. I would hope that they get some fun out of the books. Life can be fun, even if you get chased by a bear or two.

Diane: I read that you have loved adventure since childhood. What has been your greatest adventure?

Kim: Like most people I have had a few fun adventures. I've survived sleeping in remote woods in hand-made, fir-bough shelters (surrounded with bags of groceries). I once risked life and limb exploring a secret cave hidden away behind a waterfall high in the Cascade mountains. But my greatest adventure was taking a train across the U.S., meeting a friend, then treasure hunting our way back in a truck. We made camp one dark night in a desert in Utah. We had been searching for ancient Indian artifacts. When we woke the next morning we discovered that we had made camp in the middle of a cow pasture. The cows ran us off and we never did find any treasure, but we sure did have some fun.

Diane: You began crafting children's stories as a child, making up bedtime stories for your older brother. How did you develop as an artist? Can you describe for us how you approach illustrating a Sammy Star book?

Kim: I first developed as an artist by scribbling and doodling at school as much as I could get away with. Then later as an adult I was forced into further practice by my publisher. (I would be out goofing off instead of illustrating, otherwise.) I illustrate a book by breaking down the story into interesting sections. I then draw and color each of these sections with a pencil, then with watercolor and pen.

Diane: What is Sammy Star up to in your newest book? Beyond this series, is there another writing project you're working on or are planning?

Kim: Sammy Star is trying to have dinner out with his mother amidst robbers, car chases and food-fights in DINNER TROUBLE. I am working on another series about a slightly cranky kiwi bird and his friends -- it looks like it will be lots of fun! All of the SAMMY STAR, EASTER ALLIGATOR, and the up-and-coming KARL THE KIWI books, as well as many, many other wonderful books and award-winning authors, can be found at Adventure Book Publishers (http://www.puzzlesbyshar.com/adventurebooks).

-- Kim Nasr
Sammy Star Adventure Series

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