MIND LIKE WATER MONTHLY
Dedicated to helping the ebook community.
Issue #17: October 2, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.
I am really happy to know that our mailing list is expanding (we have
approximately 1,900 newsletter subscribers), and that what started off as
primarily a small community of ebook authors is now a community of authors,
readers, publishers, vendors, small business owners and interested individuals.
If you are keeping track of newsletter issues, I took off the month of August
and I'm considering this our September issue (even though it's October). My
reasoning for taking off was two-fold. First, I celebrated my 40th birthday.
Second, we have been selling the heck out of one of our products and it's all I
can do to keep up. It's very exciting.
In fact, our Content Manager Diane Faile just gave her two-week notice for her
day-time job and she will be working with Mind Like Water full time. I'm not
saying this to brag. After 5 years of hard work, I believe we can reap some of
the rewards. I will say that I am more confident than ever that we know how to
market and sell on the Internet.
If you are dying to know what we are selling, click on this link: http://www.rogueinvestor.com/real_estate_investing.html.
Now, let's get back to how I can help you. I believe one of the secrets to our
success is paying attention to what our customers want and being able to react.
I hope you enjoy this month's article on "listening to your
customers." Be sure to read Diane's interview with author Denise Agnew,
and our author profile of William Norris.
Until next month,
Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Listening to your customers
2. eBook Author Interview: Denise A. Agnew
3. Library Initiative Update
4. eBook Author Profile: William Norris
Feature Article: Listening to your customers
The title of this article sounds like a "no-brainer." Of course it is
important to listen to your customers, right?
Well, don't just say you listen to your customers or clients. Listen, react and
change your whole mode of operating if necessary. I can tell you that we
listened and our sales have
increased by more than ten times.
Here's our recent story. Bryan Rundell and I co-authored an ebook on real
estate investing. Both of us successfully invested in real estate and we
believe it is an important part of building personal wealth. Our product was
offered as three products in one: a book on traditional real estate investing,
a book on tax lien investing, and a book on real estate investment trusts.
Using our search engine knowledge, we were able to get a few decent rankings
and began selling a few ebooks here and there. In the meantime, I began
receiving phone calls from people who wanted to know whether we had
state-specific information on tax liens and tax deeds. Unfortunately, I would
have to tell them that we did not. Eventually, it became evident that we needed
to add more specific information to our ebook. I remember speaking with Bryan
and having him ask me, "Are you sure we need to modify the ebook? It will
probably take about six weeks of concentrated effort for Diane and me." I
hesitated, but I could not discount the compelling requests I had received. The
answer was a resounding yes!
After we completed the ebook upgrade, we turned on the search engine prowess
again. We also checked out our competition and realized that we could easily
raise our price. Guess what happened? The trickle of sales became a steady flow
Not resting on our laurels, we listened to our customers again. They kept
asking me for a hard copy, not just an ebook or CD-ROM like we were offering.
For a while, I sent hard copies to customers on special request only. Finally,
we contacted a local printer to help us make our print-on-demand books and we
now prominently display this option. Again, our sales increased.
Even now we are working on another customer request - audio. As an experiment,
we just finished the audio version of our stock investing product called ROGUE
INVESTOR. The book is narrated by Preston Peine. Preston is a friend and
professional narrator. His voice is exceptional. Take a moment and listen by
clicking on this link:
or read about the whole offer by visiting this web page:
What should you do? Listen, react and modify your approach or don't complain
about lackluster business. As I have stressed many times, put a phone number on
your site or with your product. If you don't work full time, make sure
you respond to phone calls as
quickly as possible. Send out a customer survey and ask the tough questions:
What did you like or dislike? What were you expecting? Offer a gift to anyone
who responds. This information is invaluable.
** SPECIAL OFFER **
Since we've been on a roll lately, I am going to make a prediction. Audio books
on CD are going to be in demand this holiday season and for the next few years.
Why? CDs are finally mainstream and most individuals have a CD player either at
home or in the car. Technology has made it easier for small businesses to
create and distribute CDs. Many people are hungry for a good romance
novel, a science fiction thriller or a "how to" book, and only have
time to listen on the way to and from work or at the health club. Travelers
love to listen to a good novel or self-help book. If you've been on the road
and stopped at a truck stop or a Cracker Barrel restaurant, you've seen the
selection of audio books for sale or rent. Vision impaired or blind individuals
hunger for the same information found in books. In fact, I have had several
vision-impaired individuals contact me.
How can you take advantage of this opportunity? First, Mind Like Water will be
adding a new section on our website for audio books. We have teamed with
Preston Peine and have all agreed to discount our fees in exchange for
recurring revenue. We are willing to narrate, edit, market, produce and sell
your audio CDs and MP3s for only $10 per page and 50 percent of the revenue we
make by selling your audio book.
Here's how the process works. You provide us with the book that you want to
turn into an audio product and any instructions you have for creating it. We
then narrate and record the audio CD according to your specifications. After
the audio CD is finished, we create the graphics for the CD cover, copy the CDs
and sell the CDs on our site. Mind Like Water would also handle all computer
and customer service issues related to selling your product. You would be able
to track all sales in real time through our password-protected and secure
We take care of the hard work and you receive a check each month. Average sale
prices for audio CDs range from approximately $20 to $30. Certain topics that
are in demand can be sold for as much as $100. If you want, we can even help
you price your product.
When we checked into it, we found that the cost of producing an audio CD
includes a professional narrator at $50 per page, studio time at $50 to $100
per hour, and editing and other post-production activities at $25 to $50 per
hour. When you total it all up, creating the final audio product costs about
$100 per page.
Please listen to this short audio clip if you didn't already, and imagine your
ebook or business product becoming an entirely new audio product that will
appeal to a much larger audience:
Think about it. It's time to move forward with your sales. As a special bonus
to our offer, we also would create a small audio clip (MP3 format) to be used
on your site.
To summarize, for only $10 per page and revenue sharing of 50 percent, you
receive in return:
1. A huge discount - the normal rate is $100 per page, and you pay only
$10 per page.
2. A professional narrator.
3. Graphic design for a CD cover.
4. Marketing and search engine optimization by Mind Like Water.
5. eCommerce by Mind Like Water.
6. Tracking of sales through our secure online system.
7. Distribution and customer support by Mind Like Water.
8. One monthly check.
If you are looking for an audio option that will increase your sales on a
limited budget, Preston has agreed to create 60-second sound clips that you can
use on your website. Recent research by Stephen Pierce and others indicates
that these audio clips can
increase your sales by 30 to 40 percent or more. Many other companies are
charging fees of $20 to $30 per month just to host these clips, and you still
have to do the recording yourself. Preston will do everything, including
narrating, recording, editing, providing introductory music and creating the
MP3 for only $97, and you keep the clip. There are no monthly fees with this
** Stock Investing - Audio - Sale! OVER 36% Off Pre-release **
ROGUE INVESTOR is one of the most successful Stock Investing products online.
Now, it is available as an audio book in CD format. This is a pre-release offer
only for Mind Like Water Monthly subscribers. For one week only. The sale ends
on Friday October 10, 2003.
Click here to learn more:
eBook Author Interview: Denise A. Agnew
Diane: I've read about you that "Writing tales that scare the
reader is her ultimate thrill." Can you expand on this statement for us?
When "spine-tingling" is the effect you're aiming for in a story,
what elements do you rely upon most to achieve that? If you had to award one of
your novels with the "scariest tale" prize, which would receive the
Denise: Since I was a kid I've enjoyed reading the dark and murky and
watching TV and movies that have an element of mystery, action, thrills, horror
or suspense. It seems to be in my blood. I think humans often enjoy being
scared vicariously because they know there isn't any real danger, and I like
giving people the same thrill. To get a spine-tingling effect I rely on
atmosphere and emotions the most. The atmosphere you place your characters
in, the setting and backdrop, has an intimate correlation between scaring your
readers or not quite accomplishing the goal. I think about what I consider
scary and often inject that into the atmosphere, or I think about what scares
the character the most and use that element. I make sure readers are in the
character's point-of-view full time so they feel the character's fear or
apprehension. I'm a bit torn between two novels on the "scariest
prize." I'd say MIDNIGHT ROSE, my historical romantic suspense/paranormal
about Jack The Ripper would probably rate the scariest. But then again, my
first vampire novel, DEEP IS THE NIGHT: DARK FIRE, is probably just as scary. I
think eventually DEEP IS THE NIGHT: HAUNTED SOULS, the third book in the
vampire series, will be the very scariest. I'm really ramping up the fear
factor in that one.
Diane: Your recent novel DARK FIRE -- book 1 in the vampire trilogy DEEP
IS THE NIGHT -- has been described as "sexy, scary and suspenseful,"
and it's sure to cause chills up and down your readers' spines (http://www.ellorascave.com).
Give us an idea
of this novel's plot. Are there any particular challenges to developing a
Denise: The three books in the series are all set in a fictional
Colorado mountain town that is haunted up the ying-yang by ghosts and
otherworldly creatures. My underlying theme revolves around a thousand-year-old
vampire who believes the heroine of the first
book is the reincarnation of his dead lover. The vampire is attracted to the
town because of the evil there, and it makes him harder to defeat. Each book
features a couple (including heroes that may or may not be vampires themselves)
who deal with this rampaging ancient vampire as well as other strange
occurrences in town. All three books take place over a month time period and
culminate on Halloween in a big showdown. As for challenges creating a
vampire's character, I've given my vampires some different abilities, and some
of the old "standby" vampire rules you are used to hearing about are
broken in these books. My vampires run the gambit with very mortal human
foibles including jealousy, love, hate, greed, and humor. The added punch is
that these books are very spicy and not for those under eighteen.
Diane: COMBUSTION, your new romantic suspense novel, will be released
this November from Treble Heart Books (http://www.trebleheartbooks.com).
The story revolves around
Autumn, a former smoke jumper, and Jack, a firefighter, who must combine forces
when an arsonist threatens to burn their city. Was your choice of firefighting
as a background for these two characters based on a personal interest, or did
you perceive an increased interest on the part of your readers because of the
courage displayed by firefighters during the September 11 terrorist attack?
What do you believe readers will enjoy most about COMBUSTION?
Denise: I've always wanted to write a story about firefighters, even
before the events of 9-11. I started writing COMBUSTION before that event, but
after that day I knew I wanted to finish it more than ever. I also understood
readers would be interested in firefighters, and in romance there has always
been a big draw to firefighters as heroes. Also, because I like to write
suspense and thrills, the danger in firefighting gives many opportunities in
that direction. I think readers will enjoy COMBUSTION because I not only went
for a suspense-filled romance, but I got the technical aspects right. Even when
readers don't know much about a profession, they can often tell when a writer
did their homework. I had the help of two firefighters/paramedics (Karen Morris
and Brien Marx). I think readers will enjoy the bad guys, the humor, the steamy
love story, unexpected twists and the heart-wrenching insights.
Diane: You've drawn inspiration for your novels from your interests in
archaeology and earthquakes, among other things. How did these particular
interests came about, and how are they incorporated into your life?
Denise: My fascination with both subjects started as a child. I've been
involved with amateur archaeological groups since '85. I decided I needed to
interject those interests into some of my novels. For example, archaeology is a
part of my novels BORROWING
A DREAM, BRIDGE THROUGH THE MIST, and will be featured in another novel I'm
doing for Ellora's Cave. I wrote LOVE FROM THE ASHES (set during the 1906 San
Francisco quake) because I'd always wanted to write about the subject and
include a romance. There are also earthquakes in WICKED LESSONS, a novel I'm
working on as we speak.
Diane: You've had many books published in electronic format over the
Do you find that the going has gotten easier in the ebook industry? From an
author's perspective, what changes would make the path even smoother?
DENISE: I think as time goes on things will continue to flourish for
electronic and small press industry. Nay sayers have tried to sing the death
knell over epublishing, but electronic publishing isn't going to fade nicely
into the background. It's here to stay. Writers who work hard, know the ropes,
and who promote their work have a smoother path. One fallacy among some writers
is the belief that once they've published a book all they need to do is sit
around and watch the bucks roll in. Authors need to understand they are the
captains of their own ships. Expecting the publisher to do all the work won't
cut it and that's not going to change. Authors should recognize the success or
failure of their book relies on their ability to promote. The path will become
smoother once an electronic reading device is on the market that is reasonably
priced and a more universal program is
Denise A. Agnew
WINTER WARRIORS Anthology: MANEATER
Thrills, suspense, adventure and sexy romance
Coming soon from Ellora's Cave, http://www.ellorascave.com
Library Initiative Update
I am still keeping track of what's going on at the Open eBook Forum (http://www.openebook.org).
For those of you who are not aware of it, in May 2003 the OeBF set up a Library
Special Interest Group. According to a press release, the group was formed to
enable publishers, ebook resellers, DRM, software and hardware companies to
communicate directly with librarians to better appreciate the opportunities and
challenges of service for libraries and their patrons.
In a recent OeBF post by Marilynn Byerly, she indicated that Baen Books (mainly
science fiction and fantasy) is having success giving away ebooks to help sell
their paperback books. According to a Baen ebook expert, ebooks will not take
off for another 20 years. I would have to say that humans are certainly slow to
change, often lagging behind technology for many years. Although I believe 20
years is a little pessimistic, I do believe we could be looking at 5 to 10
years before ebooks become commonplace.
So what should we do with libraries? I believe one way is to offer an audio
version of your book. Libraries already accept audio products and they are in
demand. My research and
discussions with libraries indicates that they do not like ebooks on CD because
of the associated computer problems - Mac versus PC versus Linux. Individuals
who have older machines with limited memory might have problems reading the CD.
With audio they don't
have to worry. A library patron just inserts the CD in his/her CD player and
the process is automated.
On the eBook Catalog front, Diane finished updating it to reflect more specific
genres for the titles. As with our online ebook directory, this will allow
readers to more quickly find what they are looking for. Diane also is in the
process of contacting libraries that already offer ebooks to their patrons, in
order to introduce them to our catalog and learn more about their needs with
regards to ebooks.
In our last newsletter, I mentioned that we had vaulted in popularity to number
3 on Google for "ebook catalog." I am also happy to say that we are
making a move on the most competitive word in this industry: "ebooks."
We are now ranked at number 24. Although this may not sound too impressive,
"ebooks" is a highly competitive term and any listing in the top 30
is an accomplishment.
More next month,
For more information and to get your titles in our eBook Catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
eBook Author Profile: William Norris
In the course of a 50-year professional writing career, which began when he
joined his local newspaper as a cub reporter, British author William (Bill)
Norris has managed to squeeze in a huge variety of experience. From
Parliamentary Correspondent of The Times of London at the age of 26 (the
youngest since Charles Dickens), to covering the war fronts of Africa, to
interviewing leading world statesmen as Political Correspondent of ITN, his
journalistic range has been considerable. But between assignments he has
managed to be a professional rally driver, sail the Atlantic in a small boat,
build his own experimental aircraft and fly it across the United States at the
age of 60, and establish
the first broadcast TV station in Swaziland.
It may be his restless nature which has constrained him from writing the same
book twice -- putting him at a commercial disadvantage with publishers who
insist that authors should be type-cast. Thus his first book, ONE FROM 700 (Pergammon
Press, 1966), was a humorous account of Britain's Labour government under
Harold Wilson; his second, THE UNSAFE SKY (W. W. Norton, 1981), was a review of
aviation disasters; his third, WILLFUL MISCONDUCT (W. W. Norton, 1984), was a
swinging attack on the American legal system, while THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE
SKY (Viking, 1987) investigated and solved an ancient murder mystery.
Publishers clearly disapproved of such a grasshopper mind, and thus his latest
three books: SNOWBIRD, A GRAVE TOO MANY, and THE BADGER GAME have had to wait
for the e-publishing revolution to get a public airing. He hopes that you enjoy
reading them as much as he enjoyed the writing.
Now settled in France after 13 years in the U.S., during which he combined
freelance journalism with membership of Florida's prestigious Academy of Senior
Professionals at Eckerd College, Bill Norris is currently working
on...something. He can be reached via e-mail at NorrW7@aol.com.
Title: THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY
genre: General Nonfiction
THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY is the true story of the quest to solve the most
tantalizing aviation mystery of all time -- and a vivid portrait of a
high-flying international tycoon's life in the Roaring Twenties.
On July 4, 1928, a Fokker trimotor took off from London, bound for Brussels. On
board were the plane's owner, Alfred Loewenstein, a financier of immense wealth
and influence; a pilot and co-pilot; a valet; a male secretary; and two female
stenographers. The plane never reached Brussels. Instead, it landed on the
Normandy coast, where the crew told French authorities that Loewenstein had
accidentally fallen from the plane into the English Channel. A hastily held
inquest ruled that Loewenstein's death was probably accidental, and although
the case made international headlines, there the matter stood -- until this
Was Alfred Loewenstein murdered? Reporter and aviation expert William Norris
went on an international odyssey to establish the impossibility of
Loewenstein's death being anything but murder. He has interviewed every
survivor with any recollection of Loewenstein and delved in exhaustive detail
into his barefaced financial manipulations -- sharp dealings that left him with
ample enemies (and suspects). He has unearthed fascinating details about
Loewenstein's gaudy lifestyle -- his incredible retinue, racing stable, eight
villas in Biarritz, and fantastic fox-hunting weekends where the best of
British society milked this Catholic/Jewish outsider for stock tips (and
snubbed him everywhere else). He has traced the suspiciously prosperous lives
of the Fokker's other occupants -- and established the mechanical means whereby
a murder could have been committed.
The book's double-layered narrative of the life and death of Loewenstein and
the author's search for the truth behind his demise involve the reader with
gripping immediacy in a saga of high-rolling greed and a shocking cover-up. THE
MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY is a unique true-crime story, with the tantalizing
spell of the most cunning mystery fiction.
"A gripping murder mystery which - like all the best stories - is
true." -- Robert Lacey, author of Ford: the Men and the Machine.
"An exceptionally good example of what an author can do when he puts his
nose on the trail of a great murder story. Authors make great detectives.
Norris is at the top of his class." -- Sydney Kirkpatrick, author of A
Cast of Killers.
"A fascinating and well-researched investigation into one of the twentieth
century's most intriguing mysteries" -- Robin Bruce Lockhart, author of
Reilly, Ace of Spies.
Title: WILLFUL MISCONDUCT
genre: General Nonfiction
On January 30, 1974, the pilot of a Pan American World Airlines Boeing 707 jet
carrying 101 passengers and crew flew his plane into the jungle instead of the
airport at Pago Pago, Samoa. Although everyone on board survived the impact, 97
people perished in the ensuing fire. Four survived to tell of it.
What caused the crash? What prevented the 97 passengers from escaping the
intact fuselage with their lives? Why was the wreck bulldozed and buried before
it could be examined? Why was the co-pilot's deathbed statement never recorded?
Why did the
survivors and the families of the dead have to wait more than ten years for
compensation, despite the fact that Pan American was found guilty of
"willful misconduct" after the longest and most expensive trial in
That is the story William Norris tells. It is a triumph of investigative
journalism by a man whose outrage grew as he followed the trail of evidence,
dug beneath the cover-ups, and
came to know personally most of the people involved.
The result is a gripping tale, full of fascinating characters, human tragedy,
and courtroom drama to beggar Perry Mason.
genre: General Nonfiction
Andrew Richard Barnes was a man who had everything: a good education at an
English public school, a fine physique, a beautiful wife, and a
seemingly-assured future. He was a skilled professional pilot who ran his own
airline at the age of 21. SNOWBIRD is the cautionary tale of Andrew Barnes'
descent into hell: how it happened, and what it was like to serve the cocaine
barons whom he ultimately betrayed.
Barnes was ultimately sentenced to seven years in the federal prison at Lompoc,
California. He counted himself lucky to be there. As the man who flew the very
first shipment of cocaine for the Medellin Cartel into the United States, and
dangerous trade for almost a full decade, he survived crashes and gunfire,
treachery and betrayal. He also became the target of a determined assassination
attempt by the Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega -- and lived to tell the
William Norris certainly knows how to entertain readers with his flair for
presenting real-life stories and SNOWBIRD is no exception. This fascinating
story will keep you captivated from start to finish. Order Snowbird now and
treat yourself to one of the most intriguing stories we have read.
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