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You can earn 16% to 240% or more through government tax foreclosure sales and
real estate tax lien certificates...the Rogue Real Estate Investor Book and Course.

Dedicated to helping the ebook community.
Issue #17: October 2, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Hello everyone,

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,

Michael Williams

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 of orders.

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.


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 affiliate system.

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 affordable option.

** 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 blue ribbon?

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 vampire's character?

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 years (http://www.tlt.com/authors/deniseagnew.htm). 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
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,

Michael Williams

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

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.

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 book.

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.

Review comments:

"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.

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 aviation history?

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 continued the
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 tale.

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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