MIND LIKE WATER MONTHLY
Dedicated to helping the ebook community.
Issue # 3: May 13, 2002
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.
Welcome to another issue of the Mind Like Water Monthly. I am really encouraged by the positive responses
we have received. I think it goes to show that, although a little cliche,
content really is king.
We have had several ebook authors respond to our
invitation to be interviewed. To be fair, these will
appear in our newsletter (two per issue) in the order in which authors contact
us. We would also like to hear from publishers of ebooks, and from those of you who are
consumers/readers of ebooks.
Remember that we only place one advertisement in our
newsletter, so please make it a point to check out our
Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Word-of-Mouth
2. eBook Author Interviews:
a. Carolyn Howard-Johnson, This
Is The Place
b. Mary E. Trimble,
3. Tip of the Month
4. Questions and Answers
Feature Article: Word-of-Mouth
In the last issue, I discussed the missing link -- connecting ebook authors with readers. Directories and
search engines are certainly a great place to start for both authors and
readers. Word-of-mouth advertising is probably the next most important thing to remember. In fact, Internet
traffic looks like this:
1. Search engines: 46 percent
2. Word-of-mouth: 20 percent
3. Random surfing: 20 percent
4. Magazine ads: 4 percent
5. By accident: 2 percent
6. TV ads: 1 percent
7. Targeted e-mail: 1 percent
8. Banner ads: 1 percent.
Let's face it, we are all inundated on a daily basis with
phone solicitations, advertisements, email spam,
billboards, etc. This makes most of us extremely skeptical. When making a
purchasing decision, we are all looking for a warm and comfortable feeling.
Let's suppose you are looking for a doctor, lawyer, plumber, or any other
professional. Would you rather spend eight hours of intensive research
screening through prospects, coming up with a final list, and then possibly
interviewing the finalists? I think NOT! Most of us would opt for a friend or
family member giving us a referral.
How does this apply to ebook authors and readers?
Readers, I suspect that you would rather buy an ebook
from an author or publisher that you know and trust.
I would. One reason Amazon.com has had such success is that they allow people
to post reviews of books. This allows you to find out what others think about a
book you are considering purchasing. This is word-of-mouth advertising and,
believe me, we all like it and use it daily. Case in point: I just saw
Spiderman The Movie, which was a pretty decent movie. Guess what I did? I told
several people I know about the movie, including
everyone reading this newsletter.
Authors, become the person/business that you would
recommend to your closest friend. How do you do this? It seems obvious, but be accessible to your readers either by phone,
email, newsletter, or online chat. Offer a money-back guarantee and then stick
to it. Answer any questions you receive as quickly as possible, preferably
within 24 hours. If you have a publisher, make sure that your publisher is
satisfying your customers. Check with your customers and find out not only how
they liked your book, but also what their buying experience was
Remember that word-of-mouth advertising is more of a
philosophy than it is a marketing approach. You cannot
force someone to give you a great referral. That is what makes it so powerful.
It is believable.
Next month I am going to talk about starting and
maintaining a newsletter. I am also going to tell you about
what I believe is one of the best and most inexpensive programs for maintaining
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Why advertise in the Mind Like Water Monthly?
Online newsletters tend to narrowly focus their content to meet the needs and capture the loyalty of a
very specific readership ... giving you the perfect
opportunity to get your ad in front of your best potential customers! If
you would like more information about advertising with us, please
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
eBook Author Interview: Carolyn Howard-Johnson, This Is The Place
Michael: Tell me about yourself and what inspired you to write This Is The Place.
Carolyn: I was born writing and talking
-- or very
nearly. When I was accepted as a writer for the Olympus High School
Thunderbolt in Salt Lake City, I thought of it as my
first professional job. In art class I made myself a wallet with an inkpot
and quill carefully incised into cowhide, and kept scrapbooks of everything
I wrote and everything that was published, whether it was good, bad or indifferent. I dreamed
writing and lived writing.
I nagged the managing editor at the Salt Lake Tribune
into hiring me when I was only 17 years old. I was the
youngest person they ever hired. My youthful persistence inspired one of the
chapters in This Is The Place. Often young people will do what their older shadows would never have the
confidence to try.
I left Salt Lake City for New York, where I was an
editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine.
I also did a short stint as a publicity writer for Eleanor Lambert Agency
(fashion) in that city. I wrote releases for celebrity designers of the
time, including Pauline Trigere, Rudy Gernreich and Christian Dior. It was very exciting. The models. The
clothes. The fashion shows.
I write a regular freelance fashion column and
occasional society pieces for the Pasadena Star News,
and movie reviews for The Glendale News-Press, an LA Times
affiliate. I also do profiles and a regular column for Home Décor Buyer.
After that I gave up writing for about 40 years. This
Is The Place was my own personal miracle. A chapter
from the novel has been selected as a finalist for the
prestigious Masters Literary Award, and the novel won the Sime-Gen
Reviewers' Choice Award in the mainstream category. My work
was selected for two anthologies in 2001. Harkening: A
Collection of Stories Remembered will be released in 2002, and I am writing
my first book of poetry, SkyScapes: A Woman's
I didn't start This Is The Place until I was
almost 60 years old, so currently the most important thing
in my life is making up for lost time. I am a woman on the run. I am such a
late starter with the creative writing and have lived so long that there is just tons of
"stuff" waiting to be put on paper!
I wanted to write the great American novel from the
time I was a teenager. It just took about 40 years for
the idea to gestate before it was born. It may not be the great American
novel to anyone else, but it is to me. I did have one reviewer say
"Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be one of the greats." That felt like the realization of a dream!
Michael: Briefly explain to our readers your unique
view of Utah and the Mormon culture.
Carolyn: Many Utahans have experienced the culture in
Utah from both the Mormon and the non-Mormon side. I
believe I am the only writer to explore that aspect of the state. Like the
American South, Utah has its own culture, even its own language. Most
fiction set in that state barely skims what makes that "place" so immeasurably fascinating.
Michael: What are you working on now?
Carolyn: I just finished a book called Harkening: A
Collection of Stories Remembered. It
explores the idea of truth in fiction, how each story's truth is colored by
the story teller as well as the reader.
Michael: What is your opinion of ebooks and the future
of electronic publishing?
Carolyn: I use ebooks for promotion. I intend to write
a nonfiction book for retailers and use the
electronic format for that. The advantage for certain kinds of books is that
the price can be kept so affordable.
There is such a small percentage of people who read
fiction in ebooks. Of those, a still smaller percent
read literary/women's/historical (a cross of categories that This Is The
Place falls into), and so I haven't pursued that path for this book, nor
will I for Harkening. I also believe that the contract I have with my
publisher does not permit that. If I ever feel intensely that the time is
right for publishing them electronically, I'll take it up with them.
Michael: What advice do you have for other aspiring
Carolyn: I took a writing course at UCLA from Michael
Levine. He said, "Write two lousy pages a day
and at the end of the year you'll have a book." His point was that if a
writer agonizes over every word or the first chapter or anything else, they
may never complete a piece. A writer can always go back and rewrite. I
believe that keeping the momentum is invaluable. Michael may be a writer's greatest philosopher!
I think that one of the most important aspects of
writing is that a fiction writer must know herself. Not
until a writer knows her own heart, guts, foibles, and prejudices can she
write character well. So, at least for fiction writers and poets, I believe
that getting back to one's roots is invaluable. There are many paths for
this -- journaling, travel, therapy, one's own genealogy. I do them all.
Another aspect of this is that a writer should write. I have my notebook
with me most always. Sometimes I can go back over a page only a day later
and be absolutely amazed at what I have forgotten. Dreams. Metaphors.
Observations. Even important writing ideas!
-- Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of This Is The Place,
an award-winning story about a young journalist who writes her way through repression into redemption.
Available at http://www.tlt.com/authors/carolynhowardjohnson.htm.
For a FREE first chapter, email email@example.com.
FREE Cooking By The Book at http://www.tlt.com/authors/carolynhowardjohnson.htm.
eBook Author Interview: Mary E. Trimble, Rosemount
Michael: Tell me something about Rosemount.
Mary: Rosemount, published in November 2000 by
Atlantic Bridge, is a Young Adult/Teen novel about
16-year-old Leslie Cahill, who rebels against her father's decision to send
her to a girls' boarding school. After months of arguing and feeling
rejected by her father, Leslie decides to take matters into her own hands.
She runs away, but soon finds that the "real world" can be harsh
and frightening. Rosemount has plenty of action, with modern ranch life, wilderness adventure
and human dynamics.
Michael: What is the setting for Rosemount, and
Mary: The setting for this story is the wide-open
ranch country of eastern Washington and Oregon. I've
always loved that part of the country and am fascinated by
Michael: How long have you been writing?
Mary: I've been writing professionally for 10 years.
In the early years I concentrated on magazine articles,
and by now have over 350 articles published, mostly in
travel magazines. I also write sailing articles and pieces of
general interest to homeowners. Rosemount is my first published book. McClellan's
Bluff, the sequel to Rosemount, is due to be
published in early summer 2002, also by Atlantic Bridge. In
the sequel, Leslie, now 17, falls in love with a neighboring
cowboy who is 28. Not only does the age difference bother Leslie's
father and brother, but they feel this fellow's character is
less than honorable.
Michael: Describe to me the good and the bad of ebooks.
Mary: I think the premise of ebooks is promising for
all the popular reasons -- saves trees, saves
space, usually less expensive. For students, ebooks can save a sore back. As
an author, I've been disappointed in the slowness of manufacturers to come
up with a reader that's compatible to all formats. As much as the ebook
industry has been publicized, there are still many people who are unfamiliar
with ebooks. When hand-held readers become available, adaptable and
inexpensive, I think this industry will skyrocket.
Michael: Are ebooks a fad or a revolution?
Mary: I believe ebooks are a revolution. They are here
to stay and, like television, won't take over the
industry but will provide one more mode from which to choose.
-- Mary E. Trimble
Rosemount -- Life is tough when you're 16 and on your own.
Tip of the Month
eBook authors/publishers: If your customers pay by credit card, remind them that their bill will reflect a
charge from your company. It may not be completely
intuitive to them, and it can cut down on credit card charge
backs. You can remind customers during their purchase or by email
after the purchase.
Questions and Answers
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