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Issue # 7: September 10, 2002
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

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

My kids are back in school, Labor Day is over and autumn is on the horizon. For many of us, vacations are over and we are returning to the work mode and thinking about a promising new season for ebook sales.

Of course, we are coming up on the one year anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks. Thinking about this lead me to contemplate why there is terrorism. Without sounding too political, I explore in the feature article below how the Internet and ebooks can help in a small way.  

Also, I'd like to update you on the progress of our ebook and emedia compilation software. We have selected names...drum roll. The compilation development software will be called Collection Creator. The viewer/ reader/listener software will be called Collection Cruiser. Both products are approximately 90 percent complete.

Here's what you can expect:

   *Create compilations of all or some of your ebooks as one file.
   *Create compilations of your ebook in many different formats.
   *Create compilations of music (my 13-year-old likes this one).
   *Create compilations of topics (e.g., cookbooks) by different authors.
   *Create compilations for distribution via CD Rom.  
   *Create compilations that include personalized graphics and icons.
   *Create compilations of work documents, resumes, or personal files.

I'll tell you more as we progress with the software. We may need a few beta testers from the ebook community. If you think you'd be interested, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Electronic Media Helps Sustainable Resources
2. eBook Author Interview: Alexandria Brown, Boost Business With Your Own E-zine
3. Tip of the Month
4. eBook Author Interview: Susan Lee, Genuine Haunted House for Sale

Feature Article: Electronic Media Helps Sustainable Resources
Maybe it is the environmental scientist or geologist in me, but I often tend to think globally. I also believe that outside of the United States, most of the rest of the world thinks globally as well. The problem is, most U.S. citizens do not. You may have heard the astounding statistics about how we use roughly two-thirds of the world's resources, yet we only represent about 5 percent of the world's population. You can imagine the anger of developing nations as we use their share of the resources.

Think about your city or community. Let's say a neighboring city (City A) used most of the available electricity, water, gas, oil and other resources. Your city (City B) was left with just a little bit, which you had to ration out. Maybe that meant no air conditioning, no summer vacation and no lights at night. Maybe City A was also causing air and water pollution, making City B's air unfit to breath and water dangerous to drink. I think you get the point. It wouldn't take long for City B to hate City A.  

I'm not suggesting that this is the reason for all terrorism, but something has to give. We need to reduce our voracious demands for resources.

That's one reason I am happy to be part of the emerging ebook and electronic media (emedia) revolution. I believe emedia will help reduce our growing need for forest products, plastics and other materials, chemicals to bleach and ink these products, and demands for landfill space.

Think about newspapers and magazines. Why on earth (pun intended) do we still print, deliver and throw away millions of pounds of newspapers and magazines each day when they could be delivered electronically, helping to save resources and allowing delivery at a much lower cost?

I realize that we are creatures of habit and change is often slow, but I can tell you that we will move towards digital electronic media. It's already happening. We have a unique opportunity to be part of this transformation and save resources at the same time.

The bottom line is this: Authors: Make your products available in electronic format. Readers: Buy an ebook and show you care about the planet and your fellow neighbors.

Go ebooks and emedia!

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eBook Author Interview: Alexandria Brown, Boost Business With Your Own E-zine
Diane: In 1999 you founded the marketing communications agency AKB & Associates. Tell us how you subsequently came to be known as the "E-zine Queen."

Alexandria: When I founded my business three years ago, I was delighted because I could then work at home. But along with that independence came the realization that I was going to have to work a lot harder to keep myself on everyone's radar screens. (No sitting around all day, eating bonbons and waiting for my toll-free number to ring!)

I needed a cheap and easy way to stay in touch with past associates, current clients, prospects ... everyone! One of my specialties was developing print newsletters for clients, so I considered publishing my own. But the cost for design, printing, and postage would have run my new little biz into the ground. Then I realized my best bet would be to publish an e-mail newsletter, or "e-zine."

To learn more about e-zine publishing, I searched the Web and purchased a few books on the subject, but none of them covered the entire process from planning content to writing to setting up your list to gaining subscribers and promoting your e-zine. Many of them were just a lot of hype, trying to convince people they could make a million dollars from e-zine advertising. My situation was different: I already had a successful business that I wanted to promote, using an e-zine. There were no manuals geared specifically for the small biz owner/entrepreneur.  

Here was my chance to capture this niche and write my own manual! So I did. And now I also offer teleclasses and workshops on the subject as well. I've become an "infopreneur" by sharing this powerful information with others at http://www.ezinequeen.com.

Diane: The premise of your award-winning manual, Boost Business With Your Own E-zine, is that entrepreneurs and small business owners can attract new clients and increase sales by gaining status as an expert/resource in their field through publishing an e-zine. How should an author whose product is a novel and whose expertise is imagination approach implementing your marketing strategy?

Alexandria: Hmmm. Good question, and one I haven't come across before. Developing content that "sells" in that case isn't as cut and dry as it would be for a person offering a straight service or product. For example, a consultant who mainly works with dental practices would write tips on running a successful dental practice. But a novelist? Well, how about offering excerpts from your novel, publishing short stories, a series of articles on a favorite topic, favorite quotes, or even reviews of other books that you love? Your e-zine doesn't have to be all about your novel/work -- instead it can be more general, but it should be designed to attract the type of readership you desire. In this way, you self-promote a bit more subtly.

Diane: Besides publishing an e-zine, what are some other things that an e-book author can do to become an expert or resource?

Alexandria: In this case, let's assume we're talking about more of a "how-to" or nonfiction book. Build your web site to be a resource on your topic so word will spread and people will visit time and again. Get articles on your topic published in as many places as possible, and preferably in publications that your target market reads. (These articles can even just be excerpts of your book if you'd like.) Keep up to date on your topic by reading everything you can on it. Consider delivering your information via other vehicles such as teleclasses or audio programs. Give in-person workshops on the subject -- start with small groups such as chambers of commerce and work your way up to larger, paid conferences. (I'm going through this process now!)

Diane: It appears that you practice what you preach. You publish "Tips from the E-Zine Queen" -- a newsletter about writing and publishing dynamic e-zines, you offer teleclasses on the same subject, and your articles on marketing appear in "Sales & Marketing Excellence" and many web sites. What impact has establishing your expertise had on the success of Boost Business With Your Own E-zine?

Alexandria: Actually, it's the book that's gained me the most respect as an expert. If you're "published," or even self-published like I am, you suddenly have credibility in many people's eyes. But what's amazing is simply by sharing what I know, others have come to view me as an "expert" in this area. And while I surely don't know "everything" in the world about e-zines, I know a great deal more than most people. So I pride myself on being able to teach others how to promote themselves and their businesses/books by publishing an e-zine.

Diane: Traditionally a publisher is responsible for marketing its book list. As a marketing communications consultant, what do you say to the writer-with-a-publisher who only wants to write?

Alexandria: Don't rely solely on your publisher to market your book for you. I've heard many disappointed authors who sat back and waited for their publisher to "get them out there," and most of the time it just doesn't happen. Develop your own ways to promote yourself, such as publishing an e-zine and landing speaking engagements. After all, no one can toot your horn better than you can!

-- Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, Boost Business With Your Own E-zine, available at http://www.ezinequeen.com. For "hundreds" more great tips like these, visit her site and sign up for her FREE biweekly newsletter, "Tips from the E-zine Queen." Don't miss the next issue -- subscribe today at http://www.ezinequeen.com!

What You're Saying About Us

I am writing to you to request an interview for your newsletter. I have found "Mind Like Water" to be instrumental in getting my ebook publicized. Thank you for this fabulous site!


Julie Donner Andersen
author of Past: Perfect! Present: Tense! Insights From One Woman's Journey As The Wife Of A Widower

Tip of the Month
Think globally, act locally and make a new friend in a developing nation.

eBook Author Interview: Susan Lee, Genuine Haunted House for Sale
Diane: You were an artist before you were a writer, and your visual works have been exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, and New York City. I read your comment that "Gradually words entered my paintings and, over the years, took over as my presiding passion." Tell us more about this transition period, and how you ultimately turned to writing and illustrating stories for children.

Susan: In 1980 I participated in a show at Gallery 76 in Toronto titled "Words and Images" exhibiting the work of artists using words as integral parts of their visual images. I was playing with integrating words into my images in order to make my message clear.

I continued working in this direction, either using words in the work or exploring themes through journals, but I was frustrated by the limitations -- I could imply, hint, tease with words, but I was unable to fully expose the viewer to my point of view.

Then, in 1988, after the birth of my first child, the world of children's literature was reopened to me. I say reopened, because as a child I was an avid reader (I continue to be one, of course) but I had forgotten, as many of us do once out of our early years, the magical world of picture books.  

I read to my son and later to my daughter (thirteen years later we are still reading together) and found the books very exciting -- here was a way to marry idea and image that I'd never thought of.

At that point in time I was completely intimidated by computers so I decided to write and illustrate my first book using a computer in order to "get over it." That book is my only book to date both written and illustrated on the computer and has never been published, probably with good reason.  

After the rejections began rolling in I decided it was time to learn more about the art of writing for children, so I took two correspondence courses with The Institute for Children's Literature. I joined CANSCAIP (the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers) and SCBWI (the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and immersed myself in the world of children's literature. Though I have a number of published short stories, articles, and an ebook under my belt, I am still sending out manuscripts of my stories that I have illustrated and looking for a publisher for them. I am still making contemporary paintings as well as my book work, but my paintings are now without words. Now I like to allow the viewer to decide what the image is about.

Diane: Your book Genuine Haunted House for Sale is a humorous story about a young girl named Stevie whose parents move into a haunted house so that the mother can jumpstart her journalism career by getting a scoop on the ghosts. Stevie's disbelief in ghosts is shattered when she meets the ghost family. Do you have a litmus test for deciding if an idea you have for a children's story will appeal to that market? Which do you think is more important to the success of a children's story: writing about a subject matter that generally appeals to children (e.g., ghosts), or the perspective the author brings to the story, regardless of the subject matter?

Susan: Being around children and reading tons of children's literature has given me a good idea of the kinds of stories kids like to read -- the same sort of stuff I like, stories with interesting characters who have things to learn and obstacles to make their way around in order to learn those things.  

I find that children are interested in almost anything if it is presented in an interesting way. Of course there are the big subjects -- the dinosaurs, mummies, ghosts, and so on, but even grammar (the one subject I couldn't stand as a child because the teacher presented it in a dry and, to me, incomprehensible manner) can be presented in such a way as to capture a child's interest. The success of any story depends on how well the tale is told, and for me, whether or not I return to the world with a new way of seeing things.

Children demand this too. They demand to be surprised by a story. They want to see another perspective. However, in stories, especially those meant for a young audience, we have to be careful we aren't preaching. The author needs to step out of the way, put her perspective on hold, and let her character present how she sees the world. That being said, I often have a reason to write a story that becomes clear to me only after I've finished a couple of drafts. That's when I get a moment of "oh, so that's what I've been trying to say" and it's always something that I needed to make clear to myself.

Diane: A reviewer of Genuine Haunted House for Sale wrote, "Who says children's literature has to just be for children? I found myself laughing out loud in many sections...." When you are developing a children's story, how occupied are you with ensuring it will appeal to parents as well?

Susan: I try to keep the adult audience out of my mind altogether. In fact, I try not to think about audience at all during the first draft of a story. Worrying about whether or not someone will like the story or, if I am saying something controversial, if it will be accepted by parental figures is not conducive to writing. I want to let the story out and see where it will lead me without worrying about the audience. Having said that, I have moments when I have to ignore the inner critic's warnings and admonitions in order to let the story unfold. These are important moments and I hope to have many more because I like work that challenges the conventional world view, such as the point in Genuine Haunted House For Sale when Stevie realizes that her view of the world, the viewpoint of the scientist, has limits and blind spots.

Diane: I read that you direct the library at your children's school. Are there any ebooks in the library's collection, or has there been any discussion about including them?

Susan: We have not purchased any ebooks yet. We are a French alternative school with a tiny budget in an economically challenged neighborhood, so it hasn't seemed like a good option as our mandate is to acquire books that all of the children can take home and enjoy. I did suggest the purchase of my book to the English teacher but she didn't see it as something she wanted to invest in as the children's vocabulary level probably wasn't high enough.

Diane: What are you currently working on, that we can look forward to?

Susan: I have just finished a retelling of the old flounder story that I've illustrated and for which I am searching for a publisher. As well I am working on the last draft of a young adult sci-fi novel inspired by two radio newscasts, the first addressing the realities of people living on the streets that was immediately followed by a piece on the future colonization of Mars. As soon as that is finished and sent out I will return to working on the second draft of another sci-fi novel for the same age group, inspired by a combination of my son's interest in future technologies and an interest and concern I have in the use of animals in laboratories.

-- Susan Lee

If you would like to be profiled in the Mind Like Water Monthly, please send an email to dino@mindlikewater.com. We are interested in hearing from ebook authors, epublishers, those of you who read ebooks, and anyone else involved in the ebook community.

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Copyright 2002, Mind Like Water, Inc., all rights reserved.
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