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Unique is Not Good enough

What authors need to do to achieve success

Unique is not good enough.

What an author needs to achieve success might include one or more of the following:

Galvanizing
Uncommonly and relentlessly helpful
Magical
Transcends
Irresistible
Remarkable
Revolutionary
Game-Changing
Life-saving
Enlightening
Superbly crafted
Captivating
Pure Gold
Brilliant
True Stand Out
Exceeds All Expectations
Red Hot Imagination
Mesmerizing
Spellbinding
Rich treat
Catapults You Beyond
Brilliantly Plotted
Un-put-downable
Amazing
Perfectly Paced
Engrossing
Fiercely poetic
Lush exquisitely detailed
Gorgeous
Resolute
Page turning
Infectious
Vivid eloquence
Shocking clarity
Rich and intricate
Enthralling
Deeply satisfying
Surprising revelations
Masterful journey

What’s Wrong With Pay for Play? Why is Pay for Play Unethical?

What's Wrong With Pay for Play? Why is Pay for Play Unethical?

First, what is the distinction between pay for performance and pay for play?

One of the primary concerns about Pay for Performance and Pay for Play and even with Relationship Based PR has to do with the risk of payment to the journalist or media organization without adequate disclosure. Money is a powerful incentive. If you pay a PR person $15,000 to 25,000 for a five minute interview and placement on a prime time national TV show and half of it goes to a producer who agreed to booked the show then that is a serious issue. It presents something as objective reporting instead of identifying it clearly as advertising. Does everyone disclose their back door payments? Not really.

At least in my experience, most publicists who offer pay for performance are also highly ethical about what they do. The reason is that while success speaks loud, failure speaks much louder indeed, and unethical and illegal behavior fairly screams across the planet. And as in politics, there are, of course, consequences for getting caught.

The higher costs associated with pay for performance are a testament to how difficult it is to be successful. The publicist must take the risk for their time and effort instead of being paid for their time and effort. So yes, publicists do tend to take care when accepting PFP clients. Clearly, it is exceedingly difficult to be successful with poor quality books and inexperienced authors or those who aren’t qualified in the eyes of the media.

The key thing here is to follow the money. If the money gets to the journalist, then the disclosure is required by the FTC. With Pay for Performance, you pay the publicist for success, but the risk is that the media is getting paid, too.

What’s the Problem with Pay for Play?

With pay for play, you pay the media for their time or to cover production or whatever. With relationship based PR, you pay the publicist for the inside connection or referral, or you pay to be at an event where journalists and producers are there, and there is a risk they are receiving payment above ethical guidelines of requirements. With retainer based and task based, you pay the publicist to pitch and there is no payment to the media. It’s the content that is the determining factor.

There is a growing number of media who will charge you a fee and then give you coverage. It’s an ongoing issue in society.

Pay for play poses a growing ethical issue in social media, blogs, paid reviews, media placements in print, and on radio and TV. FTC 16 CFR Part 255 states anyone receiving a product (book, TV, widget) for review is considered to be paid with the product and must be disclosed.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s code now states that ethical practitioners must “encourage disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.” The value exchanged may take the form of cash, travel, gifts or future favors.

http://www.prsa.org/SearchResults/view/8138/105/PRSA_speaks_out_on_Pay_for_Play_strengthens_Code_o#.Usnlf9JDss0

You can pitch blogs and receive responses from mommy and techie bloggers (from $5 and $10 to $300) to radio shows and even major network and syndicated TV shows saying they’ll be happy to write about you or do a show, if you only pay for the costs of production ($3,000 to $5,000).

Steve Bennett wrote a column in PR Week and said:

“At The New York Times you can’t even accept a free lunch from a contact. And the AP sets a limit of $10 on the size of any benefit received by a journalist.”

http://www.prweekus.com/when-earned-media-becomes-paid-for/article/254180/

The relationship based poses similar ethically questionable situations. It sounds great to hear a PR firm or publicist say that they are on personal terms with a journalist or a host or producer at a big TV show. What’s the problem?

We rely on media to be impartial and to give everyone fair and honest consideration.

Many see this particular style of doing business as a slippery slope that is very susceptible to corruption that undermines the very core of objective reporting and fairness in journalism. There are public relations firms and service providers who offer to place you in front of a group of journalists for a fee. Is it any different than the payments of lobbyists and political action committees in exchange for a meeting with a lawmaker or a politician?

The gold ol’ “hey I’ll buy you lunch meetings”, with drinks, and even, the payment of transportation and even stays at hotels, and more in exchange for coverage. These can turn into lucrative clandestine long-term arrangements where favorable repeat coverage goes to people, companies, organizations, who can afford to pay for the privilege to speak with journalists. What if the PR firm slips a commission fee to the journalist or a “production cost reimbursement” to the media organization?

Do the journalists and their media organizations disclose all financial and other “gifts” faithfully? Do our politicians disclose all their donations, donors, and payments? OK I’m in dreamland.

The next time you see a TV news magazine show look closely for “FTC Disclosure” with the list of sponsors in the credits at the beginning (“The following is paid by our sponsors”.) and the end of the show (the quickly scrolling list of sponsors). Do you even see it?

Which content has more impact? Niche or generic?

Content is King. How do you identify the right content for you?

I’ve studied this intensely as a publicist. My experience is that it depends on how you make your income and what you do and say that turns your people on and gets them to take the action you want them to take (sales, fundraising, votes, participation, whatever). Whatever you do best is where you will shine the most. You have to make light that outshine your competition. and you have to be able to communicate to YOUR people wherever you find them. So what do they read, watch or listen to, particularly when they are receptive to taking action? What can YOU say that fits in those circumstances. Prove the message first, then select the technology and format the message to the culture. For many professionals, the problem solving tips article or Q & A is the best professional branding tactic. For others, it’s a educational photo feature.

So many people struggle to figure out the right words to use to turn people on. I believe you can learn what to say that turns people on one person at a time. You just have to keep talking to people and pay attention to what you said when it happens.

I call this the miracle of the microcosm because I’ve found people can do this anywhere and everywhere. It doesn’t matter where they are at all. And once you do figure out the magic words, then you can apply the numerous outreach technologies as a force multiplier to repeat the results.

Here’s a link that goes to my Magic in a Message slide show presentation.

http://www.slideshare.net/PaulKrupin1/magic-in-a-message-120613-pdf

Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks

Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks

I read with a pen in my hand at all times. The real trick is to not only underline the good ideas and passages, but open up a notebook and write down the idea and develop an action, identify who else needs to be brought in, identify a completion date and deploy the action plan to turn the idea into a reality with benefits. Even if it is inspirational, fiction or non-business related, identify the good stuff and share it with someone. Sharing and caring someone else’s life’s work can bring joy to the world. Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks.

Malcolm Gladwell on Social Media

Malcolm Gladwell on Social Media

Malcolm Gladwell triggered an avalanche of protests and howls from social media lovers for his analysis and commentary of social media in his article in the New Yorker magazine.

Here the links to the original October 4, 2010 article in The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1

This one goes to Mike Isaac’s tech column in Forbes

http://blogs.forbes.com/velocity/2010/10/20/malcolm-gladwells-response-to-critics-of-his-social-media-piece/?boxes=techchannelblogs

Here is Twitter founder Biz Stone’s response in The Atlantic magazine.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/10/exclusive-biz-stone-on-twitter-and-activism/64772

And for my own history of rants and raves on the subject of social media and the difficulties of communicating meaningfully with people:


http://blog.directcontactpr.com/public/category/social-media

Hey, if it works for you, do it. If it doesn’t, do something else, and figure out what works.

Knowing versus doing – knowledge versus the application of knowledge

Knowing versus doing - knowledge versus the application of knowledge

An author came to me with a half written book and said what do you think?

I asked him what qualifications and experience he had to write this book? Why should people believe him?

He said, “I self published 3 books and read 25 marketing books and attended half a dozen seminars”.

I asked do you teach? Do you speak? Do you consult and practice? Do you work with clients and success stories you can tell?

No, no, no, no, and no.

I advised him that he may have difficulty getting people to buy his book when he finished it.

Knowledge is not powerful in and of itself. The application of knowledge is what is powerful.

There is a difference between being a student and being a teacher and being a practitioner.

People know it when they see it. Do what you are best at.

Paying for Book Reviews – Is it worth it?

Paying for book reviews - costs compared to normal book publicity

Discussion of the new program to charge $149 for book reviews at Publishers Weekly. One person asked “Is it worth it?”

I write lots of news releases and send them out to lots of media and one of the primary goals for each and every one of my book author clients is to get their book reviewed.

I personally think that paying for reviews is just one way to achieve the goal of reaching and persuading people in a given target audience. I am seeing more and more media now say that they are charging for reviews. This is happening in many categories of media we deal with regularly. There are real reasons why this is happening and there are important tactics that those of us who promote books must pay close attention to.

To me the media are best viewed as publishers who make their living from writing, or using other people’s writing, to create something people will pay for. They only have two income streams for the most part, subscribers and advertising. To date, the core content that people who pay require of them, is usually a cost to the publisher. They have either employees, or they use freelance writers, and must pay for articles, or reviews. They create publications that they sell to buying audiences. That’s how they make their money.

Hence certain requirements exist when you want to be featured in a publication. The first is that you make sure you create something that matches or exceeds the quality or needs of the target audience, and the defined character of the media you wish to be in; and 2. That you then persuade that media that the audience in fact will be interested in what you created and 3. That you make it easy for the publisher to do their job, which is write something favorable that triggers sales.

Now for people who wish to get book reviews in library and publishing industry journals, the book review is helpful to getting the book before librarians and booksellers. So a book review in certain media has value.

More and more of these media are charging because they see the time and effort needed as a significant issue. It takes people, time, and physical space to manage a book review program that receives hundreds of books a week from authors and publishers all over the world. So the costs and manpower to do this is considerable. It is no wonder that media have decided to place a price on the process, to cover and defer these costs, and yet make no promises whatsoever on whether the review conducted will be helpful to an author or a publisher at all. I mean if you want to truly control the message that gets placed before a target audience, these media have a clearly identified process for doing that. It’s called advertising.

On the other hand, if what you seek instead is a bona fide objective review then you are forced to use methods of persuasion like sending news releases, books for review and media kits that contain the information needed to make a really favorable impression on media professionals, demonstrate to them that lots of people will be interested in the book, why, and what value it will have, and that even writing their review or story is easy with the extra materials you can make available to them to do their job (and defray their publishing time, effort, and costs).

This is what you need to really think about these days when presenting a review proposal to media.

To me, $149 for a review is a little high. Not only that, if all you do is send a book and wait for a review, then you are missing the opportunity to influence and control the outcome. That’s what you do when you work with a publicist.

If an author or a publisher invests $500 in an outreach effort, it is not unusual for me to see them get 20 to 60 requests (or more) for review copies as a result of their effort. One average, one can expect 50 percent of the requests to actually result in a review. So that means that the cost per review averages from $10 to $50 per review achieved. Follow up will improve the media response and performance.

Other publicists will cost more than this to achieve the same thing. You pay for the time, effort, technology and expertise and this is the business of strategic communication and persuasion.

However, book reviews may not be the only outcome or consequence from pitching to media.

The same PR outreach effort and $500 cost also triggers interviews and feature stories and even requests for speaking engagements. The actual outcome depends on the author, the topic, what we give to the media to share with the audience, the prior media coverage of the same topic or genre, the specific media targeted, and in many cases most importantly, the bottom line quality of the book. The value of this coverage is very hard to place a real value on. A single placement on FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC may result in hundreds or thousands of book sales and it may not. A single well conducted interview on NPR may launch a best seller. It also may not. Then again, a single well written and galvanizing story in the middle of nowhere but to a captive dedicated audience may also sell a great number of books. But then again, it may not.

The quality of the book and how it fits in the scheme of things is very important. But sometimes that doesn’t matter to the media. The content of the message is what matters the most. Timely content with high value to the audience gets the best coverage regardless of whether the book is fresh and new or old and musty. I’ve gotten many an author great publicity opportunities that failed to ripen into coverage because the book quality, content, and timeliness falls short of delivering the quality needed to validate the needs of the media for their audience. That is the challenge with many a self-published author and publisher.

Getting More Interviews on Radio and other Media

Advice on how to get more talk show interviews and how to get the maximum ROI from the interviews you do

Start with the end in mind.

The real key to evaluating your media performance is your sales. Radio is an instantaneous communications medium. To evaluate your performance you might want to see if you can figure out whether you can trace book sales to the time and place of your interview.

Many a small radio station or show in the middle of nowhere have captive audiences who are very dedicated. They trust their hosts, and they do what the host advises.

I’ve done five minute interviews on small stations in the middle of the morning that produced thirty to as many as fifty book sales on a toll free number literally while I was talking. This has outperformed 30 minute interviews on big Arbitron rated stations and shows in major cities. This is because of the quality of the audience and the interview.

So when a guest does an interview and really shines, they can sell a lot of books very quickly. But whether this happens really depends on the quality of the performance.

Your success on radio (or any other medium and technology) really is determined by what you communicate to your listening audience. That is why you need to evaluate what you said and identify exactly what happened and when.

In my opinion, it is a mistake to say “My book”. It labels you as a person who is selling a product. It’s a turn off. Experience shows that saying this reduces or diminishes your success. So you want to prepare the host and make sure they have products and information in advance. It’s better to be a galvanizing guest and have people call up to learn more about you than to be seen as a salesperson hawking a product.

You want the host to be the one to mention and talk about your book. You want the host to lavish you and your writing with praise and point the audience to what you have available. You want them to be the ones who do the sales talk for you.

Your job is to be the best guest you can possibly be. You don’t talk about you and your life unless you really know that it is interesting and impresses people. You don’t talk about your book and your writing and your marketing unless you really know it interests and engages people.

What’s the very best galvanizing media publicity you can get that will produce the maximum ROI?

I believe that it’s a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best.

So if you are a story teller, tell stories. If you are a horror writer, scare and horrify people. If you write sci-fi, then talk about the future. Give people and experience. Engage them and let them experience something that is truly emotionally engaging.

Don’t be boring. Be stimulating. Choose what you say carefully. Plan it out, test it, select and rehearse, like an actor or an actress on stage.

What you do is you talk about the ideas and concepts in your book and how it affects others. People are really only interested in things that have value to their own lives or others that they care about. That is what you must offer. I have a little poetic like formula which I wrote which describes what you need to do which goes like this:

Tell me a story
give me a local news angle (my audience!)
touch my heart (make me laugh or cry)
teach me something new
astound or amaze me,
make my stomach churn with horror or fear,
hit me in my pocketbook
or turn me on.

And do this as many times as you can in two to three minutes.

That is what you have to do when you are interview on radio.

The goal is to have a meaningful communication with the right real people on the receiving end. The message is matters, the medium matters, and the effect matters. The real value to the recipient is what determines whether they in fact are affected to the point of action.

So, did you turn people on to the point where they were motivated to take the action you wanted?

Do you know how to turn people on? Were you galvanizing? Were you funny? We your education or entertaining? Did you entrance people with your story telling? Did you plan and communicate your very best talking points? Were you boring or were you memorable?

You have to decide in advance what your goal is and then carry it off without a hitch. Then you have to evaluate whether you achieved your goal.

This is the key thing you are out to learn and to achieve. If you goal is to sell books, then ask yourself honestly, did you sell books? If not, then maybe you need to revise your script and your strategy until it does do what you want it to do.

Technically, you need to be on a single land line when you do your interview simply to achieve the best sound quality. Cell phones, Skype, even portable phone are all at risk for interference and reduced sound performance. You also must turn off all intrusions, such as other phones, door bells, cell phones, and call waiting. You need to be where you can conduct your interview quietly without anything distracting your attention or introducing unwanted sounds. Close all windows, close the doors, tell the kids and any other people that you need quiet and no interruptions while you are on the air or taping. Make sure no one in the house picks up another phone on the line you are using to make a call while you are using the phone.

BTW, I’ll go out on a limb here and offer up a point of some controversy. I’m not a big fan of blog radio simply because to date, my clients don’t sell a lot of books using the technology, or at least it is rare. It can be done. Some blog radio shows have developed some pretty nice dedicated audiences. Blog radio interviews also tend to be saved online in audio file formats that can be readily played on people’s computers (MP3, MP4, etc). So the potential is there for people to discover and play your interview again and again.

But does it compare to regular radio? There are over 6500 radio stations and shows out there in the US and Canada. When me and my clients do campaigns, it’s not unusual for a single news release and phone campaign to net us dozens of interviews. Some radio stations and shows have tremendous geographic reach. There are 10,000 to 50,000 watt stations in the Midwest that can be heard from Mexico all the way into Canada. There are radio network shows and syndicated radio shows that can result in a single interview being played in dozens to hundreds of affiliate stations. This is what you can do when you hire a publicist who has the ability to create custom media lists for you and help you pitch to hundreds and thousands of media.

The proof of whether it works for you or not is what you need to zero in on and document. The technology is not as important as whether you created and communicated a message that got the people you want to reach and influence to take the action you want them to take.

So, the bottom line is that you evaluate your talk show experience by whether you sold product. Were you successful?

If it works (and you sell product) then you are achieving success. If your interview sold books, then do more interviews just like it. If not, then study your message. Don’t conclude that the technology is at fault.

Your success with radio is just one of the many ways you can learn to be successful promoting your writing.

Learn what you can say to turn people on in your own backyard anywhere. This is how you’ll get the most effective publicity you’ve ever experienced. Once you create and prove this little script and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable, you can use it again and again everywhere you go.

We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people. They react to media messages in predictable ways. You can learn what it takes to get people to get interested in you. You can even learn what to say to get people to buy something.

And once you learn how to galvanize them in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again. Whether it’s radio or print or online it won’t matter. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America.

Linchpin — Review of Seth Godin’s book

Linchpin -- Review of Seth Godin's book

I read Linchpin, devoured it really. I held a pen in my hand and checked off the important and useful ideas as I read the book.

If you’ve been laid off. The book will help you get your mind focused on creating more value than you ever did before and you’ll find a better job as a result.

If you want to get promoted or get a raise, the book teaches you what to do to create more value and become more valued and indispensable.

If you are working for yourself, you learn how to become cherished and so important, clients pay you just to be there when they need you.

This book can save individuals, businesses, and even national economies. That’s how valuable the ideas in this book really are.

If you need help getting to the next level, whatever you do, then read this book. Identify just ten actions to take, then take those actions.

Your choice. Highly recommended. Urgently encouraged.

Visit Seth Godin’s blog here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Buy Linchpin here: http://sethgodin.com/sg/books.asp

Smart, Intelligent, and Broke… and What to do about it

Tactics for creating a writing or services business that makes money and helps the people you can help the most

I’m a copywriter and a publicist and an author so I guess I do make a living writing. I’m happy to share with you what I’ve done and what I’ve learned.

I wrote my first news release in 1977. I went online with my first website in 1993. I’ve built up my copy writing and publicity services company at home and online over the past 15 years.

You can read the story about how I created my business in the book “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul” published by Health Communications in November 2006. It’s titled `Ripples’. Fun story.
If you want to see it click here Ripples

The marketing I do is pretty nominal but it is consistent, and I take baby steps to keep it going nearly every day.

I’m of the belief that if people and companies have employees doing work that you can do and have more work that you can do than they have employees available to do that work, then getting paid is easy.

Can you do it?

Yes you can!

You just need to present them with a very desirable alternative turnkey to hiring you as an employee. Make it attractive and make it easy and it’s a done deal.

I’ve found that if they have employees doing something, then outsourcing to you is often a very attractive option. You can normally charge four to six times the hourly rate of pay that they pay full time employees to do exactly the same work, but without them having to carry the overhead that they have to carry for an employee. So if top technical or professional employees are making $50 an hour, then you can charge $200 an hour. Most companies will not bat an eye at these rates these days. You can run the numbers and see, at these rates, it’s not hard to bill over $100,000 a year and do it part-time from home. The Internet and email can be a wonderful place.

So no matter what the employees or you do, you can create a short menu of options and fees that break both the services you will provides (just like an employee performs, or the deliverables they create), and format this into a short list of the fee based time or product deliverables that you can perform or deliver on demand or by schedule.

So instead of a resume, create a one page brochure that says “menu of options”. Then itemize options so people can hire you in bite size chunks of payable time or for products or services by known typical units of performance (by the hour, by the day, by the week, by the page, by the document, or whatever).

This menu allows you and the client to select what you do and price it in advance, and build this into a one page contract or an email or even a phone call.

I’ve found that the best marketing tactics that work in this business are ones that allow you to leverage professional branding with your target audience. You should not waste time, effort and money unless it brings a professional branding message in front of someone who will potentially be amenable to doing business with you.

So I recommend you experiment, test and most importantly and track and analyze what you do, to identify how you are getting clients and where the biggest income streams come from. Then apply the basic rules of systematic continuous improvement to what you are doing. Simply put, if it works, do more of it, and if it doesn’t stop and do something else.

You can use my business as an example. To this day, I get most of my new business by:

* meeting people at conferences at which I exhibit, and giving short but personal consults on the fly, and once I hear what they are all about giving them recommendations that help them a little and indicate what they can get by involving me more.

* writing and publishing articles (problem solving tips articles) in magazines, to demonstrate skills, expertise, ability, knowledge and wisdom, and create desire once they realize they want more of what I can offer.

* posting articles and responding to posted questions in newsgroups and on discussion lists, to do the same.

* adding more free articles and free downloads to an extensive highly educational and focused website, to educate and motivate people to do more themselves, or hire me if they can’t do it themselves.

* adding more success stories and testimonials to my portfolio, to again demonstrate and affirm.

* sending really value added email introductions to prospects, to supply them with a plan of action that leads them to hire me.

* doing 30 minute consultations by phone, learning what clients need and delivering strategic advice and one page action plan proposals by email.

* answering prospect questions as though I was already working for them.

* carefully cultivating word of mouth off prior exceptional performance.

* speaking engagements, giving workshops and training sessions for free and for fee, but only to the right targeted company or audience.

* meeting people for lunch and listening to their project needs or dreams.

* sending them one page email proposals.

* building off referrals, and speaking engagements, and seeking to leverage host beneficiary relationships.

This last one is perhaps the most crucial. As you satisfy clients, of course, you can get repeat business. If you do work for a headquarters or a home office of a company with lots of offices all over the country, your host contact can lead you directly to many other prospects. You then get to pitch them all or better still, the headquarters contact shares you and everyone in that business network then contacts you. This situation can be phenomenally beneficial. Lucrative in fact. Same thing can happen with speaking engagements at associations. The local speech or workshop travels up to the headquarters.

Once every few years I create an innovative post card and do a mailing. My most recent mailer was a one pager back-to-back. If you want to see my most recent one, send me an email message request and I’ll send you the pdf file. I was using US Mail for mailings until two years ago. Now we participate in coop mailings and use email.

Nowadays I also use a show off business card. It has a picture of me fishing. It’s a memorable experience to look at and to hold. It brands me as a distinctive writer.

I use email, short letters and one page business proposals extensively to close deals by email and phone. In fact, I have a rule which basically says that you never have a conversation with a prospect without making a customized personal proposal. It works very well.

I actually don’t need or use formal contracts at all. I just take credit cards and bill them at the time of performance. I take very few checks and only in advance if the client insists upon paying that way. Client satisfaction with this arrangement is nearly 100 percent for many years now.

I spend NO money on advertising at all and do not care about search engine placement or ad words. Clients who call me have either heard about me or find me online through research or referral. They basically have decided to hire me before they call me so I actually do very little selling.

I’ve actually found that in my business, the people who search using search engines aren’t the clients I seek to work with. Most of them don’t have the products or businesses that I enjoy and can be successful with. The people who find my site online rarely are quality clients. So search engine ranking and placement mean very little to me. I can be found very quickly if people search for me nonetheless. In fact, search on my name and you’ll see thousands of links going back 15 years.

I’ve also found that the decision to hire is based on people having convinced themselves that you offer needed value that can be acquired no where else at the costs that you present. What you need to do is just learn how to make the product or service you give remarkable and personal, unique, and phenomenally effective. You also need to learn how to communicate this to them quickly.

Do that and your business will grow consistently with everything you do. The key to enjoying yourself along the way is to simply focus on helping the people you can help the most. You also need to know when to say no to a project that is problematic and where you know won’t be able to satisfy yourself or the client. The rule should be `no unhappy clients’.

I learned this business model by studying a variety of other consultants and copywriters. This model is actually very easy to operate and fairly low cost. I incorporated a few years ago as a full C Corp to take advantage of the tax structure since the business bills over six figures a year. I pay myself a salary. I also just use QuickBooks Pro to do the day to day bookkeeping myself but do hire a professional accountant to do the taxes each year. I use the merchant credit card services offered with Quicken and it does the bookkeeping entries as it processes the credit card authorizations.

The skills I acquired to conduct my business the way I do is mostly out of books. I am a voracious reader. This is in addition to reading or skimming all the client books that come to me (Fed Ex and UPS stop here nearly every day Monday through Friday). I read at the health club, I read during the day and at night, and in front of the TV. I basically am reading (or searching and surfing the Internet) if I am not writing or on the phone.

My house is totally wireless and there are two computers on plus two laptops available for use by me and the rest of the family at all times.

I can even take my cell phone and my wireless laptop in my boat and take client calls and work while fishing along the Columbia River because of the many hot spots and homes with unsecured wireless routers along the river. It’s amazing! The technology really is wonderful these days. That makes for some very pleasant days working (yes really working) while catching salmon, steelhead and walleye! If you’ve ever called me during the day you may hear me tell you that if I get a fish on I’ll have to get off really quick, but I’ll call you back! OK, enough bragging.

I just looked over my library and I highly recommend you basically commit to reading most every business, sales and marketing book published and get whatever you can out of each and every one of them. I still probably spend $100 to $200 a month on books in this area and have for years. My wife says it takes more to keep me well read than it does to keep me well fed. I have a 25 year collection and I still refer back to them constantly.

My favorite book authors and the books I can point you to for the best answers to this question the most are:

* Harry Beckwith (everything he writes is golden including: Selling the Invisible, What Clients Love, The Invisible Touch, and his new one, You, Inc.)

* Bob Bly (again, anything he writes is worth owning. The Copywriter’s Handbook, Secrets of a Freelance Writer, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Write More, Sell More, which is still one of the best books ever written on running a writing business).

* Ralph G. Riley (The One Page Business Proposal is perhaps one of the most important books you’ll ever find. It has made me tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars).

* Dan Kennedy (The Ultimate and No B.S. series)

* Seth Godin (Purple Cow, Free Prize Inside, and Unleashing the Idea Virus)

* Mark Stephens (Your Marketing Sucks)

* Jay Abraham (Getting Everything You Can Out of All You Got)

* Dr. Jeffrey Lant (this dates me! No More Cold Calls, Cash Copy, The Unabashed Self-Promoter’s Guide, and Money Making Marketing. Good luck finding these but if you do, consider yourself lucky)

* Jeffrey Fox (How to Become a Rainmaker and How to Become a Marketing Superstar).

If you need attitude adjustment to get into the right frame of mind for running a business, then I highly recommend:

* Jack Canfield (The Success Principles)

* Napoleon Hill (Law of Success)

* Steven Scott (Mentored by a Millionaire)

* Brian Tracy (Maximum Achievement and many others)

* Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Bud Gardner)

The real trick to reading is that you have to create a written plan with the ideas that come to you.

Reading and not writing simply isn’t productive. Writing a plan of action turns the idea into something tangible. You must add in the tasks and place dates and performance measures so that you know that you have completed the task.

Knowledge is valuable but to turn a fantasy into reality you must take action and try, try, try till you actually succeed.

You need to create two independent processes:

The first is the process for creating quality work (writing) that you can get paid for.

The second is the sales process that you use to get customers and get money.

Once you create these success processes for yourself then you apply technology to get more of each done in less time, with less effort and expense.

In fact, if you do both of these enough, it all becomes second nature, much like riding a bicycle or a car.

At some point, it can even get boring. To avoid losing faith and being unhappy, you have to find your happiness in delivering whatever happiness and help you can to others.

And that is my belief in what life is all about. .It’s my definition of success:

You achieve happiness and success when you help the people you can help the most and get rich at the same time.

The bottom line is that I believe that the opportunities to be a well paid writer right now are simply phenomenal. You can specialize and focus on any one or more of hundreds of markets. The country is huge. There are 300 million people in the US. There are 30,000 towns. There are simply millions of companies all of whom can be helped again and again.

Don’t be shy. This isn’t that hard to do and you’ve got the skills. Focus and go for it.

BTW, here’s the link for the pdf file containing the story `Ripples’ from Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul, or if you want the latest flyer I used in my mailings, just send me an email request. I’ll send you the pdf files.

Hope this helps. Questions welcome!

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
800-457-8746 509-545-2707
Paul@DirectContactPR.com