Book Club Selection

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Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” ― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
Last summer I had the opportunity to join in with a Dorchester County Book Club as they discussed the book The Postmistress. I enjoyed being with this group of ladies immensely. Here is the blog that I wrote last summer about the experience. https://allthingsfulfilling.com/2013/06/26/book-clubs-buzz/

book clubI have been notified by this Maryland-based book club that my new publication “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected” will be their group’s June selection and the subject of their discussion. How exciting is that! They’ve asked whether the author (yours, truly!) can be present.  Of course, I’ll do all I can to be there in person. But, if the logistics don’t work out, perhaps I can Skype in and have an “author chat,” like many libraries and bookstores arrange in this day and age.http://bit.ly/1gMOBNs.

This group of ladies, no doubt, will find the cultural and historical references  familiar. Many of them were living in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland and in the prime of their lives raising young children when the story takes place (1950’s- 1960’s). Their discussion of my memoir, is sure to be rich with opinions. And, I am sure, the book club members will have their own fulfilling memories to contribute to the discussion.

So, that’s the good news on this Easter Monday on All Things Fulfilling. We will see what transpires on that story. I will keep you posted.

My Winter Olympics Race

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Starting your book is only the first five miles of a twenty-six-mile marathon that’s one-third of a triathlon (authoring, publishing, and entrepreneuring).” ― Guy Kawasaki

I’ve been so busy I really haven’t watched much of the Olympics.  For a few minutes I looked in on the ice skating. Lately, I’ve felt like a participant in a speed skating relay race – going back and forth with the publisher to make very minor, but necessary changes. Every last detail has to be in place so it is smooth sailing and there are no trip-ups to having the manuscript published. Thank goodness I finally did a hand-off and gave my manuscript to the publisher. It was time to let go, and let someone else carry the composition to the finish line.

energy goes where attention goesMost people would think now it’s a straight glide to the end point ~  not quite! The marketing, promotion and advertising is a completely  different dimension to a publishing project. Many authors loose steam, big-time, when it comes to that part.

It’s not just the independent publisher who has to carry the load of marketing, promotion and advertising. A traditional publishing house  is committed to putting  big resources behind a top selling author but, most authors are now expected to carry a good portion of the marketing load themselves. It’s understandable. After all, no one can promote a story as well as the one who wrote it because they have an intimate relationship with the characters!

Like any job, writing and publishing is not without it’s challenges. But for me,  it is very personally fulfilling. Thankfully, I went into the project with realistic expectations since I had worked in the independent publishing industry long before starting my own race.

The prize for me will come as each book is sold in the marketplace. Now, it’s back to more work. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Preparing for the Stump

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Speaking from the heart can be the strongest move of all.” ~ Rick Hanson, PhD 

How many of us stay within our comfort zones just because it is easier? I can’t exempt myself from that. There have been many, many times in my life when I have taken the easy way out.

Most people say “public speaking is outside of their comfort zone because it is terrifying and they avoid it all costs.” In fact when I talk with potential clients about their book marketing plans that is the first thing authors mention that they WILL NOT DO.  “If you think I am going to get up in front of a crowd and talk about my publication,” they say, “just forget it.”

speaking from the heartIn September, I decided that I was going to step outside my comfort zone and tackle my own discomfort with public speaking. I enrolled in a class. I have not shied away from speaking to groups completely. In fact, over the past five years I have done more public speaking than any other time in my life.

Guess what? It feels good to move ahead, rather than staying stuck because of self-imposed limitations. Am I cured of glossophobia – the fear of public speaking? I think so because I know I CAN DO IT! In fact I am proud to say for my most important speech of the semester I even impressed myself! What was my message? Something I have strong opinions about. I spoke from the heart about “Helicopter Parenting.”

I have made a further challenge with myself. I will seek every opportunity I can to get up in front of a crowd. So, don’t be surprised to see me out on the stump, especially when my book has been published!

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

E-Books: A Vital Option

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The freedom to move forward to new opportunities and to produce results comes from living in the present and not the past.” ~ Brian Koslow

Shopping-CartIf you are ready to publish your manuscript, there are many choices to consider. Offering an electronic version of a book has become a necessity if you are an author who wants to reap the benefits in the digital marketplace. More often than not, potential book buyers want to know if a title “is available as an e-book?”

According to a recent article in Publishers Weekly Magazine, sales in e-books have dipped a little from when the Kindle and the Nook were initially rolled out. However,  e-book sales have remained strong, jumping a total of “4,456% since 2008.” That is a big deal and e-books have become a “billion dollar industry” according to the article. Here is a link so you can see all the e-book selling statistics from 2008 – 2012. http://bit.ly/Hc3JVq. We won’t see the 2013 book sales results for a few more months.

In my opinion, there will be more technological developments coming that will blow away any remaining doubts that e-books are just a passing trend. Especially as digital publishing becomes integrated into more classrooms and library catalogs.

Authors don’t miss out on a stream of income by failing to offer an e-book version of your title. And remember “if you are selling over the internet, you must be marketing over the internet” because that is where your potential book buyers hang out!

Speaking of hang-outs, thanks for frequenting this website. Do return tomorrow to www.AllThingsFulfilling.com tomorrow, the blog of www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Important First Steps to Publishing

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It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in happiness of pursuit.” ~ Denis Waitley

The e-Book Extravaganza on Saturday sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) was well-worth attending. During one of the breaks, the President of CIPA, Dr. Patricia Ross came over to me and said “Sue, I’d like you to meet one of our new members.” Of course, the usual niceties followed.

I asked the new member if she was enjoying the morning, and she said “Yes, but I feel so uninformed! There is so little I know about independent publishing.” Dr. Ross told her not to be discouraged, and off the President went doing her job of hob-knobbing about the room.

CIPA 9 13 #1As the new member and I stood talking, I said to her, “You know, each and every person in this room started where you began today, knowing nothing. That is the reason you have joined this group -to get help, to learn, to network and become informed about your options.” There is a lot to learn and you have taken a very important first step. You have joined this group!”

“Yes,” the new member replied. “There seems to be plenty of knowledge to learn from in this group.”

Before the break was over and we went to sit in our respective seats, across the room from one another, I had one more thing I had to say. “In your free time, read anything you can get your hands on about the industry, and keep coming to this group. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.”

To learn more about the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, please visit this link. http://www.cipacatalog.com/join-cipa/. Please note the organization also offers downloadable webinars if you are too far to travel to their meetings.

http://www.cipacatalog.com/categories/CIPA-College-Downloads/

As I drove home, I began to ponder how many first steps I have taken since 1998, when the independent industry was in its infancy. They’ve all been in a quest to learn all I could about the industry and it led to becoming a business.  And the wonders and development of the independent publishing universe never cease to amaze me. I find it fascinating.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business. See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.

Timely Messages

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Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine 

On September 6th, National Read a Book Day I mentioned that reading one spark of an idea from a book can change us for a lifetime. I recently saw a sentence that motivated me big time! I took seriously the words: “the person whose life is full of faith is on the offense; he or she is taking charge of life, making decisions and making things happen.”

morning-roosterHow’s that for a call to action? For weeks I had been indecisive about whether or not to sign up for a public speaking class. I knew it was something that I needed to do for myself if I am to pursue my dreams for my publication. As soon as I read the inspirational thought, I acted immediately and enrolled in the course, before I could “chicken out.”

The course is in the early weeks but it is going well. When it’s time, I will be better prepared to “strut my stuff,” and I will be one more step closer to what I dream of doing.

As I have said before on All Things Fulfilling, I try at all costs to hold myself accountable to any ideas that I broadcast on this website. Otherwise, I am full of phony-baloney. That is not one of my lifetime aspirations I can assure you of that!

The inspiring thought came from THE book I’ve hinted about previously that I will be revealing in due course. Before it appears on this site, I will give you the heads up!

This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Please return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow.

Author Spotlight: Lindsay Eland

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“You must write for children in the same way
as you do for adults, only better.”    Maxim Gorky

A year ago I participated in an authors workshop at the Bookworm in Edwards, Colorado with the delightful author Lindsay Eland. She writes books for middle grade students.

Eland’s first book “Scones and Sensibility” has done very well.  Even reading the book as an adult, I enjoyed it and the storyline kept me completely engaged.  I was charmed by the voice used for the main character Polly Madassa. Click for info & order on Lindsay Elands publications

On September 24th, The Bookworm in Edwards, Colorado (an Indie Bound Bookstore) http://www.bookwormofedwards.com/ will be having a book signing for Eland’s second and newly released publication “A Summer of Sundays.”

SummerSundays_FINALcvr

The premise of the story is about a little girl, Sunday Fowler, who feels she is always looked over since she’s a member of a large family of six children. When she discovers a treasure in the basement of a library that her parents are renovating, the limelight suddenly turns in her direction. That is when things become a little different. With the discovery comes some decisions about whether fame is more important than other values.

Lindsay’s book has gotten an excellent review from the Teen Librarian’s Toolbox, to read more about it, please follow this link.  http://bit.ly/1aoGEJp 

Congratulations, Lindsay! I so enjoyed meeting you a year ago. Best Wishes for your second publication.

authors workshop

Left to right: Sue Leonard, founder of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC, author Lindsay Eland, The Bookworm of Edwards store co-owner, Nicole Magistro

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Booksellers Dream Wedding

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Dreams are illustrations….from the book your soul is writing about you.”

 ~ Marsha Norman

The best thing about planning any wedding is designing a day that is uniquely designed to reflect the tastes of bride and groom.

Last Saturday, The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont http://www.northshire.com/  closed early for a private party. The store hosted the wedding of Sarah, one of their booksellers.

The event was everything fulfilling that a bibliophile could dream of. Even the bride’s bouquet was made from book pages and I’ll bet she tossed the paper posies from the commanding iron staircase that is the outstanding architectural feature in the store.

bridal bouquet with book pages

northshire bookstore stairs

I hope “Miss America of the Independent Publishing Industry,” the Expresso Book Machine, gave up her famed status for the day and let the bride be the star. I don’t want the  EBM to feel downgraded or upstaged, so I’ll give her a repeat feature of the blog I wrote about her early last summer. Click on this link to read more. http://bit.ly/10RIonQ.

Rumor has it that one of the wedding gifts was a handmade quilt with titles and cover images of the bride and grooms very favorite books. Imagine the pressure of having to decide which publication should be included and which will be left out. Avid readers have a long list of favorites, and I am sure there were too many books and too little space on the quilt’s surface.

I wonder if the couple first encountered each other between the shelves of the book store? Do you think they had custom written wedding vows that included a little poetry? Ahhh..the beauty of a relationship where two people come together with the common interests….and the advantages of owning an independent bookstore. “Nothing is set in stone,” as it is etched on the pavement leading into the Northshire Bookstore. That means you can do anything you please including closing early to host a booksellers dream wedding.

To learn more about this event, please visit the Facebook page of the Northshire Bookstore. http://on.fb.me/1cZVDKU

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Curling Up with Cat Books

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In ancient times, cats were worshipped as Gods, they have not forgotten this. ~ Terry Pratchett

Ok cat lovers, wherever you are….today’s blog has been written with you in mind.

Have you ever wondered why people chose cats over dogs? Two of the top reasons cats are preferred over dogs by so many people is their independent spirit and their low decibel level. So it’s no wonder that the Dalai Lama has been smitten with a kitten. A feline fits much better into the serenity picture than a canine. After all, a fulfilling life for His Holiness is a peaceful co-existence with the world and a purring kitty indicates supreme contentment.

A canine just wouldn’t cut it with Buddhist traditions.  Interruptions in meditation would be too frequent having to let a dog in and out, whereas cats are self-sufficient. Furthermore, a yapping dog breaks the silence and concentration required to live the lifestyle revered by monks.

dali lamas catThere are two books that are hitting the top of the sales charts about the Dali Lama.  The Dali Lama’s Cat is written from the perspective of an animal describing what it is like to be the pet in residence. Greeting dignitaries and always having to be on guard and exhibit good behavior is of utmost importance.

Many readers are also curling up with a second book by David Michie called The Art of Purring. In this publication, His Holiness’ Cat enlightens the reader and shares wisdom about what makes for happiness and everlasting contentment. Both of these books are  good reads.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the spiritual ways of the Tibetan people, and how the relationship between mankind and feline is harmonious and satisfying will enjoy these books.

art of purring

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. I am going to share with you a blogsite that will be chronicling a journey of a group of people who have begun their travels to Tibet to gain insight from their first hand experiences on the meaning of personal fulfillment.

This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Art at the Heart of the Story

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Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character.” ~Samuel Butler

Yesterday we featured a soon-to-be released book by Pearl S Buck. The unpublished manuscript was found many years after her death, and the story is projected to be one of Buck’s best publications yet. If you missed out on the blog about The Eternal Wonder, scroll down and read it.

Photo Below: Pearl S Buck

Pearl S BuckToday I’d like to highlight one of Pearl S Buck’s lesser known stories, called This Proud Heart. The story is about a sculpture artist who is torn between her second marriage and her craft. Her life becomes a juggling act to try to find balance between her relationship with her husband and her art. I wonder how many artists worldwide have this theme weaving in and out of their own personal life and career.

The struggles of the main character, Susan, were particularly burdensome because in the 1930’s when the story takes place, few women ever made difficult choices between marriage and a profession. Overwhelmingly, women stayed the course and made self-sacrifices in the best interest of the marriage. And gaining credibility during that era as an artist or in any business, for women, was much more difficult.

Artists, put This Proud Heart on your reading list. Click for info & ordering
 It is fulfilling to read something other than contemporary fiction every once in a while.  Reacquaint yourself with a classic from time to time, you’ll most likely rediscover some of the characteristics of why novels like this become classics in the first place.

This Proud Heart can be downloaded on Nook and other digital readers, as an e-book. Click for info & ordering

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I will be interviewing an artist about all sorts of things. This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Click for Info & ordering