The Writing Life

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How many times have we heard a person say “I am a writer.”

“What are you writing?” is the natural lead up question.

“Nothing, right now.” A valid response. At that present moment that person is not penning anything. They are communicating verbally – with you. True?

If you’re an artist in any medium and have a real passion for something, practice is never ending. The most successful people in this country’s history were not made overnight. Malcolm Gladwell shares his insight on the 10,000 hour principle.

Even if you’ve gone to school to learn a craft, the education is not over! The process of perfecting a craft is lifelong. Ask any artist who has risen to the top of their field – creating is on-going, never ending. I look at master painter Richard Schmid, one of the most celebrated artists in the country. He paints constantly even though he has been painting an entire lifetime and recently blew out the candles on his 80th birthday cake!

As an author, even though I recently published two books,  I feel as if my work has just begun. I literally work at it every day through blogging and then….there are my other writing projects.

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This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart and Soul.

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Validating Quality Writers

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The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. ~ Confucious

CIPA is one of the most active and top independent publishing associations in the country, and they have worked hard to gain their admired reputation. The Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association’s educational programs afforded me the opportunity to learn so much about the parts of the publishing process that I wasn’t well-versed in while writing my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfillment in the Unexpected. It is soon to be released.

Writers write for all kinds of reasons – to inspire, influence and educate others. Aside from strong book sales, book awards validate that an authors work is worthy of respect and notice.

I encourage my clients to seek book awards whenever possible. A prestigious EVVY award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association goes along way in recognizing an author for their excellence.

It is a very special year for the Colorado Independent Publishers. The EVVY book award contest is in it’s 20th year. It’s grown to include submissions from authors in countries that are far removed from the United  States. Last year contestants came from Dubai and Russia!

2014 CIPA awards    You need not be a CIPA member anymore to enter the contest, the submission guidelines have    changed. Here is what just one award winner, Teresa Funke, has to say about the contest. “I’ve been the lucky recipient of five CIPA EVVY awards over the last eleven years for my novel, my short story collection, and two of my children’s books. Why do I continue to enter the contest? Because CIPA is doing something very important with these awards . . . they are recognizing and honoring high-qualify self-published books of all genres and bringing credibility to the efforts we make as independent authors. CIPA was providing positive attention to our books long before many credible sources would even consider looking at self-published authors. Each year, my competition in the contest has grown stronger and more impressive, proof that we, as an industry, are moving forward. I’m proud to be a CIPA EVVY winner not just because it means that my books are good, but also because it puts quality indie books on a par with those that are traditionally published.  And, frankly, it’s fun once in a while to get dressed up and go celebrate our achievements with fellow authors who have worked just as hard as we have!” 

Here is a link to the website so you can read about the submission guidelines, the fees and the various deadlines. http://www.cipacatalog.com/pages/CIPA-EVVY-Awards.

Heads up! The submission deadline is May 17! Join in and don’t miss out!

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

Two Rules for On-Line Selling

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“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Let’s face it, many authors love the creative process and would rather write than self-promote. From consulting with independent publishing clients, I’ve concluded that the #l reason independent publishers do not succeed is lack of consistent marketing efforts – it takes real commitment.

  • Rule #1: If you are selling your book over the internet, you must be marketing over the internet consistently.
  • Rule #2:  A strong web presence is necessary so your product is visible to potential buyers.

strategy and implementationThere are writers and there are marketers, and not everyone is both. Be honest with yourself. Determine if you capable of both. If you are not sure, that’s where a company that specializes in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers comes in handy. They can educate you about what it really takes to successfully promote and market your book over the internet and whether your technology skills are up to it.

Remember, writing a book, or producing music or film, is just the beginning of the independent publishing business. Marketing strategy is as equally important to becoming a successful publisher of media content.

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

The American Story in DVDs

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You need to take pride in what God has given you.” ― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

God Bless America.” Those words get to me every time! Over 4th of July I was with my family at a small marina on the Chesapeake enjoying a band that was playing popular songs from the 1970s and 1980s. I was in my glory listening to “oldies but goodies,” including Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in America.” The band ended the evening with singing “God Bless America.” Many of us stood, and placed our hands over our hearts, as we were taught to do during patriotic anthems.

learn our historyIn today’s world many students are not aware of the role God has played in our nation’s history. In my opinion, it is sad, and frankly, un-American not to teach it in schools. Love of country and our creator, go hand in hand. If you ask me, without a personal belief system that includes faith our country, and in our fellow citizens, and  belief in a force much greater than humankind there is less hope in the world for growth, prosperity, ingenuity, and other things that we Americans have always held near and dear to our hearts. These attributes are what has made our country great.

There is a new series of animated films called “Learn our History.”  Writers, animators, historians and educators collaborated on this project to make certain highlights from America’s story of independence available to students and teachers. You can see a sneak preview, free of charge, through this website. http://www.learnourhistory.com/Columbus.html.  The lessons are uniquely told, in a fashion that is interesting and compelling. The American Revolution, Lewis and Clark Expeditions, The Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving, Christopher Columbus’ Great Discovery are just a few topics on this DVD series.

Order these independently produced films to share with your children and keep the American story alive. Teaching history does not have to be rote learning of facts, creative storytelling is incorporated into each of these movies. They are also formatted for on-line streaming on I-Pads and i-phones  and other internet connected devices.

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by http://www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Book Club Buzz

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“Reason, observation and experience; the holy trinity of science.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

book group insiderAs I conclude my blog series about book clubs, here is what I have ascertained from being a casual observer.

Conclusion:  “Bookies” have their own opinions of what they like in a story. They are spirited and fight respectfully to uphold their side of the debate of whether they think a book was a good read or not.

Conclusion: Journeys of the heart, that incorporate lessons or themes involving moral judgments make for good book discussions.

Conclusion: Avid readers usually make  decent writers. They know what makes for a fulfilling story, and have a vault full of their own wealth of experiences to write about.

Conclusion: Most members are as interested in the author, as the storyline. This leads to curiosity about learning more about the writing process and publishing.

Thus, the group asked me to explain what I do. I said “everything I do in my professional life involves writing and reading. I consult with independent publishers on how to market and sell their products over the internet.”

A discussion ensued about how the publishing industry has changed. No surprise to this group. Many have had the experience of reading e-books. We talked about how digital technology has changed the way books, films and music is being produced. I left them with the thought that people just like themselves who have stories to tell, can now do it and not fear having a warehouse full of books sitting waiting to be sold. Print on demand and e-books have eliminated that.

I’d like to say thank you to the women in the Dorchester County Maryland book club who allowed me to observe their group discussion of “The Postmistress,” and for the opportunity to share with them information about the independent publishing industry. I enjoyed it very much.

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

A Literary Teabox

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Change your thoughts, change your life. ~ Unknown

A Literary Teabox! I like that idea – something to dig into when creativity is low and a pick-me up is needed.

The box is stuffed with things that help stir and brew up inspiration – combination treasure trove and fortune cookie, less the calories and carbohydrates.

Don’t get it? See the box – what’s in it? Words of wisdom – “quotable quotes” from all kinds of people.

Make your own literary teaboxes as gifts.  Keep it creative and loose so it will be meaningful to friends with different passions. A thoughtful,  inspirational gift for writers or other artists, self-improvement junkies, sports enthusiasts. Want to learn more about using affirmations for positive change, please visit this website http://bit.ly/XkUS9l.

Add instructions for how to use with best results: When you awake, open the box and read a quote. Let it brew and steep as you think about the hours ahead. Then let the words invigorate you and infuse you with energy. Go about your day in a fulfilling kind of way, perhaps by reading a book that has a lot of heart and soul. My suggestion:Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

Happy Monday!

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Photo composition/design and Photo credit: ©Sue Batton Leonard

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Fulfilling Services and Needs

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Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  – William Arthur Ward 

The holiday season is in full swing, the signs are there – decorations, holiday fairs, parties, an appointment book that has become ragged and torn. A sure sign it is time to ring out the old and bring in the new. Increased activity of UPS, Fed Ex and other delivery trucks on the highways and byways, indeed indicates Christmas is near. 

On this blog site, we often recognize the work of artists and crafts persons working in a variety of mediums – writers, poets, painters, sculptors, filmmakers, potters, musicians and more. But there is another important form of art that we tend to forget – the art of serving others. 

 If you have ever worked in a service industry, or lived in a resort area, you become acutely aware of those who serve. These folks carry an extra burden at this time of year. In light of that fact, I would like to pause today to recognize people in all sectors of the service industry. They deserve our gratitude! 

  • Heartfelt thanks to nurses, doctors, hospice workers, and all medical staff.
  • Oodles of praise for mail carriers and delivery persons
  • Obliged to those who wait tables, to housekeepers, concierge and valets, too.
  • Respect for chefs, plumbers, electricians, builders, excavators and more.
  • Rewards for military servicemen and women who have ever kept us safe – well deserved
  • Abundance of kudos for repair shops, retail employees, gas station attendants, grocers.
  • Yule Tide Greetings to those service people I have missed such as the clergy. Many of you, because you serve, may miss holiday celebrations with families or friends. We greatly appreciate that you are fulfilling a need for the work  that you do. We desperately need people like you!

 Don’t forget to give a token of thanks to those who serve. Let them know that you appreciate what they do, over the holidays and each and every day of the year, too!

Return tomorrow for more independent thoughts, words and views from www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.