Trusting the Experts by CIPA Member Kirk Axelson

At our last month’s meeting Saturday April 19, 2014 we had a panelists group of six of
experts  in the field of publishing; marketing, editing, and book cover artists. They asked for any brave authors who were open for ideas. I felt a nudge to speak out but stopped out of fear. At the last minute I shouted out, “Have room for one other?”

1My heart was racing and sweating when one of the panelists looked at my cover and said “It needs to be redesigned. Sorry, but the cover looks as if it’s a stock photo, the mix of text centered and left justification does nothing for the book.” Another panelist said “You have a killer subtitle however it’s hard to read as it blends in with the sun.” I was somewhat hurt, but knew they were correct. It was a stock photo and my design that I tried to convey to the book artist.

That afternoon I contacted Nick Zelinger with nzgraphics and explained to him what had happened along with Melanie Mulhall. I told Nick, “You are the expert at book cover designs and I ‘trust’ you will come up with a design that fits the expression of the book.”

The key was to trust people, trust the unfoldment, and trust God. The constructive criticism was making me stronger, so that I can stand in the truth of who I am and not be ashamed. The new cover really does express the impact of the story and of course, it is FANTASTIC!

2The new cover created a “pop” causing the reader to pick-up the book, turn it over and be inspired.

The book is completed and published. Fantastic is available from my website and will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook by the end of the month.

Thank you CIPA and associate members for making it all possible.



WebsiteSideBar120x150Kirk B Axelson aka Mr. Fantastic

Read more about Kirk here!


Posted in CIPA, CIPA Events, Graphic Design | Leave a comment

Editing 101: Why every self publishing author needs an editor

blue ink

By BlueInk Review

What does it take to make your self-published book as professional as those from traditional publishing houses? From the over 2,000 reviews of self-published titles that BlueInk has completed, we can answer that question unequivocally: Editing is one of the most important keys to your success.

Editing is more than simply catching a typo here and there. It involves having a fresh eye on your manuscript from the draft stages through to the final polishing.

To explain this in more detail, we recently interviewed New York publishing professional Carla Jablonski.

Jablonski was hired out of college as a reader for Skylark, an imprint of Bantam Books that focused on children’s books, and subsequently began editing paperback originals for Bantam Doubleday Dell.

She went on to work for several other publishers, editing dozens of best-selling mass-market series, including R.L. Stine’s Ghosts of Fear Street and Give Yourself Goosebumps; Choose Your Own Adventure, and The Hardy Boys, as well as trade and literary individual titles.

Jablonski is also a widely published author, including the Books of Magic (HarperCollins) series, the award-winning Resistance trilogy (First Second Books) and two Young Adult novels published by Razorbill/Penguin that were selected for the prestigious NYPL “Books for the Teen Age” List.

She now works as an independent content and line editor for individual clients, many in the process of self-publishing, and also serves as a reviewer for BlueInk.

Here are her thoughts on editing and why it’s in your best interests to invest in a professional editor.

Q: Let’s first look at the various kinds of editing, as it’s important for writers to understand that editing is a step-by-step process. First, can you explain what a content (sometimes called developmental) editor does?

A: If possible, every author should start with content and developmental editing. A content editor is the “Big Picture” editor. These editors looks at everything — plot structure, character development, dialogue, pace, and anything else that’s pertinent. For mystery, for example, they’ll analyze the development of clues, suspects, and characters to make sure they’re working and well timed. In fantasy and sci-fi, they’ll look at world building and overall consistency of the logic. With historical fiction, they make sure there are no anachronisms. And in books for kids and teens, they’ll pay attention to age and reading level.

Q: What is the role of a line editor?

A: This stage of editing takes place after the manuscript has gone through a content edit and a revise based on the editor’s recommendations. It comes when the editor and author are pleased with the overall structure of the book and now plan to concentrate more carefully on writing details.

In this stage, the editor makes sure every sentence is doing what it needs to do. A line editor looks for repetitions, clunkiness, organization and does the fine-tuning to make sure that what the author intended is actually on the page. They check that the rhythms work and that the flow is good, and that chapters end well.

Q: What comes after line editing?

A: The next step is copyediting, which is done by a different person. The initial editor should never be the copyeditor, because at this point the editor is extremely close to the material. A very good copyeditor will go into extreme detail. A copyeditor checks for errors in grammar, spelling mistakes and picky details like proper formatting of name brands and trademarks, and the spelling of foreign words. They’ll make sure that details are consistent; for example, if there is communication between different time zones, they make sure the timing is realistic. They also determine how things like italics, capital letters, and certain kinds of punctuation are going to be handled.

Q: What does the proofreader do?

A:  Once the book is printed — or in e-publishing is a finished file — everybody looks at it again— author, editor, line editor, and copy editor. This is where the proofreader comes in. A proofreader makes sure that everything that was in the manuscript ends up in the printed version. This person is not the editor or the copyeditor because at this point they are each too close to the material. If there are photos, they make sure they are included and in order and that captions are correct, that sort of thing. Also they check that there are no simple mistakes, for example the main character’s name spelled wrong halfway through, or that the copyeditor missed any typos (it happens…).

At this stage, the author will have the opportunity to make final changes. The book will be reprinted and sent to a different proofreader for good measure.

Finally, the book will be printed and sent out into the world.

Q: What do self publishers not realize about editing?

A: Editing is a skill, and therefore you pay for that skill.

Q: How do you base your fee?

A: For content editing, I charge a flat rate based on the length of a book and its complexity. This allows the client to know upfront what the fee is going to be. This rate can fall between $1,200 for a middle-grade novel to $6,000 for an historical epic spanning over a hundred years.

For line editing, I usually charge by the hour based on how many revisions it’s been through — a book that has had very little editing before I get it obviously requires a different level of attention than one that I or someone else may have guided through revisions. This range runs between $50 and $125 an hour.

I try to get edits back to an author in two weeks. Very often a client will be stunned by how many hours it takes.

Q: How long does it typically take for you to edit a book?  

A: A developmental edit can be upwards of 25 hours, even 40 hours, depending on how many times I have to read the manuscript. Books in great shape can take just as long as the ones in bad shape. I recently sent a manuscript back to the author scrawled with notes —partly because it was very good — along with a 13 page single-spaced revision letter.

Q: What do you see as your role in the process of creating the finished book?

A: My intention is for the manuscript to become the best possible book the author has in mind — not the book I would write if I’d had the idea. My goal always is to clear away the debris so we can see the story clearly. If an author disagrees with my edits, that’s fine, but for those looking for agents or traditional publishing, I let them know if the problem could present an obstacle for traditional publication. Ultimately, though, it’s all subjective. My editing is my opinion. It’s based on experience, but it’s still my opinion. If they want to reject it, more power to the author. My ego’s not involved in it; it’s like being a midwife. It’s not my baby, I just help it arrive.

Q: What is your take on traditional publishing vs. self publishing?

A: It’s hard to break into traditional publishing, and it’s hard to break through the noise in self publishing. You must be a great marketer to self publish and there’s almost never enough marketing for traditional publishing. That’s why I think BlueInk is great. BlueInk is providing a great service because the books that actually deserve to be read might be noticed.

Q: What advice would you offer self publishers about the editing process?

A: My belief is that everybody needs an editor. I’ve had dozens of book published and I need an editor — and I AM an editor! There’s stuff that you just miss. Every author needs that second set of eyes. That set of eyes should not belong to a mother or best friend, no matter how qualified they are. You need an objective editor.

Know that there is a better book in there. There’s no difference between the first manuscript of someone who plans to self publish and someone planning to traditionally publish. The main difference is that self-publishers often spend less time in the editing stage.

It is critical that you at least get a proofreader. I’ve struggled through self-published books with typos, sentence structure problems, and grammatical errors. You don’t want a reader to have stumbling blocks because of typos, because they might just put the book down.

No matter what, congratulate yourself for not just sitting around talking about becoming a writer, but actually writing. I have complete respect for that.


BlueInk Review offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. Visit us at CIPA members using CODE D5G2 will receive a $75 discount.


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Legalities of Using a Quote or Excerpt

Can You Use that Quote or Excerpt in Your Book Without Permission?

By Leslie Miller

In case you missed October’s phenomenal copyright workshop, I wanted to share the post I wrote about it for my blog. To sum it up in one pithy sentence, copyright is complicated.

Now, I don’t know if it’s always been like this, or the internet has changed things, but you can’t go five paragraphs these days without finding a quote from someone else’s book, article, or speech.

Quotes are cool. They are pithy and frequently say things in a concise and powerful way that we can’t. And quoting an expert lends more credibility to the points we are trying to make, doesn’t it?

But you can find yourself in serious legal or financial hot water if you use them illegally.

I just finished the edit of a non-fiction book that was loaded with quotes and excerpts. After discussion with the author, we wound up removing most of them. She’d been planning on adding another 40 quotes into the mix, but now will not do so. When I asked her where she got these 40 quotes, she replied, “They’re all over the internet.”

And therein lies the problem. Or one of the many problems, to be more accurate.

The internet is rife with unattributed quotes, inaccurately attributed quotes, and quotes that have been used in clear violation of someone else’s copyright, leading every author to now believe they can do the same thing. I think you can get away with a lot online, but a print or eBook that you’ll be selling is a whole other kettle of typos.

For example, there’s a quote that I’ve seen around for years. Here’s just part of it:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Are you familiar with that one? The first few times I came across it, somehow it was inaccurately attributed to Nelson Mandela, of all people. Can you imagine his august personage uttering the phrase, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

The actual quote comes from author Marianne Williamson’s bestseller, A Return To Love.

(Did I get permission to use it here? No. I’m operating under the concept of fair use, which we’ll discuss more a bit farther along.)

How foolish would you feel if you used this lovely quote in your book, only to find out you attributed it to the wrong person entirely?

How justifiably irate might a publisher be to see their copyrighted work show up in your book, without permission and attributed to the wrong person?

They might not sue you, but don’t be surprised to get a furious letter threatening just that, and asking that you either remove the offending passage immediately, or pay such and such amount of money.

There is such a thing as fair use, where you are allowed to use others’ words without permission of the copyright holder, but it falls into quite a grey area. There are four different criteria the courts would take into consideration–should the copyright holder decide to sue you.

Misinformation about this subject abounds. On some websites, I saw people saying fair use would be up to 50 words of an article or 300 words of a book. Really? There is no wording like this in the copyright law.

And if you are pulling quotes, facts, or excerpts off a web article, there might be no documentation as to where the original information came from. No link back to the source. Nothing.

So should you use it or not? I’d say that if you are comfortable with propagating the spread of what may very well be misinformation, then you could use it on your website or blog. That’s entirely up to you, as is whether or not you pay your taxes or intend to purchase Obamacare.

But don’t kid yourself that it’s legal. Or even that it’s accurate, or possible to substantiate no matter how much research you do.

If you are starting a book and planning on using quotes and excerpts, get permissions. In most cases they are not that hard to obtain and don’t always cost money. Many publishers have a form on their websites where you can submit a request for permission.

Now here’s a radical idea…

Why not interview experts and get original quotes for your book?

Or, if it’s not that kind of book, why not improve your writing so that others will be pulling pithy quotes out of your material? I bet if we read A Return to Love, we will not find Ms. Williamson quoting everyone under the sun, because she is her own expert and a fantastic wordsmith.

And here’s another idea…

If you are writing non-fiction, or even if you write articles for the web and love quotes, I highly recommend this book written by Joyce and Dan Miller:  Copyright Clearance for Creatives. Joyce was one of the presenters in the workshop I just took, and this lady really knows her stuff.

You can download a free chapter addressing copyright misconceptions here: Myths.

And last but not least, for all you busy authors who need some help with this kind of thing. The Millers run a business called The Copyright Detective, and they can advise you on permissions and even contact the correct people to get the permissions you need.

Please don’t dump it on your editor. She will gnash her teeth and curse the day you were born. Instead, educate yourselves. It’s too late for my author to get permissions, because she’s hoping to have the book in hand by December 1. But I wasted a lot of time trying to chase down sources for many of her quotes, only to have to remove them in the end, and that’s going to be on her dime.

Copyright, including your own, is important!

leslie-miller-headshotLeslie Miller is a freelance book editor and ghost writer. She offers creative collaboration, attention to detail, and a passion for helping to make your book “unputdownable!”

Visit LeslieMillerWordsmith to find out more about Leslie’s Novel Nurturing and editing services including developmental, content and copyediting. Free eBook coming soon: Rocking Your Second Draft! Revision Techniques for Newbie Novelists

Contact her at 303.842.1985 or

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CIPA Author Spotlight: Barbara Ziek Crowdfunds Her Way to Publishing Success

CIPA Author Spotlight:

Barbara Ziek Crowdfunds Her Way to Publishing Success 

By Leslie Miller

Bio Photo Barb

In anticipation of CIPA’s January meeting on Crowdfunding, we’re casting our author spotlight on Barbara Ziek, author of Zadie and Plain Vanilla, the Rainbow Alpaca. Barbara used a Kickstarter Campaign to crowdfund the money to publish this book, to great success. Let’s find out how she did it . . .

LM: Barb, why did you turn to crowdfunding to finance the printing of your first book?

BZ: My husband and I have an alpaca ranch outside of Colorado Springs. A friend and I had written and illustrated a children’s book about alpacas. Our major hurdle was financing the printing. One night, I was poking around the internet to learn more about book publishing. I clicked on a link to something called Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site. I’d never heard of Kickstarter or crowdfunding, and frankly, their claim of a risk-free method of funding creative projects sounded too good to be true. But after reading further, I decided it was worth a try.

One month later, we had the $6,000 necessary to print our book!

Take a look at Barb’s Kickstarter Page here:

LM: For those who have no idea what we are talking about, can you give us the short version of crowdfunding? What is it?

BZ: Crowdfunding helps entrepreneurs connect directly with people who are interested in their project and willing to support them financially via a pledge. Word about the project spreads through the project originator’s social network – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter – and through people who use Kickstarter in search of intriguing projects to back. With the click of a mouse, people who like your Kickstarter project make a pledge and become Backers. Your Backers support your project by pledging money in return for Rewards. Rewards are services or products created by each Kickstarter project’s originator.

LM: How do you create a Kickstarter campaign?

BZ: Kickstarter guides you through the process. You have to set your financial goal and deadline – they recommend thirty days. State the amount you need and exactly what you’ll use the funds for. In our case, we needed to pay for editorial and book designer services, printing, and shipping the books to us. (We didn’t figure in the amount to ship the books to our backers either, and we should have.) Your Backers’ credit cards will be charged at the end of your campaign – only if it is successful.

LM: How do you get anyone to pay attention to your crowdfunding efforts?

BZ: Your Kickstarter page is the heart of your campaign, containing all the info about your project for the public to see. Along with all the details about your book, you also have to explain the pledge levels and Rewards your Backers will receive at the end of the successful campaign. Kickstarter recommends you shoot a short video and post it on your Kickstarter page so people can actually meet you and hear you explain your project.

LM: Can you explain Rewards?

BZ: Rewards are a critical component of your campaign. They address the “what’s in it for me?” factor that’s important in getting people to pledge. When creating your Rewards, ask yourself, “Who are my Backers and why would they be interested in my project?” For our book, we focused on four target markets:

  1. Parents and grandparents with kids who would enjoy the story and the felting project in the book.
  2. Alpaca farms with farm stores, who could sell the book with their own alpaca fibers.
  3. Schools and homeschoolers who could tie the book to their curriculum and might enjoy an alpaca visit
  4. Fiber people – felters, knitters, spinners, etc., who’d like to encourage a love of fiber arts in children they know.

We targeted these groups with specific Rewards. For instance, to parents and grandparents, we offered the book and the necessary supplies to do the felting project for $25, shipping included.

LM: I’ve heard that social media is a big part of a crowdfunding campaign. How does it tie in?

BZ: Once your project is approved by Kickstarter, you use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to notify all your friends, relatives, and professional acquaintances. Encourage them to spread the word to all their contacts as well. You need to set up a business page on Facebook and link it to your Kickstarter page. Your Facebook page should be up and running the minute your project goes live on Kickstarter.

LM: How important is it to have your social media in place before you start the campaign?

BZ: The more active you are on social media, the better. But on my personal Facebook page, I had only around 90 friends. The FB business page for the book itself started from nothing. I kept trying to add people over that month, trying to get Alpaca people to the page.

LM: In hindsight, what might you have done differently?

BZ: I think I would have changed the Reward structure, so that we got to keep more of the money. And I didn’t use Pinterest, but that’s a good choice if you have an interesting cover or photos in your book. It could have also been great for us, considering how photogenic alpacas are.

LM: Any other tips?

BZ: I’ve got loads of tips . . .

  1. The Kickstarter site is filled with great information about what others have done. Read through it before creating your campaign.
  2. Once your successful campaign is completed, you are responsible for sending the Rewards to your Backers. Be sure to include shipping time and shipping costs in your campaign plan. I spent three weeks packaging and shipping 242 books! (Consider the cost of international shipping as well, because Kickstarter is a worldwide site.)
  3. Create a website for your book and announce it on your Kickstarter page and on your project’s Facebook page. Have it ready to go as soon as your Kickstarter campaign ends.
  4. Be sure to take fees into consideration as your create your Rewards: Kickstarter takes 5% and Amazon charges 3%-5% fee for processing the credit cards used by your Backers.

LM: Barb, aside from publishing your book with no debt, what were some of the other benefits of crowdfunding?

BZ: We made many new friends and business connections. The 242 books we sold through our month long Kickstarter campaign wound up in the hands of Backers in 28 states, Canada and Switzerland – within three weeks of the book’s publication!

  • We have repeat wholesale customers, including an alpaca rancher in Maine who has reordered multiple copies of the book numerous times.
  • Backers from all over are now interested in our next book.
  • People are ordering books from our website after seeing a Backer’s copy.
  • We get fan mail from kids who love the book!

It was hard work – but it paid off for us in a big way.


We hope to see you at our January 2014 meeting on Crowdfunding. Barb Ziek will be on hand to lead a round table and lend us all the benefit of her experience!

Posted in CIPA, CIPA Events, Marketing, Members' News, Printing, Publicity, Publishing | Leave a comment

Common Self-Publishing Writing Mistakes

Oh, the Mistakes We’ve Seen! BlueInk Review details common self-publishing writing gaffes
By Camilla Sterne

“Oh, the Mistakes We’ve Seen!” is part of a series of BlueInk Review blogs offering advice and insight into self-published writers’ most common errors, as seen in the more than 2,000 reviews of self-published books that we have provided since our inception in 2011. Below, we have compiled excerpts from our more unfortunate reviews, each of which exposes common writing blunders.

So what makes the bad review rear its dreaded, beastly head? Here are some traps you should avoid at all costs:

Writing rife with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors:

The fact that this is at the top of the list is both discouraging and heartening.

Discouraging because, let’s face it writers, a book should be free of all spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors long before it’s reviewed or even published. Heartening, because this is one of the simplest problems to remedy.

Mechanical errors can detract from the plot by forcing readers to wade through a veritable pool of inaccuracies in an attempt to decipher meaning. Don’t punish your supporters for reading your book; reward them with flawless mechanics.

Simply put: Hire a professional copy editor. And when he/she is finished, don’t rest easy. Proofread, my friends, proofread.

Here’s a sample of what our critics have said on the subject in various reviews:

“More frustrating, however, is the inundation of spelling and punctuation errors in the novel, specifically the incorrect use of the question mark, which is employed improperly in countless sentences. The seeming lack of any proofreading leads to an exasperating reading experience that is made even more challenging by a storyline that is disjointed, aimless, and, at times, self-indulgent.”

“Minor editing and punctuation errors mar the otherwise smooth writing.”

“Unfortunately, the book appears not to have felt the copy editor’s touch, as it is riddled with errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, possessives, plurals, homonyms and use of quotation marks.”

Flat and uninteresting characters:

Unrealistic or flat characters frequently dissatisfy our reviewers. And why shouldn’t they? Ask yourself about the sort of people you’re writing about. Are they stereotypical? Do they lack depth? Are their actions unexplained? If so, it’s better to revise than publish.

Sit down and make character profiles.  Think of each character’s quirks, fears, aspirations, weaknesses and strengths. Make sure logical motivations continuously drive your characters.

Last word: Get up-close and personal with the characters you are developing.

“… [the author’s] characters aren’t particularly interesting or sympathetic, especially the women, who seem to have little in the way of dignity or self-awareness.”

“The bad guys in these stories are so bad, and the good guys so upstanding, that [the author’s] characterizations seem sanctimonious.”

“The overall character development is superficial at best — and without fully realized, emotionally compelling characters, the story is ultimately flat and unengaging.”

Overall inconsistency:

Plot threads that disappear, accidentally altered names, changed tenses, unintentionally fickle points of view— all of these things can make a book cumbersome and confusing, even baffling.

Why should a reader follow the narrative if its author can’t? Get your facts straight.

Outlines or timelines can be particularly beneficial in maintaining the reliability and uniformity of a work. Pick a tense, and stick with it. When you proofread for mechanics, simultaneously proofread for consistency.

Tip: Draw a web. Does everything connect? Where are the loose ends?

“[The author] also changes points of view in scenes throughout the book. These problems, combined with her tendency to switch from the third-person, limited narrative to second-person narrative, makes the book an extremely difficult read.”

“The story, written in a conversational tone, holds the reader’s interest, but lacks drama and sometimes misplaces details… In addition, there are occasional misspellings and one big error: The widow’s baby’s name is changed from Holly in the first reference to Amy some 20 pages later.”

“The third-person narrative wobbles from overall omniscient to third-person-limited, and there are jarringly abrupt shifts in time and place.”

These are just a few common mistakes, but stay tuned for more “Oh, the Mistakes We’ve Seen!” blogs. To receive them in your inbox, just sign up for our newsletter.

blue ink

BlueInk Review offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. Visit us at

Camilla Sterne is a senior at the University of Denver, where she studies creative writing and media studies. She is a freelance writer at the Boulder Weekly, and assistant lifestyles editor at the DU Clarion. She was BlueInk’s Summer 2013 Intern.

Posted in Book Reviews, CIPA, Editing, Publishing, Writing | Leave a comment

CIPA Sponsorship Drive

By Brian Schwartz


While the financial health of CIPA has made a significant improvement this year, we can’t exist on the member dues alone. In order to keep CIPA financially viable, we need sponsors.

To meet our sponsorship goals for the month of May, we are asking for help from our members to pitch in and help with a sponsorship drive. I’m confident that if we each reach out to a few companies, we’ll meet our goals by month end. And to make the game exciting, I’m happy to share that there will be cold hard cash available to the individuals who step up and secure new sponsorships for CIPA.

You will earn 10% for every dollar raised up to $5,000. And if the result of your efforts exceeds $5,000, you’ll earn 20% for every dollar raised! How cool is that? The reason is simple: fundraising often comes down to who you know. There are no doubt companies and individuals you know better than anyone else. When the request comes from someone they know, the odds of securing sponsorship go up significantly.

Who could benefit from sponsoring CIPA? Any organization that has anything to do with literacy, writing, publishing, fulfillment, printing, graphic design, web design, marketing, or any other product or service we as authors and publishers utilize. Think of the partners you’ve used in the past.

The process of registering to participate in our fundraising drive is simple. You need to first sign up at and we’ll send you a short one page contract and all the details you need to get started – including what to say in an email, on the phone, details of each sponsorship level, and a special webpage for sponsors to sign up or learn more about becoming a CIPA sponsor. We also have a list of companies that we feel could benefit from becoming CIPA sponsors that we can provide to you.

Sponsorships begin at just $100, and if you are a service provider who could benefit from greater visibility to our members, I’d encourage you to check out becoming a CIPA sponsor yourself.

Note: Sponsors who sign on before May 15 will have the additional benefit of special recognition at the CIPA EVVY Awards dinner on May 18 – in addition to the perks that extend into the 2013-2014 CIPA Year.

I hope you’ll consider joining us in this campaign – the future of CIPA heavily depends on it! And I’m glad the board has approved compensation for those willing to step up to the plate. We are also looking for a Sponsorship Chair – someone to join the CIPA Board who will pick up the ball for the coming year and work with agents who sign on to solicit funding on behalf of CIPA.

CIPA EVVY Awards Banquet is May 18!

Ward Lucas

Ward Lucas, Former 9News Anchor

A quick reminder about the upcoming CIPA EVVY Awards Banquet. This year, it will be hosted by Ward Lucas, a name you might recognize as he’s an Emmy Award-winning journalist and longtime news anchor on NBC’s 9 News. But did you know that Ward is also a published author? I’m sure he’ll have plenty of entertaining stories to share as he announces this year’s award winners. As I mentioned last month, I strongly encourage you to support your fellow authors and publishers whenever you can. Also – if you buy your banquet tickets by May 10, you can come to the May 11 CIPA Meeting on Radio Interviews for FREE!

P.S. May 18 may also be your last chance to see yours truly, as our house in Fort Collins is on the market and we are expecting to move back to the central coast of California (where I attended college) this summer. If I don’t see you, know that I will miss all of you very much and am forever grateful for the opportunity to serve as your president.

Get out and enjoy the spring weather (while you still can!),

Brian Schwartz
CIPA President 2012-2013

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An Author’s Intuition

By Brian Schwartz


Your most valuable resource is your time. Time is something that can never be restrained or saved up. Once it’s spent it’s gone forever. And every moment, like it or not, we lose it. Like an unstoppable army, time marches on. Where we choose to spend our time is the only aspect within our control. I love time because it’s the great equalizer. In the end, we all eventually run out of it.

We may strive to be more efficient, and doing so allows us to take on more. But when you stop to look where you are, many of us find that we’ve been heads down trucking down a path unintentionally.

The challenge of life (and the fun) is to pick the path that leads to fulfillment of our heart’s desire. When you are on the right path, you know it. Life is good, and you feel in control of your destiny and in your happy place. But I’m sure there are times you aren’t so sure, and you question if the path you are on is the right one.

Here’s my advice: Trust that the path you are on is the right path. Period. No matter where you are, know that you made the best decision you possibly could with the information you had at the time you made it. Everything is perfectly as it should be for you in this moment. Every day is a learning experience. Every day we make progress. Even when you are frustrated with your results, believe me when I tell you from my heart that we are all exactly where we should be.

This leads to a point I want to make about experience vs. education.

I have achieved far more in my life as a result of experience than I have from education. We do need some education to give us the confidence to take action and thus gain experience. The amount of education we need to take before action varies for each of us. I’ve discovered that those with higher self confidence will take action with less education. Less self-confident people need more education before they take action and gain that valuable experience that makes all the difference.

Take Doug Odell – founder of Odell’s Brewing in Fort Collins. He is probably one of the most self-confident individuals I’ve ever met. He is the godfather of the microbrewery movement in Fort Collins because he was the first to take action. When I voluntarily dropped out of corporate welfare in 2008, there was far more I had to unlearn than there was to learn. As a first time author, I needed experience. I had already learned everything I needed to know – what I needed was more experience. More experience, greater self-confidence, and better intuition.

With experience, comes intuition. The more experience we get in an area, the more our intuition will guide us down the right path. I firmly believe that you can never go wrong when you follow your intuition (or your gut), as long as that intuition is rooted in real experience (and not blind faith!).

But sometimes, the information gathered will be so compelling, that our quantitative mind takes command and our actions follow. Then, for a split second, somewhere along the way our gut tells us otherwise. And we’ve all made those decisions we’ve kicked ourselves for later. At the time, they made perfect sense. The logic added up. But we also knew in our gut, something wasn’t quite right.

Trust your intuition. I firmly believe that one of the unspoken and unteachable keys to success in life is having a strong intuitive muscle, and the faith to follow it.

So I want to invite you to utilize your membership with CIPA to build your intuition muscle.

Engaging with your peers, take action, and gain the essential experience. The more you get involved, the more you become. You can accelerate your experience through your participation in CIPA. The more we support each other, the more successful we all become. On May 18th, I would like to invite you to the 19th Annual CIPA EVVY Awards and support your peers. Tickets are just $40 which also includes dinner!

Our monthly meetings provide a unique opportunity to hear first-hand best practices rooted in reality, new perspectives based on others’ experiences, and actionable steps you can take to build your own experience and in turn your intuition.

Trust your intuition. Trust your gut. Trust in the perfection of the moment.

See you on April 20, and I hope again on May 18 at the annual CIPA EVVY Awards Banquet.

All the best to your self-published success!

Brian Schwartz
CIPA President 2012-2013

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SPECIAL OFFER: NSA Member Pricing for this Friday’s all-day Tech Event at the PPA Extended to all CIPA members

Heather Lutze & Heather Gilmore have graciously offered to extend the NSA discount to CIPA members for this Friday’s I Heart Tech NSA CO Event!

The CIPA code for member pricing is: CIPA$

When this code is entered on the payment page, and APPLY is clicked, the rate will adjust to $99 for one person, or $149 for two.

Click here to find out more! 
$99 for one person; bring a friend for just $50 more.

Date: Friday, March 22, 2013
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration & Breakfast will begin at 8:00 a.m.
Where: PPA Center

Hot lunch buffet and handouts provided

Modern technologies… Digital Media… Social Media and Social Sharing…

Do you embrace them, or run from them? Are you engaging with your target market via social media and social sharing? Or are you still trying to market your business the same way you did twenty years ago?

Segments will include:

  • Blogging & Content Creation Made Easy for Speakers
  • Leveraging Google+ and Google Hangouts to Make $$
  • Twitter vs. Facebook Smack Down: Compare and Contrast Twitter and Facebook for Business ROI
  • Essential Speaker Tech Tools (to make life on the road easier and more profitable)
  • Get Booked & Stay Booked with LinkedIn
  • Your Web Site & Content Creation Plan for 2013
  • Creating Your Action Plan
  • Wine reception (okay, that’s not really a segment but will happen at the end of the day)

Find out more here!

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The 2013 CIPA EVVY Awards competition deadline has been extended to this Thursday, March 21, 2013 to allow for your last-minute entries. Payment must be received by March 21, 2013, but there is still time to mail your book. No need to over-night the books. If you send the books using regular mail, that would be fine.

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Today I will…

By Brian Schwartz

brianschwartzIn last month’s column, I wrote of the analogy of a farmer and how viewing yourself as one can help you stay focused in your publishing endeavors.

This month, I want to ask you to put on a different hat; the hat of a hunter.

We all know the reference to our ancestors as hunters and gatherers. Hunters and gatherers stem from the most primitive part of our brain. We see animals doing it all day long. They are constantly hunting and gathering. It gives them the energy to live, love, and play.

As humans, we are fortunate to have not one, but three brains. One: the instinctive brain (hunter/gatherer, fight/flight). Two: the emotional (limbic) brain (pain/pleasure). Three: the left/right sides of the thinking (neocortex) brain. The left brain asks ‘why?’, while the right brain asks ‘what?’. More on this later, but I want to plant the seed of why vs. what now.

The left brain is deeply rooted in our past experiences, while the right brain is the creative, future imagery aspect of our brain. When you think in terms of the past (was), your left brain is engaged. When you plan for the future, your right brain is in charge (what’s next).

Being in control of our actions involves developing a better understanding of how our brain works. Why do we often fail at acting consistent with what we know we ought to be doing? Because our three brains aren’t aligned. While your thinking brain has determined the best next step (what you ought to do), your emotional brain might sabotage the good intention because it’s perceiving some level of pain in the result. Your decision to act or not comes down to those tasks where all three brains are on the same page.

Can’t one of my three brains just make an overriding decision? I believe it’s the *instinctive* part of our brain truly in charge, the one we were born with, the one that exists to keep the rest of us alive and intact. But I’m smart enough to know the one in charge (the instinctive brain), isn’t exactly the smartest apple on the tree. So I’m going to have to do a little manipulation to get it to act the way I want.

Back to the hunter instinct as you go about your day ahead. Take another trip in your mind and look at how it might play out… You know in your gut that there’s something vitally important to get resolved, and it’s something you need to put 100% of your focus into right now, so try this imagery on with me:

You are leaving the cave. The more time you spend outside the cave, the more dangerous it becomes. Minimize your exposure and get back as quickly as you can. But before you head out, it’s important you’ve adequately prepped for the safest journey possible. Be sure to take all your tools with you, but travel light so you can be nimble when necessary. Decide to make as few decisions as possible on this journey. There are more journeys ahead, but right now you need all of your energy to complete that which has already been decided.

You are out of the cave and fully exposed now. There’s no more rehearsal and it’s time to get to work and complete the task you’ve been called to do today. If you need others to help you, be sure to call on them early and be sure they are fully equipped for the journey ahead. The fight begins. Your instincts will call on all your experience and knowledge to win the fight (or in this case, finish the task) as quickly and effectively as possible. You are the hunter. Your sole goal is to bring back the reward (the result), so the best you can do is focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by the result. Expect to get bruised along the way – what’s a warrior without a few wounds? Wear them with pride. Please, for your own safety, don’t ask WHY in the middle of the fight – your left brain is not the problem solver. Instead, ask WHAT – as you need all the creativity and optimism of your right brain right now. After you’ve determined WHAT, shift into fight mode by stating I WILL and get to it.

Tips to remember…

Asking: Why am I here or Why am I doing this? = no progress

Asking: What am I doing here or What needs to be done? = progress

Stating: I Will = a decision to act.

The word ‘What’ calls on the hunter inside you to step up and solve the problem. The word ‘Why’ instead looks at the past and all the flaws of spent time that’s gone. Asking ‘Why’ isn’t going to serve you right now – because you’ve called on the ‘Will’ which is the trigger to proceed.

Don’t leave without your self-confidence!

The most successful hunters are armed with a high level of self-confidence. Self-confidence is the most important tool of all! And that self-confidence comes from belief. And belief comes from seeing evidence. And evidence is built from action. So to build more self confidence, you need to take more action. Action begins with two words: I will. Don’t leave the cave without your most important tool – self-confidence. In the battle ahead, your self-confidence will be tested. Consider it your most important weapon.

Never ask why, instead ask what. State I will and action will follow. What follows action is experience. What follows experience is self-confidence. Self confidence answers the why so you can get on to the next what.

So the only question left to ask is: When will you?

Hope to see you Saturday! Don’t forget the change in the location because of the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade. I’m excited to see what creative new thoughts and experiences come as a result of being on a different field.

-Brian Schwartz
CIPA President 2012-2013

Posted in CIPA, CIPA Events, Publishing, Writing | 1 Comment