Pivotal Week – Self Publishing Income: Day 2

by | Jul 26, 2011 | Archives

This is day two in a pivotal week  for the world.  The shift may increase the need for self publishing income.

How would you like to read a headline in the newspaper or on a global blog that said this about you?  “Discovers Invaluable Heirlooms in an Attic”

Well… you have that heirloom and I would like to share with you, how to find it.


The heirloom is a story because we all have a story to tell.

This is why I love earning income from writing. This is such a mobile vocation that allows me to be anywhere in the city, on a high desert or Caribbean isle, high in the mountains, deep in a forest, really wherever I can find a story!

My decision to become a writer was heavily influenced by two people C.Y. Tong, a great Hong Kong shipping magnate, and Winston Churchill and his volumes on WWII.

Tong’s influence came in a simple newspaper article when he mentioned that he got into the shipping business because he loved to travel. Winston Churchill wrote numerous times how fortunate he was to be able to live off his pen.

I put the Tong and Churchill ideas together.  I wanted to travel, but couldn’t afford to buy any ships. I already had a pen whihc was my heirloom when connected to a good story.

Before I tell you more about the heirloom you possess… let me share just for a brief moment why you might need an extra valuable bauble in your attic now.

This is a pivotal week for a world that has run on the solid economic engine of the USA.  As is nature’s courses… the world overdid itself and drove that engine to excess.  Now it is breaking down (as is Western Europe’s fiscal engine) due to too many promises and too much debt.

The battle in Congress is pretty serious with just eight days to go before the government cannot borrow additional money to fund itself.  The political squabbles are already beginning to bite the economy.  The FAA has had to begin a partial shut down. Congress is fighting over waste and duplication and costly airport subsidies.  Due to politics, the house and the Senate have not been able to agree so during the weekend a partial U.S. Federal Aviation Administration shutdown temporarily put about 4,000 employees out of work began.

This shoots the government in its own foot because many of the agency’s functions are stopped including its ability to collect $200 million a week in tax revenues which fund its operations will halt.

U.S. airlines of course immediately raised air fares the same amount as the tax so they pocket the extra airline-ticket tax money that would normally go to the FAA.

The political arguments really need to be resolved, but they are just the symptom of a deeper problems created by excess… unfunded promises… debt… and poor health.

If the borrowing limit is not raised in time… it is most likely that credit rating agencies will lower the ranking of US sovereign debt from AAA. This will send shock waves around the world and slow the global economy.  Interest costs in the US will rise. The US dollar will fall.

Even if they do reach agreement… it must be one that the credit agencies believe will resolve the fiscal imbalances. Otherwise the debt rating could still be lowered.

If Congress does satisfy the world that the US is serious about reducing its debt… the answer will almost certainly be… higher tax… later retirement age… less pensions… less medical coverage…less government services. The heads of the US post office for example have already stated that they will probably have to phase in three day a week delivery over the next 15 years.

No matter how events unfold… life will not be the same.  This is the week that decides which way the restructuring will go.

In these circumstances… those who are most independent will benefit the most.  This is why the focus of this site has increasingly been tightened on sharing ways to create extra income.

Our new turn key business programs offer many business contacts… but the one we love the most is self – publishing.

This is why our course “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher” has evolved from a one time online course to an annual service.  The world is changing so fast that by the time an online course is complete it is obsolete.  This is why we have introduced “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher 202 – Kindle Tidbits”.  This part of the course looks at how we are shifting into publishing via Amazon.com for Kindle.

We have a publishing plan and have started (two books are at Amazon.com now) so we are into the learning curve.  Our upcoming lessons have case studies based on several really successful current Kindle writers.

The precursor to these case studies is the common uniting factor of their success… good stories focused in specific communities.

We all have a story and one secret of success is to find it in our mental-emotional attic.  The second secret is to find or create the community that will love those stories.  Unlock these two secrets and you can become unimaginably rich.

How rich?  JK Rowling found an heirloom story in her closet in 1995.  Within ten years, her stories had put her on Forbes top 100 wealthiest people n the world. Now 15 years later… she is a billionaire.

Not all of us (maybe none of us) will find our heirloom that valuable… but her story and those of John Locke, Amanda Hocking and Kate Johnson show that simple stories can be worth millions.

Stories can sell products. Stories can sell services. Stories can be products and services and your story can help you maintain your purchasing power during this time of social-economic shifts… not to mention that sharing stories is fun and fulfilling… plus cost very, very little to find and start.

To share the value and importance of stories in the earning process, here is an excerpt from “Self Fulfilled 202 – Lesson Three”.

Self Publishing 202… Tidbits on Kindle

Lesson Three:  Focusing the Story to a Community

Many of us will need to figure out methods of earning in new ways.


One way to earn is through stories.  We all have a story to tell.

A story can sell a product or a service.  A good story can be a product or a service.

The most basic fundamental for publishing success is having a good story to tell that suits a specific community of readers.

Recently Merri and I were visiting my mom, our daughter, son in law (also our webmaster), and our granddaughters, Sequoia and Teeka, who love hearing stories. I started to tell Goldilocks and the Three Bears but Sequoia stated “I do not like Alice!”

That was a quandary I quickly resolved by telling the story of Hectorina and the Three Alligators.  I suspect you would get the plot very quickly… and the moral of the story… “Do what your mother tells you. Don’t go to places mommy says to no!”

Hopefully you can see on Sequoia’s and Teeka’s face… they were absorbed.   This was a time proven good story.  The alligator worked because I knew that when youngster’s limbic systems are forming they have an extra fascination with reptiles… so the story teller in me quickly adjusted a well worn tale to fit these listeners.

After having to tell it repeatedly I was began to wish it was less of a success. “Tell it again, Papa Socks. Pleeeeease”.

Telling the same story again and again can be wearying… but in publishing this is exactly what we want to do… tell the story to readers again and again… and again.

Good focused stories are a fundamental that make learning and re-creation easy and fun and can turn learning systems into earning systems that are dependable and everlasting.

Evolution comes in bursts… new idea founded on fundamentals continually change everything… in some ways.

Today electronic books and epublishing are at the forefront of evolution.  These are a new part to a very old story that has exploded upwards in evolutionary bursts.

The business of publishing began perhaps with scribes… duplicating a story.

Then publishing evolved.  Historians say that in 888 The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture, was the first dated example of block printing. The evolution was taking the reproductive process from the pen to the block. Then 150 years later (1041) Bi Sheng in China invented movable clay type.

380 years after that (1423) Europeans were using xylography (art of engraving on wood, block printing) to produce books.

Then in 1440 the German, Johannes Gutenberg, added to the evolution with movable metal type.  This was a big jump and many improvements followed quickly.

1457 First known color printing, a Psalter (a collection of Psalms for devotional use) by Faust.

1461 Albrecht Pfister printed the first illustrated book, Edelstein, which featured a number of woodcuts.

1476 First use of copper engravings instead of woodcuts for illustration.

By 1499 there were an estimated 15 million books that had been press printed.

So it took 550 years for printing to evolve from clay to metal type… then in just 50 years… 15 million books.

300 more years passed. Then in an attempt to reduce his publications costs, another German printer, Senefelder, tried to produce engravings on slabs of Bavarian limestone instead of the costly copper.  He created a mixture of wax, soap, lampblack, and rainwater to correct mistakes on the drawings.  These two materials, limestone and “correction fluid” became the primary ingredients of lithography because the correction fluid repels water, while the surface of the limestone holds it.  Senefeldercould first wet the entire stone then apply ink, with a roller.  The stone, which held water repelled the greasy ink. The “cor-rection fluid,” which is greasy and thus repels water, accepted additional ink. The chemical process is known as the Principle of Lithography.

Senefelder devoted his life to the lithographic process. In 1817, he designed a press that featured automatic dampening and inking of the plate.

Lithography was a very easy medium for the artist. He simply drew one picture on the stone which was then used to reproduce many copies of the identical image on paper.  The invention of the rotary method of lithography that allowed a plate that could be bent around a cylinder was followed by Joseph Niepce, a French scientist, producing the world’s first photograph in 1826.

By 1852 Henry Talbot, of England, used the first halftone screen for the reproduction of photographs about 1852. About 33 years later, Frederick Ives, an American, designed and made the first practical halftone lithograph screen.

Charles Fenerty of Halifax made the first paper from wood pulp (newsprint) in 1838.  Efficiencies in this field and offset lithography further improved printing.

The development of continuous rolls of paper enhanced the original Gutenberg Press as did a steam-powered press and a way to use iron instead of wood for building presses. This added efficiency of printing, made the prices of printed goods more reasonable hence the term “penny press”.

Ira Rubel, a paper manufacturer from Nutley, New Jersey is generally credited as introducing the use of the offset press for paper printing in about 1904 or 1905.

The advent of desktop publishing made it possible for type and images to be manipulated easily on personal computers for eventual printing on desktop or commercial presses.

The development of digital imagesetters enabled print shops to produce negatives for platemaking directly from digital input, skipping the intermediate step of photographing an actual page layout.

Next daisy-wheel and dot matrix “impact” printers came into common use, then non-impact printers: ink-jet, laser and thermal-transfer, have nearly put printing presses on the brink of extinction.

Now we have the ebook in the process of eradicating book stores!

In each of these eras that have sprung from new technology… two business tactics emerged… tricks (short term gains) and solid fundamentals (long term improvements) both which created advances.

A huge shift was created by the internet as it has transferred the main thrust of business from broadcast to broadband.

Broadcast was a media where conditions were optimal when one message could be sent simultaneously to millions of different people. Broadband is a media where conditions are optimal when sending millions of different messages to one person each.

Broadcast determined a community and sent them the one message.  Smart marketing people for example figured out who liked watching a specific TV show and/or listening to a specific radio show.  Those viewers created a community and then the advertiser focused their ads to to that community.  So Bud Beer might be advertised to the “World Wide Wrestling” community… family holidays to “Leave it to Beaver” and Marlboro Cigarettes to the community that watched “Mission Impossible”.

Broadcast is a media with a very high start up cost.  To buy a TV or radio station cost big bucks.  Making the shows… creating the ads, etc. cost mega dollars.

Broadband on the other hand has a very low entrance and allows the publisher or business to create its own community as it grows.

Broadcast united communities and gave the power to big business.

Broadband fragments communities to much smaller niches and gives the power to the small business.

In both instances the basics though are the story and the community.

This course shares how Merri and I are approaching this electronic communication technology.   We have been publishing for over 40 years.  We have been publishing online for nearly a decade and a half.   Now we have added ebooks for the Kindle into our activities.

Throughout our 40 + years of publishing a key has been to expand and evolve based around solid fundamentals.  We avoid using tricks!

The reason for this is important.  By the time this course is complete… the benefits of any ebook marketing trickery may be gone!

Let me clarify this with a solid example. When search engines and websites became new business mediums, one trick to getting good placements was to hide key words beneath the text… sort of electronic subliminal form of advertising. This worked for awhile until search engines evolved beyond this trick and businesses that depended too much on this use folded.

Businesses have to keep evolving but make sure that the evolution does not abandon the solid fundamentals.  If a business that used the early search engine trick also had solid fundamentals it may have survived, but the tricks alone were only powerful enough to create flashes in the pan.

That trick may have helped launch some good business that had solid fundamentals but that trick has not sustained most businesses for long.

This course aims to create successful publishing businesses that use the tricks of the trade from ebook technology but also to hold onto the solid fundamentals.  It is necessary that expansion will be everlasting and able to survive the next evolution.

The main three fundamentals we always work on are… understanding our community…. reaching our community and writing our stories so they suit our community of readers.

We can see the importance of community by looking at  Borders, book stores. Borders is now gone.  Borders began its mega bookstore idea only in the 2000s to compete with Barnes and Noble and Books A Million in the USA.


Borders… going…. going…. gone.

The tricks were lots of capital, big stores, sofas and coffee…. bringing a lifestyle along with lower costs to books.

The evolution continued and Wi Fi had to be added to these mega stores.

Then electronic readers became a new media in publishing.  They are based  on the solid foundation of getting information to readers easier, faster and at a lower cost. These are not tricks.  These are core fundamentals of the publishing business!

Amazon.com embraced this idea with Kindle.  Barnes & Noble created the Nook.  This is the real battle now Kindle Versus Nook and upcoming ereaders… not more and more improvements in the book store.

In 2010 Goldman Sachs estimated that the Kindle had a market share of 67 percent in the U.S., followed by the Nook at 22 percent.  They believed that Amazon.com generates 58 percent of e-book sales, followed by Barnes & Noble’s 27 percent, Apple Inc. was at 9 percent and Borders at 7 percent.   The race will be to to grab  Borders 7%.

Google has jumped into the competition with its iRiver ereader.

i river-reader

Google publicized its first ereader combined with the open Google eBooks platform on Monday, July 11, 2011.

These ebook platforms have an open access model, allowing consumers the use of their ebooks on any 80 compatible ereaders. It includes the Barnes and Noble Nook together with the Sony line of ereaders.

Currently, Google calls to provide readers “approximately 3 million free ebooks and hundreds of thousands of book titles that are set for purchase. Google said that with their eBooks, a wide reader can have access at the world’s biggest selection of ebooks and limitless storage in the digital cloud.

Plus electronic readers have to face growing competition from other technology… smart pads and smart phones. Books can be read on Apple’s iPad, iPhone and others.

Apple has entered the fray and has patented a dual-screen e-ink reader concept for a motion-controlled portable device with dual e-ink displays designed specifically for reading and interacting with digital content.

The hypothetical hardware would include motion-sensing capabilities that would measure when a user flipped the device, and what direction it was turned in. The hardware would, in the simplest example, turn the page of an ebook.

But beyond flipping pages, the direction and manner in which the user flips over the eink device would change what is shown on the secondary display. In one example, rotating the book “end over end” would present the book’s table of contents, while going in the reverse direction could present users with a place to enter notes.

The application would use eink displays, for their low power consumption but would overcome the low refresh rate which can slow viewing a new page.

Apple’s unique “flip” user interface would allow for the device to anticipate what the user might view next. By having the next page of a book already loaded on the reverse screen, the content could be instantly available.

One of Borders fatal decisions was not taking ebooks seriously enough and instead of developing its own reader, it created a 2001 alliance with Amazon.com, to offer online shopping, for books, music, and DVDs and ebooks online.

Trusting the growing part of their fastest growing business to their biggest competitor was probably not their best decision!

Books-a-Million based in Birmingham, Alabama has more than 200 stores in the Southeast, has made an offer to buy 21 Borders superstores and nine smaller stores.

Under the deal, Books-A-Million would get inventory and merchandise at the stores and negotiate new leases with the landlords. This would save 30 Borders stores and as many as 1,000 to 1,500 jobs, but one has to wonder whether Books A Million will survive or not.

The share price BAMM traded on NASDAQ suggests that the stock market is not encouraged.

bamm chart

On the other hand, there could be value here because the demise of the micro business book store might be truly exaggerated.

We can learn a lot by studying a January, 2011 USA Today article  “Is there hope for small bookstores in a digital age?” by Bob Minzesheimer.

This article says:  Don’t tell Suzanna Hermans that cozy, well-stocked bookstores such as hers have no future during a digital age in which e-books are just a click away.

Years after the rise of such mega-chains — and the explosive growth of Amazon.com’s discount book business — helped kill many small bookstores, e-books are sparking another shake-up.

Owner Suzanna Hermans is about to enlarge Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, N.Y. She says the independent store emphasizes community.

I know people think of independent bookstores as struggling underdogs,” says Hermans, co-owner and manager of Oblong Books in this picturesque Hudson Valley town. “But if I was struggling, I  wouldn’t be expanding.” She’s about to break through a brick wall to enlarge her children’s section “for my customers of the future.”

By emphasizing service, her store’s popularity as a community gathering spot and even a new — and somewhat counterintuitive — plan to help her customers order e-books, Hermans, 26, is betting that her small store will continue to buck prevailing winds in the book business.


Many readers share with me a sadness they feel as they perceive losing their American dream.  That’s a terrible comfort to have fade away.  Yet I am encouraged because we have been offered a global dream… spun by technology and knitted with ideals of democracy and capitalism. This is a much larger vision… different… requiring more effort to begin… but offering even more.

This evolution is ripe for heirlooms…stories that are not only fun to share but ones that make you rich.  Be sure not to miss tomorrow’s message  on how to become smarter so you can spot your heirloom story and share it with your community around the globe.


Learn how to enroll in our online course “Self Fulfilled – How to Be a Self Publisher”.

See an Ecuador B & B Business Idea here.

Join Merri and me for our next International Business seminar October 7-9, 2011.