Friday, December 28, 2007

Author, Kristen Collier, shares insights into her writing

I am pleased to introduce novelist and children's book author, Kristen Collier, to my readers. Ms. Collier is from Grand Haven, Michigan where she lives with her husband, Kevin.

Kristen is the writer in the family and Kevin illustrates the book. A great combination that works very well for this dynamic duo.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m married to author/illustrator Kevin Collier, which is great. It’s fun working on books together and watching him draw. He’s so wonderful and is my biggest fan. We spend just about all of our spare time on book stuff, hoping that one day it’ll become a full time gig. I started writing about five years ago, and it took that long just to find a publisher for my children’s picture book. So to all aspiring writers out there—never give up!

We live in Grand Haven, MI, with our son, Jarod. Grand Haven is a sleepy little bedroom town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Western Michigan is very Christian, a great place to raise a family, so we’re really sheltered here. The people are very relaxed, and very happy, so it’s just an all around nice place to live.

Kevy works a day job at the local newspaper, and I’m working in retail right now, but am training to substitute as a librarian at the local schools, which is a blast! Next year some people are retiring, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get in at one of the schools next fall. It’s so exciting being around all those children’s books that I grew up with and loved as a kid—such great memories! And working with the kids in this laid-back town is so nice—they’re sooooo sweet. So hopefully in August I’ll be able to substitute or get a full time librarian job. And then maybe down the road one day I’ll be able to be a full time writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m originally from Ohio. One night, five years ago, I was in the Broadview Heights, Ohio library, waiting to take a test for a job. I’d heard that if you write your goals down you’re more likely to achieve them, so I pulled out the only piece of paper in my purse—an envelope—and wrote down on the back of it my goals: a horse farm, a godly husband, even what kind of bridle and saddle I wanted. The next day the story for “King of Glory” came to me, complete, in my head. It was like God was saying to me, “I’m going to help you make your dreams come true, but you’re going to have to work for it.”

I wrote the whole thing in under a month, and have been writing ever since.

How many books have you written?
Two that are published, but about six or so manuscripts.

How do you decide on their topic?
The first one came to me, and the second, a picture book called “The Day Jarod Met Jesus,” (a picture book about the Second Coming as told through a child’s eyes), I don’t remember how that one came to me. Most of the other manuscripts I wrote with Kevy. He came up with the ideas for them. There are a few manuscripts that I’ve done on my own, but I always run them past him and he helps me either fine-tune the writing, or add to them in some way.

What works best to keep you focused and on track?
For now, our agent is sitting on a pile of manuscripts that he’s shopping, so I’m mostly doing promotional stuff. And I get bored if I don’t move forward, so that keeps me focused. Plus, Kevin has been lining up a bunch of interviews and short stories for various online magazines for my “Joy the Jellyfish” picture book, so that keeps me working on that series.

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Sometimes it’s both. I’m not one of those people who’ve always wanted to be a writer. In fact, that’s one of my pet peeves about “writers,” because I personally feel that the people who’ve always wanted to be writers are really boring people. They live to write—they haven’t lived. I think, how can you have anything interesting to say unless you’ve lived life? If their whole focus is writing, they don’t have many life experiences.

There are some writers who spend 8 to 12 hours a day writing! I say, “When are you living if you’re spending that much time writing??” When are you taking care of your family? When are you going out and having fun? When are you learning a new skill or sharing your life with someone? It’s those sorts of life experiences that make you an interesting person. So a “writer” often ends up being a boring person, because it’s all in their imagination. They don’t have the emotional depth because they’ve never really lived.

Enough about that. So, yes, I write sometimes for the money, but it’s one of those things that when I’m doing it I enjoy it, although it’s work. I’m not a natural writer—I didn’t even start until my early thirties—but I’ve been working to improve my skill for five years now, and am getting some good comments, so my hard work is paying off. I don’t write for enjoyment, but I enjoy it when I’m doing it. It’s pleasing when I can see that I’ve honed my skill. That’s rewarding. And my end goal is to create a story that the reader enjoys. That’s rewarding also. It’s, I guess, the proverbial definition of a labor of love: it’s hard work for me, it doesn’t come natural, but while I’m doing it I enjoy it.

One type of writing that I didn’t enjoy that much was writing articles for papers. I always did articles that pertained in some way to my interests—such as a religion column I used to write. But the fiction stories are much more fun to write.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
Hmmmm—basically we do a lot online. I’m not sure what you mean by traditional, as marketing has really shifted to online sales for much of everything these days. Most books are sold online now. But I’ve read “Joy the Jellyfish” to some classes in local schools, and that has helped. But most has been online, however. Reviews are always great, so I’m really happy that they’re starting to come out now. The reviews are online, though.

What are some unique methods?
Because I’m married to my illustrator, he’s created a website that has some great free downloads for kids. When I did the book readings in schools, he did a coloring page that I handed out (which the children were thrilled to have!), and that had the website listed on it. The hits on the site went up a lot during that week I was in the schools, so that helped a lot. And along with the coloring page, there are some other activities, such as dot-to-dots, mazes, word searches, etc., all free, so the kids will want to come back to the site. And there are links to the interviews and some online stories as well, so if the kids like the book, they can go online and read some free short stories about Joy.

There is even a trailer, with music, that a guy in CA did for the book, so that’s cool. An author that Kevin illustrated a book for is in commercials, so he did that for us. And Kevin did some animations. So, between the animations, activities, interviews, and online stories, there are a lot of fun things for interested kids to do on the site. And they’re all free, so that’s a great way to spread the word. One more thing—there are links to real pictures of the undersea creatures in the story, so there is an educational aspect to the site also. Kids can click on the picture of the real sea creature and they’re taken to the Wikpedia page that teaches them about the real creature. I wanted it to have educational aspects as well as entertainment, to make it a well-rounded website.

Do you sell through a website?
There’s a button to click on to take you to the page on Amazon in which you can purchase it.

Do you plan on writing additional books?

Yep, there are some other manuscripts in various stages of completion, and the publisher for “Joy the Jellyfish” wants a sequel sometime in the future, so that’ll be fun. For now, though, I’m focusing on the marketing, and online stories for Joy. There will be one coming out in Jan. that will be on some online magazines. In Feb. another story is going to be the cover of an online children’s magazine, so if the kids like Joy, there are a few online stories in which they can read about her and her undersea friends.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How long can we expect virtual assistants to stick?

Many speakers, trainers, authors and consultants need to expand their business, but are not in a position to hire a full time employee. A viable solution is to contract a VA - Virtual Assistant. Many a business has flourished with the right VA. On the other hand, how do you know how long one will stay with your company. This question was addressed by Gayle Buske, president and CEO of Team Double-Click.

How long can we expect virtual assistants to stick?
by Gayle Buske

My answer is always the same: “it depends.” It depends on many things. But first we need to realign our thinking a little bit and better understand today’s workforce.

As a small or home-based business owner, are you basing your perception of how long a worker stays in a position on your own work history? Personally, when I take on a position I intend to stay with it - I don’t give up. I’ve enjoyed lengthy tenures at my places of employment throughout my career.

What we need to remember though is that everyone is not like us. Especially the current workforce. I mentioned in a previous article that the days of staying in your job for the rest of your life are long gone. As business owners, we tend to forget that and we are frustrated by it.

A recent study said that the average tenure in a job for Generation Y is 18 months. That’s realistically the max you can expect someone - anyone, bricks-and-mortar or virtual, to stick with a job. Let’s leave that thought to stew for a while and talk about the “that depends” I mentioned earlier.

Depends on what?
Things change in people’s lives - everyone’s lives. Mine and yours and your virtual assistant’s. Think back to the reasons you have changed jobs in the past. What things in your past have caused a need for job changes? Pregnancy, sudden depression, death in the family, shift in financial obligations, relocation, change of career goals, a decision to go back to college, ill parents, ill children, ill spouse? Of course, and there are many more. Your virtual assistant is a human being too and they’re also subject to all of these normal human occurrences.

Any one of these or many more reasons are cause for a virtual assistant to move on elsewhere or even stop working altogether.

Job likeability.
You’ve got to like your job. I hope we can all agree on that. If you don’t like what you’re doing you’re not going to do your best and you’re always going to be shopping for a better job or better opportunity. Virtual assistants, as with bricks-and-mortar assistants, are not immune. I’m not talking about being a virtual assistant in general - though that happens too - where a virtual assistant decides she can’t handle the isolation and hangs up her computer. I’m talking about all of the tasks a virtual assistant does on a daily basis. For one client she may answer phones, for another she may do data entry, and for yet another she may be asked to cold call. If she doesn’t like those duties she’s not going to like the job and will ask for reassignment or quit entirely.

Boss likeability.
For me, the only one I didn’t stick with for a good length of time was one where I was treated like a prisoner in a concentration camp, neck breathed down and so on. I left one day for lunch and never looked back. Have you ever had a boss you just couldn’t stand? How about one with whom you just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Or maybe there was the one you always thought was creepy or shifty. Would you stick with a boss that gave you those feelings? Certainly not! Yet we expect our virtual assistants to do that and we can’t. With 6.6 billion people in the world every one of them is not going to like each and every one of us. And you’re not going to like every one of them either.

Determining your needs.
At Team Double-ClickSM, our job, as we see it is this: to help you determine your needs in a virtual assistant; to locate the best virtual assistant for you, our client, based on your personality needs as well as your skills needs; to locate problem virtual assistants and send them packing before they do damage to you; to nurture the relationship between you and your virtual assistant; alert you to potential problems with a virtual assistant; to stand by what we do and what we offer; and locate a new virtual assistant for you should things not work out. Now, sometimes the virtual assistants we contract don’t like this. This is when we become “Big Bad Team Double-ClickSM”. You see, we’re the good guys when we’re offering work to virtual assistants. However, when we have to take that work away or ask a virtual assistant for reimbursement for a client due to negligence in their actions, we’re no longer popular with that virtual assistant. This quite often causes a virtual assistant to quit. In order to protect you, our client, sometimes we have to tick people off to do it.

Theft. Yes, theft. Team Double-Click is a virtual staffing agency - we’re the middleman. We work hard to do the best by our clients and locate quality virtual assistants for them. And theft does happen - even from virtual assistants who’ve shown no signs of being anything but above board. If finances get tough, the first thing most people want to do is cut out the middleman. Why? Usually to make more money of course! While we do our best to prevent it from happening, it does from time to time happen that a virtual assistant will attempt to steal a client - to make more money. I’m sure you can see how this opens a whole can of worms here and can easily mess things up for other clients. My question to you: would you want to directly hire a person with that kind of track record? Could you really trust they wouldn’t try to steal something from you later on down the road? I wouldn’t.

A virtual assistant (let’s call her Jane) recently successfully stole a client (let’s call him Dick) from Team Double-Click. In this instance, rather than enter into a lengthy legal battle with Dick and Jane, we let it go. We of course discussed with Dick the potential for Jane the Thief to repeat her history again in the future. Three months later Dick came back and said “Gayle, Jane just stole from me - she embezzled my funds in fact.” While I felt badly for Dick we predicted that this could happen which is why we’d warned him. Dick chose not to listen to our years of experience and the information we had available.

Most virtual assistants are contracted - not employed. As with most contractors (think home builders, highway builders, and other competitive bidders) we too at Team Double-Click impose restrictions, benchmarks, and even penalties on our contractors for lack of performance. Again, this sometimes makes us unpopular and can cause a virtual assistant to quit.

Knowing what causes people to leave should help you better understand how long a virtual assistant may stay in a position. About 25% of our virtual assistants have been with us and the same clients for well over a year and many more approaching the one year mark. In fact, earlier this year one of our virtual assistants retired from Team Double-Click and the client she was assigned, after being with him for more than three years.

So when asked “how long can I expect my virtual assistant to stay with me?” I always say, “It depends. As long as nothing goes wrong and there is no reason for the virtual assistant to leave, he or she will most likely stay.”

Gayle Buske is the co-founder, president and CEO of Team Double-Click, one of the country’s foremost virtual staffing agencies. As the head of a virtual staffing agency with over 29,000 virtual professionals in its pool, Buske is uniquely qualified to aid clients’ growth through virtual outsourcing as well as speak to the ins and outs of the industry.

For more information, visit or phone 888.827.9129.

The world of author tours is changing rapidly

I just received a notice from Allison Nazarian about how traditional author tours are changing - and fast.

Here's what Allison sent me that she found during one of her web searches.

AUTHOR BOOK TOURS SWITCHING TO ELECTRONIC CONTACT. The traditional author tour has been in decline: Fewer writers are being sent out, and those who do tour make fewer stops. Among the many reasons for this shiftare marketing tools that have made it possible to orchestrate a virtual encounter, without the hassle or expense of travel. Publishers and authors are now touting books through podcasts, film tours, blog tours, bookvideos, and book trailers. See

Thanks Allison for this great information. Allison is a professional copywriter and always on the lookout for the latest trends. Allison sets herself apart by constantly providing great information to her readers. You can read more about Allison at or

In success,

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Did you hear the recording of The Blog Squad and The Street Smarts Marketer

Last evening The Blog Squad and the Street Smarts Marketer had over 700 people registered for our teleseminar on The 5 Traps of Internet Marketing that Can Derail Your Business. Afterwards, many registered for our 4-week mentoring teleseries starting January 7, 2008:

To gain access to the free recording and check out our mentoring course go to:

In success

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What to do if someone questions your integrity

Over the last few weeks, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman aka The Blog Squad and I have been working on a very important project. We are hosting a free telesminar on Monday, December 17, 2007 about Internet Marketing Traps That Can Derail Your Business.

The Blog Squad set up the process so that we could collect comments and questions from people who register. One question we got was the following...

"Why should we believe that you are any better that the other Internet marketers. They will claim how much they make. So what other criteria can we use to evaluate the validity of your claims?"

Valid question. Go to to read my response.

If you haven't registered for the free teleseminar yet, you still have time to do so by visiting

In success,

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Friday, December 14, 2007

Poll reveals 30% of people don't know how to market on the

What is one of the greatest challenges businesses today? Almost 30% of respondents to a poll on say they don't know how to market their business on the Web.

This information comes from my collegues, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman aka The Blog Squad. To read the full story go to

In response to this staggering statistic, The Blog Squad and The Street Smarts Marketer are hosting a free teleseminar on Monday, December 17, 2007 at 6 p.m. Eastern to provide an overview of what people need to be aware of when taking their business online. Details and registration are at

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I don't have any money and I don't know where to start.

Denise Wakeman of The Blog Squad had a great post on one of her blogs. It has to do with a poll we have been conducting. The post was so good, I couldn't help but take most of it for this post....

I don't have any money and I don't know where to start.

It's been interesting to watch the results of our
current poll as people vote to let us know where they are having trouble with marketing their business on the Internet.

The past two days the "winners" have been:

I don't have any money so how can I start an Internet-based business?

I don't know where to start.


There are so many free resources and tools on the 'net, it perplexes me that people feel they don't have the resources to get started. I know they do.

So that leaves me with "I don't know where to start." I think that gives us a better picture of what's going on.

Kathleen Gage, Patsi and I are carefully monitoring this poll and are having daily IM chats, emails and phone conversations about the best way to address these issues in our free teleseminar on December 17.

Last night, Kathleen and I were exchanging emails about when we were first starting out online, with literally no money, how we took risks, made scary investments in mentoring, marketing programs and tools, and a lot of desire to teach, share, coach and have our own businesses. For me, it started in 1996. I didn't know anything.

Read the rest of Denise's post at

She reveals some great insights.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Take our poll on the traps of Internet Marketing

Inquiring minds want to know….

If you could select the #1 Internet Marketing Trap….What is yours?

Would you help out and take our poll?

Click here to select your answer.

While there, you can register for the FREE teleseminar on how to avoid the 5 most common traps.

In success,

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Friday, November 30, 2007

FREE teleseminar with The Blog Squad and much more in the Street Smarts Marketing Ezine

What a great month it is going to be. Not only will we be enjoying lots of great Holiday Festivities, I have some wonderful events coming up.

All You Law of Attraction Fans & Lovers of the best-selling book and blockbuster hit DVD movie, 'The Secret'… On December 5th I am joining Jeanna and Eva in their Expert Series.

They have had wonderful guests like Bob Doyle, James Ray, John Dimartini, Ken Foster already. Not to worry. Even if you missed all the other shows you have a chance to still join in on this amazing program.

Another exciting event is the one I am doing with my good friends and colleagues, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman aka The Blog Squad™. During this fast-paced, content driven session you will Discover the 5 Internet Marketing Traps That Can Derail Your Business

FREE Teleseminar featuring The Blog Squad™ and yours truly, The Street Smarts Marketer™

I am partnering with The Blog Squad™ to present this important class about how you can get your business on track to make a lot of money using the Internet in 2008.

Among many other things, we'll share with you the one thing you absolutely must avoid if you want to be viewed as a credible expert by your potential customers.
Find out about these events and much, much more in my December Street Smarts Marketing Ezine. Click here

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Build A Multi-Million Dollar Business

"Are my thoughts and actions moving me closer or further away from my goals?"

This quote comes from Dr. Joe Capista. Dr. Capista has successfully built a multi-million dollar business. When I asked him why most people never achieve their financial goals he simply said, "Their goals and their actions do not match."
To access an excellent eBook by Dr. Capista called, Build A Multi-Million Dollar Business go to

My best,
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Blog Squad and The Street Smarts Marketer are set for something HUGE!

Not long ago I had a conversation with my colleagues, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman aka The Blog Squad about how many people really want to make money using the Internet, but never will. It's not for lack of desire, it's for lack of something else.

We had plenty of time to talk about what this something else is while we enjoyed a leisurely dinner at the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles. It is the one thing we see over and over in people who struggle to fufill their dreams of making money using the Internet.

What is that something else? You are soon to find out. The Blog Squad and The Street Smarts Marketer (yours truly) are joining forces on December 17th from 3 - 4 p.m. PST for somethng very, very exciting.

Mark your calendar - more information to follow.
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is Blogging Necessary?

Although some people view blogging as a novelty or a “someday I’ll get around to it” most companies will find great benefit by adding blogs and blogging to their overall marketing strategy. When done correctly, blogging can have an incredible impact on your market position.

In essence blogs are no different from other marketing channels. Blogs are designed to deliver results, position you and your company and establish credibility. Some of the primary reasons to have a blog and to blog are to build expert status, reach a global market, increase customer and media relations, keep your market informed on what is happening with your company and industry, establish market perception and rank high on the Search Engines.

Determine the Purpose
Are you blogging because this is the latest and greatest fun idea someone on your team thought of or is this a viable part of your overall branding and marketing strategy? If a blog is simply another whimsical idea, you are likely blogging for the wrong reason. If, on the other hand, this is a part of your overall marketing strategy make sure you are strategic in your process.

Blog Consistently
To be effective you need to blog on a fairly regular basis. Your postings can be short, but need to be relative to your purpose. Many bloggers post information from other sites as a way to keep their readers informed on a particular topic. When you post information from another resource you absolutely must reference where you got the information from.

You can blog about new product releases, plans your company has, articles of interest and even what your competition is up to. The more valuable the information the more you will build a dedicated readership.

Driving Visitors
There are a number of effective ways to get people to view your blog. One is to use key words relative to your market and industry. Whenever you post something you want to include those key words.

Next you can announce your blog in your company newsletter, through media releases, to your current opt-in subscribers and in any advertising you do.

You can add your blog address to your outgoing email messages by way of your sig (signature) file that you use at the end of your email messages.

Another option is to write articles specific to your market and industry. Add a resource box at the end of your article with a link back to your blog. If your article is perceived to have high value there is a very good chance readers will visit your blog.

Most importantly is to make the blog postings valuable to the readers. If the information doesn’t hold their interest they will have no reason to return.

The more valuable your readers find your information the more likely it will be that they turn into loyal readers.

Make It Easy for People to Subscribe

By offering readers the chance to subscribe to your blog the more likely it will be for them to continue to read your information. Make it easy for people to sign up for your blog. You can add what are known as blog buttons also known as chiclets. You can also add a simple sign up form by visiting and This allows people to subscribe to the feed and receive updates as you add new content to your blog.

Keywords are a way to improve your search engine ranking. Choosing the right words for your products, services, industry or market is extremely important. Keywords are what lead search engines to your blog. The more targeted your list the more effective your postings.

Analyze your business and your market. Think of any words that your readers might be search on to find you that relate to your company, industry, product or service.

The way to narrow your target words down is to use a keyword selector tool. A reliable selector tool will help you to narrow the search by indicating how often people search on specific word combinations.

In Conclusion
Blogging will create great opportunities when done correctly, consistently and conscientiously.

Kathleen Gage is an Internet Marketing Advisor for Speakers, Trainers, Authors, Consultants and Entrepreneurs. Access her eBook The Truth about Making Money on the Internet at

Friday, November 23, 2007


With the New Year right around the corner many people will be setting goals for the coming year. What are your goals?

Set your goals according to your values, time and passion.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FREE teleseminar on how to use Internet Radio to promote your book

Discover Proven Methods to Promote and Sell Your Book With Little or No Cost Through the Power of the Internet! a FREE teleseminar where I will be interviewed by Valerie Connelly of Global Talk Radio.

Wednesday, November 14th
(8PM Eastern, 7PM Central, 6PM Mountain, and 5PM Pacific)

Please RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your place by sending your confirmation to

Find out how to promote your book through the power of Internet Radio.
Learn how to become the kind of author who is an in-demand media guest.
Discover the one thing you need to do to your website to generate interest in your book - the one thing that 99% of authors never do.
Discover how to get tons of online visibility at no cost. Visibility that equates to credibility and sales.
And much more! Hope you'll all choose to tune in for this one.

Call-in information: 1-605-475-6006
Access Code: 763624#
Be sure to call in a few minutes before the program. The show starts promptly at at 8PM Eastern, 7PM Central, 6PM Mountain, and 5PM Pacific. They'll lock the portal on the hour and start the program.Please RSVP as soon as possible to reserve your place, by or sending your confirmation to

In success,

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Powerfull Living Radio Show

I was recently interviewed by host Lorraine Cohen on her Powerfull Living Blog Talk show.

We had a great time in spite of (or maybe because of) some technical glitches.

In success
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Join me today on Blog Talk Radio

I have been invited to be a guest on Powerfull Living at Blog-Talk Radio on Thursday to discuss the spiritual side of marketing. You can tune in and listen on your computer

I invite you to call in with any questions you have on what spiritual marketing means and how you can attract business to you rather than chasingafter it.

Call in to ask a question: 646-716-7937 or text host Lorraine Cohen a question while we're live and download the show after itairs at the same webpage.

You can subscrible to the RSS feed and never miss any upcomingshows.
Today, Thursday, November 8th at 5 p.m. Eastern.

In success
Kathleen Gage

The Street Smarts Marketer

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Do you wonder aboout keywords?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to determine keywords for their website. It is actually quite simple once you know who your market it. Often you can find out keywords by surveying your market. Simply ask them what their greatest concern on the area of expertise is that you have.

For example, if someone wants to know about Internet Marketing, I would ask, "What is your number one question about Internet Marketing?" From there I can narrow my words down.

What I have done in this post is actually put my keywords a few times. If you guessed Internet Marketing, you are right.

Have a great day

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

A wealth of information

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Over the weekend of October 28th I was in Las Vegas with friends and family attending my niece's wedding. The wedding was spectacular and in a location that was incredible.

It was wonderful to share in the celebration of Taryn and TC's union.

This last weekend, I had an amazing time in Los Angeles. I attended Mark Victor Hansen's Mega Speaker Conference. Without a doubt, this was one of the best investments of time money and energy I have ever made.

The speakers were great, I was able to connect with people I have known for some time via the Internet, but had never met face-to-face.
I was able to finally meet two of my favorite people, Patsi and Denise aka The Blog Squad. I will post more detail in the near future, but wanted to let you know some great ideas began to surface when I had breakfast with Patsi and Denise. We have something very exciting coming, but I am not at liberty to tell you much at all. I was sworn to secrecy.

At dinner they once again swore me to secrecy. What I can tell you is this.....knowing myself the way I do and knowing them the way I do, you will definitely be interested in what is coming.

More to follow.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is fear holding you back?

In your search to have a prosperous and fulfilling life, you have probably used numerous resources to have what you want in your life. No doubt you have made progress that has brought you rewards. Yet, it is likely you have encountered some obstacles.

Like many, you might be struggling with Fear as a major barrier in your life.

Even though you can have a clear vision, develop a strong business and marketing plan, outline key actions to reach your goals and still fall short of having what you want as long as your fear controls you.

You might be feeling angry and frustrated with yourself because you're not where you want to be in life. If you are, you’re not alone! Had enough?

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about Lorraine Cohen’s audio program, Transform Your Fear Into POWER.

In her newest 54-minute audio Lorraine spills the beans about fear; what it is, how to recognize it, what causes it and how to break through it. This audio is jam-packed with transformational exercises, tips and resources to eliminate self-sabotage and roadblocks!

"Transform Your Fear Into POWER, is a powerful audio and exercise that will teach you to rid yourself of the debilitating fears that hold you back from the life you are meant to live. After listening to her program, you will feel empowered and begin to regain control over your thoughts and actions. I recommend this program to anyone who is struggling to find their way, interested in better understanding their world and feel the call to make a powerful change in their lives". - Megan Kristel, Owner, Kristel Closets

Visit the link below for more details:

Lorraine believes until we change our relationship with fear, it will continue to rule our lives and keep us from experiencing the richness of life that we all desire. Transform Your Fear into POWER offers critical tools and concepts you can implement immediately to break free of negative fear so that you can transform yourself and your life. If not now, when?

"Lorraine, I absolutely loved this audio. I found it impactful, difference-making, and real! The information provided is applicable in any and all situations allowing one to powerfully shift from being stuck to being in-action. Your delivery is serious, playful, and empathetic. It is quite evident that what you have to say works and that you are committed to your message. Not only do the exercises serve as a great tool but your mention of additional resources is extraordinarily invaluable. Thank you for powerfully equipping me for life’s adventures!" – Eunice Wick, Consultant

Learn more about this cutting-edge program by clicking the link below:

When you purchase the program you’ll receive the 18-page audio script and a workbook to help you change beliefs and overcome self-sabotage AND over $1600 worth of bonus gifts. You’ll also have an opportunity to access Lorraine’s two new companion eBooks with proven strategies to put you in charge of your life NOW. "Lorraine Cohen's program, Transform Your Fear Into POWER, provides a refreshing approach to the experience of fear; a way to find our power in our fears rather then run away from them. I continue to turn to Transform Your Fear to give me the courage to work to overcome the barriers to success on my journey; to continue the quest for answers for both myself and my clients to develop hidden power". - Giovanna Tonelli, LCSW, Owner of Becoming

Act now! Get your copy and for that matter, perhaps even another for someone important to you. Remember when you do, you will receive literally over sixteen hundred dollars in special gifts from the leaders in the field.

PS: Know anyone who wants to have more prosperity and happiness? Do them a favor and spread the word by forwarding this offer to your friends and networks.

In success,
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Authors...Do you have a sell sheet?

Many authors would like nothing more than to write a book, have it published and make lots of money. The fact is, the writing of the book may well be the easiest part of the process aside from the publishing.

The greatest obstacles many authors face is in the marketing of their book(s). One tool that will help in your marketing is a good sell sheet.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, there is an excellent article at

In success
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet The Left Thumb Blogger

It is with great pleasure I introduce Glenda Watson Hyatt to my readers.

Every so often our paths will cross with someone who is truly incredible. Such is the case with Glenda Watson Hyatt, The Left Thumb Blogger. Glenda is the author of I'll Do It Myself

I met Glenda one evening while doing a web search on Virtual Blog Tours. Her name, blog and information repeatedly appeared when I would google Virtual Blog Tours.

When I contacted Glenda to inquire about interviewing her, she was very gracious in accepting my invitation. You are in for a special treat.

Kathleen: Glenda, tell me about yourself.

Glenda: I hail from Surrey, on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada, where I live with my wonderful husband Darrellof eight years and my spoiled feline child Faith.

Having recently self-published my autobiography, I'll Do It Myself ( in which I intimately share my life living with cerebral palsy to show others that having cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life
sentence, I am now promoting it on, my blog and through virtual book tours.

I do all of this by typing with my left thumb.

Kathleen: Your Virtual Book Tour sounds fascinating. Please share with my readers more about this.

Glenda: Virtual book tours are the latest trend in book promotion. Rather than lugging boxes of books from book signing to book signing, and waiting in airports for delayed flights, you promote your book from the comforts of your home by making guest appearances on blogs, podcasts, and internet television and radio shows. Hosts may interview you or ask you to write a guest post for their blog. The possibilities are endless.

Kathleen: What is the difference between a Blog Tour and a Virtual Book Tour?

Glenda: I would say a blog tour is specific kind of a virtual book tour, using only blogs to promote to your book; although, with a blog tour, you aren't necessarily promoting a book. You could be promoting another product or service, or even a cause.

Kathleen: You have had a successful Virtual Book Tour. What were the greatest benefits to doing one?

Glenda: I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from around the world. And, unlike an in-person appearance that is over once the people leave and the chairs are folded up, virtual appearances are available long after the tour is over. My blog is still receiving traffic from the virtual book tour I did earlier this year as well as the one I did in August.

Kathleen: What were the downsides?

Glenda: Virtual book tours take a lot of work to organize. Much is involved in finding bloggers to host appearances and answering the interview questions.

Kathleen: Does an author need someone else to set up a tour for them, or can they do it themselves?

There are businesses sprouting up that will organize virtual book tours for authors. Dorothy Thompson's Pump Up Your Book Promotion ( is one such fine example. However, if authors have the time, it is very possible to organize it themselves. I have done two virtual book tours myself now, and am itching to do the next one.

Kathleen: What are the steps to setting up a tour?

Glenda: Here are a few tips for organizing a virtual book tour: The key is to do your research and prepare before "heading out":

1. Research potential blogs (or podcasts or internet radio shows). Approach bloggers whose blogs fit your target audience and which have fairly active blogs in terms of posts and traffic. It may help to build a relationship with the blogger first.
2. Use a spreadsheet to track dates, bloggers' names and email addresses, etc.
3. Send a thank you note via snail mail to bloggers who host an appearance.
4. Be prepared for the unexpected. A blogger may not post the interview when you expected or something else may happen, so you'll need a filler post on your blog if your readers expect to read something every day of your tour.
5. Be creative and have fun with it. Because virtual book tours are still new, there are no rules yet. Make it your own.
6. Enjoy the adventure and meeting people from around the world. Good luck!

Kathleen: How do you approach a Blog or Site owner to be featured on their site?

Glenda: I have found having an established relationship with the bloggers helps when I approach them. They are more than willing to host an appearance on their blog.

Kathleen: How long should my tour be?

Glenda: I discovered the hard way that eight weeks is way too long for a virtual book tour. My second tour was two weeks, which was more manageable and more enjoyable, and surprisingly, sold more books. I am planning a one-week tour in late October. I'll see whether that is long enough to build any momentum.

Kathleen: Do you need to do any additional promotion for a tour?

Glenda: To date, I have only promoted my tours within my networks. However, I have recently discovered sites for listing and promoting your virtual book tours, which I will try for my next tour. The more I do, the more I realize I still have to learn! It is actually quite exciting.

Kathleen: Did you notice an increase in book sales when you did the tour?

Glenda: My second tour was more successful in terms of book sales than my first because it was more focused on my primary target market. With only a couple of exceptions, I appeared on blogs that spoke to moms with children with special needs.

Kathleen: For someone just starting out with this, what can you suggest to assure a successful tour?

Glenda: I would suggest keeping your first tour short, perhaps a week or two, and focus on blogs (or podcasts) where your primary target that hangs out. Be organized and keep it fairly simple. Once you're comfortable with conducting interviews in this way and have a better feel for how virtual book tours can work, and then you can focus more on promoting your tour. And have fun with it!

End of Interview.

A special thanks to Glenda Watson Hyatt, The Left Thumb Blogger. I would invite all my readers to go to to view Glenda’s video on YouTube and find out why Glenda is such an amazing woman.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Saturday, October 13, 2007

8 Common mistake people make when they try to get in front of their market

  • Come across as only interested in the sale rather than someone who is interested in the customer’s needs.
  • Target an incompatible market
  • They are not prepared when opportunity strikes
  • Appear desperate – not being willing to walk away
  • Trying to sell too soon – before they know there is a need
  • Prejudging a person’s potential to buy
  • Not setting themselves apart from the competition
  • Chasing good money after bad – not letting go of someone who just isn’t a good match for your products or services.

Are you making any of these mistakes? If so, remedy them immdediately.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Are you wasting time researching places to gain online visibility?

Gaining visibility on the Internet is a never-ending quest. Finding reliable resources to submit your blog, Ezine, website, articles and news stories to can take dozens and even hundreds of hours.

I have a solution. It's called The Directory of Resources for Internet Visibility.

It is jam-packed with nearly 300 resources to skyrocket your online visibility and reach!

With the Directory of Resources for Internet Visibility I have taken the burden off of you to save you time and money. Time to work on other money-making projects, be with your family or just enjoy a less stressful marketing campaign.

Total combined hours of research for this product is dozens upon dozens of hours. This is time you don't have to waste. Total cost, $20 plus you get over $250 is great bonus gifts.

In successKathleen GageThe Street Smarts Marketer

FREE live event with Kathleen Gage in Eugene, Oregon


-If you are unsure of how to effectively market your product or service
-If you are getting little or no results from your marketing
-If you have a limited budget to market your business
-If you are ready to turn things around in your business once and for all....

Join Kathleen Gage for a FREE live event on October 23rd in Eugene, Oregon

SECRETS TO GAIN more leads, better prospects, greater sales!

-Learn powerful strategies to position your company and increase your revenue stream
-Learn how to identify a profitable market
-Discover the benefits of FREE publicity versus paid advertising - and how to get tons of FREE publicity
-Discover what you need to know to develop websites that are Customer Magnets and Money Making Machines
-Discover dozens of no cost and low cost methods to market your business
-Understand ways to drive thousands of visitors to your website that cost you nothing
-Find out what you absolutely must know (and DO) about Internet Marketing in order to make thousands of dollars at the "press of a button"
-Discover how to build a highly responsive, revenue generating opt-in subscriber list without spending a dime
-Find out how to gain expert status within your target market and why this is essential to your business success
-And much, much more!

Only a few seats left. Registration required at

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kathleen Gage Expert Author on

I am pleased to announce my position as Expert Author on

To view various articles I have written visit

My best
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Monday, October 08, 2007

I'm a Top Author at WAHM Articles

I recently found out I have been selected as a top author for WAHM Article Directory.

Find a great selection of top articles at
In success,
Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Do you know what is posted about you on the Internet?

Have you ever wondered what is posted about you on the Internet? Wondering if your articles are getting listed in directories? Want to find out what sites your information might be showing up on?

If you want to know this then you need to do a google alert on your name.

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:
finding out what is written about you
monitoring a developing news story
keeping current on a competitor or industry

To sign up for your own google alerts go to

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Are You Utilizing Push/Pull Marketing?

(Feel free to use the following article as long as you keep the resource box at the end as is)

Are You Utilizing Push/Pull Marketing?
by Kathleen Gage, The Street Smarts Marketer

An important aspect of marketing has to do with what is referred to as Push/Pull marketing. Push/Pull marketing is exactly as it sounds. At times you are “pushing” information out to your market and at other times you are implementing strategies to “pull” consumers to you.

Regardless of whether you are selling someone else’s products and services or your own, if you do not implement a complete marketing strategy that includes the Push/Pull philosophy, you are likely defeating your purpose.

To create a steady stream of revenue for products and services you offer you have to have a very targeted approach. Not only will a systemized marketing approach help you make money directly from your online offerings, you can definitely enhance your offline offerings as well as live presentations, consulting, and coaching.

Keep in mind, there is a process people go through in order to buy your products and services. It is built on need, want and desire. Additionally, the greater the investment on the part of the consumer the more you must build confidence, trust and credibility in the consumer’s mind.

If all you are doing is selling $10 widgets that is one thing. If, on the other hand, you are seeking to build long-term relationships with your market and be viewed as a professional, you must approach things in a systematic way.

The fact is, my clients want to do far more than sell a widget. They want to make a difference in the lives of their clients. They want to provide long-term solutions and create ongoing relationships with their clients. They want to build their business based on trust, value and integrity. To achieve these results requires they implement effective systems.

Realize that no matter how great your product or service, most people will not buy a high-ticket eProduct or a $1,000 plus mentoring course or consulting contract without first buying a $20 - $50 eProduct. There is what is referred to as the funnel approach to marketing. Clients will enter your “funnel” by way of something that is very low risk such as a free item or very inexpensive item. Based on their experience they will decide what the next course of action is.

What you do every step of the way, including someone’s initial introduction to you and your way of doing business, will determine how likely it is that someone will become a loyal customer. Never discount the power of a free offering or a low-ticket item to be the catalyst to someone becoming a premier client.

To introduce consumers to your and your product offerings as well as get people to the point they will even consider the $20 item you will find the Push/Pull marketing process is second to none.

The higher the price of your products and services the more you absolutely must use the Push/Pull strategies.

Kathleen Gage is an Internet Marketing Advisor for Speakers, Trainers, Authors, Consultants and Entrepreneurs. Access her eBook The Truth about Making Money on the Internet at

Friday, October 05, 2007

Here's why lots of people will NEVER make money on the Internet

Lots of people want to “make money on the Internet.” What many fail to realize is making money on the Internet requires that you treat this like any other money-making opportunity. You must work at it, you must establish market reach and you must gain visibility. Also, you must develop a solid foundation.

Before you do just about anything you MUST complete your market analysis. Unfortunately, many people want to skip this important step. The fact is, until you gain incredible clarity on your market you will be unable to optimize all you will be doing.

Until you know what sets you apart (your unique position) it will be difficult to convey that message to potential customers. Without knowing what makes you unique, in the consumer’s mind you are the same as everyone else.

Until you know the benefits of what you offer you will find it difficult to differentiate yourself from others. In the consumer’s mind one person is the same as the other, one product is the same as the other, one offering is the same as the other. That is, until you set yourself apart. You have more opportunity to do this with a thorough market analysis.

Another element of your success is building your opt in list. The fact is you absolutely must focus on building your opt-in list each and every day. Do two – three things daily to increase your list. You cannot avoid this. If you do, you will not realize all you can with the process you are learning.

There are countless ways to build your list. To learn some effective, easy to implement methods access my eBook, The Truth about Making Money on the Internet.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Street Smarts Marketing Author’s Corner features Robin Jay

The Street Smarts Marketing Author’s Corner is pleased to introduce Robin Jay.

Ms. Jay is the Author of The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships Between 12 and 2. She shares more than 25 years of successful sales experience with her audiences. Brian Tracy, Author, Speaker and Consultant, said, “The quality of your relationship with your client is the determining factor in successful business; Robin shows you how to develop this at a high level."

1. Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I am a professional speaker and consultant as well as a writer. I absolutely love writing and speaking; I know without a doubt that this is what I was meant to do. I am also a gourmet cook. I love to play golf and work in my garden…but both of those hobbies have had to take a back seat to my career the past few years. I still indulge my desire to cook, usually by hosting dinner parties with great friends or just cooking when company stops by. I’m originally from Cleveland , Ohio and have lived in Las Vegas for more than 33 years. I have always enjoyed writing and had contributed stories to ma gazines in the past, although I didn’t set my sights on writing as a career until early in 2001.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?

I wanted to be a writer. The old saying, na├»ve as it is, says to write about that which you know. I had been on more than 3,000 client lunches and saw my sales increase by more than 2,000%. I knew I was on to something. I wanted to share the how-to’s of building relationships by introducing a social aspect into your business relationships with other sales people or business professionals who count on their relationships for their success. I have since learned that you can write about anything if you are willing to do the research. Still, it’s best to write about something you’ve experienced. There is nothing like having had hands-on experience to be able to tell a better story.

3. How many books have you written?

“The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships Between 12 and 2” was my first book. I originally self-published; that edition came out in February of 2004. Then I sold it in 2005, doubled the word count and it was released by Career Press a full two years later, in February of 2006. Now, promoting that book as well as promoting my speaking career, writing articles, blogs, and press releases keeps me incredibly busy – plus I launched a speakers bureau last year. I have begun work on two new books – both non-fiction.

I have contributed to two anthologies in “The POWER of Mentorship” series, including “The Millionaire Within” and “For the Wo ma n Entrepreneur,” for which I was asked to write the foreword. Don and Melinda Boyer are the publishers of the series and they are re ma rkable, positive people. They also invited me to be a featured teacher in “The POWER of Mentorship: The MOVIE” which is currently in production. It’s a personal development film that features about 20 teachers whose lessons are interwoven with the story of a young men and his mentor.

And I just found out that a chapter I submitted to “Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul” has been accepted. That book will be out in November. I wrote about how to order wine when out with clients. Many times, people who are unfamiliar with fine wines become intimidated and hand the wine list over to their clients. That means they’ve given up control of the cost of the meal. It’s not necessary. I share a way to involve your clients and yet retain control of the check. I’m very excited to finally be a part of the Chicken Soup franchise.

4. How do you decide on their topic?
As I mentioned earlier, I was an expert at building solid, long-lasting business relationships. In fact, my clients and friends started calling me “The Queen of the Business Lunch,” because the nature of my job, selling advertising, required that I stay in close touch with my clients…so I was typically booked for lunches weeks out.

5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?
Closing OUTLOOK! That and not answering the phone. Seriously, it gets easier when you have a task to complete. I have a paperweight that reads, “The Ultimate Inspiration is the Deadline.” It’s really true. Most everyone I know who writes really works well under pressure. The rest of the time, we just need to focus on the desired outcome. I feel a strong sense of purpose and I love to write. When I can stop working long enough to write something, the time just flies.

6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
You ought to be able to make a living doing what you love. While I originally dreamed of hitting it big financially with writing, (and still do!), I found that being an author was a great springboard for launching a speaking career. In fact, all speakers should have books. Most of them begin speaking first and then create a book or other product to sell in the back of the room. Personally, I wrote the book, expecting that it would be a huge success. It is, but it’s not necessarily a financial success. My book has won an award and my publisher has sold the foreign publishing rights in TEN languages so far! And there is still more interest in it. I’d say that is a huge success. My topic is a tremendous hit for training and sales conferences. I think the principles, techniques and knowledge in my book is quite timeless. I can’t see a time when it wouldn’t be applicable to business, although I can see needing to update it occasionally.

7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I bought ads in the beginning. Of course I was an advertising account executive in my past life, so I believe in advertising. It wasn’t the best use of my resources! Speaking generates book sales, as do appearances. I have sold several hundred books at a time to incoming conventions; I am the draw for their booth, signing books for the exhibitors and attendees. That’s one of my favorite things to do, because I know that my books will get on the plane with their new owners and travel all over the country, spreading the word. Internet marketing is the most important way to get the message out now. Blogs, articles and press releases are strong. Also, it’s important for authors to network. When I speak on networking, I ask the room, “Who do you know who….?” We can expand our circle of influence by getting to know more people. It’s critically important that we know as many people as possible.

8. What are some unique methods?
Writing columns ma y not be the most unique, but every time you can put your name in print it will help. My dog, an adorable Shih Tzu, writes a column in Lucky Dog magazine. Of course she can talk about “Her mommy” and that would be me! I get a byline in a magazine with a circulation of more than 15,000 readers. I also write a column for “Around Your Home” magazine, which goes out to 80,000 high-end home owners every two months. I have a photo and a bio at the bottom of those articles. I don’t get paid to write them, but when I’m out, I have a lot of people ask, “Where do I know you from?” Or they comment on the columns. Everyone knows Georgie, my dog, and asks about her. I also wrote a lot of columns for Hospitality Executive magazine, which goes out to meeting planners and hotel execs everywhere. And I was recently hired (yes, a REAL job!) by the Las Vegas Business Press to write a bi-weekly column on women’s and minority issues. All of this exposure lends credibility and helps me to promote myself and my books.

9. Do you sell through a website?
Absolutely! My website offers my books, audio books, and my services as a speaker. I don’t know how anyone could get away without having a website anymore. It’s immediate, it’s current and it’s effective.

10. Do you plan on writing additional books?
I hope I will always write. I have a lot to say about a lot of things. I love teaching, helping and guiding. I also consult as a life coach and I help other authors – whether they want help with their writing or if they are launching a speaking career. I teach PowerPoint and presentation skills. And, because I have self-published and worked with a publisher, I am uniquely qualified to help authors decide whether they should self-publish or sell. I have personally experienced the ups and downs of both sides of that equation. I especially enjoy helping authors so they won’t have to make the same mistakes I have ma de. My experience has been invaluable.

This interview was done in conjunction with Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours – and Kathleen Gage, The Street Smarts Marketer of

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If you can find it in your heart to help

A dear friend of mine is asking for some help for her daughter. Her first grandchild was born with mulitiple conditions and has required massive medical care since his birth nearly five months ago.

Please read about Hunter and if you can find it in your heart to donate even $5 to help with medical bills it would be a miracle for them. They are in financial ruin because of this tragic situation.

I normally don't send things like this out, but Pamela is a very dear friend and her daughter, son-in-law and grandson desperately need help.

Thank you

Please pass this on to help create the miracle.

Kathleen Gage

Avoid being viewed as a SPAMMER in discussion groups

There is a daily increase in the number of people utilizing Social Networks, Forums, Yahoo Groups, Google Groups and other areas where they can meet professionals to network with and do business with. Sadly, many people are crossing the line regarding online etiquette.

Although online groups are a great to extend your market reach and gain visibility, you need to avoid only utilizing these locations to sell, sell, sell.

The best way to avoid being viewed as someone who is simply advertising and only in the group to make money is to get involved in the discussion group as an active participant. Write your messages in a way that they are more of a discussion point rather than simply promoting something. If you offer valuable information you build name recognition and credibility.

Over a period of time you are viewed as a viable resource. At that point, if you occasionally promote something people welcome your offers rather than become offended by your attempt to sell.

True success in online marketing and sales is to view what you do in the long term. Those that make great money utilizing the Internet in their overall marketing do not subscribe to the get-rich-quick mentality. They view what they do as a valuable solution to their customer's problems.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

Friday, September 28, 2007

Author's Corner features Jim C. Hines

The Street Smarts Marketing Author’s Corner is pleased to introduce Jim C. Hines.

Mr. Hines made his first professional fiction sale with "Blade of the Bunny," an award-winning story which appeared in Writers of the Future XV. Since then, his short fiction has appeared in places like Realms of Fantasy, Sword & Sorceress, and Turn the Other Chick. He's written four books for DAW, including the popular goblin series.

Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)
I'm a 33-year-old father, husband, and geek who started writing back in college. I couldn't bring myself to finish a five-page term paper, but I wrote a 100,000-word novel in my free time. That was a bit of a clue. It wasn't a very good novel -- the first one never is -- but it was enough to get me started. And once I started submitting and collecting a few rejections, the stubbornness kicked in. I was determined to break in, and I just kept submitting and practicing and learning whatever I could. That was twelve years ago, and I've been writing steadily ever since.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, the first published book came about when I was reading a fantasy novel from the monsters' point of view, which I thought was a brilliant idea. But the more I read, the angrier I got. Looking back, it may have been a wonderful book, I don't know. All I remember is she wasn't writing it the way I wanted her to. Finally, I got so frustrated I tossed the book away and started writing my own story. One month later, I had finished the first draft of Goblin Quest.

How many books have you written?
I've written eight or nine, but the early ones ... well, let's just call them my "practice books." If I'm lucky, those will never see the light of day. At this point, I have two books in print, with two more under contract with DAW.

How do you decide on their topic?
A lot has to do with consequences. Once I finished the first goblin book, I started thinking about the consequences of what had happened, how it would change my hero and his world. The books all stand alone -- I hate cliffhanger endings -- but at the same time, I don't believe anyone's story ever truly ends. I also tend to see images of certain scenes that make me do a full Keanu-style "Whoa." I may not know the entire plot of a book, but I'll know I want to get to that scene.

What works best to keep you focused and on track?
I write during my lunch break: one hour a day, five days a week. Occasionally I can squeeze out some extra time in the evenings or on weekends, but I've also got a full-time job and two young kids, so extra time is a rare and precious thing. The fact that I only have a limited amount of time to write seems to help me get started and stay focused. Also, deadlines help a lot.

Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Yes. Mostly for love, though. Very few writers make Rowling-type money. And as frustrating as the writing can be, the feeling of getting a scene or a character right is a delightfully addictive thing.

What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?
I've done bookmarks, which I send out to bookstores and conventions. I've made the first chapter of each book available online. My publicist and I work to set up booksignings around the state. And of course I have a web site at and a weblog at

What are some unique methods?
I've tried a number of different things. I made up an online "What Goblin Quest Character are you?" quiz, which got picked up on a number of blogs. I made up Goblin Hero temporary tattoos for the second book, and they've been quite popular. And then of course, there was the "Save Jig from the Strippers" campaign. . . .

Do you sell through a website?
My web site includes Amazon links for every book and anthology I've done. I don't do direct sales, though.

Do you plan on writing additional books?
I'm currently working on book two in a new series, and I plan to keep on writing until . . . well, probably until I'm dead. Maybe longer, depending on whether or not SFWA decides to allow zombie members.

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of Book Promo 101 – and Kathleen Gage, The Street Smarts Marketer.