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Saturday, July 16th, 2011

5 Easy Ways To Increase Serendipity

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I love serendipity — who doesn’t? I met a mayoral candidate for San Francisco last year due to some stuff I did to increase serendipity.

We all love serendipity — is it ever even a negative thing?

You never hear someone say:

“That guy really stabbed me in the back — how serendipitous.”


The layman’s definition of serendipity is “happy accident” — the word serendipity is said to come from author Horace Walpole who riffed on the word Sernedip (an old name for Sri Lanka) used in a fairy tale called “The Three Princes Of Serendip” about making discoveries by accident.

Here are 5 things I do to increase serendipity:

1) Send Out “Beacons” To Let Others Know You Exist

The most effective way to increase serendipity is to send out “beacons” — I first heard this mentioned by entrepreneur Jack Hidary in the book Power of Pull.

Jack — who works on the neat business with his brother Murray — uses the analogy of a ship at sea that sends out beacons to let others know where it is and where it’s headed.

Beacons — I like that.

Here are some examples of beacons I’ve used to increase serendipity:

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Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The 3 Ways To Self-Publish Or Sell A Book On Amazon

I self-published a book for family and friends and have been wondering how to get it on Amazon – for wider distribution and so that folks can give feedback through Amazon’s reviews.

I Self-Published This Book And Am Considering Selling It On Amazon

So I asked San Francisco freelance writer Angela Privin (Wall Street Journal, Yoga Business Times) to research self-publishing/selling on Amazon and write an article on it. Here’s her summary:

Amazon has three programs for self-publishers to choose from:

  1. Create Space
  2. Kindle Direct Publishing and
  3. Advantage.

1) “Create Space:” Create Your Print- Or E-Book On Amazon

Amazon’s first option is Create Space. This online subsidiary company and self-publishing arm of allows the user to create and format a book for either print or digital distribution on demand.

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

How To Promote Your Book On Twitter (& Other Twitter Tips)


There’s a question that everyone wants answered these days (I’ve heard it repeatedly at the recent conferences I’ve attended)…and it is:  “Who’s making money using social media?”

I’ve been asking that question of my friends lately and one guy stood up and said:

“Well, I am.”

How To Make Money Using Twitter

Mitchell's Monthly Royalties From Twitter

His name is Mitchell Cogert and you should listen to him because he’s built a profitable little business selling poker books primarily through the free traffic he’s acquired using Twitter.

Mitchell is a veteran of marketing strategy having worked with Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Intuit and other leading businesses.

Read on to enjoy his thoughts on such topics as:

  • Does Twitter make money?
  • Who else makes money using Twitter?
  • The six steps of how Mitchell himself makes money with Twitter
  • How to find customers on Twitter

…here we go:

How To Make Money On Twitter

Q: Hi Mitchell. Before we get to your poker book business, let’s look at the rest of the world — first off, does Twitter make money yet?

There is an article entitled Twitter is Said to Be Profitable in Bloomberg that stated Twitter earned $25 million in 2009. The revenue came from deals with Google and Microsoft to get access to tweets for their search results.

At the Chirp conference (the Twitter developer conference) last week, Twitter announced a plan to earn money from ads. If you do a search on Twitter, you may see an ad as a tweet at the top of the results.

Q: Do you know of anyone else who makes money off Twitter?

Here are a few companies: DellOutlet, the Coffee Groundz, Zappos, Souplantation, NakedPizza.

You can learn more about success stories on Twitter by going to these Twitter Case Studies.

Logo of Bird for Mitchell's New Twitter Business

Q: Let’s get back to you your poker book business — do you make money on Twitter…is it profitable for you?

The cost to be on Twitter is $0. The cost for my Google blog is $0. The revenues from my poker books are priceless…lol.

Actually, using Twitter is very profitable! The most expensive thing I do is the time cost to write posts for my poker blog.

But that is fun to do, because it is my hobby.

Q: Would you break down the steps through which your poker business makes money using Twitter?

It’s a process:

  1. awareness–>
  3. effective tweets–>
  4. clicks to website–>
  5. valuable content–>
  6. sales

Q: So, “all in,” as they say in poker, how much money does it cost you to operate your combo Twitter/Blog sites per month versus how how much you think Twitter generates in book sales?

Out of pocket cost is for twollow at $7 per month and the websites on Homestead at $20 per month.

The royalties from my poker book sales average at least $1,000 per month.

Q: Do you have any other tips on how to make money using Twitter?

Yes. Let me give you one tip on how to get followers who are the most likely to buy from you.

The trick is to find followers who have “lists” that define your consumer.

For example, let’s say you are selling books to moms on parenting advice. Check out Twitter users who have lists they define as “moms.”

Now, just click the “follow this list” and you have created awareness about your business.

The moms that like what you have to say (tweeted) on Twitter, will follow you back. These followers are prospects!

Q: Thanks again, Mitchell

Thank you again!

Note: see How to Get Twitter Followers (Ones That Buy!) for Mitchell’s thoughts on that subject and for his contact information.

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Saturday, January 16th, 2010

How To Get Published in Magazines In Just 90 Days


Would you like to be published in print and online magazines…in just 90 days?

That’s what happened to my new friend Brooke, who generously agreed to answer some questions about how she got published so quickly.

Blogger Brooke Miller

Blogger Brooke Miller

Here’s our Q&A:

Q: Hi Brooke. I get asked by aspiring writers all the time: “How do I get published?” — Can you talk about how you went from a blog to getting a articles published in commercial magazines?

Absolutely. I can sum up how that happened, as well as the advice I would give to others around that topic in four words: Stop typing, start talking.

Being the extrovert I am it was natural for me to focus on my skills that had little to do with writing, but rather direct communication and relationship building.

What I write about is a topic deeply close to my heart and I do spend a lot of time at my computer, but getting it out there takes more than a great column.

Connect with your friends and tell them about your blog. Pick up the phone!! Reach out to your old boss, your yoga teacher, your co-workers.

Create a focus group either in your living room or via email- ask your friends specific questions about your blog, your writing, and what they want to see more of.

Literally start talking (over email definitely counts), socializing, and connecting.

In my case, the specific social vehicle that supported my blog being picked up in print the first time was…wait for it…Facebook.

I shamelessly and proudly told Facebook friends about my blog, checked out what old friends were up to, re-connected with them around our passion for writing and expression, and thought of creative ways to work together.

And when I wrote about a topic I thought a friend would like or be interested in, I linked it to their pages with a short message.

For example: When I partnered with Primer Magazine for a new men’s advice column, I put the link on my ex-boyfriends page (who I’m friends with) and wrote, “For all those times you thought I was wrong…” and believe me, that got comments and attention.

For one of the publications, my blog was linked to my mom’s Facebook page (yes, really) and seen by the publisher of a commercial magazine. I got a call, and so it began…

Q: What are some top tips you can provide on how to be a writer?

I think if you’re a writer you just know…not because you’re great, but because you love it. Love. Love. Love it.

I’ve never taken a writing class, nor received an award for a high school essay or short story, but I love to write. When I write something I’m proud of, I have energy in my heart and bones for days (cheesy, yes. but also true).

If you want to be a writer, write. Make time to write. Make space to write. Don’t only write the things you hope to publish on your blog or elsewhere.

Write in a journal, write letters and cards to friends, write morning pages (from the book, The Artists Way).

Build your voice. Try new things. Write. Read. Talk. Get inspired.

One of my closest friends Gabi Moskowitz, of the fabulous blog Brokeass Gourmet said to me one day when writers block was consuming me…

“Instead of working so hard to write, start working hard on being inspired.”

That pretty much sums it up.


Q: What are some tips for writing your first blog posting?

Just write it. Really, just write it. Be careful about hinging on the fantasy that your first post will be published and make you famous and and and…that’s a flavor of pressure that you just don’t need to taste.

Just remember…it’s called your first post for a reason.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten when it comes to starting something is “The only difference between those with an idea and those with a successful idea is doing something with it.”

Your blog will never be successful if you don’t start it!

Find a friend who knows about blogging and ask them to help you set it up and give you a little 101 about how to post, edit, and manage your new blog.

Take them to dinner as a thank you…and then take a breath, and go for it…

Q: I know you’ve also got a book in you — would you talk about the approach you’re considering to go from blog to book?

I definitely have a book in me. Right now though, I’m practicing what I preach and not attaching myself to any particular route, or destination for that matter.

There are different options for writing a book including writing a proposal in print, writing the entire book and sending it in to an agent, self publishing, or writing an e-book and self-promoting.

I’m in the stage right now where I’m working on the foundation and intention of my book, meeting new people in the writing world, proudly accepting new opportunities to build my audience and my writing voice…and trying to breathe along the way.

But don’t let that grounded energy be confused with passiveness… My book will be out there one day soon.

Q: Thanks, Brooke. If someone wanted to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

You’re welcome!

The best way to reach me is through my blog Soapbox Therapy or email me at [email protected].

My psychotherapy office, where I see individuals, couples, and families in San Francisco can be reached at 415.294.4044



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