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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Indie Authors Are Some of the Bravest People You Will Ever Know

#authors #writers #bravery

  • Copyright: Ali Ozgon/Shutterstock
Up until about a decade ago, being an author or a self-published author was mostly about writing. Authors who did not have the means to self-publish, like Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf, found other creative solutions to get their name out.

They wrote short stories for newspapers and magazines to prove to potential publishers that people wanted to read their works. Others diligently pursued publishers, never mind how high the stack of rejection letters grew.

In those days, all authors’ activities were related to writing and/or pursuing publishing outlets, whether it was newspapers, magazines, or publishing houses. As always in life, the credo “Do not give up” was the name of the game.

In 1993, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen launched the first “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. To get a publisher to publish their book they gave speeches at churches and other venues where, famously, they invited attendees to sign commitment slips, stating that they would purchase a copy of the book once it would be published. In the wake of this and similar methods authors became speakers and tried to create a following via personal engagement. Businesses that taught authors how to become speakers and celebrities popped out of the ground. The downside of this approach was that these courses were incredibly expensive; the attendees paid celebrity fees even before they were celebrities.

About the same time, around the turn of the century, the Internet offered new opportunities. Independent authors could now create their own buzz on the web. I was lucky to be a part of this glorious time when I signed on with Amazon in 1998. In essence I spent my time in educators’ chat rooms, where I casually mentioned my alphabet book ‘obvious LETTERS’ every now and then. All roads in this new type of “word-of-mouth”-universe led to Amazon, where at one point my book became the #1 bestselling alphabet book for preschoolers. Online shopping was still new and fascinating. Customers were excited to click the button on a mouse and two days later the book they had ordered arrived. Everybody was excited.

Unfortunately, the good times did not last for me; the famous NCLB law overpowered ‘indie’ educational publishers’ activities. I got stuck with a few hundred books; the fact that seemingly nobody liked NCLB did not make things better.

Still, I was excited that I had discovered a way I could market my books cheaply and be in total control of all steps. If one method proved to be wrong, I could change course. Today I feel about this time like people talk about the Sixties in Greenwich Village; a lot of awesome talent congregated at this new phenomenon called ‘Indie authors’ could ‘feel’ that the old dogmas were about to change forever.  

When Amazon came out with the Kindle in 2007, I thought about publishing books again. If I published ebooks I could never get stuck with books again. In 2012, I took the leap and published “Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear.” As soon as I dove into the newly emerging world of indie-everything – indie-authors, indie-ebook formatters, cover designers, publishers  –  I realized that ‘Overcoming Fear’ was now indie publishing’s middle name.

Today’s indie authors are some of the bravest people you will ever meet – they overcome fears every single day:

  • the fear that their work will be rejected,
  • the fear of the 1-star review,
  • the fear of having to learn new marketing skills,  
  • the fear of finding out that nobody cares, and of course
  • the fear of walking a tough road, which nobody really needs to walk.

They are amazing people. Humble and shy writers, who’d rather spend time at their keyboards or attend a writing workshop, throw themselves out into the world, post pictures, tweet, blog and guest blog. They also set up supportive Facebook groups, organize their own writers’ meetings and conferences, and host Google+ Hangouts on Air, thereby exposing themselves to the public like never before.

I have met great-grandmas and great-grandpas, who learned about ebook formatting, cover design, minimum resolution requirements, online book parties and on and on, even though none of them had learned to spell the word ‘computer’ when they went to school.

My own great-grandparents did nothing of this kind. They crocheted baby clothes, grew roses, and played chess in the public park. I cannot imagine what they would have said if somebody told them that to do this or that, they would have to learn a whole lot of new technologies.

There are also the ‘young authors’, the kind of people, who in the Sixties might have participated in a hippie party, or two, or three. Today, they are discussing whether it is worth the money to get their book reviewed by one of the expensive professional review services or whether they should invest their meager marketing budgets into ads. These young writers are real entrepreneurs; none of them would bother painting their car with colorful peace signs, rainbows, or daisies.

Gone is the cliché of the lone writer, who, locked up at his retreat, barely speaks to anybody. Today’s indie authors are some of the most socially skilled professionals you will ever meet. They connect with local groups, speak at events  – live as well as online, drive hours to do book signings at independent book stores (and back), connect with readers at Goodreads, and in between – write blogs and guest blogs, record videos for their own Youtube channels, and still find time to read the industry news. They are artists AND entrepreneurs.

And, with that, these indie authors are changing the world of books forever.

The PR businesses and coaching businesses of yore’s heydays are kind of over. Neither “Wool” nor “Fifty Shades of Grey” used any of these methods.

Today’s indie authors have realized that the most precious commodity and teacher is on their side – TIME.

It’s not all about writing any longer. It’s about connecting, getting feedback, learning, and moving forward. As long as indie authors keep trying, they can err over and over, till eventually they get it right. Maybe they’ll have to re-edit, re-package, connect with different people or on a different platform, but nothing can stop indie authors any longer. 


Multi award-winning motivational indie author Gisela Hausmann published the following books under her own 'naked' brand.  
  • "NAKED WORDS: The Effective 157-Word Email"
  • "Naked Truths About Getting Book Reviews"
  • "Naked Determination, 41 Stories About Overcoming Fear"
  • "Naked Elaboration: Our Time to 'Fix Things' Is Running Out" 


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do You Want to Sell Something or Get Somebody to Do Something?

#email #business #communication #DirectSales, 

Most of us send emails trying to convince somebody to do business with us. Every day, 100 billion emails get sent, worldwide. That implies that our emails have to be effective and PERSONAL. 

Not only do we, the senders, have to prove that 

  1. we and our products are special, 
  2. we also have to prove that the recipient is special and important to us, and not just "another" client.

Having analyzed 100,000+ emails in the past I can say with certainty - It’s all about the little details.

Here is an illustration from another arena – social media.

Last week I posted that my cat Artemis got sick. That prompted 87 of my 475 friends to send well wishes to Artemis. Quite a few wished HIM a speedy recovery even though the posting announced that SHE is not well. A few friends renamed her ARTEMUS or ARTIMUS. These wishes were sort of bunched together. Naturally, I know how this happened. Somebody saw the picture of my sick cat and barely registered the name…

Artemis… Artimus… something like that… E or II or U

The first person to (not really) read the posting and then write “Artimus” assumed that my cat is a boy cat. Some people, who sent their well wishes later, skipped reading the posting and read the last few comments which caused them to think that my cat is a male cat.

Naturally, Artemis does not care how her name is spelled. Plus, since she is neutered she probably does not care if she is a he or a she.

Here is the SIGNIFICANCE of this story.

Of course, I (and everybody else who read the entire posting) could identify who did NOT read it. However, even for me, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to know who of my almost 500 FB friends

  • cares enough about me to know that I have a female cat named Artemis or
  • who simply read only this one specific posting with UTMOST CARE, maybe even jotted down notes, and then composed a thoughtful reply.

It is the same for business emails. When we receive a thoughtful email, which addresses our needs, we do not know if the sender has known about us or our business for years or if the sender has acquired his knowledge in the last three hours. And, in reality it does not matter. This person will probably be the best business partner. His or her email advertises “I am a business partner, who works hard, I care about every detail, AND therefore I will do the best job for YOU.”

Thus, MAKE THAT EFFORT!  The people, who get the business are always the people, who write every email as if it will be the last email they'll ever write. 

Emails have 7 parts, which need to be improved for best results. 


Email Evangelist Gisela Hausmann, the author of "Naked Words: The Effective 157-Word Email", has analyzed 100,000+ emails for effectiveness and personal appeal. 

Gisela graduated with a master's degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why you have to be careful when checking out #free materials on the web, e.g. how to connect on Linkedin

#email #DirectMail #communicaton #LinkedIn

This screen print comes from an expert's #free educational materials. It is supposed to teach how to use Linkedin best.
Unfortunately, it is riddled with mistakes.

1.        “I…I…” => This email is all about the sender and not about the recipient. This mail has only three sentences. Two of them begin with the word “I”. The word “your” comes up only once and is used incorrectly.

2.        This short  e-mail contains two grammatical errors. “Your” is used incorrectly, it should be “you are interest-ED.” The sentence is also missing a comma. 

3.        Never suggest things like “otherwise please ignore” because a) the recipient knows that anyway and b) by mentioning it, the sender is in fact reminding the recipient that he should ignore this note.

4.        Never write “thanks” but “Thank-you”, "Thanks" is too informal at this stage; obviously the sender does not know the recipient.  

In short: This "expert" does not know how to properly connect on Linkedin. This mini-lesson does not teach anything, with the exception of how-not-to do it.

You get what you pay for and this ' #free lesson” is simply not good.


Gisela Hausmann is an Email Evangelist, who has analyzed 100,000+ emails for effectiveness and personal appeal. 

Writing best emails is the fastest way to achieving professional goals because everybody appreciates good communicators. 

Gisela graduated with a master's degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.


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Friday, March 20, 2015


To celebrate the effective e-mail I have put together a collection of entertaining thoughts. Enjoy!


It's not an #Inbox problem; it's an #email problem.

#Email is, of course, a double edged sword. Fire can cook our food but also burn us.

You must write the #email you wish others will read.

Don’t count the #emails, make the #email count.

I would have answered your #email sooner, but you sent too many too long ones.

To me, some #emails read like somebody wrote a love letter to himself.

Email 101 is about choices: It can't be all words to all people.

This is not an #email but my thoughts focusing on what you need you for a brief moment.

'Classic.' An #email which people talk about in staff meetings and don't read.

There's only one #email strategy: Be concise!

Until you have lost an #email, you never realize what value it represents, having it in black and white.  

Your knowledge writes the #email. Your brains signal 'send'.

To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see an #email from them. 

While writing great #emails I'm lonely, so, from to time I play solitaire.

Following the promise of an #email, we left the Old World.


Gisela Hausmann is an Email Evangelist. She has analyzed more than 100,000+ emails for effectiveness and personal appeal. 

Writing best emails is the fastest way to achieving professional goals because everybody appreciates good communicators. 

Gisela graduated with a master's degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Write Your Emails Like a Soldier in the Field

Catherine Jones/Shutterstock
#email #DirectMail #Marketing #Sales

Imagine yourself being a soldier in Vietnam, long before cell phones, social media, and video chat were invented.  The only way you would have been able to communicate with family and friends was via snail mail.

Replies meant that your base cared about you, that you were still ‘in the game’ even if it had been months since you saw your people last. Of course your family would never forget you but what about your girlfriend? Was maybe another guy trying to score with her and promising her bigger and better things? And, what about your buddies from school? Were they pushing their careers and maybe forgetting about you?

Considering that there was not going to be an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting anytime soon, you‘d weigh each word carefully. You’d brag a bit about heroic acts while at the same time you’d assure everybody that you were with a great team, that you had the very best support in case things got tight. You would write about your platoon and describe how they contributed. Also, knowing that each letter might be your last one, you’d make certain that you wrote how much you thought and cared about your loved ones.

Most certainly, you’d never write platitudes, because every single word was part of shaping the life you would enjoy – if you made it out of the jungle.

In 2003 Donald Trump told Mark Burnett, the producer of ‘Survivor’, to forget ‘his Amazons and Africas’; in Trump’s opinion New York was the real jungle. Together they went on to produce ‘The Apprentice’. 

The show’s candidates wrote ‘letters’ too, only these were emails. They too weighed every word carefully; surely none of them wanted to get caught forgetting to put something important in writing. 

There are many more similarities between the war in this jungle and in that jungle. Not surprisingly, “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu has become a cult book for business leaders.

Everybody has to succeed with his own mission and not worry about some distant front. Today’s business emails are as important as the US troops’ letters to their loved ones and friends; they are the building blocks for our future in business. Therefore

  • Never send a canned email. They hardly ever lead to exceptional success, just like military awards and decorations aren’t given for doing ‘canned actions’.
  • Mention your team, often. Nobody believes that a ‘lone wolf’ can be successful forever.
  • Write often to stay in touch. Everybody likes to read a friendly email for no reason, instead of only being asked for ‘care packages’.
  • Make each word count! When writing important emails apply Steve Job’s concept of wondering if he was doing what he would do if he knew it was the last day of his life. Similarly, write each business email as if this was your last chance to pull a major business deal ashore. This will lead to success.
  • Be personal! Just like the letters written during the Vietnam War your emails are the lifeline to your future. The result of each email should be furthering a relationship that will last a long time. 
 ~ * ~

Gisela Hausmann is an Email Evangelist. She has analyzed more than 100,000+ emails for effectiveness and personal appeal. 

Writing best emails is the fastest way to achieving professional goals because everybody appreciates good communicators. 

Gisela graduated with a master's degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna, Austria.


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© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann, All rights reserved.

Friday, February 6, 2015

NAAAKED - n A a A k e d information - n A A A k e d....


To be honest, as a mass media expert I am truly sadden by the events.


Can't even guess what or whose pressure led to this situation.
In my heart I believe that Brian Williams is a great guy and a good reporter.

Then again, I have seen saying it forever:

#Naked #Information - that's what we want and what we need.
The fact that the world appears to be spinning faster does not change anything about that.

That's why I publish #naked books and will continue to do so.


Errors, Lies, and Values

#error #lying 

In September of 2006, I found myself sitting in the waiting room of my local Volvo shop, (im)patiently waiting for my car to be fixed. The repair job was supposed to take only about an hour, so I had decided to wait right there.

Scanning through the magazines, I had found out that all of them were sports magazines, presenting articles about football, basketball, and golf. I don’t follow any of these sports (unfortunately, none of these magazines features articles about boxing, soccer, or alpine skiing).

Luckily, a gentleman, who seemed to be equally discontent with waiting, put down the magazine he had been reading and went outside to make a cell phone call. I checked out his magazine. It was one of the glorious magazines that focus mainly on the latest and/or soon to be available gizmos. One of the articles elaborated about new types of cell phones.

I got to read that a company named Research in Motion (RIMM) was going to come out with a totally new cell phone called Blackberry. It was going to be the ‘phone of the future’. The article also featured a picture. The phone looked very, very sleek. I lifted my head and looked at the gentleman outside. He was still talking on his cell phone. In fact, he seemed to get more animated by the minute. A saying popped up in my brain, “Guys love their gizmos.” My brain went into overdrive.

Twenty minutes later, my car was fixed. I quickly drove home, and checked out RIMM. The company’s stock was listed at around $32. I called my broker.

“Wilma,” I said, “I want you to buy 30 stocks of these RIMMs.”

“Gisela, I would not recommend that,” said Wilma. “This is not a sound investment; it is probably a fad at best.”

“Wilma,” I said. “All of us love cell phones.”

“Gisela, I have other suggestions… Why don’t you come to my office and we’ll talk about it.”

“Wilma, this is my account. I want you to buy 30 RIMMs!”

About a year later, in October 2007, I sold my 30 stocks at more than $110 a piece. Even when I asked Wilma to sell, she never made the slightest reference to our debate before I bought these stocks. That was fine with me. Looking back, I felt lucky that I had to wait at this car shop.

Towards the end of the year 2007, I sensed something strange happening. Working in the construction industry, I could see that things just weren't going right. My company was laying off people, good people. The trend did not look good… I was wondering when my turn would come. I began to read job ads.

Eventually, I spotted an ad looking for a broker's assistant at – Wilma’s company. I put my resume together and called Wilma. Could I use her for a reference? After all, we had known each other for three years.

“Gisela,” Wilma exclaimed enthusiastically, “that job opening is at my office.”
I did not know that. The ad had simply stated ‘looking for… xyz… in New Hanover County, NC.’
“Of course, you can list me as a reference. I’ll keep an eye on your application.”
That sounded terrific. I felt relieved.

One month later, I called Wilma. Were there any news regarding the job opening?
“Nothing yet,” she said. “But, don’t worry, this process always takes time.”
She sounded confident and I felt more confident. Obviously, Wilma really kept an eye on my application.

The day after my phone rang. It was Wilma.

“Wilma, how wonderful that you call me… Did I get an interview?”

“No, dear, that’s not why I was calling you. I wanted to invite you to an event on short notice…”

The timing of this event did not really fit into my calendar but considering that Wilma was kind enough to keep an eye on my application, I decided to make time. I attended, wearing an elegant suit, looking like the perfect broker's assistant. And, there was Wilma – introducing her new assistant – the day after she had told me that there were ‘no news yet’ regarding the job opening.

I said nothing and began to slowly withdraw my money.

Was I going to have my money with an account manager who was a liar? Certainly not!
All of us have values. I had not been peeved that Wilma did not recognize the opportunity with RIMM. Surely, she was trying to give me the best advice she could when she advised me not to buy stock from a company whose major product was a gizmo. Yes, she had been wrong and I had been right with my guess. But, all of us make mistakes, and it could have been the other way around.

However, when it comes to values, we cannot look away. There was absolutely no way that Wilma did not know that either she or her company had hired somebody else for the position I had applied. There had to have been interviews, background checks, a drug test, all of which takes time… In other words, Wilma had to have known and she lied. It was that simple.

The funny thing was she could have wiggled herself out of this situation. She could have said, “Gisela, unfortunately, the company preferred somebody else.” But people who lie (maybe even lie notoriously) don’t think about these options. They are so used to lying that it is their first reaction, without thinking. They are so settled in their ways they won’t even contemplate what they have to do to not get caught.

Errors are errors; most often they are forgivable.

Little white lies can be good sometimes. (It would not do any good if I told my ninety-year old grandmother that the ring my grandfather bought her fifty years ago is no longer fashionable.)

Above all – values are values, which may include telling my grandmother that grandpa’s ring looks even better than it was fifty years ago.

However, blatant and unethical lies are inexcusable. The greater the lie, the more damage it will cause, like Watergate, Lincoln Savings & Loan, Enron and too many others.

(Names have been changed to protect the privacy of characters.)