Category Archives for "Marketing You and Your Books"

Writing a Series, and What to Write Next

Are You Writing One Book or Ten?

I don’t know about you, but I constantly have ideas for books and blogs and articles racing through my head.  Yes it gets pretty darned busy in there at times.   So prioritizing the potential output is sometimes the hardest part of the job.   Here’s a few things you might like to know about how to do this, starting with working out what’s up next.

Deciding on a priority for the next book or series.

Working out what to write and in what order is easy if you follow my simple steps.    Start with the idea.   Let’s say you want to write a book about Customer Service.   Let’s break that down into sections – maybe it’s a book about Customer Service in retail.   Then you could extend do one for Service Industries, or one on Trade or Construction Industry, or perhaps just making it the beauty industry.    Suddenly the ideas are rolling faster than the ink in your Parker Rollerball right?

Let’s get a little more technical  

BOOK Genre: Customer Service

Extensions  – Other books in that Genre:  for Retail, Trades, Construction, Financial Services, Hospitality

Break that down further to Books on specific areas of Customer Services:

  • Fashion Retail =Mens/Women/Kids/Outdoors Stores
  • Trades Retail = Paint and decorating/plumbing/appliances/Tiles/Lighting
  • Construction = Builders/Electrical/Landscaping/Plumbing
  • Financial Services = Mortgage brokers/Financial Institutions/Banks
  • Hospitality = Tourism/Travel/Cafes/Restaurants/Bars/Food/Delis

Before you know it you could write either 20 chapters – each on one of the above areas and make your book very generic to cover all those places who use Customer Service, or need to train staff in that area, or ,you could just get really busy and write 10-20 books.   Each for a specific industry and subcategory.   Customer Service for Landscaping Companies – I bet there’s not much in that category, right?

(Actually I did a quick Amazon search and there’s nothing using that particular set of keywords – but many more generic CS titles). 

But which one first?

Easy – start with what you know. Cover the industry or industries you have to do the least amount of research for.   Then as you go, expand from there. If you know Retail, then start with that.  Niche into: Customer Service for Clothing Stores, then expand into customer service for women’s Fashion, and/or Menswear, then sideline that out to Outdoors stores such as NorthFace, Katmandu, or Macpac types.   Tenting, Boating, Fishing, Sports stores are then a natural progression because they still call on your skills writing about clothing. ie – is it the same selling a flotation devise as a shirt?  Maybe – size, fabrics, features like pockets and zips… you get the picture right?

There are all books on retail and all based on Customer Service.   Some of the information may well be the same – you might even be bored to tears by your own subject after the fifth book, but remember, you now have a series.  A series is easier to market than an individual book.

Just grab a look at how Michael Gerber, author of The EMyth did it.   By the way – I got to hang out for some one-on-one time with Mr Gerber back when he was just starting this expanded process of his book series, and wow, one of the smartest men I ever met, and a real gentleman.   He was the first person to explain this concept to me – and I have read several of these books now.  I highly recommend you do the same to further understand this entire principle.

Once you know what kind of series you intend to write, then put some timing and parameters around it.

On the Subject of Titles

You may decide to write your series as a same name series… like the EMyth for Dentists, the EMyth for Optometries, the EMyth for Construction, the EMyth Manager etc.   Or, you may decide to name your books something specifically relevant to each one For example Louise Hay did it  with Trust Life, then You Can Heal Your Life, then Heal Your Body, then the Power; is Within You,  Each of these books is a stand alone, but as a set they still look and read like they belong together.

The concept behind this is simple.  If you are writing about a topic that you deeply care about, then decide first what it is, and what you want people to do when they read your books.  Ideally, you want them to either read more of your books, or book you to speak at an event where you can promote your books.   Either way – a person who already cottoned on to your brilliance in one book or form, is going to be much easier to sell to than someone brand new.  That’s Marketing 101 – and by the way – my own marketing books are part of a series, and there’s more about this concept in my Advertising, Branding, and Marketing 101 book.

Deciding on your titles – well that’s another whole blog topic, but it is also covered in my new online course about producing your Non-Fiction book.  I also cover such topics in my weekly hangout sessions on Thursdays… details for that is here.

 FREE Authority Author Hangout Sessions – Registration 

 

 

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FAQs about Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction Books

I was talking with an old friend this week, who is one of the most knowledgeable retail marketing specialists I know.  He’s written a number of books over the years, but his self publishing skills are by comparison, almost non-existent.    Sometimes life’s like that – we know so much about what we do, but learning new tricks, especially in an industry that is increasingly complex and fraught with pitfalls, is just too hard.  And this is how it is with my friend.  Despite having attended a number of great training events over the last few years, and having had some moderate success with his books, crossing that hurdle of knowing enough to get real traction with his books is just too hard.

We agreed that I’d help him with that.  I’m very excited about doing so – because he’s a great marketing specialist.   And I respect him immensely, so it’s a joy for me to be able to ‘show him a bit of good stuff’ around what I do well.

But this overall got me thinking about some of the most common FAQ’s about writing and publishing non-fiction that I am address with each week.

FAQs Like These:  

  • How long should my book be?
  • How can you be sure of good structure?
  • What should I write in – which program?
  • Is it really necessary to write it all or can I just record it and get it transcribed?
  • I know Amazon is important, but really do I have to be on there?
  • What’s KDP Unlimited?
  • How do I get an Author Page set up properly?
  • Why can’t I get better reviews?
  • How do I get reviews?
  • Why are reviews important?
  • How do I decide which categories are right for my book?
  • Should I use Facebook Ads for promoting my books?
  • What kind of files should I create my ebook in?
  • Should I do a book launch?  What kind?
  • What is Ingram Spark exactly?

Oh – the list is endless… these are just a few things I’m frequently asked about.  

Starting this coming Thursday, 17th January I’m going to start having open hangout sessions in my Authority Author’s Cafe space on Zoom – so you can ask me any of these and get straight answers, easy solutions, and helpful sharing about all these things. Every Thursday morning at 10am.   I’ll be here.

But you gotta Register so I know to expect you.  It won’t matter if there’s one of us, 10, or 100…. let’s just talk publishing ok…

HERE’S THE LINK

Please review it share it, or create a set of questions… decide if you want to attend once or a dozen times…   but don’t hold onto those burning questions any longer… I’m here to help.

 

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Learning New Tricks in 2018

In 2018 I embarked on a significant new journey of up-skilling in the areas of Amazon, Ingram Spark, and the use of KeyWords and Categories for authors.   Because the indie publishing world is constantly changing and growing, it’s been a wild ride that also saw me working one-on-one with a publishing coach of my own, for my own books.   All of this meant that during the course of the last 12 months, I’ve been able to super-charge some of the work I’ve been able to offer as a publishing coach to my clients.

But because this landscape is constantly changing, and because I seem to have more-or-less the same conversations with variations across so many of the authors I work with, I decided that the best use I can put to for much of what I have been learning is to freely and openly share my newly acquired knowledge.   And so I’m happy to announce that going forward, Thursday mornings at 10 am my local time in Brisbane Australia, I’ll be sitting in my online cafe, happy to connect and talk books, publishing, Amazon, IS, Advertising, and some of the fascinating and extraordinary tools I now use in my work.

You will need to register – via this link

Please turn up on time…   Each week will feature different topics, and sometimes I’ll have guests too who have specific expertise of their own.    This will be nothing like a webinar, but mostly like a regular hangout at the local cafe – and as many who wish to join us and pull up a chair can do so.  BYO coffee or tea, and join in the conversation.     These will run for approximately 30 minutes each – longer if the conversation warrants it.    And I’ll not be recording these…  but a brief recap of some of the highlights will be posted and shared with those who have registered.

These sessions will be interactive – so please do ask questions, take notes, engage in the conversation.   And they are FREE.

So – what are you doing Thursday mornings in 2019?

Dixie

 

 

 

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Book Stores and Online Stores – The Difference Down Under

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked one question back in 2010, I’d have retired already. That question was, ‘how do I get my books on Amazon?’

Back then I’d usually answer with, ‘Why Bother?’

The bricks and mortar stores in Australasia were still selling books, albeit, not terribly well. However, many were closing, and most had diversified beyond selling books, and had ‘warehouse sales people’ behind their counters, many of whom were far from passionate about books, and were unable to be of much help if the requested book by a customer ‘wasn’t in stock or on the computer yet’. Add to that, due to the sheer volume of books available, book store owners and managers were simply challenged beyond believe to know what might be worth stocking and what might gather dust and end up heavily discounted a few months later. It was hit and miss to stock shelves, and Indie Authors missed out most of the time, as much due to the quality of their books, but also due to the lack of sales channels that led them easily to get their books noticed by buyers.

Amazon was equally challenging back then, because due to their own internal rules about needing to have enough stock on hand to supply orders quickly, the warehousing of books and distribution channels meant that if you didn’t have some kind of managed warehousing of your books based in the northern hemisphere, you would likely be rejected by Amazon anyway.

Forward to 2017 and all the rules had changed. Now, as we head into 2019, it was easier than ever to upload your books to Create Space, Ingram Sparks, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, Kindle. E-books can be sold via Kindle within minutes of being uploaded, and Create Space can fill orders within days of your setting up an account.  And a further update – in 2018 Create Space merged with KDP, (Kindle Direct Publishing) to make uploading even easier in many ways.

The quality of print on demand is outstanding, and the need for warehousing hundreds or thousands of copies of your books has gone. No more expensive outlays for authors to stock printed copies, fulfill their own orders by lining up at the post office. The royalties are paid when and as expected, with full reporting functions built into all of the platforms available to sell on.

So, what’s the problem with all that?

Ignorance mostly!

Authors are still struggling to know what to do, how to do it, and the learning curves around uploading can be fraught with deep time-wasting pits of despair. It takes time, and a lot of reading the fine print and understanding the process to do your first upload onto either Create Space or Kindle. Working out how to price your book, determine the best categories and why this is important, and even understanding the special ways that Keywords work for or against your book’s success takes time and knowledge.

Unfortunately, the average newbie author often does not see the value in paying for expert help, despite the fact that they are now saving significant amounts on the production and printing of books. And this is the one thing that needs to change for authors, especially in Non-Fiction genres. Getting armed with the knowledge needed to do this well, is as critical an investment in publishing a book as editing and cover design is.

Being an author is time consuming, often for low returns, and yet is one of the most creatively rewarding things a writer can do. Seeing others benefit from your shared stories, wisdom, experiences is priceless and getting those reviews that mean you know you’ve contributed valuable knowledge to someone anywhere in the world is heart-warming to say the least. Getting those checks from Amazon is also pretty exciting. But if we’re all going to do it well, and ‘ace it on Amazon’ we have to start approaching the technical ends of publishing. That means paying for expertise sometimes, just as you would for social media specialist work, and design skills.

In 2019, I challenge all authors to up-skill – not by diversifying their studies across too many publishing topics, but mastering one or two necessary areas, and sharing that knowledge with others. That will still keep the overall cost of successfully publishing down to an acceptable level for most indie authors – and make it even more viable to pay for the specialist areas you need to dive into occasionally.

So what’s likely to happen to publishing in 2019?

There’s a lot of talk about Publishing 3.0 – the new wave of publishing that will totally and radically affect publishing, and particularly self or indie publishing companies and authors.  Ultimately this will mean authors being able to circumvent even the online publishing options such as Amazon and Ingram Spark to have an even more direct means to market and supply our books to readers.   Stay tuned – as this unfolds I’ll share more about this.   But, the value  issue that we are still entrenched in is the need to have the rankings and marketing tools provided by Amazon and co.

Until we work out how to ace the best seller lists without being part of those lists, we still need to be doing three things supremely well:

  1. Writing and producing extremely good books – not erring on the side of average – ever!
  2. Being well versed in all the many tools and options available to us as indies, and there are so many it’s easy to get lost in these – so the value of publishing coaches is even more valuable than ever.  I am one, but I too engage with the services of one – we all work better with a coach, especially in this fast changing industry.
  3. Thinking of ourselves not just as writers, or authors, or even as thought leaders… but as business owners, with the diversity that goes with the many parts of our businesses that need attending to.   The marketing, the production, the administration, and planning!

And staying abreast of it all – is a full time job!

How are you going to manage as an indie publishing author in the New Year?

 

If you need some help with the writing, marketing, production, or any other parts of the process for writing/production of Non-Fiction books, check out our new online program DIY details, or message about your needs and we can engage with some help for you.   

Starting in January – the last Thursday of ever month will feature the Online Author-ity Cafe sessions where you can find out more about what’s going on in the indie publishing world for Non-Fiction writers.

Details are here: LINK 

 

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Challenging the Writer Inside

I’m a very big fan of a great writer named Richard Webster, who is well known for his 2000 words a day story.  In short, he visited the home of a famous author many years ago, and read on a plaque that this author was himself famous for a discipline of writing a minimum of 1000 words per day.    However, Richard mis-read the plaque and thought it was 2000 per day and so committed himself to that level of output then and has maintained that ever since.   With more than 150 books in his catalog so far, that’s a process that has certainly worked well for him.

I’ve been fortunate to have met and talked with Richard Website on many occasions and have been inspired by his books often.    But I am also greatly inspired by this commitment to being a writer and try to always work in 2000 word sessions.   However, having last month committed to the NaNoWriMo challenges (National November Writing Month which is actually International these days)  I learned a few hard truths about my own writing ability – mostly that:

  1. I can write to a deadline – even really big ones like 50,000 words in one month.
  2. If I write to such a deadline I can encourage my writing muscles to grow and grow…
  3. There’s no such thing as Writer’s Block when you just write – regardless of what you write at times.
  4. Starting and finishing a whole novel in 30 days is an extraordinary thing to do – and I know my writing in general improved from the exercise.

Your writing gets better the more you write.   The more you work with Editors, the better your own style and technical skills improve.  And the ability to trust the words to flow is great – for works of Fiction – but that Non-Fiction is a totally different thing.

Non-Fiction requires more structure, planning, and yet just as much research, editing and polishing goes into both.

I had tried a ‘write 3000 words every day for a month back in March and certainly got a lot out of that too,   And sometimes, as a ghost writer I get to exercise my abilities to write in other voices, increase my interview and research skills, and learn about new and interesting subjects.

What ever you do, as a writer, if you are able to keep sharpening that saw you owe it to yourself to do so,   Regardless of whether you are a full time writer or someone who writes blogs weekly for yourself or a company you work for.    But what does it really take to do this?

  1. Decide the best time of day for you to write.
  2. Have a list of topics, ideas, and resources you can access easily.
  3. Set your alarm for regular breaks, but always ensure that whatever you say you’re going to do, do it.

If you cheat yourself on that last one you’re going to have to keep making up lost time.   For example, last week I had two days where I had to write 5000 words a day – just to come in at the finish line.   Those were hard days in many ways.  Nothing much else got done – and I was mentally tired.  BUT, I did it.   And – I was able to therefore fully appreciate the need to write my 2000 word chunks every time I sat to write.    And those chunks flowed so much more easily.

Next year, what are your goals, deadlines, and personal challenges as an author.  One book or three?   When are you starting, and when are you launching?   Why not post your objectives for the year in our FaceBook Group and let us all in this community help you remain accountable to yourself.

If you’re not yet part of our FB Group – check out the group here.   And if you need any other guidance and help for your book projects in 2019, don’t wait until then to start – talk to me know if you need some encouragement, mentoring, or hands on guidance.

 

NaNo-2018-Winner-Certificate

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The RIGHT book at the RIGHT time, for the RIGHT readers…

I was talking today with someone about writing a book about a tough subject, but one that could have lasting positive – and maybe a few negative – repercussions.  For her, writing the right book, at the right time for the right readers, means a book that gets attention.  A book that inspires change.   A book that is hard to walk away from.  It’s about writing what needs to be written – and sometimes it’s not always the one you think is burning to be written.

Last week, over brunch on a Sunday morning, I talked this over with another author I’d worked with last year, who mentioned that her business coach discussed this with her, and they both agreed, that her first book was the one that has had the most impact, and means that her next book – the one she originally thought she should start with – will have a lot more impact.

You see, you have to be willing to put it out there as to why what you want to say  what matters.   If you just focus on sharing the wisdom without the story that goes behind your gaining that wisdom, it’s potentially not going to have the same levels of connection for the reader.  Readers like to know that you have the right to share and give advice.

About 20 years ago, I was adviced by a colleague to read Anita Broddicks book about The Body Shop.   He felt that because she was a dynamic woman in business, and he viewed me as having similar potential perhaps, that I’d get a lot out of it.   As I respected him and his views, I brought the book and ploughed slowly through it.  Then decided never to read it again.   She was not a single mother, working like a trojan to raise kids, pay the bills, survive the chaos and loneliness  of an existence that I was enduring at the time.   Her kids had grown, she had a husband, and money to put into her dreams.  All things that were unrelatable for me.   I wanted inspiration from someone that had walked my journey, and could give me hope that I’d survive beyond next month.

If you wish to inspire, provoke, lead changes, become a recognised author-ity in any area, you have to earn the right to the respect of your readers, your fans, to ensure that they get who you are and why they should care about what you’re banging on about.

It really is that simple.

So how do you know if what you want to write is the right book for now, for what you want to achieve?

First, identify what it is that you are really aiming for.  It may not be quite what you think.  For example:  If you’re going to write about leadership, how can you demonstrate that you get the kind of leadership that YOUR readers want to learn about?  Ahh, so who are those readers?  The real first step is to identify them.

I’m currently about to launch ‘That Sex Book’.   It’s a sassy little number about having great relationships, dating, and excellent sex for over 50 year olds.  It’s for predominantly straight single women, aged 50 – 75.  It’s intended to give hope, discuss ideas, and share some of the funny and interesting stories about these three things.   Yes, married people will maybe read it too, and so might some from the LGBT Community.  Some men will also read it, I’m sure of that.   But the people most likely to buy it and read it and share it are those outlined above.  So I’ve ensured that as I’ve written it, I’ve kept Sally, the 55 year old, sassy attractive, single for the last two years, friend in mind.    I’ve also considered that Janet, my married for 40 years, still sexually active friend is also going to enjoy reading it, and might share it with her husband who will laugh and perhaps recommend it to his best mate too.

I’m possibly going to be asked by any interviewers why I have not gone into more detail about some aspects of sexuality for the LGBT Community but quite simply, that’s both not my primary market and also it’s a demographic I have very limited personal experience with sexually.

No one said you have to write a non-fiction book that is only about facts and ideas.   You can write any kind of book you want to write, because it’s YOUR book.   You don’t get to ask a new parent why they decided to have children with blue eyes instead of brown.   It’s just how it worked out.    Write the RIGHT book at the Right time for the Right readers first.  Open them up to who you are and why you care, so they know why they should care too.

 

If you want more on how to develop this skill of the right book, right time, right readers, please check out the details for the Online Idea to Author-ity Course Here

 

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The Critical Need for a Marketing Plan

What else are you doing?

So you’re writing regularly, and churning out lots of great material.  BUT  don’t fool yourself into thinking that is all you need to do.   You own your topic, right?  So that means being across multiple platforms.  These include WRITING, SPEAKING, being interviewed for radio, TV, and special online opportunities.   Pod casting, blogging, Webinars, and hangouts online are all part of the business you are in.

Do you know what is missing from your current business model if you don’t have all those things covered?

A marketing plan.

A simple plan that outlines where and what you need to take action on to ensure you GET NOTICED, by your ideal market.

Where you will be, how you will present yourself, and who you will be aiming to turn on with your information.  When this will happen, and why should anyone care.   Afterall, there are hundreds ,or maybe even thousands of experts out there in your space right?  So what makes you so special.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Who do you know that might be willing and able to interview you?
  • How many times can you get yourself recorded on other peoples programs this year?
  • Who can you co-create or collaborate with?
  • What else do you need to do to become more highly visible?
  • What makes YOUR particular stance on your subject matter so interesting to your market?

You might also need to consider the evolving style of your brand, and what is changing about your area of expertise every year.

If you don”t yet have a solid marketing plan, with time lines, and action points, please don’t consider going anywhere, or doing anything over the Easter Break without setting aside at least a few hours to think through these key questions.   Your business needs you to maintain regular focus on your marketing, and these areas are of the greatest concern.  And you can’t just create one plan and then hope that will see you through your entire business life.   This keeps changing.  Every year.  In some companies, the marketing plan is updated every 90 days.

Someone mentioned recently that an ideal business and marketing plan that takes a 10 year view, should then be considered as a ‘why can’t we do this in six months’ objective.   Wow!  Imagine that!   Six months to achieve a 10 year goal.   Can it be done in your business? Why?  Why not? Something to ponder for sure.

Here’s the other things to consider as part of your marketing plan:

  • Do you need new tools?
  • Do you want to update your look?  Logo, marketing materials?  If not now, then when?
  • Are you networking with the right people/companies to help advance your business?
  • Are you priced appropriately for what you provide?  Can you increase this now/later?  Why, why not?
  • Are you up to date with all your options regarding technology and how you use it?  Social media?  Is FB or Twitter still as relevant for you as it used to be or has the time come to do more on Linked In or Instagram?
  • Where are your customers hanging out now? Are there new or old platforms you can explore?
  • Can you get yourself onto the speaker list for conventions and training opportunities for your industry?

I strongly recommend you tackle some of this… every year!  Not every five years, and certainly not every decade.  This is the current stuff you have to keep on top of in your business for it to thrive.

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Book Reviews – Why and How

Guest Post by Jeanne Felfe, Author of the Booklife Prize 2017 Quarterfinalist novel The Art of Healing

After you read a book, do you leave a review in at least one place: Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, B&N, Net Gallery, skywriting, etc? You can usually leave a review anywhere books are sold online, regardless of whether you bought it there. In 2015, I decided to leave at least one review for every book I read. Why? Mostly because I had to honestly ask how I could expect readers to review my books if I wasn’t willing to do the same. I keep track of the books in a simple spreadsheet—title, author, genre, date read, quick thoughts, where reviewed, and how I know the author (in real life (IRL), Facebook, signing, etc.)

Why is it important to write reviews?

Bottom line—reviews help readers decide which books to spend their money and time reading. I always read reviews prior to purchasing, especially if it’s by an author I’ve never read. Reviews provide genuine feedback that helps me allocate limited resources. By reviewing books you’ve read, you can have a direct impact on convincing others to also read it (or not). Word-of-mouth plays Continue reading

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How Authors Can Support Each Other Better

Authors I work with are Non-Fiction specialists, and most of them speak professionaly or do training as part of their regular work.  For them, books are part of their marketing collateral, and in some cases act as an extended business card, and in others, a giveaway or product to sell.   What ever reason anyone has for writing a book, it’s important to know that we as authors can support each other better, and really we must to this.   Because it’s easy for us to help ourselves by helping each other to greater levels of success as authors.

Here’s how we can do this:

  1. If you are part of a mastermind group, or belong to a support group or association, ask the other members to Forward Tweets, FB, and Instagram posts about your book – not just once, but two or three times.
  2. Ask them to be part of your reviewers group.
  3. ASK THEM to share your news about new book releases with their contacts – get the momentum building up.
  4. ASK THEM to please go into your Amazon listings and buy/review/post ratings on your books.

You may have to ask several times, but if we all got into the habit of doing this for each other, we can achieve a lot together.

Those are the basic things we can do for each other, but there’s more. Continue reading

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Six Easy Steps for Promoting Your Book From the Stage

I’ve just returned from Auckland, New Zealand, where I attended the extraordinary Global Speakers Summit of 2018.   While there, I connected of course with a number of high profile speakers, authors, and several extremely talented Game Changers working in their particular areas of expertise, determinedly changing the world one speech, connection, or radical idea at a time.   It was heady stuff being in surrounded by so many extra-ordinary people, and I learned so much in a short few days.

I have attended the GSS before, and also several of the GSS member country events since 2002.  What I find most fascinating about these events, is the fact that we all have quite varied expertise, and while many authors were there, just as many of them were in the dark about how to really make their books ‘pop’ from the platform.  So I’m going to share a handful of tips I was discussing with people this past weekend and hope you find it helpful next time you’re on stage and have the chance to Continue reading

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