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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Three Leadership Traits that Never Go Out of Style/ by Vineet Nayar

This article was published in Harvard Business Review:
http://harvardbusinesspublishing.org/


‎"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." ~ Martin Luther King Jr

Vineet Nayar

VINEET NAYAR

Vineet Nayar is vice chairman and CEO of HCL Technologies Ltd., an India-based global information technology services company. He is the author of Employees First, Customers Second. Follow Vineet at twitter.com/vineetnayar.



When I was a kid, the children in our neighborhood would play in a nearby park every evening. Our undisputed leader was a boy barely a year older than I was, I think. He introduced the new kids to everyone, taught them the rules of games we played, and made sure no one felt left out. We also trusted him blindly because he had our backs whenever we messed up.
None of the leadership lessons that I have learned, unlearned, or relearned ever since have left as indelible an impact as the ones I learnt as a child. Three, in particular, stand out:
Trust: Do your team members trust you? Do they accept that you will, without doubt, stand up for them whatever the situation? Only that kind of trust makes people feel empowered, gives them the courage to innovate, take risks, and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones to find success.
David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford, who wrote The Trusted Advisor, outline four attributes on which to assess your trust quotient: Credibility, reliability, intimacy and self-orientation. Take this online assessment to evaluate yourself on this parameter.
Empathy: Did you notice that look of anxiety as your teammate walked into office this morning? Or did you miss it because you were busy fretting about deadlines? Do you treat your team members as human beings, and not just as workers?
Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a leadership quality, but being transparent about your emotions isn't. I'm puzzled by the fact that leaders are expected to maintain a stiff upper lip, as the British say, at work. Why can't we rejoice in our successes, or show concern about our setbacks rather than taking them in our stride? Why don't we laugh and cry with the highs and lows in the lives of our colleagues? We are human beings, and knowing that our bosses care for us is a fundamental human need.
Mentorship: No matter how talented we may be, we crave the guiding hand, the mentor who will teach us the rules of the game. Pat Riley, the widely respected NBA coach, once said that there was no great player who didn't want to be coached. The same holds true of work. Would you be where you are today if your first manager hadn't nudged you in the right direction? When people are perplexed about what the future holds for their organizations and themselves, mentorship is critical.
Little did I know when I was out playing in the shadows of the Himalayas that I was learning some principles that would never go out of fashion. At a time when people everywhere are questioning their leaders' values, those characteristics seem to resonate even more.
More blog posts by Vineet Nayar

All comments please forward to the authorVineet Nayar

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Friday, August 24, 2012

7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Lit Authors


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Brain Pickings is the brain child of Maria Popova, an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large, who also writes for Wired UK andThe Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. She gets occasional help from a handful of guest contributors.


7 (More) Obscure Children’s Books by Famous “Adult” Lit Authors

by 
What a magical car engine has to do with social justice, a parrot named Arturo and the history of jazz.
A week ago, we featured 7 little-known children’s books by famous authors of “grown-up” literature, on the trails of some favorite children’s books with timeless philosophy for grown-ups. The response has been so fantastic that, today, we’re back with seven more, based on reader suggestions and belated findings from the rabbit hole of research surrounding the first installment.
ALDOUS HUXLEY
Aldous Huxley may be best known for his iconic 1932 novelBrave New World, one of the most important meditations on futurism and how technology is changing society ever published, but he was also deeply fascinated by children’s fiction. In 1967, three years after Huxley’s death, Random House released a posthumous volume of the only children’s book he ever wrote, some 23 years earlier.The Crows of Pearblossom tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Crow, whose eggs never hatch because the Rattlesnake living at the base of their tree keeps eating them. After the 297th eaten egg, the hopeful parents set out to kill the snake and enlist the help of their friend, Mr. Owl, who bakes mud into two stone eggs and paints them to resemble the Crows’ eggs. Upon eating them, the Rattlesnake is in so much pain that he beings to thrash about, tying himself in knots around the branches. Mrs. Crow goes merrily on to hatch “four families of 17 children each,” using the snake “as a clothesline on which to hang the little crows’ diapers.”
The original volume was illustrated by the late Barbara Cooney, but a new edition published this spring features artwork by Sophie Blackall, one of my favorite artists, whose utterly lovely illustrations of Craigslist missed connections you might recall.
GERTRUDE STEIN
Writer, poet and art collector Gertrude Stein is one of the most beloved — and quoted — luminaries of the early 20th century. In 1938, author Margaret Wise Brown of the freshly founded Young Scott Books became obsessed with convincing leading adult authors to try their hands at a children’s book. She sent letters to Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Gertrude Stein. Hemingway and Steinbeck expressed no interest, but Stein surprised Brown by saying she already had a near-complete children’s manuscript titled The World Is Round, and would be happy to have Young Scott bring it to life. Which they did, though not without drama. Stein demanded that the pages be pink, the ink blue, and the artwork by illustrator Francis Rose. Young Scott were able to meet the first two demands despite the technical difficulties, but they didn’t want Rose to illustrate the book and asked Stein to instead choose from several Young Scott illustrators. Reluctantly, she settle don Clement Hurd, whose first illustrated book had appeared just that year. The World Is Round was eventually published, featuring a mix of unpunctuated prose and poetry, with a single illustration for each chapter. The original release included a special edition of 350 slipcase copies autographed by Stein and Hurd.
The wonderful We Too Were Children has the backstory.
JAMES THURBER
In the 1940s and 1950s, celebrated American author and cartoonistJames Thurber, best-known for his contributions to The New Yorker, penned a number of book-length fairy tales, some illustrated by acclaimed French-American artist and political cartoonist Marc Simont. The most famous of them was The 13 Clocks — a fantasy tale Thurber wrote in Bermuda in 1950, telling the story of a mysterious prince who must complete a seemingly impossible challenge to free a maiden, Princess Saralinda, from the grip of the evil Duke of Coffin Castle. The eccentric book is riddled with Thurber’s famous wordplay and written in a unique cadenced style, making it a fascinating object of linguistic appreciation and a structural treat for language-lovers of all ages.
For a cherry on top, the current edition features an introduction by none other than Neil Gaiman.
Thanks, stormagnet
CARL SANDBURG
In 1922, nearly two decades before the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes, poet Carl Sandburg wrote a children’s book titledRootabaga Stories for his three daughters, Margaret, Janet and Helga, nicknamed “Spink”, “Skabootch” and “Swipes,” respectively. Their nicknames occur repeatedly in some of the volume’s whimsical interrelated short stories.
The book arose from Sandburg’s desire to create the then-nonexistent “American fairy tales,” which he saw as integral to American childhood, so he set out to replace the incongruous imagery of European fairy tales with the fictionalized world of the American Midwest, which he called “the Rootabaga country,” substituting farms, trains, and corn fairies for castles, knights and royatly. Equal parts fantastical and thoughtful, the stories captured Sandburg’s romantic, hopeful vision of childhood.
In 1923, Sandburg followed up with a sequel, Rootabaga Pigeons, telling tales of “Big People Now” and “Little People Long Ago.”
Thanks, Rachel
SALMAN RUSHDIE
Indian-British novelist Salman Rushdie has had his share ofacclaim and controversy, but one thing that has remained constant over his prolific career is his penchant for the written word. In 1990, he turned his talents to children’s literature with the release of Haroun and the Sea of Stories— a phantasmagorical allegory for a handful of timely social and social justice problems, particularly in India, explored through the young protagonist, Haroun, and his father’s storytelling. The book received a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Children’s Book that year.
One of the book’s unexpected treats is breakdown of the meanings and symbolism of the ample cast of characters’ names, an intriguing linguistic and semantic bridge to Indian culture.
Twenty years later, just last winter, Rushdie followed up with his highly anticipated second children’s book, Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel.
Thanks, SaVen
IAN FLEMING
Ian Fleming is best-known as the creator of one of the best-selling literary works of all time: the James Bond series. A few years after the birth of his son Caspar in 1952, Fleming decided to write a children’s book for him, but Chitty Chitty Bang Bang didn’t see light of day until 1964, the year Fleming died. It tells the story of the Potts family and the father figure, Caractacus, who uses money from the invention of a special candy to buy and repair a unique, magical former race car, which the family affectionately names Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Fleming’s inspiration came from a series of aero engines built by racing driver and engineer Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s, whose first six-cylinder Maybach aero engine was called Chitty Bang Bang.
The original book was beautifully illustrated in black-and-white by John Burningham and was soon adapted into the 1968 classic film of the same name starring Dick Van Dyke.
LANGSTON HUGHES
Prolific poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes is considered one of the fathers of jazz poetry, a literary art form that emerged in the 1920s and eventually became the foundation for modern hip-hop. In 1954, the 42-year-old Hughes decided to channel his love of jazz into a sort-of-children’s book that educated young readers about the culture he so loved.The First Book of Jazz was born, taking on the ambitious task of being the first-ever children’s book to review American music, and to this day arguably the best. Hughes covered every notable aspect of jazz, from the evolution of its eras to its most celebrated icons to its geography and sub-genres, and made a special point of highlighting the essential role of African-American musicians in the genre’s coming of age. Hughes even covered the technicalities of jazz — rhythm, percussion, improvisation, syncopation,blue notes, harmony — with remarkable eloquence that, rather than overwhelming the young reader, exudes the genuine joy of playing.
Alongside the book, Hughes released a companion record, The Story of Jazz, featuring Hughes’ lively, vivid narration of jazz history in three tracks, each focusing on a distinct element of the genre. You can here them here.
For more on rare and out-of-print children’s books by famous 20th-century “adult” authors, I really can’t recommend Ariel S. Winter’s beautifully written, rigorously researched We Too Were Children enough.

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Stop and Breathe… Be a Child for a Moment…

The Trees Have Hearts - Mom's Choice Award Winner!



This enchanting story of a young girl in a strange place and lost in a strange language, was written by a woman who lived it, and made of that experience a wonderful tale of beauty, peace and friendship.





After you finish reading this book to your child, stop your busy life for a moment and take time for you and your child. Close your eyes and go to a special place, where everything is simple and pure. Cuddle with your child on the green grass or golden sand… stare at the beautiful blue sky… listen to the splashing waves… spin around in a blooming garden or talk to the whispering wind. Look around you and see what is important in life and to your child.

Stop and breathe… Be a child for a moment… Dive into their imaginary world where you can hide in the shadows of blossoming trees. There was a time when my curly-haired girl taught me how to see her world through her innocent green eyes.

Do not lose this precious time together; our children grow so fast and I believe that these special moments are given to us for a reason. Hug your children every chance you get; reassure them that they are loved. They have their worries and fears, ideas and solutions as we do. Right or wrong, our children need us to understand their imaginary world and to be present in their dreams. Try to listen and hear what they are hearing and see what they are seeing. Love simple things with an open heart and you will receive unconditional love. Teach your children, lead them through their life, but let them run free in their imaginary kingdom.

I had the privilege to see this imaginary world through the eyes of my little daughter and saved those moments in my memories forever. The curly-haired girl is running free in the blooming garden. Now, it is your time, and I will share my story you



 The Trees Have Hearts was based on the story of this little girl.





© All Rights Reserved by Mrs.D.Books.




 
Follow the delightful story of a little girl who discovers the real meaning of friendship in The Trees Have Hearts.
ISBN 13 (SOFT): 978-1-4691-3479-6
ISBN 13 (HARD): 978-1-4691-3480-2
The Trees Have Hearts is available as ebook. To download e-books please go to:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

12 Tasks Every Author Should Tackle Before Publishing a Book

GREAT ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN AUTHORITY PUBLISHING
  
COURTESY OF Stephanie Chandler  

12 Tasks Every Author Should Tackle Before Publishing a Book


1. Start a Blog – Do not wait until the book is in print to start building your 
Author Marketing Tasks Before the Book is Published
audience. Write about topics of interest to your target audience and update your blog at least twice each week.
2. Write a Marketing Plan – If you want to sell books, you need a plan that includes ongoing marketing efforts. There should be many tasks from the plan that you can also begin tackling before the book is in print. Jenny Blake developed a fabulous spreadsheet with book marketing tactics that you can use as a reference for getting started.
3. Build a Social Media Platform – Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are ideal for authors because they allow you to share content and interact with potential readers. Start by sharing your blog posts. Also ask questions, share other people’s content, and engage your audience. Engage daily and develop your social media “voice.”
4. Develop a Launch Plan – Know how you’re going to introduce your book to the world. Strategies might include email marketing to your lists, social media promotion, PR campaign, a contest, partnering with other writers, etc.
5. Invest in High Quality Publishing Services – If you’re self-publishing, don’t make the mistake of skimping on services. The two most important elements of book production are editing and cover design. A homemade cover will tell everyone that your book is self-published, and sub-standard editing will leave readers disappointed (which can lead to poor book reviews).
6. Prepare Your Marketing Collateral – From printing bookmarks and business cards to writing promotional copy and announcements for colleagues, make sure you prepare all of your marketing materials in advance. Start by making a list of what you will need and then get those ready before publication time.
7. Choose a Great Title – For many authors, selecting a book title can be challenging. Brainstorm as many options as you can and then test them. Start by sending choices to a trusted group of peers. You can also survey people on a larger scale with a tool likeSurvey Monkey. And if you narrow it down to two or three, consider testing titles by buying a Google Ad for each and seeing which one gets the most clicks.
8. Know Your Audience – It’s essential to be crystal clear about who your book is for and how it will benefit them. Next, make a list of traits your audience has in common and where they spend their time. Are there trade associations where they congregate? Online communities where they spend their time? Identify all of the opportunities where you can reach them.
9. Develop a Presentation – Most authors conduct speaking engagements and you should too. Develop one or more presentations that you can give based on the subject matter of your book. Add a “Speaker” page to your website and develop a one-page speaker sheet that you can give to prospects. If you need an example, you can view my speaker page here.
10. Acquire Media Lists – You should plan to pursue every opportunity to conduct an interview about your book or have a book review written. You can purchase media lists or if you’re budget-conscious, create your own. Look for producers and editors of publications, radio shows, television shows, blogs and websites that reach your target audience.
11. Get Testimonials – Book endorsements are a great way to add credibility to your work and get the attention of readers. Testimonials should come from other authors who write in a similar genre (not friends and family!). Make a list of all the authors you want to approach, and don’t be afraid to aim big. Smart authors know that endorsements are good marketing for them too. Reach out via e-mail, keep it short and sweet, and ask if they would consider reviewing your work. Most will ask for a table of contents and a couple sample chapters.
12. Plan to Give Away at Least 100 Copies – The goal with any book is to get people talking about it and build buzz. Make sure you have plenty of books to give away to reporters, reviewers, bloggers, and anyone else who may be influential in helping you reach your target audience. Start making your list of who you will send review copies too so that you’re ready to go as soon as your books are complete.

Please do not forget to stop by: AUTHORITY PUBLISHING
Thank you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is the Stigma of Self-Publishing Finally Gone?

I found this wonderful article in one of my favorite blogs LIVE, WRITE, THRIVE
COURTESY OF Ben Galle



It’s a sad truth, and one that is almost immediately apparent to most, that self-published works can be immediately dismissed due to their origins. From readers, to blogs, to bookshops, the word self-published is often greeted with a grimace and a groan. Some of you may not have experienced this yet, but I guarantee you will in time. But why is this reputation such a notorious one? And, more importantly, what can we do to escape it?

 Cheap and Quick Doesn’t Mean Lousy

There are two main foundations to this reputation. The first comes from the very roots of why there has been such an “Indie Boom”over the last few years. Self-publishing is cheap and quick, and in any industry, this doesn’t often mean quality. This has had a deleterious effect on the rest of us.
In a nutshell, one of the reasons for this stigma is the high volume of low quality, rushed self-published works available. The large majority of readers will be unforgiving of books with no proper editing or a cover made in Word. It’s painted a poor initial view of us. Notoriety results. A bad reputation is a hard one to shrug. For readers who may have simply tried a few indie books in the past and been consistently disappointed, they are unlikely to try again. The same goes for reviewers.

 No Quality Controllers

The second reason is due to the publishers, though not directly. One of the big issues surrounding self-publishing is the idea of curating. This is the idea that within the book industry publishers are the curators of quality. Ideally, they decide what is good enough to go to print, and discard what isn’t. Whether or not this works in reality, some readers simply trust publishers to be stamps of high quality. Self-publishing has no such process, and because of that we’ve been dubbed the new slush pile. Because we lack this “quality stamp,” readers unfortunately view us as a risk, and not worth spending the money on. Combine this with the misconception that self-publishing is simply Vanity Publishing: a last resort to rejected authors, authors that therefore must not be very good at what they do, and we’ve got a community that thinks all self-published books are substandard. Who would want to buy a book by a rubbish author? This, combined with an already shaky reputation, has caused many readers, reviewers, press, and bookshops to close their doors. Many for good.
This is simply untrue. So what do we do about this? Do we campaign? Do we street march? Speak out? No, the simple answer is this: We attain quality.

 A Turn for the Best

The good thing is the tide is already turning. We are seeing Indies encroaching on the best-seller lists. We are seeing reviewers amending their policies. We are seeing dedicated blogs and sites curated by voracious readers of Indies. People are beginning to see that the lack of so called publisher-curating can actually allow fresh and new writing. The opinions are beginning to change. How? Because we are now working to avoid these stereotypes. And we are working HARD. Here’s how:

 We Are Raising the Bar

The tide is turning thanks to authors raising the self-publishing bar higher than ever before. As M. J. Rose, best-selling author and owner of AuthorBuzz.com, said in a recent HuffPostarticle: “Self-publishing shouldn’t be an excuse to not do the hard work.” Thanks to the technology of the last few years, self-published POD books are now almost indistinguishable from those that come from the offset printing of the publishers. It’s now possible to attain their level of quality, and even go better, so why don’t we? Now that it’s possible, we have no excuse!

 We Are Forking Out for It

Professional services will cost. To stand out and make sales, cutting corners doesn’t cut the mustard any more. The Indies that are standing out are the ones teaming up with professional freelance editors, the ones who are learning new skills and paying for courses, the ones who are working closely with the designers from publishing houses, the ones that are hiring marketing expertise.
Yes, we should be cash-conscious and try to publish on a budget so that we can ensure a good return. But using that logic, it’s also wise to pay for quality, so that we can reap the benefits later. Quality is our best sales point after our writing. I’m not talking thousands here, I’m talking hundreds at most. Shop around and be wise. If you find a cheap route, such as crowd-sourcing or crowd-editing, then just make sure the reduction in cost hasn’t reduced your quality.

 We Are Using Our Readers

I don’t believe that quality belongs solely to the publishers. There are a lot of good writers out there who don’t get a contract, and it has nothing to do with their writing. They can be rejected for a whole host of reasons.
Whatever you write, your readers are now your best friends. Curating now belongs to the reader. Russell Grandinetti, top Amazon executive, said this in the NY Times: “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. . . . Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.” Take from that what you will, but what I take is that your readers now have the power to influence other buyers far more than any other factor, be it a publisher’s logo or other.
Readers are now the curators of quality. People are quick to champion a good book, and many, despite those I spoke about in the first part of this post, don’t care where the book has come from. They just want a good read. Couple that with a crowd of intuitive rating, review, and comments sites such as Goodreads, or the ability to rate and review directly at retailers like Amazon, and we see readers being responsible for pushing quality to the top.
Our readers’ thoughts are now our quality stamp, and their thoughts rest solely on the quality of our books. Understanding that is key!

  We Are Debunking the Myth

Lastly, we are eager to share the fact that we are self-published. For those of us who spend time and money on quality, self-publishing is not a curse word, or a slur, or detrimental term. When I’m at a signing and somebody picks up my book and remarks on how good it looks or feels, and when they looked shocked as I say “self-published,” I get a smile. I’m passionate about telling people what I’ve done and why because I believe, reader by reader, I’m quashing the stigma. I see other authors doing exactly the same and it makes me very happy indeed!
As more of us raise the bar, we need to be vocal about who and what we are. That way more and more readers will change their minds. Reviewers will amend their policies. Slowly but surely, the tide will change for good.

 How to Achieve Quality

Here are a few tips for attaining quality.
  • Because everybody has a different view of what is and isn’t quality, always emulate the best, not just the best sellers. Examine the award-winning authors and covers artists and see what has made them examples of quality.
  • “Quality” means the writing too, not just the editing and the cover!
  • At the point you think you’ve edited or tweaked enough. Step back, and then go over it all once again.
  • With new works or rereleases, use your existing readers and fans to give you frank feedback.
  • While examining the best, also examine the worst. If you see a bad review pertaining to “low quality,” go and have a look. It’s best to learn the don’ts as well as the dos.
  • Constantly ask the question: “Is this book professional enough?” Holding your book side by side with your idea of ultimate quality can be a good idea.

Review Lists 



Simon Royle


Great list of indie sites by author Simon Royle, constantly updated. http://simon-royle.com/indie-reviewers/ Listings are current.



FabianSpaceCheck out this fantastic new resource for self-published authors! The Fabianspace SP reviewer list is long and a goldmine of potential reviewers. I hope you can find a great reviewer for your book.


Best of the Web Blog Directory: Review BloggersThis is the link to a vast list of bloggers who review books. Some are good, others not. Take the time to visit a few and see if you can find some useful links. If you get a good one, (or a new one) please contact us so we can add it to our main list.

Ottinger's Book Review Blog listhuge blog list (almost 300) of book review blogs. Some updated, some not. Worth looking at. Mostly Sci-Fi and Fiction reviewers, but a lot of goodies here. Bookmark this one for sure.


The Complete Review
There's also a great list on The Complete Review for tons of book review websites and print reviews (240 in all). It's worth checking out.  The Complete Review is not accepting submissions, but they have one of the best resource pages on the internet. 

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