Tag Archives: Self Publish

Auto-Suggestion: Chapter Four of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

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This post is a continuation of a series of posts analyzing Napoleon Hill’s curious book entitled “Think and Grow Rich.” The other posts can be found here, here and here.

MENTAL FRAMEWORK AND PROCESS

In Napoleon Hill’s conception of the human mental process, the conscious mind and the subconscious mind are two distinct entities capable of communicating with one another. More specifically, the conscious mind sends the communication and the subconscious mind receives the communication. It is unclear whether the subconscious mind is capable of communicating back with the conscious mind but it can communicate with “Infinite Intelligence” which seems to be a divine, external entity that is capable of transmitting ideas back to the conscious mind in the form of inspiration.

It seems that (according to Hill) the conscious mind is continuously communicating with the subconscious mind and the subconscious mind then works with Infinite Intelligence to manifest the substance of this communication. Most of the time this communication is not directed or is “unconscious” in nature. Often these communications are negative which explains why unfortunate events seem to happen to negative people. However, the conscious mind can hack this process by purposefully communicating with the subconscious mind through “auto-suggestion.” This is the intentional repetition of an idea either verbally or mentally. This action, especially when combined with positive emotion and actual belief in the outcome will (according to Hill) work to inspire an idea or plan to achieve the tangible result.

USING AUTO-SUGGESTION TO CREATE WEALTH

Of course Hill is particularly concerned with growing rich through the power of thought. As such, when one employs the power of auto-suggestion to create wealth, that person must intentionally repeat an affirmation or mantra related to obtaining wealth.

[C]onsider the possibility of playing a perfectly legitimate “trick” on your subconscious mind, by making it believe, because you believe it, that you must have the amount of money you are visualizing, that this money is already awaiting your claim, that the subconscious mind MUST hand over to you practical plans for acquiring the money which is yours.

In the preceding quote, Hill suggests the practitioner of auto-suggestion employ a kind of double-think. That is, he or she must “believe” that the desired outcome behind the auto-suggestion will occur and that it is the belief itself that makes it occur. If one accepts the truth of this process then one is actually believing in something that is presently untrue in order to make it true in the future, which in turn justifies the belief.

The subconscious mind or “imagination” (as Hill refers to it in the following quote) acts behind the scenes to accomplish the “how” of the desired result. Because this process takes place below consciousness, the conscious mind remains unaware as to how this is accomplished.

Hand over the thought … to your IMAGINATION, and see what your imagination can, or will do, to create practical plans for the accumulation of money through transmutation of your desire.

Knowing the “how” is not necessary according to Hill. The only requirement is that the message is conveyed with emotion and belief that it will work. Of course, mustering authentic belief is not an easy or even possible task for many people. But this is perhaps where the double-think comes in handy. If one can “act as if” he believes this might be sufficient to on some level convince the conscious mind to believe or experience the feeling of belief. As mentioned in a previous post, some of these concepts introduced by Hill will break down or become circular and confusing if examined too closely. As such it is probably efficacious to suspend your disbelief when employing these techniques.

When visualizing the money you intend to accumulate, (with closed eyes), see yourself rendering the service, or delivering the merchandise you intend to give in return for this money. This is important!

Moreover, as the preceding quote suggests, it does not hurt to embellish this process with imagination in order to make it more real and thus more believable.

EXPERIMENTAL APPLICATION

After reading “Think and Grow Rich” I became naturally curious to implement these ideas. One of the inspirations I came up with was to create a website designed to match authors with other authors for the purpose of getting their work reviewed in a non reciprocal manner. So Adam will review Bill and Bill will review Carl and Carl will review Adam. This ensures that no person is motivated to create a false positive or negative review. I have since paid web designers to create this web site. It is now live and called www.binderreview.com.

This is all new to me. At this point, my plan is to build up a critical mass of users before making it a paid service. So, if any author (self-published or traditional) is interested in both reviewing another person’s book and receiving a review I encourage you to check it out. Again the website is completely free. I just ask that you provide me with feedback regarding your experience and how the website can be made better.

At this point, I have not exactly grown rich with this idea but it is still early. Moreover, not every idea is a winner. Persistence is the key.

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How to Get a Self-Published Book Reviewed

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When I self-published my first two books I had a hard time getting them read and reviewed. I found that I was not alone in this predicament. In fact, there are millions of self-published authors who are writing and self-publishing millions of books each year (literally). Obviously, these books vary in quality. Some frankly, do not deserve to be read and reviewed. But many of them do. I suspect there are many self-published authors like myself, who put a lot of time, effort and some amount of money into getting their books into final form and available for public consumption.

The general wisdom holds that a written review on Amazon or some other platform will make it more likely a book will sell. I am not sure how valid this wisdom is. But even if the dream of making a little money from a book is dead, a written review from another person who has read the book can provide the author with a small degree of validation for the work he or she put into it. That is something.

Of course, it is no small task for someone to read and review a book. Doing so requires hours of reading and some amount of time thinking about what they have read and additional time actually writing a review. On the other hand, there is a population of millions of self-published authors who want their books read and reviewed. In other words, they are motivated to get their books reviewed.

My question is, why not get this population of self-published authors to read and review each other’s books? The obvious problem is that when two people read and review each other’s books there will be pressure to provide a falsely positive review. However, what if there were a way for this population to get together to read and review each other’s books in a non-binary way?

This is why I created the 100% Free website www.binderreview.com

Basically, what Binderreview is designed to do is match authors together in a non-reciprocal manner. Author A will review Author B and Author B will review Author C, etc. This way there is no undue pressure to write a review that is not 100% honest.

To be honest, I am not sure that this service can work. I hired a web developer to create this website for me. I am not sure they fully understood my concept and I am not 100% satisfied with the job they did. It is live now but I have not yet been able to get many people to use it. This is why it is free. I would like to have people use it and give me feedback on their experience and how it can be made better. I also want to build up a critical mass of users necessary for it to function the way it was designed. Maybe I will keep it free forever. I’m not sure – this is all new to me.

So please, any self-published author who is looking to get his or her book reviewed (and is willing to read and review someone else’s book) please try www.binderreview.com. It is completely free and you have nothing to loose monetarily speaking. I only ask that you give me feedback on your experience.

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Do You Want Your Self-Published Book Reviewed?

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In my short career as a self-published author I have published two e-books. The first, was an autobiographical look at my experience wasting time as a member of a Star Trek message board. The second, was a novel I wrote based on an attempt to write a novel in 50 days about a thirty something male who hated his office cubicle work life. Come to think of it, there was a nice chunk of autobiographical material in that one as well.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE SELF-PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

Although neither one of these books set the world on fire, I did learn quite a bit during the process about writing, self-publishing and attempting to market them. The first lesson I learned was that writing and self-publishing a book requires time, effort and some (although not necessarily a lot of) money. It should not be surprising that writing a book requires a good deal of time and effort if one is concerned about creating a quality work product. As far as the money part goes, the actual publishing of the book is not that expensive. You can spend a bit more on editing, book cover design and marketing if you want. Personally, I would not suggest doing this if this is your first e-book or if you do not have a following of some kind. Because the truth is, you will probably spend more money than you will make in the process. All that considered, I still think the creative process of writing and self-publishing is a good experience. My advice to any newbies is to try to spend as little of your own money in the process.

The second lesson I learned is that once the book is published it can be challenging (to say the least) to get the book read and reviewed. My experience being a self-published author and milling about the various websites and forums that cater to self-published authors is that there are many people who have written books and are desirous of other people to read and review their work. Some are desperate. They want this for two reasons. The first reason is premised on the dream that their book will turn into a best seller and free them from their day job. Reviews are one way to boost the profile of the book on Amazon (or other self-published distributors) and the higher the profile the more theoretical sales they will make. The second reason most likely arises once the dream of self-publishing a best seller evaporates. This reason is the desire for some form of validation. The author has put all this time, effort and money into the process and although he or she has given up the hope of recouping that investment, he or she wants some form of acknowledgment. Another person (who is not a friend or family member) reading the book and writing an honest review can provide this validation.

THERE ARE MANY SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS WHO WANT THEIR BOOKS REVIEWED

When I look up the two books I self-published on Amazon I see that they are both ranked in the 2,000,000s for their particular genre. This means that there are at least 2,000,000 other people (and probably far more considering all the possible genres) who find themselves in this position. Most will never have their book read, let alone read and reviewed.

But this then means that there are millions and millions of people who are motivated  to get their books reviewed and the obvious solution (at least to me anyway) is to have these people read and review each other’s books. However, the problem with this solution is that if two authors read and review each other’s work there will be a motivation to provide a positive review in the hope that the other reviewer will do likewise. Conversely, there is a fear that a negative review will invite a similar negative reprisal. This dynamic calls the honesty of these type of review swaps into question and is probably why Amazon and other review platforms frown on the practice.

MY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM

My solution to this problem is simple. Create a matching service that introduces self-published authors to each other in a non binary or non reciprocal manner. That is, create a system whereby Author A reviews Author B who reviews Author C who reviews Author A. In this way there is no longer the motivation to provide a falsely positive review. This is a simplified version of the process but it articulates the philosophy that if Author A reviews Author B, Author B cannot review Author A.

This is the service my website www.binderreview.com provides. For $5 you will be introduced to an author whose book you will review. In addition, another author will be introduced to you to review your book. Note, www.binderreview.com is just an introduction service. Once introduced, it is up to you and the other author to arrange the book’s transfer and decide on which review platform you want the review to appear. None of this is transacted through the website.

THE SALES PITCH (SORT OF)

Of course there are paid review services. Most of them cost over $100 and take a month or two for the book to be read and reviewed. Moreover, the review will generally appear on the paid review’s website and not on Amazon or another book selling website. But if a person has already sunk some money into their project do they really want to sink hundreds of dollars more into a project from which they will probably never seen any monetary return on investment? This is why the cost of www.binderreview.com is priced so low. My thinking was that $5 is a nominal amount to pay to be introduced to a self-published author who will review your work. Your review of another person’s work helps to defray the cost. If I could, I would provide the service for free because I understand the psychology of a self-published author in this position. But at the same time, I would like to recoup the cost I paid to develop the website and pay for hosting, etc.

The truth is, most self-published authors will never make money off of their effort. But I believe anyone who takes the time and effort to write and self-publish a book should at least have a chance that their book is read and reviewed by another person. This is the service I want to provide with www.binderreview.com.

ONE MORE THING

The only way to get this website to work is to have a certain number of people sign up to create a viable and available pool of people. I am also a little unsure as to whether the website is intuitive enough for a person attempting to use it. For this reason, for the first ten people who do sign up, in addition to being matched through the service, I will personally read your book and give it an honest review for free if you send me a copy. Also, please give me any feedback you might have on the website. My goal is to make it as user friendly as possible given my current resources.

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Exploring why Review Swaps are Dicey and the Mind of an Evangelical Christian

I burned Cate's book today in the woods as a symbolic conclusion to this project.

I burned Cate’s book today in the woods as a symbolic conclusion to this project.

The independent publishing world is a tough mountain to climb. Even though it is cheap and easy to get a book “published” it is tough to get anyone to actually buy and read the book. Authors struggle for months and months (perhaps years) to write their books. This requires lots of time alone struggling to commit ideas to paper. This requires hours and hours of editing. This requires a great deal of soul searching and hope. All this effort occurs before the author actually “publishes” his book and makes it available to the public. There is a great deal of vulnerability and expectation in this moment. The author is putting his baby out there for the world to judge and of course the baby is a reflection of the author himself. Accordingly any judgment of the book is judgment of the author. But for most authors this can be a moment of great disappointment. Because, I suspect most independently published authors never have their book actually read except by a friend or two. It is even more difficult to get a book reviewed. But if there are numerous independent authors seeking readers and reviewers of their books the obvious solution to this problem is to have this population of independent authors read and review each other’s books.

With this solution in mind, I agreed to read and review “The Child” by James Cates in exchange for him reading my novel “The Book of Bud.” I have heard it said that Amazon frowns on this type of review swapping. After going through this process I now have a better idea as to why Amazon feels this way. The problem with review swaps as I see it is that one or both parties will probably feel obligated to give a good review of the other’s work either because he is afraid of offending the other or he is afraid of a negative review in return. The flipside of this is that a genuinely positive review is automatically suspect. That said, in my initial brief interchange with James Cates we both agreed that we would give honest reviews of each other’s work and that is what I set out to do. I do not think either of us deserve or would benefit from anything less than that.

I will first say that I would never want to disparage someone who wants to create. I think being creative is the joy of life and no one, regardless of skill, should be denied the opportunity to put themselves out there. This is especially true with the rise of the internet and the self publishing industry. As I indicated above, writing a book is no easy task for most people. I know this from person experience. Cates certainly had a vision for a novel and actually performed the hard work of thinking it through and creating a finished product. For that he is to be commended and I mean that sincerely.

However, I ended up giving his book only one star because there were a number of problems. Again, I do not think giving him a false positive review would do him or me any good. But honestly, his book was poorly written. There were too many spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Some of this is forgivable but when there are too many errors of this kind it takes me out of the flow of the narrative and I begin to loose faith in the author. The plot was overly complicated and there were too many undeveloped characters that I did not care about or whose motivation I did not understand. In the actual review I go into the plot a little more deeply and I do not really want to go over that here. Suffice to say, I really did not enjoy reading his book and as a result had to do some real soul searching regarding how I would actually write the review.

The final point I would like to discuss is the Christian theme of the novel. Cates is (I am assuming) an evangelical, protestant Christian. I am a Christian of the Roman Catholic persuasion and I am definitely not an evangelical, protestant Christian. As such, I am obviously not part of Cate’s world. But in a sense this was one aspect that made his book more interesting to me because it offered me a look into the mind of an evangelical protestant Christian. In many ways it seems like a very black and white, us against them type of world. Interestingly there is not so much theology but there is a heaping helping of violence and rape. No one is actually raped in the book but there is a lot of talk about different characters wanting to rape other characters. I could go deeper on that subject but I do not want to. It is not my intent to stand in judgment of Cates. In fact I want to encourage him to keep being creative even if it never results in a single sale because in my experience being creative is one of the greatest joys in life.

James Cates has yet to review my book.

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How To Write About Painful Topics (Interview)

Here is a link to an interview I had with Gary Smailes of Bubblecow, a company based in the UK that provides editing and publishing assistance for self-published authors.

In this interview Gary asks me about writing honestly about painful topics as it relates to my first self published eBook “Shame and Internet Trolling.”

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