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At what age should you become an author?

We live in an age and a society that revels in (and reviles) being ‘too’ – being too big, too small, too old, too young, too open, too closed… All around us are the ‘norms’ – the images and ideas we are expected to aspire to and to believe as being the average. They’re pushed on us from all angles – the media we consume, the books we read, the social media accounts we follow… Diversity is not something that is often celebrated which leads to many people feeling that they simply don’t ‘fit’ into the world or role they may be seeking.

The average age that authors publish their first books is the age of 36. In fact, many of the most famous and influential authors produced their ‘breakthrough’ books at around this age: JRR Tolkien (36), Jane Austen (39), Terry Pratchett (36), John Steinbeck (36), Charles Dickens (32), Charlotte Bronte (32) to name but a few. When you walk into a bookshop and open a book cover, it is quite likely that the face staring back at you is likely to be that of a 30 something author. So is this the age that you ‘should’ become an author? Are you simply too young before this point? And nothing more than ‘over the hill’ after you hit 40? Tell that to, Jim Downing, the oldest author in the world who was 102 years and 176 days when the final draft of his book The Other Side of Infamy was accepted for publication, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

There are many reasons why authors may find their ‘writing stride’ in their 30s. From the age of 11, education is the primary focus for all young people and sadly, much of the education system nowadays doesn’t encourage freedom of creativity. With the mounting pressure of examinations, students are often ‘taught to test’ rather than encouraged to pick up a pen and to write for the simple love of writing. After years of education comes a career – years of carving out experience and finding your place within a company to secure a secure future and financial stability. Again, this may not allow the freedom to sit down and work on the novel you have brewing in your brain. Is it just the case that by your mid-30s, you have ticked the boxes you need to tick, and you have the time and security to be able to write that book which has been comfortably nestled in your mind, waiting for an opportunity to be released?

Do writers suddenly have something interesting to say when they hit 30? By this stage, have they fallen in and out of love enough, fostered and faltered enough friendships, travelled and talked enough to finally have a story that other people might want to read? Have they battled enough adversities that they can suddenly write a story with the credibility to inspire others?

Is it merely the case that by your 30s you have finally found the inner confidence to write and not care whether anyone reads it? Is it a case that your inner voice becomes so loud that you can no longer ignore it and the words spill on to the page whether you want them to or not? So the process of writing becomes more organic and less forced then it did when you truly worried about what other people thought of you and whether your writing would help you to win friends and influence people?

The answer is: who knows? These ideas may be true for some authors yet completely irrelevant to others. Who knows why 36 is the magical age of authorship? And does it really matter?

​Every book journey is individual and entirely unique to the person travelling it. The youngest published author according to the Guinness Book of Records was a 4 year old girl named Dorothy Straight, who wrote her book, ‘How The World Began’ in 1962. She clearly possessed all the things an author needs to publish a book – she had something to say which people wanted to hear, she had confidence, she had imagination, she had the time to create her book. And perhaps most importantly, she had people around her who believed in her and who wanted to help her become a published author. The fact she was only 4 years old was irrelevant.

Dorothy Straight

 

The spark of a story could be ignited at any point in your life, for any number of reasons. Take for example M. Angel who wrote the incredible Sci-Fi novel XXIV: Unbreakable when she was just 13 because she was bored in her summer holidays… Creativity and imagination have no age limit, no age parameters. To write, you simply need an idea and that can be born at any stage in your life. There is no reason to believe that your ideas will suddenly mature or become more honed when you reach the magic age of 36 and to sit and wait for that to happen would be nothing short of a waste of your talents…

Mekelle Angel: Author of Unbreakable: Find a Limit. Break it aged 13

Age is just a number. Talent, passion, skill, commitment, dedication, confidence… These are all things that can be developed at any point in your life with the right attitude and perhaps with the right guidance from others.

If you have dreams of becoming an author, don’t wait for the right time. Don’t doubt your ability and write yourself off as being too inexperienced or too old. Just write. Write for the pure joy of writing. Write to release the pent up creativity that your everyday life might quash. Write because you want to write and because you can.

And then find a publisher who is willing to help celebrate your diversity and individuality. Because being part of the ‘norm’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be guaranteed instance authorial success at the age of 36.

Here at Conscious Dreams Publishing, we work with authors of ALL ages. We passionately believe in the need to represent all authorial voices regardless of age, gender or race.  Our ethos is to publish books that inspire, entertain, educate and empower readers.

If you have a dream to become a published author, why not contact Daniella today to arrange your free 30-minute telephone consultation? Click here to book your free call and start your book journey today.

 

Written by Conscious Dreams Contributor Clare Lou

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International Women’s Day- Why Do We Need It?

Conscious Dreams Publishing

“Why do you women have a day for yourselves?” “If we are living in an equal society why do you need it?”

These are just two of the many comments I hear from both men and women every time 8th March rolls around.

Did you know according to The Women’s Equality Party,  forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act, for every hour they work, women still earn just 81p of every pound earned by men?

Did you know that on the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women only represented:

  • 8% of directors
  • 10% of writers
  • 2% of cinematographers
  • 24% of producers
  • 14% of editors?

Even more shocking, 97% of programs had no women directors of photography, 85% had no women directors, 75% had no women editors, 74% had no women creators, 67% had no women writers, 23% had no women producers, 20% had no women executive producers. (www.womenandhollywood.com)

Don’t…

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The rise of video marketing

Did you know, that after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online?

It is hard to keep up with the latest trends, the markets change so quickly it is hard to know which trends are fleeting and which we should invest our time and money into.

Marketing trends are no different, they come, and they go. One that hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and in fact is only getting strong, is video marketing.

Video marketing is currently the marketing tool of choice due to its ability to break through the noise and grab a viewer’s attention in what is seemingly a crowded and saturated market.

Currently, around 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and so creating and using video content as a marketing tool is becoming a necessity rather than an option.

Why is video marketing so effective?

Video marketing has seen dramatic growth in popularity over the last five years because of the direct impact it can have on your marketing efforts.  Video users see 27% higher click-through rates and 35% higher web conversion rates – with statistics like that, the power of video is hard to ignore.

Some further benefits include:

  • It is easy to distribute widely across various platforms
  • It is cost effective and continues to deliver your message with no additional costs
  • Builds brand awareness
  • Increases engagement with your audience and creates a buzz around your products and services
  • Drives qualified leads and easily converts into sales
  • Easy to measure the impact of your video campaigns

But I’m an author, how does this help me?

Even authors need to be up to date with marketing techniques!

Regardless of whether you are a business or what product or service you are selling, video marketing is a must if you want to be seen and make your mark.

Something that is gaining more ground as a powerful marketing tool for authors is book trailers. If you haven’t seen one before, you can check out an example that we have created here.

The film industry has been using trailers for decades as a way to inflame a viewer’s interest, but the concept also works perfectly for books, because after all – you are telling your reader a story.

Did you know, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process?

A book trailer is more complicated than you’d think, as just like with film trailers it is more than just about the visuals. Your book trailer has to tell a story in a short amount of time and convey your books central concept, tone, style and intent.

Book trailers are a highly effective way of fostering a deeper connection between an author and its readers. Not only does video help build that know, like and trust factor with your reader, but viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video compared to only 10% when reading it in text.  Hubspot also revealed that a massive 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days!

People don’t like to feel like they are being sold to. Instead, statistics show that 92% of customer want brands to make their ads feel like a story. By utilising a book trailer to market and promote your book not only can you hook your customers through storytelling, but you also humanise yourself as an author at the same time. A book trailer lets your audience quickly understand what your book is about while having the added benefit of entertaining them.

Did you know, readers are 64% more likely to purchase your book if they see a book trailer that effectively promotes your book? (Source: ComScore)

Top Tips for Creating an Awesome Book Trailer

  1. Make sure your content is excellent and the video isn’t just about the visuals
  2. Ensure your trailer has a hook, a premise, one main character featured, appropriate music and an intriguing and concise script.
  3. Make sure your book trailer is professional – a bad book trailer can have the opposite effect and cause negative repercussions for your book.
  4. Distribute your book trailer everywhere! The more platforms you promote and share your trailer on, the further your reach will be.
  5. Let Conscious Dreams Publishing do it for you!

Yes, that is right, as a brand new service for 2019, we are now offering a full book trailer package for our authors.

Our package offers you the chance to have a professionally shot and edited, high-quality trailer just like our example which you can see here.

If you’d like to find out more information about book trailers and the packages that we offer, email us at info@consciousdreamspublishing.com with the subject heading BOOK TRAILER and a member of our team will get back to you.  Be ahead of the crowd and help your book stand out this year!

Epiphanies on the Mountain

Something happened today I hadn’t planned. I climbed a Mountain called Mount Zas or Mount Zeus. I hadn’t planned to climb it; I planned to visit it.  I took the bus and, before I knew it, found myself plunged into the depths of the mountains. As the bus continued up its winding path, I was silenced both mentally and physically by the magnitude of what lay before me. I engulfed myself in that mental silence; that head space that London can never seem to afford me.

A woman who had been speaking to me in Greek the whole way there as I nodded along, signaled that it was my turn to get off the bus. I was the only departee. As I got off the bus and began walking towards the sign to Mount Zas, I suddenly felt so very small. Literally alone and minute engulfed in a realm of spectacular mountains that stood majestically like royalty. I noticed as I walked the windy roads, that to the right of me was the edge. Being the curious person I am, I decided to peer off and imagine what it was like to fall, before glancing up at the huge mountains surrounding me. It was then that I became aware of my vulnerability; my fragility. How small and minute I was and how, in the grand scheme of things, my life was just one of billions living on this planet.

I felt unsteady; rocked to my core.

 

Even though I stood on firm ground, I felt unbalanced, unstable as if I could be gone at any moment. Lost in a cloud of mountains.

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I had to refocus. The reality was. I am standing on firm ground. I’m walking on a thick, winding road. I wasn’t going to fall and if I did it would have had to have intentionally jumped only to land on a pile of rubble. I was completely safe. Although I enjoyed dabbling with the idea of a sheer drop and death awaiting, I realised that the where the attention flows, the energy goes. I’ve been walking most of my life. I know how to do it, I wasn’t going to fall and the mountain was not suddenly going to crumble because I was on it.

 

I had an epiphany that this walk was like life. You stay on the path; you stay the course. As I continued to walk, I found myself at the beginning of what looked like a hike. I had not planned to hike, in fact, I had no plans at all. I’d just jumped on a bus and headed to Mount Zas if only to witness it in its glory. I had no expectations.

 

The Greek man ahead of me greeted me with some cherries before pointing at my shoes, my beautiful sandals from Accessorize, designed for nothing more than beach walking! ‘No…flip flops,’ he said before pointing up at the giant mountain and gesturing the action of walking with his fingers. I got it. ‘A little bit,’ I found myself saying, using the comme ci, comma ca gesture.’ I hadn’t planned to walk up it but now I did!

 

As I began my walk, I could see a clear wide path laid out for us. It was an easy walk: rubbly and stony but nothing these sandals couldn’t handle. Then the clear path stopped and nothing more was carved out for me to follow just stones, rocks and a giant mountain. This must be the end, I thought, taking a knee. I sat down on a large rock and stared out at the giant mountains surrounding me. Strangely, I no longer had that fear I had on the main road. Although I was completely alone surrounded by the drops, peaks and troughs of the mountains, I felt nothing but gratitude, wonderment as I sat witnessing something that was so much greater than me, so perfectly created and steeped in natural beauty carved by the Creator of all things.  I was content with my journey as I sat meditating and soaking up the beauty.

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Having been alone for so long, my thoughts were broken by a German couple who passed me in my trance-like state. As they stared out and took photos, I waited for them to turn back and start descending down the mountain so I could return to my solitude. To my surprise, they began walking up the mountain up through the rocks following their own path.

 

I sat there amazed that no path was laid out and that the route was taken on intuition. After I let them pass, I began to ascend the enormous mountain. One foot in front of the other, through rocks, sharp stones, prickly bushes and dust. After an hour of ascending, I grew tired. I knew my sandals didn’t have what it took to get right to the top. They were pretty but had no grip or protection for the perilous rocks above. I considered walking back down but ahead of me was a dark cave. I could get there in 20mins. I could feel the walk getting harder and harder but I had to continue. The cave was my destination; I kept my sights set on that. My vision.

 

Upon reaching the cave, I felt a cool breeze emanate from it. Although pitch black and deathly silent, it welcomed me somehow. As I stepped inside, I felt the breeze on my face and an ancient dampness inside. I thought I’d heard silence before but I hadn’t. Until now, I thought silence was the absence of sound but that day I realised that real silence was the total and absolute muting of all life. Senses were acute as my eyes adjusted to total darkness, forcing my pupils to widen. For a moment, I embodied that cave, that solitude, that peace and that sense of oneness before scurrying out of the cave back through the shaft of light to the outside world.

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It was here I knew that my journey with this mountain had come to an end. I may be adventurous but there was no way I was making it up to the peak in my Accessorize sandals! I looked out in wonder at the giant mountains before me. It was just me and the mountain goats. Studying them for a period of time, I realised that they were nonplussed about ascending the mountain, getting to the top or achieving great heights. They were simply being. Perfectly content. They moved not like I would have expected them too though; they moved with the agility and confidence as they clambered confidently up and down that mountain stopping every now and then to chew on some prickly bushes.

It was then it dawned on me. I need to be more like those mountain goats. We all do. We can become so busy and so consumed with achieving more and more, we forget what we started out with. We forget to just simply be. We forget to appreciate what we truly are. Alive and well.

 

In life, I had been in such a rush to get to the mountaintop that I had forgotten to truly take in the view, to taste the air and embody the moment. Now that is Joy. Happiness is not always at the very top but right where we are.

 

The second epiphany came as I looked at my tremendous journey downhill. I realised that sometimes our lives are not carved or mapped out neatly and that we must find our own way. I asked myself if I had known how perilous this climb would be would I have done it? After all, I’d only planned to ‘go for a walk’.  Hell no, I heard myself say. But how many of us would never have attempted this life had we known the challenges and obstacles to come, how many of us would have embarked on journeys and experiences that would have tested us more than we could ever imagine and how many of us would have pursued what we really loved if we had known the hard work, effort and commitment it would have taken us to complete. And what does complete mean anyway? Does it always mean getting to the top or is every journey we take a blessing taken just at the right time? I may not have got to the top of this mountain this time, but I sure was glad that I had invested in those 3.5hours climbing. Why? Because I toned up, I pushed myself, I shaped up, I witnessed, I saw the greatest expressions of beauty in the simplest of things and, this time, this time, I didn’t see not reaching the top as a sign of defeat or failure but my depth of understanding that I knew my journey had come to an end.

 

How writing a book helps build your business and career

People want to write books for many different reasons, personal ones, creative ones, even indulgent ones, but can writing a book be a good move in terms of your business?

Absolutely.

In this blog, we will be discussing some of the reasons why writing a book could be a turning point in your career and opening doors to opportunities you never thought possible.

Being an expert

If you write a book on a subject that is linked to your career, this can be a fantastic way of establishing yourself as an authority in your field.  By writing a book, people are naturally going to assume that you know a thing or two about your chosen topic.

blackboard business chalkboard concept
Writing a book consolidates your position as an expert in your field.

It not only shows that you are serious about your profession but can help you gain respect from your peers and readers elevating your status and expertise. But don’t be fooled, anyone can write and publish a book and claim to be an expert! The content of your book still needs to be high-quality work, thoroughly researched and hopefully backed up by the experience in the field you already have.

Writing a book about the field you work can be a Launchpad for your business in a number of ways, let’s explore some of them.

Create a brand

Writing a book can be a great way of starting to build a brand in your business.  For example, perhaps your book has a catchy title ‘The XYZ Method’.  If your book is successful and well received, there is no reason that this could not be a catalyst for further work around the ‘XYZ Method’.

Grouping your work and products together in this way will help you become known for a particular type or style or work, and in turn, will help you build your brand. Perhaps the launch of your book would coincide nicely with a rebrand of your business to showcase this new direction?  Consider the bigger picture when you are thinking about writing your book, could you create a brand platform with the book as the anchor and you behind it as the authority?

 

Not only will creating a brand help you sell books in the first instance, but it could potentially set you up to build an entire product line of services. Have you ever heard of a product staircase? This is where you have an initial product which when purchased, through clever promotion and relationship development with your reader, could lead to the purchase of further products.  For example, perhaps you publish a book, then develop an online course further expanding on your book, which then turns into face to face training, mentoring services, coaching and beyond.

New opportunities

Sometimes in your career, it is easy to become static, doing the same thing and meeting the same people day in and day out. This doesn’t mean you don’t love what you do, but it can be hard to find new opportunities when you are moving around the same circles.

Writing a book is an incredible way of creating new opportunities for you and your business.

  • Through promotion and press you will be raising awareness of your services and expertise to a wider audience and from that, exciting opportunities may arise.
  • Perhaps you may be invited to a speaking event, someone may become aware of your book and feel there could be a joint working venture to be had.
  • You may be invited to sit on panels or be involved in projects because of your expertise.
  • You’ll meet lots of new people whilst promoting your book, expanding your network and have conversations that wouldn’t have happened without it. Through conversations, opportunities are born.

There is a theory called Planned Happenstance that suggests “that even if you don’t know exactly where your actions will lead, just by being active and doing the right kinds of things, great things can and will happen.” Krumboltz’s Theory

Increase Revenue

Now let’s be clear, we aren’t saying that if you publish a book you are going to be rich overnight (see more about that in our blog here), but publishing a book can lead to increased revenue for you and your business. This may be from book sales, but more likely will be through the increased opportunities that come with publishing a book.  Elevating your platform as an expert in your field, and becoming known for that, is an excellent way of being able to raise yourself into the next pricing bracket when it comes to selling your services.  Through your brand development and product staircase, you may also be able to generate passive income (for example online workshops).

Personal Development

It would be fair to say that writing a book can be extremely challenging, but ultimately, exceptionally rewarding.   Authors we know have often described writing a book as “a journey”, “cathartic” and even “cleansing.” Writing a book can be a brilliant personal development exercise, not only will you be learning new skills about how to improve your writing, it can lead to improved communication skills and through research, further increase your expertise in your field.

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“An investment in your personal development is the best investment you can make” –  Jim Rohn.

Writing a book and the opportunities that it brings may help you identify skills that you never knew you had. Perhaps you are a natural public speaker, excel at designing training or have a flair for marketing, you may not find out until presented with such opportunities off the back of writing your book.   Through developing new skills, you may be able to diversify your career in a way that would never have been possible before writing a book.

In summary, a book can be a very powerful tool for advancing your career and help you to stand out from the crowd differentiating yourself from your competitors.  Writing a book can act as a business card because just saying you’re the best at what you do isn’t enough these days, a book solidifies that claim. Thinking longer term, a book is your legacy and lives forever – imagine that!

If you are an expert in your field and have an idea for a book, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with Book Journey Mentor Daniella Blechner. Conscious Dreams Publishing offers hassle-free, bespoke and high-quality support to help you get your book published with minimal work. Working with a team experts we can help you get your book from pen to page and then even support with marketing and promotion to help you raise your visibility. We can’t wait to hear from you

 

Leaving a Legacy..the Extraordinary Alexander Paul

The only thing certain in life is that one day, we will cease to exist. Sounds morbid but this is indeed a true fact. I have been questioning our purpose in life and what gifts we are all here to bring. I believe we are all here for a reason and purpose and that we can make of our lives what we choose.

I have been recently inspired and spurred into questioning the idea of “legacy” by a young man Alexander Paul. A young man I have never had the pleasure of meeting, yet who has touched my life in such a profound way.

Alexander Paul passed away, aged 21, last year after being diagnosed with brain cancer. His dream was to publish a book and for his words to touch the world. Today I want to celebrate an amazing woman. Her name is Joanna Brown.

After she lost her son last year, she discovered a room full of poetry written by her hugely talented son. She contacted us at Conscious Dreams Publishing a few months ago expressing her desire for us to publish his collection of poetry.  Today we have birthed Climbing Clouds Catching Comets.

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Mother and son

On reading the manuscript, including a biography written by Joanna, the whole team were in awe of his talent. His poems range from humourous poems about chicken to serious topics such as mental health, depression, homelessness and police stop and searches, his battle with cancer and love for life as well as beautiful poems dedicated to his mother.

Alexander Paul was no ordinary 21 year old, although exuberant on the exterior, he suffered bouts of depression as a young man and became a mouthpiece for men with mental health issues and helped to fight the stigma against it. In addition to this, at  just 18 he spoke at The Houses of Parliament at a Tory Conference about the increase of stop and searches of young black males with no criminal record or just reason.

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Alexander Paul speaking ta The Houses of Parliament

We are all so humbled to have been part of putting together this masterpiece and fulfilling this dream for mum and son. This has been one of the most rewarding and eye opening projects yet. We are honoured and humbled.  I am full of love, admiration and respect for his mother. His poems and hauntingly powerful messages weaved amongst his poetry have shifted my perspective on life. We are all here for purpose and we are so happy to have been part of keeping his legacy alive. ❤❤❤

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Climbing Clouds Catching Comets is available for preorder now!

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Due for release 3rd June!

Interview with Usha Chudasama, author of Your Happy Child: 10 Proven Steps to Raising a Happy Child

Back in January, we began a series of blogs where we interview one of our Conscious Dreams Publishing authors. Kicking us off was the brilliant Zoe Bennett author of Networking Personified released in November 2017. You can read her brilliant interview here.

Our next interview is with the amazing Bestselling author and Child Psychotherapist Usha Chudasama. Usha published her book Your Happy Child: 10 Proven Steps to Raising a Happy Child with us also in November 2017 and her wonderful book became a bestseller the first week it was released.

Your Happy Child

Who is Usha Chudasama?

Usha is the Founder of her company Healing Feeling which she began because, throughout her career, one thing had always been present, her passion and desire to help children who have emotional, social and mental health challenges to learn preventative strategies to turn their lives around. Usha supports both parents and children and also offers well being and mental health training to professionals in her field. She works as a school psychotherapist, a freelance trainer and works with children, adolescents and individuals through both her private clinic in London as well as through her outreach workshops and throughout communities in London.

Accredited by the United Kingdom for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and registered with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), Usha is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master and trainer.

1. Usha, tell us about how you came to find out about Conscious Dreams Publishing?

Actually, I googled it! I had been with a publisher before but it hadn’t worked out and I was looking for a new one. I had the manuscript completed and a few people had mentioned Danni before, so I googled Conscious Dreams Publishing and arranged a consultation.

2. How far along were you with your book at this point?

I had finished the book so I had a finished manuscript. I just didn’t know how to do the editing. I have already had the book proofread and edited, but had to go through that process again as had Danni had her own editing team. I didn’t know where to go from there and I wasn’t sure about how to promote the book. It was at that point, and from speaking to Danni, that I realised that the book was a business and that is why I decided to go to the ‘Power of Your Story’ Workshop. After having the consultation, Danni has suggested that would be a good next step for me and my book.

3. What drew you to work with Conscious Dream Publishing and Daniella Blechner?

I think it was how Danni presented herself; she wasn’t pushy. She listened to where I was at in my journey and was very encouraging. I had lots of questions and Danni was able to answer all of them which felt good. Also, it was a personal thing; if I like the base of someone then I go with it. It was gut instinct. I felt a connection with her during our consultation. I actually didn’t research any more publishers after speaking to Danni because I felt that working with Conscious Dreams Publishing was the right direction for me and I trusted my gut instinct.

What Conscious Dreams Publishing Service did you use?

I did the full publishing and mentoring package, called The Complete Journey, with Conscious Dreams Publishing which included the ‘Power of Your Story’ workshop. From the ‘Power of Your Story’ workshop, I was able to learn about social media and how to use that. The workshop doesn’t do it for you, but it gives you guidance on what you can do so then you can go and implement it! You just need to go ahead and do it!

POYS Usha

Did the workshop give you the confidence to go ahead and try these things?

In some ways, yes it did. At this point, I had also just started working with Dean Williams from Exclusive Visions. (Dean is a Business Consultant who through his company Exclusive Visions helps entrepreneurs to grow their business). It was great having them both on board because if I got confused or worried about something, I was able to go back and ask them for their advice or guidance. The nice thing about Conscious Dreams Publishing and Danni, is that even though your programme is finished, you are still able to tap into Danni’s knowledge and ask questions. She is so helpful and generous with her advice; she doesn’t just say she will help, she really means it!

Usha, Danni, Dean

What was the most valuable support that Conscious Dreams Publishing and the experience of working with Danni gave you?

I would say that Danni was ever so patient. When you don’t know something or something is new to you, you are consciously worried about it. You suddenly have thoughts at 3 am, (not that I rang her at 3 am!) but every time I had a question, or if I was getting worked up or worried about something, she was always there, patient and reassuring. The other thing was having the book uploaded onto the right platforms and support setting up my own publishing brand name. That was a really good experience. With Danni, she is there for the authors and that is what I liked about working with her. She has the right team of people working with her, so if she didn’t necessarily have the knowledge, she could signpost you to someone who did within her team of professionals. Lucky, as because I was also working with Dean, I had great support between the two of them. The other nice thing was that both of them turned up at my book launch. Both of them! I really do value that and the support that they offered. It was like a whole experience, a whole journey with them.

What or who inspires you to write?

The thing that really inspired me? My daughter Lena. Everything I had done was tried and tested when my daughter Lena was 7, but everything started with her. There was a real penny-dropping moment for me when a parent stopped me in a playground and thanked me for changing the whole course of her family’s life. I had done some work with her son who had some anger issues and she felt that the change in him had such an impact not only on her child but on their relationship and the dynamic of their entire family. It was at that point, that I realised the importance of how much emphasis you put on your children and the impact it has on their whole life, their life as an adult and then the impact that has on their children. It was a real moment of affirmation about the work I was doing.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to write their book?

I would say if somebody wants to write a book, they either need to have a passion or an idea that has come from an internal motivation. That internal motivation should really be harnessed and nurtured. Just go ahead and do it! Even if you book impacts one person you will have done your job in the world and in society. Because that one person will impact 10. It will have a ripple effect. So go and do it!  There is a lot of personal motivations for writing a book. It can be very cathartic and therapeutic -you learn a lot about yourself- it is like a personal development journey. It was for me anyway!

Danni and Usha Book Launch

Daniella, you are quite specific about the people you work with and projects you take on, what drew you to work with Usha?

I loved the fact that Usha is passionate about what she does. She has a real mission to increase the well-being of children and enhance that parent/child bond. As an ex-secondary school teacher who is aware of the rise of mental health amongst our young people, I resonated with her book and message and felt that she had a very strong “why” and belief in the book’s impact.

As a person, Usha is very driven and determined. I love this quality about her. She is also humble and, at times, lacked self-belief. I felt that if I could get her to see how truly amazing she really is, we would be in for a great journey! I was not disappointed as I have watched Usha grow from strength to strength both in confidence and belief in what she is doing. Before the workshop, she had never done a Facebook live or delivered a keynote speech before so to see her gain confidence in her regular live shows and speak on stage with eloquence and purpose was a real treat! Consequentially, she went on to work with my partner and Business Consultant, Dean Williams from Exclusive Visions and it has been an honour to see her fly in the area of business too as it’s all linked! Working with Usha has been fab!

What did you enjoy most about working with Usha?

What I most enjoyed about working with Usha is her vision. It wasn’t just about the book but how her book will leverage her business and impact many. I loved the fact that her book would help position her as an authority in her field and open many more doors for her. Another key factor was her drive to continue to learn more and more. As a mentee, she was great as it meant as it pushed me to deliver more and see her fulfil her highest potential with her book.

 

A Conscious Dream in London, by Claire Lockey

 

How it all began

Just over 8 months ago, I saw an advert in a VA forum I am part of giving some details of a lady in London with a book publishing company who needed some administrative support.

In order to respond, you had to email with the email titled ‘I see your vision’…and do you know what? I really did.

I was quite early in my VA journey and, at the time, still working in my normal paid job as a Careers Advisor.  I remember speaking to a business advisor who told me that working with someone outside of Lincoln this early in my journey was a bad idea and that I needed to find my feet more before taking such steps.

Do you know what? I just knew. I knew I HAD to work with this lady because after speaking to her on the phone, it was all I could think about. The opportunity, her amazing business, and the books she published. I wanted to be part of it.

I really believe that fate brought me to Conscious Dreams Publishing and so, in September 2017, Daniella Blechner and I took a chance on each other and we began working together.

We actually met!

Fast forward 8 months, on the 29th March, Daniella and I actually got to meet for the first time! I came up to London to meet Danni and her partner Dean at the book launch of his incredible book Master the Basics.

 

Through working with Danni, I have got to know Dean, and because Dean published Master the Basics through Conscious Dreams Publishing, I have had the pleasure of working on the promotion of  Master the Basics and seen the organisation and attention to detail that went into organising the book launch.

Master the Basics Book Launch

It is hard to put into words what an incredible evening the launch of Master the Basics was. From the moment we arrived and the friendly faces started to filter in, it felt like I was attending a family party or a wedding, certainly something to celebrate! The atmosphere, the feeling of love and genuine pride in Dean were clear to see by all.

The launch was organised to perfection; there was never a dull moment. The evening was scattered with testimonials, Q&A sessions and everyone was incredibly generous with their advice and the value offered to the audience.

A handful of Dean’s clients spoke about the impact Dean had, not only on developing and growing their business but on them personally. Dean has a magic about him, an infectiously positive attitude and the honesty, warmth, and challenge that he gives his client is the key to his success.

 

Dean is driven, motivating and inspirational, showing that even with challenges in life, you decide what happens. You decide what path to take and what frame of mind accompanies you on your journey.

I have never attended an event with so much laughter before. I left, my jaw aching from smiling and laughing so much and feeling totally and utterly inspired. Dean even gave me the opportunity to get up and speak to his audience about my own business, again just demonstrating the support and warmth he shows to everyone.

Master the basics photo group

If you would like to learn more about Dean and the work he does with his company Exclusive Visions, you can visit his website here!  Also, I would fully recommend grabbing your very own copy of the amazing Master the Basics.

From a book launch to a book idea

After attending Dean’s launch the Thursday evening, I was lucky enough to be attending the first session of the amazing Power of Your Story workshop with Danni on Saturday morning.

I have always wanted to write a book, I have just never really known what about. Since I was a child, I have collected beautiful notebooks, but I can’t always bring myself to use them. There is something about a brand new notebook- the possibility of what it could be filled with!  The pressure to craft beautiful words to fill the pages is almost too much, so they stay safely tucked away, stories remain untold.

My desire to write crept up on me like the sun creeping over a hilltop. Slowly, but surely it rose, the light of realisation filled me. I need to write. Working with Danni helped me realise that and after seeing her incredible authors achieve their dreams, I wanted to be one of them.

I initially was going to the Power of Your Story because I was already in London. I do a lot of work for Danni promoting the workshop and so it made sense for me to see what it was all about.  Little did I know, that after leaving Dean’s workshop on Thursday evening, I would feel so inspired that I would attend Saturday morning with a clear vision of my book!

It is like someone flicked a switch. Out of nowhere, my book came to me. In fact not only the book but a whole business strategy and plan helping me diversify my business in a way that I had been looking for.  Surrounding myself over the weekend with such amazing people filled me with ambition and motivation.

The Power of Your Story Workshop has been taking place in an amazing, creative bookshop called The Ship of Adventures. It is the perfect setting for the workshop; imagination flows throughout allowing your thoughts to roam free and ideas to be born in a safe and supported environment.

As the ladies filed in, there was an immediate hum of excitement and nervous energy in the air. The beautiful workbooks laid out on the table greeted us as well as a reassuring and genuine hug from Daniella herself, and then we were off!

 

Like Dean, Daniella’s passion for what she does is like a beam of golden light. So powerful, it hits you and lights up all surrounding it in its splendour. Her ability to question and gently challenge allows you to gain a clearer vision of your book and ultimately find your ‘why.’ She generously and whole-heartedly shares her knowledge with you because she genuinely wants to help you give birth to the book that you have inside.

In our modern lives, we juggle so much pressure every day. Our families, our work, and all our responsibilities – our minds are always busy.  Rarely do we allow, or indulge ourselves the time to put everything aside and focus our energy on something that we want to do.

The Power of Your Story allows us this space. It is simply magical. Surrounded by nine other women, hearing their ideas and their stories, I felt empowered.  I felt my worth and I felt capable.

I only spent three hours with the group as unfortunately, this time around, I was not able to attend the full workshop. What is for sure, is that I will be booking on to a full workshop by the end of 2018!

My advice would be for anyone that has a book idea and would like to make it a reality, The Power of Your Story is the perfect place for you.

If you would like to discuss your book idea with Daniella or would like any further information about the next Power of Your Story Workshop, please book your free 30-minute consultation with the Book Journey Mentor herself here.

If you would like to find out more about me and my services at Lockey PA, I would love to connect with you via:

LinkedIn

Facebook

Book Discoverability

According to the Guardian, in 2014 UK publishers released more than 20 new titles each hour, meaning the UK published more books per inhabitant than anywhere else in the world.  Book discoverability, it’s easy to assume then, is now even harder than ever.  In a sea of new titles, how do you get yours to stand out from the crowd?  How do you get discovered?

But wait… let’s think about this for a second – how many authors are actually ‘discovered’?

The dictionary definition of discovering is to ‘find unexpectedly’.  This brings to mind buried fossils uncovered by accident on a sandy beach.  Being discovered has a sense of being unearthed, found, and located – someone finding it.

fossil

So, with your book in mind, if being discovered if about people finding it, then we need to ensure it is in the right places in order to be found!

Is it all about the book?

It is easy to think when you are writing a book that everything is about, well, the book! And although a major (and perhaps the most important) aspect of the author’s journey, as without a book you have nothing to market – it is not the only aspect to take into consideration. Even if you have the most amazing book in the world – if you are not able to market this and make it visible to your readers to ‘be discovered’, then you are not going to get the sales and reach you desire.

Being discovered

Being discovered as an author has almost a romantic feel about it, doesn’t it? Images of your book, the book you poured your heart, soul and probably finances into, gets unexpectedly discovered and overnight becomes a best-selling sensation and thrown into the spotlight. Within a week you are top of the bestsellers list, your book is becoming a movie and you are invited to red carpet events because everyone knows your name.

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This does happen, sometimes. Authors such as E.A. James and the Twilight series (you can read more about popular author’s journeys on our blog here.) come to mind. In reality however, only a tiny percentage of authors get ‘discovered’ in this way.

Building your brand

So, you could wait for this to happen.  Or, for the more productive of us, you could set about ensuring your book is as discoverable as it can be.  In order to do this, we need to make sure your book is in all the right places and is as easy to find by your ideal audience as possible.

We also want to ensure you build your brand, and your audience to become loyal readers because by doing this over the year’s your brand will become more well-known and edge you closer to the bright lights of stardom you may seek.  It means the next time you publish a book, you already have a following.

Being a successful author isn’t just about being an excellent writer, it is also about being about to promote yourself, your book and your brand.   You can read more about views of success on our blog Top Five Successful Self-Published Authors.

Some top tips

There are so many ways and so many things you can do to build your brand and promote your book that is can seem quite overwhelming!

Our advice would be to start with what you are comfortable with and go from there.  Each week try something new from the list, educate yourself and inform yourself by researching or seeking advice from the experts. Use your network to empower yourself and develop your skills!

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10 key things you can do to help your book be more easily discovered are:

  1. Reach out to people and other writers by being present (you can do this by commenting on social media in groups of interest, communicating and sharing value via your social media pages – encouraging people to follow you).
  2. Create a solid marketing plan for your book.
  3. Use social media (this one is incredibly important!
  4. Understand how to use hashtags, keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to help your book be more discoverable online.
  5. Attend conferences and events to help expand your network
  6. Get involved (with local events, charities and groups)
  7. Build a list of subscribers to reach out to – do you have a website and send a newsletter? (Keeping your audience up to date is a perfect way to help connect with your readers and retain their loyalty.)
  8. Create an air of excitement – you need to start marketing your book way before it is published and released.
  9. Once your book has been published ask for book reviews to increase your books reputation and feedback scores.
  10. Know your audience
  • Who is your ideal reader and where will you find them?
  • How will you connect with them and ensure your book is visible to them?
  • How will you ensure your book is accessible to them?
  • How does your target audience tend to shop – online, bookshops? (By knowing this you will be able to ensure you position yourself in the right way and at the key times).
  • How easily are they influenced – reviews, recommendations?

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to promotion and marketing yourself as an author and building your brand, but don’t let that put you off!  Pick some of the points that you feel comfortable with and begin that way.

If you would like any more information about how Conscious Dreams Publishing can help you with building your brand and marketing please get in touch.  We have a brand new press release package to help your book be more discoverable once published! Get in touch for more details on info@consciousdreamspublishing.com

 

 

International Women’s Day- Why Do We Need It?

“Why do you women have a day for yourselves?” “If we are living in an equal society why do you need it?”

These are just two of the many comments I hear from both men and women every time 8th March rolls around.

Did you know according to The Women’s Equality Party,  forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act, for every hour they work, women still earn just 81p of every pound earned by men?

Did you know that on the top 100 grossing films of 2017, women only represented:

  • 8% of directors
  • 10% of writers
  • 2% of cinematographers
  • 24% of producers
  • 14% of editors?

Even more shocking, 97% of programs had no women directors of photography, 85% had no women directors, 75% had no women editors, 74% had no women creators, 67% had no women writers, 23% had no women producers, 20% had no women executive producers. (www.womenandhollywood.com)

Don’t get me started on the percentage of women in Parliament and Executive roles. I think it is fair to acknowledge that whilst there has been some progression in gender inequality, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of bridging that gap of inequality. If we are not present or active in major decisions that effect this world or even how society sees women creatively such as in Advertising, TV, Film and Marketing, then, we have no say in how we shape this world and the perception of women thus, we still live very much in a “man’s world.”

 

International Women’s Day, is not about Global Domination (tee hee) it is about recognising the achievements and efforts made by great women before us who paved the way to bridging that gap and reclaiming our voice and position in society. It is about acknowledging their journey and also taking a moment to appreciate the path that they paved and using that to inspire our own paths and ignite our own Power.

Long gone are the days where women had to protect their identity and adopt male pen names or pseudonyms to be taken seriously in the publishing world. Today, we use our own names loud and proud.  Conscious Dreams Publishing is so proud to have worked with so many incredible women with powerful and inspiring stories and are honoured to give them a platform to have their voices and stories shared and heard.

In saying this, here are my Top Five Inspiring Female Authors

 

Dr. Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of us”– Dr Maya Angelou

mayaThis is one of my favourite Maya Angelou quotes and one I frequently use in my talks. The late, great Dr Maya Angelou is one of my all time heroines. She, above anyone, knows the agony bearing an untold story inside creates. She became a selective mute for five years having endured trauma that would have broken many. I first heard of her after reading her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at age 12. I will always remember the connection I felt as I read her experience of growing up in the Deep South, Akansas a city, sweltering in the heat of oppression and racism. It was reading this book that I first learnt of rape, lynchings, racist oppression and Civil Rights. She taught me that no matter what we go through in life, we ALL have the potential to gather our Strength and resilience and become greater than that which we experience. Upon reading I Rise, I admired her unapologetic defiance and pride and love for Self and since then, I read every single book she wrote from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to A Song Flung Up From Heaven. Dr Maya Angelou, I salute you!

 

 

Anne Frank

“Despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart”~ Anne Frank

Anne-Frank

These are just some of Anne Frank’s powerful words. Anne Frank is, to me, an absolute miracle. At such a tender young age, not only did she possess the wisdom of an Old Soul but a pure and innocent heart.

Born Annelise Marie Frank in Germany 1929, Jewish born, Anne Frank moved to Amsterdam aged 4 1/2. In 1940 during the Nazi Occupation, she lost her citizenship, became stateless and found herself trapped in Amsterdam unable to escape from the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1942, she, along with here family, went into hiding behind her father’s bookcase for two years. Here, she found her dairy given to her as a a birthday present and recorded her experiences, thoughts and feelings during this time in her life.  Anne Frank and her family were arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and she and her sister were transported to  Bergen-Belsen then Auschwitz  concentration camp where they died 2 months later. Her diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, remains her legacy.

She understood the importance of gratitude when she wrote “dead people receive more flowers than living because regret is stronger than gratitude” and despite her awful circumstances believed in the beauty of this world “Look at all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” To still believe beauty still remains and that people are inherently good at heart is both inspiring and powerful beyond measure. Anne Frank, I salute you.

 

Malala Yousafzai

“One child, one teacher, one book can change the world.” ~Malala Yousafzai

malalaMalala is a force to be reckoned with. She is testament to the fact that we should never confuse age with courage. Born July 1997, Malala is a Pakistani Human Rights Activist and well known for advocacy for the education of women.

Born in Mingora, Khyber, Pakhtunkhwa, her family ran a chain of schools in the region and she was inspired by her father, Ziauddin’s humanitarian work. He promised Malala that she too would go to school and have access to education and treated equally in his home.

Growing up in Swat Valley, often called the “Switzerland of Asia,” Malala shares Ziauddin’s love of learning. She spends her childhood playing outside and exploring new worlds in books. However, in 2007, Taliban militants take control of Swat. They ban many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforce harsh punishments, including public executions, for citizens who defy their orders. In December of 2008, the Taliban issues an edict banning girls from going to school. (www.malala.com)

In 2009, she began writing a blog for BBC Urdu about her experiences living under the Taliban regime and feelings about her school closing down. she writes under the pseudonym Gul Makai to prevent the Taliban from discovering that she, a girl, is the author behind the blog and to protect her identity. After reading Malala’s blog for the BBC, The New York Times features Malala and Ziauddin in a short documentary about their life and fight to protect girls’ education in Swat.

However, the critical acclaim put her life in danger and she was later shot by a masked Taliban gunman who asked for her by name before shooting her in the neck, shoulder and head. Despite this, she survives and despite fear of retaliation she speaks out against injustice and publicly campaigns for girls to go to school. July 12th, 2012, was the day she first speak out publicly after her attack in Nov 2012, and this is now called “Malala Day”. In 2014, she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition for her phenomenal work in campaigning against inequality and setting up schools for women affected by gender inequality and poverty all over the world! Malala Yousafzai, I salute you.

Today, I ask you who inspires you and why and how will you inspire others?

 

Daniella Blechner

www.consciousdreamspublishing.com