*

Archive for the 'How to Be A Bestselling Authorpreneur' Category

How to finish a book, film-script or any other stalled project: knock the bugger off

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

 

“Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.” ~ Heather Morris

I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer. As you can appreciate this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration we all felt encouraged, emboldened and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope. Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects,  but I was also reminded of the finality of life.  For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival, and who used the infinitesimal freedom of movement his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive.

As Heather said to me, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“BTW my book is the true story of the Tattooist in Auschwitz concentration camp and the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that danteesque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married and lived very happily for over 50 years.”

I invited Heather to share her story and she generously emailed me the below:

I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003.   I was 50 years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays, he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier. 

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita’. 

Over the next three years our friendship grew as slowly his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.  

It didn’t matter.  I fell under his spell. 

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent?  Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted convoluted story I was starting to make sense of, the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me. 

It was all of these things and more.  I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov.   It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay.   He got to read it and loved it. 

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died.  At that time I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years but failed to ‘get it up’.  

I took the option back and after a rewrite started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world.  It did well, often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Awards in 2016

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told’; that it was ‘oscar bait’.   But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium. 

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion’, I did a Kickstarter campaign to  raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up. 

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.  

I was getting no-where. 

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain.  In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary said ‘knocked the bugger off’. 

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story.  The have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.  And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it. 

I am now 64-years-old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully in 2-3 years time a film.  

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.  Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way.  I tell myself it is The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.  

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story.  I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.  

A lot of very talented people / editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honoured to have my name on.  My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.  

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favourite screenwriters William Goldman who references the children’s book ‘The little engine that could’.  

“Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.”

Harper Collins have come on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent! She began with a film-script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via the Internet—and opportunity then came knocking.
It’s a reminder to us all that many times you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset. As Heather said, “Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me.”
Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich, most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.
Later, more good news came too—her brother’s cancer has taken a u-turn. The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk one of the tumors in his lung, and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease. Who knows what further miracles the future will bring. But we all agree—there is power in story and in creativity!
So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to make it big!

Did you enjoy this post?

Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

5 ways to be super inspired in your everyday life

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Yes, I’m about to engage in shameless name-dropping, but hey…I’m so excited about the passionate people who banded together last weekend  to inspire, support, encourage and cheerlead people’s quest  for success.

Last weekend’s I had the huge joy of attending the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference. Aptly named, “All You Need is Love”, the conference’s theme captured the key messages contained in my newest #1 best-seller, The Art of Success. It’s a book dedicated to love.

Here’s 5 of the many things I learned from attending the conference that may ignite the seeds of your own inspiration and fuel your success.

1. Surround Yourself with Positive People.  It’s incredibly inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by people who are either pursuing, or have achieved the things, you also aspire to. I loved hearing how successful some of my fellow writing friends have become since I last saw them. Especially my tribe from my former home city, Wellington.

Leanne Morgan, for example, writing as Leanna Morgan, currently also working as the head librarian at New Zealand’s Kapiti Library, has forged an incredible career writing romantic fiction and publishing these herself. Her income has flourished so much so that she’s resigned from her librarian role to concentrate on writing full time. Her story is a fabulous reminder to us all that your day job can feed your dream career and, if and when the time is right, allow you to transition safely to the next chapter in your life.

The same can be said for former Wellingtonian and now USA Today Bestselling Author, Bronwen Evans. Bronwen’s first manuscript, INVITATION TO RUIN, was completed late 2009, and was sold to Kensington Publishing early 2010, in a two book deal. Her debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards – Best First Historical. Invitation to Ruin was also won the RomCon Readers Crown Best Historical 2012.She’s since gone on to win the RomCon Readers Crown three times. Her first book in her Disgraced Lords series hit the USA Today bestsellers list and she has hit it several times since. Her success is even more inspiring because she also worked in a ‘conventional career, ‘ while writing, but because she is also dyslexic.

2. Connect with the pro’s. One of many international experts who spoke at the conference was Hollywood-based story consultant, author and lecturer Michael Hague. His passion for storytelling and love of films was super inspiring—reawakening my own slumbering passions and instilling in me an even greater commitment to mastering the art of great story telling. One of the things I manifested prior to going to the conference was having Michael sign one of his books that I had purchased, “Writing Screenplays That Sell.” So I was elated when he suggested this pose for this piccie, and invited me to join him and another successful Kiwi romance writer, Tessa Radley, to see the Auckland sights. Michael has worked with some  of  the most successful people in Hollywood, including actor and producer Will Smith, and after hearing him speak and reading his book, I can  appreciate why.

3. Visualise and Affirm For Success.  Mindset is  everything.  Before going to the conference I visualised successfully pitching several of my works of fiction to literary agents and editors. Then when the  time came for my appointment I felt so nervous I almost didn’t turn up. But I put on my big girl pants (or rather my favourite dress), reminded myself that these powerful and influential people weren’t defined by their job title, but were also just normal people like me, affirmed my belief in my stories, practiced my pitch, visualised success and showed up—reminding  myself to also have fun. The result? I walked away with all two international editors from big publishing houses, and one New York based literary agent, interested in acquiring my work.

4.  Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.  Following on from the example I gave above, it’s important to discuss the fact that people always think that I’m a naturally confident person. The truth is I feel fear just like you do. I tremble at the thought of meeting new people, and quake at the idea of self-promotion. But I’ve learned that to achieve success I must control my fears, believe in my dreams and take action on my goals.

Currently the NY-based literary agent has three partial manuscripts of mine and is assessing my self-empowerment books, including offering to help me negotiate a recent request I’ve received from a Vietnamese publisher for the translation rights for my  Mid-Life Career Rescue series, and The Art of Success.

As they wrote  to me, “In Vietnam, more the 40% percent student choose the wrong career after graduation. So we think that your books are very useful for young people in Vietnam. It’s would be great if we could have your titles in our books line.” I’m thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to help more people make life-affirming choices.

If fear or low self-esteem is something you struggle with, make this your no.1 self-development focus. I have a new book coming out this month which I know will help. More about that in my next newsletter. If career dissatisfaction is  weighing you down you may like to  check out my other  books already available on Amazon. Simply navigate to my author page here >> Author.to/CassandraGaisford.

5. Invest in Your Dreams. Going to the conference wasn’t super expensive, but it did cost money. Hotels, conference fees, air travel, and  attendance at Michael Hague’s one day, ‘Story Mastery’ workshop. But I treat such expenses less as a cost but more as an investment. One I intend to maximise. So when Michael said he’d love to work with me on developing my story Mona Lisa’s Secret I didn’t hesitate to pay for a coaching session. Afterall, as a coach myself I know  the value of working with a pro, and paying the best, to  fast track success.

So yes, I did some name-less name dropping but I hope you’ll appreciate the theme. To be inspired you need to surround yourself with inspiring people and invest in your own success. You may not be able to get to a conference but that needn’t stop you. There’s plenty of online forum’s and virtual workshops you can attend. Michael Hague, for example has video copies of his international workshops which you can purchase and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Other experts will too.

I’ve also written about and sharing inspirational stories of success in my series Mid-life Career Rescue. Like Annie Featherston’s metamorphic rise from disillusioned teacher to award-winning romance writer in Mid-Life Career Rescue What Makes You Happy.

Many of the above tips and more easy to implement strategies can be found in my latest #1 Amazon bestseller The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, available now in print and eBook from Amazon here getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

I hope you’re feeling inspired after reading this post. I’d love to know what resonated with you.

Love and best wishes

Cassandra

P.S. If you’ve read my books and enjoyed them – have you left a review on Amazon? Reviews are gold to authors like me and help readers find our books. Please consider leaving your feedback on Amazon on Goodreads. Thank you!

How to perfect your book description so that it sells loads of books

Monday, January 18th, 2016
Find Your Passion and Purpose ebook coverv4300dpiIf you haven’t downloaded yet and reviewed, or you could do with a passion boost here’s the link to my new book, How To Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, available in paperback and eBook from Amazon here>> http://amzn.to/1W0IreR. I’d still value some more reviews!
Meanwhile I’ve been busy perfecting my book description. Writing a good description for Amazon is all about good sales copy. Sometimes the word ‘sales’ gets a bad rap. I like Dame Anita Roddick’s take on it, “We communicate with passion and passion sells.” She’s someone who knows! British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, she best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing natural beauty products that shaped the phenomenon of ethical consumerism. The Body Shop was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries. As she once said when challenged by someone accusing her of profiteering in what they claimed should be a not-for-profit mission, she replied, “If we don’t make a profit, we have no money to create change.”
If you are an author of non-fiction like I am, chances are you have written a book you hope will be helpful to others. To do this you need to reach as many people who need the advice you provide as possible. To attract people who need your book you need to be able to speak to their needs and desires, show them how you can solve their problems and market the benefits of your book. This is sales and marketing.
How to ensure your sales copy pops!
You also have to ensure your copy is eye-catching and heart-grabbing.
Thanks to Angelique Mroczka for her amazing step-by-step HTML guide and Paul Brodie for the tips from Kevin Kruse shared in his magnificent new book BOOK PUBLISHING FOR BEGINNERS http://amzn.to/1n5cdmH, I now have a shiny new book description. No doubt there is room for improvement but it is vastly better than my feeble attempt before…what do you think? 
 
<h3>Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Certainty and Excitement.</h3><p>What if you could increase your success, health and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence and self-belief? What if you could hit your business, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with purpose, passion and profit.<p><b>Amazon bestselling author</b> of <i> Mid-Life Career Rescue</i>, and <b>award-winning artist</b>, Cassandra Gaisford provides simple but powerful and easy to implement ways to find your passion and purpose. Based on survey research, personal achievements and her professional expertise and success as a career and life coach helping people achieve outstanding results – including lawyers, teachers, back-to-work mums, accountants, school leavers and creative entrepreneurs – Gaisford answers the question: how to do less and achieve more.<p> In <i> How To Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love</i>, you’ll learn:</b></p><ul><li>Why successful people follow their passion, not their pension</li><li>How to identify your REAL priorities</li><li>How working with passion can cure many modern-day ills – depression, anxiety, overwhelm and boredom</li><li>How passion and purpose reduces stress</li><li>How to be happy and successful</li><li>How to double your productivity effortlessly</li><li>How to boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change </li><li>How to change jobs and find a career you will enjoy, including self-employment</li><li>How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths</li><li>How identifying your PPT will increase profit, peace and prosperity</li><li>BONUS: <i>Find Your Passion Workbook<i></li><li>BONUS: <i>Living with Purpose Workbook<i></li><li>BONUS: Making Decisions and Choosing Your Best-Fit Career Workbook</i></i> </i><p>If you’re like many people who don’t know what they are passionate about or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.</p><p> If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with passion, this book will help change your mindset.</p><p> If you’re too busy, too tired, too stressed out to read a lengthy book, this concise guide comes to your rescue.</p><p><strong>Quit just existing and start really living!</strong></i><p>Buy this book now to start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.</p></h3><h3><u>Pick up your copy today by clicking the BUY NOW button at the top of this page!</h3><h3><u>
 
 
As Angie says in her guide, “Looks like a mess, right? Now put it in a HTML viewer like Code Beautify” http://codebeautify.org/htmlviewer/ (hit ‘run’)and it look like this:

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence and self-belief? What if you could hit your business, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with purpose, passion and profit.

Amazon bestselling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue, and award-winning artist, Cassandra Gaisford provides simple but powerful and easy to implement ways to find your passion and purpose. Based on survey research, personal achievements and her professional expertise and success as a career and life coach helping people achieve outstanding results – including lawyers, teachers, back-to-work mums, accountants, school leavers and creative entrepreneurs – Gaisford answers the question: how to do less and achieve more.

In How To Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, you’ll learn:

  • Why successful people follow their passion, not their pension
  • How to identify your REAL priorities
  • How working with passion can cure many modern-day ills – depression, anxiety, overwhelm and boredom
  • How passion and purpose reduces stress
  • How to be happy and successful
  • How to double your productivity effortlessly
  • How to boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change
  • How to change jobs and find a career you will enjoy, including self-employment
  • How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths
  • How identifying your PPT will increase profit, peace and prosperity
  • BONUS: Find Your Passion Workbook
  • BONUS: Living with Purpose Workbook
  • BONUS: Making Decisions and Choosing Your Best-Fit Career WorkbookIf you’re like many people who don’t know what they are passionate about or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.

    If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with passion, this book will help change your mindset.

    If you’re too busy, too tired, too stressed out to read a lengthy book, this concise guide comes to your rescue.

    Quit just existing and start really living!

    Buy this book now to start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

    Pick up your copy today by clicking the BUY NOW button at the top of this page!

This was my original description for my book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

Finding a job you want and living a life you love is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Yet, it’s staggeringly, and dishearteningly, true that many people don’t know what they are passionate about, or how they can turn it into a rewarding career. Some research suggests that only 10% of people are living and working with passion. Hence my passion for passion and helping create more positive change in the world.

If you’re like many people who don’t know what they are passionate about or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.

If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with passion, this book will help change your mindset.

Together we’ll help you get your mojo back, challenge your current beliefs and increase your sense of possibility. By tapping into a combination of practical career strategies, Law of Attraction principles, and the spiritual powers of manifestation, you’ll reawaken dreams, boost your self-awareness, empower your life and challenge what you thought was possible.

We’ll do this in an inspired yet structured way by strengthening your creative thinking skills, boosting your self-awareness and helping you identify your non-negotiable ingredients for career success and happiness. Little steps will lead naturally to bigger leaps, giving your the courage and confidence to follow your passion and fly free toward career happiness and life fulfilment.

What you’re about to read isn’t another self-help book; it’s a self-empowerment book. It offers ways to increase your self-knowledge. From that knowledge comes the power to create a life worth living.

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose will help you:

• Explore and clarify your passions, interests, and life purpose

• Build a strong foundation for happiness and success

• Value your gifts, natural knacks and talents and confirm your work-related strengths

• Direct your energies positively toward your preferred future

• Strengthen your creative thinking skills, and ability to identify possible roles you would enjoy, including self-employment

• Have the courage to follow your dreams and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change

• Find your point of brilliance

Let’s look briefly at what each chapter in this book will cover:

Chapter One, “What Is Passion” will help you explore the meaning of passion and discover the consequences of ignoring your passion. You’ll identify any passion blocking beliefs and intensify passion-building beliefs to boost your chances of success.

Chapter Two, “Discover Your Passion,” will help you to identify your own sources of passion and passion criteria. What you’ll discover may be a complete surprise and open up a realm of opportunities you’ve never considered.

Chapter Three, “Passion At Work,” will assist you in identifying career options and exploring ways to develop your career in light of your passions and life purpose.

Chapter Four, “Live Your Passion,” looks at passion beyond the world of work and ways to achieve greater balance and fulfillment. You’ll also identify strategies to overcome obstacles and to maximise your success.

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose concludes with showing you how to identify your point of brilliance. I’ve also included a link to two free workbooks.

Find a job you love and finally live the life you want. Scroll up and click “Buy Now” before it’s too late.

It wasn’t bad for a first attempt, but I knew it needed to be better.

Even with all those extra tweaks I’ve shared with you above and creating a super-persuasive book description there’s no way I can guarantee  that everyone will buy your book. BUT, I’ll bet you’ll feel better about it and agree that the chances of increasing your conversion rate will soar considerably.

I spent about 40-minutes writing this blog post just for Y-O-U. If you think you will sell even just one more book, (hopefully more) will you give me a $0.99 tip? Just…

Grab your copy of the How To Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, available in paperback and eBook from Amazon by clicking here NOW>>

*