Thursday, April 20, 2017

Becoming a Published Author!

MindStir Media put together this funny video depicting a celebratory new author. I think the video is somewhat self-explanatory. Publishing a book is a big deal. Why not celebrate?


Hiring A Children's Book Illustrator

For a children's book author, part of publishing a book also includes finding and hiring a children's book illustrator. At MindStir Media, we've been illustrating/publishing children's books since 2010, and many of our illustrators have been illustrating much longer than that on their own. Some of our illustrators are even award-winning illustrators. They've illustrated in nearly every illustration style imaginable and have worked on hundreds of picture books.

Recently, I had one of my illustrators at MindStir Media create a mascot for our children's book division. Check it out below.


Click here if you want to learn more about getting your children's book illustrated. We follow a simple 3-step illustration process and our rates are affordable considering the quality. We even include free revisions as part of the process and fees.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Interview with Author Christy Day

Christy Day is a New Hampshire author born on a Wyoming ranch in the USA. Apart from writing, she is also a passionate traveler, sailor, and she even holds a private pilot’s license. In this interview, she talks about her debut book, Walking from Here to There: Finding My Way on El Camino, published by Seacoast Press, a Division of Mindstir Media, LLC.

1.How would you define yourself? I am curious, I love life, and am passionate about doing good in the world. It goes without saying that my daughters are the most important part of my life.

2. At what age did you start to show interest in the outdoors? Growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, I was introduced immediately to the outdoors. Some of my earliest memories are of being put up on the back of a great big, gentle horse. I also remember following my father’s tracks in the deep snow. Rivers, lakes, and oceans, mountains, deserts, and plains – I feel at home in Nature and I respect its power and beauty. I enjoy writing about Nature and photographing it. 

3. What drove you to become interested in El Camino, Spain? I watched the movie, “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen and written by his son, Emilio Estevez. I found it intriguing and moving. Then a Pilgrim who had walked El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (that’s the full name of the pilgrimage) spoke at my local library in Amherst, NH, and I realized it was something I could do. Once I realized that, I knew I had to do it!

4. Why a Pilgrimage? “Why a Pilgrimage” is a question I have asked myself since I decided to do it. I am not deeply religious. Like everyone, though, I search for meaning. In the beginning, I did it partly because of the challenge of doing it. As I moved along El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I became more involved with everyone else’s challenges and searches for meaning. It is quite amazing to meet so many people of so many religious persuasions and engage meaningfully in conversation and shared struggle. If anything, the mystery of Pilgrimage deepens as you walk along. 

5. What were the logistics involved in walking 500 miles? It took me 39 days of walking which was an average of 12.4 miles per day. In addition to that, I also took two days of rest. This Pilgrimage has been in existence for over 1100 years, and Pilgrims have always been well-support. A great guidebook shows you what to expect for walking conditions and where the inns (called albergues), restaurants (called bars) and other support services are. Thios makes logistics along The Way easy. It is also made easy because of the amazing Spanish hospitality. The logistics are most important in the planning stage. Every decision you make about equipment is critical. You must have just the right shoes and socks that suit you and your feet. Your backpack has to fit just write.   Beyond that, common sense and trusting your judgment come into play. What to take and what not to take is complicated.  It took me a year to choose the right equipment, to pack and repack dozens of times, and to decide what to leave out of my backpack to make it as light as possible. 

6. What was the most challenging part of the Pilgrimage? Oh, there were lots of challenging parts. Being disciplined about the rigors of walking 500 miles was one of the most challenging – always using sunscreen, always paying attention to problems with feet as they developed, always tending to blisters and infections. The most challenging part of the Pilgrimage for me was having the courage to say “Yes, I can do this.” The fear, joy, and angst of saying goodbye to my younger daughter at the sign in Roncesvalles and taking that first step of 500 miles is something that will stay with me forever. 

7. What was the most rewarding aspect of your experience? My younger daughter told me that when I arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, she wanted me to fully prostrate myself and thank the powers of the universe for all the good that got me there. Your feeling when you arrive at the Cathedral Plaza makes you want to jump for joy. You can’t believe that you have actually arrived. Instead of jumping for joy, I fully prostrated myself. When I did, the World went silent for me. It was  as if I felt all the powers of the universe right there with me. I had a profound sense of gratitude.

8. Do you have any plans for the future? I want to spend as much time as possible with my daughters. I plan to write a novel. I want to keep traveling – lots of places to see.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is A Wikipedia Page Worth Having as an Author or Business?

“How do I create a Wikipedia page about myself?”

“How do I get my business listed on Wikipedia?”

As an author and business owner myself, I’ve heard many different versions of the above questions from fellow authors and entrepreneurs, but I feel like they’re not asking the right questions. My company, Mindstir Media, was listed on Wikipedia for a few months in 2016 (more about that later), and during that time, I learned some valuable lessons I want to share with authors and business owners alike. Surprise, having a business Wikipedia page isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it can be a nice ego boost to stumble upon your name on Wikipedia, and it can add credibility to you and your company, but there are some major downsides to having a Wikipedia page that you should consider as well…

  • Many pages include inaccurate information. Anyone with an active Wikipedia account can create a page or edit one, so Wikipedia is notorious for providing inaccurate information and not always being the most reliable source. Yes, the site has some amazing, hard-working volunteer editors, but they’re imperfect people nevertheless, and they lack knowledge on certain topics.
  • You’re not supposed to promote or advertise on Wikipedia. As part of Wikipedia’s long list of editorial guidelines, a page/article is supposed to be devoid of advertising or promotional copy. It needs to read as an unbiased encyclopedia entry and include reliable and independent references. So, basically, the copy needs to be dry and unwelcoming. It’s not the place to write a fun and exciting bio about yourself or your company.  In fact, you’re not allowed to write about yourself at all! Don’t expect a Wikipedia page to “promote” your company.
  • You need to constantly monitor your Wikipedia page. I noted above that many articles have inaccuracies and you are not allowed to write about yourself. Well, you’ll also need to keep a close eye on your Wikipedia entry for any sudden changes so that you can take action if needed. In most cases, inaccuracies are just honest mistakes. In few other cases, changes to your page are meant to harm you or your company.
  • Making lasting changes to your Wikipedia page is difficult to do. Since you can’t edit your own page, you’ll need to enlist a trusted Wikipedia editor to make necessary changes if you detect anything erroneous or questionable mentioned on your page. And then hope and pray that the changes stick and aren’t reversed by another editor/admin. Keep in mind that Wikipedia frowns upon “paid editing,” and it will be incredibly difficult to locate a volunteer editor to help you with your article.
  • Your page can be deleted at any time. There is a long list of editorial guidelines on Wikipedia. Again, the editors and admins are imperfect, so mistakes are made often. Articles are deleted every day for various “reasons.” That’s what happened to the Mindstir Media Wikipedia page a few months back. One day it was there in all its glory and the next day it disappeared because the editors decided suddenly, after several months, that the references in the Wikipedia Mindstir Media article weren’t independent or large enough sources. Of course, there are other companies far less notable on Wikipedia. This was a tough pill to swallow initially, but ultimately, I saw it as a blessing in disguise for Mindstir Media.


Due to all the reasons above (and more), I’ve concluded (for now) that Mindstir Media is actually better off without a Wikipedia page. In my opinion, you’re probably better off staying away from Wikipedia, too. Your time and resources are much too valuable to spend on a website that you can’t update yourself; isn’t in any way promotional; needs constant monitoring; and can be altered or deleted at any time without your consent. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

MindStir Media Award Winning Authors: How to Become an Award Winner

Throughout the years, MindStir Media has seen its fair share of literary award winners. I constantly preach to my Mindstir authors about the importance of winning awards... It adds instant credibility to your author brand and can also help you land speaking engagements/gigs for which you would otherwise not qualify. Not to mention, winning an award could positively impact book sales...

But you have to enter awards competitions if you want to win. I know that's common sense for most but you'd surprised by how many authors say they want to win an award and then never enter their books!

The first step, obviously, is to locate the right awards competition for your book genre. That's as easy as googling "list of literary awards for self published authors" or some variation of that. You'll be amazed by the options!

Pick several competitions suitable for your book and closely follow the submission guidelines. If they require a Word document, send them a Word document. If they want a PDF, send them a PDF. And if they want a print version of your book -- yes, you guessed it, send them a print version. Don't do anything to disqualify yourself from the competition.

Once you've submitted your book it's important to practice patience. These competitions generally all have winner announcement deadlines, so if you're a winner, you'll be contacted by the posted deadline. Do not contact them to see if they received your book. Most of them will want a print version of your book, so simply ship the book via a trackable shipment method. This will ensure safe delivery and you'll also be able to see that it was received. For those that want a digital version, I'm sure 99.9% of those sites will send you some sort of email confirmation.

Again, sit back and be patient.

If you win, great. Go out and publicize the heck out of your new award. Write and distribute press releases, add your award-winning status to your website and all marketing materials... If you don't win, just keep on keeping on. You can still be wildly successful without winning an award.

Good luck!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Teenage MindStir Media author is now a bestselling author



In February 2016 we published Reptiles vs. Amphibians by thirteen-year-old Chelcie Oparanozie. The young adult (YA) novel has since become an Amazon bestseller, making Chelcie the youngest MindStir Media author to land on a bestseller list. For more information on Chelcie, go to her official website at http://www.chelcie4books.com/. Click here to read an official MindStir Media press release distributed earlier in March.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

MindStir Media’s Gregory P. Brown MD Becomes a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author

If you've followed this MindStir Media blog, you'll have noticed that I don't often post press releases here. Most of my posts relate to MindStir Media publishing in some way, but I usually use this space for self-publishing, book marketing and writing tips. But I'm going to make an exception: I'm really proud of Gregory Brown, MD for his diet and health book, New Mind, New Body, which became a bestseller a couple months ago. Below is the press release that we sent out:

New Mind, New Body: The Inner Makeover for a New You, written by MindStir Media author Gregory P. Brown MD, launched last month and achieved a #1 spot on two Amazon.com bestseller lists. The paperback version of his book recently enjoyed the #1 position on the Hypnosis for Diets category, while the Kindle ebook resided at the top of the Hypnosis Psychology & Counseling category. The Kindle ebook also landed in the #4 spot for the Mind-Body Connection category.

New Mind, New Body: The Inner Makeover for a New You has already received praise from readers. One reader raved: “Finally, a comprehensive guide for anyone who wants creative authority for both inner well-being and the transformation of the physical body!”

Medical professionals have also weighed in, including Alison Netski, MD, the Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nevada School of Medicine: “Dr. Brown invites us to take a new approach in the journey of weight loss.  This book acts as a guide through a very real self-inventory in addition to providing practical strategies with the goal of providing long term success.”

From the back cover: So you want to lose weight, too? Transform your mind, body, and life with this comprehensive toolkit and easy to use step by step guide, which takes you through a personal self-assessment process unique to you; offers you a clear, concise, and complete system for positive self-development; and helps you change your relationship with food by starting from within. Psychiatrists can struggle with life problems, just like you. After years of going through different diets, Dr. Greg Brown recognized that to really change his body, he needed to change his mindset. He succeeded in making fundamental and permanent changes in his own life without sacrificing anything of the lifestyle he wanted to enjoy. He shared his program, The EATT Plan, with friends and family and now offers it to you. Dr. Greg's insights and experiences from his personal journey to health are paired with a fun and engaging set of tools that support any chosen diet plan.

New Mind, New Body: The Inner Makeover for a New You is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other fine retailers worldwide. Wholesale orders can be placed through Ingram. The paperback book retails for $14.99. The ebook is priced at $6.99.

About Gregory P. Brown MD:
A board certified practicing psychiatrist with a subspecialty in forensic psychiatry, his sustaining interest is in people's amazing capacity for personal growth and change. He received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas, did his psychiatry residency at Albert Einstein Philadelphia and his fellowship at the University of Rochester. He presently holds positions with the University of Nevada School of Medicine as both an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Residency Training in addition to his own medico-legal private practice. For more information, visit his official website at http://www.newmindnewbody.com/

About the book publisher, MindStir Media:
MindStir Media LLC offers comprehensive self-publishing services such as custom cover design; interior layout; ISBN assignment; printing; ebook conversion; distribution; and marketing assistance. MindStir Media also provides one-on-one coaching from bestselling author J.J. Hebert, making its book publishing services completely unique and “Mind-Stirringly Easy,” as the company puts it. To learn more about publishing a book with MindStir Media, visit http://www.mindstirmedia.com or call 800-767-0531.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

MindStir Media gives a list of 5 self-publishing mistakes to avoid

I wrote an article for the MindStir Media blog entitled "5 Rarely Discussed Self-Publishing Mistakes: What NOT To Do". The post has become very popular, having been shared/liked on Facebook over 1,500 times and re-tweeted nearly 200 times. The post covers topics such as book pricing; brick-and-mortar book sales; online marketing; editing and more...

Not to toot my own horn, but I really believe the post is a must-read for anyone who plans to enter the world of self-publishing. For most, the post will be refreshing and offer new info not seen before. For some others, especially those who have been around self-publishing for a while, the points in the article might not be new but can simply act as reinforcement. Hey, everyone needs a reminder every now and again, right?

Without further adieu, click here to see the full article.