Kim Weiss Publishing Services

Money, money, money – read all about it

October 2, 2008 at 7:32 am

It’s everywhere in the news. It’s the hottest hot button we know. And, when it comes to money we love to lay blame.

In 2005, HCI published a little red book called, The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge: 5 Principles To Transform Your Relationship With Money . It was written by, of all things, two psychologists and a financial planner.

The book had a funny name, but its content was intriguing. It told us that the money issues we experience largely stem from our “money scripts.” These are the self-limiting beliefs about money that drive our behavior. A lot of them stem from our childhood (doesn’t everything?!) Often, it’s what we heard from our parents, like, “money doesn’t grow on trees,” “there’s never enough,” “what goes up must come down,” or even messages that are positive.

From my vantage point as a publicist, back in 2005, the book had a message that would apply to a large audience. We all deal with money. We all had parents. Most of us struggle with money on some level.

The book actually got some coverage in the Wall Street Journal. One of the authors Ted Klontz,appeared on the weekend version of The Today Show.  Impressive exposure, but not enough to move books.

Oh well. Such is life. (I often think we publicists are innately masochistic)

Fast forward to 2008. Financial mayhem. Markets failing. Busy banks with people scrambling to withdraw life savings.


Enter co-author, Brad Klontz (son of Ted and the other therapist author). He publishes a psychological  study that examines money disorders. Ah, it’s not all about externals after all. Dr. Klontz thinks our recession begins internally. Interesting idea.

The media loves it.

I’m happy to say that Brad’s study interested The New York Times. They wrote about it last week. Without mentioning his book. Drat. But, all is not lost. Yahoo Finance called. So did ABC’s 20/20 and a producer from Oprah.

Today, the elder Klontz is being interviewed by Good Morning America. It should air this Monday.

(Please, God, make them show the book – publicists don’t usually pray for media coverage, as far as I know, but why the heck not?)

Better news is that he’ll appear with one of his clients. Her name is Wynona Judd. I asked if we could make her wear a Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge T-Shirt. If only there was time. (Just kidding, sort of.)

I can truly say, with or without publicity, I respect these authors a lot and find their work to be more than just timely. The word important comes to mind. For those who know me well, they would love to see me have my head shrunk by these guys.

Money issues? Not me. Sure, Kim.

I thought I’d share some of the wisdom from the book. I know it probably won’t apply to you and your life (ahem) but, you may want to pass it along to someone in need.  And, remember, sometimes it can take two to three years before a book hits its stride with the media.  Case in point, our mega-seller ‘A Child Called It’ by Dave Pelzer. Two years after it came off press, it hit the big time and hasn’t stopped selling yet. Stayed on the NY Times bestseller list for years.

So, be patient and don’t give up too soon. You, too may be sitting on a sleeper.

Oh, by the way, the little red book has grown a new cover and is now in paperback.

From The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge by Ted Klontz, Brad Klontz, and Rick Kahler:

1. Face Your Fear. You must admit you have a problem before you can solve it. While financial denial relieves stress in the short run, it can lead to financial ruin. Open your bank statements, look at your investments, and take an honest inventory of your financial choices and what they have cost you.

2. Visit Your Past. Self-destructive financial behaviors are often linked to painful financial experiences in your past. Maybe you were poor and could never afford the things you wanted. Perhaps you grew-up wealthy but felt guilty about it. Identifying those experiences and the resulting money scripts that accompany them can help release their grip on your life.

3. Open Your Present. Gaining clarity on your money scripts and where they come from helps open your eyes to your current financial reality. This clarity inspires you to gather information and explore new strategies.

4. Envision Your Future. Identifying your long-term financial goals will help inspire you to make needed sacrifices and take steps to achieving your goals.

5. Transform Your Life. When you get honest about your financial reality, explore your past experiences around money, replace dysfunctional beliefs with accurate ones, and get a clear vision of what you want, you are ready to take action. Find a professional you trust to help you review your goals, asset allocation, and risk tolerance, and create a plan to help you move forward.

Wise words. I hope they help you.

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Publish, POD, print your own or perish?

September 24, 2008 at 5:00 am
ah...smell the ink

ah...smell the ink


There are all your “p” choices, and believe me, I find it hard to keep up with this stuff.

To publish. To print-on-demand (POD) or to print on your own. Dying is really not necessary.

Today’s post is a very abbreviated overview of how these routes differ. Surely, you and I will both require more sleuthing. Especially before any decisions are made.


That which relies on the acceptance of an enclave of people who think they know what readers want. They take you on, they foot the bill. Unless you are very clever at contract time, they take charge of your timeline, your title, your cover, some direction of your content, your promotional campaign, your destiny. You get a buck or two for every book sold. You may have to wait a few publishing cycles for your book to be born, but you have no cash outlay (except for the hidden suggestions that you really should be proactive in marketing your book. Proactive translation: expensive)

If you get a big fat advance, remember, all that money needs to be made by the sales of your book before you see any more of it.


You hire a company to act as your publisher but you pay them. Hey, what? It’s true, but you retain some semblance of control as you employ them. They do all of the front end fussing like getting you an ISBN number, designing your book, choosing the paper, and they even offer some promotional packages (that’s extra) or a la carte services. What do you get? Books when you want them, no warehousing woes, limited distribution (be careful here, this can be misleading), and some help along the way if you need it. Beware, the company OWNS your ISBN number and your files. You are bound to them. Can’t just pick up your files and take them down to the neighborhood printer. And, the unit price for POD printing is pretty high. Hard to  profit this way.

Printing on your own:

I kind of like this option. We even have a division that does this at HCI. There something a little more freeing about it. You get total artistic license, you are the master of your own castle. Hire your own editors, proof readers, researchers, whatever you need. Take your finished manuscript, download it into some “Quark” or “InDesign” or other file and turn it over to some master printers. The more you print, the cheaper the unit price is. So, whatever you sell it for, once you get the money, everything but your investment goes into your pocket. True, you now need to investigate fulfillment houses and think about marketing your book. That’s where people like me come in – hee – hee! All kidding aside, at this phase you either become not only a self-published author but a self-marketer, too. Or, seriously, you can hire any number of very talented people to help you promote your book. For both the POD and this route, getting books distributed into stores is a little tricky. It can happen, but it’s hard. Trust me, distribution is hard even for the big league publishers.

So, if you’re an author who does a lot of lectures, special events, or have an online presence, you may have plenty of opportunity to sell books this way. This is really one of the primary secrets to the legendary Chicken Soup for the Soul success. The old selling books in the back of the room routine. It just so happened they had a publisher. The same can be done if you don’t.

If you’re just a woodshed writer waiting to be discovered and handled, these are not for you. 

Whatever your publishing scenario is, at least now there is a bigger variety of choices. And, the alternate publishing routes are gaining more respect and credibility all the time. Just be sure to do your homework, always ask to see samples of a POD or printing company’s wares. Talk to former customers. Just because a book gets self-published doesn’t mean it has to look self-published. 

I’d like to hear about your experiences particularly working with the self-publishing companies like Lightning Source, iuniverse, authorhouse, etc. You don’t have to mention them by name, but I am curious about how things went for you. I have heard mixed stories.

So, until the next time

May the force be with you.

p.s. Coming Thursday AND Friday: Your election haikus and limericks. They turned out pretty well!

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Tell me this sounds like your average beauty makeover book…

September 19, 2008 at 6:08 am

Tell me this sounds like your average beauty makeover book! Just look at the testimonials I plucked from the extensive email cache of wonder-makeover-man, Christopher Hopkins, the Makeover Guy. You’ve seen his book, Staging Your Comeback, written about before on my blog, but I just had to share the kind of feedback that he gets. It’s almost “Chicken Soupy”. Somehow, Christopher has struck a chord with women that penetrates very deep beneath the surface. It’s a lot more than scarves, Spanx and mascara. Take a deep breath,  keep a kleenex box nearby, and have a read…(names have been removed and minor editing has been done to protect the anonymity of the emailers)

#1 Every page so far has reduced me to tears.  Every excuse , every feeling , every denial has been my battle cry since I was fourteen.  I had a disfiguring car wreck.  My confidence has been still born for 42 years yet your book has given it hope and I feel the stirrings of a rebirth.  God bless and thank you on behalf of all the women who’s life you are changing without you ever knowing.  When you change a life it pools out and touches others lives with its light…

#2  I am going to be 46 this year and I know I’m in desperate need of a makeover.  I have always prided myself on looking and acting younger than my years, but in the past 17 months I look like I’ve aged 10!  Since February  2007, I have been helping my now 17 year old daughter battle an addiction to cocaine and it has really taken its toll on me.  Her story is one of great success and I wouldn’t take any of the struggles we’ve been through (or worry lines) back for anything, because she has truly become a changed person.  But, as I send her off to college 17 MONTHS SOBER !!!, I take a look in the mirror and know that I have suffered as much from the devastating affects of addiction as she has. I want desperately for her to have a “new start” as she finds her way in the world, but I want a “new start” as well.  I feel like I’m at a turning point and it’s now or never that I begin to refocus my energies on myself and my appearance as I go forward with my second act! Thanks so much for the words of wisdom and encouragement you gave me in the book.

#3 I love working in hospice, feel it is my calling and have had the privilege to meet wonderful people who unfortunately have cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and other terminal illnesses…. In the past two years I have gone from 125lbs (size 6) to 181 lbs (size 1X). I am 5’7″. The stress shows on my face, body, hair and has sucked the life out of my role as a wife and mother. Most importantly it has taken its toll on me,  a once vivacious, life-loving person. I have reached the point that I know I have to do something for the sake of my sanity and health.. I desperately want to remake myself and regain my love for life. I feel old beyond my years and very frumpy. I don’t recognize the reflection looking back at me in the mirror. I have taken the first step by changing jobs and have started a very healthy diet to not only make me look better but to help with the gnawing feeling I feel in my stomach everyday. What I am asking is would you help me makeover my looks?

#4  I don’t really have a question, just a note of thanks. For the first time in seven years, I feel hopeful that I can look okay again. I bought Staging Your Comeback yesterday. Boy, did I need it. Six years and eleven months ago, my world fell apart in many ways-illness, miscarriages, job losses, financial hardship, you name it, I’d been through it. I was newly married at 40 and in my first year of law school, but I stuck it out and learned how to walk, talk and think again after severe illness. However, the traumas took their toll on my psyche and looks. I look sick and tired…and feel it, too. But this book offers clear, realistic advice yet delivered stunning results. And the pictures are so beautiful. I’m thinking…maybe it is time for my comeback. I’m going to read it thoroughly and try some of the tips. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and gifts.

Yes, it’s true. I represent this book at HCI. How lucky is that? You can be sure that I’ll only include items on this blog that have meaning for me and hopefully for you. Corny as it sounds, I can think of nothing better than touching people’s hearts, this time in the most unexpected package. I don’t know about you but I love surprises.

So, what’s the verdict? Does this sound like your average beauty makeover book?

I think not.

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What? New Age books popular in the Bible Belt?

September 16, 2008 at 7:09 am

Are New Age books popular in the Bible Belt? If so, can someone tell me why?

And, the bigger question is: do you (like me) consider central Florida part of the Bible Belt?

Well, even if Lady Lake, Florida isn’t part of the actual belt, it’s certainly close enough to qualify as the suspenders or maybe the garters of it.  When you’re from the suburbs of New York City, it doesn’t take much to activate your radar for these kinds of places. A church on every other block is usually my first clue.

Why do I bring up this place?  You see, I had reason to spend the weekend at a hotel in the Spanish Springssquare of a place called The Villages, a veritable 22,000 acre haven for aging golfers. Besides the fact that I felt like I was on a movie set modeled after the town square in Santa Fe (one of my favorite cities on the planet), I had an opportunity to visit the local Barnes & Noble.

While there, after doing an unofficial spot check for HCI Books, my celebrated employer, I roamed around the store. (For those of you in the book publishing business, perhaps you’ve enjoyed a spot check or two that entailed turning your books from “spine out” to “face out”. This isn’t exactly a legal tactic, but us loyal publishing soldiers sometimes can’t help ourselves. I have yet to hear about any incarcerations for this.)

On the suggestion of a friend, I began hunting for a book on the Enneagram* (they tell me I’m a “4” in this personality typing system – which translates loosely to “I feel a lot” or something). My instinct, which turned out to be incorrect, was to check the New Age section.  To my surprise, I found a very big section housing this category. Something like four entire waist high book cases. That’s about 3-4 shelves per case. In other words, a whole lot of astral travel, past life regression, aura seeing, tarot cards, numerology and astrology books.

No enneagrams, though. That was shelved in the “self-improvement” area, which by the way, was EVEN BIGGER!.

Whatever my preconceptions are or were about the average church-centered community resident, I was way off.  Apparently, it’s not all Bible study and hallelujahs. If the local B&N was displaying this large number of metaphysical tomes right out in the open, then perhaps the locals themselves were accepting of alternative ways of thinking. That was a refreshing revelation for me.

I couldn’t help but notice that the Jewish studies section was microscopic. That could have something to do with why there were no synagogues in my view. We do like to golf. As far as reading’s concerned, does People of the Book,’ ring any bells?

So move over St. Peter and let Edgar Cayce, Sydney Omar, Esther and Jerry HIcks, and Sylvia Brown have their 15 minutes.

When I see New Age books in the Bible Belt, or let’s be fair and just call it what it is, Central Florida, I have hope. Not that I think anyone should abandon their roots or their religion, or that I advocate any particular strain of New Age-ism (usually, I’m cynical about both), I am just happily relieved to know that people that you least expect are actually exposing themselves to more than one way of thinking.

I find that healthy.

Excuse me now while I visualize white light, chant my mantra, attract my soul mate and activate my money magnet. While sitting in lotus position, of course.

But, most likely, I’ll be facing Jerusalem.


* p.s. let me recommend a good book on the Enneagram: The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson.

p.p.s. let me recommend a good friend who is wise in the ways of the Enneagram, Aimee Bernstein. See her site at:

In fact, Aimee’s doing a teleclass on the Enneagram tomorrow, September 17,  registration is still open (just note that the date listed as Sept. 10 is now Sept. 17):

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Guest Blog: Personal branding and your book — Toying with talking points

September 11, 2008 at 6:38 am

I’ve been asking my dear friend, Judy Martin, to contribute a post to this blog, and today, she delivered. Personal branding and your book and talking points are her subjects and something many of you will want to know about. Judy, who I think of as my little sister, is an up and comer in this great big world. She’s an award-winning broadcast journalist, a peace activist, a media trainer and a great writer. We’re lucky to get a complimentary slice of Judy’s magic. There’s some very valuable advice ahead, so take it all in. And now….here’s Judy!

Spread way to thin in her world of marketing, a recent client hired me to hone-in on her many gifts and articulate her unique message. We met for an entire day in an effort to tap those laser-sharp talking points that she knew laid dormant in her consciousness about her work. She was so darn good at promoting other people, but when it came to discussing her own work and in fact the book that was bursting to be born within her – she entered a shy-zone. 

This was odd coming from a woman so passionately dedicated to helping others on their journey of entrepreneurship. She has already had incredible eras of success, but was now in somewhat of a transition and was toying with her talking points to figure out how to approach writing her book.  What emerged shocked us both – an original first outline for her book, and subsequently a book proposal. A month later she had a book deal with a major business publisher. 

Hard to believe – but a true story which I embrace and share. When you align your core values with your work and are doing the work you love, inevitably the universe (or whatever term you are comfortable with) has a tendency to support you. Still, as we all know – we must do the work to trigger the information download. 

When my client made the commitment to move toward completion of this book project, she knew she had to be different, and use her unique voice to make a significant impact in her field. She tapped that inner resource – which we all have and can cultivate –  to take her business to the next level and write a book.

 YOUR Individual Message

There is a depth to your message as an expert which no one else on this planet offers. That’s because you are delivering it through your lens of awareness – in your voice. Deliberate talking points will be heard above the rest no matter what kind of work you do, and in fact are a part of your personal branding power. 

Another client recently contacted me about her desire to hone in on one message. The problem was that she was so good at so many things, and delivered in three completely unrelated fields of work, that she wasn’t sure which area to focus on. This dilemma was causing a disconnect in the structure of her business and in fact – she was in the midst of an identity crisis from a business perspective – although she was highly skilled. 

After a few hours of working together it became evident that she was actually a one stop shop for marketing, branding, and interior design. Instead of highlighting one particular skill – she merged them. She gave them all a voice in an integrated way and now has more business than she knows what to do with. 

An Integrated Approach to Your Message

It’s that integrated approach that we have shunned in the past because traditionally we were taught to concentrate on that one Big corporate career which would drive our pension and lead us into retirement. That’s not the case anymore. We are a multi-tasking, multi-skilled society in a 24/7 global marketplace. We can work from anywhere in the world. But so can everyone else which means that the internet, media, advertising and marketing venues are being flooded with information.

 Scores of professionals in your field are all vying for attention. One of the best ways to attract clients and/or the attention of your boss is to emphasize your unique qualities and gifts. For many, that means digging into the real meaning of your passion behind your work, and bringing that passion to the surface by articulating it through a more integral approach. It’s also about finding your story – a unique narrative. Exploring the nuggets of specialty that only you can offer will help you to stand out above the rest. Also keep in mind that depending on your audience, you might accentuate certain skills above others.  

We all want to share our message infused with meaning, passion and purpose. But delivering your distinct vision in a succinct way is an art form that warrants careful consideration and planning. Producing “talking points” is not an overnight process, but here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Ask yourself, “Who am I, and what is the unique message I have to offer?” Your personal brand and/or identity is your calling card. If you are a therapist – what is your specialty? What education, experience, background makes you uniquely qualified to comment as an expert in your field? Is your message different from others in your niche?
  2. Who is your audience? If your specialty is indoor air quality – who needs to hear your message? Perhaps learning institutions, large corporations, parents with children suffering with allergies. Cull anecdotes from your client work. Know the latest trends, statistical information and   studies associated with your field.
  3. Write down the top ten points most important to you. Have a discussion with a friend (not another expert) about these ten items. Ask them to share the top three points that would make them want to hear more about your topic.
  4. Choose talking points that you can associate with a visual image. Descriptive language which creates a picture is more interesting to listen to, than random facts.
  5. Be open to using your personal story as a talking point. I know a man who decided to go to massage school after years of unrelenting back pain. He had tried all other approaches including surgery and finally realized that certain massage techniques helped him alleviate the pain. He uses his story to help and teach others. Why have you chosen your line of work and why are you passionate about it?
  6. Look out for storylines related to your field that the media harps on. Often, you’ll see the same story in a different version continuously popping up in your community or on a national level. Keep up-to-date on current affairs in your niche. Begin to develop your own talking points or comments on these issues.
  7. Be aware of the needs of the media. While TV and radio call for quick sound bites, if you are being interviewed for a blog or magazine, you might have more of an opportunity to get your message across. You should have tighter talking points for broadcast media.

 For more information about personal branding and your book and talking points and to learn about Judy’s media training work, click on:

Judy also blogs at:

Judy Martin

Judy Martin


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