Volume 5 | April 18, 2017
Here we go! One more round of  Conspired:

To review past issues:
  • Vol. 1: Why another newsletter? Intro to Conspired and its reasonings.
  • Vol. 2Don't Break the Chain; the Power of Tangents; Better, Not Easier; and the Three Phases of Events  
  • Vol. 3Win to the X; Defensive Entrepreneurship; Media Responsiveness; and Cold, Hard Calls
  • Vol. 4: Spaghetti & Ships; Service Marketing; Curiosity; Process Events
If there's something you'd like addressed in a future issue, whether a general matter or something unique to your book, please  drop me a line.

Sharon Woodhouse
Book publisher, publishing consultant, and small business coach
Everything Goes Media, Lake Claremont Press, and Conspire Creative
Big Ideas

Hustle, Grit, and Going to Work

Radio show host, career and relationship expert, and criminal lawyer Mel Robbins in her TEDx talk, “How to stop screwing yourself over,” makes a hilarious and brilliant case that these days it’s simple to get whatever you want. Very simple. Just not easy. What’s critical to getting everything is taking action on one’s impulses—“forcing” oneself and not “waiting to feel like it”—because, according to brain scientists, in five seconds any inspirational energy will be gone.

Best-selling author, sales pro, and executive coach Steve Chandler prods those who are always "tak[ing] their emotional temperature throughout the day to determine what they will or will not do," and invites blue-collar comparisons and approaches for reality checks. For those with writer's block, he asks if there's such a thing as trucker's block. Do truck drivers decide whether or not to drive on a given day depending on their mood or how well they think they can can drive? No. If a trucker is scheduled to work, they show up and drive the rig to the best of their ability that day.

The big idea here for nonfiction authors, whether you are writing a book, looking for an agent or publisher, navigating the mind-boggling range of self-publishing options, or staring down the even more outlandish environs of book promotion, is that be it for hobby or stature or income, sometimes as a nonfiction author it is really helpful to just consider your author life as going to work. Show up and do the best you can because it's your job. You won't always feel like it, you won't always see instant results, and you won't always perform at a peak level.


  • For more inspiration on the going to work idea, see Don't Break the Chain (vol. 2); Defensive Entrepreneurship and Cold, Hard Calls (vol. 3); and Spaghetti & Ships and Service Marketing (vol. 4).
  • Nothing more to do here but absorb the idea and perhaps develop a useful mantra or reminder for yourself when you're not in the mood for your author to-do list: I'm just going to workThis is my jobI only have to do the best I can today under the circumstances.
  • Don't despair that all the big ideas presented here will be about toughing it out and working hard like these first few have been. More based in joy, ease, deep satisfaction, and woowoo (as my publishing friend Kira Henschel of HenschelHaus calls it) are coming.
Understanding the Industry
Amazon and Indie Bookstores

I'm going to sneak this in here and let it sit with you, explaining myself and its implications for you and your book later:

Independent bookstores could likely not survive today's economic and time-and-attention-deficit realities without the existence of the big New York City publishers, their well-funded promotion machines, and their coterie of awesome and famous authors.

Likewise, independent publishers, small publishers, hybrid publishers, and self-publishers (the whole lot of us, also awesome!) could likely not survive the contemporary landscape of book publishing and book selling without the existence of Amazon.

Small depends heavily on big in both cases. There is a book ecosystem of interdependence that often gets overlooked or distorted when individual players in the system are making the case for readers to pay attention to them.

  • Consider if this idea broadens your perspective on your nonfiction author experiences to date.
  • How does it help you think about the right marketing for your book?
  • Sites like the American Booksellers Association and IndieBound can help you better understand the world of independent bookstores.
  • There are at least a dozen good books filled with advice intricacies on selling your own book on Amazon, available on Amazon for free or inexpensively. It's worth learning from these pros.

What's Working Now


Consider all your phone contacts, your personal and business email contacts, your personal and professional Facebook friends and Twitter followers, your LinkedIn connections. Eliminate the duplicates and those you can't recall who they are or how they know them. It's likely you're looking at a pool of contacts numbering in the hundreds if not thousands.

One thing working for us now is one thing that has always worked over the last 23 years: Reconnecting. Browsing our lists of connections either casually or in a more methodical manner to see who we want to communicate with anew.

What do we communicate about? Anything we want, anything appropriate for the relationship, anything interesting or creative or useful that binds us.

How has this worked for us recently? Impromptu scrolls through contacts lists have spurred reasons to reach out to...
  • Members of a nonprofit board about rights to an out-of-stock title they once inquired about. Were they still interested, as we're now interested in selling/transferring those rights? (We are now in the middle of those negotiations.)
  • An author whose books we haven't published but who lives and gives talks in the same region. Hi, how are you, what's new? (We ended up exchanging names of author program coordinators the other didn't know about.)
  • A writer we know from past joint events. (We learned of his new book and quickly arranged for someone to blurb his new book and for him to blurb a new book we're publishing.)
  • A program coordinator we lost touch with. (Our emails quickly became about filling spots in their schedule for author events later in 2017.)
  • Scan your own contact lists and jot down the names of everyone you'd like to reconnect with.
  • Organize the names somehow and do some brief planning on how you'd like to connectphone? email? postcard in the mail? Facebook ping? . . . and whyjust to say hi? to see what they're up to? to ask a favor? to offer something?
  • If you're unsure of your approach, re-read Curiosity (vol. 4) before your initial contact.
  • If you're unsure about what to do when you receive a return response, re-read Service Marketing (vol. 4) for one way to think about it.
  • The main thing is . . . reconnecting with the people of your life should be worthwhile and enjoyable. You can't go wrong if you keep that as a guiding principle.
Coaching Tools
28 Coaching Tools

There is an emerging, interdisciplinary field called interpersonal neurobiology that examines what's happening among brains in social interactions, relationships, and societies. Much of the work to date seems focused on parent-child bonding, but I think in time, it will have a lot to say on why the coach-client dynamic can be so powerful. But I set that aside for a moment.  

While we typically think of coaching as a relationship between two people, coaching is also an evolving collection of ideas and practices. And, the elements of that growing toolkit can be explored, learned, and employed on one’s own, in relationship with oneself.

As an entrepreneur and advocate for small businesses, I look at coaching from the outside and quite often think that as a field it does kind of a lousy job promoting itself, its offerings, and its possibilities. When studying the parallels between mediators and coaches for a graduate program in the last couple years, I became very interested in the wide applicability of the common tools of both of these trades for the average person and began writing about them.

There are 28 that I've written about, for an online course and a new book, that I will be covering here individually in coming issues. Here they are, just to give you a flavor of what's to come:

  • The Meta Toolbox
  • Creativity
  • Responsibility
  • Setting the Agenda and the Takeaway
  • Open-Ended Questions
  • Peeling the Onion
  • Shifting
  • Admitting the Arrival
  • Accountability
  • Being with Yourself and Not Your Problems
  • Balance
  • Self-Care
  • Slowing It Down
  • Being Not Doing
  • Possibility Thinking
  • Idealizing 
  • Right, Right Now 
  • Getting Curious (Vol. 4)
  • Setting Intentions
  • Taking Action
  • Video Game Hero
  • Plenty
  • Gratitude
  • Priorities and Nested Priorities
  • Costs, Benefits, Tradeoffs, Tipping the Scale
  • Loving
  • Playing Big
  • Self As Authority
  • Review the list above. If there are any tools you want to read about sooner than others, drop me a line and I'll rearrange the queue.
If you found this newsletter useful, will you please share it with other established and aspiring nonfiction authors you know? 

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Coming soon in  Conspired, Vol. 6:
Ideas Are Free, Time Is Not; Benefits of Being an Author; Email Responsiveness; 30 Reviews in 30 Days
 © 2017 by Sharon Woodhouse
No part of this newsletter may be reproduced without permission.

Sharon Woodhouse | Conspire Creative

Be Your Own Author / Publishing / Creativity / Small Business

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