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September 24, 2017
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The Future of Book Festivals is Here



The Future of Book Festivals is Here


For over the past six months I have been developing a program that gives more energy and exposure for book festivals and the authors that participate at these events.  There are three key issues for the authors and readers who attend these book festivals as well as for the book festival organizers:


1.    discovery of new authors

2.    being over whelmed by the numbers

3.    value to authors attending the event


Readers attend the event to discover new authors, but become overwhelmed with the number of authors that are present and in many cases, they forget which ones they talked to.  In many cases, they buy one or two books with the desire to remember the name of the other books they are interested in for future purchase, but have forgotten what the book was, or who the author was.


An Author attends the book festival to find new readers and to hopefully sell as many books as possible.  They do their best to obtain information (email addresses usually) about a reader in the hopes of following up with them down the road and get them to buy their book.  Many times, the reader ignores these emails and no sales are created.


Thus, you end up with Readers who do enjoy attending the event, but become over whelmed with all the authors present.  The author doesn’t sell as many books as they want or need to, in order to cover the expense of the event.  That now brings us to the third issue, Book Festivals can be pricy.


To help offset the cost of the book festival fees, it is critical that an author believes that they have not only sold enough books, or that they WILL sell more books from the event down the road.  But if a reader is overwhelmed by the event and forgets which authors they had checked out in order to purchase their books, then there are no future sales.


With Book Festival Network, you are creating an opportunity for Authors to continue to get more exposure after the event not only with the readers who attended, but with others that could not attend, or didn’t know about the event.


Accomplishing the additional exposure is done through a three-step process:

1.    Creating web pages for the book festival that includes information about the event, authors participating, etc.

2.    NetCasting the event live as it happens and interview each author giving them a chance to ‘sell’ their books in a short two-minute segment. Then editing the NetCast so that each author has a video of their pitch on their web page after the event is completed.

3.    Creating interactive reasons for the readers that attended the event and others who learn of the event afterwards to view the authors pages, and give them a reason to purchase the book(s).


This three-step process creates a winning opportunity for everyone involved.  Authors are given the potential to have sales after the event, the Book Festival gets additional exposure and creates additional value to the book festival, plus increasing the opportunities for the Readers to re-discover the authors that attended the event, which can lead to more purchases.


Finally, additional advertising exposure for sponsors of the event, can help offset the additional cost related to the Book Festival Network expenses.  This additional exposure can then increase the value of the book festival greatly, thus giving the festival organizers more opportunities and funds to continue to create great events.

Texas Authors Books Not A Texas Made Product?



GoTexan Claims Texas Authors Books are NOT a Texas Made Product


Last year, we (Texas Authors, Inc.) had the first display of Texas Authors books at the great State Fair of Texas. It was a historical event, as Texas Authors were never promoted in this way. Prior to this, if you saw a book at the fair, it was tied to another product such as jams, or food related.


We were proud to have that display in the GoTexan General Store and were just as eager to do it again this year, with more Texas Authors books on display. Because we were a member of GoTexan we were able to arrange this. 


However, when I received a call from the GoTexan team, I was shocked and dismayed at what I was told. In short, books created by Texas Authors are not considered to be a Texas made product! When I asked for a more detailed explanation, I was told that the book not only had to be printed in Texas but,also the paper and ink had to be made in Texas. That logic completely removes ALL Texas Authors from having a book considered as Texas-Made!


To put such restrictions on our books is completely ridiculous. But, as I also learned from other sources, the real reason the GoTexan team made this move was to make space for their more profitable agricultural products. Giving space to us would take away from farmers and others in their organization.


Once again it shows that Texas does not support its State’s Author group, which is the second largest group in the country. The governor declined three opportunities to meet with us at events in 2015. Add in the fact the Texas Commission of the Arts spent $7 million this year, and writing programs only received 0.013 percent of that budget, it is no wonder that we have to hold down two jobs to be able to create wonderful books.


I am currently collaborating with a member of the Texas House of Representatives to gain recognition for Texas Authors during the 2017 session. We are planning a day, in March 2017, for Texas Authors to show up in force at the State Capital. As soon as the date is scheduled, I will let everyone know. I issue a challenge to every Texas author to show up at the State Capital on that day and also to spread the word to all authors residing in our great state. It will be an unprecedented opportunity to let our governing body know that we not only exist but, also contribute over $250 million to the Texas economy. We are entitled to our fair share of monetary support from Texas.


We are developing a letter campaign which will include each Texas Senator and HR member for you, the author, to send requesting their support. The fact is, you are competing against 1 million authors around the country, and every bit of help you can get to promote your books is needed. If they can support other art programs, they can support us Authors!




Please join us. Be a part of our voice as a whole. The power of people uniting for a cause has been proven over and over again. This is our chance to be heard!


15 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Business

The following article first appeared on Sept 29, 2016 on the blog of
Home » Storytelling » 15 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Business

15 Entrepreneurs Explain Why They Started Their Business


Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may remain the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each and brand.

#1 – A Personal Project


Photo Credit: Xin Xie

Creating Lifestone was personal to me. My mother had high blood pressure and measured it every day using a mercury hematomanometer and writing down results on a piece of paper. I knew this was not an accurate way to track critical vital signs. Having an electrical engineering background, I knew there had to be a better way and I could help build it. What if you could create a better, portable, accurate device that not only measured vital signs, but also made data storing, charting and sharing results easier? We made a prototype that accurately monitored multiple vital signs and decided to create a startup company that would make tracking a person’s vital signs convenient, accurate and simple.

Thanks to Xin Xie, Lifestone



#2 – Slow Fashion

Photo Credit: Eve Tokens

Photo Credit: Eve Tokens

As a small business owner of a London based sustainable fashion brand, and more recently an online business teaching sewing and patternmaking skills, I had multiple reasons for starting my own businesses. Predominantly however, it was because fashion today is ‘created’ at such a ridiculous rate that I wanted to do something to empower people to slow it down. I am now focused on teaching those people who are interested in making their own clothes to make a difference. They learn design skills alongside sewing and patternmaking, so that there is less reliance on mass manufactured clothing retailers, and they get to wear fashionable, unique handmade garments. It is incredible rewarding.

Thanks to Eve Tokens, The Creative Curator



#3 – Realizing a Need

Photo Credit: B. Alan Bourgeois

Photo Credit: B. Alan Bourgeois

The non-profits and businesses below all came from realizing that I needed some help in an area that was ever changing. When I researched the various avenues to find help, I realized there was nothing specific to what I needed. That created not only the need to fill in the gap, but also to help those, like myself, who were searching for help. I choose to create non-profits as I felt that would give us better opportunities to get financial help, but that did not prove to be the case. I have struggled for five years creating unique programs that has resulted in multiple layers of success for the people I work with. It was that key desire to help people that has pushed me forward through the tough times and to make it work. While over the years, I have seen my hard labor gain results for others, it is just recently that I began to see the results payoff for me.

Thanks to B. Alan Bourgeois, Texas Authors, Inc.



#4 – Professional Claustrophobia

Photo Credit: Angela Bradbury

Photo Credit: Angela Bradbury

One of the reasons I started my own business was because I was suffering from what I like to call ‘professional claustrophobia’. I started out my career at the management consulting firm McKinsey which was a truly wonderful learning ground. However after a while I started to feel confined by the structures in the company (which are typical of most large corporates) and this frustrated me. So I thought to myself, ‘if I don’t want to work in someone else’s construct, then why don’t I just create my own?’. I decided to create my own utopia and build a company, and a context and environment in which I could be successful. Having had that experience myself, it’s really important for me that everyone in the company has the freedom to work in a manner that works best for them”.

Thanks to Angela Bradbury, Chime Advisors 



#5 – An Epiphany

Photo Credit: Brian Davis

Photo Credit: Brian Davis

I decided to start business because I had an epiphany about myself one day. All of my life, I’ve never had a calling, never had one thing that helped define who I was, what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be. I’ve known people with callings, with a field they’ve felt drawn to or an area where they simply shine. I’ve always been good at most things I put my mind to, but never *great* at any one thing. Then I realized what that qualifies me to be: an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have to wear a hundred different hats, be good at dozens of skills. They don’t need to be a savant in one niche skill; they need to be competent at a wide range of skills and then hire specialists to do what they can’t. They need vision, grit and a certain level of risk tolerance, and I have those things. Curiously, over the last fifteen years I’ve had the same conversation over and over with other people who felt a similar blankness as to their calling in life. I’ve heard the same complaint from so many people: “If I only had a special gift, I’d know what to do with my life.” I believe this stems from the combination of an increasingly niched job market and stagnant inflation-adjusted wages. More economic pressure meets increasing specialization to create more anxiety over choosing a pigeonholed niche. Armchair philosophy aside, I truly believe that people with diverse skills, people who are well-rounded and good-but-not-great in many areas can make perfect entrepreneurs. I would encourage anyone who has struggled in their search for a calling to consider starting their own business – their versatility will come in handy.

Thanks to Brian Davis, Spark Rental



#6 – Giving Back

Photo Credit: Zac Halloran

Photo Credit: Zac Halloran

For every Twill product we sell, another is given to a local friend in need, you choose. Our story began in a mental health hospital when my brother was diagnosed with a complex mental health disorder. My brother was blanketed with love from our family of seven siblings, mom, grandma and many more. However, others were not so lucky. In 2013, I sold my car and began building this business with my brother Jer and dear friend Jac. I said to them, “I have no money and I want to start a giving business, are you in?” We connect with local non-profits, we call our Blanket Buddies. We hand deliver warmth to friends battling homelessness, life-threatening illness and/or temporary displacement. With only 18 months into selling Twill products to date, we have been able to help nearly 3,000 friends in need. Through our website store and our corporate giving program we’ve been able to connect our product and our mission to customers who care about quality products and most importantly giving back to their local community.

Thanks to Zac Halloran, Twill



#7 – Financial Control

I started my podcasting business because I wanted to be in more control of my financial outcome. The real reality that I can be fired or injured putting me out of my job is a fear of mine because I have a family that I am supporting. Besides my career and part time jobs, Skilled Gentlemen Podcast has the potential to bring in more than the other two jobs combined because payment is not based on hours worked but effort put in. Working an hourly wadge has a limit on how much I can make in a day where running a podcast does not. Podcasting has the ability to reach people all over the world with any message that you want to give while building a community of people that want to help each other and in turn make money by doing business with other great businesses with outstanding products through advertising.

Thanks to Clay Bradley, Skilled Gentlemen Podcast



#8 – Almost By Mistake

Photo Credit: Marcus Miller

Photo Credit: Marcus Miller

It may sound a little cliched but I started my business almost by mistake. I was a developer. We built some early ecommerce sites around 1999 and back office order processing systems using visual basic for applications (VBA). It was fun but soon we ended up asking how do we get more traffic to the site?. This led me down a murky path into the world of SEO and digital marketing. Before long I left that job but was slowly but surely building up clients on the side. I got an offer that was too good to say no to and I quit my job went full time. In the last couple of years as digital marketing has got more complex with social media and content playing an ever larger role I needed a team to help me cover all the bases. Further to this I was always fascinated by just how bad most the SEO and digital marketing companies were. They seemed to focus on short term tactics and hacks almost but seemed to forget to do the actual marketing. I always felt I, we could do better and that has and still is a driving force in everything we do.

Thanks to Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat



#9 – Harmony

Photo Credit: Jess Waldeck

Photo Credit: Jess Waldeck

I wish that I could say Maven came from an epiphany one night and work began the next morning. I can’t imagine this is the case too often… As veterans in retail technology, we were focused on changing the retail industry. It was evolving quickly, and the traditional stores couldn’t compete. This created a power vacuum that was filling quickly by Amazon. But it also created an ideal environment for startups. We asked ourselves – How can social media and commerce exist in harmony? Many entrepreneurs have attempted to tackle Social Commerce, but few have succeeded. Our goal was to create a viral environment where personal networks and recommendations helped drive online store purchases. And those that were successful at it by driving sales will earn for their efforts. We like to think of this as the evolution from a ‘Salesperson’ to that of the ‘Shareperson’. From this blossomed Maven. It is one of the first social commerce network that allows everyone an opportunity to earn through personal relations.

Thanks to Jess Waldeck, Maven Xchange



#10 – Changing Investments

Photo Credit: Jim Minnick

Photo Credit: Jim Minnick

My co-founders and I started eVestment for two primary reasons. First, we saw an opportunity to fundamentally change the institutional investment business. By becoming a central, cloud-based repository for data and insight for investors, consultants and managers around the world, we saw an opportunity to change how people did business and create new efficiencies and value for players in the space. We all came out of institutional investment consulting and from inside the industry saw inefficiencies and gaps in data and insight that we felt we could fill. Secondly, we saw the founding of eVestment as an opportunity to create the kind of workplace we’d always wanted – one that was open, collaborative, fun and where people had the opportunity and authority to make decisions and create real impact on the projects and solutions they were working on. We founded the company in 2000 and have since continued to grow our client base and revenues and, at the same time, have been named to a lot of ‘best places to work’ lists, including the big one, Fortune’s. So I’d say our efforts were successful. But that only happened by having those two goals firmly in mind as we got started.

Thanks to Jim Minnick, eVestment



#11 – Mending Relationships


Photo Credit: Alicia Moss

I have an AMAZING family! But it wasn’t always this way. MossGirls, LLC was birthed out of the need to mend a broken relationship with my oldest daughter. When Kristin started showing signs of rebellion, I did what any concerned parent would do…I yanked her out of public school! What was I thinking? Who does that? At the time, it seemed like my only option. What began as a way to fill those long homeschooling days with educational content evolved into a mother teaching her daughter everything she knew about business…and a teenage daughter finally ready to embrace it. MossGirls allowed my daughter and I to bridge the gap – to speak the same language in regards to a passion that we both loved. By working together, we began to connect, rebuild and restore our relationship.

Thanks to Alicia Moss, MossGirls LLC



#12 – A Great Opportunity

Photo Credit: Jenna Oltersdorf

Photo Credit: Jenna Oltersdorf

Having worked at a number of marketing firms throughout the country, I had a front row seat to not only techniques and processes, but also the relationships … between agency and client, employee and reporter. As I watched, I quickly realized there was a better way to run a firm. Clients needed transparency and accountability from their agency, employees craved trust and flexibility. There was great opportunity to open a firm that did things a little differently, a little less self-serving. And I jumped at the chance. Ten years later, Snackbox is stronger than ever and I’m thrilled my theory was correct.

Thanks to Jenna Oltersdorf, Snackbox



#13 – Out of Boredom

Photo Credit: Dick Kuiper

Photo Credit: Dick Kuiper

I started my business out of boredom. I had retired from a successful 45-year career in technology-based management consulting. Near the end of that career, I found myself getting bored because the challenges were gone. The problems I was solving as a consultant kept repeating themselves over and over until they all started looking identical. The challenge was gone. I tried traditional retirement for a time but that did not work. I ran into the same problem in a different disguise – boredom. But this time, it was not that the job challenges had become bland. It was the boredom of NOT having any challenges to conquer. So I created some challenges by starting my own ghostwriting business. Viola! Challenges aplenty. I solve problems everyday by helping businesses attract more business. I do that by writing for them; web content, blogs, articles, marketing collateral, and the like. I’m having fun again and making money on top of it.

Thanks to Dick Kuiper, GhostWriter Help



#14 – Passion for Fashion

Photo Credit: Steph Michele

Photo Credit: Steph Michele

From a very young age I was extremely passionate about the fashion world and industry. I loved to dress myself and put together cute little outfits. I started modeling and acting at the age of 3, taking days off of school to go on casting calls. As a child what could be more awesome than that! I got to miss class to do something I loved. As adults we sometimes forget to remember our passions and that reaching our goals can be accomplished. We end up in boring 9-5’s or pretty much jobs we simply hate and never imagined ourselves doing, dreading going to
work everyday. This is exactly how I felt. I was tired of working a 9-5. I went to college and got a degree in Office Technology – Medical, but that was just a backup plan. I knew where my heart lied, and as much as I love science, fashion was and will always be my everything (besides my son of course). I then started my own image consulting business. Styling, shopping, and revamping the closets of some of NYC’s most elite. It still wasn’t enough for me, I wanted more. So with today’s fashionista in mind, I created Miss Red Carpet for the classy yet sexy woman. My goal is to make every woman, regardless of size, to feel comfortable and fabulous in their own skin. We are ALL beautiful, we are ALL queens in our own right.

Thanks to Stephanie Summers, Miss Red Carpet



 #15 – Deep and Motivating

Photo Credit: Matt Moulakelis

Photo Credit: Matt Moulakelis

After literally watching my father suffer a heart attack and drive him to the hospital, I also watched as he received over $50,000 in fraudulent and incorrect medical bills that my family later negotiated down to $0. He was insured and employed, with great coverage. I was shocked this type of error could take place and even more shocked that it could be so easily addressed and fixed. Upon realizing that approximately 80% of medical bills contain error and that medical debt was the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S., I quit my stable job at IBM and launched Now, 18 months later, we’re one of the nations leading brands in medical billing advocacy, helping patients save over $3.7MM to date.

Thanks to Matt Moulakelis,

Ironic Timing of a Radio Show Airing the day History is Created


On June 12th a bombing occurred in Orlando, FL at the Pulse nightclub.  This is the second time an act of terrorism has occurred in a gay bar.  The first one was in Feb 1997 in Atlanta, GA at The Otherside.  This event was on the news for just a few hours before it was swiped under the rug by the morning news cycle.  The perpetrator of the Georgia event was never convicted for this crime, even though he had been captured and is serving time in prison for other crimes.


On June 12th, Chapter One Podcast had been scheduled to air my interview about the Georgia event that I wrote about in my book God’s Army to Purge Homosexuality and the subsequent books.  When the producer of the show Demethius Jackson heard about what had happened in Florida, he re-recorded his intro to the show, then released the show.


I encourage people to listen to my interview as we talk not only about Georgia, but also about my other books, and the various programs that I do to help promote authors in a variety of ways.


As of 2016, June Pride is no longer about our history of the Stonewall riots, but now we add the Pulse massacre.  Every humane has an inherent right to love whom they choose, as long as it does not harm the person they love.  Therefore, for people who claim to represent a religious group or thought, should not force people to live by their standards through the act of hatred.  That completely negates what God/Universe is all about.  Love is a positive creative and caring energy that improves life, it does not diminish life!



Radio Show Link: