Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sometimes you read....

What to read next? Check out my new Aquaria Chronicles novel! Click here!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Review of Moana

Moana Dazzles the Senses

by Mel Dawn

Moana has been playing for weeks in Vancouver's movie theatres—unlike Monster Trucks, which seems to have bombed—so last weekend we finally decided to see it. I wasn't certain what to expect. Even though I'm a pet lover, The Secret Life of Pets was missing the magic. Finding Dory was fun and awesome, though I wasn't certain I wanted to see it again.

And then, occassionally, we see film in the animated category that truly wows the senses. This was Moana! From the start, the story captured my interest. I'll try not to give away too many spoilers, but Moana is a young girl who wants to solve the problems of her tribe. Soon, she will be Chief, and be expected to solve problems such as the lack of fish in the reef, the plague surrounding the coconut trees, and even her determination to defy her parents.

Positives of the Film

Not only did this film have an engaging storyline, but the main character is not only female, but she's also destined to be Chief of the tribe on the island of Motunui. What's not to like about that?

The graphics and action were astounding! Many parts of the film made you go "wow"! There were even pirates along the way.

I also enjoyed how the film took place in the Polynesian Islands, and not the USA yet again! It's fantastic to see diversity in film!

Another highlight of the film is that there was no romance! Hooray! Men and women can just be friends, without "ending up together" at the end.

Negatives of the Film

I was surprised to find that this film is a musical, however, the songs didn't overwhelm it. But right now, I can't recall any of the songs as being memorable, such as they were in Frozen. I do know the soundtrack did well on the charts, and I did love the tribal music. Still, I'm glad that the singing didn't overwhelm the film.

Also, I was annoyed that Maui was such a big focus in the trailers for the film. The story is about a young girl, yet the trailers made it seem like the story would be all about Maui. And while Maui is an awesome character, I wish that they had focused on Moana for the trailers.

Final Thoughts

This is one animated film that I would love to watch again. I'm sure that I missed many details throughout the action, so viewing it again will bring more of the plot to life for me. And perhaps, I may just enjoy the songs a bit more for round two!

Do You Love Ocean & Sea Life?

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Put on Your Writing Caps—CIF—Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby is Ahead!

Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, 2017
by Mel Dawn

Are you a book, novel, fiction, sometimes writer who is stuck? The Creative Ink Festival will inspire you to keep going. Let's face it, we've all been stuck. Who hasn't neglected their next great novel idea? I personally have an entire notebook filled with great ideas for the next bestseller, or even the next top ten bestsellers for this year. But have I started writing anything yet? Nope, because I'm still busy editing my last series, The Aquaria Chronicles.

The Creative Ink Festival is an all-weekend event, and more affordable than the Surrey Writer's Conference. I've heard that one runs in the hundreds of dollars, but I'm too scared to look!

So, do something nice for yourself and book off a weekend to attend the Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby, BC, Canada. Besides great panellists, a marketplace, and guests of honour, you'll have some time to work on your next great novel.

So, make a pledge to yourself that this year it's going to be different. You will write that masterpiece!

Visit the Creative Ink Festival site to sign up now!

Monday, 14 November 2016

How to Sell 10,000 Books in a Week—Part One

How to Sell 10,000 Books in a Week—Part One

When you're self-published, just what does it take to sell 10,000 books in one week? Hard work, dedication, a well-written book, or none of that!


If you’ve spent any amount of time marketing a self-published book you have realized that it’s not only hard work, but it’s lonely too. You simply don’t possess a big name, such as Stephen King, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, or JK Rowling. Each time one of these writers releases a book, they’ve got a guaranteed $5 million plus in sales. 

It seems like it could be a short path from starving novelist to millionaire writer, after all, self-publishing worked for Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, and many others. 

The main problem you’re going to discover is that it’s easy to market your book to your friends, family, colleagues, and even acquaintances. What’s difficult is marketing your book to strangers. These are people who don’t know you from Commander Adama of Battlestar Galactica, even if they’re geeks.

So, just how do you sell 10,000 books in a week? This is part one of a two part series. 

1. Own a famous publishing house.

If your daddy owns a publishing house you’ll be first in line for a publishing contract. Likewise, if you’re married to the president or related to anyone who works there. 

• Penguin
• Simon & Schuster
• St. Martin’s Press
• Random House
• Harper Collins

2. Have a prior bestselling book.

The Stand
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Aqua Marine
Fahrenheit 451
The Girl on the Train

3. Be a celebrity.

If you’re a celebrity it’s an instant guarantee to a book deal. You don’t even have to know how to write. Someone else ghostwrites your book and they stick your name on it, while you earn the millions. 

• Kim Kardashian
• Jennifer Lawrence
• Brad Pitt
• Johnny Depp
• David Beckham

4. Spend $50,000 on a media campaign.

There are some writers with the bucks to spend for self-promotion. These are the ones who will sell more books, but at the cost of a profit. 

There’s a fine balance between spending cash on marketing, and making a tidy profit. If you’re James Patterson, or Danielle Steele, your publisher is going to spend a good million dollars promoting your books to the masses. This amount of cash simply isn’t available to most of us peons. 

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

How to Effectively Train a Team to Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

by Mel Dawn

It doesn’t matter if a business has a superior product to their competitors’ products if these products don’t stand out in the crowded marketplace. It’s important for a sales manager to motivate their sales team so that they can have a successful business venture. Success leads to expansion, and that means greater profits. 

Every sales team knows how to book sales calls. They must differentiate between what works and what doesn’t work. 

There are 6 words that every sales team needs to start reinforcing in their minds every morning.

These six words to achieve sales success include:  

  1. Mindset
  2. Prepare
  3. Motivate
  4. Investigate
  5. Differentiate
  6. Simplify

These six words that every team has heard before. Perhaps the difference lies in hearing the advice, or ignoring it. It’s the goal to motivate the team to do it, and to have them find the job interesting and successful in the venture. It’s difficult to get attention from retailers or buyers. This guide is about how to focus on these six words to get a sales team to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

Mindset

Mindset can involve one of two things: being positive, or being negative. Not surprisingly, when people have a negative focus in the morning, they may be experiencing slammed doors. 

People will subconsciously train their brains for failure, before they’ve even had a chance to walk through their client’s door. And it can be something that sits at their subconscious even when they’re not aware of it.

It’s important to encourage a team to make a conscious effort to have a positive mindset, as their positivity will be carried right through the door to their client’s office.  

Prepare

It’s important to prepare for client meetings rather than dashing in with nothing to say and making it up as they go along. Preparation can be everything from training one’s thoughts to be positive, to doing research about a potential client. 

The sales team needs to plan both for their day, and for the sales call. It’s important to start the day with a planning session of ten minutes, and to do this every day of the week. 

The team needs to prepare to ask the intelligent questions that make them smarter than the client. The client should stop and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

The team needs to email or ask their client questions to gain an understanding of where their client’s interests lie.

Motivate

Remind a sales team to avoid calling themselves things in their minds. They may mentally berate themselve for asking a dumb question, or saying something stupid. It doesn’t mean that they’re actually stupid. Remember to tell your team they are intelligent and they have within their mind a filing cabinet that can be accessed at any point. 

Inside this cabinet is a memory of everything that has ever happened to a person. A lot of things are happening within their subconscious mind that they aren’t even aware of. 

It gets easier for a salesperson to lay a good foundation. This is all part of the preparation for meeting with a client. They get to choose their own path. It’s important to motivate oneself first, so they can motivate their client. 

Just above a human’s eyebrows and behind the forehead is the prefrontal cortex. When a salesperson calls on a client they have a few seconds to get them to listen to their spiel. The part of the brain that is working inside a client’s head to absorb this information is the prefrontal cortex.

A salesperson needs to get to this part of a client’s brain. There can be a certain level of hesitation on a client before agreeing to order products. The fact is that on any given day, there may have been ten other companies that paid a sales call. There are many products or companies.

The sales team needs to make an attempt to overcome a client’s hesitation. This means getting to the cortex of their brain.

Investigate

In order to handle any objections a sales team needs to set up the sales call with questions. The salesman needs to find a need within the client, and does not include the salesman’s need to sell. Objections and resistance from the client need to be overcome.

Every member of the sales teams must ask for feedback after a presentation. They should also respond with a thank you. 

Your team should be finding out what people think of the product so they can make changes in the future. Do you think your team is being clear enough?

And always remember to remind your sales team, if at first they don’t succeed, they can go back to sell to people when they know what makes them tick.

Differentiate

This is perhaps the most important of the six words when effectively traning a sales team. What makes them and the company worth doing business with? How does the brand brand differentiate itself from the other ten brands?

Remind your sales force that the same tired selling approach doesn’t work anymore. There are many ways you can differentiate products. What is it that makes the brand different and better?

Simplify

When the sales team is planning for their sales presentations they may think of twenty unique aspects of the product they’re selling. But remember to never overwhelm the client. Highlight only three or four points to present to the client. 

A good salesperson will already know in advance what the buyer is evaluating. And if they don’t know, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

If you are a sales manager, share these six points with your sales team and soon they’ll have your brand or company standing out in a crowded marketplace. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Aqua Marine Contest! Free Swag! 10 Prizes & More!

Aqua Marine Contest! Free Swag! 10 Prizes & More!

Sign up for my mailing list now and be entered to win one of ten prizes. Once a month you’ll get a newsletter with fun content: movie reviews, photographs, games, and other surprises. Contest ends on November 1st. (Prizes will be: handmade wire craft fishie bookmarks, free ebooks, fishie water pistol, free coffee, tea, and more! Please share with your friends!