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Reblog: “18 Top Illustrators Tell Us Their Biggest Ideas on How to be Successful” by Philip Dennis

“18 Top Illustrators Tell Us Their Biggest Ideas on How to be Successful” – Phillip Dennis, Red Lemon Club


Looking to those who have successfully found their way to where we are currently trying to navigate can provide an invaluable guide to avoiding the steep drops and dead ends that often come up to blindside us.

There is never one singular route or clearly-etched map to carving out a fulfilling career as a successful creative professional. With every additional artist you approach, words of wisdom become more complex, nuanced, and unexpected.

By putting together a series of thoughts and ideas from a group of top illustrators, we can see a wide range of approaches in one place, and we hope it inspires you.

We asked 18 currently active illustrators: 
Note from Joan: Please click on the link below to find the rest of this great story with illustrations, too.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards



Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now

fruits-863072_640 (1)

Pixabay.com Choose a few seeds to plant for success for your next conference now.

“Plant Success Seeds for Your Next Conference Now” by Joan Y. Edwards

You have the magical seeds needed for your success. Your inner mojo or magical power is there for you to use 24 hours a day.  Look for it. Plant it. Nourish it. To help you grow in confidence, you need to grow in skills and abilities. Plant these seeds for your success at your next conference.

pixabay.com/Choose a few seeds to plant before the conference.


Before the Conference

  1. Believe in you. Activate this belief. BELIEVE IN YOU AND YOUR ABILITIES. That’s the first seed for success. Believe in you. You can do all things necessary for your success.
  2. Set your goals. What skill do you most want to improve? Attend the workshops that will help you improve that skill. I hope that by attending a conference, you’ll learn a new skill or marketing technique that inspires you to reach your goals. You have what it takes for success. You may have to look through different eyes, through a different window to see it.
  3. Visit the web pages of three presenters that interest you. If they have a website, read the about me section. Check out their books at your local library or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
  4. If you have specific questions for presenters, write them down on 3×5 cards and ask them at the conference during the workshops. If you don’t get a chance to ask them in person, most handouts or websites give contact information so you can write and ask them later.
  5. Get business cards with your name, address, phone number, email address, website, and blog. Many people put an image and link to their publishedbooks on the back. Use www.VistaPrint.comwww.Gotprint.com, or local print shop. You can also create business cards on your computer.
  6. Writers: Prepare a postcard, business card, bookmark. Use your book titles and pitch blurbs. Get these giveaways printed at www.VistaPrint.com, www.Gotprint.com, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or with your computer.Illustrators: Prepare a portfolio of 10-20 of your illustrations. Make sure these are the kind of illustrations that you enjoy creating. Prepare a postcard with a sample illustration on it. If you have illustrated a published book, put it on one side and put a different story’s illustration on the back of the postcard. Share with people you meet at the conference. Also send one of your postcards to the art directors for publishing companies represented at the conference.r illustrators. Get bookmarks and or postcards printed at VistaPrintGot Print, or other print shop. You can also create them by hand or on your computer.
  7. Buy a new spiral notebook with a bright colorful design, a composition book with a black and white cover, or a sketch book.This way all of your notes are in one place. You can put it in front of your computer when you get home, and transfer your handwritten notes to your computer. You can add information from handouts by scanning them into your computer, or by typing what you want to remember from the handouts.
  8. Writers: Buy two pens that are dependable and write just the way you like a pen to write. Put them in your pocketbook to take with you. Illustrators: Take a pencil, a ruler, and a white eraser.
  9. Write a pitch for three of your manuscripts. Print out your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Carry two copies of each pitch with you to the conference. Put one copy in a folder and the other in your pocketbook. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it. If your pitch is longer than on 3×5 index card, it is too long.
  10. Take comfortable clothing to wear in your favorite colors to keep your spirits high. Take a sweater or blazer, in case the air conditioning is too cool for your inner thermostat.If you’re hot, you can take off the blazer. A good work attire for writers/illustrators is a pair of jeans, a shirt, and a blazer. Linda Rohrbough says that you want the editors to think you just left your computer to meet with them. Be comfortable. If you feel better being all dressed up, dress up. It’s important for you to be comfortable and feel distinguished. Wear comfortable shoes.
  11. Check your laptop, iPad, or iPhone. Charge its battery. Bring your charger to the conference.
  12. Copy the  full manuscripts of your Works in Progress and other pertinent information you may need for the conference to a portable drive or flash drive for your laptop or use a cloud data holder. If you use Dropbox, you can put your manuscripts in it and access it from your iPad or iPhone or other electronic devices. It allows you to see your manuscript from all devices. Check it out before you leave home to make sure it works.
  13. Check out the directions to the conference. Find the restaurants that are located close to the conference that serve the kind of food you can eat.

pixabay.com At the Conference: Nourish the Seeds at the Conference

At the Conference

1.Take notes.

Take notes using your new spiral notebook or composition book or take notes on your laptop or other device.

2.Hand out business cards.

Hand out business cards to everyone with whom you talk. Ask for their businesscards, too. This will give you resources to check after the conference. The more you do this, the more comfortable and natural it will be for you. Make a goal of handing out at least 10-30 cards and getting an equal number in exchange.

3.Talk to people sitting beside you in a workshop.

Do you feel lonely and out of touch with people? Talk to the people who sit beside you in the workshops. Exchange names, email addresses, and business cards with them. Here are possible questions to start your conversation:

“What are you writing?”

“Are you in writing group? Is it online or face-to-face?”

“How do you find time to write (illustrate)?”

“Do you (draw) write best in the morning or at night?”

4.  If you meet a publisher or agent, ask them questions about themselves and their projects.

If you happen to meet an agent or editor in the elevator or at lunch, remember he/she is human, like you. Ask one of these questions or one of your own:

“What is your favorite project right now?”
“How do you know when a book is right for you?”
“What’s your advice for writers(illustrators)?”

5. Writers: Be ready to answer questions about your writing with a pitch.

After your question for an editor or agent, there is a great possibility he/she will ask you, “What kind of writing do you do?” This is a perfect lead in for your pitch. Hold your head high. Look the editor/agent in the eye. Pretend he’s your best friend and tell him your pitch.

Illustrators: Be ready to answer questions about your illustrating. Tell people three things you like to draw and if your like to portray humor, the dark side, nature, etc.

6. Take a short walk for exercise in between sessions.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

8. Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Drink plenty of water. This will keep you alert and focused.

9. Enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can.

10. List twenty things for which you are thankful each morning before you get out of bed.

11. Thank the presenters and the organizers.

12. If you are inspired by a book you hear about or see in the bookstore at the conference, buy it or borrow it from your public library.


After the Conference


1. Sleep, if you’re tired.

Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. After you’ve rested, read and organize your notes from each workshop.

Edit your notes and add information from your handouts. You can scan pertinent information from the handouts into your computer.  Write at least three major things you learned from each workshop. You can write down more details if you want.

3. Make a top ten list of things that you learned at the overall conference.


4. Write/Revise Your Writing/Illustrating Goals

After this information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing/illustrating goals using the skills and information you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

5. Writing Skill/Genre Goals

a) Read ten books in your chosen genre and three books on the craft of writing and/or illustrating.

b) Revise your favorite manuscript and submit it to an editor or agent.

c)  Revise 3 of your favorite illustrations. Choose one to create a new postcard and send to a prospective publishing company.

6. Marketing Goals

a) Learn a new technology.

b) Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors often.

c) Join or create a critique group.

c) Join my Pub Subbers Yahoo Group, a group to encourage you to submit your manuscript/portfolio often (monthly if possible). To join, write me and tell me why you would like to join at joanyedwards1@gmail.com. Members postsuccesses, ask other members for help. etc. Members receive automated reminders for the weekly steps to get your work ready for submission.

Pub Subbers
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

d) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

e) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

f) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words. The ultimate goal is a pitch that is 140 characters long (approximately 25 words) that fits in Twitter. If you have all these different lengths, you will have a pitch to use in your cover letter, proposal, and for the rave blurbs for the back cover of yourbook. Your pitch is the magnetic tool that will entice people to buy your book.

7. Networking Goals

a) Create a website and/or blog.

b) Join a critique group.that focuses on genres you write or illustrate.

c) Give book presentations/workshops for schools and organizations

d) Create an author/illustrator page on Facebook and post news of your publishing journey.

e) Create a Twitter Account.Tweet your blog posts and your publishing news.

f) Visit the websites of three people who shared a business card with you.  Email them. Here are possible points to include in your email. Remind them of how you enjoyed talking with them. Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript, portfolio, or book. Compliment them for being brave if they read their story at open mike. Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem.

g) Make a list of your followers on Facebook and Twitter. When you get your book published, they will be helpful in spreading the word about your book.  Interact with at least 25 of them on a regular basis.


  1. Amy Bishop. http://www.projecteve. “Do I Still Need Business Cards for Networking?” http://www.projecteve.com/do-i-still-need-business-cards-for-networking/
  2. Deborah Shane. “What to Do Before Attending a Conference?” https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/04/what-to-do-before-attending-a-conference.html
  3. Kristen Lamb, “Getting the Most Out of Writing Conferences:” http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/getting-the-most-out-of-writing-conferences/.
  4. Margo L. Dill, “Writers Conferences: Five Reasons Why You Should Go NOW, and How to Get the Most for Your Money:” http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/13-FE-MargoDill.html/.
  5. Marita Littauer, “Four Keys for Writers ConferenceSuccess:” http://www.right-writing.com/conference-keys.html/.
  6. Travelle. “How to Prepare for a Conference:”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/travelle/how-to-prepare-for-a-conf_b_8413424.html
  7. Yvonne Russell, “Getting the Most out of a Writers’ Conference:” http://www.growyourwritingbusiness.com/?p=47/.

Thank you for reading my blog. Each time you read one of my articles, you honor me.  I hope your success is better than you ever imagined.

Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.



Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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Success Is Going from Failure to Failure with No Loss of Enthusiasm-Winston Churchill

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm

“Success Is Going from Failure to Failure with No Loss of Enthusiasm-Winston Churchill” by Joan Y. Edwards


Winston Churchill said, “Success Is Going from Failure to Failure with No Loss of Enthusiasm.”

I found this quote and other great sayings at Bright Drops.com: http://brightdrops.com/best-motivational-quotes

Here’s an explanation of Winston Churchill’s quote: http://quotivee.com/2013/articles/quote-explained-winston-churchill-success/

We all have ups and downs in life.

I had many experiences in my 35 years of teaching. A few stated I was a failure in a few areas. Usually, there was one or more areas in which I did well.

Yes, I became depressed for a short amount of time. Then, I decided that I loved teaching so much that I would study different techniques to make my teaching better or teaching in such a manner that others perceived me as better. I felt strongly that God had me there for a reason. Many of us  taughtnot to say anything to those in charge. I had to learn to speak up for myself. I had to say, “I may not do it their way, but my way still works.”

I had a job as a typist many times for different companies. One company fired me because I finished my work and was cleaning files in a cabinet. Two weeks later they hired 2 people to do my job. Some people may declare themselves as failures if they lose a job. Don’t do that. Chances are you may be in the wrong job or you need more training in the job you have, and you need to build a better belief system with education and loving yourself.

After 1968, I submitted my Flip Flap Floodle manuscript many, many times. They weren’t right for many, many publishers. After I retired from teaching in 1998, I re-declared my inner desire to get Flip Flap Floodle published. I rewrote. Resubmitted. I promised myself if I didn’t get a publisher to publish Flip Flap Floodle in 5 years, I would self-publish it as a show of belief in myself. And I did that.

Then I took classes. I read books on the craft of writing. I went to workshops. I attended writing conferences. I learned that publishers and agents selections are very subjective. I told myself if I keep writing and submitting, I’ll find the right connection to publish my work. Finally, in 2011 4RV Publishing gave me a contract for Joan’s Elder Care Guide.

Believe in yourself. No matter what you’re doing. Believe in you. If you’re a dishwasher learn to be the best dishwasher in town.

In some of these situations, I took them personally. However with support from family and coworkers, I realized that even sometimes it’s just that person’s opinion, not necessarily the truth, not necessarily a fact. If they are the ones hiring and firing, then you need to educate yourself in new ways or look for a new job.

I think Winston Churchill was a very wise man. Each of us has to find enthusiasm every day to continue to work toward our goals. We have to believe we’ve got what it takes, even when others don’t.

Love yourself. Look for the good in you. Educate yourself to build your skills. Take opportunities to expand your horizons beyond what your comfort zone. Don’t blame someone else for your failures. Realize it’s just one small downer. You can improve. Realize that you have many, many strengths. Take advantage of them. Improve your weaknesses so that they will not hurt you.

Bloom where you are planted is another way to say this. Here’s an earlier post I did on this subject: 


Celebrate each day. Celebrate each step you take to improve your situation. Celebrate each step you take to improve your attitude. Believe in you. You are a success.

Please click here to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

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7 Strategies for Success

Copyright 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2015
                    Joan Y. Edwards

“Seven Strategies for Success” by Joan Y. Edwards

All of you, both men and women,  like to get what you want when you go shopping. You want what you want. You have certain ideas about what you’re shopping for. In your mind, you designate rules that this new purchase must meet:

Fits you to a “T”
Simple to Use

In life when you make goals, you also designate rules for what things will look like when you reach your goal. Some of them are assumptions based on what you’ve learned about the situation from others and part of it you learn from personal experience. Sometimes your assumptions and reality are different. That’s when you have to realign your thinking to make sure you get where you want to go.

I realize that each person has different goals and aspirations. I’m not going to tell you what goals to make. This blog post focuses on beliefs, thoughts, and actions that will help you reach your goals successfully, no matter what they happen to be.

  1. Immerse and surround yourself with positive thoughts, words, actions, and people. State your goals as affirmations in the present tense. I am a best-selling author. I am a prize-winning illustrator. I find the best deal for a computer, dress, suit, shoes.
  2. Believe in you
    If you think you can’t do it, learn how. If you don’t think you can do it, change your thoughts. If you made a mistake, forgive yourself and let it go. When you’re down, give yourself three days to rest, recuperate, and realign your thinking. Talk with God. He understands. Talk to a friend, they can help you look at the broad picture. Be your best friend. Never give up. Be determined to get to your goal.
  3. Be thankful to God/Universe.
  4. Encourage others and share your time and talents with them.
  5. Use available resources: library, books, videos, blogs, Google search, and others. Ask questions. Talk to people who’ve done what you want to do. Ask for help, information, support, sales. Ask people to buy your book, illustration, or other product. Give them something extra free when they buy.
  6. Take action. Take a chance – Do what brings you joy! Put your money where your goal is: Take lessons. Build an audience (a group of followers who could possibly buy your product or help you find what you’re looking for. Write, draw, create. Get your work critiqued by your peers and by professionals, too. Submit your work to a publisher or self-publish.
  7. Celebrate baby steps and achievements. Reward yourself. Have a writing or illustrating party with other writers and illustrators.

You, the readers, are an indispensable part of my blog. Thank you.

To leave a comment, click here

Feel free to share this post with your friends.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards


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7 Reasons Why You Should Never Give Up

“7 Reasons Why You Should Never Give Up” by Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards It takes determination, belief, and courage to  Never Give Up

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards. It takes determination, belief, and courage to Never Give Up.

The theme of my blog is “Never Give Up.” It takes determination, belief, and courage to Never Give Up. Most of my blogs encourage you to keep going toward your goals, your life’s dreams. Today I’d like to encourage you by telling you about the lives of 7 famous people who were rejected many times before they were successful. Their behavior shows 7 reasons why you should never give up. Each of these people had three essentials necessary to Never Give Up: determination, belief, and courage.

  1. Did you know that J.K. Rowling was on welfare before she sold Harry Potter? Twelve publishing houses rejected Harry Potter. That’s why you should keep on writing. Keep on rewriting, revising, and submitting your manuscripts.
  2. Did you know that Roget invented the Thesaurus at age 73? That’s why you should keep looking at the relationship of things that interest you. Write about what keeps your heart-strings strumming.
  3. Did you know that Colonel Sanders, founder of the world-renowned Kentucky Fried Chicken chain got 1009 rejections from restaurant owners before he got one “YES,” when he was selling his franchise licenses to use his famous recipe in exchange for a percentage of the pieces of chicken sold? That’s why you should never say you’re too old or stop when one person says, “No.” Become proud of yourself, no matter where you are and how much money you’re making. Accept yourself as being good. Celebrate you as you are right now. Study and learn to get better.
  4. Did you know that teachers said Thomas Edison was “too stupid to learn anything” and was fired from his first 2 jobs for not being productive enough. He tried 1,999 times to invent the light bulb. He was successful at try number 2,000. Keep on trying. Look at things from a different point of view. If you’ve written it in first person, write it as an observer. There is a way to succeed. You just haven’t figured it out yet. Believe in you and the success of your ideas. Your belief is a key ingredient to keep you going so that you Never Give Up.
  5. Did you know that Toyota Motor Corporation turned down Soichiro Honda for an engineering job. He had no job so he started making his own scooters at home. His neighbors encouraged him and he setup his own company. Honda Motor Corporation. That’s the way to do it. Show the naysayers that you’re built of solid stuff. Show them they were wrong about you. You may make mistakes. However, you are not a mistake. Be determined that you’re going to succeed, no matter how many mistakes it takes to get there.
  6. Did you know that people told Sidney Poitier to “stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something” during an audition. Later he won an Oscar for Lilies of the Field. He became one of the most respected actors ever. In 2002, thirty-eight years after receiving the Best Actor Award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Poitier an Honorary Award in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being. It takes courage to continue when someone tells you that you’re wasting your time. Sometimes I believe that people are occasionally blind to good talent. Get a new pair of glasses to see yourself and others as opportunities to grow and succeed.
  7. Did you know that Wilma Rudolph was paralyzed in 1 leg due to polio and told by doctors she would never walk again. Yet she later won 3 Olympic gold medals in track and fields. Talk about determination. That’s what you need to have to succeed. Determination. Be determined beyond anything that might happen or get in your way. You can do it. You must believe that you can.

Okay. You tell me you had a really bummer day. You got 50 rejections. Your cat died. Your dogs are lost. Your rent is due and your pockets are empty. Your car broke down on the interstate and there is no food in the pantry. You’re still not convinced that you should go on. You dug a hole and at this moment you are sitting at the bottom of a very deep pit of sorrow. Oh my. Here are 7 quotes of famous people who finally succeeded after many failures. Maybe this will get your enthusiasm genes in action to steer you to your goals.

  1. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  2. “Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.” – Donald Trump
  3. “How many people are completely successful in every department of life? Not one. The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.” – Zig Ziglar
  4. “When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.” – Mary Kay Ash
  5. “Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
  6. “If we try and fail, we have temporary disappointments. But if we do not try at all, we have permanent regrets.” – Bern Williams
  7. “Be the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment, own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oh my goodness. You dug the hole even deeper! Here are links to other stories and quotes to help inspire you. Ask God to help you is a good plan. He knows what he put you on earth to do. God gave you the talent, the resources, the time, the energy, and everything you need to accomplish the dreams in your heart. Go for it. Today is a great day to believe that you can do it. I believe you can.


  1. Aly Weisman. “Fifteen People Who Failed before Becoming Famous:” http://www.businessinsider.com/15-people-who-failed-before-becoming-famous-2012-10?op=1
  2. Benny Hsu. “Famous People Who Found Success Despite Failures:” http://getbusylivingblog.com/famous-people-who-found-success-despite-failures/
  3. Biography.com. http://www.biography.com/people/colonel-harland-sanders-12353545
  4. Rethink Redefine. “66 Famous Failures of People Who Never Give Up:” http://rethink-redefine.blogspot.com/2012/08/66-famous-failures-of-people-who-never.html
  5. Simon Dufresne and Dylan Moore. “Five Famous People Who Succeeded Long after They Should’ve Quit:” http://www.cracked.com/article_19655_5-famous-late-bloomers.html
  6. Strategic Business Team. “Fifty Failure Quotes from 50 Successful People:” http://www.strategicbusinessteam.com/famous-small-business-quotes/50-failure-quotes-from-50-successful-people/

Thank you for reading my blog. You honor me with your presence here.

Oh my goodness! I have 48,001 reads at his moment. I’m getting close to 50,000 views on my blog.  That is so exciting. I started this blog on October 9, 2009. In 3 years and a half, I’m at 48,001. That equals 1,143 readers a month. It could take two months to reach 50,000 reads. Thank you for making this possible.

One of my subscribers, Sandra Warren noticed how close I was and sent me an email congratulating me.  I asked her what should we do to celebrate. I liked her suggestion. Thank you, Sandra.  To celebrate I’m going to have a Give-Away to a lucky winner — a 1/2 hour personal consultation/critique on Making Your Blog Zing. I’ll do this by telephone or via computer (winner’s choice). I’ll analyze the lucky winner’s blog and make suggestions on how to improve what he’s already doing;  give tips on how to organize his time; and most importantly, answer questions he has about his blog.

So I’ll give you more details on the first blog I write after I reach 50,000 readers.  I’ll have a special treat for everyone who is subscribed at that time.

Join the 122 subscribers to my blog. To receive an email when I post my next article, click “Sign Me Up” in the left hand column. You’ll receive a link and password to download a free logo that says: Never Give Up Build It One Block at a Time. It’s my free gift to you for subscribing to my blog. Thank you.

Would you write a review of my picture book Flip Flap Floodle? Click here to Hear Flip’s Song. I have 14 reviews. I need 15 to meet my goal for 2013.

Joan’s Website: http://www.joanyedwards.com (Gospel-related devotionals, puzzles, and skits)

Celebrate you today.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Write Down Your Submission Plans

Copyright 2018 Joan Y. Edwards

“Write Down Your Submission Plans” by Joan Y. Edwards

Do you have a plan for submitting your work? I’ll bet if you write down a plan, you’ll accomplish more toward it than if you don’t write it down. Somehow writing it down makes a deal with your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind sets wheels in motion to help your plan become reality. Maxwell Maltz in his Psycho-Cybernetics book says that our subconscious mind is an automatic success mechanism.

You increase its effectiveness, if you write down your goal, and put it where you can see it every day. Write it on the back of a business card, write it on the back of a 3×5 index card, write it on a sentence strip like they use in elementary school, write it in large print on an 8.5 x 11 piece of typing paper, put it on a piece of white card stock. Just write it. You can even put it in your pocket and take it out and look at it several times a day. Bob Proctor in You Were Born Rich and Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret say that’s a great idea. Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup books uses it consistently. It keeps your goals up front in your mind. It helps you focus on what you want.

When you write it you are making a commitment to carry it out.

If you share your goals with a friend, you are doubling the commitment and creating a bond.

If you write out action steps to accomplish your goals, you’re helping yourself see your plan carried out and your goal actually come into existence.

In researching the study, I found the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. way of allocating goals. You are smarter when your goals are:

S – Specific:

  • Make your goal meaningful. You decide the goal, not someone else.
  • Make your goal as specific as possible.
  • Make your goal “get 10 new clients” instead of “get new clients.”
  • Make your goal be an instruction telling you what to do.
  • Make your goal one that inspires you to be determined to accomplish in spite of obstacles.

M – Measurable:

  • Describe and define how you will measure your progress.
  • Seeing progress on a chart will help you feel good and spur you on to greater success.
  • Measuring produces evidence for your progress.
  • Keep a log and record each action and reaction taken toward goal.
  • Accept and celebrate each step you make toward success.

A – Attainable:

  • Make your goal ambitious, but not impossible to reach.
  • Do not set yourself up for failure.
  • Make your goal one you are confident you can reach.
  • Choose a goal that will help you grow, learn, and stretch.

R – Reasonable:

  • Set a reasonable goal that you can and want to reach.
  • Break large goals into small chunks.
  • Write appropriate small action steps necessary to meet goal.

T – Time Based:

  • When will you finish your goal?
  • You need to choose a time, the sooner the better.
  • I will accomplish this goal in one week, two weeks, three weeks, four weeks; year, two years, three years, five years, ten years.

E – Evaluated

  • Assess your progress at set intervals.
  • Relax and use your intuition, education, or inspiration to get you back on track.
  • Set revised goals and action steps.

R – Rewarded

  • Celebrate you and all you’ve done.
  • Choose a small tangible reward for each step you take: a dessert, a call to a friend, a trip window-shopping, a sticker, a dollar bill for your piggy-bank.

Good luck with all of your goals: personal, writing, and/or financial. Having a written goal will help you get where you want to go.

If you don’t know where you want to go, take time to contemplate your choices. It’s worth your time. It’ll lead you to greater happiness and self-esteem.



  1. Annette Richman. “Setting SMART Goals:” http://www.career-intelligence.com/management/SmartGoals.asp
  2. Bob Proctor. You Were Born Rich: http://www.amazon.com/You-Were-Born-Rich-Proctor/dp/1920909028
  3. Dominican University of California. Gail Andrews Study. “Study Backs Up Strategies for Achieving Goals:” http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-backs-up-strategies-for-achieving-goals
  4. Earl Nightingale. The Strangest Secret. http://www.amazon.com/The-Strangest-Secret-Earl-Nightingale/dp/161720286X/
  5. Earl Nightingale. The Strangest Secret. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8448018326921957619
  6. G.T. Doran (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.” Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35-36.
  7. Happy Rock. “Can’t Believe Everything You Read:1953 Yale Goal Study http://www.thehappyrock.com/2007/11/13/cant-believe-everything-you-read-1953-yale-goal-study/
  8. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Chicken Soup for the Soul: http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Soup-Soul-Jack-Canfield/dp/1558749209
  9. Maxwell Maltz. Psycho-Cybernetics: http://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Life/dp/0671700758
  10. Paul J. Meyer (2003).  Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated. http://books.google.com/books/about/Attitude_Is_Everything.html?id=C2V0OwAACAAJ.
  11. Shanna Freeman. “How to Be Happy with Yourself: Make Attainable Goals” http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/happy-with-yourself2.htm
  12. Sid Savara. “Writing Down Your Goals: Fact or Fiction: The Harvard Written Goal Study. Fact or Fiction?” http://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/fact-or-fiction-the-truth-about-the-harvard-written-goal-study
  13. S.M.A.R.T. Goals http://longevity.about.com/od/makeachange/p/smartgoal.htm
  14. Wikipedia. “SMART Criteria:”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

Updated January 20, 2018.

Please leave a comment.

Believe in Yourself
Submit Your Manuscript Today
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2012-2018 Joan Y. Edwards

Please check out my books:
Flip Flap Floodle, Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers and elders never give up


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Interview with Vivian Zabel and 4RV Publishing

Vivian Zabel, President of 4RV Publishing with Prairie Dog Cowboy

Vivian Zabel, President of 4RV Publishing.

“Interview with Vivian Zabel, President of 4RV Publishing” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I welcome Vivian Zabel, President of 4RV Publishing, LLC.

In October 2010, I did an online chat pitch for “Joan’s Elder Care Guide” with Vivian at the Muse Online Writers Conference. I was impressed by the quality of 4RV’s books and that they worked one-on-one with authors and illustrators. I was excited when she told me, “It sounds promising. Send me a proposal and the first three chapters.” In April 4RV Publishing sent me a contract to publish it with a release date of June 2015. I am still dancing on the roof.

Thank you, Vivian for allowing me to interview you and 4RV Publishing on my blog. Let us begin:

4RV Publishing Logo

1. How did 4RV Publishing get started? What is the symbolic meaning of the name? How did you and Aidana WillowRaven, VP of Operations, meet? Is she a partner?

I saw a need to fill the gap between vanity and self-publishing and the major publishing houses.

4RV represents my family: Robert (my husband), Rene (our daughter), Robert Jr. (our son), and Randy (our son) – the four Rs – and me, the one V.

Aidana and I met online. Actually we met when she wanted 4RV to accept a manuscript for someone she knew. No, she’s not a partner, but the company couldn’t manage without her.

2. What are the goals of 4RV Publishing?

The goal of 4RV publishing is to produce quality books from the best authors we can find and with the best illustrations and cover art around.

We expect thorough and complete editing so that as few errors and the best writing can be the result.

3. What was the first book you published?

I believe Trockle was our first picture book, and our only foray into hardback picture books. The logistics of hardback picture books is another story.

I’m not sure which was our first young adult or adult book, but it may have been my book The Base Stealers Club, a YA mystery. A side note: All my works have to go through the submissions process, too, anonymously. I have been rejected by a 4RV acquisition editor.

4. What has been the best-selling book? Why?

So far, Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson has sold the most copies, mainly because of the author’s participation in dog sledding and her promotions. Of course it’s a well written book. Terry and her editor worked together to make it the best it could be.

5. What are the three (or more) major problems of being a small traditional publisher? How have you overcome them? What are your strategies for success?

The Consumer Product Safety Act’s directive to have all products for children under 13 tested by a third party testing site nearly destroyed us, and we’ve never quite recovered, even though now books are exempted. Of course, all materials used to make books are tested for lead. How the government thought putting materials without lead together would create lead, I have no idea.

So, money is a major problem. Also costs: printing, fees, shipping, returned books, and other expenses. Un-cooperating authors and/or illustrators cause headaches, too, as do design problems that aren’t caught.

The money factor has no solution. At least the company is now paying its own way, no profit yet, but I’m not having to bankroll the company except for expenses for festivals and such.

Authors who won’t work with editors or fight all the way can be released, and have been. It’s still a headache dealing with them. Illustrators who won’t give progress reports or who drop a project after agreeing to finish leave us dangling. No solution for that problem unless they expect a good reference. Design problems mean more expenses to redo a project. Of course some of those problems are a result of authors not doing a good review of the proofs sent them.

My strategy for success is to continue to put out the best books possible, with the help of some of the best authors, editors, illustrators, and staff around.

6. What are three advantages of being a small traditional publisher?

  • We get to work one on one with authors and illustrators and staff.
  • We can better control the quality of our books.
  • We can watch others succeed.

7. What has given you the greatest feeling of satisfaction and pride?

  •  Discovering people who have thoroughly enjoyed any of our books.

8. What are your current submission guidelines?

Our submission guidelines can be found at 4RV Publishing Submission Guidelines

We suggest anyone interested follow them carefully.

9. What kind of books are you looking for? Children? Adults?

We are scheduled with children’s books through 2015, but we want more well-written young adult, more mysteries, more science fiction, more fantasy, more nonfiction.

 10. What kind of books do you reject? (subjects, quality)

We do not accept anything with graphic or detailed sex or violence. I don’t want my company to put out anything that would cause me to be embarrassed if one of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren picked it up.

11. What distribution do you have for your books?

We pay for Ingram to handle our books. It’s the largest distributor in the world. We also have a website and an online bookstore for our books.

12. How does a book get in a book store?

Any bookstore can obtain any 4RV book through Ingram or directly from 4RV.

Recommendations and requests from customers let stores know to carry books, too.

13. When a big book store like Borders closes, do they return the books, or do you have to take them as a loss?

 Actually, both. Yes, the books are returned, but the company has to pay full retail for the books, therefore double paying for some aspects and paying more than the returning store did. We get the books back (or we can choose for the books to be destroyed and not returned), but no matter what we take a loss.

14. What do you do to market your books? I love the trailers you do for your books. They are high quality.

I’m glad you like the trailers, but several people create them: sometimes the author or illustrator, sometimes one of our designers.

We have our books at book festivals. We promote online. We have them distributed through Ingram. We send out catalogs to libraries and bookstores. We expect our authors and illustrators to promote their books: some do, some don’t. The ones who do, help their book sales.

15. What do you expect your authors to do to promote their books?

Whatever it takes. They can have readings, presentations, visits to schools and libraries, promotion on the Internet, attend festivals and conferences with their books, and seek reviews for their books.

16. How is 4RV Publishing meeting the customer demand for eBooks?

We’re beginning to format some of our books for ebooks, however we haven’t seen any of that so called “demand.”

Formatting for ebooks is as much work as formatting for print, and we can’t use one format for the other. We have to do two completely different setups.

17. Where can people buy 4RV Publishing books?

4RV books can be bought through a physical bookstore or online bookstore, as well as through the 4RV online bookstore/catalog: http://4rvpublishingcatalog.com. Titles are listed with the imprints:

Look for books according to the last name of the author at http://www.4rvpublishingcatalog.com/contents.php


18. What are your three suggestions for writers who wish to be published?

  •  Know your craft and have a well-written manuscript. Find at least one person to edit who knows what is required for publication. Follow suggestions, revise, rewrite. Realize that there is no magical number of edits or revisions.
  • Research publishers to find one that accepts your genre. Never think your work is so great that any publisher will make an exception.
  • Follow the publisher’s submission guidelines exactly. If the company doesn’t have guidelines online, request a copy of the guidelines.

19. What are three suggestions for illustrators who wish to receive a contract to illustrate a cover or picture book?

Most companies have submission guidelines for illustrators, too. 4RV does, and we ask people to follow them.

Our guidelines for designers and illustrators can be found at: 4RV Publishing Submission Guidelines for Illustrators

20. How do you know when a book is right for you to publish? What are three signs that a book is right for you?

  • he manuscript is extremely well-written.
  • The manuscript is interesting from the first few sentences.
  • The writer is anxious to follow suggestions to make it even better.

Thank you again, Vivian for allowing me to interview you and 4RV Publishing on my blog and for believing in me and “Joan’s Elder Care Guide.”

To learn more about Vivian Zabel, read the delightful interview on Holly Jahangiri’s The Next Goal blog from October 21, 2011: http://thenextgoal.com/2011/10/interview-with-author-and-publisher-vivian-zabel/.

4RV Publishing Book Storehttp://4rvpublishingcatalog.com

My book,  Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive is now available from 4RV Publishing: Thank you, Vivian Zabel for believing in me.

Thank you for reading about Vivian Zabel and 4RV Publishing. I hope the information inspires you to take a step forward to make your publication dreams come true.I’d love to hear from you. Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2011-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

updated September 4, 2016


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