Success stories in writing and publishing. Tips from a self-made publisher

July 29, 2016 Editor: Cari Schofield 0

Melanie Davis is the founder of Triumph Press, publishing a nonfiction genre of books including true and inspiring stories of overcoming or self help.  She is also a bestselling author and ghostwriter, including The Triumph Book Series.  The Triumph Books is the first in the series, sharing the stories of people who have endured severe tragedies and who have found purpose and joy BECAUSE of what they went through.  For the second half of our show we talk with Thad Forester and his experiences as an author.  Thad was inspired to write because of his love for his brother who was Killed in Action which led him to publish his first book with Triumph press.  In this podcast,  both will share their success stories in publishing and writing.   (click here if you are unable to see the video) If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to like us on Facebook.  Listen to us Live Saturday Evenings at 6PM pacific time at Bumper Music:  “Bankland” By Javolenus / CC BY-NC 3.0 Transcript The following is a text transcript of the audio.  Due to the verbatim speech and nuances it may be difficult to read.  However, it is being provided as a courtesy to the hearing impaired as well as for those who wish to move quickly on to the pertinent parts of the podcast. Transcript is at least 80% accurate. Time stamps do not match the video. Tom: Welcome Galtstrikers. This is our weekly Libertarian talk show where we not only discuss not only the problems of today but also solutions. If you have questions or comments during tonight’s broadcast the call in number to get on the air is 1.347.202.0228. After you’ve connected remember to press 1 so our producers will see you want on the air. If you are listening to this show over on blog talk or any other website that carries the player. You can also listen and join us over in the chat room at So tonight we are actually going to have a two hour show. For the recording it will be broken into two separate shows. For those of you listening live we will have two hours. For the first hour we are going to be speaking with two guests about how they became authors. How one of them became a self-made publisher and how their success stories can inspire you to become successful in writing your own books or even starting your own business. For the second hour we will be talking about the recent police shootings. The black lives matter movement, the violence and what can be done about it. So let’s get started. My first guest to night is Melanie Davis. She is a self-made author and publisher and has a very interesting story to tell on how she got started in her own business. Welcome to the show Melanie. Melanie: Hey, thanks for having me. Tom: Yeah thanks for coming on. So, anyway, you started your own publishing company called Triumph Press. Could you tell us a little bit about that and then give us a short summery about that and then basically start from the beginning on how you got into publishing and writing books. Melanie:  Ok. Well I guess sit all started in my college years when I studied English and have always enjoyed writing but as years went by and I became a mother I turned my writing largely to journal and I developed a tradition that when I was pregnant and found out if it was a boy or girl I would go and buy a journal. A little girl or little boy journal and I would start writing in it and I would take it with me to the hospital and have them put their first foot print in it and write a mothers first message to her child. I did this with my first 3 children.  My third child is a daughter. Her name was Brin and she passed away at 7 months old of SIDS and what I did some months after her passing I picked up my journal I had been keeping for her and I wrote what happened.  What it was like finding her in her crib. The ambulance ride praying that she would make it but knowing that she was already gone and all the challenges we had following her death.  We lived in San Jose California at the time and we buried her in Carson City Nevada and we had a little tiny white casket in the back of our van and we were driving. We broke down in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and so I remember standing in the rest stop watching the tow truck pulling my van with my baby’s little casket inside and driving away. There were a lot of challenges at that time that I was able to write down. Then a long time, not to long, but sometime after that I picked up my journal again and this time I wrote what I learned and that is that I know God lives. I know that he helps us and supports us in our challenges. Because if you had asked me before my daughter had passed away how I would react to losing a child I would have said, “Throw me in a dark room. Lock me up and throw away the key.” I would have not thought I could get through that but on the day of her death and even during her funeral heaven was so close and was actually such a sweet experience. If you were to see the pictures from her funeral you wouldn’t find one of me crying. I would even go back to those days so I didn’t have to live the ones following. So I wrote what I learned and I wrote my wisdom because I wanted my children and my posterity to know that whatever challenges or difficulties come in life that they can get through them. That is who my audience was. Well, after some time I discovered a new technology that everyone has seen now but at the time it was brand new and that’s what I call story booking and that is where you are able to digitally publish a scrap book that has your pictures and your stories and I was pretty excited to find this technology because I was able to put my journal into it along with all my pictures of my daughter from her life and the funeral. Now when you go through something hard and people hear about it and know you’ve gotten through it and done fairly well. They will come to you and ask when they have someone they are concerned about or are maybe going through something similar. And they’ll ask you how did you get through it or what can I say to my sister or brother or friend or coworker that just lost a child? All I could do was publish or print another copy of this book. I would give it to them and say maybe there is something in my story that can help them. And I probably handed out about a hundred copies of that little colorful printed story book. It’s a hard back book and as I did this I felt great healing every time that I could use my story to help someone else and I got a lot of wonderful feedback who either gave or received that book. So I ended up working for this company that was called Heritage Makers and they are the first company to come up with this technology and so I became- – it was actually one of those and it still is actually. I am no longer in it because I’ve moved on to start my own company but it’s called Heritage Makers. So I became one of their first consultants and within I think it wasn’t much more than a year I moved up to become one of their founding executives. I had about eight hundred consultants underneath me.  It was an MOM type companies. Just to try to shorten this a little bit I discovered that that process of writing was so healing I developed another kind of process that I called story books for healing. Wrote a program that I later renamed the Triumph Program that helps people to go through the process that guides them to write their stories and find the purpose in what they went through and ways they can use that to help others. And then publish books at the end of it. In the process of working on this program I worked with a lot of Hospices and I ran bereavement groups that utilize this program and I had some phenomenal results but I had a lot of bereavement counselors get mad at me because I would tell people that you can overcome grief. They would get mad at me and say, “Oh we don’t say that. We aren’t sure that’s true that you can find a new normal. Or in time it will get better.” They have all these catch phrases that really set the bar low for people that they will ever be happy again. Of course over coming grief is how you define it and I define it as finding purpose and joy in life and being able to continue to live with a smile on your face and hope. So that is when I wrote my first book which is called The Triumph Book. It is a collection of stories from people who have endured sever tragedy that found purpose and joy in life because of what they went through. It is all types of tragedies. Not just death/loss. There are stories of dealing with MS. A man whose wife was killed in a car accident on their honeymoon. A story from the tsunami. Many different types of stories and a lot of them were so intense that the made the news when they first happened. But my book was able to show what happened afterwards. How did they get through these challenges and I wanted to maintain creative control of my book. I wanted to control what the cover looks like because it was significant. It is a silloute of someone standing on a winner’s platform and they are holding a book above their head representing their story saying this is the greatest gift I have to share with the whole world. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the story because they are all first person. Sometimes I help people write them but they are all first person which is the best way for history to be recorded. So what I did is I started my own publishing company called “Triumph Press”.  Then after publishing that book I actually went on to write another in what became The Triumph Book series and that is called “The Triumph Book Hero’s”.  Which is a collection of 27 first person stories from our veteran’s spanning the decades of war from World War II up to our recent conflicts, all different ranks and wars. It was actually in the course of writing that book that I met the next guest that you’ll have on this show. I was able to tell the story of his brother, Mark Forester, who was killed in combat, and some other important stories and some very historically important stories that had never been told before I interviewed the veteran. But in the course of writing the book I found out I had been an ignorant civilian and had no idea the battles that our veteran’s  face when they come home from war. Anyway, I went on to create another version of the triumph program that is meant to help them overcome PTSD which is causing the suicide epidemic of at least 22 a day. There is actually 18 a day as I was writing that book and it has only increased. After producing that book and another work book in addition to the triumph program I then went on to publish other authors and there are quite a number of books in the Triumph Press Library, one of them being Thad Forester’s book, “My Brother in Arms”. It is all about his brother Mark. I have a lot of military books in my collection. The genre of Triumph Press is true and inspiring stories that can make a difference in the world. I also publish self-help. So I have quite a variety of books. I do have one that I think would interest the audience that’s listening written by Todd Jones called, “Fully Prepped; A comprehensive guide to what you need to be prepared.” It is a really terrific book for anyone that is interested in preparation. Tom: How can – – What’s the easiest way for them to find that book? Melanie: Just go to the website and you can get the book. He sells it in bulk with great discounts so they can share it with friends and neighbors and family. Tom: I’m gonna post that in the chat room so it is Ok I posted that in the chatroom Melanie: They will see on the home page. I have actually have gone on to be a co-host with Todd Jones on his show called “Effective Tactics.” So they will see it. We have kind of, a graphic that makes it look like we are on a big billboard in Dallas, Texas.  We are not actually but you will see me there on the billboard with him if you go there. So yeah, I published a number of books. Quite a few of the books I’ve published have gone to number one on amazons kindle including Todd Foresters. Mine went to number two “My Triumphs with Hero’s.”  That is because I could never knock The Art of War of number one. Tom: Oh wow. Melanie: A pretty tough one to compete with. So I feel very fortunate to have gone through a challenge, a tragedy that I did because I do have faith in God. I have faith that I will see my daughter again and I know that her death was in His plan and it had a purpose and I feel that the purpose was so that I could do what I am doing. Being a publisher, an author and I am also a ghost writer. I’ve gone on to work with authors that need their help writing their books. I am about to publish two books next month that are pretty amazing. One of them deals with parental alienation. This is a father that had to fight his ex-wife in court to regain the rights to parent his son. She did some pretty bad stuff to him and accused him of things like sexual assault on their child and things he never did that caused him to lose his job. He finally won the rights and she lost hers because the courts saw through everything that she was doing. She ran home immediately shot her son and then shot herself. Come to find out the things he went through are not at all uncommon and I think this is going to be an extremely important book in making changes in family law and mental health systems and hopefully CPS as well to protect our children and our families when there is a custody battle. So yeah. Sorry probably not as brief as you would of liked. Tom: No, I think it is a pretty heartwarming and compelling story of your life’s experiences. Sad to hear that you had to go through that, but it seems you are providing a very much needed service with your publishing  company and the types of books you publish to really help people out that need that help. You certainly don’t sound like a greedy evil capitalist to me. Melanie: No. but you know what I have no problem being successful and it empowers me to do more good. There’s – Tom: Well yeah exactly. Melanie: I used to do a lot of my work kin of on a service basis for free and because Im like “Oh how can I charge people? “ But I just couldn’t maintain that. It is just not possible. Making a business out of it allows me to do more good. Tom: I have found that in the prepping movement with APN and you know writing blog post myself and things I have seen with some of my other friends that are authors and produce content. A lot of times we get vilified by people like “This should be free! These videos should be free on YouTube! These books should be free!” And I’m thinking well you know, authors gotta eat to. Authors got to survive. Publishers need to survive. I think the free market and capitalism get such a bad name so often you know people think, ”Oh you’re just doing that for money.”  Well. My answer is “What do you do for work”? Would you do your work for free too? Some people have a gift for writing and that is what they are called to do. To write or publish books and you know, when you are providing a much needed service there is nothing wrong with selling that because that provides you with the money and the capitol to move forward and continue to do what you do to help even more people and I think it is an excellent service you are providing with your publishing company and helping these authors to get their stories out to people which in turn helps people that read those stories. If you are just giving everything away for free I don’t think you could go nearly as far as you are able to do with the way you are doing it now. So I think this is really awesome. How can people reach your website? Is it or something like that that they can go to? Melanie: That is a good guess. and if there is anyone listening that is interested in writing a book or learning to be a better writer I actually have a free e book that they can download  called, The 7 Rules of Exceptional  Writing.” They are welcome to go to my website and download that and I think you will learn a lot about how to be a strong writer. Writing well is just a matter of being a good re writer.  That is what this teaches you. How to take what you are putting down and go through it and strengthen it where you can look for things that can make your writing more compelling and more interesting and more lively. So – Tom: So anyways – – Melanie: That is something I do give free, Tom: We have about 9 more minutes before we bring Thad on. Obviously we will go to a break before we bring Thad on but I want to go over a few things. First, if any of our callers that are listening in on the phone or anyone that is listening on the player if you’d like to call in and talk to Melanie and ask a question or two. The number is 1.347.202.0228 and don’t forget to push 1 on your phone so that you can get connected with our producer. Anyway, you’ve got some words of wisdom that you have provided for people to become successful. So let’s go through the list of that since obviously you’ve become successful in your publishing business. What can people do if they want to be an author, if they want to be a publisher or maybe they are just starting some other type of business? What are some of these steps? The first one you showed here is pursue your passion. Could you talk just a little bit about that and how people can pursue their passion? Melanie: Yeah. That is the first tip. I think I sent you 7 or 8 tips and that is number one. That probably goes without saying but it comes first because whatever you choose to do you can be wildly successful but it’s going to be work and the only way you’re going to work as hard and long as you might have to to be as successful as you like is if you’re passionate about it. So that’s just the first thing when you’re looking at starting a business make sure that it is something that you love. Tom: Ok. Number two here is, “there is no such thing as overnight success but a good mentor will show you the short cuts’. Melanie: Yup. That’s right. Any time you see- – I see commercials on television of advertising someone trying to sell their program to become a millionaire in short order. There is no such thing as overnight success but I know having gone through the path of reaching success that there is a lot of places I made mistakes. Spent a lot of time or a lot of money on things that if I had a mentor they could have steered me clear of those rocks and that is what I do for my authors in addition to publishing with them. Helping them publish their books I become a coach for them. And so I can take what I’ve learned, and a lot of times learned the hard way and help them not have to go through the same things.  I’ve also learned some ways that can really help some great marketing opportunities or ways to promote a book that can be very successful. If Id of had someone like me helping me along I think that, I do believe that  I would have had more success a lot sooner and at the very least I would not of had some of the failures or I guess there is no such thing as failure but some of the life lessons could have been taught a lot easier. I encourage people to seek out a mentor.  Someone that, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same business they are in but just who has been successful in business. Of course if your and author you would want to seek out someone who has been a successful author, just ask them what they recommend. What is their wisdom? What should or shouldn’t be done. Tom: Yeah. Definitely help people to save a lot of time and hardship in their own business to find other people who have been successful to help them learn from their mistakes basically. Number three, “Failure is a requirement for success.” Melanie: Yes. I absolutely believe that and so that might seem like an opposition to what I just said in tip number two but you are going to fail when trying to succeed. It is inevitable and it has to happen because there is skills and opportunity that comes from failure. My dad just finished reading (inaudible) book. I think it’s called; it’s something catchy, The Shoe Box or something. I just came out this year. Anyway he is the founder of Nike. In his book there is so many times he was just about to go bankrupt and just about to fail but some of the things that would happen to him, he would use his opportunity and it was actually what catapulted him to success. Some of the different ways that he was being criticized, well it turned him into a perfectionist. Instead of just having an average factory he has factories that are internationally recognized. It is tremendous examples of working environments for his employees. Definitely when negative things come along they can help us to reach heights that we might not of without those failures Tom: Yeah. I think a lot of people get discouraged and you know, give up to easy because they fail the first or the second time. Then you try to encourage them and they say, ‘oh it’s impossible. I failed, I am not even gonna try.” But I think they say like the average business person fails at least three times before they become successful and that’s the average. Some people probably succeed their first shot and there’s probably people who have tried 20 or 30 times before they get it right. That is what my grandpa used to tell me. You will fail at least 3 times before you succeed and he has been right about that. I know I have failed at least 3 or 4 times in business. I’m finally getting some things right and finally getting to be successful myself. A lot of work and has taken a long time. It goes back to number 2, there is no such thing as overnight success. Melanie:  There really isn’t, if someone is successful overnight then they haven’t had enough failure to keep that success in my opinion. They are going to make a mistake because you just learn and are stronger from those failures. I forget who said it but one of the phrases I’ve always heard is double your rate of failure if you want to be successful. Tom: Yeah Melanie: That’s one way to look at it. Tom: then number four is “Charge what you are worth.” Melanie:  Yes, that is very important and that is another one I have learned from experience. When you charge what you are worth people treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I’ve had different situations where I would charge very little and what I found is when I was trying to help and serve people is that when I didn’t charge enough they only valued my services as much as I was charging. There were a lot of times when those who paid the least worked me the hardest. When I started to raise my rates in publishing people appreciated the work I did more. It was really interesting and you know what? They were still able to pay it. Sometimes I helped them. I might help them set up a GoFundMe account. When I say help them I would actually help write their story for them or help them know how to put a video together to go with it and I’ve helped authors raise the money they need to pay me. So I can still give them some assistance but what I find is that when I charge what I am worth I am treated more valuable. So. It is really important. Tom: Yeah. I have found that too. Even like for example, getting sponsorship ads on my website if you’ve got some empty space you’re not charging enough. What is it? No. If you don’t have any empty space, if all your ad spots are filled up, you’re not charging enough. You should always have at least one or two empty spots on there. That means your charging enough. It is kind of a supply and demand thing. Same thing with hearing about musicians at their concerts. Charging outrageous ticket prices and people complain about that and I’m like, well, they’re sold out aren’t they? And they are like yeah and I go if they are completely sold out they aren’t charging enough for those tickets because what ends up happening is if they are too low on their prices then they get ticket scalping and stuff. People ripping them off and then charging double for those ticket prices. Even in the concerts there should at least be a handful of seats that are empty if they are charging what they are worth. People go well, that is price gouging. Well, no its not if people are willing to pay that much. If they want to pay that much then let it go, if it is too much then don’t go there. Melanie: Well and definitely, we have a human nature about us and we have our perception and when someone charges a lot we assume that means they are more professional and we treat them more professionally. So if you charge to little in your business you just don’t come across as professional. You come across as bargain basement and therefore people value it at that level so it is really important to figure out what your worth is and charge accordingly. Tom: well we are coming up on a break here and I want to get Thad in as soon as we can but you do have about four more points I want to go over real quick and we will go over those after the break and then I will bring Thad on. So let’s go to our sponsors right now. Advertisement Tom: Welcome back everyone. I have Melanie Davis on with me. She is an author and publisher. She owns Triumph press. The website is and we are talking about how she became successful. Anyway, we are going to go onto the other four points that you made here before we bring on Thad. You mentioned you may have to charge less than your worth to start out to prove your worth. So we are talking about charging what you’re worth. Now what about this? Charging less than your worth when you start out. Melanie: I know that may be in opposition with the first point however, when you are just first starting out it is okay to do some work that is for less and use that as an opportunity to do a terrific job so that  you show what you are capable of. Until you do some work, when you’re first starting out, you may know that you are great but you don’t have any record to prove it. You have to develop that track record. You might even look at it as a kind of is ok when you first start out to maybe do some work that is more of a gift to someone or something that is discounted as an opportunity to show what you can do and then as you build your portfolio then you can start charging more because you have a track record. Tom: So basically just to get your foot in the door. Ok then number six. Always ask for testimonials from satisfied customers and use them on your website and elsewhere. Melanie: Yeah. That is key. I know that I really rely on the testimonials of others when I am making a selection whether it is a product I buy on amazon or when I hire a plumber. If you’ve done a great job for your customer then ask them for a testimonial and they will be happy to give it. I have a page on my website where I have testimonials from clients I have worked with and I am really proud of that. It means a lot to me to be able to do work that is good enough to be able to build a page like that and I think it can make a big difference in your business to have someone select you over your competitors.  To have those testimonials where they can find them. Tom: Number 7; Find a way for your product and service to be tied to a cause and give away a preset portion of your profits. It serves others and gives you a marketing platform. Melanie: Yeah, that one right there I could probably spend 30 minutes talking about but since time is short that is something I do a lot with my authors. Usually they write about a topic that can be tied into a cause. Whether it is with veteran’s  or disabilities, there is a lot of different ways that I have been able to network off authors and their books with causes that their book may be able to help raise awareness for or raise money for. You can build a partnership with a nonprofit and say hey, if you help market my book I’ll return 10-15 percent of the sales to you. You can write about the cause in your book If you’re at that stage and help bring awareness to them and help tell their story. That is just some examples of how I have been able to do that in the type of business that I am in. But really, cause marketing is really some of the best marketing you can do and usually it doesn’t cost anything but what you are able to donate. I’d love to go on but I don’t want to take up any more time. If anyone wants to contact me about that I can talk to them a little more via email or my website. Tom: Yeah, I want to get Thad on here. The last one was run your business and don’t let it run you. Let’s bring Thad on. I want to get him the last 17 or 20 minutes or so. Thad, thank you for coming on. Thad: Great to be here tom, thanks for having me. Tom: Yeah, sorry we went a little bit over the hour there. Anyway, so you are one of Melanie’s authors. Can you give a little bit of back ground on how you got started and what got you interested in becoming an author and how you connected with Melanie? Thad: Well, in Sept of 2010 my little brother Mark was killed in action. He was my best friend and we had lived together as adults. I didn’t get married until I was older than the average Joe and we had lived together while he was in college. We were pretty close and I just knew immediately I wanted to write a book on his life. One reason was because we needed a record, our family needed a record of his life and I’ve seen it. You can see how quickly family, new nieces and nephews born. Well they don’t know him. They have never met him. We have got 5 or 6 new nieces and nephews in the family now that has been born since my brother was killed. So I wanted a record of his life but also I thought that you know, the world needs to know about these great Americans who voluntarily serve to protect us so I felt like it was a calling, it was a mission of mine to write the book. I didn’t know how I was going to get it published, I didn’t care early on because  there have been few things in my life where I have known that this is just what’s gonna happen. So I started working on the book and I met Melanie, I don’t know, maybe 9 months (inaudible) We spoke and she told me shed help me out. I never made any commitments. I kept working on the book and started talking to her more and then realized, and I looked at other options, but I realized this was really my best option. This is going to work because I could get some one on one coaching from Melanie and she was also passionate about getting marks example out there. Also, she was going to give me basically full control because I wanted say in how the cover looked and what it was called and so she really kind of met all the needs that I had. I’m not a , I’ve published and written one book, that was my first book and I’m not sure if I’ll write another one I am not experienced in it. I just had a passion for the story that needed to be out there. That is kind of how we got introduced or I guess how we got together in a business sense and why I chose her company Triumph Press. Tom: So both of you basically got started and found your successes through your own personal hardships that you had to overcome and you’ve used that to- – You know that is the same thing when last couple weeks ago I had a self-made publisher that came on and he became successful by drawing from his hardships that he went through. So I think that is something I think people really should, you know people that want to be an author or entrepreneur then they can learn from both of your experiences that they can draw on their own hardships in their past and use that to become successful. Or like Melanie said, using past failures as well. So could you tell our listeners how people can get your book and find out more about you? Thad: Well, there are several places. On amazon first of all, it’s called, ‘My Brother in Arms’. You can look up; I have a website an author website called Then also we have a foundation that is in my brother’s name so if you go to then you can find out all about him and you can buy the book from there also. Lot’s of ways to find out about me or the book. Tom: A couple other things about you. You said you started a podcast called Patriot to the Core. You’ve already done 4 episodes. Can you tell our listeners about that and how they can listen to your podcast and how that is working out for you? Thad: Yeah. Yeah.  I am new to this so I just feel like along this journey with writing the book and interviewing team mates of my brothers from multiple branches of the military I have met a lot of exceptional Americans who many have been injured whether it is physically or visibly or even those that suffer wounds that aren’t visibly. Also plenty others that are just freedom fighters that want to protect us and so I felt like I met so many and they kind of inspire me so I wanted to interview these types of people and share them with the world of podcasting. It’s not all military. I happen to have a great friend who is self-employed and he started a nonprofit where he is ready to deploy at any given moment to a natural disaster in the world. And he has gone all over the world many times. To Haiti, to Nepal, to Japan, I mean multiple places. He works with disaster relief; he works with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I guess more so with the Salvation Army and he tags the rural orphanages is his specialty. You know just people that are selfless and humanitarians and also many of them have a military connection but not all. So, I’ve got 4 recorded and edited but I am waiting until I get a few more and I will have it published on ITunes and probably through the google play option also. You can definitely listen to it if you go to or even to my website at you’ll see a link up there to the podcast patriot to the core. So there are four episodes up there now. Melanie will be one of the guest sometime coming up. So yeah, it is a new project that I am learning as we go as well. Tom: That is amazing. So that is So both of you in your businesses and organization and your podcast and your book, you’re providing a valuable service to people. That is what I really like about the free market. We talk a lot about that, the free market and the way to really be successful in that is to provide a needed service and it sounds like you are doing that with your podcast PatriotToTheCore. Anyway, I’d like to take some questions if we have any callers that are listening in and if they want to call in. the number to get on the show is 1.347.202.0228 and press 1 if you are listening right now and want to ask any questions to Melanie or Thad. Just dial one. I did get a question I wanted to ask from Dave in our chat room. He wanted to ask about some of the failures so I will ask Melanie first since she was on first. What are some of the failures that you went through Melanie that you learned from? Melanie: Oh Wow. This one. Tom: Maybe just one or two of the big ones and then I’ll ask Thad. Melanie: Ok. Let me think. I think that sometimes I tend to go big. I go a little too big and a little too broad. When you are doing something that you are passionate about you may find a lot of different ways to go about that business and you are so excited you want to go down all those paths. And they are all good paths but if you go to wide in your marketing or in the products that you are offering you can spread yourself so thin that you fail to be successful because you need to be more focused. I think that is probably one of my biggest weaknesses that I have to battle on a regular basis because as I continue to work I continue to find other ways to expand. Sometimes they’re good and are definitely doable but I have to keep reminding myself to stay focused on what is working before I jump to the next opportunity. I don’t know if that is to general. Tom: I am running into that myself, having too many irons in the fire. Sometimes I have that problem myself and sometimes it’s just better to stay focused on a few things than spreading out to much. Melanie:  And that is the last tip too. Run your business. Don’t let it run you and it is really easy to let that happen. It has caused my failures most often. Tom: What about you Thad? Any failures that stand out for you that you’ve learned from that have helped you to become successful? Thad: Well, I told you I think earlier Tom, earlier in the week, is I still have a day job too. I’ve experienced rejection with jobs. Even within my current company. You know one that I am still working on right now when it comes to maybe more so this topic, my book, is Costo. Costco has rejected me a few times to get the book in their stores and even if it is just to get in their system so I can do their book signing because we have all, most of us have been to a Costco on a Saturday and you see the enormous amounts of people that flow through there and I’ve wanted to get in there for a book signing. I don’t even care if the book is on their shelf or not actually and they don’t want my book in their store right now. So I don’t know I think I don’t really look at it as a failure I just look at it as I’m going to find a way and maybe it will take Melanie intervening somehow to make it happen but yeah. That is one of my biggest challenges right now is continually marketing the book. I guess 3 years old now and I think its gotten some great, for being a first time author and kind of not with a huge publisher we have been very fortunate. We’ve gotten some great reviews on ITunes or on amazon. Melanie: Yeah and you did reach number one on the kindle best seller list for a period and that is fantastic. I think Thad’s stuff is tremendous. His brother’s story, he is exceptional. I don’t think you’ve told them Thad but your brother was a combat controller for the Air Force which a lot of people probably don’t even know what that is but it is a special forces of the Air Force and they’re the guys standing up on the mountain top for all to see trying to coordinate the planes in the air to drop the bombs and the missiles where they are needed so they don’t hit the friendlies. It’s a stressful job and very few can do it. Thad you could probably explain better about that. It is really an incredible book and I can’t say enough good about that book. My son, at 17 he read it and it was life changing for him. Tom: We just have a few minutes left and we’ve got a caller on that I would like to bring her on so she can ask either of you a question. I have Mary Ellen, are you on the air? Mary Ellen: I am. I am. I was wondering what kind of stories garner the greatest interest in what you publish? Melanie: Well, true stories. Of course my genre is true stories. I think that truth can be far more fascinating than fiction. When you have a story of overcoming something really sensational or very difficult people are drawn to those stories. I think that we have an inate need to hear stories from people who have accomplished something that we need to accomplish or want to believe in. So I think stories that are inspiring, people are just drawn to them, they need them. They can do very well. Mary Ellen: Ok. Do you find that for example a different story for each chapter is easier to short? Melanie: That’s how my book series is “The Triumph Book” and The Triumph Book Hero’s”.  The Triumph book is 20 chapters and 20 stories. The hero’s book has 27 chapters so it’s 27 stories from Veteran’s. It’s kind of like a reader’s digest almost. One chapter and you’ve read a story. That’s how my books are formatted but others are just the telling of a story throughout the book. That’s how Thad’s story is. Thad’s story begins with, well, hearing of his brother’s death and preparing for what was going to come. It takes you through that and then takes you through his life. I like the way that’s organized. It’s a little different than just chronologically organized. If you’re looking for an interesting way to tell a story, unless you’re doing an anthology which is what I write. Collections of stories. I would always recommend finding unique ways of telling the story. Jump right in the middle of the excitement and then go backwards and show how you got there and then go forward to where you end up. That’s always an interesting way to tell a story. Mary Ellen: Great. Thank you very much. Bye. Tom: Alright. Anyway get back into this. Thad is there any more you want to add? We only down to about 4 minutes left for this show. I wanna give you a few final words before we close out the show. Thad: Yeah. I would just like to kind of pick up where Melanie left off. I ‘m glad that she said that about the book I mean, Mark was a combat controller and very few people know what these guys do or have even heard of them. I think very few know the Air Force has guys like this I believe. So one good thing about the book is that it introduces you to the world of the Air Force special operations field and also the book does begin with the end and I think we experience some very unique things. The notification process, how many people have had the guys show up at their door. The military uniformed men or women that show up at your door to notify you of the death of your loved one and so at Marks request he had simultaneous notifications of my parents and also me. So the book talks about that and how we were notified and the behind the scenes of how- – And these were people that notified us were team mates of Marks. Commanders and trainers and leaders and so it wasn’t just some Air Force people from the local Air Force base in Montgomery. They came from North Carolina and they had to stake out the houses and make sure we were home and time it just right to knock on the doors. So it goes through that process. The Angle Flight, I don’t think many Americans know about this. The transferring of the American hero’s body from war to the US of A. For Mark he went to Dover first and then made his way to our home town of Haleyville and so all the support from the Patriot Guard Riders which is another unique incredible organization that if anyone doesn’t know what they do I encourage everyone to look them up because those are some great Americans. We discuss some tremendous support from so many people that didn’t know us and didn’t know Mark and then lots of support that did know us and knew Mark. The book is a biography of his life so you can see how he became the man he was but also there is definitely a heavy military influence to it. You’re gonna see a lot of words from other people. You don’t hear me in the book talk about my biggest—really I wanted to make sure I was accurate and I wasn’t some mourning brother trying to make my little brother sound like some super human. So I really, it took three years to get this book published and so I think it’s definitely accurate and factual. There are a lot of testimonies of other people of the type of man and warrior he was. Tom: Ok well anyways we are just about at the end of the show. We have about a minute left and I want to thank you guys. I think that is amazing that you are carrying on your brother’s name the way you are in doing this in his honor. I think it’s great that both of you are doing what you’re doing  for veterans and for publishers and getting helping those people out. So I want to thank you guys for coming on and we’re going to start the second half of the show. We are going to talk about the violence in Dallas. If you guys want to listen in and give your opinions on that you’re welcome to0. We are gonna start that after the break here. I do want to mention also we have another show starting on Friday called The Prepping Academy Fridays at 6 P.M. Pacific. The host of that show is Forest Garbin. He is a former US Air Force Airman. Forest is a survival instructor in our instructor HAM operator and a Krav Mara apprentice instructor. Forest also owns a Carolina survival preparedness academy in Charlotte North Carolina. So that is Friday at 6 P.M. and I want to thank you guys for coming on. We are gonna go to a break and then start the other half of this show. Thad: Thank you Tom I enjoyed it.  

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